Justice League: Gods and Monsters Blu-ray Review
Comic books have always been known for their ability to create spellbinding alternate universes or intriguing “what ifs” for many DC and Marvel staples. Whether they’re turning heroes into villains or plopping them into a real-life historical moment, it’s always interesting to see how the pre-conceived notions of what we’ve come to expect are turned on their head. Of course this method can be a rod of anger from fans or a point of criticism for viewers. JUSTICE LEAGUE: GODS AND MONSTERS takes a big risk and pulls it off.
The story of Superman and Batman are almost universally known in American pop-culture, so it’s quite the shock to see Superman as the son of Zod instead of Jor-El, and Batman, not as the billionaire eccentric Bruce Wayne, but as an offbeat doctor that becomes a haunting vampire. I’ll honestly admit that I don’t know much about Wonder Woman, but I know that it’s not Diana Prince. I won’t go too much into the background of the characters because in some regards, it’s a spoiler and in another regard, it’s part of the joy of watching the movie.
What JUSTICE LEAGUE: GODS AND MONSTERS does so well, is blend backstory with the trios current predicament. It does it in a very fluid manner to where we’re never confused and it’s a combination of an origin story and a stand-alone story for this backwards Justice League. The story involves the world governments questioning the authority and unaccountability of the group, especially after the mysterious death of scientists. Sprinkled into the deepening mystery are their origin stories, making for a consistently entertaining romp.
As I said before, Wonder Woman’s story kind of just flies over my head. As for Batman, he becomes a vampire through a cancer experiment. Instead of the no-kill policy of Bruce Wayne, this Batman drains the blood of his enemies so that he can continue being a creature of the night. Superman on the other hand, is not raised in Middle America by some well-to-do Kansas farmers; he’s raised by Mexican farmers on the border.
All three back stories give our heroes a disinterest in keeping a human’s life sacred above their own, but there’s an underlying tone of morality because of their upbringing. Superman has a passion for the less fortunate because of the rough life his parents lived. While he may be someone who’s very much interested in being considered a God amongst the mortals, he does also feel a burden of responsibility to keep them safe. It almost plays into a Biblical notion that in one hand, they’re ready to take a life, but in the other, they’re ready to help life bloom.
Matching this dark Justice League story is some very violent action scenes. There are a lot of violent killings and bloodletting, but never any scenes of outright gore, although it’s implied. At first it comes as a shock, but gradually it adds more and more to the fact that despite our heroes lack of empathy for human life, there are still far worse people in the world that need to be stopped by the Justice League. They obviously see the difference between casualties of war and cold blooded murder.
Because JUSTICE LEAGUE: GODS AND MONSTERS appears to be setting up future movies, it sometimes feels incomplete. The ultimate mad man behind the devious plot isn’t sinister or ultimately a match for our trio. As I mentioned earlier, the world powers are ready to declare war on the Justice League, and it’s a fascinating concept that they never really pick up and run with. But it is a notion that is constantly being touched upon by other comic book universes, so it’s understandable if they want to avoid a trope. If another JUSTICE LEAGUE is in the works, I’m ready to see their spin on The Flash, Green Lantern, and Aquaman.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 1:78:1) Most of the times in animated movies, it’s difficult for me to gauge presentation, but this blu-ray does a decent job at maintaining clarity.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) A perfect balance of punches, sound effects, and soundtrack. Nothing wrong with the mixing on this blu-ray.
A Sneak Peak at BATMAN: BAD BLOOD (11:45): A look at the next DC animated movie, a story revolving around Batman and his brood. Definitely looks interesting.
Alternate Realities: Infinite Possibilities (19:24): Producers, writers, and just all-around DC nerds, get together to discuss Elseworld stories and their importance in comic book history. A really interesting feature.
Calculated Risk: The Making of GODS AND MONSTERS (23:37): Producers and writers discuss the difficulty of putting this movie together. While there are the obvious hurdles to jump over when making a movie, they also discuss how much of a creative risk it is. Very interesting when they’re talking about the conception of the new superheroes.
The New Gods (22:13): A feature that focuses in on Jack Kirby. Comic book historians and other enthusiasts discuss his works and creations.
From the DC Comics Vault: An offering of two different episodes. Offers “Phantoms” from LEGION OF SUPER HEROES and “Brave New Metropolis from SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. Both decent selections from TV shows I never watched.