As we join in on ‘Justice League: Doom’, the Royal Flush gang is knocking over a jewelry store. Seriously guys? You have super powers and the best you can do is knock over a jewelry store? I don’t know what I would do if I was a super villain, but anything less than world domination is kind of lame. Plus, on top of their regular super powers, the gang also has powers over time / space displacement. It’s complicated how they got them, but they got ‘em, and they are using them to rob a Jewelry store. That is until the Justice League + plus one in the form of Cyborg (voiced by Bumper Robinson) thwart their evil plans. The question remains… how did these vision lacking thugs acquire time / space displacement technology?
For that we need to meet Vandal Savage (Phil Morris), a man who has been alive for fifty thousand or so years and has gotten kind of bored. Now Vandal Savage doesn’t lack criminal vision… no sir… and world domination is Mr. Savage’s immediate plan. But there is the Justice League standing in his way. Not that Vandal is really worried about them, but when you have this awesome world domination plan, righteous superheroes do to tend to get in the way.
To deal with the Superhero Problem, Savage has enlisted the help of a mortal enemy to each of these heroes. Ma’alefa’ak, the completely insane brother of the Martian Man Hunter (both voiced by Carl Lumbly), Star Sapphire (Olivia D’Abo) who we know as Carol Ferris who both loves and despises The Green Lantern (Nathan Fillion), there’s Metallo (Paul Blackthorne) and his kryptonite energy source who is an obvious enemy of Superman (Tim Daly), we also have Cheetah (Claudia Black) who routinely gets her tailed rump kicked by Wonder Woman (Susan Eisenberg), Mirror Master (Alexis Denisoff) who uses his kinda weak power to hide in mirrors and bother The Flash (Michael Rosenbaum) and finally there’s Bane (Carlos Alazraqui) who pumps up with steroid juice to beat up Batman (Kevin Conroy) on occasion. Thing is these villains have failed time and time again to beat these heroes… so what can Vandal Savage do to change the fortunes of the newly christened Legion of Doom!
You can thank Batman for this. Most of us who watch this stuff are well aware of Batman, his debilitating paranoia and his superhero contingency plans. thing is it would just suck really bad if his plans got into the wrong hands is all. If anybody has wrong hands, Vandal Savage is that guy.
Now, for the first time ever, the entire Justice League is out for the count and chances are all of them are going to die which will set the stage for Savage and the Legion of Doom and their most nefarious plan. Of course we know they aren’t really out for the count. We figured that out when Bane had the golden opportunity to simply snap Bruce Wayne’s neck yet chose to ‘humiliate him’ instead. Look, if you have the opportunity to kill one member of the Justice League, that guy had better be Batman. Not Superman and not the Green Lantern despite their amazing powers… but the normal guy with the utility belt. Kill him first.
Guess what Vandal Savage… that awesome plan of yours is in all kinds of jeopardy now because that idiot Bane wanted to humiliate Batman. It also helps the cause that Cyborg isn’t in Batman’s contingency system so there’s no solution for him as of yet. As of yet. If he sticks around, Batman will have something for him as well. Animated violence will now ensue with the fate of the planet at stake.
Directed by Lauren Montgomery, as per usual, DC / Warner’s ‘Justice League: Doom’ was greatly entertaining, as per usual, only let down by the truncated running time, as per usual, and maybe the animation style, which is a little unusual. Working off of a script from the late Dwayne McDuffie, who whittled as much as he could off of Mark Waid’s original story to keep the film lucid, ‘Justice League: Doom’ has all the super villain mayhem, superhero action, Batman depression and sly humor that we’ve come to expect from these compressed DC animated action fests. The voice acting was stellar, not even slightly a surprise considering the majority of these actors have been voicing these same characters for years, Phil Morris brought the right amount of menace to Vandal Savage, and the story was suitably apocalyptic. Outstanding.
The animation style this time didn't feel as crisp nor as defined as the previous efforts, while fully recognizing that the animation in these DC / Warner Brothers efforts has never been among their strong points. The background animations and environments were fine, as they always are, it's the character designs that felt off. Maybe it was Superman's unnaturally high cheekbones that was throwing me off but something didn't feel right about the characters. Eventually you adjust to whatever is going on animation wise, mainly because the movie moves so fast that it's challenging enough just to keep focused on the story whirring before your eyes, I'm just saying that character animations were weaker than usual.
Then there's corporate mandated 75 minute running time. We're not looking for these things to be as long as 'Return of the King – Special Extended Edition' which was four hours long but they do often feel rushed as they near the end. 'Justice League Doom' did a better job of managing this time restriction, feeling less rushed than some of those that have come before it, but it did still feel compressed at points.
Regardless, DC / Warner brothers rarely missteps with these animation movies they create, and 'Justice League Doom' is no exception. Great comic action, great voice acting, solidly entertaining from start to finish.