Western Animation: Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
Somewhere, in another universe, there is another Earth where life is reversed. The human heart is on the right side, and people who we know to be supervillains on our Earth, such as Lex Luthor and Slade Wilson, are some of this mirror-world's greatest heroes. But on the other end of the spectrum, there is the Crime Syndicate. Made up of Evil Counterparts of the Justice League, they run an empire of organized, superpowered crime that has all but taken over the world. Lex Luthor, in a desperate attempt to stop them, crosses over to the mainstream DC Universe to ask the League for help. The League agrees, but they're facing off against a world overflowing with supervillains—and Owlman (the counterpart to Batman) has his own deadly agenda...This direct-to-DVD film was originally planned as a Justice League Unlimited prequel film, dealing with how the League decided to make the jump to Heroes Unlimited after Starcrossed. After JLU was cancelled, the film was re-imagined to show off the mainstream DCU. Still, the tone is perfect for a DCAU entry, and the JLU roots are still very obvious. (For example: Absent Hawkgirl, Funny Flash, Watchtower being rebuilt, and the Heroes Unlimited is still a plot point.)An important fact to keep in mind is that, despite the similarities between the two factions, the Crime Syndicate of America is not composed of Evil Twins of the Justice League of America. Though not explained within the film itself, the members of the Syndicate have different personal and professional backgrounds, with different origins for their superpowers and different secret identities. They are Expys, which is why the "twins" have different voice-actorsnote bar Green Lantern; they are actually not the same people as those in the League.
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths contains examples of the following tropes:
Absolutely Happened: It takes very little mental effort to pretend that this movie is part of the DCAU canon.
All There in the Script: Olympia, the superpowered woman with a spear who fights Wonder Woman and is her Mirror Universe counterpart with regards to powers and origin (Superwoman is actually an analogue to Mary Marvel), is never named in the movie.
Art Major Physics: The QED trigger can't be destroyed because it's Pure Energy but even if that is true, energy can be converted from one form to another and/or dissipated. Still, it's a common enough trope in this genre to be ignored.
Axe Crazy: Superwoman. Owlman, too, but he's more quiet about it.
This Superwoman is the thematic double of Wonder Woman, but her actual powers and origin are those of Mary Marvel. Previous comic incarnations of the character have also had her double as Lois Lane and made her a Kryptonian.
There is a Crime Syndicate member, named Vamp, who appears to be a combination of Vixen and Beast Boy.
Another similar combination occurs with a character named Sai, whose name, and being amongst Owlman's Made Men along with other members whose counterparts have been members of the Outsiders (of which Batman has been a founder and leader) suggests a Crime Syndicate counterpart to Katana. However, her overall appearance, as well as her use of a cat-like mask, recalls Cheshire.
Continuity Nod: It is not a DCAU film anymore, but Bruce Timm has said that most of the original plot was still intact. Included in this film is the construction of the second Justice League Watchtower, the expansion of the League and Wonder Woman obtaining her invisible jet. These events all occurred during the gap between Justice League and Justice League Unlimited.
Cool Plane: Owlman's later becomes Wonder Woman's.
Cosmic Keystone: Owlman thinks Earth-Prime is one for the whole multiverse. Apparently just that Earth, not its universe.
Designated Girlfight: Averted. Although Wonder Woman and Superwoman fight each other in the big team battle, Diana has a struggle with Owlman aboard his plane, and curb stomps several male mooks in a truck and warehouse. Superwoman also fights Batman.
Determinator: We never see Batman receiving medical attention after he (narrowly) survives his encounter with Superwoman, suggesting that he spent the next two-thirds of the film fighting with at least one broken rib, AND he beat Owlman who is wearing Power Armor in the final act. To summarize Batman took on his own Power Armor-wearing Evil Counterpart with at least one broken rib and probably a mess of other internal injuries and WON, if not barely.
Dolled-Up Installment: Something of an inversion - The film was originally written as a DCAU entry, and the process of adapting it into DC's current franchise of stand-alone movies mainly consisted of filing the serial numbers off.
The Dragon: Each of the Crime Syndicate's core members has a Quirky Miniboss Squad of supervillains, which they call "Made Men". They each have about seven Made Men, but they trust some more than others:
The Crime Syndicate wants to threaten the governments of their world with complete destruction if they do not submit to their demands.
Owlman wants to do it to Earth Prime, and thus the Multiverse. It ends up happening to him, not that he cares.
Easter Egg: Freeze-framing when Good Luthor shows the League a diagram of the Crime Syndicate's organization tree lets one spot evil versions of heroes like Metamorpho, Blue Beetle (Ted Kord), Cyborg, Zatanna, Red Tornado, and others.
Even Evil Has Standards: While most of the Crime Syndicate wants to threaten the governments of their world with complete destruction if they do not submit to their demands, they're not about to allow Owlman and Superwoman to do it to Earth Prime, and thus the Multiverse just for fun.
