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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
Based on a celebrated JLA storyline, Justice League: Doom features our favorite DC Comics characters being incapacitated through elaborate plans specifically designed for each superhero. The mastermind bringing down the JLA? Batman!
But not really. See, as it turns out Batman made plans to take down the other Justice Leaguers just in case any of them got out of control. However, villain Vandal Savage steals these plans from Batman (because, he somehow knew Batman had them – yeah…the movie does not go into this) and enacts them (with help from various other villains) so he can get the heroes out of the way for his ultimate plan. That is, you guessed it, to take over the world.
I have found that the line DC animated direct-to-DVD films starting in 2007 have been largely a mixed bag. For every Wonder Woman, there is a Batman: Year One. There really is no consistency with the quality of these films, and much of it hinges on the story/script.
So, how does Doom hold up? For the most part, it is entertaining. The story is extremely paper thin. Much of the running time consists of prolonged fight sequences (one-per-hero simultaneously happening at the same time – the film cuts back and forth between them). It is largely well-paced in this regard. However, the constant action eventually gets tiresome and more of a breather would have been nice.
Then again, whereas this problem with Batman: Year One was how boring it actually was, Doom rarely is. It kept my attention throughout and that probably had to do with the fact it was a giant fight scene. The little kid in my who would play with action figures having heroes and villains battling it out appreciated that, and it is apparent that is exactly was the movie was trying to do and director Lauren Montgomery (whose work I have generally liked in the past) brings a certain pizazz to the action. It is tough to criticize on that level.
Considering this was a vehicle for extended fights, the story suffers for it. Savage’s final plan was not really explained until the third act, and I never felt a true sense of danger from it. It felt tacked on so the League could have some tangible goal when defeating the villains (besides revenge for getting the better of them).
Plus, some of the contingency plans Batman had in place for the heroes are laughably stupid. For example, to take down Wonder Woman, Bats created a toxin where she would see everyone as her nemesis. This, of course, leads Wonder Woman to beat up everyone she sees. Seems like an absolutely terrible idea. The movie does explain that Savage adjusted the plans a bit, but as a viewer, you have to really squint and turn your head to make it work.
Justice League: Doom is not a bad entry in this line of movies. It is better than others, but there really is not much in the film to really call it good or bad. It is kind of middling, but on the same token, the film knows what it is doing, and it excels at that. It is a very effective film in that regard. I would not run out to rent Justice League: Doom (well, why would you – it was released over a year ago), but if you have nothing to do some night and want to see a good bit of animated fisticuffs, you cannot go wrong with it.