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Western Animation / Justice Society: World War II

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"This is crazy, I've never seen this many heroes working together!"
"Oh, kid, you ain't seen nothing yet."
— The Flash (Barry Allen) and Steve Trevor.

Justice Society: World War II is an animated movie produced as part of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies and is the second film in the Tomorrowverse. Barry Allen time travels to the 1940s and teams up with the first-ever superhero team, the Justice Society of America, against the forces of Nazi Germany.

The voice cast includes Matt Bomer as Barry Allen, Stana Katic as Wonder Woman, Matthew Mercer as Hourman, Omid Abtahi as Hawkman, Armen Taylor as Jay Garrick, Elysia Rotaru as Black Canary, Liam McIntyre as Aquaman, Keith Ferguson as Doctor Fate, Chris Diamantopoulos as Steve Trevor, and Darin De Paul as Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It comes out digitally on April 27, 2021, and physically on May 11, 2021.

Trailer here.


Tropes in this movie include:

  • Adaptational Personality Change: The WWII Earth's Clark is reluctant to use his abilities, thinking they do more harm than good.
  • Adapted Out: The JSA's lineup is specific to this film and does not reflect the comic book version of the time. The Spectre, the Atom, Johnny Thunder, Green Lantern Alan Scott, and the Sandman are all absent, despite being JSA founding members in the comics. Starman and Doctor Mid-Nite are also absent, despite being members during the period (1942-1943) when the team was fighting the Axis Powers regularly in All-Star Comics. Wonder Woman was a member at the time, but was the secretary until late 1947, rarely taking any active part in missions. Black Canary did not join until June 1948, replacing Johnny Thunder after guest starring in several issues.
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  • Affectionate Nickname: Hawkman calls Black Canary "little bird", since they're both bird-themed superheroes and she's the youngest of the team.
  • Age Lift: In the comics, Jay Garrick was a young man in the 1940s. This movie has Jay saying things like "when I was younger, I could do that," or "back in my day", implying that his superhero career started earlier than some of his teammates'.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: According to the director, Black Canary has feelings for Hawkman that aren't fully returned.
  • Alternate History: In the opening scene, it is mentioned that Germany has conquered most of Europe...and most of Russia. The film reel being shown to President Roosevelt also shows Tiger I heavy tanks, which weren't produced until 1942, after the U.S. had joined the war.
  • Alternate Universe: Barry initially assumes he traveled back in time, but realizes that the timeline is completely different from his own upon meeting the contemporary version of Superman.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Barry is sent back in time while running faster than he's ever gone in an attempt to grab a kryptonite bullet. Doctor Fate is implied to have been at least partially responsible.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Nobody, not even Wonder Woman, seems to actually believe Hawkman's claim that he's a reincarnated ancient Egyptian.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The S.S. men threatening the French townspeople speak gibberish that sounds vaguely German.
  • Awful Wedded Life: At one point Hawkman asks Black Canary about her relationship with Larry Lance, and all she says is that she doesn't think he's the one. However she is specifically called Dinah Lance by Steve Trevor instead of by her maiden name Drake, meaning that she and Larry are already married instead of just dating.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: Dinah is the youngest of the team, best shown by her inexperience and cynical, impulsive attitude as well as her dynamic with the very old and experienced Hawkman.
  • Bait-and-Switch: It is revealed in the opening exposition that the Nazis have conquered most of Europe, including Russia, in addition to the Nazis having an interest in magical artifacts. We also later see that they have access to advanced technology that shouldn't have been possible for humanity at the time. Given the frequency of the trope in most Flash stories, it initially seems that Flash traveling back in time has changed the timeline and that he needs to Set Right What Once Went Wrong...and then it turns out it's actually an Alternate Universe, which we find out when Flash meets their version of Superman. Meanwhile, the advanced technology actually came from Atlantis, and the Advisor's interest in magical artifacts is what led him there.
