Hello, my friends. As we continue our frenetic fights towards the future, it’s time that we shed some light on a particular predicament within the present. As such, I welcome you back to another entry of my humble review series known simply as…
From 1992 to 2006, Bruce Timm presented a series of animated shows and films based on various DC properties that took its young viewers from the crime-ridden streets of Gotham City to the bustling municipality of Metropolis and beyond as each project was entirely presented in Timm’s unique art style. Despite 2006’s “Superman: Brainiac Attacks” also having the same look to it, that was more of a standalone adventure in its own right. Little did we know that in 2017, we would somewhat revisit this world with “Batman & Harley Quinn”. I say “somewhat” because while Bruce Timm considers it a part of his animated universe, it was never officially confirmed by the higher-ups. For this entry, we get to jump back into this familiar universe (through a “head-canon” mindset, that is) as its future is causing some trouble in the past (which turns out to be the present). As such, come with me as I present my thoughts on an animated venture called…
The film made its debut on March 29, 2019 with a showing at WonderCon. After that, it got its Digital Download release on March 30 before finally arriving on DVD, Blu-Ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray on April 16. So, what kind of timely terror will the World’s Greatest Heroes come up against? Well, let’s time-jump in and find out.
We open in the 31st Century as an alarm blares throughout the headquarters of a super team called the Legion of Super-Heroes. The base is under attack as a trio of assailants chase after a fellow Legionnaire named Thomas Kallor a.k.a. Star Boy (voiced by Gurpreet “Guppy” Sandhu & Walter O’Brien himself, Elyes Gabel). Over in the central hub, he gets informed by Querl Dox a.k.a. Brainiac 5 (voiced by Mickey Milkovich himself, Noel Fisher) to retreat towards the building’s command center just as he provides some cover fire with the base’s security system. Unfortunately, they’re able to shield themselves before taking the guns out with an axe.
Star Boy manages to get back to the central hub in time just as Imra Ardeen a.k.a. Saturn Girl (voiced by Tara Strong) telekinetically senses their approaching foes and discovers that they’re after a Time Sphere. Brainiac 5 rushes over to set-up a booby trap within the machine, but he doesn’t have much time to work with since their adversaries have reached the door and begin to break it down. Thomas proceeds to increase the entryway’s mass in order to buy more time. During this, Saturn Girl notices his sweat-filled worry and telepathically discovers that he’s due for a medical injection. Star Boy then tells her to stop poking around in his head since they have a much more dire matter to deal with.
Afterwards, the door gets destroyed as the Legionnaires are approached by Nyeun Chun Ti a.k.a. Persuader (voiced by Matthew Yang King), Mano (voiced by Philip Anthony-Rodriguez) and Sheldon Calden a.k.a. Tharok (voiced by Peter Jessop). Imra gets taken out fairly quickly as Thomas retaliates by sending several large pieces of the roof down upon his foes. However, Persuader managed to protect his teammates as Tharok takes him out with a laser blast.
Afterwards, he tosses Brainiac 5 out of the Time Sphere as he and his fellow cohorts hop in and begin to travel back to the 21st Century. In a last-ditch effort, Star Boy leaps towards his foes and gets sucked back in time with them.
We then cut to 21st Century Earth as the felons have arrived and begin to enter the planet’s atmosphere. With his superpower providing him protection, Thom flies back towards the villains and grabs onto the Time Sphere. He then notices that the booby trap was almost complete as he uses his power to slam Mano’s head into the panel and manually activate Brainiac 5’s technological ploy as it encases the fiends within the sphere before he gets separated from them.
Over in Metropolis, the Time Sphere is barreling down towards the dockside citizens as a little kid isn’t able to move out of the way in time. Fortunately, he gets a timely save from Kal-El a.k.a. Clark Kent a.k.a. Superman (voiced by George Newbern). As he begins to wonder about the otherworldly sphere, Star Boy has landed over in Gotham City. After flying out of the crater (with the help of his Legionnaire Flight Ring), he makes a grave discovery as he sees that his injection tube has broken and thus he’s unable to take his medication.
As such, he starts wandering the streets. As his mind begins to struggle with the concept of remembering, he comes across a pharmacy and asks the pharmacist for some Quatroclosapine. Unfortunately, she has no idea what he’s talking about since that particular “mental stabilizer” doesn’t exist yet.
Just then, his mind starts to slip as he believes that she’s “scared of the costume”. As such, he proceeds to make his outfit dissipate and winds up naked. This rightfully freaks the pharmacist out as she leaves to go find some authoritative help. From there, he hops over the counter to search for his much-needed drug while the pharmacist informs some nearby police officers of her present situation. From there, the cops approach him as Thom ends up causing some unnecessary trouble, capped off with him pinning their firearms to the ground with his mass-increasing ability.
From there, he bolts out of the pharmacy only to run into Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman (voiced by Kevin Conroy). Star Boy tries to run away, but he’s quickly pinned down. After saying that he’s trying to reach a place with “twenty-one bridges” since he needs to find “limelight”, Batman knocks him out with some Bat-Gas.
