Over the past several years, DC has released numerous direct to dvd animated films, often being based on comic storylines that most of which probably wouldn’t have much chance of being used in a theatrical film. Now normally the idea of direct to dvd films is frowned upon because what usually comes to mind are those cheap knock off films. But when it comes to DC, you’ll most likely find something pretty dang good. Only once have one of their direct to dvd films ever made me go “OH MY WORD THAT WAS AWFUL!” In other words, avoid Justice League: The New Frontier. But this year we got something especially different, an Elseworld story, which is just fancy term for a story in an alternate universe.
As the title suggests, this is a JL story, but the League is VERY different. Superman is the son of General Zod, Batman is a Pseudo-Vampire named Kirk Langstrom and Wonder Woman is a New God(name of an alien race in the DC Universe). Another thing to note is that this film marks the return of Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett, the team behind Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League Unlimited, Batman Beyond etc. which can be seen through the animation being extremely similar to the style of those shows. The story is also fantastic. Again, these are the guys who made Batman Beyond and Justice League Unlimited, two of the greatest animated shows of all time in my opinion. And their writing quality is just as great here, if not better. The pacing was great despite the short runtime, the characters were fleshed out and the action was great.
But that’s another thing to note. Don’t let the animation fool you. This is NOT a kids movie. The story gets pretty dark and the violence is pretty extreme. Aside from one PG, these DC animated films have PG-13 ratings. Much like The Dark Knight Returns, as a live action film, it would probably end up with an R-rating.
If there’s one issue I have with this film, it’s that we are never given any answer as to what happened to the original Batman and Wonder Woman. The explanation for why Clark Kent isn’t around makes sense, it’s shown at the beginning of the film, but we never find out why Bruce Wayne never became Batman or what happened to Diana Prince(Wonder Woman). But that’s most likely because of the limited runtime, which is something most DC Animated films suffer from. Seriously WB? Would 90 minutes kill you? Aside from that, my only issue is a bit of, for lack of a better term, unnecessary detailing on something later on in the film, but there’s really nothing else to complain about because this film is fantastic. The story, the characters, the voice acting. All great. It’s one of the best DC Animated films, right up there with Batman: Under the Red Hood and Flashpoint Paradox. I think I read somewhere that Bruce Timm is working on a new animated series for this and if he is, I can’t wait to see it. Justice League: Gods & Monsters gets 5/5 Boomtubes.