Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths Blu-ray Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 8.0
Video 8.9
Audio 8.7
Special Features 10
Total 9.0

Distributor: Warner
Running Time:
Reviewer: Andrew Bistak
Classification
: PG

9.0


Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths

Like the impressive DCU: the New World documentary on this release informs us, the word “Crisis” and “DC Comics” have a bigger than Ben Herr relationship with comic fans. That said, since the 60’s, DC Comics have hosted a variety of crisis events that has seen the destruction of a multiverse (Crisis on Infinite Earths), only to be replaced by one single universe, to some more grounded stories which saw the super hero community lose its innocence (Identity Crisis). Many of these comic stories saw super heroes visiting strange parallel universes that not only contained doppelgangers of themselves but sometimes, evil counterparts and this is where Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths comes into the picture. Interestingly enough, this is the fourth incarnation of the Justice League meeting their evil counterparts which are known as the Crime Syndicate. Although this current story has parallels to the excellent Justice League Unlimited cartoon series, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earth has a darker different story that still pays homage to the original comic book characters but also makes it quite accessible to newcomers.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths begins with Lex Luthor (Chris North) and what appears to be the Joker fleeing from the “Justice League” but upon further investigation, they are escaping from the Crime Syndicate with a deadly device in tow. As the Joker valiantly sacrifices himself to allow Luthor to escape, Lex successfully manages a strategic withdraw to another universe, more specifically, the Earth of the Justice League of America. However on this Earth, their Lex Luthor is evil which causes him to be captured and brought to the Justice League. After a short explanation about his dire predicament and that his world is enslaved by the Crime Syndicate, Martian Manhunter validates his story and the Justice League are torn on whether they should help Luthor and his world. Batman (William Baldwin) believes that they should remain in their universe in order to be available for their people as there are already a number of evils that threatens their planet. Wonder Woman (Vanessa Marshall) and Superman (Mark Harmon) convince the League otherwise and with the Flash (Josh Keaton), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and Martian Manhunter (Jonathan Adams), they accompany Lex Luthor to his Earth in order to free the grip of the Crime Syndicate. Batman on the other hand remains in their universe in order to monitor and protect his planet from criminal activities. Before leaving, Luthor of the alternate Earth hides the device that he stole from the Crime Syndicate aboard the Justice League satellite.

On this other Earth, the Justice League discover that the Crime Syndicate rule their world like the mafia, with each super villain having their own section to rule. The main protagonists of the Crime Syndicate include Ultraman (Superman), Owl Man (Batman/James Wood), Superwoman (Wonder Woman/Gina Torres), Power Ring (Green Lantern) and Johnny quick (The Flash). Needless to say there’s some great banter and battles between both super groups and without spoiling the story too much, the device that Luthor stole threatens the very fabric of reality itself and Owl Man will stop at nothing to get the device back. This also is where the word “Crisis” perfectly fits into the story. Apart from the Justice League and the Crime Syndicate, there are dozens of cameos of other superheroes and villains in the story and for DC Comic fans, it’s definitely quite rewarded in figuring out Who’s Who in this rather stellar line up. The success of Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is thanks to writer Dwayne McDuffie who is no stranger to heroes, especially in relation to his time as a Justice League writer for the cartoon series. McDuffie brings all the action, humour and heroics of not just the comics but also the cartoon series which creates an entertaining, especially under the directing of  Lauren Montgomery (Wonder Woman).

In terms of animation, the detail and colours looks amazing on Blu-ray and because of the 1080p presentation,  it does look a little Spartan at times because of how clear it is. The animation does shine when the battles commence and there are some really good animated procedures involved. The audio also sounds phenomenal and in order to appreciate the story, play it with your surround sound turned up, especially the battle with Ultraman and Superman. Although I enjoyed the story of Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the highlight for me was the amazing special features that came with this movie. The standout special feature was the short movie called DC Showcase: The Spectre which features Jim Corrigan as The Spectre, a 40’s super hero who is the wrath of god. In this pulp/noir feature story, the animation techniques makes you believe you are watching a movie from the 70’s such as the grain and lines through the animation, not to mention the great soundtrack.

The story features The Spectre hunting down a group of killers and unbeknown to Corrigan, one of his suspects is very close to him. This is probably one of the most edgy and darkest cartoons that I have seen from a Western company which does mirror some anime productions and all I can say to Warner Bros is bring on more DC Showcases. Brilliant! The DCU: The New World documentary goes into the history of “Crisis” in the DC Universe (comics) from its early conception to Identity Crisis, a story that made the world turn back to comics. This documentary features interviews from the writers, artists and editors of various crisis stories and is definitely a fanboy treat. Add in other interesting titbits such as first looks like Batman Under the Red Hood or Superman/Batman Public Enemies, the “crisis” cartoons from Justice League/Justice League Unlimited (e.g. A Better World and Twilight) and pilots for Wonder Woman (Lynda Carter) and Aquaman (yes, it does exist) and this is as good as special features can get.

What can I say to sum it all up? This release is perfect and I would strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoys DC Comics, the Justice League cartoon series or those who appreciate well made animated movies… League: Crisis on Two Earths proves that direct to DVD/Blu-ray movies work and this release comes strongly recommended!

Special Features:

  • DC Showcase: The Spectre animated short

  • "The New World" extended cut

  • A First Look at the Next DC Universe Movie: Batman - Under the Red Hood

  • Green Lantern First Look

  • Superman/Batman Public Enemies First Look

  • Wonder Woman: The Amazon Princess

  • Trailers

  • Bruce Timm’s Top Picks; "A Better World" Parts 1 and 2, "Twilight" Parts 1 and 2

  • DC TV pilot episodes (live-action): Wonder Woman (previously on Wonder Woman S1 release), Aquaman (never before released)






 
 



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