We received a copy of the DVD version of Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths a little while ago and it releases today in stores. Should you head to the store and buy this right now? Well, I am going to let you know.
At first glance, this film seems like another quick story to expand the animated DC Universe, yet something feels strangely familiar. We have the Justice League battling villains in order to save the world. Does that remind you of something? Perhaps, Justice League Unlimited. Well, when this film was announced, that is exactly what I thought it was. In the podcast that you will hear on Friday, I referred to the announcement seeming as if it was another Superman/Batman mishap. Everything seemed to line up as what we saw before. The story originated from Dwayne McDuffie, who wrote many episodes of Justice League Unlimited. All of the characters that were in the film we had seen in the show. So why would you think that this was any different than the many multi-part stories we saw in episodic form for the show? Well, let me tell you why.
The basic plot of the film is that the Justice League of our earth battles the Crime Syndicate from a parallel earth. In this parallel earth, things are different. Despite the Syndicate being an obvious group of villains, they are treated with a level of respect. The heroes on this "Earth" are led by Lex Luthor. Their "Justice League" has been taken out one by one by the Crime Syndicate. We even see The Jester (a parallel version of The Joker) give his life to try and stop the Crime Syndicate. Lex Luthor travels to our universe to enlist the help of the Justice League to help him take down the Syndicate. The Justice League travels to the alternate earth to take them out. Batman stays behind, as he believes that there are enough problems in their universe. Owlman (the parallel version of Batman) is pretty much the main villain. He has created a bomb that will take out not only the the earth of his universe, but destroy Earth Prime, hence eliminating all "Earths." Batman of course comes and faces Owlman head on leading to climatic ending.
Overall, this film was a surprise to me. As I said, because it was first announced as a series of episodes that McDuffie wrote for Justice League Unlimited, I was concerned that it would have a feel of episodes put together as a film. But, it did not have that feel at all. The pace was very quick. It did not feel at any point that there was meant to be a break between acts. It had a more mature feel with the obvious violence. It wasn't overdone. We got more than we would have if this had ever aired on Cartoon Network. I applaud McDuffie for this. He took what was supposed to be a cartoon and made it a film.
On the Batman front, William Baldwin did a decent job at voicing Batman. It isn't the best job, but it fit with the feel of the film. Batman did take a back seat to the first half of the film. Although we see that while he wasn't around, he had a recruitment drive to have more heroes join the league. That kind of seemed out of place. Then again we have seen stranger things in the DC animated films. Batman not only saves the day in the end, but also proves to be smarter than most of the Justice League within the final scene with the Crime Syndicate.
For the special features, there were some interesting ones. The main feature was a piece about the various "crisises" that have happened in the DC Universe. They did a very good job getting many of the main creators that were involved in everything from Identity Crisis to Final Crisis. There was also a preview of the next DCAU film, which we know will be Batman: Under the Red Hood. There wasn't any footage from the film, but we did see the voice cast as well as some storyboards.
Also in this release, was the first DC Showcase film. It featured The Spectre. A good story that laid out his origin and told an interesting story in a very short amount of time. This was maybe even better than the main film. I look forward to more of these.
Overall, the film was good. I would not place it in the top three of DCAU films, but it was definitely better than I expected. One thing that many do not know is that the film will be released at Best Buy with an exclusive Owlman figure. This will be in limited quantities and only be with the Blu-ray and 2-disc DVD version. So you may want to get that right away and not wait until the end of the week to pick it up. I think if you are questioning it, rent it on iTunes or at your local video store. You will see that the film is worth adding to your collection of DC films.
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths:
Reviewed by Dustin