Justice League of America (TV Movie 1997) Poster

(1997 TV Movie)

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Pretty laughable...
sarastro74 June 2004
Well. I thought Kim Oja was good. The rest of the movie was barely watchable.

I am a comics collector. This movie did not have much to do with the comics that inspired it. If it had been based on Keith Giffen's run, where was the Blue Beetle? Where was the wacky humor? Why did they use a personality-amputated Guy Gardner as Green Lantern (whose costume, idiotically, was blue)? Why was the Flash (who wasn't in Giffen's run) such a bonehead?

The characters in this pilot acted like they virtually didn't like each other. Their costumes were pretty damn silly, esp. Atom's. The villain didn't seem to have any motivation. The story was semi-coherent, unengaging and holey (what was Arliss' project, that he kept trying to draw attention to?). Maybe I missed some details, I dunno. But that's because they were eminently missable.

Still, since there is such a lack of superhero movies around, I'll be generous and award this a 5 out of 10 rating.
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Remember that time when the Superfriends and the Power Rangers got really drunk and had an illegitimate child?
jakebd3 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
As a comic book fan... you know what? Forget as a comic book fan. As a person who enjoys watching television, this thing is absolutely ridiculous. Seriously, this is implausible to a person who has spent their entire life being raised on television and comic books.

Let's start out with costume talk. These things look like costumes my mother made for my brother and me when we were twelve and eight and wanted to be DC superheroes (Technically, he was a villain, but Slade Wilson was always such a cool character, you know?). What is that thing that the Atom is wearing? It's like the costume designer just said, "How much Styrofoam can I fit into this costume? I need more." And what's up with putting green paint under Fire's eyes? It just looked stupid.

The writing is god-awful. Let me get this straight on the whole "I'm not Fire" thing. Leaving alone the fact that this woman looks exactly the same in and out of costume in front of the Martin guy, there's just the fact that when she's rejecting him, she's still wearing his earrings. This just threw me for a loop, man. If a guy gets you a present, telling you he spent a ton of money on it, and then you reject him? You give the present back. Especially if you're rejecting him within a minute of getting the present. The earrings thing should never have been a problem, cause the fact that she was wearing the earrings was ridiculous.

Plus, I love that ending, man. Everything winds up happy, right? Barry gets a job, Lantern gets his girl back, Martin gets a girlfriend, and Ice and Atom seem to have a beautiful relationship starting. Plus, there's the last shot of the League walking forward, each of them moving so stiffly that I think it might be a group superpower.

And don't get me started on the J'onn J'onzz thing. I know that David Ogden Stiers is a good actor, and I don't mean to be a purist or anything, but when I think about words to describe the Martian Manhunter, obese doesn't come to mind.

I watched this movie for free, and for shear camp value and maybe a laugh, it's good for about half an hour. (Not the first half hour, that's the slowest damn beginning I've ever seen.) But a half hour somewhere in the middle, if you're really bored, watch it on You Tube. But if you like the Justice League you should be willing to watch cartoons. Just go for JLU and enjoy yourself for 22 minutes.
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Flawed but fun
Pirate King 20005 May 2000
There have been many comic book adaptations, some successful, some not so. This film unfortunately fits into the latter. It feels like it wants to succeed and certainly its heart is in the right place, but it ultimately falls short of it's targets. The characterisation seems to be to create a variety of characters and not necessarily stay faithful to how they were portrayed in the orignal comics- the Flash and Green Lantern particularly so. However, Fire, The Atom and The Martian Manhunter are very much like their comic-book counterparts and are enjoyable to watch. The costumes are also of the highest standard, remaining extremely faithful to their four-color origins. The villain of the piece, Miguel Ferrer's "Weatherman", is indicative of the constraints of the budget and so doesn't present a foe that seems to need the entire JLA to defeat. The plot, driven by the Weatherman and the origin of "Ice" (again, changed to fit the film's format) also reflect the fact its a TV pilot. The most annoying part of the film is the constant "vox-pops" by the Leaguers that intersect the main story- they are neither necessary or that interesting, but do seek to humanise the characters more, helping to show them as a disfunctional family rather than, say, a police force. One can't help but think that were this given a greater canvas to work on, it would have been spectacular, but, as is too often the case, budget and TV guidelines stopped it from being what it should have been. Still, if you want to see some fun super-hero action and big-names working together, seek this out.
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The worst super-hero adaptation ever!
Dew196916 October 1998
Not only was this filmed on a shoe-string budget with cheap costumes and special effects, it betrays both comic book fans and movie buffs equally.

