Review – “Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part One” Animated Movie

Release Date: January 9, 2024

Reviewed by: Casey Jones

Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths - Part One

I remember it vividly. I drove to the library in my college town, and it was the biggest library that I had ever seen. Being from a super small town in Texas, the biggest library was in our middle school building and it paled in comparison to the giant that I saw before me. I had done some research and found out that the library had a comic book section that was frequently updated, by some underpaid employee no doubt, that you could check out… and take home… for free. Well, you needed a library card and that was easily obtainable – I had applied for mine and gotten it a few days before.

I went up the steps and into the massive building and clumsily made my way to the comic book section. I combed the selection and – there it was – the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” COMPLETE graphic novel. On the cover, TWO Supermen! Each with a slightly different crest on their chest and one with slightly graying hair. One holding a dying Wonder Woman and the other holding a dying, head-banded, Supergirl. Well… not really Supergirl, but Matrix, a shapeshifter, who was manipulated by Lex – but let’s not get into that.

I was transfixed with the Alex Ross cover and all the cameos.

Crisis on Infinite Earths by Alex Ross

Side note: Alex Ross is from my college town of Lubbock and supposedly used to frequent Star Comics, where I used to buy my comics. It was always crazy to think that Alex stood where I did, and occupied the same space in the comic shop, but at a different time. It’s fitting for this comic storyline, I think. I digress.

I remember studying it in detail trying to name all the characters that graced the bottom half of the front and back spread. I sat down, right there, on the floor, with my back to the bookshelves, and read half of that book in one day. I didn’t just read it, I absorbed the art and was immersed in the fantastic storyline that spanned across a Multiverse. That was the first time I ever heard the term – Multiverse. It was an epic story brilliantly displaced and detailed on a grand scale. The animated movie “Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part One” was not that.

Now, before you leave, let me just say that I have enjoyed the “Tomorrow-verse” (I guess we’re going with that?) and its new take on the characters. I have watched and enjoyed all of the previous animated films, and let me tell you, I enjoyed this one too. I really did. I enjoyed the storyline, it had me engaged, trying to figure out – what the heck is going on. However, during my first watch-through, I began to question my own sanity. Was I remembering the story wrong? Maybe I missed the comic before the graphic novel picked up and that would explain it. (Mike will let me know if I’m wrong) But as I let go of previous expectations, and allowed the story of The Flash to take me away. I began to enjoy it. Because that’s what two-thirds of this film is – another “Flashpoint-type” story that we have seen almost redundantly in the DC animated universe.

Look, I get that “they” have to clear the board and make way for Gunns’ “United Front” approach to the DC universe, and “Crisis” is an obvious vehicle to do that. It’s also a storyline that can potentially please old and new fans. I also realize that the filmmakers want to do their own thing and go out in their own unique way, but can’t they be a TAD more faithful to the source material?

Full Spoilers here, folks.

I mean, we had TWO Supermen on screen, with a chance to show some real depth, and their hair curl was basically the only difference between them. No slightly different shade of blue or elongated “S” crest. It became a bit confusing and they seemed too similar. If they were truly trying to go out with a bang, why not introduce other characters from previous DC animated universes? Like the “New Frontier” universe, or the “Superman/Batman” animated series? Clash art styles? A-La “Into the Spider-Verse” – but look at me… wishful thinking that strays too far from the source material. I can understand how this could get confusing and become a balancing act for the filmmakers who are trying to please the fans, and the studio, remain faithful to the source material, and at the same time develop their own story. They did just that. It was not what I expected.

My biggest gripe is the combining of the two characters of Harbinger and Supergirl. I understand that they wanted to create an opportunity for the audience to grow attached to the character, as Supergirl may not have been featured a lot previously in this animated universe, but I felt the most upset by this choice. Each of their sacrifices and character arcs, Harbinger and Matrix Supergirl, in the original story, had a significant impact on the development of the story and I feel that combining the characters weakens that. Who knows? Maybe I’m just getting older and more protective over the source material. And maybe that is what this film will do, spark interest in the original source material. I mean, “All-Star Superman” had a resurgence with the announcement that “Superman: Legacy” was taking inspiration from it, so maybe there is hope for a resurgence in the original “Crisis: On Infinite Earths.”

I will say that the third act of constructing the towers felt extremely rushed. I missed the sense of scale from the original graphic novel. A sense that all of this was truly happening everywhere – across all time and space – all occupying the same space and plane but on a different time-frequency. The third act is filled with many background cameos. I loved the interaction of the Question. I also feel that they spent too much time with the Crime Syndicate.

I will say that overall, I did enjoy the movie. Even though for the first half of the film I was wondering what the heck was going on. However, the film is portrayed from The Flash’s perspective, and he was probably wondering the same thing – what the heck is going on? So if that was the goal of the filmmakers, they achieved it.

4Rating – 3/5: Overall it was entertaining but it strayed a bit too far from the source material than I would have liked – but not enough to make me want to completely dismiss part 2.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, DC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, “Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part One” is available to purchase on digital and on 4K UHD in limited edition steelbook packaging and Blu-ray.

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February 7, 2024 10:59 am

The Supergirl in Crisis on Infinite Earths was Kara Zor-El. Matrix was introduced during John Byrne’s run in the Supergirl Saga ( which led into Superman killing the Phantom Zone criminals from the pocket dimension.
Kara was killed during Crisis for the same reason we ended up with Matrix Supergirl. DC at the time wanted Superman to be the sole survivor of Krypton.