Justice League of America (1997) Review

Rating: 1.5 Stars

The following review contains spoilers.

Overview:

A maniacal terrorist calling himself The Weatherman, with the apparent ability to control the weather itself, is holding the city of New Metro hostage for millions of dollars. Meanwhile, a mild-mannered meteorologist named Tori Olafsdotter has experienced a strange lab accident, and is struggling to control her newly-gained ice powers. When the Justice League of America learns about Tori’s abilities, they recruit her in their quest to find and stop The Weatherman before the city is destroyed.

Best Parts:

It’s not very faithful to the comics, but, considering the budget they had to work with and the hope this would become a weekly TV series, I like their choice of roster – a mostly Justice League International-inspired cast, consisting of Guy Gardner, Fire, Ice, The Atom, The Flash, and Martian Manhunter in a non-physical mentor role – and I like the idea of making them more down-to-earth, with trouble holding down jobs, and based primarily out of an apartment. Most comic book super-teams live in a big mansion or a high-tech watchtower or a space station, and I think it’d be interesting to have a team that’s pretty much broke all the time.

It’s not an origin story. The Justice League already exists at the start of the movie. It’s an origin story for Ice, and The Atom’s origin is mentioned for about 10 seconds, but that’s it.

Green Lantern’s costume is almost perfect, except it’s more blue than green. Odd because Martian Manhunter and Fire are both green, so it’s not like they were avoiding green altogether.

The Atom shrinks all of the time (unlike certain other live-action versions of Ray Palmer we’ve had), and it looks pretty good. The Green Lantern’s constructs, few as they are, look pretty good.

Worst Parts:

Most of the costumes look pretty bad, especially The Atom and The Flash.

Barry Allen has a lightning bolt earring. He also has no shared personality traits with the comic character Barry Allen. Guy Gardner has no shared personality traits with the comic character. It’s like the movie was based on an image gallery of the Justice League and not any actual comic book.

Miguel Ferrer plays The Weatherman, instead of Weather Wizard, and has a box, instead of a wand. Bizarrely in the same year, 1997, Ferrer played the actual Weather Wizard on Superman: The Animated Series.

Martian Manhunter is a shapeshifter with powers to rival Superman and is portrayed here as a very obese man who tries to stay back at the base whenever possible.

The documentary-style interview segments are a real drag on the pacing, and seem to take place outside the universe, as every character admits their true identity, and talks about the movie’s events as if they’re far in the past. They repeat the same lame gag of The Atom lamenting being called a “nice guy” by Ice no less than three different times in this 80-minute film.

There’s a really long subplot about a teenager, played by David Krumholtz of all people, trying to get Fire to date him. It never connects to the main plot, and it’s a complete waste of time.

It has the tone, appearance, and musical score of a comedy, but isn’t remotely funny.

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