Justice League: The New Frontier is a 2008, direct-to-video, animated, superhero film adapted from the DC Comics limited series DC: The New Frontier. The film was written by Stan Berkowitz and the story and visual consultant was Darwyn Cooke.
The film received a rating of PG-13 for violent content and images, and was released on February 26, 2008. It is the second film in the series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies released by Warner Premiere and Warner Bros. Animation; the first release was Superman: Doomsday and the next film in the series is Batman: Gotham Knight. The film had its broadcast premiere on October 18, 2008 on the Cartoon Network.
The film, set between 1953 and 1960, opens with an unknown entity (Keith David) narrating that it has witnessed the evolution of life on Earth and has decided to eradicate mankind because of its capacity of violence and destruction. At the end of the Korean War, United States Air Force pilot Hal Jordan (David Boreanaz) and his wingman, Kyle "Ace" Morgan (John Heard), are attacked by enemy pilots. Hal is shot down, ejects to safety and is forced to kill a North Korean soldier, causing him to be hospitalized for mental trauma. At Gotham Observatory, scientist Dr. Saul Erdel inadvertently teleports J'onn J'onzz (Miguel Ferrer)the last survivor of the Green Martian raceto Earth. The shock of J'onn's sudden appearance causes Erdel to have a heart attack and die. Unable to return to Mars, J'onn disguises himself as Erdel and takes his wallet and identification.
The following year, Superman (Kyle MacLachlan) meets Wonder Woman (Lucy Lawless) in Vietnam, where she celebrates the end of the war with a group of women. Wonder Woman allowed them to kill their captors, which horrifies Superman. Wonder Woman leaves America and returns to Paradise Island. In Gotham City, J'onn J'onzz has been living as Dr. Erdel while learning about human society through television. In Las Vegas, reporter Iris West (Vicki Lewis) is on assignment at the casino where Hal Jordan and Ace Morgan are relaxing. While Iris is on the telephone to her boyfriend Barry Allenknown as The Flash(Neil Patrick Harris), Captain Cold (James Arnold Taylor) arrives to rob the casino. The Flash races to Las Vegas from Central City and confronts Cold, who tells him he has hidden six bombs around the city. Flash finds five of the bombs, deduces that the sixth is a decoy, and captures Cold, who is possessed by an unknown entity. Hal and Ace leave the casino and head into the desert. They arrive at Ferris Aircraft, where a job as a test pilot is awaiting Hal.
J'onn joins the Gotham City Police Department using the name John Jones, and is promoted to detective in just two years. After investigating the kidnapping of a child as part of a sacrificial ritual for a doomsday cult that worships "The Center", J'onn and his partner Slam Bradley (Jim Meskimen) join Batman (Jeremy Sisto)who is also investigating the kidnappingin a battle against the cult, but a fire renders J'onn powerless until Slam extinguishes it. J'onn and Bradley free the child. The entity which possessed Captain Cold speaks through the incapacitated cult leader, identifies itself as "The Center", and warns of an impending judgment. Hal begins training exercises under Col. Rick Flag (Lex Lang) at Ferris Industries. Carol Ferris (Brooke Shields) recognizes Hal's natural ability and tells him the real reason for his training; in response to Erdel's contact with Mars and J'onn's arrival, the U.S. government has commissioned Ferris Aircraft to build a spacecraft capable of traveling to Mars. Special agent King Faraday (Phil Morris) is assigned to oversee the project.
In Gotham, Batman reveals his knowledge of J'onn's true nature, shields his mind from J'onn's telepathy, and suggests they work together since they are both investigating a growing, worldwide, The Center-worshipping cult. In Central City, The Flash defeats a robotic duplicate of Gorilla Grodd, but is targeted by government agents trying to capture him to learn the secret of his powers; The Flash considers retiring from crime fighting; as he announces it on television, crashing a news report. J'onn interrogates former Ferris Aircraft employee Harry Leiter, apprehended for murder while under the influence of The Center. During the questioning, Harry tells them about the launch to Mars. Leiter's ramblings are confirmed when Faraday arrives to arrest him. J'onn briefly glimpses into Faraday's mind and learns the truth. After watching the Flash announce his retirement on live television and seeing the contemptuous public response, a disheartened J'onn tries to stow away on the rocket to return home. Before leaving, he arrives in the BatcaveBatman's headquartersreveals that he has been aware of Batman's secrets for some time, and gives Batman the last of his research on The Center.
Faraday sees J'onn on camera trying to board the rocket, confronts him and fights him on the launchpad. J'onn beats Faraday but saves him from the rocket's exhaust. The rocket is damaged and malfunctions shortly after leaving Earth's atmosphere. Hal wants to attempt a landing, but his co-pilot Flag reveals that the rocket is loaded with weapons of mass destruction, and he will not risk a crash landing. After a brief struggle, Hal is ejected from the cockpit and is saved by Superman. Flag detonates the rocket. Faraday holds J'onn J'onzz prisoner. On Paradise Island, Wonder Woman trains with Mala and they are attacked by the approaching Center. Abin Sur (Corey Burton), the Green Lantern of Sector 2814, finds Hal. The destruction of the rocket Abin had been traveling in badly wounds him as he enters Earth's atmosphere, so he instructs his ring to find a worthy replacement. Abin leaves his ring with Hal and tells him of The Center, which he describes as a monstrous creature that fears humans and seeks their destruction.
