Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Review - Crisis on Two Earths

Crisis on Two Earths is a DC Animated film from a few years back.  I watched it last year, and with the recent completion of the Forever Evil series that employed a lot of the same characters, I figured it would be a good time to revisit it so I watched it again.  The title is a play on the many DC Comics event miniseries (Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis, etc) and was actually the title of a smaller scale series in the early 1980s.  The plot centers around an alternate earth where the heroes and villains are reversed; Lex Luthor and the Joker are good guys while the members of the Justice League are villainous versions of the ones we know.  Ultraman, Owlman, Superwoman, Johnny Quick, and Power Ring are the leading members of the Crime Syndicate and are the opposite numbers of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Green Lantern.  There are also evil doppelgangers in subordinate roles like Archer (a red-suited version of Green Arrow) along with unnamed evil versions of Black Canary, Black Lightning, and Martian Manhunter.

The movie starts off in the alternate world with Luthor and Joker raiding a Crime Syndicate facility to steal a special device that would turn the tide.  They're chased down by that world's version of Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter.  Joker sacrifices himself so Luthor can get away, and he does.....using a universe hopping device to travel to our Earth.  After turning himself in to the police (with the correct assertion that they will immediately call in the League to pick him up), Luthor fills in Superman and company on how his world  is and why he needs their help (and hides the device he stole from the Crime Syndicate).  Everyone but Batman is in agreement that he deserves their help and come back with him.  Batman stays back because he asserts that it's none of their business and they have their own problems here.  Everybody watching knows that's not going to last long, and that one way or another Batman is going to be over there fighting with his teammates.

The Justice League arrives on the alternate earth and immediately goes to battle with their evil counterparts.  Some of the bad guys make their way to our world and get hold of the stolen device that Luthor hides there, bringing Batman along with them when they return.  Batman being Batman, he escapes their clutches and reunites with his Justice League mates.  It turns out the device that Luthor tried to hide was the main cog to a machine that can destroy an entire planet, which the syndicate was supposedly going to use to blackmail the world's governments into a final submission to their authority.  What everyone doesn't know is that Owlman, disillusioned with humanity and it's bad decisions is going to use the device to destroy Earth Prime, the centerpiece of the multiverse.  If Earth Prime is destroyed all the other earths will fall with it.  We soon get the League vs. Syndicate throwdown that we were waiting for, with each member facing his or her counterpart.  During this fight, Owlman gets away to Prime Earth to execute his plan to destroy everything. 

With no other way to get to Prime Earth, the members of both factions decide on plan of action.  One of the speedsters has vibrate at a high enough freqency to create a portal to Prime Earth and follow Owlman.  The Flash volunteers but Batman tells him no on the grounds that Johnny Quick is faster than him and has to be the one to do it.  When the portal is opened, Batman takes it upon himself to go through and confront his evil double.  The final fight takes place between Batman and Owlman on Prime Earth as the machine begins to count down.  It's here that we get not just a good one on one fight but some epic dialogue from Owlman, where he breaks down just how he and Batman are alike in more than just their DNA.  The cynicism, and ultimately the arrogance (With four teammates who could have dispatched Owlman much easier, Batman still chose himself to handle the final task.) that drives them both is identical.  I don't need to tell you that the good guys prevail here; you should know that by now.

So how was it?  Very good, but with a few misses.  I could have used a few more reverse heroes in the alternate world.  All we really got was Luthor and Joker.  And like so many Justice League series and movies, it turned into a Bat-fest.  Which I'm ok with because I'm an admitted Batman fanboy, but if you're not then it could be problem.    There's also a meaningless subplot involving Martian Manhunter and the daughter of the President of the United States (Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke from our world) in the alternate world where the two fall for each other, but don't get together.  And lastly, as much as I liked the final showdown, the ultimate corralling of the Syndicate members is a bit rushed and unconvincing.  Beyond that, nothing glaring.  It's a fun watch, and it's cool too see the bizarro versions of the Justice League members.  It's good for repeat viewing as well.  I'd give a B overall.  You don't need to run out and buy it right now, but if you're looking for something that's good to pop in when you need something to watch this does the job.

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