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Western Animation / Justice League: War

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Superheroes have recently started to appear and not only are they considered strange, but are hated and feared, which Batman doesn't mind. But when he discovers signs of an alien invasion from the planet Apokolips, ruled by the God of Evil Darkseid, Batman must team up with Green Lantern and they must band together a team of superheroes to stop it.

A film in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line and the first full movie in the DC Animated Movie Universe, Justice League: War is an Animated Adaptation of the first arc of the New 52 version of the Justice League, Justice League: Origin. Voice actors include Jason O'Mara (Terra Nova) as Batman, Alan Tudyk (Firefly) as Superman, Michelle Monaghan (Source Code) as Wonder Woman, Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs) as The Flash, Justin Kirk (Weeds) as Green Lantern, Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds) as Cyborg, Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings) as Shazam, and Steve Blum (Cowboy Bebop) as Darkseid.


Here is the first trailer released.

Here is the character sheet.

This movie provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Wonder Woman, unsurprisingly.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Aquaman is replaced by Shazam.
    • Freddy and Darla are Billy's only foster siblings shown in the film. Mary, Eugene and Pedro are not seen or mentioned.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The fight scenes against Darkseid are much more epic in both scale and length than they were in the comic.
    • Wonder Woman is given more focus than in the source material. Her fight scenes are some of the most impressive in the movie in technical terms.
    • Shazam replacing Aquaman is also an example of this, as Cyborg's Odd Friendship with him develops the latter's character beyond the source material.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Billy Batson isn't as much of a Jerkass as his New 52 counterpart was at first, although he's still more mischievous and arrogant than previous incarnations.
    • Advertisement:
    • Freddy Freeman also appears to be a kind young boy, in contrast to his New 52 counterpart, who was a lying hustler and thief.
  • Adorkable:
    • Wonder Woman when introduced to ice cream.
    • Flash having a fanboy moment when he meets Batman.
  • Alien Blood: The Parademons have dark green, electrically charged blood that doesn't stick to clothing or skin.
  • Alien Invasion: From Apokolips.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Halfway literal. Wonder Woman is instantly smitten when she sees Superman kicking ass.
  • Amazon Chaser: Literally. At least three of the heroes hit on Wonder Woman.
  • Audible Sharpness: Wonder Woman can't move her sword one inch without it making little noises.
  • "Ass" in Ambassador: Wonder Woman, apparently, though she's really just an Innocently Insensitive Boisterous Bruiser who treats every situation like it's a fantasy epic. She bails on meeting the president because she doesn't want to wait, cares little to nothing about the customs of the Nation she is in, and constantly thrusts her sword at people, which clearly terrifies them. It has gotten so bad that at the beginning of the movie there is a protest group wanting her gone.
    • To the point that this is likely why she's an official Ambassador, so she doesn't end up in jail for constantly breaking laws. Everything from Assault to Jaywalking
  • Badass Normal: Batman of course. It's played a lot more realistically than usual, while Batman holds his own against a few parademons, he's nowhere near as effective as the other superheroes and most of his fights involve evasion or trickery. His fight against Superman is exactly as one-sided as a fight between an alien god and a guy in a bat costume should be. Green Lantern asks questions that confirm, to his horror, that despite who they're fighting, Batman is someone Hal can't believe has survived as long as he has.
  • Berserk Button:
    • For Superman, hurting Wonder Woman.
    • For Darkseid, getting his eye stabbed by Wonder Woman. He doesn't say anything, but he goes form expending minimal effort to tackling and wailing on her.
  • Big Bad: Darkseid. A galactic level conquerer who invades planets, converts the populations into more of his monster mook soldiers, and moves on to the next one.
  • The Big Guy: Superman, as opposed to his more traditional portrayal, is more cocky here and is frequently labeled as the group's "Big Gun."
  • Blood Knight: Superman is a bit more fight-happy in this adaptation. Ditto for Wonder Woman.
