"Justice League: Doom" Funny Things Happen on the Way to JL Apocalypse
The New York premiere of Justice League: Doom was held at the Paley Center. Phil Morris was the first to arrive, with an enthusiastic fan calling out, “Hey! Jackie Chiles!” Kevin Conroy, and Andrea Romano soon followed. After the press had a chance to interview the three, (more on that to come) everyone was ushered into the theater. A commercial for DC Comics’ new “We Can Be Heroes” campaign was shown, and then moderator Gary Miereanu accidentally introduced Superman Vs. The Elite (DC Comics’ next DTV, based on the Action Comics story “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice and the American Way?”) before correcting himself. Before the film itself ran, there was a little introduction by the cast who couldn’t make it to the New York premiere, with Michael Rosenbaum getting quite a number of laughs out of the audience. Finally, the movie began.
Justice League: Doom is about Vandal Savage, who intends on taking over the world, (seriously, if you haven’t succeeded in 30,000 years, what makes you think you will now?) and foreseeing that the Justice League will likely get in his way, decides to take them out. Now Batman, who is paranoid as ever, apparently has plans to neutralize each and every member of the Justice League. Vandal Savage knows this, though how he does is never explained, and steals the plans from Bruce’s BatComputer. After assembling a group of villains, one for each specific hero, (Star Sapphire for Green Lantern, Bane for Batman, Metallo for Superman, Cheetah for Wonder Woman, Mirror Master for Flash, and Ma’alefa’ak for Martian Manhunter) and aptly naming them the Legion of Doom (complete with a Hall of Doom, of course), he offers them the money and the means to take down the Justice League. That leaves Cyborg, a superhero not in the Justice League and so who has not had any Bat-plans drawn up against him, as the key to the Justice League’s survival.
The big draw here is the return of many of the voice actors from the Justice League television series (and Superman: The Animated Series) to reprise their roles. Kevin Conroy absolutely nails it as Batman, and gets to deliver lots of cool lines, quite a few funny ones, and some really emotional ones as well. When Bruce is trying to find his parents’ bodies, you can feel the pain, anger, and desperation in his voice. Tim Daly, Michael Rosembaum, Carl Lumbly, and Susan Eisenberg all do a wonderful job as well, and listening to them all together really makes it feel like it’s a lost episode of Justice League. Phil Morris really plays Vandal menacingly, like a really desperate man, as opposed to the more civilized Vandal we saw in the television series. And Nathan Fillion just may be my favorite Hal Jordan, bringing a likable form of egoism to the role, as he did previously. Bravo all around! This whole film seems pitch perfect.
Justice League: Doom feels like a really good episode of Justice League because that’s because it essentially is. It’s probably funnier than any episode of Justice League, but it has top notch action as well. Batman, most of all, comes across as more vulnerable than we’ve ever seen him in the series. He no longer seems like a “bat-god” and more like a man trying to put on a show, to make it appear that he’s godlike, because that is the company in which he keeps. The writing is absolutely thrilling. There are numerous times throughout the film when you are at the edge of your seat wondering how they’ll get out of this one. I daresay this just may be my favorite of Dwayne McDuffie’s work. It’s just a shame that it’ll be his last.
After the film was shown, with huge applause every time Dwayne McDuffie’s name was on the screen, might I add, there was an audience Q&A with Phil Morris, Kevin Conroy, and Andrea Romano, with Andrea using some of the time to give the audience voice lessons. After that, there were a few prizes given out to a few lucky fans (signed scripts and Blu-ray copies of the film), and the audience dispersed. Anyway, bottom line, Justice League: Doom is phenomenal. I don’t know about the rest of you, but this movie is definitely a Day One buy for me.