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~Ephesians 5:16

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Justice League: Gods and Monsters Review

When GODS AND MONSTERS was first announced, it garnered a considerable amount of hype when compared to recent DC animated features. The reason for this was that Brice Timm would be involved. (He was the creator of the classic DC Animated Universe after all.) Justice League to this day is regarded as one of the greatest cartoons in history, and for good reason. So to see Timm taking the reign of a JL project after all these years was definitely exciting. Some of that excitement became divided when it was also announced it would basically be an Elseworlds title.

There was some disappointment because the thought of seeing a traditional JL story with Timm was a dream. Still, many were curious to see a new take on the classic team. (Plus it would be a nice break from The New 52.) GODS AND MONSTERS is a very interesting watch from beginning to end. It is definitely a unique tale worth checking out. Plus with Timm, the writing is triple a plus with one of the most unexpected plot twists in recent history.

In an alternate universe, the Justice League uses brutal force to maintain order on Earth. When scientists begin dying, the world's governments challenge the League's dominance.
The main draw obviously is the new take on Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. With just 72 minutes to tell a story, there isn't much time for long-term character development. The film nonetheless manages to give each individual character unique backstories. Superman as the son of Zod was certainly most interesting, though Wonder Woman hailing from New Genesis was great too. Batman's was of course the most down to earth, though is so diverse you could have swapped him out for another character.

When the team first appeared I was worried with them mercilessly killing bad guys that the film would just be about making a gritty version of the League just for the sake of edge. If this wasn't Bruce Timm, it might have gone that route. The story moves at a solid pace, making sure the plot is at the front while the viewer is also treated to different versions of these iconic characters. Throughout we see their relationship to the government and even Superman's Zod genes of wanting to take over. Since we're not used to these new takes, the dialogue is extra engaging.

A glaring negative is in the climax. When trying to break the League's building shield, Superman makes a mini-speech, flies into space, then dives back into Earth in dramatic fashion. But back on Earth Batman is able to deactivate the shield and then Superman magically appears in the building, completely negating his scene from before. It's bizarre and as if the editing and writing departments weren't working together here. Also, while Luthor is a great character in this take, his arc is rather rushed at the end and comes out of left field. The soundtrack in particular is a highlight. In fact, it's one of the strongest soundtracks from any DC animated film yet. (Right from the epic intro theme the viewer knows he/she is in for a treat.)

Overall, GODS AND MONSTERS is a intriguing take on DC's greatest heroes. There's no denying it would have been nice to see Bruce Timm do a more traditional story, but there's something engaging about this particular new take of the characters. By the end, the viewer is ready for more. The fight scenes are great and the plot twist added a whole new dimension to how you look at the story. Put any skepticism aside and check out this movie.


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