  • Body Horror: Victor's transformation into Cyborg. After an Apokoliptan Mother Box blows up in his face, Victor's father tries to use the advanced technology in his lab to save him, but it interacts with the Apokoliptan tech and bonds to him painfully. Notably, as the film progresses, his body horror softens in stages until he's settled into his normal look.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Wonder Woman loves a fight and relishes the battlefield as soon as the war against Darkseid begins.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Superman after being tortured on Apokolips and partially converted into one of Darkseids cyborg soldiers. He even kills Desaad and tries to kill Batman before coming back out of it.
  • Brawler Lock: Superman does this against Darkseid and forces him to his knees.
  • Butt-Monkey: Green Lantern. Batman hands out humiliation to him to such an extent that he looks like his All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder incarnation.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Victor calls his dad out for never caring about him and actively discouraging his skills.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Wonder Woman's reaction upon discovering the wonders of ice cream.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Wonder Woman can come off this way, but not from stupidity. She just tends to filter everything in terms of being part of a heroic epic.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Batman, as per usual, picks his fights carefully. He sticks to surprise attacks against the parademons as best he can, uses the fact that Superman doesn't kill to test him for weaknesses, and only ever directly engages Darkseid after he's blinded, and only just long enough to try to send him back through his portal.
  • Comic Book Movies Dont Use Code Names: They're never actually called the Justice League. The president calls them the Super Friends and the movie ends with with Shazam calling them the Super Seven with everybody else groaning.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: After being rescued from a Parademon by the Green Lantern, the woman in the beginning asks for the catch.
    Woman: What's it gonna cost?
    [Green Lantern flies away in a huff]
    Woman: And how am I supposed to get down from here now?
  • Conveniently Empty Building: Dozens of them, at least some seem to be construction sites or abandoned buildings befitting urban sprawl but city centers have no excuse. This is averted for that one with someone visibly fleeing inside it when Superman plows through it and several Darkseid damages to drive the terrified population outside.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: One Parademon handles Batman and Green Lantern. Another seems to give Superman a decent fight (though he may be holding back to try to capture it alive). Once the Mother Boxes open, they go down in droves.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Green Lantern and Batman are rather outmatched when they decide to interfere with Superman.
    • The Air Force tries to stop Darkseid.
    • The first battle of the Justice League against Darkseid is one-sided.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Like all of his other versions, Batman cultivates a dark image to make his heroics easier, and considers the general public fear and hatred of heroes to be an necessary evil, but does what he does to make the world a better place. Wonder Woman even compares him favorably to Hades, who in the original myths was a very dark, but not evil, death god.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Batman, naturally.
    • Superman has his moments as well.
    • Green Lantern, too. Especially when Batman goes into stoic mode.
  • Death by Adaptation: Desaad gets this at the hands of a brainwashed and berserk Superman in particularly brutal fashion.
  • Determinator: Hal's main redeeming feature is that, per canon, he doesn't give up. Ever.
  • The Dragon: Desaad to Darkseid, as usual.
  • Dumb Muscle: Hal has shades of this, but it's mostly because he's over-confident. Superman at first hits this due to being the strongest living thing on the planet most of the time.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In this film, superheroes are treated as a recent thing and Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern are voiced by Alan Tudyk, Michelle Monaghan, and Justin Kirk respectively. The very next film in the DC Animated Movie Universe, Son of Batman shows that Dick is already Nightwing; Teen Titans: The Judas Contract shows that the Teen Titans were already formed when Dick was Robin with Wally West having been Kid Flash and Speedy also being around, despite Green Arrow never once having been seen in the setting; and the roles of Clark, Diana, and Hal were voiced by Jerry O'Connell, Rosario Dawson, and Nathan Fillion in subsequent installments.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: The Green Lantern and The Flash are shocked to learn that Batman exists.
  • Evil Is Bigger: Darkseid is huge in this incarnation, easily three times taller than the heroes and just as wide.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Darkseid, naturally, courtesy of Steve Blum. Bonus points for having his voice altered to demonic levels.
  • Expy: At the beginning of the movie, there is a boy named Max who looks just like Garfield Logan from season 1 of Young Justice. The only difference is Max's blonde hair, as opposed to Garfield's red hair.