We then cut to a forest at night as a small group is venturing through the woods. Just then, they accidentally come across a killer who’s in the middle of burying his unfortunate victims. He then holds the group up at gunpoint before killing two of them.
Fortunately, one lone woman managed to escape as the murderer runs after her. However, she ends up reaching a cliff as the gunmen catches up and fires a shot at her feet. This causes her to lose her balance and fall into the dark abyss below.
Just then, it turns out that it was a nightmare as she wakes up and tries to calm herself with a mantra: “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.”. However, she ends up finding this phrase to be “a load of crap”. This is Jessica Cruz (voiced by Maritza Ramos, Lina Santillan and Crazy Jane herself, Diane Guerrero) who explains in her narration that she’s been in a state of fear for some time. It then turns out that she’s explaining this to her psychiatrist as it’s also discovered that the event from her nightmare (the source of her crippling dread) actually happened to her three years ago. She even says that the mantra isn’t working for her as the psychiatrist suggests that she should come up with one that properly suits her. From there, they discuss about her new job within a “security position” and that even though it is stressful, Jessica states that the occupation “chose” her.
Just then, a blinking green alarm goes off within her backpack as Cruz excuses herself from her session. After heading outside, she reaches into her sack and pulls out a particular ring as it turns out that she’s a Green Lantern. Afterwards, she’s approached by Diana Prince a.k.a. Wonder Woman (voiced by Susan Eisenberg) who demands to know why she’s been ignoring the Justice League’s calls. Jessica tells her to contact J’onn J’onzz, but Diana explains that the Martian Manhunter is off on Rann dealing with the Dominators and that they need her assistance. Cruz tries to explain that it’s a personal struggle just to get out the front door and that it was a mistake for her to even have a Green Lantern ring.
Suddenly, Wonder Woman draws her sword and attacks her in front of some nearby people. From there, Jessica uses her ring to shield herself and change into her costume as Diana tells her that she’s more than worthy of her superhero title before flying off. Afterwards, the ring also exclaims that she’s able to “overcome great fear”. However, Cruz still isn’t able to shake off her own self-doubt as she proceeds to take her leave.
We then cut over to the Gotham News Network as the station has been taken over by Alex Trent a.k.a. Bloodsport (voiced by Tom Kenny). He proceeds to ramble about John F. Kennedy’s assassination being nothing more than a “hoax” and that he demands for the deceased president to show up within two minutes or else he’ll kill the entire news team via suicide bombing. He then has the meteorologist come in to give him some water when he suddenly hears a nearby swoosh. This causes him to open fire upon the walls as the news team gets put in danger of his psychotic gunshots.
Suddenly, the weather girl disarms and throws him across the room as she reveals herself to be Megan Morse a.k.a. M’gann M’orzz a.k.a. Miss Martian (voiced by Daniela Bobadilla). However, she forgot the take the trigger away from him as Bloodsport is about to unleash a deadly boom. Fortunately, Batman disarms him with a Batarang before taking him out for good. Afterwards, he scolds Miss Martian for her somewhat reckless actions as it turns out that she’s trying to get enlisted into the Justice League and that he’s her teacher.
Meanwhile, Superman has brought the sealed Time Sphere to the Justice League Watchtower as Michael Holt a.k.a. Mister Terrific (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson) analyzes it. He tells Kal-El that he had Shayera Hol a.k.a. Hawkgirl use her Nth Metal mace in order to open it up before she left for her home world of Thanagar, but it didn’t work. Superman then uses his X-Ray Vision and says that while there’s no trace of lead on it, he’s not able to see what’s inside. They soon discover that it’s “out of phase” with them as Mister Terrific proceeds to bombard the sphere with some high-speed particles.
They soon discover our three future felons inside as the booby trap gets disabled and the fiends are able to escape onto the streets of Metropolis. Fortunately, Superman catches up and proceeds to fight them. They swap blows with each other before Mister Terrific comes in and attacks with his T-Spheres.
Just then, Tharok fires a special bomb that Superman easily catches. Upon its explosion however, it sends out a shrilling hypersonic blast that rattles his ears before Persuader comes in and slashes his gut.
As Kal-El begins to keel over in pain, Mister Terrific comes in and uses his T-Spheres to protect him from the oncoming strikes. Afterwards, Mano tells his cohorts to head out as they take their leave while Michael is left to deal with an injured Superman.
Over at Arkham Asylum, Batman has dropped off Bloodsport before he asks the head psychologist about their “mystery guest”. Not only are they under the belief that he’s a paranoid schizophrenic with delusions of being a “space cadet”, it turns out that Thomas has been in the facility for the past 10 months in a mainly calm state due to the medications that he’s been given.
Afterwards, Kallor is met upon by Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face (voiced by Bruce Timm himself) as they proceed to get their meal. Just then, he notices a newscast depicting the recent tussle in Metropolis. He recognizes his fellow fiends and suddenly realizes that he has to stop them. Unfortunately, this attracts the attention of some orderlies as they attempt to get him under control. He’s able to use his power to get them off him before he tries to break down a locked door with his ability.
