It’s as if Captain Cold knew Flash would be in town and decided to ruin his night! But let it be said here and now that comic fans are some of the most dedicated and resilient fans of any entertainment medium out there! Just ask the group of fans who came to the Paley Center for Media and braved a New York City snow storm to see the premier of DC Comics latest animated feature film, Justice League: War! This is the follow up to the highly successful and just plain awesome Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox which sets up DC’s animated New 52 universe. So with the anticipation and build up over the past couple of months there would be no stopping the fans from getting the first look at Justice League: War!
However, before we were given the chance to see the movie we had the opportunity to speak so some of those responsible for bringing us another great feature. The first person we were able to speak with was Phil Bourassa who is responsible for Character Design on the film. We spoke about being able to keep the costumes of many of these iconic characters faithful but adding certain things to make them different from the last few times we’ve seen them on the screen. Batman was one of the costumes that Phil stated has a bit more room for certain changes while Cyborg is a bit more difficult mainly for him being a tech heavy character. On a side note, the design for Cyborg and the circumstances around it in this film makes SO much more sense here than it ever did in the comics. Phil stated that he didn’t have to stick exactly to what Jim Lee did but they were also given leeway to come up with their own ideas as well. He also let me know that these aren’t direct adaptations of the New 52 which is a good thing because now we get to be surprised with the story all over again.
Next up was Director Jay Oliva who went into quite a bit of detail in answering my questions about the fun in adapting the comic to the film. Not surprisingly (especially after seeing the film) his answer was “Elaborating on the action and the story!” From expanding the action in a two or three panel sequence into a 30 second or longer fight scene for the film. He also spoke of the juggling act of integrating certain iconic scenes from the comic as opposed to having to go in a different direction but still maintaining the feeling of that sequence. We spoke about the intensity of the fight scenes and things got a bit off tangent as we both started to geek out a bit about Honk Kong martial arts films and his love of One Piece The Movie Z. A film that impressed him with it’s action and inspired him to want to make the action sequences in Justice League: War just as big.
Afterwards we spoke with Executive Producer, James Tucker about starting at the proverbial “ground zero” with Justice League: War. He let us know that this film is a bit edgier than the previous Justice League cartoons he worked on. This current team dynamic is very stressed as it’s not automatic that these characters would just get along. Stating that there is no “kumbiyah” moment between the group by the end of the film which makes things all that more interesting and harder to guess when you ask “what’s next?”. There was a focus here to make sure the interpersonal dynamics of the characters made for good pairings throughout. Whether it was Batman and Green Lantern or Wonder Woman and Superman. The audience had to believe it and enjoy it for the film to work.
We finally caught up with Covert Affairs star Christopher Gorham who is the voice of “Flash” in Justice League: War. Don’t worry fanboys, he knows his stuff and does the character justice (no pun intended) from beginning to end. It was even revealed during the panel that he has a certain skill that makes him more than qualified to be the voice of the Scarlet Speedster. That’s right folks, Christopher Gorham is a licensed Auctioneer and even gave the fans a demonstration and had us join in as well. Chris also stated that one of the things he loves about the character is that he’s (Flash) a superhero fan himself. Citing that one of his favorite scenes in the movie is when Flash meets Batman and becomes a bit of a fangirl during the conversation. Things were moving along pretty fast at this point so we said goodbye to Chris as it was time to make our way to the auditorium to finally get a first glimpse of Justice League: War!
Unfortunately the person I wanted to speak with the most, Andrea Romano, was pulled away right before we were ushered down to get our seats for the film. Now, if you’re unfamiliar with who Andrea is and her contribution to not only this film but so many others then I suggest you do some research and if you ever have the opportunity to meet her say “Thank you!”. So I’ll quit gushing now while I’m ahead and get on to the rest of the evening.
Now, there will be no spoilers for the film here since I’m sure a great majority have already grabbed it on digital download and can attest to how great it is. However, if you’re waiting on the Blu-ray/DVD release then it is definitely worth the wait! The film itself is just full of spectacular action and memorable character moments that make you want to watch it all over again once you’re finished the first time! I will say that it’s greatest strength lies in the fact that it’s not a direct adaptation of the comic and in some ways the story is made even better. And if you pay close attention and you’re patient enough then you’ll see why a certain character wasn’t in the film but you won’t be let down at all!
Immediately after the film was over and the tidal wave of cheers finally settled down, we were treated to a panel moderated by Gary Miereanu and if you were one of the lucky fans who asked a good enough question then you would receive one of five HUGE poster prints signed by everyone on stage! With questions ranging from keeping this new but very talented voice cast to the “drama” surrounding Wonder Woman’s costume the fans made it pretty difficult to choose. Though, by the end of the night five people left the Paley Center a hell of a lot happier than they did when they arrived! One of those happy people just happened to be Eric Snell who braved this snowstorm with me as ComicAttack.net photographer to attend the event!
Justice League: War will be available for a home release on February 4th but if you can’t wait for that then get the digital download now and enjoy!
Paley Center photos courtesy of E. Snell Design