Last week, I reviewed the back up animated short that accompanies Warner Home Video’s Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.  I lauded The Spectre, so how does the main feature hold up?

JusticeLeague_CrisisOn2Eart.jpgJustice League: Crisis on Two Earths
Starring: William Baldwin, Mark Harmon, Chris NOth, Gina Torres, James Woods
Producers: Bobbie Page, Bruce Timm
Voice Director: Andrea Romano
Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Director: Sam Liu and Lauren Montgomery

Lex Luthor has traveled from an alternate dimension seeking help from this world’s Justice League to put an end to the Crime Syndicate.  If you aren’t familiar with the Crime Syndicate, think evil versions of the Justice League with a mob structure in place to make it all work.  In the world of the Crime Syndicate, the government and the people are aware that the Syndicate exists, but try to ignore it as much as possible.  President Slade Wilson doesn’t want trouble, but his daughter Rose is being targeted for speaking out against the members of the Syndicate and rallying to bring the criminals in.  It’s quite different from what we’ve seen in the comic books where the Syndicate actually rules, but it works well, and I like this take on the alternate Earth.
Luthor has managed to escape to the Justice League world thanks to his dimensional transporter, but before he made his escape, he managed to lift a power supply that would power Owlman’s ultimate bomb – The Q.E.D. that promises to destroy the entire planet if the governments of the world don’t bow down and declare the Crime Syndicate their rulers.

During the run of the Justice League television series, fighting and punching their way to justice always seemed as the last resort for the heroes, so it was a bit surprising to see Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, and Martian Manhunter instantly want to take the fight home.  And if it is a fight you’re wanting, it’s a fight you are going to get in this movie as more than half of the DVD is filled with the fighty-fighty, punchy-punchy, and lots and lots of collateral damage.
Where’s Batman in all of this?  He wants to sit the fight out so he can work on the new Watch Tower, but does get brought into the fight at the end of the movie and does an excellent job in putting an end to the violence.  And if you are familiar with the Major Spoilers Bat-Dick Meter, Batman cranks it up to 11 at the end of the feature.  I won’t spoil it here, but when you get to that moment, you’ll utter a, “Daaaaammn, Batman, you’re one cruel S.O.B.!”

And if you think Batman is a dark brooding character, he’s got nothing on Owlman.  Once he learns of Luthor’s device, he begins to search for Earth Prime.  He reasons that if he detonates the QED bomb there it will not only destroy that planet, but all of existence at the same time.  Who better to play a character that is whacky in the wikky woo than James Woods who brings creepy cartoon characters to an all time high with his acting chops.  Woods has played the heavy before in movies like Hercules, but in Justice League he raises the bar on creepy characters.

I’ve seen other reviewers complain about the voice acting, but on the whole I really enjoyed everyone’s voice acting. Granted, I miss the original voices, but I thought everyone was able to deliver characters that are much older than we’ve seen before.

The one side story that really came out of nowhere was the romance between Rose Wilson and the Martian Manhunter.  Believe it or not, one could argue that this film is a love story surrounded by a bunch of action.  It’s touching, and makes the Martian Manhunter that much more human in the eyes of the viewer as they realize he has the capacity to love one another.  It’s just too bad there wasn’t a happy ending between the two.

On the animation side, I was dumbfounded.  We’ve all seen good fight scenes play out on the small screen, and in animated feature films, but the animation work in this movie is incredible.  Instead of simple punches and moves, every follow through movement is animated as the characters both good and bad battle it out on screen.  The fight scenes are incredibly well done as the animators are able to bring weight and life to the characters.  Whether is it Batman pulling a Riley, or Superman and Superwoman exchanging mighty blows, I could watch the fight scenes in this movie again and again and still notice subtle movements I had not noticed before.

One really needs to pay attention to every fame of this movie in order to catch all the references and special moments scattered throughout the 75-minute run.  Whether it’s the alternate universe Joker and Marvel family, to seeing all your favorite DC characters as villains there’s even more to be gleaned with subsequent viewings.  The animation works really well, and the fast paced slam-bang nature of the movie should keep everyone engrossed for 75 minutes.  This was a good outing by Warner Home Video in adding yet another animated feature based on the DC Universe.  Even with all the violence – and there is a lot of it, I’ve got nothing but positive thoughts about the film. It’s well worth the time and money, and if you want a peek at the next DC animated movie, this DVD gives you that look, too.


Rating: ★★★☆☆


Rating: ★★★★★


Rating: ★★★★☆


Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Disclaimer: This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by Warner Home Video.


About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. I was a bit disappointed because it lacked the idea that the JLA couldn’t beat the CSA on the CSA’s Earth – that was what made the Syndicate stand out to me, made them something more than villains dressed up like the heroes.

  2. I didn’t particularly enjoy Johnny Quick as an I Lahv Lahndan Tahn Britisher. He was far more interesting in the original comic, as a ‘speed juice’ junkie.

  3. And, of course, the J’onn/Rose thing was completely ripped from the Doctor/Rose thing in the second series of Doctor Who…which was itself ripped off the conclusion to the far superior His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman.

  4. I’ll have to check this out. I’m not much of a ‘DC’ and have not read the source material, but I’ve been trying to get into the fold and this review makes me want to give it a chance.

    Then again, maybe the orginal books would be the place to start. What say ye?

    • Yeah, definitely check out Morrison’s “JLA: Earth 2”, which it’s based on. I read it when I was 15, and understood it perfectly based on my knowledge of the ‘Big 7’ JLA lineup, without needing to know that it was based on an older classic story.

      Plus, it’s a far more philosophical, moral story than the animation as it’s aimed at a more general audience – the Anti-GL as written by Morrison creates constructs based on heavy metal album covers as an opposite to Kyle Rayner’s simple artistic flourishes, the Jimmy Olsen is a pathetic, pervy publisher of the Daily Bugle, and most historical events happened in the opposite way – such as England seceding from the Amerikan union.

  5. Those fight scenes were really well done — great editing — much better than most action movies, where it’s really hard to tell who’s doing what to whom. And it felt like each fight sequence would have taken up easily one whole comic book.

    Rose and J’onn — I was actually hoping he would stay. Why could he not protect Rose’s earth — there are no more heroes and they could use the help. Diana was right — it was stupid of him to return to our earth.

    I agree with Bats earning an 11 on the meter for his actions, but I didn’t understand why Supes said “they were both right.” How was Bruce right? Because they lacked manpower? Otherwise, it seems Supes and the gang were right (besides, even with just six, they did a pretty good job of taking down a whole mess of 2nd tier heroes).

  6. Owlman’s last line was epic. It was one of those perfect lines at the perfect moment that comes around only once in a blue moon in movies.

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