The JLA characterizations are horrible. To catalog all of the mistakes would take more time than this awful show is worth. Just to name one good example: a couple of characters (Fire and Guy Gardner) who actually hate each other in the comics were said to have dated previously.

It appears that somebody tried to fool the audience into thinking they had seen a more exciting show than they really had: major action sequences were never shown but instead reported (sans footage) by the evening news.
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Fair...but who made the JLA a Friends Clone?
clh-119 June 2004
The 1997 Justice League of America Pilot was a fair entry into the world of television pilots. It was a little bland, but it had potential. A lot of really good TV series have had mediocre pilots including MASH, Remington Steele, Magnum PI, and all but the first Star Trek series. So although the first episode was less than an epic piece it might have taken off, and who knows maybe the Martian Manhunter would have given up the nachos and gotten on a treadmill, or at least done a few sit-ups. My only major complaint was that the show tried to be a sitcom, it was trying to ride on the coat tails of Friends. And I don't like Friends. The show would use a lot of the tongue in cheek jokes and it just didn't work.

I liked the plot, and the actors were okay, the characters probably would have developed overtime, so don't jump to conclusions about that just yet. The costumes would have probably been quickly replaced if the show were picked up, and a lot of other sci-fi/fantasy shows have weak special effects in there beginnings.

So hunt down a bootleg copy and give it a try.
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I didn't give this movie a 1 because..
Merkal12 June 2003
.. there must be a movie out there that's even worse. Lame characters even lamer acting. Lots of voice actors even the great David Ogden "Cogsworth" Stiers himself couldn't turn this movie into something decent. I haven't seen any acting of the man but he is by far a wonderful voice actor. Then there's John Kassir who did Meeko in Pocahontas. Not much of a speaking role. Anyway back to Justice League... really bad costumes, like the 60's Batman series which was good for it's time. And weak SFX this movie isn't worth my time. Maybe just maybe with a different cast, a different director and a much bigger bag of money this could've become something. Maybe an idea for the crew behind Spiderman or X-men when they run out of sequel ideas.
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Justice League Pilot could be worse
Robb Kottmyer24 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I recently saw this pilot after a friend purchased a bootleg copy online. Overall, it was not bad. The special effects were cheesy and the acting (directing) a bit campy, but it is certainly on par with other shows on TV at that time (e.g. Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules). The whole point is this: was it enjoyable? The answer is yes. Could it have lasted on TV? Probably not. Justice League left a lot to be desired, but had some interesting things going on.

The show begins with the superheros being interviewed as the real characters as if they were on dateline. They talk a bit about themselves and then the show switches to the plot at hand (read plot summary on this shows info page). Certainly a unique way of character development. By the end, I was moderately disappointed in the overall execution. I did, however, feel emotionally connected to the characters and was left wanting a little more. Would that have changed in the future of the show? We will never know.

If you do get the chance to see this pilot, I recommend you do. It won't be a waste of your time unless your expecting a show the caliber of Alias or Lost.
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Why couldnt they just follow the comics....
Dave13 April 2004
This series was based on the Keith Griffen run of the JLA comics which was quite funny and interesting. Now that was something i would have loved to have seen on TV. Unfortunatly like every failed comic book adaptaion hollywood decided to deviate from the source material. Guy Gardner was turned into a responsible workaholic, Barry Allen was dumb and couldnt hold a job, The Atom was a geek with really horrible hair, Fire was a strugeling actress, and Martin Manhunter......bwahahahahaha!!!

Some of the most ridiculous aspects of the pilot was that they all lived in a house (and wackiness insues), Fire had a secret identity but yet wore NO MASK!!!, Atom uses his power in the most usless ways, The stalker that Fire had was just a retarted subplot.

