Graphically Violent Superhero Animation

DC’s hallowed trinity of superheroes lead the way in Justice League: Warworld, an intensely violent and occasionally clunky R-rated animated film which gives shine to forgotten Bronze Age DC characters like Jonah Hex and Warlord.

Three separate writers are given credit, never a great sign for continuity and feel in a 90-minute affair. Almost like an anthology, Justice League: Warworld cobbles together each member of DC’s big three on their own in disparate adventures. The genre-hopping tale is set on the battle planet Warworld as each superhero battles dark forces and surprising threats outside their comfort zone. Without their memories and placed in atypical settings, they must overcome a fearsome array of threats like Deimos and Lobo.

Justice League: Warworld cobbles together each member of DC’s big three on their own in disparate adventures

One can only guess Justice League: Warworld is a continuation of the new DC animated universe which began with Superman: Man of Tomorrow. I said guess only because its abrupt storytelling drops you into each adventure without much explanation and it’s hard seeing any real link between them. Cramming all three stories together and capping them with an unfinished ending uniting Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman leaves little time for character building. The Justice League designation is a bit misleading.

Having forgotten her true identity, Wonder Woman is a mysterious gunslinger in the Wild West who uses her golden lasso for justice. She confronts Western antihero Jonah Hex and falls for ladies’ man Bat Lash. Dipping even further into DC’s Bronze Age characters, Batman is a noble barbarian warrior who encounters Travis Morgan the Warlord. He’ll battle in the sword and sorcery land of Skartaris. Last but not least, Clark Kent is a young FBI agent in the black-and-white 1950s, investigating a possible alien sighting which leads into the final showdown.

The voice cast includes returning performers Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) as Batman and Stana Katic as Wonder Woman. Katic’s vaguely Eastern European accent isn’t a great fit for the character and sticks out even more in the classic Western period setting.

One new wrinkle here for DC is the sheer graphic violence and sexier character designs, pushing the envelope for their animated fare with edgier content. I won’t spoil who but a recognizable DC character is literally beaten to death on screen. It was a bit shocking and out of left field for this long-time fan. In the spirit of Conan the Barbarian, Batman traipses around in nothing more than a loincloth.

Justice League: Warworld has its moments with blistering action scenes beyond your usual superhero fights. But its many moving parts never quite gel for a cohesive tale with these characters. I loved seeing Wonder Woman as a gunslinger in the Old West yet the story comes off like an aborted Elseworlds premise they couldn’t expand into a full-length project.

The most traditional part of the anthology movie is Bruce Wayne meeting the Warlord and his associated characters, a sword and sorcery mash-up which strangely works. It’s really less about Batman and serves more as an introduction to the cult ‘70s superhero, whose comics haven’t been popular since the 1980s.


A trade-off seems to have been made in Justice League: Warworld’s animation, which does look great in 2160p resolution on UHD. Character designs are packed with more detail than ever before; check out Batman’s rippling muscled body. But that extra level of design in each character comes at a price – motion is stiffly animated and rather limited. Some have compared it to a motion comic, which may be hyperbole but isn’t that far off the mark.

This is the first animated DC feature which I felt was consciously animated with the expanded color palette possible under HDR in mind, bumping it ahead in picture quality of prior animated efforts. All the bloody violence and fierce action is depicted in rich, striking tones. Boldly saturated primaries from across the HDR color gamut are perfect for each wild adventure in different period settings.

The main feature runs 89 minutes on a dual-layer UHD. The HEVC encode cleanly tackles the 2K digital intermediate master, upscaled here to 4K and boasting HDR colors.

WB Animation is slowly coming to grips with 4K’s potential and Justice League: Warworld represents a strong step in the right direction given its excellent aesthetic sensibility. The disc is an easy recommendation over the regular Blu-ray edition.


5.1 DTS-HD MA audio delivers solid discrete action and nicely spread immersion. A punchy, soaring score laden with a suitable low end, smooth dynamics and clean dialogue form an expansive soundstage. A few erratic cues aside, Justice League: Warworld packs a punch with crisp clarity in somewhat better-than-expected audio quality.

Optional English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles play in a white font. French and Spanish Dolby Digital dubs are available.


Warner Brothers issues Justice League: Warworld in a standard 4K UHD and Blu-ray combo pack. The included Movies Anywhere digital copy redeems in 4K quality. All special features are on the BD, the UHD contains only the movie. A glossy slipcover is available.

This effort feels a bit light in bonus features, two lightweight new featurettes are it. Normally WB would include classic cartoon episodes and maybe previews from earlier movies.

Illusions on Warworld Featurette (07:45 in HD) – Go behind the scenes and inside the process of designing and creating three distinct genres for the Justice League to inhabit on Warworld.

The Heroic, the Horrible and the Hideous Featurette (07:52 in HD) – A deep dive into the origins and histories of the key players on Warworld and shows how the filmmakers brought them to life.

Full disclosure: This UHD was provided by the label for review. This has not materially affected DoBlu’s editorial process. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit DoBlu’s about us page.

Justice League: Warworld
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Bloodier and more violent versions of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman appear in different tales of this Anthology-like animated film

User Review
5 (1 vote)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 40 full resolution, uncompressed 4K screen shots ripped directly from the UHD:

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