In 2010, Warner Bros. Animation released the feature-length direct-to-video movie, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. Directed by Lauren Montgomery and Sam Liu, the film is loosely based on two stories: Crisis on Earth-Three! (from Justice League of America issues #29-#30) and JLA: Earth 2.
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is a multiverse tale, which focuses on two very different versions of the Justice League – one good, one evil. The film features Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter, as well as their evil alternate universe counterparts.
This film is part of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies collection, which includes the likes of Superman: Doomsday (2007) and Green Lantern: First Flight (2009). I have recently revisited some of the films in the DCUAOM collection, to open up a discussion on them, and today I am revisiting Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths to do more of the same.
Below I will record my thoughts in real-time, so be warned, spoilers will follow. If you have never watched this movie and you want to avoid any details about the plot, you may wish to bail out now.
For those of you who are sticking around, it’s time to watch Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (2010)
45mins – As the movie begins, it would seem that Lex Luthor and the Joker are working together. Only, this doesn’t quite look like the Joker.
1mins 45secs – In fact, this is Earth 2 and these guys are called Alexander Luthor and the Jester – so not actually Lex Luthor and the Joker.
3mins 25secs – The Crime Syndicate has arrived.
3mins 45secs – Luthor has used a piece of high-tech equipment to transport himself away from the Syndicate.
4mins – So, to explain what is going on…
The movie has opened on an alternate Earth to the one we are all familiar with. The standard DC Universe that most people are familiar with is Earth 1 – which is the Earth featuring Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman etc. This is Earth 2.
On Earth 2, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman are all villains who are part of the Crime Syndicate. The Syndicate includes Ultraman (an evil Earth 2 version of Superman), Owlman (Batman), Superwoman (Wonder Woman), Johnny Quick (Flash), Power Ring (Green Lantern) and so on.
The events of this movie take place on both Earth 1 and Earth 2. The important thing to remember is that Earth 1 is where the good Superman and Batman live, and Earth 2 is where the bad ones live.
6mins – After a short opening credit scene, the story picks up on Earth 1, with the Justice League in space, busy assembling the Watchtower – their base of operations.
7mins 45secs – After escaping from the Crime Syndicate on Earth 2, Alexander Luthor has materialised on Earth 1.
10mins – Luthor explains to the Justice League who he is and where he has come from. On his Earth, the Crime Syndicate have become dictators, and he needs the help of the Earth 1 Justice League to stop them.
13mins 45secs – Having agreed to assist Luthor, the Justice League have ‘world jumped’ to Earth 2, where they come face-to-face with the Crime Syndicate.
17mins – A pretty good fight sequence is taking place here, with the League and the Syndicate fairly evenly matched.
20mins – I should point out (for those who don’t know) that this movie was originally going to be connected to the ‘00s Justice League cartoon. Initially titled, Justice League: Worlds Collide, the film would have been set between the events of Justice League and Justice League Unlimited and would have featured the Justice Lords – evil versions of the Justice League from a parallel world.
Despite attempts to get the project off the ground, Warner Bros. shelved the idea and the two shows continued without it. However, flash forward a couple of years to the creation of Warner Bros.’ animated DC movies collection, and the project was dusted off.
The original script was rejigged, with a few alterations here and there, and what once was Justice League: Worlds Collide soon become Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.
And now you know.
23mins – The cast in this movie is really impressive – William Baldwin is Batman, Mark Harmon is Superman, Vanessa Marshall is Wonder Woman, Brian Bloom is Ultraman, and Gina Torres is Superwoman. Oh, and James Woods is Owlman!
James Wood is SO good as Owlman. He is so creepy in this role.
26mins – Back to the movie and Luthor and the Justice League are devising a new way to attack various members of the Crime Syndicate. Cue a number of alternate universe characters being introduced including…
28mins – …evil Black Canary, evil Green Arrow, and evil Lobo.
29mins – Despite the slightly confusing nature of this movie, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is a lot of fun. However, I must admit, I would have preferred this to be connected to the old Justice League/Justice League Unlimited shows.
31mins 30secs – Evil Jimmy Olsen! Of all the evil characters in this movie, he is without doubt my favourite. The once weedy Olsen is suddenly very angry and hench. Absolutely priceless.
32mins – Luthor vs. Ultraman!
32mins 30secs – There is a fair bit of fighting/action in this film.
