Film Review: Justice League Doom
Doom has two major strengths, where the mass of its quality comes from: The cast and the story. The voice actors that star as the members of the League are people who can do this in their sleep, but they always deliver. They’re the same actors voiced the Justice League cartoon many will be familiar with. Kevin Conroy is for many the definitive Batman voice, he played the character in The Animated Series from the 90s and appeared in most of the animated films up to this point, as well as the fantastic and successful Batman Arkham games. In his hands the dialog always comes off as completely convincing, his delivery is perfect. Tim Daly is Superman, there the story is practically the same as with Conroy. Just great.
Michael Rosenbaum, best known as Lex Luthor from Smallville, returns as The Flash (a different version of the character though). He nails it. He’s quick and funny and sounds just like a man who moves faster than anyone else. Nathan Fillion plays Green Lantern, something he’s done on occasion (and should’ve done live action last year). He, of course, is his usual dashing and charming self. Interestingly, he also gets some emotionally intense moments, which he handles well. Those are very much the highlights.
Most of the rest of the cast; Susan Eisenberg (Wonder Woman), Carl Lumbly (Martian Manhunter), Claudia Black (Cheetah), Alexis Denisof (Mirror Master) and Phil Morris (Vandal Savage), are good but some of the deck of cards henchmen and Bumper Robinson (as Cyborg, a new member of the League) aren’t nearly to their level.
The story is fantastic, based on The Tower of Babel from JLA. In short: Batman, being the totalitarian he is, has secretly devised tailored plans to take out each member of the Justice League should they ever go rogue. Carefully observing them, he has methods that prey on their physical and psychological strengths and weaknesses. Trouble however ensues when a brilliant villain, with the contracted help of villains who each have a personal vendetta with a member of the League, steals the plans, turns them deadly and puts them into effect.
This is the best part of the film, seeing the members taken out. Many of the methods are also quite dark and disturbing. From there though it falters a bit, becoming a regular slugfest and a race to save the world. It’s not bad by any means but it does feel a bit standard. Thankfully the dialog throughout is good in the hands of the previously mentioned voice cast. However, the film is very brief (just over an hour) and as such lacks any characterization of side characters and includes very little of it for most of the heroes and villains. It leans heavily on your familiarity with the property.
The animation is good, nothing spectacular but not terrible either. It’s a made-for-DVD film and as such looks like one. The art is good, with only Superman’s a-bit-too-young looking face detracting from the overall package. In truth this serves to re-enforce how great it would be to see these characters on the big screen. Be it as a team or as individuals, these characters deserve to have their stories told right. Some already have, but some absolutely have not.
Final Verdict: A short, fun ride. But one much better suited for fans as it does little to introduce newcomers to the mythos. Still, it’s very much a worth while experience, especially considering the great story and voice acting.