Justice League: The New Frontier (2008)

I did not like this movie. Warning: spoilers below.

Friday night, we were looking for something to watch with the kids. We tried to watch Justice League: The New Frontier, but we started to a lot more animated violence than we were comfortable for our young kids to be watching. The film starts off with a suicide, then you have pilot Hal Jordan shootings someone in the head. When we got to the part where Wonder Woman was explaining to Superman how these Korean women that she saved had be used as “comfort women” and then she let them kill their rapists, we shut it off. Egads, turns out it was a PG-13 film! I never thought I’d be upset with a PG-13 film, but the material was too much for a Joshua at 5 years old. Instead, we watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which was the safer choice.

After the kids went to bed, I thought I’d watch this DC Comics movie from the privacy of my own computer. The film is set from 1953–1960, and features the creation of the Justice League in the midst of an attack on the people of Earth from something ominously referred to “The Centre.” You don’t hear much about “The Centre”, except it has some sort of mind-control, cultists are going mad for it, and people around the world are experiencing visions and killing themselves shortly afterwards.

The cast is full of well-known actors and actresses:

  • David Boreanaz as Harold “Hal” Jordan / Green Lantern
  • Miguel Ferrer as J’onn J’onzz / John Jones / Martian Manhunter
  • Neil Patrick Harris as Bartholomew “Barry” Allen / The Flash
  • Lucy Lawless as Princess Diana of Themyscira / Wonder Woman
  • Kyle MacLachlan as Kal-El / Clark Kent / Superman
  • Vanessa Marshall as Mala (credited as Amazon Woman)
  • Phil Morris as King Faraday
  • Kyra Sedgwick as Lois Lane
  • Brooke Shields as Carol Ferris
  • Jeremy Sisto as Bruce Wayne / Batman
  • Keith David as The Centre

The movie is less about the formation of the Justice League, and really more of an origins story for Hal Jordan, who would eventually become the Green Lantern. It takes a while for Jordan to finally slip on the powerful ring, and the limited time the movie is able to devote to Jordan’s story makes centering the movie around Jordan’s origin a bit questionable. Hal Jordan’s time as the actual Green Lantern was approximately 4 minutes of actual screen time.

Also, on a lesser note, it’s an origins story for Martian Manhunter (J’onn J’onzz) as well. However, in comparison to the Hal Jordan plotline, it’s not much character development. J’onn J’onzz shows up on Earth by accident, he spends time studying television, and then attempts to sneak back to Mars aboard a rocketship. Near the end, for reasons not quite understood, he changes his mind, and decides he likes humans, and wants to stay and help fight The Centre, whatever that is. His actual time combatting evil? Miniscule.

At a film length of only 74 minutes, it was an imbalanced way to tell the overall story. Much of the story spent on an origin story for Hal Jordan, another origin story for J’onn J’onzz to a lesser degree, and the rest of the superheroes showing up to fight….. The Centre.

So, what exactly was The Centre, you ask? With such a build-up, you must be wondering who or what The Centre was. Cultists tried to sacrifice a small boy, people are committing suicide, this thing has got to be pretty ominous. Here’s the big spoiler. If you don’t want to ruin the surprise, turn away now.

It's..... THE CENTRE!!!

It’s….. THE CENTRE!!!

It’s a gigantic psychic entity swarming by its monster dinosaur minions, in the shape of an island. I was incredulous. What a weak villain. It reminded me of one of the Independence Day spaceships, but it was just one object. It’s an island or a huge spaceship or something that can spawn tons of dinosaurs out (and energy beams) to attack Earth. Yes, it attacks using dinosaurs. Bubbles form, and dinosaurs emerge and attack the US military forces and the superheroes. At least in ID4, there are aliens on the ship. This thing, whatever it is, hovers above the ocean near Cape Canaveral in Florida, barely doing any damages to the civilization as we know it, except causing some damages to the military base and attacked Wonder Woman earlier in the movie as she flew by in her invisible jet. Who wrote this, a 4th grader? The major villain in this story is a floating island that attacks with dinosaurs?

A weak villain, a ridiculous ending, and the rest of the superhero cast have minor roles. It makes me feel that the story focuses so much on Green Lantern and John the Martian, then ran out of ideas when the action comes in for the final blow.  I still have no real clue as to the Centre’s purpose, except to act as the movie’s Big Boss. And why attack Cape Canaveral? BTW, strangest moment of the climatic battle? Superman gets knocked out early in the battle, and sent to the bottom of the sea. He’s gone for the rest of the climax, until a submarine of sorts shows up on the beach at the very end of the film. The front opens, and a blond guy with an orange shirt and green pants says he nursed Superman back to health. His name is Arthur. Uh, is he supposed to be Aquaman? Where has this guy been the entire film?

I realize that others have gone on record stating this was a good film. I, on the other hand, think it’s the most ridiculous and least-satisfying of the DC Universe films so far. Do you think I’m being too harsh? Let me repeat — the big bad villain in this movie is a floating island that spits out vicious dinosaurs.

Justice League: The New Frontier (2008)

Justice League: The New Frontier (2008)

This entry was posted in Entertainment and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *