DC's Original 'Gods and Monsters' Movie Is an Animated Classic

The movie is an underrated DC classic, and it's easy to see why James Gunn might have been inspired by it.

DC's new film and TV project, helmed by DC Studios CEO James Gunn and Peter Safran, begins with what James Gunn calls "Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters." Now, while it remains to be seen what that means and how it plays out in the revamped DCU, it's worth looking back at the movie that inspired the title: Justice League: Gods and Monsters. The movie is an underrated DC classic, and while its unique characters are unlikely to be part of the DCU's future, it's easy to see why Gunn might have been inspired by it.

'Justice League: Gods and Monsters' Has a Distinct, Dark Tone

Bruce Timm's vision for the DC universe spawned many animated series, setting a rarely seen gold standard for superhero stories, but after the end of Justice League Infinite, the DC animated feature moved to a different Animation styles and different kinds of storytelling. Justice League: Gods and Monsters sees the return of the distinctive Bruce Timm animation style, with Bruce Timm himself returning and teaming up with another industry legend, Alan Burnett. Burnett) co-authored this story. But "Gods and Monsters" is completely different from its predecessors - it Visibly darkened.

The DC Animated Universe has always been interested in the idea of ​​ordinary people being afraid to protect their heroes and what absolute power does to even the best-meaning heroes - you only need to look at the arc of the Lords of Justice animated series, or Justice League Unlimited The entire first season of . Gods and Monsters is an otherworldly tale that asks a simple question: What if there was a Justice League that people had a right to fear?

'Gods and Monsters' Sees a Different Version of the Justice League

The film reimagines DC's Holy Trinity. Its version of Superman (Benjamin Bratt) is the son of the world-conquering General Zod, not the scientist Jo-El. Batman (Michael C. Hall) is not Bruce Wayne, but Kirk Langstrom, who was mutated into a vampire-like creature by a failed laboratory experiment. Wonder Woman (Tamara Taylor) is a New Genesis warrior who escapes from the Apocalypse massacre in which she was directly involved. None of them have any guilt about killing - and the only reason they haven't taken over the world is that they've never seen the point of it...so far.

However, unlike Justice League Earth 3, This version of Justice League isn't just made up of straight-up villains -- this movie isn't dark for dark's sake. While this may be a stark contrast to the Alliance everyone knows and loves, these characters aren't just about subverting expectations, but exploring entirely new stories within the framework of a familiar universe. When you think about how James Gunn rewrote familiar Marvel characters in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.

A Justice League That the World Wants to See Take Over the World

While they may be killers, the Justice League is still working hard to protect the world, working closely with the government. In fact, they seem to have a better relationship with the government and their own villains than the average Justice League -- perhaps because their lack of aristocracy makes them easier to understand. While some people fear them, there is a fair portion of the world that admires their methods and wants them to take over the world. However, public opinion shifted when someone started framing Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman for murder.

of The overall plot of the movie isn't as compelling as the stories behind the characters themselves.

This version of Superman was not raised by the Kent family on a relatively safe small-town farm, and was not raised as a paragon of virtue. Instead, he was raised by migrant workers and forced to learn how harsh the world is for those without power. His somewhat cynical view of the world is tempered by a constant sense of entertainment - now, he's a being with near-infinite power who knows full well that no one on earth can stop him from doing what he wants to do . He protects the world not out of a sense of justice, but because he likes it. He's powerful enough that anyone who disagrees with his ideas is laughable - hence the fact that he almost always has a smile on his face.

Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman Genuinely Like Each Other

The team has an interesting dynamic. It's clear that they respect and care for each other and there's a genuine affection. There's a level of comfort and understanding between the three of them that's rare even with more traditional versions of DC Trinity. god And Monster gives us three people who have no illusions about who they are, and honestly do a lot for their relationship.

What stands out about the film is the tragedy in each character's backstory. Superman just wants to find a purpose in the world and believes he can find it in his legacy - only to discover later that his only legacy is a world-conquering madman. Kirk Langstrom has always been a social outcast, and turning into a monster only makes him more so. His only connection to the world is his friends, whom he both envies and cares about for their life together. It's easy to feel pity for Kirk, and it's clear that pity is Superman's fondness for him, leading to the creation of the Justice League, where Kirk can find his sense of purpose. Wonder Woman flees a tragedy of her own making, a betrayal of the man she may have truly loved, with her hands bleeding from a wedding massacre that should have brought peace. The film's villains aren't particularly iconic, but He's an extension of the tragedy inherent in Batman's backstory. Gods and Monsters is most concerned with its three protagonists. Clearly, the film was meant to introduce a whole new universe, but never had the popularity to make it stick.

Justice League: Gods and Monsters is a fresh take on the DC Universe that follows the tradition of the best Elseworlds stories by breaking the mold. Its heroes don't need to follow high moral standards (although ultimately they choose to), and its characters and beats break out of established molds (no more need to murder Wayans to create a new Batman). But most of all, the film gives us entirely new characters and reasons to care about them. If this is where new DC projects can focus on going, there's a lot to look forward to in the coming years.

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