Movies / Comics Movie Reviews

Justice Society: World War II


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By Hervé St-Louis
June 15, 2021 - 00:17

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Justice Society: World War II is the story of the Barry Allen the Flash, travelling to the past accidentally and helping the heroes of a previous generation defeat the Nazis in Europe and across the world. There, Barry Allen meets the original Flash, Jay Garrick, Wonder Woman, Hawkman an, Black Canary, and Hourman. Together, with the help of Steve Trevor, they attempt to foil an invasion of America by Nazi allies. Will they succeed?

There haven't been a lot of Justice Society stories adapted to cartoons besides did Justice Guild story from the Justice League cartoon in the early 2000s. While the Justice Society character have appeared in other stories such as Justice League unlimited in Young Justice there are very few dedicated stories. The justice Guild story from the Justice League cartoon did not use the original characters because they were going to be portrayed as a bit of a joke compared to the original characters. I was very happy to see that DC comic was trying to put the Justice Society on the screen once and for all they have explored many of their properties in the past, but they haven't dealt much with the Justice Society in details. We see them in passing but we never quite see a lot of them in their heydays in the 1940s.

There are many classic themes to the Justice Society and of course the war against the Nazis would be one of them. However, this cartoon movie did not feature many characters that usually oppose the Justice Society if any. The only character was the advisor whom we learn much later was supposed to be the Psycho Pirate. The choice of character was a bit odd. Of course, most Justice Society stories will always feature the Flash and if they want to be if they want to stay consistent with the original comics Hawkman should have been featured in every story. This was the case here however there were no Green Lantern Alan Scott in the story which is a bit different when you try to cast a Justice Society story. Instead, they chose to feature Wonder Woman as the main he rode the strongest one of them all.

The other strong guy here for once was not the Atom but Hourman. His portrayal in the movie was the weakest in the sense that we barely got to know about him. All we have been exposed to is that he takes a pill and for an hour gets a few powers and is very smart. The miracle pill which in the comics also was addictive was barely mentioned in the story itself.

One of the major drawbacks of this story was that they were trying to do too much in one movie. We got the second half or the second and the third act of the movie featuring Aquaman and Atlantis. That in itself was an error as the golden age Aquaman even though this was yellow glove a version in the movie with the yellow gloves was not from Atlantis. He was not a king. He was a loner who could breathe underwater. Does part of that movie appeared that he was trying to recreate the Aquaman movie from 2018.

The same attempt to recreate other stories that we've seen in cartoons films and comics also played other parts of this movie. For example, much of the portrayal of Wonder Woman on the battlefield against the Germans even when she jumped in the building was a direct reinterpretation of the classic scene in the first Wonder Woman movie. When she was marching on the battlefield avoiding rockets, she was doing the exact same thing from the 2017 movie. In some parts she was even mimicking Captain America with how she uses her shield bouncing it back and forth against opponents until it comes back to her. This is not how wonder woman's shield works.

Another problem with the movie was the two Flashes Jay Garrick and Barry Allen. With two Flashes one of them had to take a backseat. In this case it was Jay Garrick form. For a movie called the Justice Society it would be fun to see the original Flash featured more and given a prominent role than the guest star from the future. Finally, Hourman was used very minimally in the movie and given a weird story where he and Black Canary seemed to have a relationship that was almost mimicking their existing relationship the character has with her, even calling her pretty bird at one point in the film. This is pretty odd and it's weird way of using the classic Green Arrow moniker for Black Canary giving that to Hawkman and trying to pass off Black Canary as some kind of ersatz Hawkgirl. The only time I've seen such a weird use of Hawkgirl and Black Canary as one character wasn't there Squadron Supreme from Marvel which combined the two characters into one (Lady Lark).

Speaking of Black Canary, she was given some very nice fighting scenes. Her portrayal was much better than that of the black siren character that we saw in the justice Guild society the Justice Guild team from the Justice League cartoon from the early 2000s. It's also odd that they use the original Black Canary and gave her, her daughter's powers. I will add that the use of equipment here just to go back to that topic was probably a mistake and that the movie should have focused on other Justice Society characters and not Aquaman who was never really associated with that team in the comics. He was only briefly seen in a few scenes in All-Star Squadron from the 1980s but no more. In essence, the lineup was very close to what we know of the modern Justice League.

How women would have been the exception and the most Justice Society-centric based character from that movie. Aquaman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Hawkmen or all Justice League characters in one point or another in the comics and the movies. For a World War Two movie there was very little World War Two past the first act with the Nazis and the second one in the castle in fact the scene in the castle was useless in very rushed. It was disappointing to watch this movie considering that it is also being used as a foundation from the new universe that is being built by the Warner Animation team in the future years.

There is a new continuity being developed following the James Tucker years at Warner Animation and the Bruce Timms work done earlier. The characters design seems like in update with thicker lines of Phil Bourassa's design. However, the characters look nicer and their animation while a bit more still eyes were still very fluid. I do prefer this design because a long nose is that Phil Bourassa is known for. It appears that with Superman Man of Tomorrow and the Justice Society movie we are answering the third phase or maybe the fourth phase of Warner animation's interpretation of the DC comics characters in cartoons first we had the generation with Bruce Timms then we had a few cartoons which were a bit random and not exactly part of any continuity for a few years before we finally got a couple of movies under James Tucker which were part of the new 52 reboot.

If you bought the Blu-Ray set, you will find a lot to like in the set first there was a commentary part on the making of the movie which I believe the creators tried to use to mask the problems with the story. But then there are extras like a short movie on Kamandi the Last Boy on Earth. By the way, he does appear in the movie, but his appearance is not explained. unless you watch a little bit of the original showcase movie where he is featured you may not understand what is present was four in the actual movie itself. There were a lot of previews some of which I did not understand as they were far older films from the James Tucker years.

One good feature which Warner Animation does very often is to use older films older cartoons from its archives and put them as extras on the Blu-Ray. In this case obviously they use the Justice Guild stories from the original Justice League cartoon. The contrast between that story and the Justice Society movie was odd. The Justice League story which was two parts was very good very simple a bit corny but on purpose. The Justice Society movie had a lot of action which is very good but a very thin story and not much sense overall. It attempted to redo a lot of elements from past movies cartoons and comics but that did not work. None of that was the Justice Society it was all taken from other films Captain America, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and so on.

What is the Justice Society it appears at DC Comics and Warner Animation do not know anymore what is the Justice Society? Was this an attempt to protect the brand name the copyright and the trademark of the Justice Society by DC and Warner Animation? I had a genuine desire to have a very good story about the Justice Society in print in cartoon. If this had been your first exposure to the Justice Society, I would excuse you if you felt that you were not interested in them. For me, the highlight of this set was the included PVC Flash figurine I should say in the set. It is a nice figure.

I am not sure what to say about this movie in terms of recommendation it is not a great movie at all, but it does feature characters that I care about or not. It does not do anything like the first crisis story from the Justice League cartoon where they met the Justice League comic where they met the Justice Society characters or from the Flash of Two Worlds from the Flash comics from the 1960s. The one thing that would have saved this movie would have been a scene where both Flash rush to save a man from falling rubble. Now this would have proven to me that the team working on this cartoon understood what the Justice Society was about. It would have proven to me that they understood why having two Flashes in the same story makes it an incredible story. But we could see none of that in this movie they do not understand what the Justice Society means what its potential is. I would still recommend this movie if you like well-animated action scenes.

Rating: 6.5 /10


Last Updated: June 28, 2021 - 09:08

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