I think if they would have followed the original comics they could have had a hit......and redo the costumes.

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There is no Justice in the world
Paul-23410 June 1999
I just have to say that this is a truly awful film. I thought that I'd seen the worst adaptation of a comic book character (Captain America) and then this came along. Can anyone please explain why film makers find it impossible to keep to original origins/stories etc and keep trying to reinvent the wheel? Also, the constant interruptions to the story to go to interviews with the heroes do nothing for the film. This is a film with no redeeming features and should be avoided like the plague. If it were possible, I would give this a minus rating.
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This is not as bad as you would think...
Ghydda18 April 2003
...because it's got irony an lots of it.

A woman discovers she can do things out of this world. At first she's bit confused and chooses to live in denial of her powers. After a series of incidents she gets emotionally out of of balance and starts having suicidal tendencies. And how it goes from there I'm not telling. See for yourself.

One stroke of genius this film has is it's use of irony. Often the actors are pulled a side and "interviewed" like we see on behind-the-camera documentaries - only here the actors stay in character. This nifty idea lifts the movie above the run-of-the-mill super hero stories and gives it a unique touch which I liked.

See it and be surprised. I give it 7 out of 10.
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Not great, but it could have been worse.
ricksteves123 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I read reviews of this video before viewing, and watched it with some trepidation. While not a great video, it could have been much worse.

I agree that characterizations of the secret identities could have been better, and the costumes were grossly overdone. However, the project did have merit. Granted, the characters of Superman, Batman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman would have lent a greater deal of authenticity, the heroes in the movie could have been much more heroic. The only thing we see the Atom do as the Atom is rescue a cat from under a porch.

Then there was J'onn J'onzz. I have been a Martian Manhunter fan since the early sixties, and have looked forward to seeing the character portrayed on screen. I am still waiting to see him portrayed well. With today's special effects capabilities in film-making, the Manhunter could have been done so much better. David Ogden Stiers' body was covered by black leotard (not a bad thing), rather than mostly exposed, as the Manhunter is portrayed in the comics. The animated mask used for the Manhunter's face was just lame, and his lack of action in the video was just wrong. Hadn't the wardrobe people heard of bald wigs and makeup? The Weather Man, while also lame, did pose a worthy threat to humanity, and the JLA's actions in dealing with him were entertaining.

In summary, the heroes, again, could have been much more heroic, the costumes would have worked if they had been closer to the comic uniforms, Green Lantern should have been Hal Jordan instead of Guy Gardner, and the Manhunter would have been better off played by Hawkeye, Trapper John, B. J., or even Frank Burns, instead of Major Winchester.
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You know, outside of budget, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the pilot....
gohmifune18 April 2006
I'm a comic book fan, mainly DC, so I'm no stranger to the league. I was also a fan of the original Flash TV series, so them using Barry under a completely different interpretation is a bit of an adjustment. However, this wasn't bad, this wasn't bad at all.

For those who don't know, this is JLA based on a very popular run of JLA and JLI that was known for it's humor and interpersonal dynamics. It was a good run, the kind you enjoy because it has you laughing and caring about the characters. This pilot is very much inspired by it. It is dialog and interaction heavy, which helps compensate for a low budget, and a lack of direction. As far as failed pilots go, Global Frequency this is not.

The story has the main characters go up against "The Weatherman," who is actually a very interesting villain in the context of the show. He's not easily defeated, but he's not one of these world crushing supervillians that Superman or Batman could take down in an instant, but provides enough challenge for the heroes to take him down. It's a story just big enough to open with, and for a pilot film, that's what it should be.

THe acting is solid, realistically you can't expect too much, it's just a pilot that is done in what seems to be, and unorganized manner, so that effects the actors. The actors are solid, most you've probably seen somewhere, a few even have had their own shows and been successful, so the acting isn't bad. At worst it lacks energy, at best I'm smiling and laughing.

Script could've been better, it does it's job, but could have been better.

The single worst part of the whole movie, sadly, is the costumes. The costumes, while decent, look cheap and impractical, Fire not wearing a mask, Atom wearing what looks like body armor, and Green Lanterns costume looking somewhat...blue. The costumes are distracting, but most likely would have been improved in time.

