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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:

  • Actor Allusion: Steve Blum goes from voicing Darkseid-Expy Vilgax to the real deal here.
  • 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: Freddy Freeman is a kind young boy, in contrast to his New 52 counterpart, who was a lying hustler and thief.
  • Alien Blood: The Parademons have dark green, electrically charged blood that doesn't stick to clothing or skin.
  • Alien Invasion: This film deals with Darkseid and his parademons' first invasion on Earth, an event which leads to the formation of the Justice League.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Wonder Woman is instantly smitten when she sees Superman kicking ass.
  • Aloof Ally: Subverted Trope, while Batman is as stoic as ever, he also proves to be quite amiable and approachable to all of his teammates. The one exception is Green Lantern, though that is more of a side effect that this incarnation of Hal Jordan is quite the jackass.
  • Amazon Chaser: 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 is supposed to be this, 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.
  • Badass Normal: Batman holds his own against a few parademons, although 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 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."
  • 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 Darkseid's 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.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Wonder Woman's tendency to filter everything in terms of being part of a heroic epic makes her surprisingly childish and detached from reality.
  • 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.
  • Continuity Snarl: Batman and The Flash seemingly meet for the first time in this movie, with the latter being surprised the former exists, even though the final scene of The Flashpoint Paradox, after The Flash changes the timeline to the one in this movie, depicts Batman and The Flash talking in the Batcave. It can be argued this takes place in the past, before the scene where Pre-Flashpoint Barry awakes in the new timeline.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Green Lantern and Batman are hopelessly outmatched when they decide to interfere with Superman. It takes Bruce revealing he knows Supes' secret identity to stop him from attacking them.
    • The Air Force tries to stop Darkseid, and is unsurprisingly obliterated without managing to deal any significant damage.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Character-Design Difference: Superman's design featured a slightly different belt design and lacked the "S" on the cape for this film.
  • 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 Speedy also being around, despite Green Arrow never once having been seen in the setting; and the respective 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 is voiced by Steve Blum, and his voice is altered to demonic levels.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The bulk of the film takes place in a single night.
  • 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.
  • 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: 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.
  • Go for the Eye: Wonder Woman comes up with a rather direct solution to Darkseid's Omega Beams: blind him.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: Green Lantern jokingly asks if Darkseid is the name of a band.
  • 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.
  • Human Resources: Parademons are created by re-purposing the local populations of the planets Darkseid conquers.
  • I Am the Noun: Darkseid introduces himself by saying "I am entropy. I am death. I am... (Dramatic Pause) Darkseid."
  • I Know Your True Name:
    • Batman defuses the fight with Superman by calling him by his civilian name. Superman turns it around on him by using his x-ray vision to learn Batman's secret identity.
    • Batman does it to Green Lantern 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: According to the writers, Green Lantern was intentionally meant to be seen as an arrogant jock.
    Heath Corson: Hal Jordan is a jock. Hes the guy whod walk into a bar with a popped collar — hes a douchebag! And guess what: He gets to be a douchebag in this.
  • 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.
    • Diana doesn't 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.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: The superheroes are unfamiliar with one another at first. This leads to brawls such as Green Lantern and Batman vs Superman, and Wonder Woman vs Cyborg.
  • Made of Iron: Darkseid withstands a lot of punishment from the Justice League and continues fighting even after he's blinded in both eyes.
  • Mistaken for Superpowered: Hal Jordan honestly believes Batman to be a vampire because of the things he's capable of doing, and is taken aback when he realizes he's on a Super Team with a Badass Normal.
  • 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 (2010) 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.
    • A brainwashed Superman kills Desaad by breaking his neck one-handed.
  • No-Sell: Batman hurls multiple explosives at Superman during their fight, but the latter shows no signs of injury afterwards.
  • 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 Moment of 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 lashes out with his fists rapidly a couple times, concentrating his hits around a target using his speed.
  • Shock and Awe: On top of being a Flying Brick, Shazam can fire lightning bolts from his hand.
  • 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 assumes he can take Darkseid by himself and wrongly believes Wonder Woman "digs" him.
  • Smug Super: 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.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...


"Green Lantern's got this!"

No, Hal...ya don't.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / CurbStompBattle

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