However, this causes a massive quake within the facility as it also disables the cell doors for several inmates. While Thomas finally breaks down the doors and runs out while proclaiming “The Fatal Five are coming!”, a few notable inmates (namely Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy) are able to fend off the guards.
Fortunately, Batman arrives and takes both of them down before he’s confronted by Bloodsport who managed to escape during the ruckus. Now that he has a gun that he took from one of the guards, he prepares to enact his murderous revenge.
Fortunately, Miss Martian provides some invisible aid as she beats the perp up. However, Batman doesn’t give her any thanks (since he wanted her to wait in the Batmobile) before heading out.
Meanwhile, Star Boy uses his power to break open the outside wall before he’s confronted by Batman. After he once again mentions that he has to find “twenty-one bridges”, Thomas then proceeds to have his costume reappear before he states that he’s on a mission. From there, he pins Batman to the ground with his gravitational power before flying off with his Legionnaire ring.
Over at a warehouse, Mano is confronted by a projection of his true love: Venegarian Empress Sarya a.k.a. Emerald Empress (voiced by Sumalee Montano). She exclaims that she’s been imprisoned for a whole year waiting for him to break her out. Mano explains that he and his fellow cohorts are still looking to fulfill their mission since they only need to locate “the key”. From there, the scene ends with the imprisoned Emerald Empress telling him to free her, along with their fellow teammate Validus.
We then cut to the beginning of a new day over at the Justice League Watchtower with Mister Terrific having nearly healed Superman’s wound completely. As Wonder Woman arrives, Michael explains that his T-Spheres have analyzed the metal material left over from the axe as he discovers that it comes from exactly one millennium (1,000 years) in the future. Just then, Batman and Miss Martian arrive as the Caped Crusader shares his findings on Thomas Kallor, a being from the 31st Century who’s suffering from partial amnesia and is able to control an object’s mass. He and the team then piece together that Kallor is currently pursuing their recent fiends who were looking for “Limelight”. Wonder Woman recognizes this as Green Lantern as they wonder which Emerald Knight is currently being pursued. Batman then exclaims about the “21 Bridges” that Thomas mentioned. While there are several U.S. cities that have an exuberant amount of bridges, the Dark Knight exclaims that only one such place currently has a Green Lantern: Portland, Oregon.
From there, we cut to the Rose City itself as Mano, Persuader & Tharok proceed to cause some mass destruction towards the humble municipality in order to flush their local Green Lantern out. Meanwhile, Jessica is at her house and is about to eat when she receives a local news broadcast reporting on the growing rampage. From there, she springs into action and immediately saves some citizens from some rolling metal constructs.
However, Tharok blasts her to the ground before ordering her to come with his cohorts. Just then, Star Boy finally arrives. Despite him getting shot by Tharok, this gives Cruz some much-needed recovery time as she engages the fiends.
Persuader fights through her green shots and subdues her before Thomas uses his power to cause a minor quake, allowing Jessica to free herself from her foe’s grasp. Afterwards, she flies off with Star Boy as the fiends begin to recover.
After arriving at a parking garage, Cruz demands for Kallor to explain himself. However, his mental condition prevents him from making much sense as he rambles about a poem involving wolves and that they’re “the five”. Just then, their adversaries manage to catch up. Fortunately, Jessica and Thomas get some much-needed help as Miss Martian, Batman, Wonder Woman and Mister Terrific arrive to confront their foes.
From there, a massive fight breaks out as Persuader, Mano and Tharok are more than capable of fending off our heroes. During the scuffle, Green Lantern got knocked out as Persuader comes in and takes her away. After Mister Terrific manages to fend off Mano and Tharok with a combination of his combat skills & his T-Spheres, he and Wonder Woman head out to save Jessica.
Afterwards, Tharok flies off to help Persuader while Mano stays behind and uses his anti-matter touch to bring the entire parking garage down as Batman, Miss Martian and Star Boy find themselves trapped within the crumbling structure.
From there, he comes across Megan and attempts to kill her. Fortunately, she phases right through his deadly touch and proceeds to fight him.
Meanwhile, Wonder Woman uses her Lasso of Truth to ensnare Persuader. This causes him to lose his grip on the unconscious Green Lantern as Mister Terrific initially flies in and saves her. However, Tharok blasts him as Jessica falls again towards the ground.
As Diana deals with Persuader and Michael finally takes out Tharok, they both fly as fast as they can in order to prevent Cruz from falling to her death. Fortunately, she’s saved at the last moment by a fully-recovered Superman as he and his teammates fly off.
Meanwhile, Miss Martian and Mano continue their fight. Using the wrecked vehicles and its leaking gas, he creates a wall of fire to keep Megan at bay as he’s informed by Tharok that Superman has saved their target. As such, he orders his cohorts to retreat before flying off. Afterwards, Batman uses his cape to protect Miss Martian from the flames as she informs him that Thomas is still underneath the rubble, but she’s unable to get to him due to the fire. Fortunately, Star Boy uses his power to free himself just as the rest of the Justice League arrive.