  • Big Bad: The Advisor, who has been providing the Nazis with magical artifacts that have thus far helped them to conquer the entirety of Europe. He's also the one responsible for getting Atlantis to side with the Nazis, and for the latter acquiring the technology needed to mass produce jet aircraft en masse.
  • Big Damn Heroes: After the Atlanteans retreat from New York, a weakened Justice Society is left alone to face a fleet of Nazi bombers, but then Superman arrives and destroys them all before they even reach the city.
  • Book Ends: Barry and Iris' picnic, and Flash helping Superman fight Brainiac.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The Advisor has the power to manipulate the minds of others, turning them to his cause. Though not fully explained, he appears to be limited to one person at a time, needs physical contact to use it, and the effect wears off if he doesn't refresh it on a regular basis (a decent knock on the head also does the trick, but it has to be fairly powerful against Flying Brick metahumans). The Advisor controls Aquaman for most of the movie, but does it to Diana in a pinch when she corners him.
  • Bullet Catch: In the present day, Superman is preoccupied with holding a car that it leaves him vulnerable to Brainiac's kryptonite gun. Flash tries to run up to it and catch it before it can hit Superman, forcing him to go faster than he's ever gone before, resulting in him accidentally traveling back in time. Fortunately, he's able to go back and pull a Catch and Return at the end of the movie.
  • Canon Character All Along:
    • Shakespeare, the Justice Society’s war correspondent, is their Earth's counterpart of Clark Kent who later becomes Superman.
    • Aquaman’s Advisor turns out to be the Psycho-Pirate.
  • Catch and Return: When he travels back to the present, Flash gets close enough to Brainiac's kryptonite bullet that he is then able to catch and throw right through Brainiac's head.
  • Composite Character:
    • Black Canary wears her original Golden Age costume but uses her Canary Cry and her civilian identity is Dinah Lance. In the comics, there are two Black Canaries, the mother Dinah Drake (who marries Detective Larry Lance), and her daughter Dinah Laurel Lance. Dinah Drake, deceased by the time of the present, was a non-powered hero and a 1940s JSA member. Meanwhile, her daughter Dinah Lance was the metahuman Black Canary. However, since the New 52, Dinah Drake now has the Canary Cry as well.
    • The Advisor, as he is actually the Psycho-Pirate. However this version has the original's name of Charles Halstead but possesses the second version’s (Roger Hayden) powers without the aid of his signature Medusa Mask, which usually serves as the source of his power.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Played literally. When Barry Allen arrives, both he and Jay Garrick find their powers effectively halved because they're both drawing from the Speed Force at the same time. They eventually figure out how to overcome this so they can operate at full power simultaneously.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Losing his adopted parents and bouncing around foster homes has made the WWII-era Clark cynical about helping others. He snaps out of it in the climax.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • The Kents in the WWII Earth died in an accident when Clark was only 3.
    • It's implied that the island Themyscira has been destroyed.
    • Both Hawkman and Steve die in the film, though in the former's case since he reincarnates he is not truly dead.
  • Determinator: Steve suddenly proposes to Diana, only for her to lightly reject it. The other members of the Society explain to Flash that it's actually an ongoing joke for Steve to constantly propose to Diana only to be rejected, and Steve explains he does it because Diana promised him she would eventually accept his proposal.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • On learning that Steve asks Diana to marry him every day, Flash calls him a stalker. That kind of persistence may have been considered romantic in the '40s, but not so much in the present day. In fairness to Steve however, he is in some sort of relationship with Diana who had once told him that she would one day say yes while always declining in a playful manner, which is very different from him asking someone who has no interest in him.
    • Related to this is the fact that Steve is at first confused by the word stalker due to it not being a common phrase in 40s, though he is able to figure out its meaning.
  • Eagleland: Most of the cast being Americans or allied with Americans during the 1940s, this comes off as no surprise.
  • Fantastic Racism: Aquaman initially appears reluctant to participate in the war, believing that the surface-dwellers' matters are not his concern. However, by this point, he's been brainwashed by Advisor, so this may not necessarily be true, and he also expresses horror and remorse over sending his kingdom's forces to attack the surface once he's freed of his mind control.
