In this main universe of ours, we live with the ups and downs of the decisions we make in our lives. With our imagination, we could believe that in alternate universes would house whatever the different choices that we could have made. However, one universe looks to put an end to all that could be in a tale called…
Originally released on February 23, 2010, this film is actually loosely based on two different sources: Justice League of America #29 & 30 (written by Gardner Fox back in 1964) and JLA: Earth Two (written by Grant Morrison in 2000). Let’s dive right in and see how this tale uses those two sources to weave its own yarn.
We open to see two figures breaking into a vault as Lex Luthor (voiced by Chris Noth) and the Jester (voiced by James Patrick Stuart) ultimately make their way to the prize at hand: the Quantum Trigger. However, breaking in has already tripped the alarms as they see two super-powered figures heading towards them via security cameras.
The two of them run with all of their might to try and get away, but even security doors that they constantly beat can hardly slow down their chasers. They make their way down to the lower levels as Luthor manages to slip down a pipe into a deeper area. Jester decides to sacrifice himself so that Luthor can have a chance to escape.
As Lex makes his escape, Jester prepares to confront those who have been on the chase. Just then, Angelique and J’edd J’arkus (alternate universe versions of Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter) break in to confront the good Joker version. Jester gets stabbed by Angelique’s flame sword and is demanded that he hands over the Quantum Trigger. Obviously not possessing said device, the Jester takes them and himself out with a surprise bomb and Luthor escapes from below to see the prior area get blown up.
Unfortunately, he gets confronted by the main super-villain group themselves, the Crime Syndicate. Luthor swears to finish what he and the Jester originally set out to do as he pulls out a transit device that allows him to escape from their clutches.
Following the opening credits, we then cut to the main DC Universe as the Justice League is hard at work to get the finishing touches installed into their space station called The Watchtower. While Kal-El a.k.a. Superman (voiced by Leroy Jethro Gibbs himself, Mark Harmon) and Hal Jordan a.k.a. Green Lantern (voiced by Nolan North) are outside getting the last of the pieces put in place, Diana Prince a.k.a. Wonder Woman (voiced by Vanessa Marshall) installs their teleport system. Wally West a.k.a. Flash (voiced by Josh Keaton) is communicating from Earth as he gets told by Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman (voiced by William Baldwin) that he’s ready to test it out. The Scarlet Speedster asks if he’s sure it’ll work as the Caped Crusader tells hims “pretty sure”. The Flash barely has anytime to start doubting his safety as he’s instantly teleported into the Watchtower. He’s then in shock and anger that the Dark Knight just casually went to testing on him, to which Wonder Woman assures him that he really wouldn’t put him in harm’s way if he wasn’t really sure.
We then cut to Metropolis where Luthor teleports into our universe and inadvertently causes a two-car crash before he comically asks where the nearest police station is. After arriving at his destination, he walks up to the main desk and asks for the Justice League where all of the nearby officers draw their guns at him. When asked “or else”, he just casually states that he would blow up the world just to get there attention.
As he continues to fix up the Watchtower, Superman gets contacted from Earth about the situation. He brings along Wonder Woman and the Flash as heavily-armed S.W.A.T. officers stand by outside the interrogation room.
As our three heroes enter the room, they find out that Luthor has indeed gone through the interrogation as his armor has been removed from his body as he casually reads the newspaper in his birthday suit. As Luthor says that what he’s got to tell them may sound strange, Superman uses his X-Ray vision to found our that his organs are reversed and that his heart is on his right side instead of his left. He even extends his incredible vision all the way to the prison on Styker’s Island to find the Lex Luthor of the main DC Universe is still in his prison. As such, they’re willing to listen to him.