Later that night as the adult heroes inform the local police, Megan and Thomas wait over at the nearby Big Belly Burger restaurant. She tries to ask him about their foes, but he’s mainly unresponsive to her. Just then, Jessica comes in with her food as Star Boy starts coming around thanks to some chocolate pudding. After Miss Martian heads inside, Kallor tells Cruz that he always knew her as Limelight since she’s “the key”. When she asks him if he remembers anything else, he manages to recall the series of events thus far but he’s not able to remember why he must stop “The Five”. Jessica then tells him not to overexert his brain in order “to do something it doesn’t want to” and that she can relate to his mental state. From there, the scene ends with her inviting him back to the Watchtower.
Meanwhile, our felons have made it back to their hideout. Mano tells his cohorts that despite their current hiccups, this doesn’t alter their plan since they still need to get “the key” in order to free their captured comrades. Ultimately, he asks Tharok if he can still make bombs. After Sheldon creates one, the scene ends with Mano alluding to what he’s got in mind.
Over at the Watchtower, Batman tells Miss Martian that they need to go inside Star Boy’s mind in order to find out what he knows about their adversaries. For the process, Cruz will be joining them in order to provide “a calming influence”. With the proper figures in place, the process begins as Thomas begins to visualize his 31st Century home. After Batman discovers Kallor’s mental stability medkit (with Miss Martian even noticing a picture of Thomas with fellow Legionnaire Lightning Lass), Jessica calls out to Star Boy.
From there, he mentally shifts over to the Legion Museum where our trio comes across the main hall and discover several statues depicting the Legion’s various members, including Thomas. From there, they discover a section that honors the team’s historical influence: the Justice League. As she comes to find out, Megan spots her own statue among its legendary members. Cruz then wanders into a special wing that honors the Green Lantern Corps. Specifically, it honors those specific Earthlings that wound up within this special group of space cops. She then gets a stunning revelation in that among the depictions of Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner and John Stewart (yet Alan Scott and Simon Baez are both absent, strange), her statue is alongside theirs.
Just as Batman and Miss Martian catch up in order to find out about their adversaries, their surroundings begin to quake as Validus is blasted into the building before jumping back out into the massive brawl. Our heroes then check out a group of Legionnaires (notably Chameleon Boy, Dawnstar, Tyroc, Mon-El and Shadow Lass) combating the majority of the Fatal Five. Both sides clash for a while as the Legionnaires are starting to overtake their foes.
Suddenly, the tide of battle begins to shift as Emerald Empress arrives and uses her Emerald Eye of Ekron to blast away specific key members before Validus comes in to finish the job. As Star Boy arrives to confront them (with Thomas convincing our trio that he really was a superhero), he uses his ability to subdue the Emerald Eye. Afterwards, a few more Legionnaires arrive as Saturn Girl subdues the Fatal Five with her telepathy. From there, Brainiac 5 uses a powerful tranquilizer gun in order to properly incapacitate Validus and Sarya.
With the rest of the Legion recovering, Mano, Tharok and Persuader are forced to retreat. Even after she’s been captured, Emerald Empress says that nothing will hold her. Saturn Girl confirms her by stating that not even their strongest prison is able to keep her away for good, to which Brainiac 5 says that it’s only true for their time period.
Just then, Kallor begins to increase the mass on Sarya’s restraints. Saturn Girl notices and learns that he hasn’t taken his medication yet. As Imra warns him about potentially getting so mentally unstable without it that he would get kicked out of the Legion, the current Thomas keels over as his mental surroundings begins to quake while Jessica tries to calm him down.
Just then, Mister Terrific snaps our heroes back into reality as it turns out that the Fatal Five has just sent a message to the Justice League. In it, Mano exclaims that he and his cohorts are going to unleash a massive city-by-city destruction scheme, starting with Metropolis. The only way that this can be prevented is if Green Lantern is handed over to them. With no way to track the signal to its source, the team decides that they’re not going to negotiate with their foes. Afterwards, Mister Terrific exclaims that he just picked up a familiar signal that’s being received across a great distance. Just then, a coordinated series of bombings begin to ravage Metropolis. Superman notices the explosions with his super-hearing and immediately flies off to deal with it.
As Wonder Woman, Mister Terrific and Miss Martian fly off to help, Batman tells Jessica and Thomas to stay in the Watchtower before heading out himself. From there, our heroes proceed to handle the various bombings. It ranges from Michael uses his T-Spheres to help a disabled passenger jet land safely to Megan dealing with a subway bombing.
Back at the Watchtower, Cruz worriedly stands by while observing the destruction from afar. Kallor comes in and tries to offer some comfort by saying that she should be helping out since she’s brave. However, Jessica rebuts his kindness by bringing up her long-term, crippling fear. Suddenly, her ring receives a private transmission from Tharok as she asks Star Boy for some privacy. From there, the fiend offers to stop their explosive rampage if she follows his signal and comes by herself.
Later, she arrives at a wooded area outside of town as she comes across the fiendish trio. Mano then tells her that she’s accompanying them on a certain “road trip”. Should she refuse, Tharok will continue to blow up Metropolis. With no other choice, Jessica willingly surrenders to them.