  • Feed It a Bomb: Jay Garrick defeats a monster crab with an impenetrable shell by chucking a handful of Atlantean grenades down its throat. After several explosions, the crab vomits up its liquefied organs and drops dead.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Barry Allen is this trope, suddenly finding himself in a dilapidated European town in the middle of a battle between the JSA and the S.S. The JSA don't recognize him and he tells them he's from the future.
  • Foreshadowing: The opening shows that the Nazis have conquered most of Europe as well as most of Russia which acts as a clue that this is an alternate Earth.
  • Forgot About His Powers: In the comics, Diana's Lasso of Truth has the power to free people from mind control and even from self-delusions. In the Pre-Crisis era the movie is primarily based on, it was even more powerful than that; it could be used to compel people to do anything. And yet she never thinks to use it on Aquaman during their confrontations.
  • Ghostapo: Hitler is said to be searching for ancient magical artifacts.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Adolf Hitler, in keeping with the World War II setting.
  • Historical Domain Character: In the opening scene, Steve Trevor pitches the concept of the JSA to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, president of the United States.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: Though Diana is as surprised as everyone else to learn about the existence of the Atlanteans, the Amazons were known to Aquaman when he addresses her as "daughter of Hippolyta" after she introduces herself as "Princess of Themyscira".
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side!: The Advisor’s reason for siding with the Nazis.
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: Hourman has doubts about his usefulness to the team since he can't power up without his serum and can only use it for one hour once a day.
  • I Will Find You: Hawkman talks about how he's reincarnated through many lives and deaths since the time of ancient Egypt and he awaits the day that he'll reunite with his lover Chay-Ara, who also reincarnates but was separated from him.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Poor Steve gets the business end of Aquaman's broken trident stabbed through his chest by the Advisor.
  • In the Back: Both Steve and Hawkman are fatally stabbed from behind.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Some of the characters like Wonder Woman and Aquaman resemble their voice actors.
  • Kaiju: The Trench monsters Aquaman sicced on New York are all very massive in size, with the "smallest" of the bunch being a Giant Enemy Crab the size of a bus.
  • Karma Houdini: The Advisor is left behind when Aquaman is freed from being controlled and departs with his forces. After killing Steve, the Advisor escapes and remains at large when Barry returns home.
  • Like Brother and Sister: This is seemingly the relationship between Black Canary and Hawkman, though while watching the films those involved in making it realised how their interactions came across as tragic with some liking it more because of that. Regardless, nothing truly romantic actually happens between the characters in the film.
  • Logical Weakness: Brainiac's drones restrain Superman with their electrified tentacles. When Flash tries to free him, he gets shocked from touching them, so he resorts to chucking a rock at one of the drones to destroy it, allowing Superman to break free.
  • Lured Into a Trap: Advisor sent the coded message to lead the Justice Society to the Atlantean outpost, where he could neutralize them while allowing the Nazis to invade the United States.
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: Downplayed. By the time of the story, Iris already knows that Barry is the Flash, and though she would like him to slow down to enjoy life with her outside of being a superhero, she understands that his work is more important and is patient enough to wait for him.
  • Mirror Character: Both Barry and Diana are too absorbed in their work to focus on their lives outside of being heroes, to the chagrin of their significant others. Steve constantly proposing to Diana and dying before she can ever accept, thus leaving Diana alone after the war is contrasted at the end with Barry successfully proposing to Iris.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After Diana breaks him out of his mind control, Arthur is horrified to see Atlantean military forces laying siege to Manhattan and immediately recalls them and the sea monsters.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Iris is Race Lifted to African-American, like her The Flash (2014) counterpart.
    • Superman has difficulty lifting up a car during the confrontation against Brainiac due to the Kryptonite, inverting the debut cover image from Action Comics #1.
