October 19, 2021

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Justice Society: World War II – Nazi critique

Ahead of the animated adaptation of Batman: A Long Halloween (which we can’t stop waiting for), the DC animated film is launching a new, expanded universe with Justice Society: World War II, available May 26 on VOD, DVD, and Blu-ray in France. A film where superheroes from the past will fight against the Nazis to try to win World War II, if the script allows them.

RED LINE
After the generous Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (which you can find in our review) ended the continuity starting with Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, the long-awaited new era of animated films around the characters of the DC universe.

With Superman: Man of Tomorrow (our review), Warner Bros. Animation swapped its old Japanese designs to draw closer to comics, with la Archer’s bold, bold lines, but above all seemed to want to devote itself to independent projects on different heroes from the DC universe with the then announced Batman: Soul of the Dragon ( our review), adaptations of Batman: Un Long Halloween or Justice Society: World War II. It would forgo the studio’s ability to do anything, even with the best works in the DC catalog (Batman: The Killing Joke among others).

As war rages on in Europe, Wonder Woman is placed at the head of a superhero team tasked with preventing Hitler from obtaining magical artifacts. With him, Jay Garrick (the first Flash version), Black Canary, Hourman and Hawkman, but also Steve Trevor, who acted as a liaison with the American government.

After a small introduction announcing a sort of super heroic Raiders of the Lost Ark and typical black-and-white credits of the 1940s, with period writing and bombastic orchestral music, the film moves on to something else and brings us together in Metropolis, for a picnic sequence between Iris. West and Barry Allen which can be taken from the Flash series.

The two lovebirds try to enjoy the moment together, but the young woman criticizes the hero for not being quiet (as usual) and never taking time to be with him. Soon, the film proves he was right and Barry runs away after hearing voices in the distance. There, he finds Superman facing the ugly and useless Brainiac. Eager to help the Kryptonians, Bolide goes back in time because he ran too fast (to change) and finds himself in France, in the middle of World War II, facing the Justice Society kicking the Nazis ass. At least in the beginning.

YOU WILL NOT KILL
Of the approximately 40 DC animated films produced by Warner Bros. Animation since 2007, none dedicated to the Justice Society of America before. It might be interesting to explore the legacy of these heroes from the Golden Age of comics during World War II and come up with a new version with a narrative where they prevent the Nazis from getting magical items, somewhere between homage and nostalgia. However, the film, directed by Jeff Wamester, is so busy laying the foundations of the new DC animation world that it forgets everything, both the history and the characters.

The heroes of the Justice Society, however, have dramatic potential that begs to be tapped, but the film is content to sweep their neuroses between the two battles. With his powers at his disposal only an hour a day, Hourman sees himself as a burden and thinks he doesn’t deserve his place in the group. Hawkman wanted to start a relationship with Black Canary (smartly reimagining for the occasion), knowing that his soulmate was somewhere and that he was meant to be with her, and Jay Garrick has lost some of his skills with Force Swift ever since. Barry arrives in his world.

Instead, the film simply chose to use Justice Society to inspire the Flash to create Justice League after returning home and getting lost in a number of subplots, including a visit to Atlantis, with a storyline and basic villain reminiscent of Grima and King Théoden’s manipulations in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers . Everything that’s featured is almost never developed and as time goes by Justice Society: World War II ends up looking like several different unfinished projects. Even the notion of inheritance between generations, which is tied to the rope, is thrown into two sentences.

Only Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor are allowed to get the slightly deserved treatment , with a romance similar to Wonder Woman . Confused at the thought of being with a man, Amazon prefers to remain a formidable fighter like him by pushing back his progress while the warrior wants to enjoy the rest of his life by his side, even if war may end it. anytime.This version of Wonder Woman is so modeled on gifts in films directed by Patty Jenkins (down to the Gal Gadot accent that Stana Katic is trying to reproduce) that one almost expects to hear Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL’s music when she pops in smoke or sends Nazis flying through walls.

ANGER
Thankfully, Meghan Fitzmartin and Jeremy Adams’ script makes up for the void and lack of consistency with its generosity. After the film assumes that it serves no other purpose than to launch a new expanded universe, DC heroes proliferate (even Doctor Fate has the rights to a brief , varying the environment between an old European castle and the seabed to end in a large-scale conflict between heroes, humans, and Atlanteans.

Therefore, the image with thickened contours seems to be the new graphic charter adopted for this new continuity and allows the character’s face to be more marked. And while the animation still lacks fluidity most of the time, and the emotional payload isn’t there, Wonder Woman’s rights and hero power are well represented enough to entertain between unnecessary and bland dialogue.

Overall, the action scenes are a bit more subtle than the others and provide little show, especially during the massive final clash copied from Flashpoint and Justice League: Throne of the Atlantis, right with a sort of Kaiju between Cthulhu and Godzilla of Emmerich. It’s a shame the film doesn’t keep its promise of an epic between history and fantasy to bring down the Third Reich and forgets that its heroes aren’t just there to use their superpowers.

Given that it takes the aesthetics of Superman: Man of Tomorrow and Justice Society: World War II rather than the (amazing) Team Sale board, the Batman: A Long Halloween adaptation should therefore be part of this new continuity and service. as an introduction to the Dark Knight in this new universe before he joins his little friends on a crazy adventure. Hope they are better than this one.