Before getting too deep into Justice Society: World War II I want to give a brief note about what the audience should expect…or rather not expect! When the trailer first came out, many fans believed this would take place following the events of Justice League Dark: Apokolips War. We saw The Flash running through a wormhole and then boom! – he’s in the middle of a fight with Nazis. Many believed this was the continuation of JLD:AW, which ended with The Flash running super-fast and resetting the timeline.
This is not the case! The world has already been reset, there’s no mention of the previous timeline from JLD:AW, and that scene from the trailer is a brand-new occurrence in this movie, not a sequel event to the old one. You should know this going in so you aren’t disappointed when you find it out in the early minutes of the movie – like I was. And even if this news disappoints you already, don’t worry, you’re in for a fun flick!
Justice Society: World War II begins during the height of World War II. Hitler sends his Nazi force to various archeological digs to locate and secure various mystical artifacts. In order to combat this, the United States puts together their own secret team of seemingly mystical heroes: Wonder Woman (Stana Katic), Hawkman (Omid Abtahi), the silver age Flash – Jay Garrick (Armen Taylor), Hourman (Matthew Mercer) and Black Canary (Elysia Rotaru).
Jump to present day. A romantic picnic between Barry Allen (Matt Bomer) and Iris West (Ashleigh LaThrop) gets interrupted by Iris’ feelings about Barry still nor proposing to her after years of marriage. This argument then gets interrupted by Barry suiting up as The Flash to go and save the life of Superman (Darren Criss) who’s being attacked by Brainiac (Darin De Paul). In helping to save the day, The Flash travels so fast he enters a wormhole and finds himself in the middle of a battel between the Justice Society and a battalion of Nazis.
At first, the heroes are untrusting of The Flash, but they soon learn he’s on their side when he saves their leader Steve Trevor (Chris Diamantopoulos). Rather than attempt to get The Flash back to his time, the team opts to have him stick around and help with a new mission of locating a mystical code breaker. Since they already have a Flash, they take to affectionately calling Barry “Future Boy”.
The heroes work together to break into a Nazi fortress to find the captive codebreaker who turns out to be a partially depowered Dr. Fate (Keith Ferguson) and discover a secret their war correspondent Shakespeare is keeping that proves to The Flash that nothing is as it seems. The team then travels to the Bermuda Triangle where they encounter Atlantean forces and a run in with Aquaman (Liam McIntyre), which only complicates matters further.
Justice Society: World War II utilizes the same Archer-like animation as last year’s Superman: Man of Tomorrow. I’m personally not a fan of this animation style and miss the darker realism of the last decade of DCEU animated flicks.
The script by writers Jeremy Adams (Batman: Soul of the Dragon, Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans) and Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, DC Super Hero Girls) is pretty solid with lots of great twists and turns – some causing fanboy geek-outs, others causing some head scratching as you try to figure out the implications of revealed secrets. But the story all flows naturally and well-paced to create a globe-trotting epic.
The voice acting was great! Everyone sounded just like their appearance and how I imagined each hero to sound, although I felt Hourman was criminally under-utilized and some other notable JSA members were missing from this team’s roster entirely (I really wanted an Alan Scott Green Lantern and a Starman). Despite these missing components, the cast and story still managed to shine. I just wasn’t a fan of the animation style.
Justice Society: World War II is a fine time with as many big action set-pieces as there are slower low-key info divulging character moments. There’s a lot of story and great stuff packed into its 84-minute runtime, making for a fun ride that most fans of DC and Warner Animation should enjoy. It’s just a shame about that animation style, though…