    • Wonder Woman speaks with an accent, taking inspiration from her DC Extended Universe counterpart.
    • Upon traveling back to the past, Flash doesn't know who Wonder Woman is, pointing to her not being prominent in the present day. In the DCEU, Wonder Woman went into hiding after helping end World War I and became an obscure talltale, and outside of emergencies like the Dream Stone, she stayed out of the public eye until Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
    • The fight scene of Wonder Woman against a Nazi battalion in the French town is reminiscent of the scene in Wonder Woman (2017) when Wonder Woman first appears on the battlefield to fight the Germans and retake the nearby French town from their control.
    • Aquaman's style of combat with his trident, and using a Kraken-esque leviathan as his ultimate weapon, are clearly inspired from his live-action film.
    • Like at the end of the Wonder Woman film, Steve is killed in the final battle, leaving Diana to live out her post-war life without him.
    • To Flashpoint. Through Speed Force shenanigans, Barry finds himself in a world where war has engulfed most of Europe and threatens the rest of the world, with Wonder Woman leading one side and Aquaman "leading" the other — this even leads to a fight scene between Diana and Arthur in the climax. They even threaten each other's love interests (Diana beheading Mera in Flashpoint, Arthur almost killing Steve here). Thankfully, compared to the Flashpoint universe, things at least end up resolving more peacefully here and a lot less depressing.
    • To the ending of the first episode of the Justice League cartoon. Both end with the formation of the Justice League, particularly with Superman and Flash exchanging similar remarks but with their roles reversed here — in Justice League, after Superman proposes they form a team, Flash jokingly asks if they're like a bunch of "Super Friends", with Superman responding that they're more like a "Justice League", while here, Superman asks if they're some sort of super team now and Flash replies affirmingly.
    • The Nazis use flying wing bombers to invade America, just like in the Justice League episode The Savage Time. DC Special Vol 1 29 from 1977 and the pilot episode of the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman show also feature a long-range bomber from Nazi Germany attacking American cities. Superman is the one who stops them in this film, just like he did in the 1977 comic.
    • The plot twist that the Justice Society's "era" is actually a different universe from Barry's universe is what the pre-Crisis comics did to explain the differences between the Golden Age and Silver Age incarnations (the Justice Society being Golden Age-era) but how they could also co-exist, with the Golden Age being explained to take place on Earth-Two while the Silver Age takes place on the main Earth-One. This was first established in the story "Flash of Two Worlds", where Barry accidentally runs fast enough that he gets transported to Earth-Two and meets Jay. In the film's setting, Jay and Hourman know of the (still theorical) existence of the multiverse, but refer to their world as the Earth-One.
    • The music playing when Wonder Woman is first in the French town is clearly based on her theme from the DCEU, and when the team arrives at the Atlantean output to meet Arthur, the music incorporates music from his DCEU film.
    • The WWII Earth's Clark Kent was raised in an orphanage after the deaths of his adoptive parents. This combines the earliest versions of Superman's origin story where he was raised in an orphanage after being found by a passing motorist, with the New 52 origins where Clark lost his adopted parents, the Kents, at a young age.
    • WWII Earth's Superman has limited powers, seemingly without his heat vision or freeze breath. He describes himself as not 'invincible' but simply has 'tough skin', and he's unable to fly, instead able to leap great distances in a single bound, which are in line with the earliest Golden Age version of the character. Even the chest symbol on his suit vaguely resembles the one from the Golden Age.
  • Neck Lift: When he first arrives in the past, Diana holds Barry up by the neck after he suddenly materializes on the battlefield, not knowing if he's an ally or an enemy.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Wonder Woman is fully able to breathe and fight underwater without any apparatus like an Atlantean.
  • Noodle Incident: How Kamandi ended up in the 1940s after the events of his DC Showcase short.
  • Off-Model: After clinging to Hawkman when he dies, when Canary gets back on her feet and goes to continue the battle, his body is not in the scene anywhere.
