I live for seeing my favorite comic book characters come to life, whether it be movies, television shows or hell, even really talented cosplayers. This past weekend's Smallville two-hour movie "Absolute Justice" wasn't perfect but it did bring me great joy. (Spoilers ahead obviously.)
I'm not a loyal Smallville viewer. I tend to tune in when I hear a favorite character of mine is being introduced into their canon (like Zatanna) or when one of my favorite writers is doing an episode. In the case of "Absolute Justice" it was both. Geoff Johns wrote this movie event which introduced the Justice Society of America to the show. Herein lies my first issue, none of the characters on the show had ever heard of the JSA before, even though their headquarters (and museum) seemingly reside in Metropolis and they were all costumed heroes. I put that aside because this is Smallville and one must have a suspension of disbelief attitude when it comes to Smallville. Over nine seasons they've worked themselves into a bit of a corner on some things so you just have to go with it.
Granted, not every member of the JSA got a starring role in this episode but the majority of them did make an appearance in flashbacks. Not to mention the beautiful piece of artwork depicting them all hanging in the brownstone. Even Ma Hunkel got a few seconds face time! The flashbacks featured the heroes in plain clothes, not utilizing their powers but it was still cool to see. But don't worry, "Absolute Justice" had enough costumes and powers to go around.
The Star-Spangled Kid looked part Jack Knight Starman as he battled it out with the episodes' villain Icicle. In fact, he even uttered Jack's name with his last breath. Yeah, he died but it's OK because sassy Miss Courtney Whitmore was there to take up the mantle as Stargirl almost immediately. Although I thought she acted better while in costume rather than plain clothes, truthfully she was one of my favorite aspects of the whole show. She wielded the Cosmic Rod rather well and it looked just like I always imagined it would.
Doctor Fate was also depicted spectacularly well in my opinion. The helmet was spot-on of course and his powers were subtle, yet impressive. Above all, his voice was every bit as unnerving as it should have been. His dialogue wound up being some of my favorite in the entire two-hours, particularly his brief encounter with Lois Lane. We also have Doctor Fate to thank for the spectacular reveal of John Jones' (J'onn J'onzz) true form for the very first time. It was brief but it was OMG inducing.
Hawkman was one thing that brought this episode down unfortunately. His bitterness and aggression were very accurate to Carter Hall's but the actor portraying him, Michael Shanks, and his costume left a bit to be desired. Shanks felt the need to put on a gruff Christian Bale Batman impression once he was suited up which was not only unnecessary but annoying. I was also distracted by his lack of bulging muscles. What can I say, I'm a purist? His mace and helmet were pretty awesome (although Hawkgirl's, visible in the museum was by far the cooler of the two) but his chest plate and wings bothered me. I hear the chest plate had to be added because of the wires that needed to be attached to make him fly but I think wings are bound to come out looking like crap in live-action no matter what.
There were a few major things that made the show a success in my eyes and that was the inclusion of Amanda Waller, Checkmate and yes, even in it's casual way, the Suicide Squad. I would have preferred someone a little more evil looking than Pam Grier, who felt the need to stick her chin in the entire time to look menacing, to play the Wall but she did a fine job. Checkmate's involvement was subtle but left the door wide open for, I'm guessing, next season's plot. Waller herself opened the door to something huge. While discussing her motives she mentioned the coming "apocalypse." My brain lit up when I heard the word. Geoff Johns confirmed via his Twitter that was, "With a capital 'A' " So we can assume rather, Apokolips. (!!!!!!!)
There was better-than-expected action in "Absolute Justice," particularly the last fight scene where everyone finally banded together to take on Icicle. It wasn't perfect of course, they still have a CW budget, but it makes you imagine the potential of that Justice League movie that's been in limbo for years now. There were great easter-eggs and subtle nods to comic fans that really made the episode shine. In case you missed it, "Absolute Justice" can be viewed via the CW website. One other thing I got out of watching was seeing the preview for next week. They've got me again. Zatanna's back.