Darwyn Cooke’s now iconic graphic novel Justice League: The New Frontier gets the DC animation update and brings a cavalcade of stars to the animated incarnations of some of DC’s biggest hitters.
Set in the 1950s the animation style perfectly reflects that of the original comic panel art, as it follows a collection of heroes who rise up to serve following the horrors of the Korean War and McCarthyism. And they couldn’t have picked a better time, because something, far older than civilization is coming back, ready to claim Earth as its own.
Superman (Kyle Maclachlan) confers with Batman (Jeremy Sisto) about his new image, taking on a ward, Robin (Shane Ashton Haboucha) while continuing his romance with Lois (Kyra Sedgewick). Wonder Woman (Lucy Lawless) ruminates on the nature of man and the state of the U.S. in the world following recent events. A Martian (Miguel Ferrer) gets pulled to Earth by accident and wants to leave before finding a new home, and Hal Jordan (David Boreanaz) is striving to become the best pilot, and possibly astronaut he can be, until he receives a higher calling, to become Green Lantern.
Meanwhile, Barry Allen aka The Flash (Nei Patrick Harris) is thinking about hanging up his cowl, thinking he can’t compare with the other super-powered heroes saving the world, but this being The Centre (Keith David) is going to cause them all to unite and fight for their planet.
The biggest problem I have with the animated films so far, even as I attempt to adjust to the voice casting, is overseen by the wonderful Andrea Romano, is the runtimes.
And while this time around, the casting is so on point, though Batman still kind of bothers me, the hour and fourteen minute runtime doesn’t seem to do the story, or the characters the justice they deserve.
I understand that Cooke came in to add some additional story material, but I honestly wish they had given enough to make the film at least an hour and a half and given all of the characters just a little bit more development this one could have been a hands-down winner.
As much as I enjoyed this one, its cast, its style, it just felt it should have been more, longer, in-depth, and really explore this world Cooke created, and the familiar character inhabiting it, which would have allowed some viewers to see them in a new way.
Still, it’s a solid entry in the DC animated films, and if pressed, I enjoyed it more than Year One, despite the great story in Year One. Let’s see what the Bat brings me next time.