I was pretty happy when the Justice League cartoons from the early 2000’s became available as streaming on Netflix not to long ago. I really like this show. I’ve seen most of them already but revisiting them has been just as enjoyable as watching them for the first time. I’ve just made it through both of the 2 seasons. (OK I skipped the Christmas special)
One thing that should be made clear is that this show is really quite mature for a superhero cartoon. The heroes are human with real personalities as well as tragic flaws. The dialogue and voice acting are almost always amazingly good. The stories are filled with relevant themes and clever plot twists. And the action scenes are nothing but super intense, with plenty of ‘Ooh, that’s got to hurt!’ moments and edge-of-your-seat last minute saves. It’s worth noting that the heroes are portrayed as far from invulnerable. Even Superman, who’s strength has been shown as cosmic in scope throughout the near century of the character’s existence, is, in this show, merely ‘really strong’ and he can be thwarted by any number of high tech energy bursts. This helps the show a lot. Not only are you made to sympathize with the heroes as being like people with real problems, kind of like all the rest of us, but there is often real tension as you watch them risk their lives.
I think one of the greatest accomplishments of the show is the presence of Batman. Even in this expanded universe with alien invasions and world wide catastrophes, Batman remains Batman! And he regularly proves to be quite effective as Batman, saving the day in the end by outwitting and outmaneuvering his opponents, all the while staying calm and detached. Damn, he’s cool!
If there is any criticism I would have for the show, it’s the figure art. For a show that is in all other ways more realistic than your average cartoon, the bodily proportions of the characters are kind of out of control. All the men have impossibly broad shoulders, even ones that aren’t super strong like the Flash. And then, of course, you also have the female characters all with super thin waists and big boobs. Considering how many of the women are so scantily clad in their costumes, the sexual tension is hard to ignore. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing for a cartoon that’s clearly meant for mature audiences anyway. I just find it kind of awkward.
Also streaming and next for me to watch is Justice League Unlimited. It’s basically the same show just continuing on but featuring many more characters from the DC Universe. Perhaps I’ll write about that after I’m done watching those two seasons.