Justice Society: World War II - Cover'Warner Bros.' have recently released their latest animated movie starring characters from DC Comics, entitled, 'Justice Society: World War II'. It was directed by Jeff Wamester; it featured the vocal talents of Stana Katic, Matt Bomer, Elysia Rotaru, Chris Diamantopoulos, and Omid Abtahi; and it lasts for 84-minutes. Plus, as an extra added bonus, the Blu-ray edition comes with three featurettes, a face-to-face discussion with the filmmakers, as well as a cartoon showcasing 'Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth', and two cartoons from the DC Vaults. Please enjoy.

Justice Society: World War II

How did this story start? It started with a scene set in the White House (near the beginning of World War II), where Colonel Steve Trevor talked to the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, about forming a group of costumed superheroes to secretly defend their Allies from the Nazis.

Name these heroes: Christened the 'Justice Society of America' (or the 'JSA' for short), this group included Colonel Steve Trevor (the team's liaison), Wonder Woman (an Amazonian princess), Hourman (a pharmacist who created a drug, giving him superhuman strength), Black Canary (a vigilante with powerful sonic abilities), Hawkman (a winged hero who's been reincarnated several times over the years), and two heroes named the Flash (zoom).

Justice Society: World War II - Team
Two Flashes?
Yes, that's correct, I said two Flashes: Jay Garrick (a chemist) as well as Barry Allen (a CSI officer from the 21st-century who recently entered the Speed Force and accidentally traveled back in time).

Oh, dear! So did anyone try to help Barry get back home again? No. Not at first, because before a plan was properly formulated, the JSA suddenly stumbled across a mystery connected to a possible Nazi attack on America.

What type of attack? Well, according to certain sources, a mystical attack, all because the Nazis have been collecting magical artifacts and have figured out that the most powerful one is located somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle.

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Wait a minute! Isn't the Bermuda Triangle a difficult place to find?
Yes, that's correct, but the JSA still managed to find it by breaking into a top-secret German fortress and freeing someone who was able to point them in the right direction. Someone that's been beaten up so badly he's mad enough and powerful enough to prompt Barry to initially travel back in time.

So what next? Did the JSA go to the Bermuda Triangle and save the day? Well, to avoid any spoilers, all I can say is that once they arrived at their intended destination, splish-splash, the team then met another character from the DCU, Aquaman, who revealed what's really going on with the Nazis, bing-bang-bong, which resulted in a humongous battle where lives were lost and heroes were found. The End! Wink-wink! 

Was this animated movie enjoyable to watch? In retrospect, I would have to say both yes and no. Yes, because I did like the depiction of most of the characters and several parts of the plot were rather enjoyable to follow. And no, because structurally speaking, the overall narrative was trying to do too many things at the same time and wasn't truly authentic.

Justice Society: World War II - Monster
Please explain!
You see, on a narrative level, the entire story can easily be broken down into four uneven parts. Part one, for instance, was a basic time travel story where Barry traveled back in time due to a chance encounter with the Man of Steel and Brainiac. Part two, on the other hand, was a paint-it-by-numbers wartime story where Barry tried to help the JSA fight against a group of nondescript Nazis. Part three, however, was the underwater portion of the plot, where a surprise character, Aquaman, abruptly threw a spanner in the works by inadvertently revealing a mystery connected to the Multiverse. And finally, part four resolved most of the problems established in the previous three parts by transforming this movie into a monster movie. A somewhat dramatic monster movie, I hasten to add, where certain characters lived, died, or became reborn. So, as I said before, all in all, I felt that the overall narrative tried to juggle too many different elements without giving any one of them enough room to breathe.

Fair enough. But why did you say that this film wasn't very authentic? Now, before I begin, let me just say that I've been a big fan of the JSA for a fairly long time (over thirty years in fact) and during that time, I've seen the team go through a number of notable changes, including, a change to their roster, a change to the age and depiction of certain members of the team, as well as a change to their leadership. In the case of this film, however, I'd say everything changed a little bit too much as the team came across more like... Wonder Woman and the JSA, rather than just the... JSA, mainly due to the amount of time Diana had on-screen compared to some of her colleagues. In addition to this, several established members of the original JSA were deliberately removed from this movie just to compensate for Diana's elevation, members like Alan Scott (Green Lantern), Al Pratt (The Atom), Ted Knight (Starman), and Ted Grant (Wildcat), to name but a few, all of which fundamentally affected their overall dynamics and their usual more-wholesome demeanor.

Justice Society: World War II - HQ
So what did you like about this film?
On the whole, I'd say I liked its heart, its passion, and its need to tell a story about people who are willing to fight in the face of adversity. After all, many of us never experienced the traumatic events inflicted by WWII, and to some extent, I'd say this animated adventure is a visual reminder about what can happen to countries when they are divided over politics. Along similar lines, I also liked the way the team was split into their own little sub-groups, with Diana and Steve signifying the lovers in the team, Canary and Hawkman acting like siblings, and finally, Jay and Hourman representing the scientific side of the squad (quickly followed by Barry being the outsider).

Talking about characters, what can you say about some of the cameo appearances featured in this film? Well, due to the embargo, not a lot, unfortunately. But what I can say is that all of them added something special to this story by giving it some much-needed spice and depth.

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How would you describe the style of animation?
At face value, I'd say the overall look of this film tried to imitate the more simplistic style of animation Max Fleischer pioneered in the 1940s with his series of Superman cartoons. So, despite everything being aesthetically relevant for a film set in the 1940s, in the same breath, I'm not entirely certain many people will appreciate it as it isn't very detailed and can occasionally be rather inconsistent, particularly when it comes down to depicting characters who wear more contemporary-looking costumes, such as Barry Allen's Flash, for instance. Having said that, though, I did kind of like it, in part, as this minimalistic approach to telling a story felt more historically appropriate for a group like the JSA. Plus, in all fairness, it was very easy to follow, and by and large, most of the action scenes were nicely choreographed and flowed at an enjoyable pace.

Was the voice acting any good? Yes, yes it was, as most of the cast took on their respective roles in a bold and stoic fashion. Most notably, Stana Katic, who did a great interpretation of Gal Gadot's version of Wonder Woman; Matt Bomer, who took on Barry's Flash without making him sound too corny; as well as Omid Abtahi, whose gruff depiction of Hawkman was both calming and refreshing to listen to. I would also like to give a shout-out to Kevin Riepl because he produced a nice selection of background music that enhanced certain scenes by giving them a sense of gravitas.

In conclusion, I'd say 'Justice Society: World War II' was a fairly fine film, and even though it wasn't entirely authentic, it was still fun, passionate, and sly enough to leave us wondering which Earth these characters actually live on (Hint: It's not the same Earth Barry Allen originally comes from).

JUSTICE SOCIETY: WORLD WAR II (2021) JUSTICE SOCIETY: WORLD WAR II (2021) Reviewed by David Andrews on May 03, 2021 Rating: 5

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