Batman plans for everything and Justice League: Doom shows how that’s not always the best thing.
In 2012 Warner Brothers and DC continued their line of successful “straight to video” with a sequel to Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. This time the Justice League would face an unforeseen threat as Vandal Savage (Phil Morris) assembled a Legion of Doom to take them out one by one. The key to his plans, a dossier stolen from the Batcomputer containing plans to incapacitate each member of the Justice League. Justice League: Doom, a loose adaptation of the comic book storyline JLA: Tower of Babel, is a treat for casual fans or for die hard DC comics fans with plenty of wonderful easter eggs, a compelling story, and an impeccable voice cast.
The film reunites many of the “Animated Series” and Justice League casts, with Kevin Conroy as Batman, Tim Daly as Superman, Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman, Carl Lumbly as Martian Manhunter, and Michael Rosenbaum as Flash. Nathan Fillion also joins the team as the Hal Jordan Green Lantern. Seeing or hearing this cast together again is always a treat for fans of the original animated series that made these characters a staple of cartoon entertainment in the 90’s and early 2000’s.
Overall the film follows a solid plot and offers up some great moments for each member of the team. Where Crisis on 2 Earths seemed to focus more on the overall plot and the team as a whole unit, Doom spends more time working with each member of the league and in doing so creates better characterizations of each hero. It also helps that the ways in which each member of the League is brought down is both physical and psychological, giving the audience more insight into who these characters are deep down as they’re torn apart at the seams.
The biggest threat and the question posed by the threat, is whether Batman’s dossier is necessary. It’s an intriguing commentary on the idea of power, and how we deal with absolute power. It’s easy to look at our heroes and those with great amounts of power as untouchable beacons of good. But if someone with immeasurable power were to decide to turn to “the dark side,” there should be ways of keeping that power in check. Batman realizes this and his plans, while adjusted by Savage to kill the League, are necessary to help incapacitate these god like beings should they go down the wrong path.
In a way the story here is something that is even more important 7 years later. We now live in a world where we see absolute power and unbridled greed destroying countries and the planet itself, with little action being taken to reverse course. This story is a testament to the storytelling ability inherent in superheroes. These heroes can be used to represent greater ideas than just costumed crime-fighters battling thugs robbing a bank. They can be mythic tales that stand the test of time. Doom is not just a great Justice League film, it’s a great superhero story, and a testament to the great abilities in this genre.
Justice League: Doom is currently available on Blu-Ray, DVD, Digital Download.