SYNOPSIS: Justice Society: World War II finds modern-day Barry Allen – prior to the formation of the Justice League – discovering he can run even faster than he imagined, and that milestone results in his first encounter with the Speed Force. The Flash is promptly launched into the midst of a raging battle – primarily between Nazis and a team of Golden Age DC Super Heroes known as The Justice Society of America. Led by Wonder Woman, the group includes Hourman, Black Canary, Hawkman, Steve Trevor, and the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick. The Flash quickly volunteers to assist his fellow heroes in tipping the scales of war in their favor, while the team tries to figure out how to send him home. But it won’t be easy as complications and emotions run deep in this time-skipping World War II thriller.
I’ll be the first to admit: I don’t have extensive knowledge of the Justice Society of America. However, with the emphasis on the team in the recent STARGIRL TV series, and the upcoming BLACK ADAM movie, it seems like WB wants us to get to know the Golden Age heroes.
And that’s a good thing…mostly.
JUSTICE SOCIETY: WORLD WAR II is the latest installment of the DC animated movie line, and it’s an action-packed story that looks good and the voice-acting is good. But, it has some complications.
The film gets going with The Flash in modern times, as he confronts relationship drama with Iris West. A sudden fight reels him to the center of the action, where The Scarlet Speedster finds himself zipping back in time to the Second World War. On the frontlines, he finds a group of heroes taking down Nazis and joins them in pursuit of dismantling the Third Reich.
The first half of this movie was fantastic and was delivering more than what I’d hoped. There were familiar characters, and some I wasn’t too knowledgeable on, working together to take down the ultimate enemy. I mean, who doesn’t want to see Nazis getting their asses kicked by DC heroes? The movie had a direction, and the characters were perfect pieces of a large puzzle.
At the halfway mark, the story shifted, and (mostly) lost the World War II angle of the movie. Now, that isn’t an instant negative unless it becomes distracting; to me, it was. I found myself asking “Where’s the story going here?” And “What’s the point?”. Sure, there’s a bad guy and a reveal, but it ultimately adds up to a big third-act showdown that feels (mostly) disconnected to the front half of the movie.
It’s not bad, just a big pivot from where we started.
Speaking of where we started, I loved the voice cast of this movie. The Flash is the star of the show and Matt Bomer led the way with a great performance. He gives a genuine, lighthearted interpretation of Barry Allen that fits well for this take. Another star was Stana Katic as Wonder Woman. She voiced her perfectly, with great emotional depth mixed with a commanding tone when it’s needed. While the rest of the cast was solid throughout, these two were the highlights for me.
The look of this movie falls in line with the SUPERMAN: MAN OF TOMORROW film that came before it, and the BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN that’s coming up next. While I would always prefer original, unique animation styles over the forced connectivity, I still really enjoy the look of these recent films. It’s the “Archer Animation”, and I really like it.
Overall, this was a good movie. It had great action, solid voice performances, and a story that mostly connected. While the front half was much more coherent and exciting than the back, the movie serves as a good launchpad for future team-up films. – Ryan Lower