Later up in the Watchtower, Luthor tells our heroes that how he’s the lone surviving member of his world’s Justice League and that every other hero has been wiped off the face of existence by the Crime Syndicate, how these super-powered beings basically rule this alternate Earth like intimidating gods over the populace and instilling fear throughout the local law officials so that they won’t even try to confront them. As such, he asks for their help, to which J’onn J’onzz a.k.a. Martian Manhunter (voiced by Jonathan Adams) tells him to wait outside while he and the rest of his teammates decide on a course of action. While waiting, he then hides the Quantum Trigger behind a nearby computer console. After a brief discussion, everyone agrees to accompany Luthor back to his universal home and help him defeat the Crime Syndicate while Batman decides to stay behind.
Back on the alternate Earth, the Crime Syndicate is hard at work tearing apart the Justice League headquarters as they try to find the Quantum Trigger. For help, they have a small group of super-powered foes called the Made Men.
While they search, Superwoman (voiced by Gina Torres) learns from Owlman (voiced by James Woods) that Luthor’s device has enabled him to travel to other parallel Earths. After finding out that the Quantum Trigger is nowhere to be found, Owlman has Black Power use his electrical powers to download everything on the Justice League hardware into his personal computer while the rest of the Made Men continue to tear the place apart.
Just as Black Power completes his task, Luthor teleports in alongside the Justice League and are shocked to find the Crime Syndicate here. As such, our heroes have their initial throwdown with the Made Men. From a different range to difficulty (from the Flash easily subduing Extruding Man to Green Lantern eventually taking down Aurora), the Justice League manage to take these various foot soldiers down. Mixed in with this is Superman’s tussle with Superwoman as he ultimately gets her pinned under some rubble before Owlman joins in on the fight. After seeing her secretly calling for back-up, Luthor tells the Justice League to retreat. As such, Superman plows through the walls as they make their way out of their flying fortress.
Our heroes have little time to themselves however, as they discover Owlman his in hot pursuit via his jet plane. It also turns out that the Syndicate’s back-up has arrived as three blue and yellow-cloaked figures flying right towards them in the forms of Captain Super (voiced by Jim Meskimen), Captain Super Jr., and Uncle Super (voiced interestingly by the main man himself, Bruce Timm).
While the rest of our heroes duke it out with the Super Trio and Superwoman, Wonder Woman finds herself being chased by Owlman. She ultimately makes her way onto the plane, causing him to open up his cockpit and fire a handgun at the Amazon. Wonder Woman easily deflects the bullet with her bracelets as the two of them engage in a close-up struggle. Ultimately, she knocks Owlman off the aircraft as he uses his cape to glide across the skies. Wonder Woman then uses her lasso to save a rapidly-descending Flash and takes him into the cockpit as they use their newly-acquired jet to try and turn the tide in the fight.
After Luthor joins the two, they manage to get Superwoman and Captain Ultra off of their double assault on Superman. Superwoman orders Captain Ultra to fight Superman while she goes after Owlman’s plane. Luthor wonders where the mechanism is for the jet’s clocking device known as the chameleon circuit, causing the Flash to rapidly try the various controls before he finally activates it in time to get Superwoman off their tail. Shortly afterwards, they’re able to pick up Superman, Green Lantern, and the Martian Manhunter as they make a hasty retreat despite stormy conditions caused by the Captain Ultra family. They get struck just enough to have the plane be permanently invisible, but they manage to get away.
Later on, Owlman and Superwoman meet up with the rest of the Crime Syndicate as they have a meeting concerning bigger things for them to do. Owlman displays the weapon of choice for Project Damocles: the Quantum Eigenstate Device. As a true way of instilling fear unto the masses, this device has the destructive capacity to literally blow an entire planet off the face of existence.
We then get introduced to someone who isn’t afraid of the Crime Syndicate’s god-like control over the masses, Rose Wilson (voiced by Freddi Rogers) who is also the daughter of the president. As she addresses the media, we learn that she doesn’t completely agree with all of her dad’s policies.
As night falls upon the land, Luthor arrives with the Justice League at the Jester’s secret hideout. He then tells them about the main leads of the Crime Syndicate (minus J’edd J’arkus due to his death) and that Ultraman (voiced by Brian Bloom) is the ultimate leader.
