Injustice Animated Film Review

To say that Injustice: Gods Among Us is one of the best DC alternate universe stories is a bit of an understatement. The 2013 video game was a smash hit success, showing an alternate world where Superman has taken over control of the planet and rules with an iron fist. While the second Injustice: Gods Among Us game was a decent follow-up, to see these games converted into a film or animated film, context should have been one of the best undertakings since Superman: Red Son was animated last year. However, something felt a little off about these versions of events.

InjusticeTitle: Injustice
Production Company: Warner Bros. Animation / DC Entertainment
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Directed by: Matt Peters
Produced by: Rick Morales, Jim Krieg, Sam Register, & Michael Uslan
Written by: Ernie Altbacker
Starring: Justin Hartley, Anson Mount, Laura Bailey, Zach Callison, Brian T. Delaney, Brandon Micheal Hall, Andrew Morgado, Edwin Hodge, Oliver Hudson, Gillian Jacobs, Yuri Lowenthal, Barry Allen, Derek Phillips, Kevin Pollak, Anika Noni Rose, Reid Scott, Faran Tahir, Fred Tatasciore, & Janet Varney
Based on: Injustice: Gods Among Us by NetherRealm Studios and Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year One by Tom Taylor
Release dates: October 12, 2021 (Digital) / October 19, 2021 (DVD and Blu-Ray)
Running time: 78 minutes
Rating: R

A Story of Loss and Grief

On Earth-Twenty-Two, the Joker and Harley Quinn kidnap Lois Lane, kill Jimmy Olsen, and steal a nuclear weapon, which they connect to a heart rate monitor surgically attached to the former’s heart. Batman orders all Justice League members to find Lois. The Flash finds the Scarecrow dead in his lab and his supply of fear toxin missing, before being killed by a trap set by the Joker. Superman eventually finds the Joker and Harley hiding on a submarine, but when he confronts them, he is attacked by Doomsday and proceeds to punch the monster into space. As the other heroes arrive and apprehend the Joker and Harley, Batman realizes that they used the fear toxin, mixed with Kryptonite, to make Superman hallucinate that he is fighting Doomsday; in reality, he beat Lois to death. Batman tries to warn Superman, but it is too late; Lois’ heartbeat stops, and the nuke detonates, destroying Metropolis and killing millions of people. As Batman questions the Joker over his motives, the latter reveals that tired of his losing battle against Batman, he sought to try and corrupt Superman instead. Moments later, Superman arrives and, acting out of grief and rage at the loss of his wife, unborn child, and murders the Joker in cold blood.

While Green Arrow takes Harley to his hideout to protect her from Superman’s wrath, Superman reveals his identity before the United Nations and announces his intentions to put the Earth at peace, by force if necessary. The Justice League is left divided over Superman’s actions, as some members, such as Wonder Woman, believe in his cause to eliminate violent criminals, while others, including Batman, keep their no-killing vow. Some heroes, such as Aquaman, refuse to pick a side and leave the League.

Meanwhile, the United States government, concerned that Superman will interfere in their operations, orders Mirror Master to kidnap Jonathan Kent to be used as leverage against him. Superman begins to question his actions, but Wonder Woman reassures him that he is doing the right thing and offers to help him find Jonathan. Confronting Mirror Master, Wonder Woman learns Jonathan’s whereabouts and takes his belt, which Superman uses to find and rescue his father. Elsewhere, Batman confronts the President and warns him that Superman will kill him if he ever finds out he ordered Jonathan’s capture.

Later, Superman visits Batman in the Batcave to make peace, but they argue over their ideological views, and Batman refuses to join Superman. While trying to stop Superman from relocating Arkham Asylum inmates to a more secure facility, Batman and Nightwing are shocked to discover that Robin has joined Superman. Harley, who has escaped from Green Arrow and decided to become a hero, releases the inmates, forcing Batman and Superman to temporarily put their differences aside to fight them. During the battle, Robin gets angry at Nightwing and accidentally kills him. Catwoman, after learning about what happened from Superman, comforts Batman, while Nightwing meets Rama Krishna, in the afterlife, who transforms him into “Deadwing”.

