29th Apr2019

‘Justice League vs. The Fatal Five’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Features the voices of: Elyes Gabel, Diane Guerrero, Kevin Conroy, Susan Eisenberg, George Newbern, Daniela Bobadilla, Peter Jessop, Tom Kenny, Tara Strong, Bruce Timm | Written by Alan Burnett, Eric Carrasco, James Krieg | Directed by Sam Liu


The fate of the earth hangs in the balance when the Justice League face a powerful new threat – the Fatal Five! Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman seek answers as Mano, Persuader and Tharok terrorize Metropolis in search of budding Green Lantern Jessica Cruz. With Cruz’s unwilling help, they aim to free remaining Fatal Five members Emerald Empress and Validus and carry out their sinister plan. Meanwhile, the Justice League discover an ally in the peculiar Star Boy, who’s brimming with volatile power. Could he be the key to thwarting the Fatal Five? An epic battle against ultimate evil awaits!

It has been said, often, that Warner Bros’ animated DC movies are the highlight of the DC cinematic universe – often surpassing their live-action counterparts in terms of performance and story, with more animated hits than live-action misses. However the recent outings, for me, have dropped somewhat in quality. It didn’t help that the last few movies have been rehashes of the Death and Return of Superman stories – the first story that was made as part of Warners animated DC Universe.

However, despite any shortcomings of recent DCU efforts, excitement was high for Justice League vs. The Fatal Five, mainly due to the fact this particular movie involved, and paid homage to, Bruce Timm – the man behind the 90s Batman animated series and the majority of the DC animated series that followed, including Superman and Batman Beyond. Oh, and he’s also the co-creator of fan-favourite character Harley Quinn. And… this particular movie sees Timm return to not just DC animated movies but the Justice League, a team he had experience with previous on television, with both Justice League (2001) and Justice League Unlimited (2004).

So to see such a dull finished product was a HUGE disappointment.

For that’s what Justice League vs. The Fatal Five is. Dull. Despite an action-packed story there’s no sense of urgency, no emotional core and so the entire thing feels monotonous and mundane. If these were actors I’d say they were merely going through the motions, trying to get to the end of the story without giving anything extra to their performance. The other major problem is that this film demands you know these characters beforehand, in fact it demands that you are already invested in these characters stories – without ever really giving you a reason to be within the context of this movie. Those characters the film does do a decent job of introducing – Green Lantern Jessica Cruz and 31st-Century hero Star Boy – are sadly seemingly left by the wayside once the titular fatal five arrive and face off against the Justice League.

Definitely not one for the casual DC fan, Justice League vs. The Fatal Five will appeal to those that enjoyed the JL/JLU animated series of the past throught the sheer power of nostalgia – especially given the animation and the voice-acting harkens back to that era – but for everyone else this is one of the wealer entries in the DC animated movie canon.

Justice League vs. The Fatal Five is out now on DVD and Blu-ray from Warner Bros.


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