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Justice League: Doom(2012)
When Vandal Savage discovers Batmanís secret contingency plan to defeat the Justice League should any of them go rogue, he steals it, forms his own army of supervillains, and begins taking out the Justice League one by one.
For more about Justice League: Doom and the Justice League: Doom Blu-ray release, see Justice League: Doom Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on February 23, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, Susan Eisenberg, Nathan Fillion, Carl Lumbly, Michael Rosenbaum
Director: Lauren Montgomery
» See full cast & crew
Justice League: Doom Blu-ray Review
Does 'Doom' spell doom for the animated DC Universe? Far from it...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, February 23, 2012
Justice League: The New Frontier remains a strong JLA outing; a solid adaptation of Darwyn Cooke's 6-issue "DC: The New Frontier" and a smartly conceived superhero battle of the ages. Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, though, is hit or miss in every regard; a merely serviceable adaptation of Grant Morrison's "Earth 2" graphic novel and a merely serviceable clash of the super-powered titans. So where oh where does Justice League: Doom fall? The 13th DC Universe animated original movie isn't just the best JLA features, it's one of the finest DCU animated movies to date, encapsulating everything that made Mark Waid's "JLA: Tower of Babel" arc such a captivating read all while delivering a finely tuned story, excellent voice casting and performances, plenty of superhero showdowns, and the sort of Justice League chemistry and conflict fanboys eagerly devour.
Batman's membership in the JLA has often been called into question. Not by his fellow heroes, mind you, but by comic geeks irritated with the prospect of a mortal man rushing into battle alongside an alien demigod, an Amazonian princess, an intergalactic peacekeeper, a Martian shape-shifter, and a lightning bolt with a quick wit. Many a comic writer has addressed the concerns of the Logic Legion over the years, dreaming up new scenarios that lend legitimacy to Batman's presence on the team. But few writers have addressed this particular concern as carefully and keenly as Mark Waid. His take? Batman isn't a part of the Justice League because Clark and Diana might one day need him to save the world from some dastardly super villain. No, Batman is a part of the JLA because he knows humanity might one day need him to save the world from the League itself should one of its members do the unthinkable: go rogue, fall prey to mind control, or unleash their powers on the very planet they're sworn to protect. Writer Dwayne McDuffie's Doom isn't a panel-by-panel adaptation of "Tower of Babel," nor does it tap the same villains or explore the same subplots. But the core of "Tower of Babel" is intact and, in some ways, McDuffie's adaptation tells a tighter, tougher story.
Superman (Tim Daly) lays dying after a bout with Metallo. Batman (Kevin Conroy) is buried alive by Bane. Wonder Woman (Susan Eisenberg) faces an endless army of Cheetah clones. Martian Manhunter (Carl Lumbly) is set ablaze by Ma'alefa'ak. The Flash (Michael Rosenbaum) is about to explode after falling into a trap set by Mirror Master. Green Lantern (Nathan Fillion) is consumed with grief and fear after an encounter with Star Sapphire. The Justice League is about to meet its end, each member undone simultaneously. Who is the mastermind behind the downfall of the JLA? And how did he concoct such an elaborate and effective means of putting the entire Justice League out of commission? As it turns out, the mastermind is Batman, although not directly. Several years before, Batman had devised a secret set of contingency plans for neutralizing each JLA heavy hitter in the event that one or all of them turned their wrath on Earth. Vandal Savage (Phil Morris), having learned of the plans' existence, steals Batman's files, makes each one deadlier and more devious, and unleashes the full force of the Dark Knight's intellect on the Justice League. What's a flesh-and-blood vigilante to do? Turn to the one hero he hasn't yet developed a contingency plan to defeat: Cyborg (Bumper Robinson).
Nearly impossible as it would have been, I wish I could have come to Justice League: Doom without any knowledge of what was about to go down. Batman's inadvertent role in the fall of his own team would have been quite the shock to the system, and then some. Fortunately, McDuffie (who died shortly after penning Doom) and director Lauren Montgomery handle foreknowledge of the Dark Knight's best-kept secrets well, rightfully assuming there are stragglers out there who haven't read "Tower of Babel" (or even stumbled across a synopsis of the tale). McDuffie and Montgomery also re-purposed Waid's 4-issue arc at a manageable 77-minutes and, for once, a DCU animated adaptation doesn't feel shortchanged by the short runtime. Every villain is given ample time to steal the spotlight (even the Royal Flush gang, genuinely menacing for a change), the heroes share the stage without shoving each other aside, the battles are big and blazing, and the double-crossed Bruce Wayne's double-cross really unsettles the JLA, to the point they consider booting dear old Bats from their ranks. Moreover, the on-screen performances, courtesy of the movie's expressive animation, help sell the mystery, betrayal, outrage and indignation the JLA members feel as much as the vocal performances. Conroy leads an impressive cast of Justice League regulars, with Daly striking a balance between Clark Kent's humble roots and Superman's noble optimism, Fillion bringing gravitas to Hal Jordan's soul crushing loss, and Eisenberg, Rosenbaum, Lumbly following the Big Three's lead.