Evil Counterpart: Basically the entire plot, and inverted with good counterparts for the supervillains. Lampshaded by Martian Manhunter, when he states that his Earth's Rose Wilson is probably evil (she's actually an Anti-Villain).
Expressive Mask: Averted with Owlman, who's eyes are always wide open (giving a very unsettling effect), but played straight with Batman, Flash, and every other masked hero and villain in the film.
Eyes Always Shut: Captain Super and Uncle Super, referencing the classic squinty depiction of Captain Marvel in general.
In particular Owlman, who chooses to Face Death with Dignity. When Batman warps Owlman and his QED to a different version of Earth from Earth Prime and then high tails it out before going down with the ship himself, Owlman initially shows signs he could deactivate the device and save himself. However he stops before making his move, smirks, and utters "It doesn't matter...", choosing to stand by his nihilist beliefs instead of dooming himself to life on a cold, dead planet (as the Earth he's on is an icy wasteland).
Gender Bender: A shapeshifting supervillainess turns into a distinctly male lion to attack Wonder Woman.
Genre Savvy: Superman instantly deduces that the Lex Luthor they meet is from an alternate universe by using his x-ray vision. Good Lex's heart is on the right side, and evil Lex is still in jail.
Hollywood Acid: Jester has an acid that eats through metal as if it were nothing.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Owlman. He could have shut down the bomb that killed him, but he decided that his decision simply did not matter.
Humans Are the Real Monsters: Owlman believes this. When Batman suggests that an alternate Earth was devastated by something else, Owlman sounds almost insulted. Owlman counteracts Batman's theory by telling him they both know what humans are capable of.
Superwoman inhales Batman's "smokescreen", apparently just to show off, and gets knocked out by the gas that she though was harmless smoke. Of course, this attitude is exactly how Batman defeats supervillains.
Rose. Her efforts to organize a human resistance via open political rallies are completely foolish given that the enemy can vaporize her and all the attendees from orbit. Lex by contrast only openly opposes the Crime Syndicate when he has the means to do so and that gets results. Rose might be counting on the fact that her father is president to shield her from retaliation (which isn't entirely unfounded), but it's still shown that the Syndicate is willing to assassinate her.
Rose's actions are exactly how most opposition leaders act, daring assassination so they can be martyred.
The Multiverse: The film takes a serious look at this trope to the point of near-deconstruction: The main antagonist, Owlman, goes completely Nietzsche Wannabe over the realization that the multiverse consists of the sum of all universes made from all possible outcomes of every single choice ever made by any sentient being (let's just be generous and say 'infinity'). Anything done is by definition meaningless because an infinite amount of universes exist that contain all possible outcomes of everything. Naturally, his conclusion is to perform the one action that would, by definition, have any purpose at all because it cannot have a different outcome: Blow it all up!.
J'onn laments that with his luck, Earth 1 Rose Wilson will probably be evil. Something of an aversion in that the DCU Ravager is more of an Anti-Hero who is close friends with Miss Martian, wait...
One of Martian Manhunter's memories is an image of the JLA's first adventure fighting Starro.
The tigerskin rug in Superwoman's personal quarters hints at a dark fate for Tawky Tawny, the Marvel Family's talking tiger.
And the very existence of Uncle Super is a reference to Silver Age Captain Marvel comics, where a mysterious, bumbling old man claiming to be Mary and Billy's Uncle Dudley tagged along on their adventures as Uncle Marvel. Uncle Marvel didn't actually have any powers, though.
Then there's the invisible jet Wonder Woman keeps at the end, a reference to the infamous invisible jet plant she owned in Silver Age comics and the Super Friends show and comic.
Owlman's Made Men are evil versions of the Outsiders (Black Lightning, Katana, and Looker), a team of misfits led by Batman in the '80s and '00s. There's also some Detroit Leaguers in there (Evil Vibe/"Breakdance", Evil Vixen/"Vamp", and Evil Gypsy/"Gypsy Woman" - Evil Steel is missing for whatever reason); the implication is that these were some of the Made Men absorbed into his fold after the death of J'edd J'arkus, the counterpart to the Martian Manhunter, who led the Detroit League.
Jimmy Olsen being referred to as "Ultraman's Pal" is a reference to the classic Silver Age series, Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen. He even has a signal watch.
Flash yells this when he unwittingly speeds out of the air base and begins plummeting to the ground below. Luckily, Green Lantern saves him.
During the League's face-off with the Syndicate, Flash and Johnny Quick destroy a piece of science equipment while fighting each other and Quick began hurling the broken pieces at Flash. Flash not only manages to dodge and deflect all the flying shards, but actually reassembles the device and hands it to Quick. Quick responds with a rather apt "Bugger" before Flash punches him in the face.
The Jester and Luthor get a good one in the beginning when they realize the Syndicate is already coming for them.
Owlman has one at the climax. Sure, he decided it did not matter in the end, but he did look very panicked before he came to this conclusion and the bomb went off.
Archer has a lovely one on the docks when J'onn rises up behind him as a giant sea serpent.
