JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NEW FRONTIER
Justice League: New Frontier is the kind of super
hero film I've been dying to see for a long time. This direct to DVD
release (which comes out February 26th, and premieres at San
Francisco's Wonder Con this weekend) is a gorgeous work of art that
will likely go down as one of the best comic book films ever made.
Based on the graphic novel by Darwyn Cooke, this
"alternative universe" tale takes the classic DC Comics characters
and puts them in the McCarthy crazy Cold war environment of the
early '50s. They're operating a bit under the radar, as the US
Government has essentially outlawed the existence. An ancient evil
and near godlike threat arises which changes the game.
We get a fun origin story that shows how Korean War
veteran Hal Jordan gets a job as a test pilot and becomes Green
Lantern. A very cool Martian Manhunter story that gives plenty of
screen time to his original J'ohn J'onnz detective persona, and a
Superman that's torn between serving his country, and what's truly
the right thing to do.
The animation and storytelling is top notch. The
entire piece is done in a retro '50s style that's eye-popping
beautiful. Just look at the scene above set in a cool Vegas Casino.
The whole palette used for this film is just full of vivid and
dynamic color just like this.
The voice cast is top notch, too. Lucy Lawless and
Kyle MacLachlan are particularly great as Wonder Woman and Superman.
I especially like that they made Wonder Woman a full blooded Amazon
hottie who's actually a bit taller, and more intimidating than
Superman. In the scene pictured above, Superman is chastising her
for letting some female prisoners of Chinese soldiers execute their
captors after being tortured (and likely raped). Wonder Woman just
stares him down and tells him to "Take a hike, Spaceman!"
Batman is pretty damn scary in this film, too. We're
first introduced to him taking out an evil cult that's about to
sacrifice a boy! Wearing his original Bill Finger designed outfit,
he ends up scaring the kid just as much as the bad guys. An incident
which helps soften him up a bit, and explain why he brings Robin
around a bit later on.
Green Lantern is the star of the film, however. His
back story is intriguing and probably one of the best versions of
his origin I've ever seen. With the ability to make just about
anything with his power ring, he's certainly one of the underrated
badasses of the DC Universe.
I can't say enough about this great DVD. If you're
even just a casual fan of super heroes, you owe it to yourself to
pick it up. There's also an incredibly thorough documentary about
the history of The Justice League with all sorts of notables from
Denny O'Neil to Stan Lee offering their take on the group, and a fun
extended preview of the upcoming Batman anime influenced DVD Batman
A word of
caution, however, that this PG-13 rated film is definitely not for
the little ones. Though there's no language to worry about, there's
a suicide by gun, a point blank gunshot to the head, and verbally
described implied rape that'll make it a bit more extreme than your
standard Super Friends, fare. I would imagine a kid over 10 with
parental guidance wouldn't have a problem with it, though. The good
guys win, and the bad guys get what they deserve.
I give this my highest possible recommendation.