Doom isn't overcrowded or underwhelming, its climactic showdowns and age-old rivalries make perfect sense in the context of the story (no Darkseid vs. Batman here), and it works, regardless of whether you've ever heard of Vandal Savage or Mirror Master. Previous DCU animated movies have tossed in a candy-coated assortment of colorful baddies for the fun of it, but McDuffie put real thought into his lineups and Montgomery reaps the benefits. Yes, Ra's al Ghul, the chief villain in "Tower of Babel," is a more interesting character than Bane, Mirror Master and Vandal Savage combined. And yes, Waid's split-vote closer is better than McDuffie's more neatly packaged ending. But I'm not about to complain, especially when Mcduffie handles Cyborg with such a deft touch and when Savage's kill-half-of-the-human-population plot involves much higher stakes than Ra's al Ghul's mix-up-the-planet's-languages scheme. McDuffie and Montgomery make wise decisions, make smart changes and make good use of the time and classic characters afforded them. If future Justice League adaptations are this good, I just might start getting excited when JLA animated movies are announced. Doom stands alongside Green Lantern: First Flight, Batman: Under the Red Hood and All-Star Superman as my personal favorites. Here's hoping Superman vs. The Elites (based on Action Comics #775, one of the best Superman comics of all time) will be joining them soon...
Justice League: Doom Blu-ray, Video Quality
Here we go again. Another round of How Distracting Is It? Like almost every DC Universe Animated Original Movie, the Blu-ray edition of Justice League: Doom takes a few hits from the usual villains: intermittent artifacting, banding, aliasing and slight pixelation. The degree to which each one is a detriment is entirely subjective, though, and I've come to realize just how pointless it is to try to "rank" the severity of the issues among the various DCU BD releases. As far as Doom is concerned, I'll just say Warner's 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation isn't the worst of the bunch but it's definitely not among the most pristine. Darker scenes, underwater rescues, and large swatches of grays and blues are the most vulnerable, but rarely to the extent that it rendered the encode mediocre. Otherwise, there isn't any real cause for concern. Contrast isn't as bright and vibrant as it has been in the past, and the movie isn't as crisp as is typical, but both shortcomings appear to be rooted in the animation style itself (which relies on simulated diffusion) and the original source. Primaries still pack a decent punch (a few scenes are dazzling), black levels are inky, detail is solid, and there aren't many Blu-born hitches in the movie's fluid animation. Based solely on its visual impact, look for some to shrug their shoulders and use the word "average." It may trounce its DVD counterpart, but that honestly wouldn't take much. Based on its faithfulness to its animators' work and the likelihood that many of its issues are inherent to the source, Warner's high definition presentation is, at its worst, more than serviceable and, at its best, commendable.
Justice League: Doom Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Thankfully, audiophiles won't have to settle for anything less than exceptional. Justice League: Doom hurls missiles and cracks mountains with a super-powered DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track; one that showcases every devastating hit, crackling gadget, sonic boom, ricocheted bullet and energy blast Doom fires into the mix. Dialogue is consistently bright, clear and perfectly prioritized, even when explosions are rippling across the already immersive soundfield. Rear speaker activity isn't realistic per se, but it is engrossing, with precise directionality, slick pans, and plenty of bang for your lossless buck. Not to be outdone, the LFE channel answers the movie's call to arms, lending weight and power to each and every spine-splintering punch, collapsing mine, invisible jet engine, Martian dust-up, climactic showdown and planet-searing solar flare on tap. No, the soundfield isn't as full as what you'd get with a live-action superhero adaptation. It's still, by and large, a modestly budgeted animated production. But that shouldn't prevent anyone from soaking up everything Warner's DTS-HD monster has to offer. Pop some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy.
Justice League: Doom Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Justice League: Doom Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Like almost every DCU animated original movie, fans will debate where Justice League: Doom ranks among its brethren. For me, it stands alongside First Flight, Under the Red Hood and All-Star Superman. For some, it will stand alongside their particular favorites. For others, it will be tossed aside in favor of DCU movies that appeal to their sensibilities. That said, it doesn't get much better than this. From its not-quite-faithful but true-to-its-essence adaptation, powerfully paced storytelling, excellent voice performances, and thrilling super-charged face-offs, it delivers everything a JLA junkie could want. Warner's Blu-ray release is pretty good too, so long as you're willing to look past a few eyesores. Doom's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is almost impervious to criticism, but its video presentation suffers at the hands of several minor issues and its supplemental package could have used an extra JLA documentary or two. No matter. Justice League: Doom deserves a place in your league of superhero movies, flaws and all.
Justice League: Doom: Other Editions
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Justice League: Doom Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Justice League: Doom Blu-ray - December 13, 2011
Next year, Warner Home Entertainment and DC Universe will bring Justice League: Doom to Blu-ray. Inspired by comic book author Mark Waid's Tower of Babel storyline, this animated adventure watches as a crazed super-villain steals Batman's secret plan for defeating ...
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