I don’t play video game so I am only peripherally familiar with Injustice, an Imaginary Story featuring the DC Universe. Similarly, I didn’t read the Injustice: Gods Among Us prequel comic book that apparently sold well enough to inspire Warner Animation to invest precious time and resources in adapting it to film. The resulting product, out now from Warner Home Entertainment, is an acquired taste.
Those familiar with the source material will be irked at how much has been trimmed out to fit hundreds of pages into a 75-minute story. Those unfamiliar with the tale will scratch their heads a lot, asking, “How’d that happen?”
Taking a page from Mark Waid and Alex Ross’s Kingdom Come, Superman turns dark with rage and grief after the Joker kills Lois Lane. The twist is that this Lois is pregnant, deepening his pain. He becomes a dictator, instilling his warped view of justice around the world, forcing his allies to either side with him or form the resistance.
And we’re off.
I don’t find this sort of story particularly compelling without the requisite time for characterization and the film, written by the hit or miss Ernie Altbacker, favors action. And the action here, directed by Matt Peters, is not staged as well as previous animated offerings so the entire production leaves me cold. I am also not particularly impressed with the character designs which are clunky, hampered by the limited animation. The overall production just doesn’t work.
The most interesting aspect is the vocal cast, led by former Green Arrow Justice Hartley as the Man of Steel. He’s opposed, of course, by Anson Mount’s grim Batman. Derek Phillips does fine triple duty as Nightwing/Deadwing and Aquaman along with Anika Noni Rose’s Catwoman and Faran Tahir’s Ra’s al Ghul.
Given the veteran production talent behind the scenes, they should all have known better that a story with this much scope can’t successfully be truncated.
The film is available in the usual formats including the 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray/Digital HD code combo. While the animation is stilted, the transfer to 2160p is very strong, with sharp colors and even saturation throughout. And the 1080p is just fine. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio finely captures the explosions, bickering, and pontificating.
The Special Features include Adventures in Storytelling – Injustice: Crisis and Conflict (30:55) as producer Jim Krieg, director Matt Peters, producer Rick Morales, and screenwriter Ernie Altbacker, explain their unfulfilled ambitions for the story. Beyond that, we get the far more interesting two-part “Injustice” story from the 2002 Justice League.