Justice Society: World War II
Superhero and war violence in DC Comics animated movie.
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Justice Society: World War II
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Justice Society: World War II is a 2021 animated movie in which The Flash travels back in time and helps Wonder Woman and other heroes fight the Nazis during World War II. Expect plenty of superhero and war violence. Characters are stabbed and killed with a trident. Main characters get injured and die as they battle both fascists and superheroes who've been brainwashed into collaborating with the fascists. There's fighting with bombs and machine guns, as well as hand-to-hand fighting, punches, kicks, and explosions. Dead bodies are found with flies buzzing around them. It has some monster and demonic imagery, particularly in the villains' crew. Cigarette smoking is seen, and language includes "hell."
Violence, language, intensity all mixed together brilliantly in bloody WWII film: The Story of World War II - R - Review (Brad Pitt, Famke Janssen, Tobey Maguire)
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Less than Poor Quality Graphics
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What's the Story?
In JUSTICE SOCIETY: WORLD WAR II, Barry Allen (Matt Bomer) is on a picnic in Metropolis with his longtime girlfriend, Iris. However, when he sees Superman (Darren Criss) in a heated battle against Brainiac, Allen transforms into The Flash to join the fight. When Brainiac fires a kryptonite bullet at Superman, The Flash races to stop the bullet, but while doing so, he runs so fast, he goes back in time, and finds himself in the middle of a battle during what appears to be World War II. He soon meets Wonder Woman (Stana Katic), Black Canary, and the others who make up the Justice Society: a top-secret group of superheroes who have been sent by the United States to help in their battles against Nazi Germany. They are also helped by a reporter named Clark (who goes by "Shakespeare"), who provides eyewitness accounts of the battles while leaving out the role the Justice Society plays in the battles. Wonder Woman and the rest are initially distrustful of The Flash (who they call "Future Boy," since there already is a Flash on their team), but The Flash/Future Boy proves that he's on their side after he helps in a battle against the Nazis and saves Col. Steve Trevor's life. The Flash soon realizes that he hasn't gone back in time, but has ventured into a parallel universe. He joins the others to try to rescue Dr. Fate, who has been taken prisoner in a heavily guarded Nazi fortress, and is the only one who can crack a coded message that Trevor has found. After infiltrating the fortress, Dr. Fate decodes the message and sends them to the Bermuda Triangle. Getting there by submarine, they soon get into a battle with Nazi warships, but they're saved by Atlantean soldiers, who take them to Atlantis to meet Aquaman. However, Aquaman has been brainwashed by The Advisor, and takes the Justice Society prisoner. They soon learn that Aquaman, due to The Advisor, is a Nazi collaborator. The two Flashes help the others break out of the prison, and now the Justice League must stop a full-on invasion by both the Nazis and Aquaman's army as they try to invade the eastern seaboard of the United States.
Is It Any Good?
This is another interesting reimagining of the DC Comics Universe and the origin stories of its heroes. Justice Society: World War II is an animated movie that combines the good versus evil of World War II fighting with the good versus evil of pitched superhero battles. On the whole, it works, even if the premise seems a bit gimmicky. Nonetheless, the creators make the most of the time period, and manage some truly surprising plot twists along the way. Furthermore, Wonder Woman is the leader of the Justice League, and it's refreshing to see the women emerge as the ones in charge. The story hovers on the verge of getting to be too complicated, but manages to rein it in and stay focused on the central story, even as we learn about yet another origin story of, say, Superman.
The acting is solid across the board, and there's a refreshing relative lack of cynicism and hyper-awareness that tends to seep into so many of these contemporary reimaginings of the beloved superheroes of the DCU and the like. The animation isn't exactly groundbreaking, but it goes far in heightening this alternate reality that The Flash has inadvertently run into during a present-day fight with Superman against Brainiac. Some of this is best enjoyed by fans of the DCU universe, but it's also a movie that can be enjoyed by those who aren't the biggest fans of the genre. It strikes a nice balance between the insider references that fans enjoy and staying focused on a story that has appeal for those who might not get every reference.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about superhero movies like Justice Society: World War II. How is this similar to and different from other reimaginings of the superheroes who make up the DC Comics universe?
How was the war violence different from the superhero violence? Did you think all of the violence was necessary? Why, or why not?
Why do you think there's a fascination with coming up with different types of origin stories for these superheroes? For instance, how does this explain the origins of Superman?
- On DVD or streaming: May 11, 2021
- Cast: Stana Katic, Matt Bomer, Darren Criss
- Director: Jeff Wamester
- Studio: DC Entertainment
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Book Characters, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 84 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: Violence and some bloody images.
- Last updated: October 8, 2022
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