Superman goes evil…again!
While the DC Extended Universe has had its ups and downs, I’ve generally found solace in the reasonably consistent quality of DC animated films. Considering that Marvel has just about banned the concept of releasing movies or TV shows these days that don’t have some overarching spot in the MCU (or else are made for toddlers), it’s nice to go back to DC and have some stories that exist in their own encapsulated world. While there are so many DC animated films that I have neither the desire nor will to review all of them, I do like to watch them from time to time. What a stupid mistake.
Injustice is an animated film based on the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us. Thankfully it is not a 1:1 retelling of the story from the video game, instead going off on its own adventure written by Ernie Altbacker. The setup to the story is mostly the same. After Joker (Kevin Pollak) tricks Superman (Justin Hartley) into killing a pregnant Lois Lane and setting off a nuke inside Metropolis, Superman loses his mind and becomes a fascist tyrant hell bent on spreading peace by killing as many people as he needs to. The new Supes splits the Justice League who find themselves with two choices; join in on the tyranny or become an enemy of the new world order.
While Wonder Woman (Janet Varney) and Robin (Zach Callison) immediately join Superman’s side to help pacify the world, Batman (Anson Mount) leads the resistance including a number of other heroes. Injustice: Gods Among Us jumps forward five years to a future where Superman has already dominated the world and installed himself as supreme leader. The animated film meanwhile continues without any jumps, as we see Superman and Wonder Woman discuss their operations and as minimal acceptable losses go from zero harmed to only a few hundred killed. Hey, they deserved it. We also see Superman’s growing threats to the world leaders, and how they react when their sovereignty is threatened.
Injustice is dark. If you’re familiar with the video game and associated comic, you know it’s bleak as hell. A lot of people are brutally murdered over the course of the hour and 20 minutes. A lot of villains are also brutally killed off. And a lot of heroes equally meet their death. If only Spider-Man existed in this world, he could have explained to Superman that with great power comes great responsibility. You know, before Superman bites his head off.
The unfortunate side of Injustice is that it tries to condense everything into a very small box. Heroes like Aquaman, Green Lantern, and a few others just give us a simple “I must go, my planet needs me” before yeeting themselves out of the film. Superman doesn’t so much regress into his Clark Hitler as he does flip a switch and say “well I guess I’m a villain now.” Even Diana just sort of turns a dime into the murder fan club, as does Damian Wayne. A lot of plot points get unresolved and many of the points feel like they have very little impact. For a 78 minute movie it drags despite all of this.
Injustice is available on demand and on DVD/Blu-Ray. Alternately you can head over to YouTube and just watch the cutscene film version of Injustice: Gods Among Us. There’s like a dozen or two channels that uploaded that compilation. It’s a much better story.