33mins – Luthor and Ultraman are duking it out, with Ultraman overpowering Luthor. Well, that was until Luthor pulled out some blue Kryptonite, which on Earth 2 weakens Ultraman.
This brings up an interesting point. If you are a fan of DC and you are only familiar with green Kryptonite, then you have some research on your hands as there are many, many forms of Kryptonite and they all do different things.
36mins – Slade Wilson (aka Deathstroke) is the President of the United States on Earth 2.
37mins – While Wilson knows the threat the Crime Syndicate poses, he is afraid to challenge them.
38mins – Wilson is right to be afraid of the Syndicate – especially Owlman, who has revealed that he has plans to trigger a bomb that will destroy every Earth in the multiverse! Oh, dear.
41mins – Back on Earth 1, Superwoman has arrived in search of Luthor’s dimension hopping technology. But it looks like she didn’t factor on Batman being the welcoming committee…
42mins – …along with various back-up heroes, including Black Lightning, Black Canary, Firestorm, and Aquaman.
45mins – There really is a lot of fighting in this movie.
45mins 45secs – Despite fierce opposition, Superwoman has obtained the technology she is after. And now she has taken Batman back to Earth 2 as a prisoner.
49mins – Correction, Superwoman has taken Batman back to Earth 2… where he has taken her prisoner. Brilliant!
52mins – While this film is very action-heavy, there are some good character moments, including a neat little scene with the Martian Manhunter making a connection with Rose Wilson – the President’s daughter. It’s moments like this which help to balance out this largely action-orientated film.
55mins – Things are gearing up to enter the big finale. Luthor and the Justice League take on the Crime Syndicate, with the fate of the multiverse hanging in the balance.
58mins 45secs – Batman vs. Owlman! Two very cool characters in a very cool fight.
1hr – Owlman has jumped dimensions and is taking his bomb to Earth Prime – the central Earth that all the other Earths are variations of. If he triggers the bomb, all of reality is doomed.
1hr 50mins – With the exception of Superwoman, the rest of the Syndicate did not know about Owlman’s plan to wipe out every Earth, and now they know the truth they are far from happy.
1hr 2mins 30secs – Johnny Quick is using his speed powers to help Batman jump dimensions to Earth Prime. Looks like another showdown between Batman and Owlman is on the cards.
1hr 4mins 30secs – Batman vs. Owlman… again!
1hr 5mins – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, James Woods is so good as Owlman. William Baldwin is fine as the voice of Batman, but Woods is the voice that stands out in this fight. I wonder how this would have sounded if Kevin Conroy was in the Batman role?
1hr 8mins – Batman has defeated Owlman and has returned to Earth 2. Hurrah!
1hr 8mins 30secs – Oh dear, Johnny Quick has aged himself to death. This is what happens when you try to use your powers for good.
1hr 10mins – With Owlman defeated, and the Crime Syndicate neutralised, Earth 2 faces a new, better, and brighter future.
1hr 11mins 30secs – The Justice League have returned to Earth 1. The multiverse is safe, but Batman has concluded that the League needs to expand its membership, just in case of any future threats.
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is a fun movie, which is filled with action, has great animation, and a strong voice cast. As previously noted, James Woods is the stand-out star as Owlman, but in truth, all of the cast are good in their roles.
In terms of a standalone feature, it works well. It isn’t the best movie from the DC Universe Animated Original Movies collection, but it doesn’t do anything wrong so there are no major complaints.
If I have one slight grumble, it is that the Crime Syndicate aren’t anywhere near as cool or interesting as they act. This is purely a personal thing, but I found them to be rather bland.
As previously noted, this story was originally intended to be part of the Justice League/Justice League Unlimited continuity, and I believe the Justice Lords would have made for better villains. In essence, they are pretty much the same, but I feel they look cooler and I probably have a strong connection with them, having been a huge fan of the Justice League shows.
And speaking of Justice League/Justice League Unlimited, while Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths does work fine as a standalone tale, if you’re a fan of the aforementioned shows it is quite easy to see how this movie would have slotted in between the two series.
Apart from the different animation style and voice cast, I can’t imagine much has changed. This all feels very much like it once belonged to the Justice League/Justice League Unlimited continuity, albeit with a few tweaks.
All-in-all, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths provides an enjoyable watch. There are other DC animated movies I prefer over this one, but this is a solid picture and another good example of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies collection delivering.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post about Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. If you have watched the movie, share your thoughts below and tell me what you like/dislike about the film.
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