You know, this is really good, there's a lot of potential for drama and humor, the characters are solid, and interact well, Atom and Ice especially, and really, the idea of having a superhero show that is more about the heroes than the heroics is a good idea. It is a shame that it didn't get a chance to grow into something special.
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I'm so glad this show never made it past being a pilot
neo_corcoran25 January 2004
Yeah, the live-action JLA pilot doesn't serve much good past being a collector's item since it never made it on TV, just like that Fantastic Four movie that was made in the early 90s.

This show was a terrible depiction of the greatest superhero team of all time. They made Barry Allen a dumb jock (when he's supposed to be a forensic scientist), they made Guy Gardner the leader who always gets the girls (even though the Gardner in the comics was a prick and he looked like Moe from the 3 Stooges), and so on. The only character that wasn't a total loss was Martian Manhunter, and HE HAD A BEER GUT! To top it all off, their first villain was the Weather Wizard. What does he do? He changes the weather.

I suppose it could have been worse. Imagine if they used Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. At least they did us the favor of ruining second-rate characters instead of ruining the classics.
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Perhaps the Worst Plot for a Movie Ever!!!
adonis98-743-18650322 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
n evil Weather Man intent on destroying New Metro City with a series of malevolent meteorological mishaps? Can the super-powered (and semi-employed) Justice League of America save the day? Or will New Metro be drowned in a humongous tidal wave? For some years now i have heard that this is the worst Justice League movie ever made and after just seeing it i can see why, first of all how do you make a Justice League without the actual leaders? You know Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman? Yeap don't expect those cool heroes to appear just expect Ice or Fire. The producers were so bored that they didn't even know how to name Green Lantern's real name and instead of Hal Jordan they named him Guy Gardner (you know the annoying Lantern with the weird hairstyle? Yeap that's the one). Also why is Barry Allen a freaking "hobo" isn't he working with the Police and all that? Not in here i guess. J'onn J'onzz is completely useless for the whole damn movie and if you like him you will be very disappointed i mean he does more in Supergirl than in this film. The costumes were horrible and so cheesy especially the Flash one, the Plot with the Weather Man? It was absolutely horrible, the characters are boring and just useless as well and the comedy is just weird (my god that Lasers scene ugh). The actors do have a good chemistry and it's not their fault that the film is awful it's just that the director doesn't know who or what the JLA represent plus the fact that this film is higher than both Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad in Rotten Tomatoes is just mind blowing. Overall this is a low point for DC and an unfunny, painful and dumb as hell film that doesn't not only respect the legacy of those heroes but punches them in the face non stop threw out the entire damn thing and i gotta say 1997 was a terrible year for them and even tho Batman and Robin was terrible at least it was a fun and terrible guilty pleasure of a movie but this one right here? It's just awful!!
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Underrated innovative superhero spoof comedy sitcom pilot
guisreis29 December 2016
This was a pilot of a TV series that has not been approved. It uses to be panned as a ridiculous film with the worst costumes and visual effects ever. That is very unfair. To begin, it has a different format relatively to other comedic superhero movies, as it is a sitcom. And, although not brilliant and often silly, it works, with funny moments and some good ideas. The special effects are not very good, but you can find worse in many low budget motion pictures and in most TV series until the 90's. The idea of showing testimonials in between the story as if it were a documentary is also nice, a quite creative innovation. People use to prefer to see the same conventional formula than innovations; that is a shame. This was a pretty nice attempt, which unfortunately did not have the chance to be produced with a higher budget.
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Never Ever Again!
MARKUSJEFFERSON24 September 2015
A friend of mine told me he had a bootleg copy of this low budget movie that never made it to the theaters or on home release. I said okay; it couldn't be any worse than the bootleg copy of the budget Fantastic Four that never made it to theaters or home release. I was wrong! This is far worse! This movie made the low budget Fantastic Four movie look a whole lot better. So many inaccurate superhero depiction horrors in this movie; I thought I would need therapy. If you took out all the inane parts; there would be less than 40 minutes left to watch. It was interesting to see a The Martian Manhunter in the flesh. It must have broke the budget to make up an actor to look like the comic book character because we really didn't get to see him until near the end of the movie. This movie would've bombed faster than Solar Babies at the box office.
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absolutely horrible!
Irisharmyguy798 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
worst piece of crap I've ever seen! Guy Garner and Flash's personalities were backwards! Guy is the thug type with no skills in the real world. Flash became the flash while working in his crime scene lab so how did he have no skills?! Ray Palmer came off like a geek! just because you're smart doesn't mean you're automatically a sniveling little nerd! gardners singing and sensitive romantic personality was ridiculous! gardner was a body builder/security guard on muscle beach when he got picked to be a lantern! and manhunter was just a voice in the background?! so dumb! an d im sorry you cant have a justice league of America without superman, batman, hal jordan gl, aquaman, hawkman, or wonder woman! this is more like justice society or justice league international! just really really bad!! thank god this never got picked up!
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Fails on every level
Neil Welch9 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
As a comic fan, you cannot do anything other than completely dismiss the 1997 pilot for a Justice League series which, surprise surprise, never materialised (how could it, after drivel like this?). What went wrong? "Everything", although true, is a bit glib, so let's look in more detail.

