HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Justice League: Gods and Monsters
HTS Overall Score:77
DC has always had “alternate” tales of their superheroes and villains through the multiverse, using alternative worlds to achieve that effect. What happens if the alternate Superman isn’t as good, the alternate Green Lantern used the yellow ring of fear etc. However, “Justice League: Gods and Monsters” takes a different approach as it pulls from their Elseworlds universe. Basically a subset of the comics that reveled in the “what if’s? of the DC universe. Instead of alternate worlds that exist beside the main one, we have the comic creators saying “what if those universes didn’t exist, here’s what we would think of as an alternative”. In this iteration Superman is not the son of Jor-El, but the genetic son of general Zod. Batman is not Bruce Wayne, but rather Kirk Langstrom (who is Man Bat in the regular universe), a genetically created vampire with bat like abilities. Wonder woman isn’t Princess Diana, but Bekka, daughter of Himron of the new gods, daughter in-law of Darkseid. So, as you can probably guess, Earth is a LOT different than the Justice League you’re familiar with.
With the Justice League consisting of only 3 main heroes (the rest are nowhere to be found), Batman (Michael C. Hall), Superman (Benjamin Bratt) and Wonder Woman (Tamara Taylor, best known for her role on “Bones”) are not exactly liked by the public. The three are kind of anti-heroes, working in tandem with the government while they stay away from the rest of humanity locked in the Justice League Tower. Lex Luthor isn’t the crazed, power hungry monster that we know, but rather an older scientist who fears the ultimate power that these inhuman “gods” possess. While the Justice League is squashing terrorists, they don’t mind breaking a few eggs in the process, killing and brutally taking out those in their way. They care about humanity, but without as much humanity in themselves as we would like.
When metallic monsters start taking out world scientists like Victor Fries, Ray Palmer, Silas Stone and the like, all with weapons that match Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, the Justice League must come to realization that they’re being framed. Batman goes to his lifetime friend, Dr. Magnus, to find out just what is going on, but only receives static. Convinced that the people they are protecting is out to get them (while the government believes the Justice League is going rogue), worlds collide as the heroes and the humans they strive to protect (albeit a bit brutally) decide once and for all WHO is the ruler of Earth.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=50329[/img]“Justice League: Gods and Monsters” is a fun little deviation from the course that DC has been laying with its animated movies lately. Don’t worry, we’ll get back to the main storyline with “Batman: Bad Blood” where we’ll pick back with Batman and Damian Wayne, but for now its fun to revel in the “what if” scenarios played out on screen. The Elseworlds tales have always been rather fun, playing that age old game of alternate stories, and alternate personalities. We see a lot of the same names and faces that we’ve grown to love, but many times with different jobs and different personalities than the standard ones due to some cosmic butterfly effect. Superman is born of Zod’s DNA, Wonder Woman is Bekka, Dr. Ray Palmer is an emerging scientist instead of The Atom. Dr. Fries isn’t Mr. Freeze, the list goes on and on. It’s kind of nice seeing our main heroes in a different light. Gone is the super compassion and righteousness of Superman, as he grew up with migrant farmers instead of the loving hands of the Kent family. Batman isn’t a brooding genius, but rather a scientist who injected with some nanites, left cold and almost heartless in a world that rejected him. Wonder Woman is still the strong warrior princess, just from a different world and a different upbringing. The other giant change is watching Lex Luthor, usually the craze megalomaniac running around as a sci-fi Stephen Hawking in an effort to expand knowledge and keep the world safe from Superman (which kind of needs protecting at this point.
