‘Justice League: War’ – superheroes collide on HBO Max

Justice League: War (2014) reimagines the first meeting of the DC superhero stars: Superman (voiced by Alan Tudyk), Batman (Jason O’Mara), Wonder Woman (Michelle Monaghan), Green Lantern (Justin Kirk), The Flash (Christopher Gorham), and less obviously Shazam (aka Captain Marvel) (Sean Astin) and Cyborg (Shemar Moore).

They fight the nihilistic Darkseid here, the most powerful of DC’s villains, but otherwise it follows the familiar “making of the super band” formula: a bunch of solo heroes have to get over themselves and their suspicions of those other guys and work like a team to save the world (and, in the process, their own public image). Quips are crammed in between the spats and battles but there’s not much resonance this time around, not after such superior, darker productions as Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, or the silver age rethink Justice League: The New Frontier.

It’s based on “Justice League: Origins” by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee (which helped kick off the “New 52” reboot of the DC comic book heroes) and works better as a prologue than an opening act. It’s the second of the DC Animated Universe originals to come from the reboot (following Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox) and it was followed by a series of films set in the reboot featuring the voices of O’Mara as Batman and Gorham as Flash.

Jay Oliva directs.

Rated PG-13

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Also on Blu-ray and DVD and on SVOD through Amazon Video, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu and/or other services. Availability may vary by service.
Justice League: War [Blu-ray]
Justice League: War [DVD]

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The Blu-ray and 2-disc DVD editions includes three featurettes (including a quasi-commentary “Deconstructing War” with comic artist and DC editor Jim Lee and director Jay Oliva talking over key scenes) and four vintage cartoons.


Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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