Characterisation - although clearly based on the Giffen-era humorous Justice League, the producers seem to have lost their nerve and have gone for limp, half-hearted characterisations which comprehensively miss the point of every character.

Casting - see characterisation. David Ogden Stiers as J'onn J'onzz? Um, no, I don't think so.

Costumes - simply awful. Utterly, irredeemably awful. You can't believe how awful unless you actually see them, and I honestly can't suggest that you do.

Special effects - these must have cost at least ninepence. Green Lantern's droopy string of mildly glowing toothpaste is the least convincing special effect ever.

Dialogue - grimly unimpressive.

Plot - might have been barely adequate if everything else had been OK.

Direction - well, someone has to be held responsible.

If you are not a comics fan, take note - this film is not very good. If you are a comics fan, avoid this film - it will make you weep.
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Justice League of America (1997)
SnakesOnAnAfricanPlain13 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Dear God. 1997 was a frickin' terrible year for DC. Batman and Robin AND this? This is for the live action pilot and not the awesome cartoon. It has never aired in America, and there are many reasons as to why this is. First of all, this was a friendly comedy superhero series. It tried to be like Friends. The costumes are excruciating. Seriously, search for a picture and see how bad they are. They are worse than any Halloween outfit you may find. It also doesn't help that none of the characters are like their comic counterparts, nor does it help that everyone is fat. I couldn't believe I was watching a bloated Atom, Flash, and Martian Manhunter. A dull plot, lazy writing, and complete disregard for the source material. I'm glad this died at pilot stage, but I'm surprised anyone was willing to take part in it in the first place.
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I thought it was decent
insultingintelligence3 February 2006
I've been a fan of the Justice League, and seeing that comment before this one has just made me angry. First off, this movie was based on the actual comic more than a decade ago, and these characters seem pretty good. The comment before this one said that Fire and Ice were made up characters for the superfriends. They were not and were in fact in the Justice League comics along with the Blue Beetle, Batman, Martian Manhunter and so on and so on. Guy Gardener was an awesome choice for the Green Lantern, even though he seemed out of character, and Barry Allen was not a putz. Get your facts straight before you analyze things. This may not have been the best, but it certainly wasn't the worst.
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Misdirected, Miscast, Mistake.
Andrew E4 June 1999
Misdirected, Miscast, Mistake.

