Starring: Stana Katic, Matt Bomer, Omid Abtahi, Darren Criss, Chris Diamantopoulos, Matthew Mercer, Liam McIntyre, Elysia Roturu, Armen Taylor
Written By: Jeremy Adams, Meghan Fitzmartin
Directed By: Jeff Wamester
Studio: Warner Bros. Animation
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of this 4K/Blu-ray set that I reviewed in this post. The opinions I share are my own.
While on vacation in Metropolis, Barry Allen AKA the Flash has an impromptu team-up with Superman to fend off Brainiac. In order to save the Man of Steel from a kryptonite bullet, the Flash taps into the Speed Force for the first time and is transported into an era of superheroes fighting Nazis during World War II.
“Justice Society: World War II” is the next installment in the new DC animated universe and seemingly a direct sequel to “Superman: Man of Tomorrow”. Guided by a mysterious voice, Barry Allen ends up meeting an unfamiliar team of super soldiers who have joined forces with the Allies to fight back Hitler’s regime. Among this group is another hero, Jay Garrick who calls himself the Flash so Barry is dubbed “Future Boy”. This team goes by the name of the Justice Society and includes Wonder Woman, Hourman, the Flash, Black Canary and Hawkman. They are guided by a war correspondent codenamed “Shakespeare” as well as their military liaison Steve Trevor. Their journey takes them around the globe…from the battlefields of Europe to the streets of New York City as well as a deep sea destination that was completely uncharted…the depths of Atlantis.
The animation style is very similar to that in “Superman: Man of Tomorrow” with the characters having a more American comic book style but with a vintage vibe. There are quite a few amazing cinematic sequences and the fight scenes are spectacular and are well choreographed and painstakingly animated. As with most of the DC animated films, the voice cast is spectacular. Stana Katic mimics Gal Gadot’s accent with her own spin, Darren Criss reprises his role as Superman, Matthew Mercer continues to add to his resume with somewhat of a junkie spin on Hourman and Matt Bomer, who plays Larry Trainor/Negative Man in the live-action “Doom Patrol” series, gets a spin at Barry Allen and does a wonderful job of portraying a somewhat hyper but mostly in-awe version of the Scarlet Speedster.
For the most part, the flow of “Justice Society” World War II” is easy to follow even with the film taking on many faces…it’s one part war movie, one part monster movie and one part classic sci-fi fantasy. There were a few gaps in the story or details that just weren’t fleshed out and didn’t quite make sense. Barry finds out that he actually isn’t in the past on his world but instead has traveled to an alternate Earth. He discovers this when the Justice Society discovers that Shakespeare is in fact Clark Kent but this version of Clark Kent is doesn’t want to fight but does his part by helping out behind the scenes. He grew up in an orphanage after the Kent’s died when he was only three years old.
There is a mysterious child in one of the prison cells that gives Clark a bag with the Superman suit in it and utters a mysterious line about someone giving that to him and that he would know what to do with it. Dr. Fate is also rescued by the Justice Society after being tortured and abused by the Nazis in order to tap into his powers. It’s revealed that he was the voice that guided Barry to Earth 2 so maybe he was involved in helping the child get to Clark. This release also has DC Showcase Short featuring Kamandi where he survives a challenge trial and it is revealed that Superman is worshipped as a god and Kamandi goes on a mission alone in order to find him. Could the child be Kamandi? Or is he just a plot device to introduce Earth 2 Superman? It’s somewhat confusing considering all of the news regarding a new continuous DC animated universe spinning off from “Superman: Man of Tomorrow” stated that it wasn’t happening. Were they just blowing smoke at the fans much like Marvel does with the MCU? It seems that setting up an entire movie with the payoff of the Flash helping Superman form the Justice League at the end would be a complete waste if there weren’t more to come.
Confusing plot holes aside, “Justice Society: World War II” is a great addition to the DC animated universe whether it’s the next chapter in a new continuous universe, a setup for more Earth 2 animated films, the beginning of DC animated universe 2.0 or just a standalone movie featuring the Justice Society. Whatever the case, I’m excited to see what comes next in the original movie series.
• Adventures in Storytelling: Justice Society: World War II
• A Sneak Peek at DC Universe’s Next Animated Movie: “Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One”
• From the DC Comics Vault – 2 Bonus Cartoons
• DC Showcase Short: “Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth!”
4K UHD Feature: DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital: Español, English SDH and French Subtitles
Blu-Ray Feature: DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital: French & Español, English SDH, French & Española Subtitles
4K UHD Feature: 2160p Ultra High Definition 16×9 1.78:1
Blu-ray Feature: 1080p High Definition 16×9 1.78:1
Bottom Line: An interesting take on the Justice Society story and a movie that could set up so many different sequels in the multiverse. Also, the Kamandi short done completely Jack Kirby style was stunning. I could watch an entire Kamandi animated series like that.
Running Time: 84 Mins