  • One-Steve Limit: There are two Flashes running around in World War II, which is shortly resolved when the Society decide to call the second one Future Boy.
  • Piggybacking on Hitler: The Advisor is working with the Nazis in order to Take Over the World.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: As Carter lays dying, Dinah begs Carter not to go.
  • The Power of Hate: Dinah's Canary Cry is shown to be concussive but generally not deadly. In the climax, after Hawkman is killed, her rage and grief amplify her power to the point that she strips the flesh off a giant monster. Afterward she immediately collapses from the effort.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: From Black Canary: "You call that a scream?"
  • Pun: Aquaman tells the Justice Society that he may have something that can "turn the tide" of the war to their favor, a pun that doesn't go unnoticed by Black Canary.
  • Puppet King: Aquaman is under the Advisor's thrall.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Hawkman talks about how he's lived many lives due to reincarnation, but what he seeks out the most is "finding his other half" while staring at a statuette of an ancient Egyptian woman with a hawk perched on her arm...
  • Sequel Hook: Both the Advisor and Dr Fate vanish mysteriously, with Barry even noting how odd it was that the former disappeared without a trace despite having knocked him unconscious.
  • Shared Universe: With Superman: Man of Tomorrow, due to the shared artstyle and the inclusion of Superman voiced by Darren Criss.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of the mystical artifacts the Nazis are searching for is the Ark of the Covenant.
    • Barry taking out the Nazis in super-speed but shown from his perspective when he first arrives in World War II is a blatant reference to Quicksilver's scenes in X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse.
    • A brainwashed Aquaman saying "Heil Hitler!" after betraying the Justice Society brings to mind the infamous scene from Captain America: Steve Rogers where Captain America mutters "Hail Hydra." after killing someone, revealing that he had been been in cahoots with HYDRA the whole time thanks to a later-reversed Cosmic Retcon.
  • The Starscream: The Advisor to the Nazis, he brainwashes Aquaman, having him use the Atlantean army win the War for the Nazis. The Advisor fully intends to betray and overthrow the Nazis afterwards.
  • Stealth Pun: Barry bullet catches a kryptonite bullet being shot in the same direction that he's running towards and then runs with the bullet. In other words, the whole movie happens because of going faster than a speeding bullet.
  • Stripped to the Bone: One of the Trench creatures ends up being killed by Black Canary this way, courtesy of a very high-pitched scream.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: The Nazis deploy advanced flying wing jet bombers late into the film during their attempted invasion of the United States. Unfortunately for them, their advanced tech is no match for a newly-arrived Superman.
  • Super Team: Barry is in awe of the Justice Society, having never seen so many heroes working together before. At the end, he proposes to Superman that they work together to create a team of their own in the present.
  • Superior Successor: Zig-zagged. Barry is shown to have better control over his abilities than Jay Garrick, teaching his predecessor a few tricks, but Jay has a better understanding of the source of their powers. Jay also knows how to phase through solid matter, which Barry never figured out.
  • The Team Normal: Steve is the supervising officer of the Justice Society, and though lacking any powers of his own, it makes him no less useful to the team since he is a soldier.
  • Tearful Smile: Diana gives this to Steve on his last proposal to her.
  • Together in Death: Hawkman's final words are telling Chay-Ara that he'll see her their next lives, of course.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Wonder Woman and Black Canary are the only two women in the Justice Society.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: While Steve's body is shown being transported away, it not shown or mentioned whether Hawkman's has also been recovered.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Once the Society learn what Shakespear is capable of, Wonder Woman questions why he isn't using such abilities to help in the war.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Once Barry shows up, his and Jay's powers are weaker due to the both of them siphoning off of the Speed Force.
  • Worth Living For: Carter's final words to Dinah are telling her that she has to keep living and that she'll find a purpose and even love someday, referring back to their earlier conversation.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Wonder Woman uses her gauntlets to snap Aquaman's trident in half. The resulting energy burst frees him from the Advisor's control.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Barry spends about a week in the past, but he returns to the present right when he first left.