Luthor also tells them how each Syndicate member are the fronts to various crime organizations and that they each have various groups of super-villains under their beck and call, which is how the Made Men fit into the picture.
As such, Luthor proposes to strike each organization one-by-one. Superman comes up with a better idea that they split up into smaller groups and attack those organizations at once.
Meanwhile, Superwoman drops by Owlman’s pad. While he continues his search for the Quantum Trigger, Owlman has constructed a transit device similar to Luthor’s but with some improvements. This gets Superwoman ecstatic at the possibilities that can arise, like conquering various Earths.
Meanwhile, the Justice League carry out their plan to systematically bring a permanent halt to the Crime Syndicate’s various organizations. Martian Manhunter and the Flash manage to tear down the missile shipping business of Johnny Quick (also voiced by James Patrick Stuart). With hardly a hiccup, they easily defeat J.Q.’s Made Men and are able to literally sink their operations.
Meanwhile, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern manage to tear down the Syndicate’s drug operations. Only one Made Man is present and it comes in the form of Olympia who manages to give our amazing Amazon a well-put fight, yet Wondey ultimately takes her down while G.L. easily blasts away at the machinery and drugs. As our two heroes fly away from a job well-done, Power Ring (also voiced by Nolan North) oversees the destruction being done to the Syndicate and flies off to inform his fellow members.
As the sun rises onto Metropolis, Superman and Luthor fly towards Ultraman’s pad. Lex demands for the Syndicate Head to come out, but is instead confronted by this universe’s Jimmy Olsen (voiced by Richard Green), who’s also known as Mr. Action. Superman easily gets this muscle-bound behemoth into a hold as Luthor uses Olsen’s watch to send out a signal for Ultraman to come.
On time, Ultraman arrives and demands that Jimmy Olsen be released. Luthor then proceeds to punch away at the face of the whole Syndicate, but it doesn’t even phase him. Ultraman then proceeds to deck Lex through one building and violently land on top of another. As he proceeds to try and finish him off with Heat Vision, Luthor unleashes his hidden ace in the hole, a fragment of Blue Kryptonite that he discovered on an alternate Earth since this Earth’s supply has been destroyed. This causes Ultraman to slowly but surely lose his strength, allowing Lex to deliver a swift punch that sends the Syndicate leader flying and then crash down onto the streets. After he’s taken into custody alongside Jimmy Olsen, Superman and Lex are confronted by the Secret Service who tell them that the President wants to talk to them.
At the White House, Luthor and Justice League confront Pres. Slade Wilson (voiced by Bruce Davison) who’s upset with what’s happened since he already achieved in having long-fought for delicate balance between the innocent people and the Crime Syndicate. He also states that he’s going to have Ultraman and the rest of his team released from prison since anyone who would be willing to testify against them wouldn’t stand a chance of living until trial.
Just then, his daughter Rose comes in and demands that he grow a spine in the face of having a chance to finally end the Syndicate’s reign of terror. When Slade still refuses, Rose thinks to herself of how her dad could possibly have gone from war hero to coward. Martian Manhunter overhears her thought via his telepathy and tells her that those who have seen battle holds life as the most dear, to which he apologizes for the unintentional mind reading. Superman, Luthor, and the Justice League then conclude their meeting with President Wilson by telling him they’re not going to give up on this fight when victory is within their grasp.
We then cut to the Crime Syndicate’s headquarters. While Johnny Quick continues to assemble the Quantum Eigenstate Device, Superwoman tells Owlman about her feeling towards him on not using the device for blackmail like the rest of the Syndicate agreed upon. He confirms her suspicions about killing on a massive scale since to him, it’s the only thing that has any purpose.
