Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths — Part One

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 1/23/24;
Warner;
Animated;
$29.98 Blu-ray, $47.99 UHD Steelbook;
Rated ‘PG’ for action/violence throughout and brief language.
Voices of Matt Bomer, Darren Criss, Stana Katic, Jensen Ackles, Meg Donnelly, Jimmi Simpson, Zachary Quinto, Jonathan Adams, Ike Amadi, Geoffrey Arend, Zack Callison, Alexandra Daddario, Matt Lanter, Aldis Hodge, Nolan North, Lou Diamond Phillips, Ashleigh LaThrop.

The first indication that this newest DC Universe animated adventure strays from the norm comes right off the bat, as Matt Bomer is the only credited cast member in the opening titles.

Bomer plays The Flash in this film and its precursors in the cycle of continuity that began with 2020’s Superman: Man of Tomorrow, and thus has been dubbed the “Tomorrowverse.”

The opening chapter of what is being presented as a Crisis trilogy is the eighth movie in the Tomorrowverse, and adapts the famed 1985-86 “Crisis on Infinite Earths” comic book crossover published by DC in which pretty much all of its characters battled a universe-destroying force.

Though most of the voice cast from the earlier films also return for this team-up adventure, that Bomer’s is the only one credited up front really speaks to how much this first installment has been crafted as a story centered on The Flash, a character whose fate was also closely intertwined with the plot of the original comics.

The film begins with The Flash, aka Barry Allen, zipping back and forth through time to key moments in his life, from the lab accident that bestowed upon him the powers of super-speed, to forming the Justice League with his fellow heroes, to meeting and marrying Iris West (Ashleigh LaThrop). The reason for his time jumps is tied to an evil force that threatens the multiverse — a wave of anti-matter energy is destroying parallel realities, and The Flash is transported to one where Earth is ruled by evil versions of his superhero pals.

His inability to save that reality gives him greater insight into the bigger threat when he is summoned to a space station where heroes from across the multiverse are being gathered to combat the problem.

Their plan is to build towers on each Earth that will be connected to a central device where The Flash can use his super-speed to vibrate all the Earths fast enough so that the antimatter will pass through them without doing any damage.

While the film is unavoidably loaded with familiar superhero tropes, it keeps viewers guessing with some interesting plot twists that effectively ground the action as essentially a love story between Barry and Iris. In this regard it strays a bit from the source material in order to give The Flash an even more integral role in the plot. The flashbacks also revisit some key moments from the earlier films while answering a few dangling questions about how certain events actually unfolded.

What’s also nice about the structure of the film is that the filmmakers haven’t just made an ambitious four-hour epic split up by the studio into three chunks for distribution. The first Crisis film tells a complete and satisfying story on its own while also laying the groundwork for the direction of the next sequel.

The 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray discs include two featurettes. The first is called “Crisis Prime(r),” a name that suggests it might be about the source material to help give viewers context as to the slew of new characters that arrive. However, the 10-minute video turns out to be just the filmmakers recapping the previous seven movies to point out how they were planned to lead into this one.

A discussion of the source material does occur in the eight-minute “Selfless Speedster,” which delves into how the filmmakers deconstructed the original comic storyline in order to put The Flash front and center in the first of the three “Crisis” movies.

Part Two of Animated Crossover ‘Justice League x RWBY’ Headed for Digital and Blu-ray Release in October

The crossover between the heroes of DC’s Justice League and Rooster Teeth Animation’s RWBY continues in the animated movie Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part Two, available through digital retailers Oct. 17, and on Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Oct. 31 from Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment.

On the heels of successfully escaping a deadly digital trap, the members of the Justice League emerge in their own world to discover ! In order to defeat the monsters, they must call on their new friends – Team RWBY – for help!

In the feature crossover, part of the DC Animated Movie line, after visiting the RWBY world in the first film, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg, Green Lantern and Vixen return home to discover that Grimm, ravenous creatures from Remnant, have overtaken Earth. To defeat the monsters, they call upon their new friends on Team RWBY (Ruby, Weiss, Blake and Yang) for help.

Joining the voice cast are Jamie Chung as Black Canary, David Dastmalchian as The Flash, Laura Bailey as Wonder Woman, Troy Baker as Batman, and Travis Willingham as Superman. Returning from Part One are Ozioma Akagha as Vixen, Jeannie Tirado as Green Lantern, Tru Valentino as Cyborg, Lindsay Jones ​​as Ruby, Kara Eberle as Weiss, Arryn Zech ​as Blake, and Barbara Dunkelman as Yang.​​

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Extras include the featurettes “You look … Different: RWBY on Earth,” about the differences between Team RWBY’s home of Remnant and Earth; and “I’ve Got Your Back,” about the emotional journey of the characters joining forces once again.

Disc configurations include a regular Blu-ray with digital copy, or a 4K disc with digital copy.

Legion of Super-Heroes

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Warner;
Animated;
$29.98 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for some violence and language.
Voices of Meg Donnelly, Harry Shum Jr., Darren Criss, Matt Bomer, Jensen Ackles, Cynthia Hamidi, Gideon Adlon, Ely Henry, Robbie Daymond, Yuri Lowenthal, Eric Lopez, Darin De Paul, Ben Diskin, Victoria Grace, Jennifer Hale, Daisy Lightfoot, Zeno Robinson.

Though it takes a few narrative shortcuts to set up its premise, Legion of Super-Heroes ultimately turns out to be a fun but offbeat animated adventure.

The film is a continuation of the movie series that began in 2020 with Superman: Man of Tomorrow and includes Justice Society: World War II, Batman: The Long Halloween and Green Lantern: Beware My Power, and thus builds off some elements established in those movies while adding to the canon.

