Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Even though when it has come to reading comics I’ve generally been a ‘Marvel Guy’, with the release of the Warner Brothers distributed animation of DC comics ‘Justice League: The New Frontier’ it appears that DC has trumped Marvel yet again. As was case with ‘Superman: Doomsday’, ‘The New Frontier’ just felt as if it were of a higher quality than both the Marvel ‘Ultimate Avenger’ films and the lackluster ‘Ironman’ movie. This is not to say the ‘The New Frontier’ was perfect but it was very entertaining and the DVD was also filled with extras for those of us, like me, who were somewhat unfamiliar with the Justice League universe.

Our film takes place during 1950’s America amidst the Cold War, McCarthyism and the end of the Korean War. We meet ace fighter pilot and avowed pacifist Hal Jordan (voiced by David Boreanaz), who we well know will eventually become the Green Lantern, getting the news that the war is over. Unfortunately somebody forgot to tell the pilots of the new nation of North Korea about this as Hal is shot down in enemy territory and forced take a mans life, something he had hoped he never would have to do.

Intermittently we are introduced to the heroes who will eventually band to form the Justice League to save the earth. Superman (Kyle MacLachlan) discusses his concerns about Wonder Woman’s (Lucy Lawless) increasingly violent behavior with Lois Lane (Kyra Sedgwick). Thankfully, unlike the sex fest that was Lois and Supes in ‘Doomsday’, the pair is back to hiding their true feeling for one another which at least made me more comfortable. Wonder Woman is on some kind of rampage taking her hatred of men and liberation of oppressed women to new heights. The Flash (Neil Patrick Harris) is dealing with issues of hero power envy, and also attempting to deflect

accusations that he’s a commie sympathizer since, you know, he wears red and all. Batman (Jeremy Sisto) is his usual depressed self hating on everybody, and we are introduced to the Martian Manhunter (Miguel Ferrer) who is as stranger in a strange land and is using his shape shifting ability to help his new planet, one that he wishes like hell he could get off of.

Evil however is just breath away as terrible things are happening and the only thread connecting them is something called ‘The Centre’ (voiced by Keith David). What exactly this ‘Centre’ is, I was never completely sure of, but I knew it was bad news and that it was promising to end our world as we know it, and it has completely messed up Diana Prince bad. Well we can’t very well let that happen, besides, we got Superman. Ooops. We had Superman. By about now Hal Jordan has been blessed with that totally awesome ring and it’s up to our remaining heroes, without the aid of that invincible dude, and that crazy strong angry chick, to think of a way to stop this being of pure evil from destroying our world.

One of the problems I’ve always had with DC comics is Superman. I mean he’s Superman. If you’ve ever played the card game of Spades, he’s like having a hand full of the Big Jokers. The ultimate trump card. There’s only so much Kryptonite floating around and Red Sun’s aren’t that readily available either so when all seems lost just call that dude and all is saved. Batman is cool and all but Superman could kill him just by staring at him real hard. What I liked about ‘Justice League: The New Frontier’ is the fact that the writers realize the overbearing presence of Superman, and made it necessary for our more or less ‘average’ super heroes to save the day and it added overall to the thrill of the narrative. The art work was very good, also having a 1950’s feel to it, the Golden Age of comics as it was called, and the voice work by the cast of veteran actors was on point. I also felt it was a good decision to work on the origin of one hero, the Green Lantern’ as it was in this film and allow the others to generally already be established. They even threw in some moral messages of the time touching of issues of racism and the Red Scare among others.

The problem I have with this animated film is the same problem I have with almost ALL of these animated super hero films in that they are humming along with a nice involving story at a decent pace and then boom, it’s like a clock goes off and the filmmakers have it their minds that they have to end these things before the 75-minute mark for some reason or another. ‘The New Frontier’ is no different in that the story just seem truncated and that it jumps from a logical story arc to a rush to get to the big fight scene and a credit roll. Since it’s a DVD and not a television show, there's no predetermined time limits to be concerned about so we have plenty of time to spend with the story. Why not just let it all play out. I mean I also noticed the majority of the animators were South Korean in the credits so it’s not like you were paying these cats Hollywood scale since the majority of the work was outsourced. Let the story go folks.

This aside, as it is seems to be the standard for both the Marvel and the DC animated films, Justice League: The New Frontier’ was a very entertaining animated film and also a very entertaining and information filled DVD loaded with a ton of valuable extras. Recommended for anyone who’s a fan of comics and actions films alike.

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