One trek through space later, they arrive at their destination which turns out to be the Green Lantern Corps’ own headquarters. With Emerald Empress and Validus being held within Sciencells on the planet Oa, the fiends are taking advantage of this moment in time since the majority of the Corps are off on Rann fighting in a war. From there, Jessica makes a horrifying discovery in that she’s going to be used to unlock the cells. Afterwards, her ring contacts her and inquires about this “unscheduled approach”. With Metropolis’ fate hanging in the balance, she states that she’s taking some prisoners to their Sciencells and that it’s merely a “Situation: Green”. From there, Oa’s outer shield opens up as she and the felons make their way in.
While Tharok stays behind to keep watch, Jessica leads Mano and Persuader down into the Sciencell chambers. Afterwards, she accesses the central hub and locates which cells Sarya and Validus are being held in.
From there, they begin the process as Jessica unwillingly uses her ring to open up Validus’ Sciencell. Afterwards, Mano accompanies her over to Emerald Empress’ cell. Just as it starts to open up, they’re suddenly approached by Kilowog (also voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson) as he smacks Mano away and commends Cruz for her proper usage of “Situation: Green” (Lantern under duress).
However, they have no time to relax since Persuader intervenes and takes him on. Meanwhile, Jessica attempts to use her ring in order to prevent Sarya from getting released. Mano notices and tries to stop her, but she gets help from another Green Lantern named Salaak (also voiced by Tom Kenny).
Unfortunately, Validus has been released from his cell as he begins to confront the four-armed Lantern. Cruz then proceeds to fight Mano and initially puts up a good fight, but she gets overpowered by him and is taken to Emerald Empress in order to relieve his beloved of her restraints.
Meanwhile, Kilowog is starting to overpower Validus and force the monstrous being back into its Sciencell. Unfortunately, he suddenly gets stabbed through the chest as it turns out to have come from Sarya’s Emerald Eye of Ekron. From there, Validus takes out Salaak as Jessica manages to save her teammates from their perilous falls. From there, she tries to fight back in a mad rage. However, a precise strike from Persuader’s axe shatters her ring as she slams onto the ground and changes back into her civilian clothes.
With the Fatal Five fully reunited, Emerald Empress uses her Eye to destroy the roof and bury Cruz within the rubble. Afterwards, they make their way to the Central Power Battery as the Emerald Eye of Ekron completely absorbs its willful light.
Back in Metropolis, our heroes have finally collected Tharok’s remaining bombs. With the T-Spheres carrying the explosives into the atmosphere, Superman uses his Heat Vision to safely blow them up.
However, more bad news awaits them when they get back to the Watchtower. Star Boy tells the team that Jessica has disappeared and that he doesn’t know where she went. Upon realizing that the fiends have their Green Lantern, Batman asks where the Time Sphere is currently located to which Mister Terrific exclaims that it’s “some place safe”.
We then cut to a mountainous region where a simple convenience store stands. Tharok blasts the lone clerk as he, Mano and Sarya make their way inside. It turns out that the store was a front for a secret government base as they easily dispatch the opposing sentries.
They ultimately reach the Time Sphere as Emerald Empress shares a thought that she had while she was imprisoned. She’s developed a way to prevent Earth’s heroes from ever being created and in order to do so, they’re going to destroy the Sun. By taking out the key star, it’ll cause a chain reaction across the time stream in which not only will the Justice League and the Martians get destroyed, but the Legion of Super-Heroes and the United Planets will get wiped from existence. From there, the Fatal Five would return to their time period with absolutely no one to stand against them. In order to carry out her plan, she’ll use her Emerald Eye of Ekron. Since it contains the vast power of the Green Lantern’s light, it’ll be able to annihilate the sun.
Just then, Persuader informs Mano that they have approaching company. It turns out to be the Justice League as they fly in via the Javelin jet. Just then, the familiar axe slices into the aircraft as Persuader proceeds to chop up the plane. Batman and Mister Terrific manage to immediately escape, Superman is instantly confronted by Validus while Wonder Woman helps Star Boy out before the plane plummets and explodes (as Miss Martian gets out offscreen).
From there, Diana engages Persuader in weapons combat. Meanwhile, Bruce, Megan and Michael approach an entryway into the base. Because it’s locked shut, she ends up phasing through the door in order to access the lock and let her teammates in. However, they’re immediately met upon by Tharok who opens fire on them, as Miss Martian gets hit and is taken out of the fight.
Mister Terrific sends in his T-Spheres, but they start to get shot down one at a time. Fortunately, Batman uses a Batarang to provide enough of a distraction in order for the last T-Sphere to encase Sheldon’s head. Michael then punches him out and offers to look over their foe while Batman makes his way into the compound, ultimately coming across Mano.
Back on Oa, Jessica managed to survive the collapsing rubble as she spots Kilowog lying mortally wounded. She tries to get up, but soon discovers her leg pinned within the crumbled infrastructure. As she finds herself at her lowest point, she calms herself down and ultimately realizes a mantra that works for her: the Green Lantern oath. As she chants it, she successfully wills her shattered ring back together.