  • Eye Scream:
    • The heroes agree that disabling Darkseid's Omega Beams is their first priority, and thus aim for his eyes. Because of this, Darkseid gets both eyes gouged out, one with a sword, the other with a crowbar. For good measure, Shazam sends a lightning bolt down the latter. And then Superman follows suit by shooting into both of Darkseid's bloody eye sockets with his Eye Beams.
    • The poor victims (including Superman!) of the Painful Transformation that would turn them into Parademons; it starts with the eyes and includes visibly dripping blood.
  • Fanboy: The Flash is pretty happy about meeting Batman. And Batman respects him, which, after treating Hal like a moron for the entire movie up until that point, is amusing.
  • Feed It a Bomb: Batman does this to a Parademon in Darkseid's base.
  • Fish out of Water: Wonder Woman, to a ridiculous extent.
  • For the Evulz: Darkseid is given no motivation or backstory for his invasion of Earth. All he states is that he is entropy and death. When not busy fighting the heroes he engages in random acts of destruction with his eye beams. So he invades because he is evil... and that is about it.
  • Friend to All Children: Wonder Woman blows off a meeting with the president in favor of befriending a young girl named Hannah Grace and getting ice cream with her.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: One complaint about the film is Darkseid is given no motivation, background, personality, or anything. The only reason given for his invasion is for organic material to create more Parademons so he can invade other planets to get the organic material to create more Parademons. You could replace him with any other alien conqueror. The creators apparently took the criticism by heart with Reign of the Supermen, which reintroduces Darkseid with more personality and motivations.
  • Go for the Eye: Wonder Woman comes up with a rather direct solution to Darkseid's Omega Beams: blind him.
  • Hero Insurance: A protester rants about the heroes causing $100 million in damage yearly as part of the reason they need to go. Such an estimate is rather tame by modern standards, all things considered.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The heroes aren't well-liked to begin with, in part because of the massive collateral damage they cause; aside from the Flash, most of them can't be bothered to check themselves. An alien invasion warms the public to them.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: What ultimately stops Darkseid is Cyborg, who has a combination of Apokaliptian technology and other alien tech which allows him to interface with the Mother Box and reprogram it to send Darkseid and his army back where they came from.
  • Hostile Terraforming: Darksied's trying to do it to Earth.
  • Human Resources: Parademons are created by re-purposing the local populations of the planets Darkseid conquers.
  • I Am the Noun: "I am entropy. I am death. I am... Darkseid."
  • Idiot Ball: Vic Stone when he grabs the Mother Box his dad is working on.
  • I Know Your True Name: This is how Batman defuses the fight with Superman. Superman turns it around on him.
    Green Lantern This guy's gonna kill us!
    Batman: No, he won't. You bruise, but you don't kill. Do you... Clark?
    Superman: [Goes wide-eyed with surprise, then comes to a halt right in front of Batman] You've made your point... [glances under Batman's cowl with X-Ray Vision] Heh, Bruce Wayne.
    • Batman does it again to Green Lantern later in the movie to make sure Hal listens to his pep talk.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: When Victor is first transformed, he starts argue with Silas. The Flash mentions that he is probably needs to "help out downtown," and leaves.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Batman successfully does this after Superman has been brainwashed and partially converted into a Parademon.
  • Impossible Thief: Batman manages to steal Hal's ring while he's wearing it, and Hal doesn't notice until Batman holds the ring up to study it.
  • Jerk Jock: Green Lantern was intentionally written like this. According to writer Heath Corson:
    Corson: Hal Jordan is a jock. He’s the guy who’d walk into a bar with a popped collar — he’s a douchebag! And guess what: He gets to be a douchebag in this.
  • Jerkass: Green Lantern, primarily. Wonder Woman and Superman to lesser extents - though in Wonder Woman's case, it's indicated to be more of a case of her being Innocently Insensitive, as she's generally rather kind to civilians.
  • Large Ham: Wonder Woman is very... exuberant, especially when it comes to battle. Even outside of fighting, she seems to approach near every situation with the same warrior's boisterousness. Even eating ice cream.
