Director: Sam Liu
Cast: Benjamin Bratt, Michael C. Hall, Tamara Taylor (VOICES)
Release Date: Own it today on Blu-Ray Combo Pack, DVD & Digital HD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
Animation legend Bruce Timm returns to the popular DC Universe Original Movies with his unique new vision of a Justice League you’ve never seen before. “Justice League: Gods & Monsters” features a Superman born of General Zod’s blood, a Batman with a healthy dose of bat in the man, and a Wonder Woman rising from the ranks of the New Gods. This ain’t your daddy’s Justice League. They are as likely the world’s saviors as Earth’s despotic rulers. When a group of famed scientists experience untimely “accidents,” a government task force follows the trail of clues to the Justice League — and into a high stakes game of intrigue, mystery and action that asks the question: How do you serve justice to those above the law? The star-laden voice cast includes Michael C. Hall (Dexter) as Batman, Benjamin Bratt (Law & Order, 24) as Superman, Tamara Taylor (Bones), as Wonder Woman; Paget Brewster (Criminal Minds), as Lois Lane; C. Thomas Howell (E.T., Southland), as Dr. Will Magnus; Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter films, Dig) as Lex Luthor, Richard Chamberlain (Dr. Kildare, The Thorn Birds) as Highfather, and Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica) as Steve Trevor.
A vastly different Metropolis than the one we are most commonly familiar with exists in an alternate universe within the DC Comics world, where a darker and far more ruthless version of the Justice League exists, but these are not the heroic Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman everyone knows. Already questioned by many as a result of their excessive use of force and brutality with their power, when three of the world’s leading scientists appear to have been brutally murdered, the Justice League discovers that whoever actually killed them did so utilizing methods guaranteed to implicate the League. Now these dark heroes must discover who is truly behind the attacks and bring them to justice before they go down for the crimes themselves.
DC legend Bruce Timm returns with one of his most active production roles in quite some time, both serving as an executive producer in addition to co-writing the story which also (if I’m not mistaken) marks the first entirely original story for a DC Animated Universe film, all of the previous entries being based in some form or another on pre-existing material. The original story and darker yet relatable characters present in ‘Justice League: Gods and Monsters’ help make for an interesting and unique DC Animated Movie that fellow DC fans should quite enjoy. The film also includes voice talents from Benjamin Bratt, Michael C. Hall and Tamara Taylor portraying the voices of the new incarnations of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman respectively and all three do a pretty solid job.
‘Justice League: Gods and Monsters’ is a unique new take on the DC Animated Universe exploring an alternate version of Metropolis within another realm and the drastically different versions of the heroes we all know and love which reside there. Not only does this latest entry in the DC Animated world deliver a unique and original story with darker, interesting and oddly relatable versions of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman making for a pleasant switch up to the formula we have all become so accustomed to. It also serves as an incredibly fun 80 minute cameo fest for the fellow hardcore DC fans out there as we are treated to a barrage of guest appearances and cameos from numerous familiar DC characters (or at the very least their alter egos) including Mr. Freeze, the Atom and a whole lot more. Overall, ‘Justice League: Gods and Monsters’ is a fun, action packed and often surprisingly emotional as well as bloody ride that DC fans definitely won’t want to miss out. Being as it doesn’t relate with any other DC titles, the casual fans or viewers should have no trouble following this one either and it serves as a solid standalone entry in the universe.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Justice League: Gods and Monsters’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty great as a whole. The usual banding issues always present with these animated titles are noticeable on occasion in solid backgrounds and the like, but the video presentation looks outstanding in all other regards, delivering a rich, detailed and warmly colored presentation throughout, holding up even during the frequent action packed or darkly lit sequences, never causing anything occurring on screen to become indiscernible in the slightest. Overall, this high definition video presentation looks pretty great for the most part and should have most folks quite pleased.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds fantastic and once again is quite likely the most notable part of the release. It delivers a clean, discrete and highly aggressive presentation throughout, utilizing all five available channels regularly to surround the viewer with the films music in addition to numerous action oriented auditory elements consistently zooming past, while never resulting in any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become negatively affected or inaudible in any way. Overall, this is a very impressive and active 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that should definitely not disappoint.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Justice League: Gods and Monsters’ includes some nice extras. Included on the release is ‘A Sneak Peek at DC Universe’s Next Animated Movie: Batman: Bad Blood’ which runs just shy of 12 minutes in length and includes Director Jay Oliva and others discussing the movie along with footage from the film. We are also treated to a number of Behind the Scenes Featurette’s exploring different aspects of this radically different DC Animated Movie, and featuring interviews and comments with members of the creative team including Bruce Timm and many more. The included Featurette’s are: ‘Alternate Realities: Infinite Possibilities’ (running approximately 19 minutes in length), ‘Calculated Risks: The Making of Gods and Monsters’ (approximately 23 minutes) and ‘The New Gods’ (22 minutes). Lastly, we are treated to the regularly included bonus cartoons ‘From the DC Comics Vault’, this time including a total of 2 episodes; one from ‘Legion of Super Heroes’ and the other from ‘Superman: The Animated Series’.