Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (2010, 75 minutes)

Plot: The Justice League must team up with an alternate universe Lex Luthor to overthrow the evil Crime Syndicate and keep Owlman from destroying the multiverse.

Source Material: We have a convoluted set of circumstances here. This was rewritten from an abandoned movie planned to bridge Justice League and Justice League: Unlimited. All references to DCAU continuity were removed. It also borrows extensively from JLA: Earth 2 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, a team readers will soon reencounter in this column.

Animation: Despite not using the DCAU style, this is still a great looking film once more leaning on the hand drawn style rather than the 2.5D of recent films. The characters are vivid and move fluidly. Action is brisk. This looks every bit as theatrical as the previous film I covered on this column, Thor: Tales of Asgard, and with good reason. Both were directed by Sam Liu, who along with Jay Oliva, is rapidly becoming a name I like seeing on these.

Script: Another name that fills me with joy and a bit of sadness is the late Dwayne McDuffie who wrote this and did a solid job. I preferred McDuffie’s Doom, which followed this film, but this is still a fun Justice League story. It moves quickly with time for subplots and character work. That said, it’s hard not to see the film’s origins as a bridge film and it still almost fits that world. Honestly, I wish this had been fully set in that universe. Why?

Voice Acting: There’s no getting around it: This is a very poorly cast film aside from James Woods and Gina Torres as the villains. Chris Noth, Mark Harmon, and William Baldwin are all weak choices for Lex Luthor, Superman, and Batman. Baldwin especially stumbles as he often sounds like he’s trying to imitate his much more talented brother as Batman. Noth and Harmon on the other hand give generic white guy turns that bored me. Woods and Torres shine through, clearly having fun as slimy, irredeemable villains. (Insert your own joke about Woods. He deserves them.)

Final verdict: 3/5. If this was set in the DCAU or even borrowed the voices, which Doom did wind up doing, this would be a 4/5. As is, it sits awkwardly just out of continuity. If you’re a JL fan though, you’ll still likely have a great time. It’s a joy to look at and it hits the comic book spot.

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