Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part One


By 1985, DC Comics was juggling a vast stable of characters with too many variations across an unwieldy menagerie of alternate planes of existence. How to simplify matters and also make an honest buck? The answer arrived in the form of Crisis on Infinite Earths, a popular and influential crossover comic book maxi-series by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez that effectively reset the lineup for a new generation of fans.

Warner’s long-running slew of excellent direct-to-video animated movies has finally gotten around to adapting this particular storyline, understandably making some changes while retaining the gist: An unknown and incredibly powerful being has dispatched an antimatter wave capable of erasing entire realities, and none of the Earths heroes, villains, or any version of them is safe. The themes and plot points of this new iteration of the tale have been quietly building over the last 10 animated movies, similar to how Marvel patiently led us to the big doom of Infinity War.

Indeed, the stakes are high in Crisis, with some major names giving their lives in the fight, and the studio has announced that it’ll take a trilogy to spin this yarn properly, so settle in. Part One puts a heavy emphasis on Flash/Barry Allen, eloquently voiced by Matt Bomer atop an outstanding cast, which (ironically) slows the pacing somewhat. The sci-fi stuff can be a little hard to follow, but the cliffhanger ending undoubtedly whets our appetite for what’s to follow.

The familiar visual style is somewhat simple but very appealing for its vibrant colors. The screen-filling image is sharp, with clear graphical readouts and stable geometry in the destructive antimatter. The high dynamic range invigorates the appearance of brilliant, glowing energy and renders the spacey blacks nigh-infinite. Whereas I compared the 4K and HD discs of Batman: The Long Halloween to confirm my findings in that review, I can’t do that here because only an Ultra HD disc and a Movies Anywhere digital copy of Crisis are provided.

The DTS-HD Master Audio is likewise robust, evident in the wave of death as it moves menacingly around the room. The explosions and the different battles are plenty powerful, and we’re treated to a generous helping of discrete surrounds in addition to some dramatic phasing, as when a car screeches past and into a crash.

This 4K edition is available exclusively in a steelbook case adorned with a sampling of the do-gooders and rogues. Extras consist entirely of two brief featurettes discussing the significance of Crisis and its fleet-footed champion and both of them are definitely worth a watch.

STUDIO: Warner 2024
AUDIO FORMAT: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
LENGTH: 93 mins., PG-13
DIRECTOR: Jeff Wamester
STARRING: Matt Bomer, Jensen Ackles, Darren Criss, Meg Donnelly, Stana Katic, Jimmi Simpson

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