In the Batcave, Superman and Batman review J'onn's research and hear Lois Lane (Kyra Sedgwick) reporting that a giant pterodactyl is attacking Cape Canaveral. Superman arrives and quickly defeats the creature. Almost immediately, Wonder Woman's invisible jet crashes and she warns Superman that The Center is coming. Faraday befriends J'onn; having read Faraday's mind, J'onn found that Faraday believes that one day the world will live peacefully. With his hope for humanity renewed, J'onn decides to help save Earth. The Center, a massive flying island with an army of mutant dinosaurs to guard it, begins to attack the coast of Florida. The Flash, Green Arrow, Adam Strange, the Challengers of the Unknown, and the Blackhawks arrive and clash with the soldiers on the base. Superman stops the conflict and the superheroes agree to cooperate. Superman reconnoiters The Center but is swiftly defeated. Moved by Superman's effort, the other superheroes and military forces band together. Batman is accompanied by Ray Palmer, and they plan to use Palmer's reduction ray to destabilize the island. The heroes will distract The Center with a frontal assault while Hal and Ace fly a bombing mission into the creature, leaving Flash to crisscross the island with the ray.
The aerial assault is nearly outmatched before the Blackhawks intervene, and a herd of rampaging dinosaurs ambushes Faraday's ground forces. The Center's psychic force overwhelms J'onn and he is rescued by Faraday, who is captured by a dinosaur. As Faraday is about to be eaten, he grabs two hand grenades and pulls the pins. The dinosaur swallows Faraday and its head explodes, killing both. J'onn shakes off The Center's influence and he and Wonder Woman help turn the tide of the ground battle. Hal and Ace shoot their way into The Center's core, but a hallucinogenic attack disorients them. The creature secretes a thick, red fluid that jams their weapons and almost suffocates them. Hal's ring relays instructions from the Guardians of the Universe (Robin Atkin Downes) on its use. Ace detonates his payload and is rescued by Hal just before his plane explodes. The ground crew prepares to send The Flash to finish the creature; he races across the ocean, leaps onto The Center's surface, covers it on foot, and leaps into the ocean. The Center begins to shrink, but realizing its imminent destruction it heads towards land to destroy the humans. Hal envelops the island in green energy then tows it into space where it explodes.
The world celebrates The Center's defeat. Many participants in the battle attend a ceremony. Their victory and display of teamwork change public opinion about superheroes. A montage of various heroes and villains, and the birth of the Justice Leagueset to the titular John F. Kennedy speechis seen just before the film ends.
- David Boreanaz as Hal Jordan / Green Lantern
- Miguel Ferrer as J'onn J'onzz / John Jones / Martian Manhunter
- Neil Patrick Harris as Barry Allen / The Flash
- John Heard as Kyle "Ace" Morgan
- Lucy Lawless as Princess Diana of Themyscira / Wonder Woman
- Kyle MacLachlan as Kal-El / Clark Kent / Superman
- Lex Lang as Rick Flag
- Phil Morris as King Faraday
- Kyra Sedgwick as Lois Lane
- Brooke Shields as Carol Ferris
- Jeremy Sisto as Bruce Wayne / Batman
- Corey Burton as Abin Sur and Ray Palmer
- Townsend Coleman as Dr. Will Magnus
- Keith David as The Center
- Robin Atkin Downes as Guardians of the Universe
- Shane Haboucha as Dick Grayson / Robin
- Vicki Lewis as Iris West
- Vanessa Marshall as Mala (credited as Amazon Woman)
- Jim Meskimen as Samuel "Slam" Bradley
- James Arnold Taylor as Leonard Snart / Captain Cold
- Alan Ritchson as Arthur Curry / Aquaman
- Joe Alaskey as Bugs Bunny
- Andrea Romano - Casting and Voice Director
Like Superman: Doomsday, Justice League: The New Frontier had a soundtrack released by La-La Land Records on March 18, 2008. The music was composed by Kevin Manthei, the track listing is as follows.
Justice League: The New Frontier received mostly positive reviews. Screener copies were sent to website reviewers a month before the DVD's official release. Most of the reviews were positive and geared up the film's release even more. Newsarama reviewed the film, saying that it was "one of the best things to ever come out of [Bruce] Timm’s stable", and said that the acting was exceptional. The World's Finest, a fansite dealing with DC Animations, said that it was "the first animated feature in a long time that I’ve felt completely satisfied while walking away from." A reviewer from Ain't It Cool News said that it was "my favorite film of 2008", and that it was "everything I had hoped for." Mainstream websites made similar comments; IGN gave the film and DVD a total score of 8.0, ENI said it was enjoyable, and DVDTalk.com said it was "recommended". The New Frontier was nominated for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming One Hour Or More) in 2008. Home video
Justice League: The New Frontier is available in single and two-disc editions. The cover of the single disc includes the panoramic image from the film, while the two-disc, HD DVD and Blu-ray editions have an image of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman above the title logo with other characters below it. Best Buy had an exclusive deal which included a Green Lantern action figure from DC Direct with the DVD package. Wal-Mart had an exclusive single DVD package with "The New Frontier Green Lantern" CD-ROM Comic Book inside. The single, two-disc and Blu-ray editions were released on February 26, 2008, with the HD DVD edition released on March 18, 2008.
The special features include a documentary on the forty-seven year history of the Justice League, commentaries, a documentary on the early mythological villain archetypes in the Justice League stories, a featurette on the themes, elements from the comic to film versions of New Frontier, three episodes of Justice League Unlimited and a 10-minute preview of the animated film; Batman: Gotham Knight. Variety said that pre-orders for The New Frontier were greater than expected at that time.