With Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League coming up, I’m on a binge for anything Justice League related. HBO Max has allowed me to rewatch pretty much all the Justice League movies. Speaking of which, the old animated show was recently added, including Justice League Unlimited. Boy, I can’t wait to catch up on some fond childhood memories. I will say, if you’re not a fan of the Joss Whedon Justice League movie, which a lot of people aren’t, you should check out some of the animated DC movies.
Okay, so DC has had a bit of a polarizing reputation when it comes to their movies. I am a big DC nut, but I get why that’s the case. DC can put out some incredible movies, but they will also give us some very disappointing ones. How many times did they try to do a cinematic universe? Probably the most significant time was when they gave us the 2011 Green Lantern movie with Ryan Reynolds. My goodness, I remember being so pumped for that movie. But you know what? It led to Ryan Reynolds being even more motivated to pursue Deadpool and he took some hilarious jabs at his former superhero flop. The man is comedy gold.
After Green Lantern, we got another attempt at a cinematic universe. Then in 2013, we got Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel with Henry Cavill. Personally, I loved Man of Steel. However, I know that a lot of other people didn’t, hence the mixed reviews. Despite Man of Steel not getting the greatest reception, it thankfully made enough money to kick off the DC Cinematic Universe. After Man of Steel, Superman was going to take on Batman. A movie with Superman fighting Batman? That’s going to be the coolest movie ever! Yeah, except it wasn’t.
Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice wasn’t the hit we wanted and honestly, neither was Justice League. That’s why we’re getting the Zack Snyder cut, which I have a strong feeling will be better. If it isn’t, then internet keyboard warriors will get mad once again. But no, I’m confident the Snyder cut will be great. Only one more week, and I can hardly wait.
The thing about Justice League, however, is that they tend to have a better reputation outside the live-action realm. Being the DC nut that I am, I’ve been keeping up with the animated DC movies for a while now. If you don’t like the actual Justice League movie, but love DC, I implore you to check out the animated Justice League movies. So most of them tell the same story we’re used to seeing. The Justice League fight together in order to defeat some supervillain who wants to destroy them. Sure, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, but at least the animated movies make it entertaining. There’s plenty of action, the characters are done right and there aren’t any CGI lips. That one never gets old.
If you want to watch an animated Justice League movie that breaks that formula, then I have a recommendation for you. If you ask me, you can’t have the Justice League without the main trinity. It’s just like the Avengers. They have the big three, comprising of Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor. It’s the same case with the Justice League, with their trinity being Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Seeing them come together (no pun intended) for the first time in BvS was cool, but also a bit underwhelming. Maybe it’s because Wonder Woman’s presence in the movie felt a bit forced, but her fantastic solo movie justified it. Let’s hope the Snyder cut makes the trinity even cooler.
The 2015 animated film, Justice League: Gods and Monsters, focuses on the main trinity, except it tells the story of alternate versions of them. For Superman, there is Hernan Guerra, the son of Lara Lor-Van and General Zod. When he crash landed on Earth, he was adopted by poor Mexican immigrants trying to cross the border. Compared to Kal-El, this Superman was much more brutal and was willing to topple foreign governments. This put him at odds with the United States government, and Amanda Waller was the president. Oh, and rightfully so, he’s voiced by Benjamin Bratt.
And what about Batman, you ask? Does the name Kirk Langstrom ring any bells? That’s right, the Batman villain, also known as Man-Bat, is the Batman of the universe. The thing is, he’s not Batman, but he’s basically a vampire. He sucks the blood of the criminals he fights, and has the pale skin to back it up. We don’t often see vampires be the heroes of movies, but the Kirk Langstrom Batman is just such a unique take on Batman. We’ve seen several violent versions of Batman before, but this one is a freaking vampire and on top of that, his counter part is actually based off an actual Batman villain. He’s also voiced by Michael C. Hall.
And as for Wonder Woman, this version is by no means Diana. In fact, this Wonder Woman is Bekka, a New God from New Genesis. This Wonder Woman had no bullet proof bracelets or a lasso of truth, but she was given a sword equipped with a mother box. She got it from Orion, the son of Darkseid, as a wedding gift. The ironic thing about it was that her family orchestrated the murders of Orion and his family. Seriously, Darkseid was killed pretty easily. Bekka, however, became disillusioned with her family after the massacre and used the sword to escape to Earth. At that point, a new trinity was born.
Just in case you haven’t seen it (it’s been out for several years now), I won’t reveal any spoilers, but do get on it. Once you see these alternate versions of the trinity in action, you’ll understand why I want more of them. I must say, as a Latino, I was so excited to see a Mexican Superman. He may be more brutal than Kal, but I will say that he does not become the villain his father does. That’s what makes him interesting, because he’s no one-dimensional boy scout. Same goes for the Kirk Langstrom Batman and Bekka Wonder Woman. They form a Justice League that is largely criticized by the public for being too brutal, but they have no desire to rule. They believe in justice, and they all have tragic backstories that I think can be explored further.
We got a taste of that in a short YouTube series, but it ends there. Gods and Monsters should get a sequel that continues their stories. It’s rare that we get such unique versions of the most popular superheroes.