Justice League vs. The Fatal Five has a lot going for it on paper, especially for me. It features the characters and animation style of one of the best cartoons ever, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. It also has one of the more obscure villain teams in DC Comics, The Fatal Five. Although most comic book fans may not know who they are, The Fatal Five are a personal favorite of mine thanks to their overall look and how wacky their powers are.
This should’ve meant that I would love Justice League vs. The Fatal Five. Unfortunately, I just think it’s okay. Nothing too bad but nothing all that good, either.
Although the movie has been out for a while, I bet it’s been lost in the shuffle thanks to all the Avengers: Endgame hype. Because of that, there’s a good chance you haven’t seen Justice League vs. The Fatal Five. Don’t worry: this will be a SPOILER FREE review.
Justice League vs. The Fatal Five has three of the Fatal Five members, Mano, Tharok and The Persuader, attack the Legion of Super-Hero clubhouse to steal a time machine to go to the 21st century. The Legion fail to stop them but Star Boy stows away and sabotages the time machine just as it reaches the 21st century. Unfortunately, Star Boy, because he doesn’t have access to a specific medicine that’s only available in the future, starts to lose his memory. It’s only a matter of time before the Fatal Five recover and proceed with their plan and it’s up to the Justice League and new recruits Jessica Cruz, a new Green Lantern, and Miss Martian, the niece of Martian Manhunter to stop them.
Being a huge fan of the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated shows, it was a nostalgic high to see DC return to this specific art style. But this time around, they have a much bigger budget in the animation department so everything just moves a little more fluidly. There are also more dynamic angles with the action scenes, which do make the fights just a little more exciting.
Since not many people are familiar with the Fatal Five, it’s nice to see that that Sam Liu and Eric Carassco, the director and writer, respectively, did a nice job of illustrating their powers without having anyone doing an exposition dump as to what they can do. What they do instead is show you their abilities during the battles.
I do have to give it a hand to DC for designing the new characters. Star Boy’s “star costume” is just amazing! Even in the comics, the “star field” costume looked daunting to draw so I can’t imagine how they went about animating it! I also approve of the revised designs of the Fatal Five. The group already appeared in a Justice League Unlimited episode but each character are reworked to look more fearsome. I especially like The Persuader’s new costume here. In the show, he looked like someone in a cheap cosplay outfit. But in Justice League vs The Fatal Five, he definitely looks more like someone you don’t want to mess with.
It’s also great to see Kevin Conroy, Susan Eisenberg and George Newbern reprise their roles as Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman. Not to undercut the performances of the other voice actors who have tried to fill their superhero boots, these three have been the voices of these character in my mind for so long that it’s hard for me to imagine anyone else do them.
Unfortunately, I can’t really say the same thing about the performances for the new heroes. The best probably comes from Daniela Bobadilla who does the voice of Miss Martian as she gives a rather naive and exuberant energy with her delivery but is inconsistent. Dianne Guerrero’s Jessica “Limelight” Cruz was good when it came to the yelling parts but her more dramatic performances just came off as flat and lifeless. Elyes Gabel’s version of Star Boy was fine at the start. But as the film went on and Star Boy started to lose his memory, it just sounded like he was doing a bad Rain Man impersonation. I get it’s part of his character arc but it just got annoying since there are times when it’s hard to understand what he’s saying with all the stuttering and mumbling.
The weakest element of Justice League vs. The Fatal Five is, sadly, the overall plot. For one, it’s too predictable and you can see what’s coming next from a mile away. There are also some plot threads that are mentioned but don’t impact the overall plot or are never tackled at all. There are a couple of relationships that are hinted at or explicitly mentioned but the film never capitalizes on them. This leads me to believe that Justice League vs. The Fatal Five would’ve benefited from either a longer runtime to focus more on these elements or a shorter length to cut them as they felt unnecessary to the overall plot.
Like I said at the start of this review, I just thought Justice League vs. The Fatal Five was just okay. It’s not bad but it isn’t all that good either. It’s not something you just have to watch but, if you’re a fan of the old Justice League series, it’s still something you may want to go rent just to relive your nostalgic love for those rendition of those DC heroes. The problem is that the plot is basic and the new heroes introduced here never reach the high bar the original Justice League characters. The action and the animation does try to make up for how bland the overall story really is but, in my opinion, it’s just not enough to overpower how predictable the plot is.
Overall, I say just give it a rent if you can but only if you’re a fan of the animated Justice League shows. Then again, who isn’t? Justice League vs The Fatal Five will probably make you want to watch the old shows again.
Then again, if you did have that option, you might as well just watch the old show, right?
Have you seen Justice League vs. The Fatal Five? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!