While Superman allies with Ra’s al Ghul, Batman forms an underground resistance and plans to steal a red sun cannon from the Fortress of Solitude. During the break-in, Ra’s kills the Atom and destroys the cannon, Superman overpowers Captain Atom, and Jonathan, whom Superman had been keeping safe at the Fortress, is accidentally killed by one of Green Arrow’s arrows, causing Superman to murder the latter in revenge. After Superman transforms the Earth into a police state using surveillance drones, Batman has Plastic Man break Mr. Terrific out of prison, and leaks video footage of Superman killing a group of partying teenagers inspired by the Joker to ruin his public image.

In response, Superman dispatches Amazo to enforce global peace, but the android quickly turns violent, as it has been programmed by Ra’s to kill Superman. Amazo, who is able to replicate Superman’s powers, kills Hawkman and Cyborg, but Batman and his allies (Plastic Man, Catwoman, and Harley) arrive and help Superman and Wonder Woman destroy the android. Meanwhile, Robin duels Ra’s, and defeats him with Deadwing’s help. Despite their help, Superman prepares to have the insurgents arrested and incapacitates Wonder Woman after she defects from him, but is confronted by Superman from Earth-One, who was brought into this universe by Mr. Terrific. Superman defeats his counterpart since the latter was holding back, but eventually surrenders after being met with a version of Lois from Earth-Nine, who lost her Superman and became pregnant with his child. Realizing how far he has fallen, Superman agrees to be imprisoned, while Batman prepares for his future with Catwoman.


The Hit List of Heroes

I’ll say this before going into the voice acting for Injustice, it is a real shame that DC didn’t use the excellent voice cast from the video game version. That being said, given the amount of high profile, aka expensive, names used in the games, I can see why DC made the decision to change the casting. It’s just a shame that they made that decision. Also, I’ve excluded a lot of characters who either got removed from Injustice for story reasons or killed off early in the film.

