Justice League: Gods and Monsters is the latest DC animated movie, and opens with a vision of a dying Krypton where a familiar villain interrupts a last ditch effort to save the species and contributes his own genetic material to the child’s makeup. With General Zod now the biological father of Superman, the world is a vastly different place. Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman still fight what they see as evil but their ideals, identities, and even their very nature, are a far cry from what we’re used to.
I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but I really enjoyed Gods and Monsters. The key is that tribute was paid to the ideas and characters being borrowed but they let the reimagining go where it needed to to tell a good story. This is not a what-if adventure where one small thing is change an the effects are examined. The tweaks to Superman’s origin are just the beginning, and in some ways are the least drastic of the changes in store. Some extremely important characters, concepts, etc. one would expect to see are nowhere to be found, because they wouldn’t have fit. I like the focus shown and the commitment to embracing this universe and this story instead of letting things balloon out of hand. There are cameos and nods to familiar faces and they’re well done, serving as nice nods for those who catch them without being intrusive.
There are strong themes of responsibility and nature vs nurture woven into the story without slowing down the action or getting preachy. The flashbacks break up the flow a bit, but they are interesting and allow us to really understand what’s driving these new versions of our heroes so it’s well worth the slight pacing issues. The animation has a sleek look, and is appropriate for the atmosphere and style of the tale. And I have to admit watching harder edged versions of familiar characters was captivating.
JL: Gods and Monsters is another great movie from DC’s animated catalogue.
PS – The special features discuss numerous classic alternate reality stories from DC comics as well as the inspiration and ideas behind Gods an Monsters, and were a nice little treat after watching the film.