“Gods and Monsters” is FUN movie, but unfortunately it’s a tad rocky at times. I had a lot of fun with the tale, and there’s some great plot points, but the telling of it can be a bit awkward as they intertwine leaps in time to explain just HOW our heroes are so different. These flashbacks break up the flow of the story a bit, and slow down the pace. The same can be said for the third act, as the villain’s reveal is a bit too theatrical and lacks the punch they were hoping for. I honestly didn’t see it coming, which is a big plus, but the end battle just felt a little….hollow.. if you know what I mean. The voice acting itself wasn’t bad, but lacked the pizazz of some of the other ones. While I ADORE Kevin Conroy, I’ve come to grips that he won’t be the voice of Batman forever, and I actually kind of missed Jason O’Mara’s voicing of him (but he will return in “Batman: Bad Blood”, so fear not). I will say, that while it was not exactly the voice I was expecting, Michael C. Hall played the icy voice of Batman quite well, using his emotionless “Dexter” voice with great aplomb. The rest of the cast were actually pretty mediocre, with Tamara Taylor and Benjamin Bratt feeling a bit wooden and stiff in their delivery. Overall it was solid movie, even a very good move, but unfortunately hampered with the voice acting and a few writing tweaks.
Rated PG-13 for violence throughout and suggestive content including nudity
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=50337[/img]What would a DC animated film be from WB if it wasn’t for banding and some blocking. Guess what. They’re back again and in full force. While the banding and blocking isn’t as bad as it’s been in the past, they rear their ugly heads pretty consistently. I’ve spend hours watching these movies and EVERY one suffers from those same issues. After analyzing the discs thoroughly, checking the bitrates, the size of the files etc, I can only concluded that the issues are in the source material rather than anything that WB is doing with the encode. Especially after seeing the healthy bitrate and strong file sizes for 76 minute features on average. With that being said, don’t think that I’m bashing the encode. The movie actually looks VERY good, just marred with the famous DC animated banding issues a tad. Colors are bright and vide, with strong saturation points, and the animation itself is great. It almost reminds me of the Bruce Timm style of artistry over some of the more recent films, which is quite refreshing as a huge fan of the Timmverse. Detail is strong throughout, and I didn’t notice any blurring, jaggies or other animation flaws. As a result the picture looks VERY good, just shy of being really great.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=50345[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track does everything right. It hits all the right notes, it has some solid hitting LFE and everything falls into line. I have no issues with the dialogue, other than a few points where Michael C. Hall’s voice becomes a bit too soft, and the dynamic range is pretty wide. Directionality is good with missiles, laser blasts and clanging of swords shift around the sound scape. LFE hits and hits hard with gunfire, explosions and the like adding some nice low end to the film. Surrounds remain active with said noises and really immerse the listener. Really it hits all the right notes, and I have no complaints other than that it isn’t AMAZING. It does everything well, but doesn’t leave you with that sense of shock and awe as with some blockbusters. Again, this isn’t a nitpick of the movie as these low budget animated movies, as a 4/5 rating is no slouch at all. Solid A-
• Alternate Realities: Infinite Possibilities
• Calculated Risk: The Making of Gods and Monsters
• The New Gods
• From the DC Comics Vault
• Batman: Bad Blood
It was really nice to see the Elseworld tales come into play in these DC animated films. The change of pace is welcome and the alternate stories are full of endless possibilities. It was almost startling to see the dramatic changes in the characters personas that we all know and love, but that’s actually part of the fun. Seeing just how the creators can tweak beloved characters to become something similar, but almost completely different. The results are really well done, but not exactly perfect, much like the audio and video scores on this disc. One thing I must warn, this is DEFINITELY a PG-13 movie, and carries itself a rather hard PG-13 at that. While it’s not offensive in any way, and not explosively violent, it’s still not something I’d show young children thinking its normal TV show animated fare. Definitely check it out if you’re more of the late teen or adult nature. Recommended.
Starring: Benjamin Bratt, Michael C. Hall, Jason Isaacs
Directed by: Sam Liu
Written by: Alan Burnett
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA, French, Spanish, German DD 5.1
Runtime: 76 minutes
Own it on Blu-ray™ Combo, DVD & Digital HD 7/28
Buy Justice League: Gods and Monsters On Blu-ray at Amazon
More about Mike