  • Justin Hartley as Kal-El / Clark Kent / Superman
    Hartley has done an amazing job with one of the most complex versions of Superman to be presented in any format. Having to play a Superman who is dealing with the loss of his wife and child is one thing, but also having to go so full out in a manner that is nothing like the Superman that is done in traditional mediums is something that not many actors, or voice actors, would want to tackle. Hartley does a great job giving all the emotions needed in Injustice that need to be done.
  • Anson Mount as Bruce Wayne / Batman
    Probably one of the best sound-alikes for Kevin Conroy’s Batman that I’ve ever heard. Mount’s version of Batman is exactly what is needed for Injustice. While there was no need for the ultra-intense version that was in the games, having a Batman who is just trying to help his friend is sometimes the better one that is needed for some stories.
  • Laura Bailey as Lois Lane
    While she doesn’t get much play in the role of this universe’s version of Lois, Bailey does a great Lois for the one used later in the film. Showing all the love and affection to Clark as any other Lois before her, Bailey brings the calm nature of the character that we all know and love. Even if she is used as a McGuffin at the end of the movie.
  • Zach Callison as Damian Wayne / Robin
    Callison’s Damien Wayne is another really well-done role. Since one of the changes to Injustice was that it is Damien who turns against Batman and sides with Superman, instead of Nightwing, having that connection really pushes the boundaries of their relationship, and also goes with the already established relationship where Damien is always fighting his upbringing at the hands of his mother and the League of Assassins.
  • Edwin Hodge as Michael Holt / Mr. Terrific
    The casting and idea of having Mr. Terrific in Injustice was an interesting call. The character wasn’t in the original game, nor the sequel. So having someone in the film version that could challenge Superman on an intellectual level, as well as create the much-needed device that leads to the movie’s conclusion, was a good addition.
  • Oliver Hudson as Patrick “Eel” O’Brian / Plastic Man
    Another character was added to the film version of Injustice that was not in the video game version. While most movies will use Plastic Man as a comedy character, Injustice does a better job at putting Plastic Man up as the example that following things by the book, letting rehabilitation do its job, is a much better way to use the character in this version.
  • Gillian Jacobs as Harley Quinn
    Wow, talk about someone who can mimic someone else. I had to go and check the cast listing to see that it wasn’t Tara Strong just playing the role as usual. Jacob’s version of Harley is dead on for Tara and that’s not a bad thing. However, what was a bad thing was the downplaying of Harley’s role in Injustice as the character had a huge role in both game versions. This version still gets the whole “Quiver” line out, but without Harley’s relationship with Black Canary, her time gets reduced to just getting caught by Green Arrow and then moved around because she’d get in the way and set off Superman further.
  • Yuri Lowenthal as Sam Scudder / Mirror Master, Barry Allen / Flash
    I’d love to talk about Lowenthal as Flash, but the character gets taken out of action so early into Injustice that it’s not really worth mentioning. However, as Mirror Master, Lowenthal gets a good chance to shine as a villain. There was some great direction where the US Government employs Mirror Master to kidnap Jonathan Kent, using a section of the ocean that is so still that it’s like an endless mirror to hide him in. Good use of a smaller known villain.
  • Derek Phillips as Dick Grayson / Nightwing / Deadwing
    Probably the biggest change when it came to Injustice was Nightwing’s involvement with the story. Since Damien took over the “turncoat family member” role that Dick originally had in Injustice: Gods Among Us, they had to do something else with Nightwing. What I didn’t expect was turning him into Deadman… I mean, Deadwing. While this change in the character was interesting, it wasn’t worked upon that much except for one awesome fight between Damien and his Grandfather. Sad to see such an interesting change left to rot on the sidelines.
  • Kevin Pollak as Joker, Jonathan Kent
    While I would look at Pollak as Joker, since that is a key role in all Injustice stories, this time around that character dies early on. However, every moment that the character is on screen, he commands attention, which is only accented by Pollak’s voice work. Pollak keeps the dark and dirty style of voice that most non-Hammil versions of The Joker have, which works here since this is the character at its darkest. Contrastly speaking, Pollak as Jonathan Kent shows such lite-hearted fatherly love that it’s crazy to see Pollak as both the best and worst people to be involved with Superman in Injustice.
  • Anika Noni Rose as Selina Kyle / Catwoman
    While she doesn’t get enough screen time, Rose as Catwoman is still a welcome sight. Working more with the mainline version of Catwoman, where she and Batman are an on-again, off-again, the couple comes off more as a reward for Batman fans than it does for anything in the larger narrative sense. It would have been good to see more development for Catwoman, or any women in Injustice for that matter, than what we got.
  • Reid Scott as Oliver “Ollie” Queen / Green Arrow
    Though he was another peacemaker, Green Arrow comes off as one of these characters who you would think is one of the main cast, but somehow ends up just being the transition guy for the plot to move forward. Outside of capturing Harley Quinn, Green Arrow doesn’t really do much except take the role of another character who ends up setting Superman off and further down the path of being the movie’s villain. You’d figure that Green Arrow would do more in Injustice than what he did.
  • Faran Tahir as Ra’s al Ghul
    Talk about someone brought in to create a protection for Superman. Tahir’s excellent Ra’s al Ghul was a great addition to Injustice in terms of adding a character who would do extremely well as the manipulative and calculating asshole that he is, something akin to his Batman: The Animated Series version. However, knowing that he pretty much takes over the villain role in the third act to make Superman seem less like a dictator really hurts the idea of having this character in Injustice at all.
  • Janet Varney as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman
    Oh my god, talk about character assassination. I know that Wonder Woman has some versions out there that are this ultra-hardcore anti-man dominatrix type character (Superwoman/Donna Troy in the Criminal Syndicate is a good example of this type of character), but having her be this type of character seems really off in Injustice. Wonder Woman comes off as a manipulating character who uses Superman’s guilt to push an agenda of crushing “man’s control over the world”. Wonder Woman’s character has come so far from the man-hating Amazon that she was in the very early days, it’s a real shame to see her pushed backwards like this.


A Solid Alternative to an Alternative Story

Injustice is a solid story. Where the game version skipped a lot of the details that occurred between Lois’ death and Superman making the One Earth Regime were skipped so that the story of Earth-One heroes being brought over and used in the rebellion against Superman and his crew, leaving the very well done comic series to fill in the gaps; this version of Injustice tells the in-between story with a LOT of changes. While I’ll mention the negatives about these changes below, the bulk of the story is really well told, keeping some heroes out of the story so they could appear in other stories. However, those stories won’t be the ones from the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game, as the outcome of the story, is one where Superman does not turn the One Earth Regime into the worldwide dictatorship, giving a win to those on the side of good.

While this version of events might not be what a lot of Injustice: Gods Among Us fans wanted, this version of Injustice is one where good does triumph over “evil”… I don’t want to use that term as Superman isn’t really “evil” like he was in the games, but more having issues with the grief and loss he has suffered from the death of Lois Lane. And that is the big thing about Injustice at its core, its a story about Superman, a being who doesn’t take life, who tries to be the moral goodness of humanity, with the power to stop or do anything, having to deal with the loss of his wife, and unborn child, that he has caused because he was tricked by The Joker.

