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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Bruce Timm admitted that the entire Chronicles series was to ease fans into understanding wildly different interpretations of classic characters. Specifically Harley Quinn, one of his own personal creations, being reinterpreted as a very dark Serial Killer versus the bubbly, Broken Bird Anti-Villain she is better known as.
    • Was this Universe's Darkseid really nicer and more reasonable than his mainstream counterpart, or did he plan to betray New Genesis later only to have Highfather react faster than him?
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    • Due to Kirk Langstrom's general lack of social skills, emotionless attitude and the fact he was apparently always seen as a freak, some fans have theorized he is subject to Asperger Syndrome.
    • When Magnus reveals his status as the Big Bad, he says this to Kirk about his jealousy over Tina's feelings for Kirk: "Even after I turned you into a monster, even after that, she still wanted you". While Kirk doesn't have any reaction to this line and Magnus warned Kirk that it should be tested, and it was Kirk's idea in the first place, so it's not conclusive proof, some have taken this to mean that Magnus turned Kirk into a vampire on purpose, out of jealousy.
    • Was Tina really in love with Kirk ? Or was Magnus jealous of what was simply a deep friendship ? Was Kirk really romantically attracted to her?
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  • Audience-Alienating Premise: While many superhero fans welcomed the What If? interpretations with open arms, especially with Bruce Timm's signature on it, general audience members were apparently turned off by it, presumably because of the departures from the iconic character depictions to rather obscure and drastically different characterizations. Sadly, this trope was apparently strong enough that the movie became the Direct to Video equivalent of a Box Office Bomb, resulting in it becoming a Stillborn Franchise.
  • Broken Base: This project quickly became divisive and controversial. While many fans are glad to see Bruce Timm involved in a new animated movie and series again, many other fans despise the dark tone and premise of this new series, disappointed that this isn't a new DCAU project, and are afraid about it. Though opinions generally became more positive after the last two episodes of Chronicles.
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  • Catharsis Factor: Alternate Universe or not, since the DCAU saw Darkseid always being a Karma Houdini, it is quite enjoyable to see him and his cohorts be completely slaughtered.
  • Complete Monster: Harley Quinn, as she appears in the "Twisted" short, stands in stark contrast to her mainstream portrayal. A psychopathic Serial Killer, Harley Quinn abducts civilians before mutilating and killing them, making "toys" out of their mangled corpses. When Batman rescues a teenage girl Harley kidnapped, she tries to kill them both. During their fight, Batman comes across a makeshift "family" of the people Harley has murdered, including a young boy.
  • Creepy Awesome: Vampire Batman. Nuff says.
  • Cry for the Devil: Weirdly enough, you can feel the inverse reaction of Catharsis Factor, as well. Given the viciousness of Highfather and the New Gods attack to Darkseid and his cronies, that turn in a real slaughter for the inhabitants of Apokolips, it is possible to root for Darkseid in this scene.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Harley Quinn; if you do a search for fanart from this movie, a good portion of it will be of or include her.
    • The movie ended up making this alternate version of our favorite trinity into this, by virtue of Superman being the biological son of another Ensemble Dark Horse, Wonder Woman being a New God, and Batman being a vampire who isn't always stoic.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In this movie, Benjamin Bratt voices Superman, who among other things, hero-worships his father, General Zod, only to learn of his villainous actions in life, spurring him to a Heel Realization. In Coco, Bratt voices Ernesto de la Cruz, a celebrity who the protagonist, Miguel, thinks is his ancestor and tries to get his blessing from, only to find out that he's both a fraud and the man who murdered his real ancestor. This likewise spurs Miguel into a Heel Realization when he realizes how selfish he's been in his own character arc.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Like You Would Really Do It:
    • Averted in the case of Harley Quinn; most would assume that such a wildly popular and even beloved character would have some death immunity especially when their creator, who once rewrote an ending to keep them alive, is a key member of the show staff. Turns out, this Harley's appearance here is based somewhat on the New 52, and Bruce Timm has subtly hinted he's not too fond of certain aspects of that redesign. Combining that with the idea that beloved characters aren't necessarily safe and Harley Quinn becomes lunch.
    • Played straight, on the other hand, with Wonder Woman in her short when she gets stomped on by Giganta. Of course they won't be killing her when the movie she is starring in hasn't even come out yet. Especially when she has been shown a few minutes ago to have the ability to teleport with her sword.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The most common response to the prologue where Zod makes himself the sperm donor to the incubation pod is either asking if that's technically rape to Lara or how Jor-El got cucked on the cellular level.
    • This conversation:
      Superman: You still friendly with Steve Trevor? He could be useful.
      Wonder Woman: He often was.
      Superman: Well, stay on top of him. [Wonder Woman smiles slyly] You know what I mean.
  • Misaimed Fandom: This version of Harley Quinn was designed by Bruce Timm to be Fan Disservice as a Take That! to the recent New 52 design she got. Judging by how many fanarts she got, some people interpret her as a Ms. Fanservice.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Hard to say exactly when Magnus crossed it, but by time we first meet him he had crossed it long ago, though contenders are when he killed Tina, and sending his drones to kill his fellow scientists, as well as a young Victor Stone.
    • In the Twisted short, Harley Quinn crossed it sometime before the events of the short by murdering a child.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: While Kirk Langstrom/Batman wasn't exactly hated, his short and comic tie-in were overall the least-liked ones out of the trio, some fans feeling they were overly dark, gory and depressing. The movie itself fleshes out his character a bit and makes him more likable.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • Bekka being used as Wonder Woman, making her notable among the Justice League for not being from the same series as her basis, unlike Superman and Batman, who are largely connected to their own lore.
    • The Drones framing the Justice League turn out to be the Metal Men.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • "Twisted", the short Batman starred in, was divisive for its gory elements and was perceived as trying too hard to be dark. "Bomb" features more worldbuilding and pathos, and quelled some of the fears that Superman wouldn't be anything but a violent Anti-Hero.
    • "Big" then quelled some fears that after the first two episodes the movie would be all doom and gloom. Bekka and Steve's playful banter and joking around showed that there was still fun and levity to be had with these darker characters.
    • The Movie itself received praise from fans and critics alike for its great pacing, sympathetic main characters, excellent animation and surprisingly giving Superman a character arc about recognizing the consequences of his violent actions and resolving to at least try to be a more traditional hero by the end. Many people who were pessimistic about the project or suspected it would be overly dark for the sake of it were pleasantly surprised.
  • The Woobie: Every single Justice League member in this incarnation:
    • Having been raised by a family of Mexican migrants, Superman had to face racist prejudices since he was a kid. He also accidentally crippled his own foster sister while trying to play with her, a mistake he was so ashamed of he stopped using his powers for years out of fear to harm someone.
    • Batman/Kirk was treated like an outsider even before his transformation, suffered lymphoma and ended up turning himself into a vampire in an attempt to cure himself. His father never cared much about him due to disapproving his choice to be a scientist, and his family ended up kicking out of their home. Out of the only three friends he had before the Justice League, one turns out to be a psychopath and eventually became the movie's Big Bad, the second (his college sweetheart) turns out to have been killed by the former because she still loved Kirk over him and the third (shown in the comic) turned out to be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who tried to manipulate him to his own ends. By the time Superman found him and helped him get better, he had been reduced to a depressed fugitive running away from everyone and eating rats to survive.
    • Bekka/Wonder Woman was in a Perfectly Arranged Marriage with Orion in an attempt to ensure peace between Apokolips and New Genesis, only for her own father to use this as an opportunity to stab Darkseid in the back, slaying him and all his council during the wedding, including Orion.

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