Saturday, March 31, 2007

A jumble of final Justice League comments

I finished off the last DVD of Justice League (Unlimited) recently, so I thought it'd be fitting to publish my final round of comments in one broad sweep. As usual, I can't accurately entitle a potpourri of miscellaneous observations a "review", but it's as close as I'll get to one. The 'Net isn't exactly suffering from a scarcity of media reviews. (I try to aim for unique, original content whenever possible - otherwise, it just feels pointless to me to add more noise to signal.) Also, I freely admit to not being well-acquainted with comic books whatsoever.
  • I almost can't express in mere words the amusement I've been getting from having Powers Booth both on Justice League as the voice of the impressive Gorilla Grodd and on 24 as an aggressive VP/acting-president. When I shut my eyes while watching 24, it's like Gorilla Grodd is threatening to bomb countries in retaliation for terrorism or snapping at subordinates. Come to think of it, Grodd acts more like a visionary leader than the 24 VP all around (except for a plot to turn all humans into huge, hyper-intelligent apes like him, *groan*).
  • Am I the only one who sometimes sees the fights on Justice League and wonders why a superhero doesn't just use power _____ to get something done, or how the holy hand grenade a villain was able to defeat a superhero so easily? And am I the only one who has noticed that "Martian Manhunter" should pretty much be able to throweth the smackdown on anyone? Aside from being a remarkably gifted telepath, he has superhuman strength and durability, flexible shapeshifting, the capability to shift the solidity of his form, flight. In fact, he has a wealth of options available to him in any situation. I'm a little annoyed that such a character, the very definition of powerhouse, seemed to fill a supporting role so often.
  • OK, I suppose it's silly to continue to harp on the unbelievability of a superhero cartoon, even one that's so careful to keep itself somewhat grounded, but I just need to say it. The ultimate superpower is incredible luck. This is more important for the heroes without superhuman powers. No matter what trap a hero is in, some avenue of escape happens to be there, or some convenient environmental feature can be turned against the antagonist. Not to mention a hero is always prepared - not for situations that didn't transpire, but for the situations that did. Batman is always right. "Wait a moment while I grab the antidote for this exact poison out of one of my belt compartments..."
  • Was AMAZO in the final episode? That would have come in handy, wouldn't it?
  • Lex Luthor, no more than a human, rose to the top as the prime villain as Justice League continued. I like that. There's something poetic about an arch-nemesis having essential flaws. I once wrote a story whose main villain is a peasant sorcerer - someone for whom magic was a means to class warfare. Voldemort has a non-wizard parent. Of course, the problem is that having Lex lord it over a room-full of superpowered goons, no matter how omniscient he is, stretches my suspension of disbelief to a degree Elongated Man can't hope to match. (Work, imagination, work!)
  • One quality of Justice League that bears repeating is its humor. The show kept itself from slipping into camp, which is an everpresent danger when mixing dashes of humor into incredible premises, but nevertheless allowed its characters to be themselves, which includes expressing their senses of humor, dry or flashy. Listening to someone quietly sing a pop song to himself while throwing a hefty object through a glass door is one of those little comedy bits whose effect is simultaneously brilliant and hard to explain.
  • Episodes about reincarnated lovers, specifically lovers in Egypt, don't work for me after sitting through a viewing of Mummy 2.
  • To display my personal bias again, I found it irritating how Vigilante and Shining Knight steadily became more prominent. Their voices are great (Nathan Fillion's delivery is so much fun), but to me they're stupidly unoriginal concepts for heroes.
  • The theme for Unlimited makes me cringe. I like some uses of electric guitar, more or less depending on my mood, but my common practice was to mute the player when it was on the DVD menus. The title sequence and end credits I either muted or skipped.
  • Partly because I watched the series on DVD, I didn't mind continuing storylines at all; I like a show with stories too large to fit into one or two episodes. Characters and their relationships should change over time. I have more respect for heroes and villains that undergo serious damage, physically and emotionally, and then cope. Something minor like Hawkgirl not wearing her alien garb anymore has deeper meaning.
  • My overall opinion is quite positive. Like Batman: The Animated Series, not every episode is great, but the ones that are stick with you and demand repeated viewings. If only to justify the cost of purchase...

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