Superman, in Injustice, is trying to do what he can to make sure that what happened to his wife, by his hands, never happens again in any way. Instead of forgiving himself and letting justice be served, he gave into anger, killed The Joker, and then turned that grief outwards at the world, blaming the villains of the world for Lois’ death, thus wanting to stop all acts of violence so that, in his mind, there is no way for anyone, including himself, to harm anyone on the planet at all. However, this idea is lost in the blind anger Superman feels, also somewhat manipulated by Wonder Woman, leading to him having to fight his friends and make more bad decisions before someone smarter than him gives him the advice he needed from someone Superman was willing to listen to and to also have the forgiveness Superman was seeking.

Again, this isn’t a bad story, it was just not the story that many were wanting or expecting.


A Rework to Save Face

To say that Injustice: Gods Among Us was a controversial story to tell in 2013 is an understatement. While there have been stories that have removed the traditional characters from being heroes and making them the villains of the story, or in the case of Superman: Red Son, removing the American from one of America’s greatest superheroes, Injustice has gone back on telling such a controversial story for the sake of saving the brand of Superman, and also so they avoid a straight retelling of something that we already have seen in the video games.

While other movies that have been based on comic books have had some events altered in order to save face or to exclude some events due to an age rating, Injustice does this purely to protect the brand of Superman. Given the ultra-sensitive nature of people in 2021 having a version of Superman, a “straight white savior” turning into a worldwide dictator who pushes his will onto the people of the world is something that would have the Twitter mobs up in arms quicker than you can say “#SupermanIsANazi”.

With some of the other characters though, some of the decisions to remove them from Injustice, given so many of the removals were characters who were so ingrained into the Injustice: Gods Among Us story, that it was horrible to see them either killed off (Flash) or just walk away from the argument (Green Lantern, Aquaman & Shazam) never to be seen again. Since a lot of these characters could do things to stop Superman or have moments that would fit into this R-Rated film (Shazam’s death from Injustice: Gods Among Us) that would be perfect in this version of the story that it’s almost criminal to see them excluded.

Another major injustice to characters comes from what they did to Wonder Woman. As I mentioned above, they rewrote Wonder Woman into something more akin to early versions of the character where she comes across as a major man-hater, closer to the rest of the Amazon tribes of legend, who all hate men because of the suffering they endured in years past. While this could be accurate to Amazon legend, this change really comes across as Wonder Woman is the main manipulator to turning Superman into a dictator-like figure and using his grief as a weapon to serve her anti-man agenda, something we all know Wonder Woman does not represent at all.

This is all a disappointment because it’s very rare that DC would allow an R-Rated movie to be animated at all, let alone one where Superman is the villain. By not going all out with Injustice much like Injustice: Gods Among Us did, I feel that DC has done an actual injustice to not only a great couple of games, but a good comic book series, and to Superman himself. Telling a story where Superman cracks and turns into a dictator, then showing the rest of the heroes fight back could have been one of the best stories that could have been done by DC Animated.


To be honest, Injustice is not a great movie. Fans of the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game deserved and expected more from this retelling of the Injustice: Gods Among Us story. Instead, we were given a watered-down version of events, where some of the changes make no sense at all, others are outright stupid, and done for the only reason of saving the face of a major DC pillar character in an age where the right story would only upset the outrage mobs on the internet. Just like the comic book division of DC, it looks like the animation side of the company has lost the guts to tell a good story.


Injustice should have been that DC animated movie that is done in the same vein as the excellent Mortal Kombat Legends movies, where characters are pushed outside of the safe zone of tradition and tell one of the more controversial DC stories ever made. However, what we got was a watered-down version of events that were changed to appease the online crowd who can’t handle storylines involving dictatorship in the modern age, and also to keep the Superman brand kid-friendly and protected. A real waste of the source material for no good reason.


  • Lots of excellent voice casting choices
  • Additions to the cast fill new and changed roles really well
  • Tells a good story of how not to deal with loss and grief


  • Doesn’t take advantage of the R-Rating
  • Scared to tell anything close to the original Injustice: Gods Among Us story
  • The whole third act changing to protect the Superman brand