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  Injustice Don't pull on Superman's cape
Year: 2021
Director: Matt Peters
Stars: Justin Hartley, Anson Mount, Laura Bailey, Zach Callison, Brian T. Delaney, Brandon Micheal Hall, Edwin Hodge, Oliver Hudson, Gillian Jacobs, Yuri Lowenthal, Derek Phillips, Kevin Pollak, Anika Noni Rose, Faran Tahir, Fred Tatasciore, Janet Varney
Genre: Action, Animated, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Superman (voiced by Justin Hartley) - Clark Kent to his friends - has some big news this morning. As he lay in bed alongside his wife Lois Lane (Laura Bailey), listening to the sounds of the city of Metropolis, he realised there was an extra heartbeat emanating from his partner: Lois was pregnant with their first child. He was delighted, but had to temper that joy with some alarming news he learned from Batman (Anson Mount) who he met beating up some goons in his city - Batman was here and not in Gotham because The Joker (Kevin Pollak) was here, and planning one of his biggest crimes ever, one involving Superman.

Injustice was one of DC's animated movies, where at least they tended be more successful than their rivals at Marvel. Not everyone appreciated that it was an adaptation of a computer game and subsequent multi-issue comic series, since the naysayers felt there was simply too much plot to cram into a seventy-eight-minute-long feature comfortably, but this was not necessarily a comfortable story and was effectively one of the publisher's Elseworlds yarns, like Marvel's What If...? focused on perfectly awful events occurring to their most popular characters. And they didn't get more awful than Lois Lane's fate here.

Throughout, the project made it clear this was an alternate universe Earth we were watching, so those characters were not behaving as they would normally and all bets were off as heroes, and indeed villains, were despatched with callous brutality. Fans of The Flash, for instance, were not going to be too pleased with The Joker murdering him (at a remove) in the opening ten minutes, but the cruellest element was Lois being elaborately killed as part of a plot to set off a nuclear bomb in Metropolis. It's all very well preferring the so-called "darker" storylines, but there's dark and there's so grim there's no coming back from it.

Which threatened to be the case in this, and was not entirely handled well; in a game, there had to be different rules and the possibility the player would fail at the task, indeed that was an inevitability, meaning, say, Superman had to die or Batman meet his maker to prompt the player to restart the game and try again. But in a film or TV series, there was a point where you couldn't take stuff like that back, and you had to tiptoe gingerly around such story arcs or commit to them so wholeheartedly that the audience were forced to accept it. In Injustice, they went for the latter option, and though it was not the massacre it could have been, when Superman turns fascist and makes America a police state, we were meant to take that seriously.

Director Matt Peters was keen to include a little humour, so Harley Quinn (Gillian Jacobs) and Plastic Man (Oliver Hudson) injected some chuckles into what was a fairly dour experience, albeit in a sensational, dramatic fashion. Supes decides that evil must be eradicated from Earth and Wonder Woman (Janet Varney) becomes his closest ally in that mission, not twigging the irony that to do so means to crush the freedoms that the planet likes to think it stands for. Meanwhile Batman sets up his alternative Justice League to combat this attack on human rights, the point being if we have free will, then as well as the liberty to do good, we have to cope with the fact others may use that liberty to commit evil. It was heady stuff, maybe a shade too heady, but it rocketed along barely pausing for breath and the action was plentiful as the superheroes and villains spiralled off in surprising directions, unfettered by usual conventions.

[Injustice - Special Features
Blu-ray, Digital and DVD - out now

Adventures in Storytelling - Injustice: Crisis and Conflict (New Featurette) - The storytellers behind the new Injustice animated film discuss how all the intense drama and unabashed action was brought to life.

DC Universe Movies Flashback
The Death of Superman
Reign of the Supermen

From the DC Vault
Justice League - Injustice For All, Part I
Justice League - Injustice For All, Part II.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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