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Justice League: Warworld – Review

Justice League: Warworld features some of the Tomorrowverse’s most creative ideas to date, but struggles to make any of them particularly engaging.

On paper, I absolutely adore Justice League: Warworld. Its premise is the spark of creativity that DC’s new animated franchise, the Tomorrowverse, has been sorely missing. Essentially, it’s an anthology film, taking Batman (Jensen Ackles), Wonder Woman (Stana Katic) and Superman (Darren Criss), and putting them in a series of alternate realities. Now, in today’s day and age where we seemingly get a new multiverse film every other week, that may not sound particularly exciting, but what makes it feel genuinely fresh is the fact that these other universes are actually substantially different to the main continuity. For example, there’s a Wild West world, and a black-and-white detective noir world, both of which feel distinct and unique, to the point where 20 minutes into the Wild West dimension, I honestly started to worry that I’d put on the wrong film.

That’s definitely not to say that these alternate dimensions are executed perfectly, in fact I think that there are still plenty of missed opportunities left unexplored here. Namely, to do with the artstyle. Whilst we do get the segment that’s in black-and-white, everything is still done in that default Tomorrowverse art style, which in a movie that’s all about presenting us with different versions of these beloved characters, feels like a major oversight. This choice to keep everything visually consistent is especially frustrating in the black-and-white segment, where differentiating the various male characters without their costumes can start to become a real chore, not helping the film’s already confusing plot.

See, whilst the film is presented initially as an anthology, it’s actually far more complex than that, with all the stories leading up to a grand finale featuring various alien villains. It’s a painfully dull and confusing conclusion for a film that’s otherwise done a great job at taking ambitious swings, and it’s especially frustrating once you realise that it’s all just set-up for the next film in the universe, making this essentially just another part 1 in a summer stuffed to the brim with them. It’s not just the ending that viewers might struggle to understand though, as the whole film’s lack of an obvious narrative structure, whilst definitely an interesting choice, makes it incredibly difficult to successfully decipher, and by the end, I was left scratching my head on what exactly had just happened.

loud and clear reviews Justice League: Warworld (Warner Bros. Entertainment)
Justice League: Warworld (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

Another obvious flaw with the anthology format is that not every story is created equally, and when you’re throwing three very different universes at me, it’s only natural that one’s going to end up being a dud. In this case, it’s the middle story, which unfortunately just feels a bit too safe throughout. The other two universes actually feel like swings, like things we couldn’t have seen outside of this one film, but the middle section could have honestly been released as a Tomorrowverse film by itself and I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid, it’s just not exciting and different enough when compared to the other stories on display. 

At the end of the day though, what hurts Justice League: Warworld the most, despite how creative it can be, is just how boring it actually is. Its dimensions are interesting on paper, but in execution, they’re just not being properly capitalised on. A DC movie set in the Wild West is a brilliant idea, but when it only lasts 20 minutes and barely features any Wild West action, it just ends up feeling like missed potential. I’d say the one exception to this is the black-and-white section, which does feel like it’s having a lot of fun with its plot that feels inspired by The Thing (1982), but that one short section isn’t enough to make this 90 minute feature feel like any less of a disappointment. I desperately wanted to love Justice League: Warworld, but it unfortunately ended up being all style, with very little substance.

Justice League: Warworld was released on VOD on July 25, 2023.

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