29 August 2006

Ink Blots XXVII - Justice League: Starcrossed

Much as the three-part Secret Origins kicked of the Justice League animated series, Starcrossed brought the 52 episode run to a close. This movie event featured the old alien invasion plotline again, but this time it was done masterfully. Rather than some nameless alien race invading, the foes this time is an armada of Hawk people led by Hawk Man (though not THE Hawman) Hro Talak-- to whom Hawkgirl is "promised." Turns out, all this time Hawkgirl has been smashing things with her mace, she has also been an undercover agent for the Thanagarian invasion force. Its not that the hawks hate Earth, but they need to sacrifice our planet to help turn the tide in an interstellar war (yeah, its a bit contrived, but oh well). How will Hawkgirl reconcile her new found love with Green Lantern when Hro shows up? Where will Hawkgirl decide her allegiance lies in this no win scenario: with the League and Earth or with her own hawk kind? Let's just say there are plenty of betrayals to go around.

Each of the League member gets a moment here to shine, Batman and Superman in particular, who are "always the heroes." The film also features each of the characters in alter ego mode and we finally learn which Flash we have been watching all this time (turns out to be Wally West). If only all good series could go out on such a high note. I won't spoil the end, but it is nice that it wasn't felt that all the loose ends had to be neatly resolved. The film definitely ends on a bitter-sweet note (The good news is that the follow up show Justice League Unlimited resolves some of the dangling issues, though not all of them).

The animation here is good for a TV series, but probably not quite up to par with theatrical releases. On the other hand, the action is top notch and well staged, and the score fits perfectly with the on screen happenings (especially nice is the newly composed version of the heroic title sequence produced for the DVD release). Sure, the runtime is just 68 minutes, but it does not fell too rushed or incomplete. One thing that hurts this film is its inaccessibility to non-comics fans. Most people know Batman, Superman, even Wonder Woman, and Flash, but have they ever heard of the Martian Manhunter? or Green Lantern John Stewart? Probably not. And since this is part of a series, there are not a lot of introductions here for newbies. Still, its not that deep of material. I think the uninitiated could enjoy it just fine if they would allow themselves to. For fans of DC comics, this film is a must, for all others I still rate this film an A-.

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