Upon freeing herself, she carries Kilowog and Salaak back up to the surface before wearily telling her ring to take her home, right before she passes out.
Back on Earth, Wonder Woman continues her fierce fight against Persuader. At the same time, Superman is the middle of his clash with Validus. Even after he takes a fierce pounding, Kal-El manages to strike back by blasting his Heat Vision at the monstrous being, thus knocking him out. As soon as Star Boy arrives, Persuader crashlands next to them as Wonder Woman rejoins them following her win.
Inside the base, Batman and Mano are deep into their struggle. After taking a singeing strike to his side, Bruce manages to strike a few key pressure points, causing Mano’s right arm to go limp. From there, Batman punches his foe in the face and takes him out.
Afterwards, our heroes regroup just as they’re confronted by Emerald Empress. After making them believe that she killed their Green Lantern, she then uses her Emerald Eye of Ekron to stun our group.
We then cut to Jessica suddenly waking up as she finds herself back in her Portland-based house. With a renewed sense of confidence, she heads out to rejoin the fight.
Meanwhile, the Fatal Five regroups as our heroes lie stunned by the Eye’s blast, including Superman since the continuous charge is able to emulate Kyptonite’s energy. From there, Sarya sends her Emerald Eye out into space in order to destroy the Sun.
As it begins its three-minute flight towards absolute destruction, the Fatal Five proceed to gather themselves at the Time Sphere in order to head towards their idealistic 31st Century. Just as they’re about to launch themselves into the future, Cruz arrives and stops them at the very last possible second.
After shielding herself from Validus’ energy strike, she proceeds to fling the Time Sphere into the wall and destroy it. With their only means of escape shattered, the Fatal Five proceed to engage Jessica.
Green Lantern fends off an initial wave before getting trapped in Validus’ grasp. Fortunately, she creates a series of willfully-constructed chains in order to subdue the massive being. From there, she proceeds to take out Persuader and Tharok.
Lastly, she engages Mano in a brief scuffle before knocking him out. Unfortunately for Emerald Empress, her face gets accidentally singed by her boyfriend’s dangerous touch. Afterwards, Cruz unleashes her own wrath by bringing the whole base down upon the Fatal Five.
With Jessica having protected her teammates from the crumbling mountain, Kal-El flies off in order to stop the Emerald Eye. As Green Lantern is about to join him, Star Boy also wishes to join since he exclaims that Superman alone isn’t going to be enough to save the planet.
Out in space, Kal-El has nearly caught up to the Eye as they both begin to approach the Sun. However, it blasts Superman away and reaches its destination, thus beginning to tear the giant star apart just as Jessica and Thomas arrive.
She decides to create a construct to order to hold the Sun together, but he says that it would take a vast number of Green Lanterns to do so and that it’s not able to “be pushed back together”. As he also mentions that it has to be pulled & “held together”, he lies down and begins to increase his mass. Cruz tearfully begs him to stop, but he says that he has to do this since he’s “a superhero”. From there, he breaks free from her sphere and plummets into the Sun.
Superman manages to recover in time as he prevents Jessica from getting pulled in while Star Boy proceeds to sacrifice himself and stabilizes the Sun with his power.
Sometime later, the Justice League holds a private funeral service for the fallen Legionnaire. Cruz proceeds to give an impassioned speech about stars and on Thomas’ selfless sacrifice, not to mention that he ultimately helped her feel much more brave and self-confident. As such, she’ll always see him as her hero. Just then, the Legion of Super-Heroes arrive from the 31st Century in order to pay their respects to their fallen teammate. Meanwhile, Miss Martian receives some good news from Batman as she learns that she’s been accepted into the Justice League.
From there, the film ends with Jessica thanking the Legionnaires for attending this service. Brainiac 5 tells her that it was “an honor” as they shake hands in absolute respect.
