(submitted by Prince Adam…Thanks, you Superhero/SciFi Studmuffin, you!! 🙂 xo)
“In an alternate universe, very different versions of DC’s Trinity fight against the government after they are framed for an embassy bombing.”
This film marks Bruce Timm’s return to the DC Animated Universe. He’s chosen to return with an elseworld’s tale and it is that in every sense of the word. This is not an altenate universe where, Kal-El, Bruce Wayne, and Diana Prince (yay!! ;)) have gone bad, or decided to rule with an iron fist. There are three different individuals filling the roles of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. The opening on Krypton is essentially the John Byrne iteration of the character. The big difference is that Zod intervenes and inputs his genetic code in the birthing Matrix thereby making Superman the son of Lara and Zod. Batman is Kirk Langstrom, who is not Man-Bat, but rather more of a classic Vampire out of the horror genre. Wonder Woman is a member of the New Gods. While the new Superman’s origin is dealt with right off the hop, we are treated to two flashback scenes, one for Batman, the other for Wonder Woman/ Kirk Langstrom essentially was experimenting with Bat serum (amped-up on micro-eccellerant particles, to cure his cancer. meanwhile Wonder Woman is Bekka, daughter of New God leader High Father, who has been betrothed to Darkseid’s son Orion. When Highfather betray’s Bekka killing the apokalyptian Gods, she exiled herself to earth. These changes worked for me, I think each of the three are quite believable as these 3 characters. I’m glad Brue Timm didn’t regurgitate Bruce, Clark, and Diana going rogue, That was done so well in Justice League/Justice League Unlimited, that to do it again here would’ve invited negative comparisons. For me personally, I was much more engaged in Batman and Wonder Woman’s new status quo, then I was Superman.
The story is quite straight forward, but offers a few unexpected surprises along the way. We see the trinity, who is working for the government, ransack a terrorist stronghold and kill the terrorists, despite being ordered by Steve Trevor to wait for backup. The next scene features a senate hearing. Outside, people are protesting that the safety and security of the people, shouldn’t be under the hands of monsters and aliens. Inside, Lex Luthor is making a case against the trinity.I really enjoyed these scenes, as they somewhat echo what we saw at the beginning of the Batman V Superman comic con trailer. Meanwhile, A mysterious robotic like creature is killing of prominent scientists including Silas Stone, Ray Palmer and Victor Fries. Through vintage Batman-esque detective work, we learn that the scientists are all connected. They worked under the tutelage of Lex Luthor for a secret government project This is very pertinent, because it sets up the friendship between Kirk Langstrom and Will Magnus. It also sets up a sort of love triangle between Kirk, Will, and his girlfriend/wife that will pay off near the end of the film. For now though, it is important to know that these scientists are being killed off in an effort to frame the Justice League for murder. The culprits are a few giant robots that mimic the Justice Leagues m.o. The remaining scientists are all in Magnus’s house, worrying who’s next, and debating if they should reveal their involvement in Project Fairplay, a plan to kill Superman with red sun radiation. These remaining scientists are killed by a horde of robots. All except for Will Magnus, who is brought to the Justice League Headquarters to recuperate. After the mass murder, Superman reluctantly enlists the help of Lex Luthor, who is hiding away in a space satellite unlock the mysteries of the universe. He reveals to Superman the true nature of his parentage, and taunts him about being exactly like Zod.
When Superman leaves Lex, one of those robots teleports in, and incinerates Lex and the space Satellite. The government, believing it to be Superman, enacts the protocol to kill him. Meanwhile, a fully healed Will Magnus and his robots subdue Batman, and reveals he is the culprit behind the frame job. His plan is to use technology and power from Superman’s ship and a boom tube to transmit nanite technology to every human being on the planet, linking them mentally, essentially turning them into mindless robots in servitude to him, Naturally, the trinity is able to stop him, with a surprise assist from Lex Luthor, who narrowly survived the satellite explosion in what looks to be his New Genisis chair. The film ends with Luthor and Wonder Woman heading to New Genesis to confront her past, and to explore new worlds, while Batman and Superman, look to unlock the secrets of Kryptonian technology to better serve Earth.
I love how even though we are in a different universe, the film manges to give us iconic moments, under a different lens. This film does it with Superman twice; his interview with Lois, and his standoff with Lex. Wonder Woman’s relationships with both Orion and Steve Trevor from the New 52 are hinted at. Even the fact that she comes to Earth due to something precipitated on her homeworld. Granted the set up is different. Then there’s Batman, who gets to still be as awesome detective, operate in the shadows, and he even loses two people close to him, even though they aren’t his parents. The animation, action and voice acting was all very strong in this film. The animation, was obviously set in the Timm verse, maybe a little sharper and detailed than we’re used to. Visually, nothing felt like it was “been there done that for me. Surely, part of that is due to our three heroes looking quite different then they typically do. The action in this film, as is the case with all the DC Animated films is pulse poundingly fast and furious. Seeing Batman go full Vampire and bite someone took a second to get used too. Yes, there was blood in the see, so suck it Twilight and your neutered watered down sparkly Vampires. Superman also seemed more forceful and reckless during the fighting. Never did he hold back, like we’ve seen traditional animated Superman do. Maybe that’s Zod’s DNA coming into play. Wonder Woman was a bad ass plain and simple. Then again she always is. The voices sounded pitch perfect. Never did I picture Benjamin Bratt as Superman, but it works, Even if he we’re playing the Clark Kent version I think he’d fit. Michael C. Hall as Batman. Tamara Taylor voiced Wonder Woman, This seems to be her first voice work, and the Toronto native acquitted herself strongly and confidently. The rest of the cast worked too. Not one voice felt off or out-of-place.
I’ve always been a fan of Elseworld stories, so this film had me hooked from the get go, I like that this was an original story not an adaptation of a pre-existing story. It meant I could judge it on its own merits, without worrying about faithfulness to a particular version of the source material. It’s also good to have Bruce Timm playing in the DC Animated sandbox again. So if you’re a fan of Bruce Timm’s handling of DC’s famous trinity, and want something fresh and exciting, this film will fulfill all those needs.