01 December 2013

DVD Season Set Review: "Justice League": Season One

Rated: TV-PG for violence
Starring: Carl Lumbly, George Newbern, and Susan Eisenberg
Released: November 17, 2001 - November 9, 2002 (original TV premieres) / March 21, 2006 (DVD)
Synopsis: Superman.  Batman.  Wonder Woman.  The Flash.  Martian Manhunter.  Hawkgirl.  Green Lantern.  Though they have the same goal, they never fought together...until invading aliens bent on destroying Earth can only be defeated by the combined powers of the superheroes, who quickly become known as the Justice League.  Unfortunately, villains and villainesses will stop at nothing to thwart the League.  Whether it's an immortal sorceress intent on finding the powerful Philosopher's Stone, a rogue Amazon bent on destroying the world's male population, or a gorilla gone crazy, these heroes will have their hands full!
Based on DC Comics.  Features the voice work of Carl Lumbly (Men of Honor), George Newbern (Father of the Bride), and Maria Canals (Camp Rock, Wizards of Waverly Place).

Artistic Merit

Plots: 4.5/5
Yes, these are the usual "superhero group" plots, but they work quite well.  There's enough plot convolution and dashes of humor to keep it entertaining, although the three-parter that closes the series did feel a little long.

Production Values: 5/5
Here is where the series excels.  The animation is outstanding; the action sequences are spot-on; the soundtrack is great; the voice work is awesome; and, there isn't anything to complain about in this department.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 5/5
As you'd expect, the heroes constantly look out for both each other and their fellow man, regularly risking their lives to do so.  They also work in cooperation with the United States Military.  Subplots include a woman's dedication to her significant other, and him risking his life for her in return, as well as the necessity of both males and females in society.

Sex: 4/5
Mostly kissing and mild quips, though there is a scene with a "magazine publisher" who is an obvious nod to Hugh Hefner.

Nudity: 3.5/5
Wonder Woman's costume reveals a lot of leg as well as her shoulders, and a hint of cleavage at times; Hawkgirl's costume also does the latter two.  Other women are seen from time to time in bikinis or other revealing clothes.  Some guys are seen shirtless, and Superman gets a tear in his costume that reveals part of his chest.  However, the cartoon styling makes it all less sultry than it would be if it were live-action.

Violence: 2/5
Superhero movies--even animated ones--are almost always rated "PG-13" or higher by the MPAA, mainly because of violence.  Though the action sequences in this season set aren't the least bit bloody or gory, they're so frequent and intense that they may be too much for some kids.  Heroes, villains, and innocent bystanders get hit, kicked, blasted, thrown, smashed, electrically shocked, etc., countless times.  Vehicular accidents--not just with cars, but also trains and airplanes--happen quite frequently, too.  Some characters' deaths are implied.

Language: 4/5
About five or six exclamations of "Good L---!," and some name-calling.

Drugs: 5/5

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 1.5/5
There's hardly a scene within this first season that isn't frightening and/or intense.  Aside from what was listed under "Violence," some of the monsters themselves are scary-looking.

Other: 3.5/5
Some may have a problem with the fact that polytheism gets mentioned; Wonder Woman often talks about goddesses, and the heroes also have to fight an earthly incarnation of Hades.

Final Score: 4.25/5
This is how a superhero series should be done!  Warner Bros. deserves major kudos for making a multi-hero TV serial that is enthralling, exciting, and fun.  It has its weak moments here and there, but, the overall package is great.  Superhero fans who are eagerly awaiting the next comic-book-turned-blockbuster film should watch this in the meantime; they likely won't be disappointed.  Just keep in mind the above concerns before buying/renting it for a kid.

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