Comic book fans know the Legion of Super-Heroes as an intergalactic team of superheroes serving the United Planets in the 31st century. That said, Legion of Super-Heroes is kind of a misleading title for this movie, as its primary focus is on Supergirl (voiced by Meg Donnelly), Superman’s cousin who lives in the 21st century.

The film begins with a flashback to the destruction of Krypton, and how the teenaged Kara Zor-El was sent watch over her young cousin, Kal-El, who goes on to become Superman. Only her rocket gets knocked off course and, with Kara in a state of suspended animation, takes decades to arrive at Earth, by which time her cousin is now much older than her. (These are the same basic details fleshed out in other portrayals of the Kryptonian characters, from “Smallville” to the CW “Supergirl” series.)

Having grown up in the futuristic Kryptonian culture, Kara has trouble acclimating to life on Earth, so Superman (Darren Criss) decides to send her into the far future to train at the Legion Academy. (The Legion apparently contacted Superman in between movies, explaining why he just happens to have a time machine in his pocket.)

From there, the movie plays out more like a sci-fi version of X-Men: First Class or a “Harry Potter” adventure, as the Academy is threatened by the Dark Circle, a malevolent conspiracy seen in the present-day scenes being investigated by Batman (Jensen Ackles) and other members of the Justice League.

So, Kara must join forces with her fellow cadets to save the Academy and stop the Dark Circle from carrying out its plans for universal domination.

Though some traditional Legion members are among the students, such as Mon-El and Brainiac 5, most of the classic Legionnaires are missing throughout the film as part of the mystery story. So a more accurate title for the film would be something like Supergirl and the Legion Academy. But marketers gotta market.

The futuristic setting and characters lend themselves to animation that is bright and vivid in high-definition and 4K, while costume designs don’t take too many liberties from their look in the comics. Comic book traditionalists should especially appreciate the look of Supergirl, who is thankfully given a version of her classic red skirt outfit, and not one of the politically correct redesigns that have popped up over the years.

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The Blu-ray of Legion of Super-Heroes includes four solid featurettes about the film and its source material. In the 4K combo pack, the Ultra HD disc contains just the film, with the extras found on the included regular Blu-ray.

The five minute “The Legion Behind the Legion” offers interviews with the filmmakers about the making of the movie, while the eight-minute “Down to Earth: The Story of Supergirl” lets the filmmakers expound upon the backstory of Supergirl and why they choose her to anchor the movie. The nine-minute “Meet the Legionnaires” profiles the other characters in the film, and the eight-minute “Brainiac Attack: The Intellect Behind the Super-Villain” looks at the history of the Brainiacs, from the original Superman villain to his ancestor, the heroic Brainiac 5 who became a Legion member.

The Blu-ray also contains the two-part episode “Little Girl Lost” that introduced Supergirl to “Superman: The Animated Series” back in 1998.

Animated Crossover ‘Justice League x RWBY’ Headed for Disc and Digital Release April 25

The heroes of DC’s Justice League and Rooster Teeth Animation’s RWBY join forces in the animated movie Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One, available on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and through digital retailers April 25 from Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment.

The feature crossover, part of the DC Animated Movie line, finds Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg, Green Lantern and Vixen transported to RWBY’s world, where they are transformed into teenagers and presented in Rooster Teeth’s anime-influenced animation. To survive, they must partner with the heroes of Remnant (Ruby, Weiss, Blake and Yang) to battle a mysterious, superpowered creature before it destroys everything they know.

The voice cast includes Natalie Alyn Lind as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince, Chandler Riggs as Superman/Clark Kent, and Nat Wolff as Batman/Bruce Wayne, alongside RWBY’s long-running cast of Lindsay Jones as Ruby, Kara Eberle as Weiss, Arryn Zech as Blake, and Barbara Dunkelman as Yang.

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Extras include the featurettes “Justice Comes to Remnant,” in which the filmmakers behind the film explore the world of Remnant, the Huntsmen that fight for it and how Earth’s mightiest heroes are forced to adapt; and “You Look … Different,” about redesigning the Justice League to be teens in a new animation style.

Also included are two cartoons from the DC Vault: the “Justice League Unlimited” episode “Kid Stuff,” and the “Justice League Action” episode “Plastic Man Saves the World.”

Animated Movie Based on DC Comics’ ‘Deathstroke’ Coming in August

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the animated movie Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons through digital retailers Aug. 4, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Aug. 18.

The film offers a new take on the DC Comics character Deathstroke, a mercenary and master assassin named Slade Wilson. The film finds him living two lives, one as a relentless killer, the other as a dedicated family man. When his worlds are forced together by the terror group known as H.I.V.E., the killer in Slade must fight to save his loved ones.

The voice cast includes Michael Chiklis as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke, Sasha Alexander as Wilson’s wife, Chris Jai Alex as The Jackal, Faye Mata as Jade/H.I.V.E Queen, Griffin Puatu as Joseph/Jericho, Imari Williams as President Nichols, Asher Bishop as Young Joseph, Colin Salmon as William Wintergreen, Delbert Hunt as Bronze Tiger, Panta Mosleh as Lady Shiva, Noshir Dalal as Kapoor, Castulo Guerra as General Suarez, and Minae Noji as the Secretary of State.

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The latest entry in the DC Animated Movies line was produced by Warner Bros. Animation, DC and Blue Ribbon Content, Warner’s specialty arm for digital platform programming. Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons was originally presented as a series of animated shorts that appeared on CW Seed. The movie version includes 50 minutes of never-before-seen footage, including the climax.

The Blu-ray combo pack will include a digital copy and the featurette “Deathstroke: One-Man Death Machine.” Bonus material is also offered with the digital edition through select retailers.

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