DC's award-winning hit videogame - whose premise feels a lot like the direction Zack Snyder's Justice League trilogy was heading in - finally gets a film adaptation.
It's a great shame that we'll never get to see Snyder's Justice League trilogy fully realised, with his Snyder Cut only further teasing what he had in store, elements familiar to anybody who has played the hit 2013 videogame, and elements which would have made for a fantastic story and an epic apocalyptic showdown. Thankfully, DC's Animated line continues to adapt some of the richest tales that have gone overlooked for Big Screen treatment and, following their recent two-part voyage through Batman: The Long Halloween, they set their sights on translating the game, streamlining it into a taut 75 minute actioner that doesn't hold its punches.
... a taut 75 minute actioner that doesn't hold its punches
After the Joker kidnaps a pregnant Lois, and a rescue attempt goes awry, Superman decides enough is enough, taking it upon himself to police the entire world, and deal out his own form of justice. While several superheroes embrace his New World Order, and join him in his reign, a splinter group led by Batman seek to stop him before his tyrannical rule costs yet more innocent lives.
Injustice comes to the UK on Blu-ray, with still no sign of Warner promising their animated range with the same treatment they get in the US (there's a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray available Stateside). Yet more curiously, the digital treatment is at least if not more impressive, not only earning a UK 4K rendition on digital but also Dolby Vision which didn't even make it to the US 4K disc. Given it's a more traditionally stylised animated entry - par for the course with the DC Animated range - the 4KDV image wins hands down, boasting excellent detail as well as that added oomph of the vibrant DV implementation, as energy blasts sear across the screen, Kryptonite glows with added potency and all of the vivid tones get rendered with depth and intensity.
... it's a strong effort
Injustice is a dark and distinctly mature ride, easily earning its 15 rating as villains - and more often heroes - have holes punched in their chests and sustain fatal shots to the head. Blood abounds, with the production not quite taking the juicy unrestrained stance of Mortal Kombat: Scorpion's Revenge, but still going farther than ever before, not least in the portrayal of an increasingly unhinged Superman who will do whatever it takes to maintain his rule. It's an excellent premise, but once the ball is rolling, the hour left to tell the rest of the tale seems frequently rushed, as the Resistance heroes formulate myriad plans to stop the rogue Superman - leading to plenty of blistering action - with nobody really willing to stop and take a moment to feel the impact of everything that has happened. As a result, the portrayal of a Superman gone bad doesn't feel as committed as you would have thought from the early moments (with the Joker no less), instead playing it safer with a rushed ending that kinda-sorta crams in much of what happened in the game, only with a softer touch that is at odds with this otherwise seemingly more mature production. There are real hints of genius strewn throughout (the trap for Flash, the plans Batman had to disable the JL, echoing the excellent Justice League: Doom), but as the feature goes on you soon realise that they they're not really going to follow through with them.
Despite all of this, it's a strong effort, bolstered by a solid voice cast headlined by Anson Mount (Star Trek: Discovery) and Justin Hartley (This is Us, and Smallville's own Green Arrow) as Batman and Superman, respectively, and featuring some suitably epic confrontations amidst the ensemble group of heroes and villains. And considering we'll never see exactly what Snyder had in store for us materialise on the Big Screen, this engaging DC Animated adaptation will just have to do.
Injustice is out in the UK October 19th in 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision on Digital, and on Blu-ray and DVD October 18th, courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
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