  • Leeroy Jenkins:
    • Green Lantern doesn't really think before he attacks. Amusingly, by the end of the plot he manages to shape up and puts together a careful plan of attack, only for Shazam to ruin it by doing this instead—which Lantern lampshades.
      Lantern: [to Wonder Woman] Get him out of there. His showboating is gonna ruin the entire plan. Oh, great, now I'm Batman.
    • As mentioned above, another example is Shazam (and Diana calls him out on it), though he has the excuse of being a kid.
    • Ironically enough, Diana herself doesn't really stop to think before she decides to attack Cyborg upon first meeting—and gets a face of automated sonic cannon for her troubles. Immediately after, Flash lets everyone know Vic's on their side.
    • Superman himself has this problem, though it's downplayed in comparison to the other heroes.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: The superheroes are unfamiliar with one another at first. This leads to a brawl or two.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Superman and Green Lantern fight in a building with a Lexcorp sign in front of it, and then Superman throws Lantern into a Lexcorp truck.
    • Virgil Hawkins and Tye Longshadow from Young Justice can be seen at the football game in the beginning.
    • The Wonder Woman effigy that the protester is seen hanging sports her New 52 design. Incidentally, there are also similarities to Watchmen, where a protester is seen holding a Superman-like effigy.
    • Freddy Freeman and Darla Dudley appear as Billy's foster brother and sister.
    • One of the scientists early on is basically Dr. Sterling Roquette as a brunette. Likewise, one of the others is future supervillain T.O. Morrow.
    • When they're being lauded in the ending, the speaker stumbles over what to call them before settling on "Superfriends", prompting an argument about what to name their group.
    • Batman being mistaken for a vampire, which he was in the Batman Vampire trilogy.
    • Shazam's name suggestion for their team is "Super Seven", a name used in the (pre-New 52) Elseworlds issues Adventures of Superman Annual #6 and Superboy Annual (vol. 4) #1.
    • The victims of a previous invasion of Darkseid turned into parademons look to be Ulla's species, from Ultra the Multi-alien.
  • Neck Lift:
    • Superman gives one to Batman at the start, before they recognize they're on the same side.
    • Batman then interrogates Desaad this way.
    • And a brainwashed Superman kills Desaad by breaking his neck one-handed.
  • No-Sell: Superman to a variety of Batman's gadgets.
  • No Respect Guy:
    • Barry doesn't seem to get a lot of respect from his coworkers.
    • The heroes in general aren't respected by the public they save.
    • Among the heroes, no one respects Green Lantern.
  • No Social Skills: Wonder Woman's a bit out of touch with social conventions, to say the least.
  • Off-Model: Freddy wears a prominent (outside his pants) brace on his right leg; most other versions of him his right leg is his good one.
  • Offscreen Momentof Awesome: The conclusion of how Batman manages to defeat a flood of Parademons by himself or how he eventually talks down a brainwashed Superman isn't depicted.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Batman is clearly the most rational and mature member of the group at the start.
    • Flash, who manages to be the only hero to go the entire story without getting into a pointless scrape of some kind with another hero.
  • Painful Transformation: The story does not pull punches with how horrifying the Parademon transformation process is. There's a lot of restraint, a lot of screaming, and a LOT of blood.
  • Precision F-Strike: Cyborg delivers one when the Mother Box stops working.
    Cyborg: Shit.
  • Psychotic Smirk: When he's not busy looking grim, Darkseid has a very menacing smirk that usually prefaces a brutal ass-kicking.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: The Flash does this a couple times.
  • Reality Ensues: Batman has, in prior adaptations, been portrayed as able to beat Superman handily as long as he has an edge of some kind. Here, we get to see him try to fight Superman without an edge, and it doesn't go well. Superman becomes The Juggernaut, completely shrugging off the gadgets Batman tries to use against him while neutralising him with little more than a blast or two of his Eye Beams and throwing one or two punches. In the end, Batman has to resort to I Know Your True Name to defuse the conflict, with the playing field quickly levelled thanks to Superman's X-Ray Vision.
