WARNING: REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Justice League: Doom is the latest offering from DC Animation. Coming on the heels of last year’s Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the film is based on the “Tower of Babel” storyline by Mark Waid. As with the source material, the film deals with what happens when Batman’s contingency plans for dealing with potential rogue Justice Leaguers are stolen and implemented by a criminal mastermind. For this role, the film swaps out Ra’s Al Ghul from the comic book version and utilizes the lesser known Vandal Savage, who has a larger following among fans of the Justice League animated series.
Each hero squares off against a foe from their own rogues gallery, each villain armed with Batman’s plan for incapacitating their adversary. The schemes are creative, utilizing a mixture of characters’ psychological and physical weaknesses and are employed to great effect.
The cast is unsurprisingly stellar, with Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Susan Eisenberg, and Michael Rosenbaum reprising their roles as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Flash, respectively. The cast is rounded out with the addition of Nathan Fillion as Hal Jordan. Conroy and Daly are old hands at this point, bringing the same solid characterization to the World’s Finest that fans have come to expect over almost two decades of voice work. Susan Eisenberg doesn’t get a ton of work, but what there is continues to bolster a solid portfolio of work on the Amazon princess. I do have a small issue with the inclusion of Michael Rosenbaum as the Flash, only because DC decided to have Barry Allen under the mask for this film, and Rosenbaum has voiced Wally West for the better part of the last ten years. A small nitpick to be sure but it was a little jarring when it was revealed to be Barry and not Wally.
Fillion’s work is the most remarkable of the voice actors and will probably have fans clamoring for him to replace Ryan Reynolds in the live-action GL franchise. Having now heard three distinctly different actors’ interpretations of the character (Fillion, Reynolds, and David Boreanaz,) Fillion’s work seems to stand out as the most solid.
Structurally, the film moves very well. There is very little wasted time, with the heroes being thrust from one deathtrap to another. If the story has a weakness, it is that the passage of time between different heroes’ challenges does not seem to line up, with some appearing to take hours, while others happen in the course of mere minutes. As these scenes are intercut with one another the resulting blend can, at times, be hard to follow. Overall, the back and forth does lend itself to the frenetic pace of the plot.
The finale is well worth the wait, with the heroes having to not only defeat their opposite numbers, but contend against an oncoming solar flare as a result of Savage’s plot. The means by which they defeat it is interesting if implausible and seems somewhat underplayed.
The best “meat” comes in the final meeting between the League members and Batman, where he attempts to explain his actions by stating, “If you people can’t see the dangers of an out-of-control Justice League, then I don’t need to wait for a vote. I don’t belong here.” This will hopefully set up another film down the road, must as “Tower of Babel” set up Identity Crisis and subsequent events in the comics.
All in all, Justice League: Doom is worth a watch as an enjoyable addition to the ever-expanding DC Animated Universe.