Owlman goes to explain why every choice they make is meaningless, since the choices they could have made will exist on parallel Earths. His plan: to locate Earth-Prime. Since every alternate Earth steams outward from that particular Earth, he’ll send the Quantum Eigenstate Device there and have it blow up there. It would cause a chain reaction that would not only wipe it out of existence, but also every single, solitary version of Earth with it. Liking how this is beyond her realm of psychopathic nature, Superwoman joins in on the plan.
We then cut to the White House’s courtyard where Pres. Slade confronts his daughter and wants her to stop publicly speaking out against the Crime Syndicate. Rose asks what happened to her childhood hero, but gets a response of “Maybe we both grew up” to which she heads inside away from him.
Shortly afterwards, Ultraman arrives and demands that Rose stops her public outcries against the Syndicate, since he also reminds Slade of what he did his wife. The outraged President says that he’ll nuke him if he goes anywhere near his daughter, yet the smug Ultraman casually slaps him in the face hard enough for him to draw blood and tells him that he and his team have been working on their own bomb.
As he continues to search for Earth-Prime, Owlman sends Superwoman over to the main DC Universe in order to retrieve the Quantum Trigger. She also brings the Captain Super family with her as they begin to search the Watchtower for the device.
Meanwhile, Batman continues to put the headquarters together. He manages to install the security system just in time as it picks up their location. The Dark Knight confronts them and initially has them under control, but Superwoman and Captain Super begin to smash up his construction suit.
Fortunately for Batman, he gets flung into the main heart of the Watchtower where the teleporter is. He’s able to bring up five heroes to help him out and they come in the form of (from left to right) Red Tornado, Aquaman, Black Lightning, Firestorm, and Black Canary. They proceed to take on the Captain Super family while Batman pursues Superwoman. In the end, they’re given a tough fight yet the five heroes ultimately manage to take down this terrible trio.
Batman catches up just as Superwoman arrives just outside of the main meeting room and finds the Quantum Trigger. The Dark Knight tries using explosive batarangs, but her super-hearing catches on and they only manage to slow her down for a very short time. Superwoman then confronts Batman and takes him down, but not before stealing a kiss from him. Captain Super manages to catch up to her just as she begins to head back to their main universe. Batman manages to lunge for them, causing him to teleport with them back to their Earth.
They arrive at Superwoman’s abode, more specifically her bedroom. Batman struggles to get to his feet due to being exhausted from the fight, to which Captain Super is ordered to deliver the Quantum Trigger to Owlman while she takes care of the Caped Crusader.
Despite the orders from Ultraman and her own presidential father, Rose takes her outcries against the villainous team to the streets again as he speaks out in front of the citizens in the middle of Centennial Park. However, the Syndicate was ready as Archer takes aim from afar to assassinate her.
Fortunately, his shot gets taken care of as the Martian Manhunter arrives and grabs the arrow a few feet shy of its target. He then confronts the assassin who fires multiple arrows at him which hit him, but do nothing. Archer then stumbles over the side as J’onn J’onzz saves him by turning into a monster to instill fear in him and safely land on the ground.
With her would-be killer stunned by terror and arrested, Rose accepts the Martian Manhunter’s proposal to help keep watch over her should any further attempts at her life be made.
Meanwhile, Batman continues to be in the fight for his life as Superwoman continues to toy with him and constantly kick the crap out of him. She then pins him under a ripped-out column and wonders what to do with him, either strand him on an alternate Earth (like a cold and uninhabitable version) or keep him around so she can continually wail away on him. She even lifts away a piece of debris that’s pinning him down and offers him a choice, to which Batman declines and tries to punch her. However, Superwoman catches his fist and easily squeezes on one of his ribs hard enough to break it.
Batman then uses gas pellets as this monstrous maiden of might thinks that she’s being fooled by a smokescreen and casually sucks in the vapor. When the smoke cleared, the Dark Knight is wearing a gas mask and discovers that it was actually anesthetic gas. This causes Superwoman to lose consciousness, drop the universe-hopping device, and get knocked out just as Batman calls for the Justice League. When she wakes up, she finds herself tied up in twisted metal beams.