If you are a fan of the JLA comics - Don't bother. If however you know nothing about the best superhero team going and you want a passable way of killing some time - give it a go.
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Okay, it wasn't good, but...
Royal We7 February 1999
it still wasn't as bad as all that. It had nothing to do with any of the incarnations of the Justica League, and that's okay. The costumes were hilarious, the story kind of goofy (I mean, couldn't the Weatherman just sell his weather control device to get the money he needed? Why resort to extortion? The things I'll let comics and cartoons get away with, but not live action...), but all in all it was... fun. Admittedly, fun in a sort of "big, stupid, slobbering dog" kind of way, but fun nevertheless. I would watch more, had they made them.
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Good fun, but why mess the characters about?
Dodgy10 July 2000
I'll give it my vote as being cheesy fun, the characters are fun, not too serious, but I have to ask, why such a mixed bag of eras? They could easily have made this from the DeMatteis era of JLA. The representation of Flash would have more easily fit Wally West in the early 'chasing Wonderwoman' slacker phase of his career. Basically the whole 'JLA international' was more of a soap opera than an action series, which could have been done on a limited budget (all the sets are pretty much normal buildings) and show the whole film-star super-hero idea. Could have been funky.

The costumes of the film were...interesting.Why make up most of the character's eyes (a la Batman) behind the masks, but not Flash's? Leaving them all skin would have been fine. And using Kyle's mask on Guy was odd too....Ice, Fire and J'onn J'onzz's characters made it through pretty much unscathed, why couldn't the others have done likewise. It seemed like they changed stuff for changes sake.

Still a light way to spend an hour and a half. Better than a lot of comic adaptations, but Hollywood has a lot to learn.Hopefully X-men will give some instruction...
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There's a reason it didn't get picked up.
Elijah_Chandler21 December 2004
This laughable TV pilot features the awesomest of the awesome from the DC comic universe, or it was supposed to anyway. With the rights to Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman all tied up in Hollywood and no one really giving a damn about Aquaman (possibly the lamest of all of DC's characters) the creators of this show had to fall back on the made-up-for-Super Friends heroes that no one really liked and the underused characters that no one really cares about anyway. Fire and Ice were only around in the Super Friends cartoons as far as I know, and it probably should have stayed that way. The Atom was a horrible choice for a Justice league member, and his costume was stupid. Guy Gardener as the Green Lantern? Why not Hal Jordan? J'onn J'onzz as the leader of JLA? And why was The Flash (Barry Allen at least) a complete putz? This piece of tripe was a huge disappointment from beginning to end, only enjoyable to those of us who love to make fun of bad TV and cinema.

Still, if you're a collector, you should try to pick this up at a flea market or comic con. It'll sate the hunger of the inner-fanboy.
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It's not great, but not as bad as all that
bcox198115 August 2007
I thought it was a charming story. It's not the most sophisticated thing I've ever watched, and indeed has little (if any) of the flavor of the Justice League of the comics. Nevertheless, it's a pleasant, light, little comedy/adventure tale. The characters are very sympathetic, and I found myself feeling for them. Kenny Johnston, a Flash who has trouble finding (and holding) a job, while not at all like the Barry Allen of the comics (a successful police scientist), is quite likable- and reminds me of Woody Harrelson in his Cheers days. Ice, as played by Kim Oja, touches me as she struggles to deal with her newfound powers. The Atom of this film is portrayed as a somewhat nerdy high-school science teacher instead of a genial researcher, but he's got a very good heart; John Kassir convinced me of that. This Green Lantern is like no other; Matthew Settle is evidently a respected actor (to judge from his extensive filmography), but I found his characterization somewhat snippy. However, he doesn't hold a candle to the Guy Gardner of the comics (an aggressive, hotheaded jerk!). This Green Lantern is somewhat impatient and judgmental, in his "real life" not terribly heroic; but you feel bad for him as he struggles to win his beloved's heart without betraying his secrets. Michelle Hurd's Fire is funny and hip; she's the sensible one, the reality check for her rather childlike male colleagues. David Ogden Stiers as the Martian Manhunter makes a nice Greek chorus and mentor to the team, although we don't get to see the character truly develop- and he isn't nearly other-worldly as an alien should be. Despite its considerable imperfections, what sold me on this show is the way it depicts the characters as imperfect, normal people on a certain level- and very likable on most levels. Perhaps it isn't fair to present this as a live-action Justice League for TV; it's not nearly sophisticated enough to be that. So give the characters new names and call it something else- "The Hero Squad" or what-have-you. However, as I said, it's a light, comic-adventure story about a group of misfit superheroes, not unlike Mystery Men. In that context, it works for me.
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