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  Justice Society: World War II Heroes Of The Hour
Year: 2021
Director: Jeff Wamester
Stars: Stana Katic, Matt Bomer, Liam McIntyre, Matthew Mercer, Chris Diamantopoulos, Geoffrey Arend, Elysia Rotaru, Omid Abtahi, Ashleigh LaThrop, Darin De Paul, Keith Ferguson, Armen Taylor
Genre: War, Animated, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Barry Allen (voiced by Matt Bomer) has a secret identity that he means to keep that way, for he is actually the superhero known as The Flash, who has the power to travel at incredible speeds, faster than any known organism. One person does know who he is, however, and she is his girlfriend Iris (Ashleigh LaThrop) who wishes he could just relax and be himself every once in a while: today they are going on a picnic in the park, but Barry is positively manic. As they are starting to have a heart to heart, they hear a commotion from across the city, and she tells him to go and be the superhero he is.

But what he does not know is that this curiosity and need to rescue people will send him hurtling across time and into the theatre of World War II... If there is one thing fans of DC can rely on it was their animation division, which took classic characters, as well as some not so well-known ones, and delivered on colourful, inventive adventures with pleasingly clean-looking cartoon lines. Justice Society: World War II demonstrated that with a collection of superheroes who can act like gods with all the powers they have between them, complex concepts like time travel or other dimensions could be employed in simple terms so easy to follow that would not baffle anybody.

Or nobody who was already a dedicated fan of this sort of material, at any rate. With a bright voice cast and clearly delineated characters, this was unlikely to disappoint anyone who dipped into these pictures, or indeed the more expert viewer who knew each superperson's background. While the world (possibly) awaited a Flash live action movie, this not only showed what an engaging personality he could be under the right circumstances, but that he could be presented in mindbending concepts and prove a very vivid guide through them: think Marty McFly in the Back to the Future series, which was referenced a couple of times here, if not by name.

On the other hand, there had been a couple of live action Wonder Woman movies, and very successful ones at that, therefore she was probably the main draw as the Flash television series, while as popular as any of those DC shows, was not exactly household name quality across the globe like Diana Prince was as essayed by Gal Gadot. She was not providing the voice in this, so TV star Stana Katic had been recruited to give her a not quite placeable accent instead. The other big news in the DC cinematic universe the year this was released was Zack Snyder's Justice League, the supercut of footage he had shot for the version he had been forced to abandon for personal reasons, and this cartoon delivered on the camaraderie of a solid superhero team that should really be the core of any attempt to bring them to the screen.

Except these were not the Justice League, they were the Justice Society, an earlier incarnation featuring some not-so-famous heroes like Hawkman, Hourman and Black Canary (not played as an African American as in Birds of Prey the previous year, but in her original blonde haired, blue eyed version, a nod to the times this was set in). There was also another Flash, which should be a hint as to what was going on in the plot, but as with many a time travel yarn it was the roads not taken that concerned the protagonist, especially when his presence manufactures a way of leaving the conclusion of the global conflict in doubt, as well as bringing the war to American shores in a manner that did not happen in real life. If it was conceit and concept piled up on each other, it barrelled along entertainingly, never impenetrable, and with confident portrayals of the icons in a style both respectful to their long comic book histories and vital enough to seem fresh to this century's eyes. Music by Kevin Reipl.

[COMING APRIL 27, 2021 TO DIGITAL
ARRIVING MAY 10, 2021 ON BLU-RAY & DVD.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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