Afterwards, Batman is enraged at Luthor for hiding the Quantum Trigger in their universe. When Superman asks why he couldn’t just destroy it, Lex answers that it’s made of pure energy and can’t be destroyed. When Luthor says that it’ll be used with a bomb that will wipe out a whole planet, he and the Justice League then learn from Superwoman of the true terror to come. Meanwhile, the rest of the Crime Syndicate have a meeting where they talk about how the citizens aren’t as terrified of them as they once was. Just then, things start to turn in their favor as Captain Super arrives to hand Owlman the Quantum Trigger.
Meanwhile, the Martian Manhunter is riding inside the presidential limousine as he continues to act as bodyguard for Rose. As they get to know each other more, J’onn tells her that their minds are at a same, particular tune that was extremely rare for his martian race and that he never thought that he would ever meet a human with that piece of mental connection. Rose tries to kiss him, but the Martian Manhunter decides to do a different way of showing affection. As a result, we see mental flashbacks of their past lives as both of them had loving families before both were taken away due to a tragedy. For J’onn, it was a White Martian invasion. For Rose, it was Ultraman’s Heat Vision piercing through a limo and killing her mom. Following more past images, they realize their deep connection and similarities for each other. The scene ends with Rose telling J’onn that she knows where the Crime Syndicate’s headquarters are.
As such, we cut to the Justice League arriving alongside their bounded Superwoman at the Crime Syndicate’s base located on the moon. Inside, Ultraman, Johnny Quick, and Power Ring are putting the finishing touches on the Quantum Eigenstate Device while Owlman secretly tries to locate Earth-Prime. Suddenly, he picks up an intruder alert. Just as the Justice League reach them, Owlman installs the Quantum Trigger. Secretly, Johnny Flash managed to locate and free Superwoman as Power Ring traps them in a cage of green energy. Fortunately, Superman rapidly spins to dig himself out of the prison construct and decks P.R. to drop his hold on them.
Ultimately, the final battle comes down to pitting each member of the Justice League against their Crime Syndicate counterpart. Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and the Flash each manage to keep up their persistence and eventually take down their alternate evil versions. However, Batman’s stellar fighting skills and tech are only able to put up some of a resistance against Owlman. Eventually, his computer is able to lock onto the coordinates for Earth-Prime (52-97-77) as he uses his transit device to take himself and the Q.E.D. to his destination.
Batman tries to give chase with his universe hopping device, but Owlman was one step ahead as he locked everybody else out so that he couldn’t be followed. Luthor suggests that the only way to reach him now was if someone vibrated at the precise speed, allowing for a piggyback onto Owlman’s carrier wave. The Flash offers to do it, but Batman shoots that plan down saying he’s not fast enough. As such, Johnny Quick offers himself. Once in position, he begins to vibrate. He continually goes faster to try and lock onto the coordinates. Ultimately, Quick manages to vibrate fast enough to allow Batman to use his transit device and follow after Owlman.
Upon arriving on Earth-Prime, Batman sees Owlman making the final preparations on the Q.E.D. as he gets lectured on the secret of the universe and the creation of the multiverse. After Owlman arms the bomb and begins its final countdown, Batman kicks off the final battle in a race to save all of creation.
Owlman is easily able to counter every single tactic that Batman throws his way as the Dark Knight gets pummeled in the early goings. Even when he brings up similarities with himself and the Caped Crusader, Owlman continues to easily beat down his adversary.
The turning point comes when Batman slaps a mini-explosive onto Owlman’s face. With the explosion causing a distraction, Batman hurries over to the Q.E.D. and tries to enact a plan. As Owlman approaches, we see the Dark Knight going through various other Earth destinations before he gets put in a headlock. Fortunately, Batman manages to flip over and escape. Then, he uses a bola whip to tie Owlman’s arm onto the control as Batman manages to take his transit device and sends both him and the bomb away.
