G3 Review: Justice League-Crisis On Two Earths

Rating: PG-13
Directors: Lauren Montgomery, Sam Liu
Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Starring: William Baldwin, Mark Harmon, Chris Noth, Gina Torres and James Woods

There’s an interesting premise at the core of the new DC animated movie “Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths:” Every choice we make results in an alternate reality, creating endless variations of ourselves that range from virtually identical to unrecognizable. “Crisis” isn’t nearly as complex a film as that idea suggests, but fortunately, seeing Justice League members take on their evil doubles never gets old.

Thanks to a (mostly) strong vocal cast and some wicked action scenes, “Crisis on Two Earths” is a perfectly respectable addition to DC’s recent lineup of direct-to-DVD films. (Spoilers ahead!) Seeking to defeat the mafia-like Crime Syndicate, Earth-2’s benevolent Lex Luthor — voiced by Chris Noth, who will always be Mr. Big to us — travels across dimensions to get the Justice League’s help. As usual, everyone’s in except Batman, who is inexplicably voiced by Billy Baldwin. Was Alec not available?

Aided by their stable of “made men,” the Crime Syndicate rules with an iron fist that has cowed even the U.S. President of Earth-2: Deathstroke! OK, he’s “President Slade Wilson” here, but it’s a hoot to see him re-imagined as the ultimate public servant. Superman’s Earth-2 counterpart, Ultraman, is a meathead who appears to be fond of guyliner, and Power Ring (evil Green Lantern) comes across as a young Paulie Walnuts in Spandex. In a nice twist on our BatWondy fantasy, Superwoman is coupled with none other than Owlman, whose dick-ish lines are delivered with expert menace by James Woods. When Superwoman slinks into his lair, Owlman greets her by saying, “I thought I told you to call first.”

It turns out that Owlman is less interested in conquering Earth than destroying it and all its alternate versions. As the Justice League and Good Lex race to stop him, we’re treated to some nifty cameos (Firestorm, Black Canary and Aquaman) and several choice moments. Batslut that I am, I got a kick out of watching the Dark Knight respond to Superwoman’s advances by biting her — and probably not the way she hoped he would. Wonder Woman has some of the movie’s best fight scenes, and the explanation of how she wound up with that invisible airplane is pretty clever.

“Crisis” also makes a convincing case for Martian Manhunter as a heartthrob. V. now has a crush on Mr. J’onzz, whose mind-reading skills and bodyguard services lead to a brief romance with Earth-2’s Rose Wilson. Let’s just say that the Martian way of showing affection makes kissing look about as erotic as a high-five.

“Crisis on Two Earths” doesn’t have the epic feel of “Justice League: The New Frontier,” but it’s a solidly entertaining DVD that’s worth seeing, especially with the inclusion of the chillingly retro “Spectre” special feature. Grade: B

5 thoughts on “G3 Review: Justice League-Crisis On Two Earths

  1. Allow me a moment to complain about the choice of VA for Batman. I mean, there were some good lines Bats had, but the deliverance left far too much to be desired. I just tried to imagine Conroy’s voice whenever Batman opened his mouth. It helped. James Woods on the other hand had me picking up my jaw and mopping up my drool whenever Owlman spoke. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: whenever I read Owlman from now on, I’ll hear James Woods.

    Being the nitpick I can be, there were a number of aspects I missed seeing about the Syndicate. Such as the blatant sexuality between Superwoman and Owlman. Superwoman was all over it, but Owlman’s characterization, to me, came across as much more cold and stiff than I’m used to seeing. But I digress. It’s only PG-13. And I can get my weird Superwoman/Owlman fix in the comics. Let me also mention that Ultraman’s new outfit had me laughing, sniggering, and eventually slightly scowling each time he appeared.

    Hands down, some of the best scenes, and I hope to not spoil anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, was when SW flew into the invisible jet with Diana at the controls, and when WW socked SW a good one in the jaw for talking smack. Excellent. Pure win, if I do say so myself.

    There were other aspects that I won’t go into that I both loved and was disappointed in, but overall it was a great movie. One that I look forward to watching again soon.

    On another note, to date I will stand by the opinion that the WW movie has been the best out of the recent bout of animated DC direct-to-DVD movies. Granted, I haven’t seen Green Lantern, New Frontier, or Doomsday yet. And we will have to see how Under the Hood turns out as well.

    Sorry for rambling your eyes out. ^_^’

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    • YAY! Our darling J. You never have to apologize for rambling. It’s good stuff.

      My favorite scene: Wonder Woman takes her elbow straight in between Superwoman’s shoulder blades with the added flare of “SUBMIT!” If they would have added a “bitch” on the end of that, I might have done a little dance. But like you said, PG-13…or something.

      I’ve watched all the DC animated, and Wonder Woman is the best one. New Frontier is a close second, but I really loved that book. At times, the Wondy animated really moved me. Like I get a little choked up when she does some really kick ass shit. Does that make me…a girl? Tee hee. Whatevs.

      Me and E. shared eyes when we first heard Bats speak. It was kinda like…not working.

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  2. James Woods was so perfect as Owlman, which made Batman’s vocal situation all the more dissatisfying. Where was the grit and the bass? Unacceptable! Ultraman’s New Jersey accent made both of us giggle, as did the sight of ’70s-era Black Lightning.

    The Wonder Woman movie was excellent, and we both wondered why Keri Russell didn’t make a return appearance for this film. And as much as I liked the New Frontier film, the Darwyn Cooke comic is SO much better — definitely a must-own.

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  3. Pingback: Resurrection Rundown « Girls Gone Geek

  4. I loved this film and found it fun.
    To be honest Billy Baldwin’s Batman did not irk me and I was a little glad of the change from the always used Conroy. His Batman is good but I often think that people love him so much because they are soo used to him and can not stand to “hear” any other voice. At this point in time my favourite Batman is now Bruce Greenwood, he is just great and does not sound cliche like Conroy does to me. I like it when other actors try their hand at the supers for it adds and different layer and texture to the characters. Baldwin’s Batman was not menacing the Dark Knight this Batman was highly intelligent and witty which is a side of him that is there but rarely shown. I LOVED how he broke it down at the end to Owlman, for you see Owlman just did not get it and in the end it did not matter for him.
    I also loved Superwoman Gina Torres, she added a tad of twisted and sexy to her evil WW, and yes Wonder Woman had THE BEST fights in this film and the how she got her plane was just nifty!
    Gina should be able to voice WW more often. She has a sexy powerful edge to her acting.

    I have always loved Martian Manhunter he has always been a tragic romantic hero and this time it was shown! :)

    But as for the film The New Frontier I have to say that I HATED that they made Wonder Woman look like Superman in drag! :P I mean in the end when they were celebrating their victory she picked up The Flash like he was a doll she was going to do “snu snu” to and compared to her he was tiny! :D

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