tek's rating:

Justice League: Gods and Monsters (PG-13)
DC Comics; DC Database; IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Warner Bros.; Wikipedia; World's Finest
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This came out in 2015, but I didn't see it until 2022. It was preceded by a series of three webisodes, and was followed by some digital comics that I haven't read. It may well be the darkest, most violent animated DC movie I've ever seen. And it's pretty good. I definitely enjoyed the story, and it was nice to have some less familiar characters than usual. In fact it seems to be set in an alternate universe, kind of like Elseworlds comics.

Throughout the movie, we see the backstories of he three main characters (the only members of the Justice League). It begins on Krypton, with Jor-El about to send his and Lara's son off in a spaceship before the planet explodes. But it's weird, because actually it's just an egg that hasn't been fertilized yet, which Jor-El is about to do with his fingerprint. But then General Zod comes in and uses his own fingerprint to fertilize the egg, instead. Which means there'll be no Clark Kent in this universe, but Zod's son instead. When the baby arrives on Earth, he is taken in and raised by undocumented immigrants, though we only see them briefly. I think it was kind of a nice touch, symbolic of the fact that Superman was always a refugee and an immigrant, in any universe. (Wikipedia informs me that the character's name in this story is Hernan Guerra, though I never heard that name mentioned in the movie.) Anyway, the baby does grow up to become Superman, but not at all the sort we're used to. In fact the three main characters are all sort of anti-heroes who work for the U.S. government, under President Amanda Waller (Penny Johnson Jerald). The other two characters are Wonder Woman, who in this story is Bekka, a former member of the New Gods; and Batman, who in this story is a Kirk Langstrom (and a vampire). I don't really want to spoil either of their backstories, but it's important to mention that Kirk has longtime friends and fellow scientists named Will Magnus and Tina (Grey Griffin). (At least I think Tina was also a scientist, I'm not sure. But certainly Kirk and Will were.) They were some of a larger number of scientists who had studied under Lex Luthor (Jason Isaacs), who in this story is not a villain. But at some point prior to the start of the main setting of the movie, Luthor had disappeared. We'll see him later, though. Also working for President Waller is a soldier named Steve Trevor (Tahmoh Penikett), who is apparently the sometime lover of Wonder Woman. But on missions, he doesn't always get along with the Justice League, because of their unorthodox methods.

It's also important to mention that there are people who protest against the Justice League, because they're too powerful for the government to really control. Though eventually we learn about a secret government project called "Fair Play" that would allow them to kill the heroes in case it ever became necessary. Anyway, the story is mainly about various scientists being murdered, and it turns out they all worked together on Project Fair Play. We get to see that the murders are committed by some sort of robots or whatever (which use boom tubes to teleport themselves), but the methods they use to kill their victims are intended to frame the Justice League. So of course the JL investigate the matter on their own, even while public opinion of them continues to plummet. That's in large part because of the reporting of Lois Lane (Paget Brewster), who has no faith in them. While the government isn't ready to turn on them yet, it's inevitable that that will happen sooner or later. (And the troops who stand against the JL will be led by Steve Trevor.) Eventually the JL prove their innocence, but I don't want to spoil who's behind it all or what their motivations were. But their plan is way bigger than just framing the Justice League.

So, I don't know what else to tell you. I liked the explanation for what was going on all along. And I liked the backstories. And it was cool seeing the heroes as somewhat less heroic than we're used to (they're not above killing the bad guys). It's always interesting to see some grey morality. There were things I didn't necessarily like about the movie, but nothing really worth mentioning.


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