23 August 2006

Ink Blots XXVI - Justice League: Secret Origins

Put together, the first three episodes of the series Justice League comprise a feature length depiction of the formation of DC's premier superhero team -- The Justice League. The team consists of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman along with the Flash (the fastest man alive), Green Lantern (has a green ring that gives him powers like flight, green lasers, force fields, etc.) Hawkgirl (has bird wings and a powerful mace that she uses to smash things up), and the Martian Manhunter (can read minds, change form, and phase through solid objects).

The plot revolves around your typical alien invasion including War of the Worldesque tripods (but they also have dogs). Batman is the first to become wise to the alien plan, and he and Superman form an uneasy alliance. But when full scale invasion begins, the World's Finest need back up. Enter the Justice League. Of course, for the rest of the film, the heroes must learn to work together to defeat the aliens. Pretty standard alien invasion fair. The story would have been more compelling by putting a face on the enemy, or by having a more recognizable menace. Still, at least the aliens didn't just roll over. They made the unification of the heroes a necessity. There is a good deal of action spread amongst the various heroes throughout the show, but none of it is terribly jaw-dropping. Lastly, knowing the excellent stories to follow in the Justice League series, I can't help but enjoy seeing the beginnings here.

As an introduction of the team, Superman and Batman are brought in as continuations of the characters from their respective series. Wonder Woman is shown defying her people to don her armor to help the "outside world." The Martian Manhunter is the last of his kind, after his race fell to the aliens long ago. The wise cracking show-off Flash (voiced by Smallville's Lex Luthor), militaristic Green Lantern, and warrior Hawkgirl basically just show up to help.

The overall plot here is similar to that of the more recent Ultimate Avengers: The Movie, only here the aliens put up a better fight, the League are less complex characters and have less issues, and they are also sans Hulk menace. Your preference for the films may depend on your fondness for the team members. Personally I think Batman and Flash are cooler than Thor or Captain America, and that may explain my leaning toward Secret Origins. Still, both films are more likely to please fans of superheroes than general audiences. Thus, I think the films deserve the same grade of a solid B.

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