Now with the plot synopsis out of the way, let’s move into our character analysis. Kicking things off is our featured Green Lantern herself, Jessica Cruz. She’s a reluctant hero throughout the film as it seems like she was drafted into the Corps at some point during the three-year journey that she’s been on ever since her tragic nighttime stroll through the woods. While the movie handles her initial origin, I learned from the commentary that how she became Green Lantern isn’t exactly how it happened in the comics. As told during Geoff Johns’ run with 50 of the 52 issues of the 2011 Justice League series (issues 31 & 32 to be exact), it was a hunting trip that she was on and she was with a woman and two other guys. Just like before, they came across something that they weren’t supposed to see. However, the original version had a pair of manly murderers burying one lone victim instead of one killer attempting to hide two deceased men. Thankfully, she escaped. However, her initial brush with a superpowered ring came when the one that belonged to the Crime Syndicate’s Power Ring (who died during the events of “Forever Evil”) called the Ring of Volthoom made its way to her due to it sensing the traumatic fear that lingered from her initial incident and thus forced her into becoming its new owner. Several twists and turns would occur, but the point is that it wouldn’t be until several issues later (Issue #50, to be exact) when in the finale of the Justice League story arc “Darkseid War”, she was finally issued a regular ring and was drafted into the Green Lantern Corps. Essentially, the movie makes the attempt at translating her fearful past and her transformation into becoming a confident Emerald Knight for the purpose of this narrative. As for what we’re given here for this iteration of the character, she has a lingering jadedness upon society due to the forest murderer leaving an unintended impression where anyone could be out to get her, especially since his face was kept in the dark. Her initial refusal to accept her duties within the Justice League could be because of the fact that it’ll force her to work within society. Even though she’s mainly confident talking to and standing alongside the World’s Greatest Heroes, it seems like she doesn’t want to be put in this protective position since she doesn’t think she’s confident enough to do the job properly while in this endlessly worrisome mindset. It’s not until Star Boy comes into her life that she starts to interact with him and be a source of comfort through his somewhat mentally-unstable times, in which he returns the favor by instilling her with a sense of confidence and bravery that she’s been lacking for a long time. After all, he sees her as a fully-realized legend in his time period. Because Thomas never wavered in his constant respect towards her (seeing her as someone of his utmost inspiration by naming her “limelight”), those few moments planted the seeds within Jessica’s psyche for her to overcome her darkest hour and ultimately rise out of her mental pit (which calls back to the psychiatrist advising her to find a mantra that’s far more suitable for her). By the end, her confidence reaches a fever-pitch to the point where she’s able to confidentially head out into the world and take on the Fatal Five with ease. With what’s present here, Diane Guerrero brings a nice range of pessimism, caring and even a few moments of comedic timing to her performance. In the end, he meshes really well in making us believe Cruz’ journey from the agoraphobic labyrinth to the plane of self-confident stability.
Next up, we have our featured Legionnaire in Star Boy. In a similar move to his depiction in the third volume run of Justice Society of America, he’s been given Schizophrenia. Throughout the course of the movie, he does display some of the mental illness’ traits which gets him into unintended trouble with certain figures from the early 21st Century. He deals with the various struggles that comes with his mental handicap, ranging from blissfully naive to being conflicted with his brain in remembering certain details. Unlike the Legion of Super-Heroes where he’s trusted by his teammates and worried over due to his condition, he’s treated more like a wild card due to the Justice League. His predicament can be related to anyone who has vast potential and is capable of great things, but they’re unproven to their group and isn’t able to give that particular person a chance to show what they can do due to present circumstances. It can be relatable to the autistic community where his condition makes him wiser & smarter than the actual community, yet his outward presentation places him in positions where he’s not given the same levels of opportunities that regular, mentally-stable folks have. There is some truth to that throughout the film where he’s prominently used in his time period, but he has limited amount of moments in his past where he actually gets to take part in the action. It was a bit disappointing that he was absent throughout the majority of the climax, though he gets to be the final capstone and save humanity’s present & future with a self-sacrifice. I’ll delve more into Thomas Kallor’s mental condition alongside Jessica’s, but Elyes Gabel brings a nice tone where his character keeps a kind-hearted delivery. Even when it’s in times of worry or in proving a point, he never needs to yell or get heated over anything, which helps in solidifying a constant feel upon the character, thus making him very likable throughout.
Now, let’s briefly get to the budding member in Miss Martian. Because this is her first appearance within this long line of animated films (and the fact that I’ve never actually seen the hit cartoon series “Young Justice”), I’ll only delve into what I got out of her for this outing. Similar to Jessica and Thomas, Megan looks to prove herself as she makes her bid in joining the Justice League. Unlike Cruz who has a timid reluctance towards heroic responsibility and Kallor who’s already an established hero in his time but has Schizophrenic shortcomings, Morse is the most mentally-stable out of them all with her only handicap coming from youthful inexperience. She has a bit of a parallel with Star Boy where she gets several things to do throughout the majority of the movie (despite being under the scrutiny of Batman) and even shares of a few scenes with Jessica & Thomas, which comes with some nice interaction. With a minor rewrite, a three-way character arc between them wouldn’t have been a bad touch. While she does initially take part in the climax, she takes one shot from Tharok and then she disappears until the final scene of the film. Upon breaking it down, I know that the blast knocked her out. However, she’s been vying for a spot on the Justice League and while she’s done loads of good things during the movie, the most she does for the climax is essentially open a base door. Had she done more during this scene, then I would have bought her membership acceptance even more. Despite that, Daniela Bobadilla is pretty solid in her youthful delivery. She brings the right amount of energy throughout and delivers her lines with delightful gusto. Despite my complaint about her lack of climax involvement, it was still enjoyable to see this character in action outside of a fan-favorite cartoon.