Papa Wolf: Yeah, that's right Ultraman, send an assassin to kill President Slade's daughter, it is not like he will not hold anything against you and arrive at your headquarters driving a tank with marines and nuclear weapons. Oh, he will? Oops.
Pet the Dog: Ultraman seems genuinely upset at Superman and Lex Luthor beating up his Made Man Jimmy Olsen.
Pinball Protagonist: Among the six protagonist Leaguers, Green Lantern does little more than just... be there.
Owlman's suit is designed to augment his physical strength and durability. He is able to briefly overpower Wonder Woman during their first encounter (before she throws him off a plane). At one point he even shrugs off an explosive Batman places on his cowl.
Good Lex Luthor's suit also counts.
Psychopathic Womanchild: Superwoman. She is willing to help blow up the universe just because her crush wants to, and generally acts like a nasty little girl. Given that she is Mary Marvel—a teenager in an adult body—this makes a lot of sense.
Rapid Aging: Johnny Quick becomes a victim of this when he uses his superspeed powers to open a portal for Batman to travel into the Earth-Prime dimension in order to stop Owlman from destroying all reality.
Reality Ensues: Normally comic book adaptations are more accommodating to Badass Normal or low-powered characters like Batman or Black Canary, but both are shown to struggle, and Batman's evil counterpart uses Powered Armor to hold his own. Additionally, Black Canary's evil counterpart is dispatched unceremoniously by the Flash.
Several to the Alien franchise. The most noticeable is when Batman enters a scene in a construction Mini-Mecha that looks very much like Ripley's power loader suit from Aliens. The actual angle of the camera is also almost identical. And the space marines at the end have Pulse rifles.
Evil!Vixen turns into a lion that looks like a more realistic version of Scar.
Shut Up, Hannibal!: Batman does this twice to Owlman during the climax. The first time he asks if Owlman intends to talk him to death, the next one is one of the biggest Moments Of Awesome in the film. Wonder Woman does this to Superwoman as well.
Smug Super: All of the Syndicate members are unGodly smug about their powers.
Spotlight-Stealing Squad: It is not as bad as in some adaptations, but as ever, Batman (and his Evil Counterpart, Owlman) do hog a lot of the action, especially in the finale. Somewhat unavoidable with Owlman being the Big Bad and all.
Stealth Pun: When the mugshots for the villains come up, one of them looks like Mr. Terrific, except with a H on his face, making him Mr. Horrific.
"Made Men" is not only a Stealth Pun, but a Double Entendre. Many of the villains of the CSA are literally made, as in transformed from normal people into superpowered beings, such as Superwoman's lieutenants and Jimmy Olsen.
Straw Nihilist: Owlman, who believes that parallel universes render free will meaningless. Which is why he wants to blow them up. Heck, he doesn't even care during his death scene.
Strong as They Need to Be: Owlman's suit. At first he's able to overpower Wonder Woman, then when he's fighting Batman that's completely ignored, and when they fight on Earth Prime, Owlman kicks his ass at first, but he's still not as strong as he was in the start of the film.
This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Averted. When Superwoman breaks into the Earth One JLA quarters, Batman calls for some heroes, among them, Aquaman. Do you see a body of water or some fishes he can call? No. He's a capable fighter over the surface.
This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Good Lex Luthor may have sorely needed the help from Earth-1's Justice League, but he knows the symbolic importance of fighting Ultraman himself. If the people of his Earth can not stand up to the Crime Syndicate, then there is no chance at all of it sticking once the Justice League leaves. This is echoed in the ending when President Wilson and the Marines come to arrest the surviving Syndicate members.
Unholy Matrimony: Owlman and Superwoman. While they had this relationship in the comics, Superwoman was Ultraman's wife and she mainly kept up the affair with Owlman to spite him. She didn't seem to care what happen to Owlman.
Vitriolic Best Buds: At the beginning of the movie, Flash complains that Batman had turned him into a guinea pig and that he does not feel that Batman likes him very much. At the end they need superspeed to open a "doorway". Flash steps up, but Batman tells him he is too slow and Johnny Quick offers to do it. At the end, it turns out that the job Batman needed done drained the life out of Johnny, and killed him, and that is why Batman would not let his universe's Flash do the job.
On the other hand, Batman initially refused to even help the alternate Earth because it wasn't his Earth. He would have sacrificed a good alternate version of the Flash, too.
Weld The Lock: Alexander Luthor welds the vault door to slow down the Crime Syndicate.
Would Hit a Girl: Superman had no problem battling Superwoman. Given that she is as strong as he is (give or take) and evil, this makes sense.
Wrestler in All of Us: In this adaptation, Wonder Woman mercilessly uses several professional wrestling moves. She actually busts out a sidebuster against Vixen, and the fight against Superwoman is no-holds-barred. Diana opens the final fight against Superwoman with a flying drop-kick, and finishes with a modified butterfly suplex and an elbow-drop.