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JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS, 2010
Directed by Lauren Montgomery, Sam Liu
Voices: Mark Harmon, Alyssa Milano, William Baldwin, James Woods, Chris Noth, Gina Torres, Gary Cole,
Review by Evan McCaffrey
When an alternate universe of evil superheroes threatens to destroy their world, The Justice League must team up with Lex Luthor in order to save the day.
For the past few years, DC Comics and Warner Brothers have combined forces to deliver a slew of direct-to-video comic book adaptations to the market. It is a series of films that deals with the source material faithfully, and respects its viewing audience. These are not a watered down kids film. Each one is filled with level of emotion and intensity one would expect from the source material. “Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths” is no exception.
Often, when lesser-known entities of the comic book world are given feature film franchise, they are treated with less respect than they deserve, (i.e. ‘Daredevil’, ‘Ghost Rider’ to name a few.) The companies will take the name of the franchise, throw on a director who does not have the vision to fully realize these films, and then attach a star with little or no regard to how he fits in with the actual character. Fortunately, this film does not fall into that category. Though it is animated movie, it still contains everything you could want out of a Justice League film
As the movie begins, Lex Luthor and the Jester, an alternate universe Joker, have stolen a device of immense power. However, in doing so, they trip the alarms, and are quickly set upon by a mysterious and powerful force. It becomes quite clear at this point that this is not the Joker and Luthor we have grown to hate. In order to save his friend, the “Jester” sacrifices himself in order to give Luthor a head start, (something the Joker would never do.) Luthor’s head start is brief, and in moments, he is quickly surrounded by what appears to be a group of superheroes. Knowing he has no choice, he flicks on the device, and in a flash of light, he vanishes.
The story quickly shifts to our universe, where Luthor suddenly appears. Turning himself in to the Justice League, he convinces them he is not the Luthor this world despises so well, but from an alternate dimension where he is good and they are bad. On his planet, alternate versions of the Justice League have gone rogue and are creating a bomb that, if ignited, will destroy the entire planet. With little hesitation (the movies one quick and forgivable fault), the Justice League takes up Luthor’s cause, and joins forces to save his world from utter annihilation.
This is a fun movie. It provides roughly 78 minutes of solid entertainment. It never gets bogged down with too much exposition. It understands the audience watching this film, and it knows you already have an idea who most of the main characters are. Only once does it revert to a flashback, and that flashback is done in a way in which does not hinder the main story, but fleshes out one of the only characters I was slightly confused about. That is a testament to the writing abilities of the screenwriters. They know we have a solid foundation on most of the main characters. No one watching this film is going to be clueless about the motivations of either Superman or Batman. And most people have some sort of understanding of the Green Lantern, The Flash and Wonderwoman. It is this one character, J’onn J’onzz (The Martian Manhunter), that people will be confused about. Since the writers know this, he is the only character given a, if small, fleshed out backstory. I truly appreciate the respect and admiration these films have for their audience.
Now, as a story, does the film work. Yes. Absolutely. You will not go into this movie expecting the caliber of Christopher Nolan, but you will still get something immensely enjoyable out of this viewing. Not only is the story interesting, it is incredibly fun to watch. It is also very intense. People die, and, towards the end, the movie takes a dark turn reminiscent of “Watchmen.” It is a short movie, but one that delivers on all levels it intends to.
Studios take note; this is how you make a superhero movie. You do not need to always make an origin story. This is a movie that respects the audience and takes risks with its story. It knows what the fan base wants to see, and it delivers on all fronts. I can’t wait for the day that some company decides to stop playing the safe route, and to make comic films that deal with some of the more extreme stories in their universe. Until then, this movie more then satisfies that desire.