Owlman then finds himself on “a cold and uninhabitable Earth” right before the Q.E.D.’s countdown reaches zero. Facing his utter demise, his speaks his final words: “It doesn’t matter”.
With that, the Q.E.D. explodes taking him and the entire alternate Earth with it.
Batman manages to arrive back in the Crime Syndicate headquarters and as Johnny Quick stops his vibrations, we see the terrible side effect as it rapidly aged him. The Flash suddenly realizes that it would have happened to him, seeing that the Caped Crusader was looking out for him, before Johnny succumbs to death. Shortly afterwards, the Martian Manhunter arrives with Pres. Wilson and an army of space marines as they arrest the remaining members of the Crime Syndicate.
Later on, Luthor and the Justice League arrive back at the White House as President Wilson thanks them for their help and that the National Guard will be forming enforcement teams.
Shortly afterwards, Wonder Woman notices the Martian Manhunter being conflicted with either returning back to his own universe or staying here with Rose. In the end, he says that he’s already lost one home and that he’s promised to protect his new one. Rose understands as he gives him a proper good-bye with a kiss.
And so, our story ends with the Justice League arriving back in their universe and on the Watchtower as they’re greeted by the five heroes that helped Batman in his time of need as they consider adding more members to the prestigious fighting force.
Other than some elements carrying over from the source materials (alternate universe beings having their hearts on their side and the downplayed relationship with Owlman and Superman) along with a nod here to Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, there’s not much else to mention here. Some differences include the fact that the old school Justice League books also had the Justice Society in the story while Earth 2 had things like Kyle Rayner as the Green Lantern and Aquaman as a league member while the Crime Syndicate was temporarily trapped at their base via Green Lantern before escaping into the main DC Universe to wreak havoc before both sides were chased back to their proper universes.
As far as characters go, an example of some one who stood out for me was Superwoman. She’s seductive, semi-maniacal, and a war-waging machine. The highlight for me was when was having Batman at her mercy, since it really felt like she was getting a kick out of it and that he reminds her of her fellow teammate.
Speaking of which, Owlman makes a interesting case towards being the main villain. Unlike Ultraman and the majority of the Crime Syndicate who wish to rule their Earth with an Iron Fist, he very apathetic towards mankind. His constant feeling of being small compared to the grand scheme of the muti-verse has warped his senses to the point that he’s willing to go out of his way to make a grand statement at the cost of every single being on every single universe. He even gets Superwoman on board with this plan, so being an even more psychotic version of Batman gives him his perks.
As far as interesting Justice League characters, the Martian Manhunter is the one who truly stands out. Despite him ultimately being out of the fighting lights near the end, his character arc is intertwined with that of Rose. Both feel isolated in some capacity due to events from their past and they help each other towards feeling more and more complete. Other than that, every other character does an admirable job at filling in their roles.
As far as action scenes go, they mix in some humor whenever they can. While a rare occasion or two can show off some clever ways that a hero can combat a foe, it’s basically your standard superhero fare.
As far as story goes, here’s where things get interesting. Originally, this was supposed to be Justice League: Worlds Collide a story arc in Bruce Timm’s DC Animated Universe that would serve as the bridge between Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. After all, the J.L. were adding members at the end of the story. However, that idea was scrapped and instead made it into this film and any reference to said universe was removed. As far as what we have here, it has its moments. A crisis that’s not only on a universal scale, but for every single universe definitely has potential. With this only being just over an hour and ten minutes, every scene feels important to help progress things towards their climatic finale or even to show some character development.
Overall, this is a decently good film. While not a whole lot stands out, some of the characters possess their charms, the animation continues to hold up, and the pressure for the Justice League to combat their alternative selves has its moments. In the end, it’s worth checking out.
Next Time: A tale that goes to the grave and back as a former sidekick returns, but with a twist. Be here as we dig into “Batman: Under The Red Hood”.
Justice League (created by Gardner Fox) and all related characters are owned by DC Comics.