I took my lunch break today and ran down to Best Buy to get the Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths DVD on the day of it's release. I have been loving all the DC/WB direct to DVD animated movies, and although some have been stronger than others the fan-boy in me has never been disappointed. While I don't always run right out to buy them on day one, the exclusive mini Owlman offered with the Best Buy release, in addition to all I had heard and seen regarding this newest feature (Spectre short, people!) had me waiting in breathless anticipation for it's release today.
Let me start at the beginning. Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is the first DC/WB animated feature to include a short "Showcase" cartoon. I imagine this is going to be a common occurrence now, and damned if they didn't blow the concept completely out of the water with their Spectre short.
I had tears in my eyes this thing was so good! Set in Los Angeles in the seventies, Jim Corrigan is a detective on the case of a murdered Hollywood mogul. The storytelling style is very old-school horror flick with an era relevant cop movie flavor, with a lot of homages to the genres mixed in. If you've ever read a good Spectre story, THIS is a damn good Spectre story!
After such a power packed opening act, I wasn't sure the main feature could live up to the adrenaline charge. My fears were put to rest about two seconds into the title sequence, and the fun didn't end until the credits rolled.
The story for Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths was originally envisioned as a bridge between the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited series, and fans will immediately feel the vibe. But those who did not follow the two series won't be lost or left behind, it hits all the right notes and doesn't leave anyone feeling like they "missed an issue."
The story is deep, the characterizations are spot-on, and the fight sequences are choreographed to near perfection. There's real gravitas to the threat hovering over our heroes, and real victory in their achievements. Cameos abound for the geeks, but again (and I can't emphasize enough the value of this component) the casual viewer will enjoy it without feeling like they aren't "in on the joke." For instance, my daughter enjoyed the film immensely without having to know that Superwoman's minions are Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr. and Uncle Marvel (in evil form, of course.) But I knew it. And I squeed a little on the inside.
So here's my recommendation. Buy it. Rent it. Borrow it. Steal it. Do whatever you gotta do to SEE IT!
I personally set out for the Best Buy release because of the Owlman figurine, which I recommend if you're into that sort of thing. It's smaller than DC Infinite Heroes figures, so it doesn't really fit into any current DC toyline, and it isn't really an action figure anyways as only the arms and head have articulation (and the arms are pretty useless with that massive cape.) But it's a nice add-in and the 2 disc DVD set with him included is only $19.99 right now at Best Buy, so it's worth it if you can get it.
The second disc includes a featurette with the DC editorial/creative team that came up with the recent Crisis comics storylines and two episodes of the Justice League animated series (appropriately enough: A Better World parts 1 and 2.)
Also included is a "First Look" at the next DC/WB animated offering: Batman Under the Red Hood. Man oh man, I am SO looking forward to that one!