Justice League: Gods and Monsters review

Bruce Timm has been the preeminent name in DC Animation since 1992 serving as the guiding force behind ‘Batman: The Animated Series,’ ‘Superman,’ ‘Batman Beyond’ and ‘Justice League.’ To say he’s one of the most important figures in various comic book mediums in the last 20 years is probably an understatement.

That’s why the box sticker for the latest DC Entertainment project, ‘Justice League: Gods and Monsters,’ simply says ‘All-New Original Movie from Bruce Timm.’ It’s essentially stating new DC masterpiece, come get it!

Justice League - Gods and Monsters - Wonder Woman leapingStill, Timm had been away from DC animated projects since 2007. And his proposal of an alternate Earth with darker versions of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman may have felt dated. It’s certainly not like DC isn’t determined to make all of its properties the grittiest, darkest mainstream possible.

But, fans of DC animated efforts can rejoice after a few lackluster efforts. ‘Gods and Monsters’ marks yet another outstanding Timm production and a superior entry in the DC Entertainment catalog right alongside ‘Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox,’ ‘Wonder Woman 2009 [Blu-ray],’ ‘Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths [Blu-ray]’ and ‘Batman: Under the Red Hood [Blu-ray].’

Justice League - Gods and Monsters - Superman closeupFree of the constraints from the regular DC continuity, Timm and screenwriter Alan Burnett explore an Elseworlds scenario completely different from the normal DC Trinity. Superman’s (Benjamin Bratt) Kryptonian father was not Jor-El, but General Zod and he was raised as Hernan Guerra. There’s a Batman flying around in this alternate world, but it’s Kirk Langstrom (Michael C. Hall) battling his vampire bloodlust. Likewise Bekka aka Wonder Woman (Tamara Taylor) is so drastically different she’s not even an Amazon.

The characterizations are fascinating. Superman rarely stands at ground level preferring to hover while speaking perhaps a show of his superiority after being raised by immigrants. Bekka has a dark past she’s struggling to overcome shown in one of the film’s standout scenes.

Justice League - Gods and Monsters - Batman researchBatman is clinging to his remaining ties to humanity with college friends Will Magnus (C. Thomas Howell) and Tina (Grey Griffin). Although they’re still working with U.S. officials it seems only a matter of time before this Justice League evolves into a fully above the law fascist group that rules the planet with fear and intimidation.

Whetting our appetite for the ‘Justice League: G & M’ prequel web series, the story kicks off with the trio already assembled and investigating a case of missing scientists. The mounting evidence strongly indicates the League is behind it, but the real culprit has a connection with the reclusive Lex Luthor (Jason Isaacs).

Justice League - Gods and Monsters - Wonder Woman sparringRetaining the visual design cues from other Timm projects, the film looks all-ages friendly, but ‘Gods and Monsters’ definitely warrants its PG-13 rating thanks to a number of explicitly violent battle scenes and foul language.

DC Animated films have been trending bloodier with each installment, but in this instance, it doesn’t come across as so needlessly gratuitous since the main characters aren’t trying to be heroes in the standard sense.

Justice League - Gods and Monsters - Lex and SupermanThe action sequences are well animated and Director Sam Liu (‘All-Star Superman’) keeps them moving without being too chaotic or endlessly going on to the point of repetition.

There are a number of Easter Eggs for longtime DC fans with hints to heroes like Steel, Dr. Light, The Atom I and II, The Metal Men and The New Gods. It certainly had me wanting to see more of this world’s take on other DC characters.

Beyond the latest Batman and new 52 version Justice League films, DC Entertainment rarely sticks to one continuity from one film to the next, but this realm of the DC Universe definitely warrants further exploration.

Justice League - Gods and Monsters - captive BatmanWe’re set for a new take on the Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman with ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,’ but all of a sudden they’ve got some serious competition for best reimagining thanks to Timm’s creative spin on the classics.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Get it on Blu-Ray from site partner Amazon.com: Justice League: Gods and Monsters (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet Combo Pack)
Get it on DVD: Justice League: Gods and Monsters (DVD)


16 thoughts on “Justice League: Gods and Monsters review”

  1. 10/10?? What a kiss ass. This movie was a piece of shit and I can guarantee you that no matter where the score ends up, this movie doesn’t deserve a 10/10. You’re either on Bruce Timm’s dick or DC/WB’s Payroll. You got no business being a professional critic.

      1. I thought it was poorly written, poorly animated and honestly, it devalues the characters in it. We got vampire batman, maybe next they can do Werewolf batman, right? They shouldn’t make a full film out of an elseworld story and if they want to do Dracula meet neo from the matrix, they can run that story, but they have no business giving the mexican son of zod superman’s name. It doesn’t make any sense.

        They obviously wrote this quick, pumped it out there to cash on the big names of the big three once again. They’re either running out of material they can use, their corporate system is too assed up to get anything done or they just don’t have the balls to explore other characters without the Superman safety net.