  • Recognition Failure: Green Lantern doesn't know who Bruce Wayne is.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Superman, Darkseid.
  • Ship Tease: Between Superman and Wonder Woman.
  • Shockand Awe: Captain Marvel's lightning is turned up full force in the climax.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Near the beginning of the film, Green Lantern snarks that Batman - who he assumes is a vampire - hasn't had his True Blood.
    • Shazam refers to Darkseid as "Blackheart the Deatheater" while referencing World of Warcraft in the same breath.
    • Cyborg compares himself to the Terminator while angsting over his condition.
  • Small Name, Big Ego:
    • Played with by Green Lantern. He's perfectly correct when he tells Batman that this whole star sector is his jurisdiction... but then he goes and quickly gets taken down a peg almost constantly.
    • Shazam is a milder example. He naturally assumes he can take Darkseid by himself and wrongly believes Wonder Woman "digs" him.
  • Smug Super: Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Superman, and Shazam. Superman, Shazam, and Green Lantern all think they can handle most threats on their own and rely on their powers. Superman even toys with Batman and Green Lantern when they first meet, knowing there's nothing they can really do to him. Superman's first interaction with WW is just saying, "you're strong," and she replies, "I know." Even Batman is smug and he has no powers to be smug about; he swipes Green Lantern's power ring and when told he's not going to do it again, his reply is "Unless I want to."
  • The Stinger: The post-credits sequence shows Ocean Master declaring war on the surface world, a Sequel Hook for Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, introducing Aquaman.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: As a Badass Normal, Batman can only get kills with liberal use of explosives. Except maybe that one time on Apokalips. We don't get to see that one.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham:
    • Averted with GL coming to Gotham. As far as GL's concerned, Gotham is part of his jurisdiction anyway. Otherwise, it seems pretty clear that each hero has his own jurisdiction that he doesn't stray from until the events of the movie.
    • Gets a lampshade hanging twice: Batman tells Green Lantern that Gotham is his, and Superman tells GL and Batman that Metropolis is "my turf."
  • Taking You with Me:
    • The first Parademon being tracked by Green Lantern and Batman tries to blow itself up with them.
    • Darkseid tries to take Superman with him as he's being sucked into the Boom Tube.
  • Tempting Fate: Basically every time someone says something like "What can possibly go wrong?", things get worse.
  • Third-Person Person: Green Lantern talks about himself this way at times. It gets old fast.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Averted. The superheroes wantonly kill Parademons even after learning they're living beings kidnapped from planets and genetically modified—and some of them are human. Then Superman snaps Desaad's neck.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Victor. His transformation is a result of grabbing a visibly glowing alien box while it's being studied by his father.
  • Unwilling Roboticization: The means in which Parademons are created involves subjected captured bystanders to this, to a horrifying extent. Victor's transformation into Cyborg partially involves undergoing the same process, but he keeps his sense of self.
  • Villain Decay: Darkseid is given no characterisation at all in this film, being little more than an Eye Beam cannon shaped like a man. He certainly doesn't feel like the literal god of evil, both cunning and insidious.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Darkseid begins to suffer from this after getting his eyes stabbed out.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Victor Stone and his dad.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: It's established early on that the Parademons are mindless foot-soldiers, so the heroes cut them down in droves. Even after it's revealed that they were innocents converted to become Parademons, no one bats an eye about slaughtering them en masse. In fairness, it's indicated that there isn't really all that much left of the people they used to be, and they don't really give the heroes any chance to discuss terms of surrender...
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Or in this case, when all you have is a sword. Wonder Woman needs little provocation to use her sword. This includes ordering ice cream and thanking the vendor. She even admits that fighting is what she is good at compared to being a diplomat, which begs the question why Paradise Island would send her in the first place if she's incapable of being a diplomat.
    • Somewhat justified when you remember Wonder Woman's origin story: She was sent as a warrior to fight for justice. She's an ambassador by modern standards, since she was sent by a foreign government, but she's only trained as a warrior.
  • Why Am I Ticking?: Batman takes out a few Parademons this way.


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