27 February 2012 | xamtaro
They got everything almost perfect except the animation itself
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are finally seeing actual story and art continuity in the DC animated movies! Yes SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE was the follow-up to SUPERMAN/BATMAN: PUBLIC ENEMIES, but they looked so different that you would think they were unrelated. JUSTICE LEAGUE: DOOM feels and looks like an actual "episode 2" following "JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS". Same writer, same voices, same art style, same music, same character we used to know and love. Loved by all, except their enemies.
The enemies of the Justice League, led by the immortal Vandal Savage have formulated a clandestine plan to eliminate the superheroes. One by one, they manage to turn the heroes' strengths against themselves, prey on their physical and psychological weaknesses, and effectively put them out of commission. Even worse is the revelation that this plan was initially concocted by one of the League's own members. It does not stop here however. Vandal Savage, convinced that humanity is its own virus, intends to wipe out half the population of earth and return the world to a new stone age. He and his allies would then rule the survivors and bring order to the planet. But nobody counted on the last minute intervention by Cyborg, an up and coming superhero most would remember as one of the Teen Titans.
Loosely adapted from Mark Waid's "JLA: Tower of Babel" story arc, JUSTICE LEAGUE: DOOM really gets into the minds of our favorite heroes. In its short run time, we get to experience our heroes' insecurities, weaknesses, fears, but also get to see how they overcome those limitations individually and as a team. That is what separates heroes from just people with superpowers! Voice acting is awesome as usual and as always it is a treat to hear most of the cast of the Justice League animated series in their respective roles again. So memorable are the performances of Kevin Conroy, Tim Daley, Susan Eisenberg, Carl Lumbly and Michael rosenbaum that whenever most people open a comic book, it is their voices they hear as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter and Flash respectively. Nathan Fillon reprises his Green Lantern role from Emerald Knights, another refreshing attempt at a continuity nod. One funny thing though, Tim Daley's voice seems to have deepened to the level of Kevin Conroy's 90s era Batman voice.
Snappy, naturally flowing dialogue complements the terrific cast chemistry. With a brisk pace that never lets up on the tension, Justice League: Doom could have been a near perfect score. Something HAS to ruin that and sadly in this case, it is the art and animation.
Animation is a little bit disappointing, looking more like a high budget TV series than a movie standard. Aside from a few outstanding scenes, particularly the battle sequences, the animation is nowhere near the fluidity of, say, Batman Year One or All Star Superman. The Japanese anime-ish style is strongest now more thanks to Telecom Animation Film, a Japanese anime company who's credits include BRAVE STORY, TIDE LINE BLUE and, believe it or not, later episodes of INUYASHA.
Not that its bad, in fact it is good. The characters look really hot but sometimes you get anime-styled facial expressions creeping in and that just looks..........weird. Designs aside, the level of detail in the artwork is just one big let down. Other than tights, there is no reason why civilian clothing or even capes have no folds in them at all. Even worse is how weapons and cybernetics are drawn. Many of Cyborg's robot parts, particularly his face plating, looks like face paint.
One gets the feeling that most time and effort went into this year's BATMAN YEAR ONE and JUSTICE LEAGUE: DOOM was produced merely as a "side project" since they had Dwayne McDuffie's exceptional script lying around. No point of it going to waste. Anyhow, should Warner Premiere decide to create an entire Justice League movie series, pumping just a bit more money and effort into the animation production would help things a lot. They already have top notch writing and acting talent, veteran producers and directors who respect the DC comics. No point mucking things up with mediocre technicalities.