        I feel like this movie represents the decline of art in our time. At one point in time, this never would have been made, or at the least, they would have animated it better than the TV show that aired 20 years ago. It’s an embarrassment, it’s not art, it’s not deep and it’s not even cohesive with the main universe. It’s absolute garbage. A pathetic example of DC’s love of money over character integrity.

        One day people will stop caring about superman and batman and these movies that they keep coming out with that keep getting 5/10 on imdb. (this has a 7/10 now, will have a 5/10 in 6 months, I can guarantee it) Who is superman if he’s supposed to sometimes be a villain and he swears and breaks people’s necks? who can respect that? Not me. He sounds more like Lobo than Superman.

      2. also, sorry about being harsh the first time, superman gets me fired up. I got a bunch of tattoos and I’ve been a fan a long time, but in the last 10 years or so, I’ve been regretting. They’re just not the company they used to be. They just don’t give a shit. There used to be this boy scout like feeling of honor, pride and righteousness surrounding superman and batman and it’s all gone now. and they keep making these terrible films. It breaks my heart and it embarrasses me to be a fan of them.

      3. I was almost finished with a longer response to your last comment, but it seems to have vanished.

        Shorter reply on that one: I understand why you wouldn’t like it if you don’t care for the elseworlds concept and DC definitely should explore more characters than Batman and the Justice League. I’d love to see a Metal Men, Legion, Doom Patrol, Teen Titans, Justice League International movies.

        No worries. I’m passionate about these characters too so I understand how annoying it is seeing so many liberties taken with them.

        DC’s biggest issue is they keep chasing after Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen, which were largely so successful because they weren’t like everything else at the time. Now too many DC stories and characters are trying to recapture that lightning in the bottle and it doesn’t work.

        I tried to read the new 52 Superman and it just doesn’t sound like Superman at all to me. Superman really should be more of the ideal rather than symbolic of everyone else and somewhere over the last 15 years DC has lost sight of that.

        I’m dreading how the Fantastic 4 movie is going to turn out 😉

      4. I don’t mind the elseworld concepts, my favorite comic is an elseworld, called speeding bullets. It’s “what if superman’s rocket crashed in Gotham and he was adopted by the waynes”? in it , Superman becomes batman and it’s amazing. That being said, I wait for these movies to come out for MONTHS and when they finally drop, I pop them in and the last like four in a row have been terrible. The first one I ever saw was The Red Hood and it was amazing and it just has never been that good since.

      5. Have you read The Nail? That was another really good one.

        The wait for good ones has been rough. Pretty much all of the New 52 based ones have been spotty. What’d you think of Superman vs. The Elite?

  2. That one was good, superman vs. the elite and ironically, I just read the Nail yesterday, I still read comics and sometimes I forget some of the stories that are old, so I read through them again. I thought doomsday wasn’t bad, I think it’s called, the one where superman is dying, and then Public Enemies was really good, but I have the series for that one, so I was really anticipating the movie, and I thought they would continue animated known and popular storylines, but then they just ran off script and it was weird.

    The animation could have been better on all of them, they tried to animate Public Enemies like as good as the comic, but the finished product was lacking, idk why they do that, money? I would rather work very hard and put out something that was incredible then just push out a bunch of crap. If the animation is bad, then it really relies on the writing, and I just don’t get the new 52 or this movie. I think I would have liked this more if they named superman Zed and Called Batman Kurt or man-bat vampire or something, but they’re passing that off as superman and it’s not.

    It doesn’t even make sense to me how they would all arrive at the same names of the justice league members. And why is zod’s kid mexican. I don’t care about race, but Zod is not mexican, and I’ve never seen a Mexican Kryptonian. They have been all black haired males and blonde women, except ursa, I think she had black hair. It just makes me wonder why and the more obvious reasons point to marketing and I don’t like that. They should make the story cohesive and if it’s an elseworld, then at a certain point characters have to have other names, such as OwlMan and Ultra man from Earth three. They’re relatively well known and people know who they are because they name is different, it doesn’t devalue superman and batman by calling those “another version” of superman and batman.

    1. Under the Red Hood and Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths had some of the better animation.

      Superman wasn’t Mexican, but the people who raised him were and they named him and he carried their accent since that’s what he heard growing up. He was whatever race Kryptonians are.

      Have you checked out any of Grant Morrison’s Multiversity? He’s got all kinds of different takes on the regular DC universe from one where the heroes’ genders are swapped, an all robot world, hybrid heroes, etc. it’s a pretty interesting take on it.

  3. Wow a lot heat on this one in the comments lol. I cant give it a ten but it more of 7 to me. Yet it made me want more from this universe. Evil superman was kind of entertaining. I like him better than the regular version. I still laugh at even though its not bruce wayne the universe all rest on Batman. He was the source of the problems when you break it all down. Kirk was an interesting take on the character. Its more middle of the pack for me but it was less clunky than say WAR with decent voice acting. yet the speech volume seemed low and the music was real high. Overall no major complaints.

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