In terms of our featured villains, they’re greatly handled as a threat to our heroes. Persuader, Mano and Tharok were more than well-equipped to serve as opposition for our protagonists, even as Mano serves as de facto leader before they get to their remaining comrades. Once Emerald Empress and Valdius are reunited, they’re nearly unstoppable as a whole unit. Sure, it is a satisfying moment when the Justice League ultimately defeat each of Sarya’s cohorts (only for Emerald Empress and her Eye to nearly undo their progress), but each member is able to display a great deal of skills that helps to serve as a proper challenge. The team’s motivation is a bit basic (since Mano and Emerald Empress are a devious couple in the 31st Century), yet it becomes understandable once the source of their incentive for their time-traveling rescue mission is revealed. Later on, Sarya’s endgame makes some sense in that there won’t be any Earth-based superhero team to oppose them once they get back to their time period. Most likely, some form of thought went into that strategy since she figures that a batch of humanity would have survived and lingered on to prosper just enough 1,000 years after the forced Supernova, from which she and her cohorts would rule over in some form. A certain madness can be felt from Emerald Empress (and by extension her teammates) where that plan is short-sighted since it’s meant to permanently take both the Justice League & the Legion of Super-Heroes out of the equation, since there’s no mention of what they hope to do in lording their power once they reach their new future. Despite that, the villains were nicely done and executed very well, ranging from nice performances from their voice actors to some good writing that allows them to be a legitimate opposition for our heroes to go up against.
As far as the rest of the Justice League members are concerned, they hold their supporting roles really well. Mister Terrific took advantage of his scenes and stood out in an exciting way, ranging from the use of his T-Spheres to even showing off some nice hand-to-hand combat skills. He didn’t get much of an opportunity to show off his genius intellect, but that’s somewhat understandable given his position within the story here. Meanwhile, the Trinity are solidified in their roles, given that they’re the most well-known figures in DC history. Batman gets to partially play detective here while overseeing Miss Martian’s attempts at joining their ranks, Wonder Woman is a confident Amazon throughout with good-intended kindness for her teammates & a warrior’s drive to deliver to her foe, while Superman is the most solidified out of all. This may have be intentional considering that this film was released after viewers had just wrapped up a recent two-part tale that focused on him, but the Fatal Five taking out the Man of Steel fairly early on in order to make things even more tricky for our heroes was strategic enough from a narrative perspective. Make no mistake, Persuader, Mano & Tharok were more able capable of holding their own until they finally rescued the rest of their team. Even Emerald Empress with her powered-up Eye is capable of taking Superman out of the equation. Essentially, Superman only has two major fight scenes: his initial encounter against the Fatal Five and his duel against Validus during the climax. Overall, the Trinity’s limited use is respectable since this isn’t their story. Like Kevin Michael Richardson with his performance as Mister Terrfic, Kevin Conroy, Susan Eisenberg and Geroge Newbern handle themselves as professionals. In the end, all four of them helped the story flow really nicely.
Finally, let’s get into the relationship between our featured pair and how the movie handles their mental problems. With Jessica and Thomas as our two main leads, the films shows them dealing with their struggles against their own forms of mental illness. Cruz developed Agoraphobia from her survivor’s guilt and constantly faces a daily struggle just to get up out of her own home. Meanwhile, Kallor’s Schizophrenia (as I mentioned) was inspired from the Volume 3 run of JSA as he has moments where he can’t think straight, one particular scene of abnormal behavior (a.k.a. his Austin Power-esque, as said in the commentary, nude moment in the pharmacy) and even a few spikes of strange speech. I suppose his own codename for Jessica as “Limelight” could serve as a false belief (another symptom of Schizophrenia), but he does refer to Portland, Oregon as “Twenty-One Bridges”. In terms of how these two helped each other through their own mental struggles, Cruz serves as a comforting soul for Star Boy so that he can properly inform our heroes as to what they’re up against and get to know him better. In return, Thomas helps Jessica feel more worthy with herself and to not let her tragic past control her life. Their partnership does feel genuine throughout as it develops during their time in Portland and in Thomas’ mind, which is then solidified by the time the Sun is about to be torn apart. Even though I’m not a mental health expert, my research did point me in the direction that these two felt genuine with their respective psychosis and it works in that aspect.
Overall, this is a quaint good time to be had. While not exactly standing out in a significant way, there’s still some quality elements present in this movie. Timm’s familiar animation style continues to be a comforting watch, the voice cast comes off as solid, the action set pieces have several entertaining flavors and the narrative never gets too big for its own good. It has a bit of a juggling act with giving the proper spotlight to its featured Green Lantern, Legionnaire and main villains, but it mostly handles this task fairly well within the story and gives nice representation to the mental illness community. Not to mention, there’s some nice music cues to Bruce Timm fans with nods to the themes from Batman: TAS, Superman: TAS and both Justice League cartoons. It’s an extra cherry on top that helps secure a recommendation now and in the future.
Next Time: It’s been a while, but we’re heading back to the New 52 Animated Universe’s Gotham City as the Dark Knight is finally delving into some genuine love. However, someone is looking to tear him apart and is unloading several felons upon him. The Caped Crusader will have a lot to deal with as we delve into an adaptation of Jeph Loeb’s critically-acclaimed tale known as “Batman: Hush”.
Justice League (created by Gardner Fox), Legion of Super-Heroes (created by Otto Binder & Al Plastino), Jessica Cruz (created by Geoff Johns & Ethan Van Sciver) and all related characters are owned by DC Comics.