MONKEY REVIEW: Justice League: The New Frontier

March 22, 2008

Touted on the cover as the first DC Universe direct-to-video release to get a PG-13, Justice League: The New Frontier is definitely not for younger viewers, owing to some light profanity and some fairly graphic violence for an animated feature starring Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and the like. Those caveats aside, this is an entertaining, heavily nostalgic and beautifully animated 75 minute adaptation of Darwyn Cooke’s graphic novel of the same name. It’s set during the 50’s, so all the superheroes featured have the uniforms they had during that period, and there’s a heavy dose of post World War II art design reflected in the animation, which, for me, anyway, was one of the highlights of watching the movie and one of the major reasons I’d recommend it. Justice League: The New Frontier features the origin stories of the Flash, the Martian Manhunter and the Green Lantern, but it assumes you already know the other heroes in the cast, what they do, where they came from, what their powers are, etc. The plot revolves around a new threat emerging called “the Center,” which eventually threatens the entire world. It takes an appropriately scary and weird form, and it’s up to the Justice League, who have largely been disbanded and discouraged from practicing their superhero ways by an increasingly paranoid Cold War era U.S. government (save for Superman, natch), to come together and defeat it. The impressive voice cast includes Kyle MacLachlan, Lucy Lawless, Neil Patrick Harris, Keith David, Kyra Sedgwick and Jeremy Sisto, who is particularly effective as Batman. Again, Justice League: The New Frontier is not recommended for young kids, owing to a mature storyline, historical references that will go over their heads and often explicit, bloody violence, but for older comic book and superhero fans, this is great stuff.

MONKEY RATING: ONE (CAPE WEARING, CRIME FIGHTING) MONKEY

(For a brief explanation of the Monkey Review rating system, click here.)

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