Welcome back to Boomb Tube! As the hiatus between seasons of cartoons continues, I’ve started reviewing TV shows from the past. This week, we take a fond look back at the Justice League show! No, not the cartoon one; the live-action TV movie starring Guy Gardner, Fire, Ice, The Flash, and, in his feature debut, Rick Santorum as The Atom.
Now, for those not in the loop, Justice League of America was produced as a pilot for a proposed show centering around a team similar to the Justice League International line-up from the late 80’s/early 90’s. Since this movie premiered in 1997, you would expect the team to be more similar to the then-popular JLA comic. However, if any of the creators behind this show did anything you would expect them to, they wouldn’t have produced a Real World knock-off starring Guy Gardner. Seriously, the framing sequence in the show consists of confession style interviews with the League. So when an action scene or interesting scene happens, it’s interrupted by The Flash talking about how hard it is to find a job. This doesn’t make any sense as not only are the members’ identities a “secret” that’s just thrown out the window during their individual interviews, but there is no indication of who is filming them or why. For all we know, this could just be a video of the police interrogation of the five maniacs who dressed up like a crappy Justice League knock-off and kicked a hobo to death behind a Radioshack.
The movie opens at a weather research institute where Tori, a young meteorologist who looks and acts like a mix between Princess Diana and a concussion, is asked to a charity event by her boss, played by that angry FBI agent from Twin Peaks. Interspersed with scenes of Tori talking about how great her job is, the members of the Justice League are introduced in situations befitting these most epic of heroes. The Flash, who acts like a Jersey Shore reject 12 years too early, can’t pay the rent for his house, Green Lantern is having trouble committing to his girlfriend due to always saving the world, Fire is a struggling actress auditioning for a role as a banana (coincidentally, how everyone got cast in this movie) , and The Atom is an oft-ridiculed high school science teacher who presumably cooks crystal meth with his one of his classmates and explodes drug lords in his spare time. All of the members are distracted from their thrilling lives by their watch signals, as the city is under attack from the most dangerous super-villain of all time! The Weatherman!
The League members make their debut in costume by saving a bunch of citizens from accidents caused by the storm. Apparently their watches were able to tell them a good five minutes in advance that a wall was about to fall on some construction workers. Though no rescue deserves more mention than The Atom’s, which consists of shrinking down to miniature size and just straight up telling a cat to get out of a crawlspace. People are dying around him and he felt that he needed to take the time to tell a cat to move. I’d be upset if it didn’t lead to my favorite picture of all time.
Evil Al Roker (EvAl Roker) tells the Justice League, through the gigantic TV screen that I’m sure is just some windows on a building with bad CGI, that though they may have stopped the storm, the weather can change at any moment. I get that he was being vague, but his threat came off less “I’ll just throw a bunch of hail at you guys tomorrow” and more “WELL MAYBE IT WILL RAIN TOMORROW! MEH!” The Justice Leaguers than go get changed at the dumpsters behind the Radioshack after Green Lantern gives the rallying dismissal of, and so I quote, “Storm’s over we’re done rescuing people for the day.” Apparently this city, named New Metro because its founders hated it, is so perfect that it only needs superheroes for weather relief. Gotham just has the one dude in a bat suit fighting murderers, drug dealers, and hardcore Lewis Carroll fans, but New Metro needs five super humans to get a cat out of the crawlspace. New Metro is that kid who only plays the video game with every cheat on.
All the Justice Leaguers disperse back to their normal lives. Fire is hit on at the audition by a teenage Martin Scorsese wannabe and the rest of the gang deals with The Flash living as their new roommate. Riveting stuff. Tori, who the script decided to remember existed, checks out the basement of her research facility where she stumbles upon the experiment her too-eager-for-his-own-good colleague was working on. She spills some water on it and, as a result, gains the ability to freeze stuff. Normally this would freak people out, but Tori is pretty chill about it. I’m so sorry. Anyway, back at the League’s apartment, The Atom shrinks down to try and fix the TV so Guy can watch Touched By an Angel, but fails at it so they call a cable guy who fixes the television with a piece of chewed gum. I genuinely have no idea why this was a scene, the writers just felt like they needed to explain why the TV worked. On the TV they see a hippie who Ice saved from drowning in a lake and thanks to the creepiest news cameraman ever, the shot on the news pans over to Tori and just slowly zooms in. She’s not suspected of having anything to do with the rescue, but that cameraman suspects one thing and it must be that she is nastaaaaay. Ray Palmer agrees too, because he makes this face.
The League kidnaps the Tori at home, because Ray Palmer made that face, and interrogate her about whether or not she is EvAl Roker and then try to convince her to accept her destiny as a super hero. After realizing how illegal this situation is, The League let her go back to her house since they already have enough heat from that hobo behind the Radioshack. The next day, Dr. Eno, the head researcher at The Meteorology Institute, is acting strangely and when walking out of the building, is revealed to be a doppelganger of the real Eno, but with a green hand. Glad we solved that disembodied voice mystery already. Bad CGI/Horrible prosthetics Martian Manhunter is going to be fantastic. After complaining about their personal lives some more, EvAl Roker makes his second attack with a bigger hail storm upon New Metro. Guy saves his girlfriend who, not only can’t tell that the man in a domino mask was the same guy (no pun intended) she’d been dating for years, but was being rained upon by what you can’t convince me isn’t a bunch of golfballs. Quick side note: When Guy says he has to leave, his girlfriend says “Oh lemme guess! Another “emergency download”?” Either the creators of this show don’t know how computers work or that was the laziest innuendo ever.
The Justice League then infiltrate the charity event mentioned at the beginning of this circus at the behest of the disembodied voice which totally isn’t J’onn J’onnz. While there, The Flash chases down that eager scientist only to find out that he has nothing to do with The Weatherman and actually just made a really boring weather predictor. Meanwhile, The Atom flirts with Tori, the girl he just kidnapped, and she somehow finds him charming. While attempting to wash the smell of creep off herself, Tori stumbles upon her boss recording a new video message as EvAl Roker. The guy with the goatee and bad attitude was the villain. Surprising. Hats off go to the costume department though, who despite giving EvAl Roker a costume that consists of a heavy scarf and sunglasses, failed to give Eno a costume here. Either he films himself and then spends hours adding the costume in with CGI later, or the creators of this show care as much as I do.
That’s as much as my decayed brain cells can handle this week! Come back next week when we conclude Justice League of America.