We get an alternate “what if” story of a superteam fighting in World War II.
Barry Allen/The Flash (Matt Bomer) is having a picnic with his fiancee Iris West (Ashleigh LaThrop) when he witnesses Superman (Darren Criss) being attacked by a supervillain. Barry attempts to stop a kryptonite bullet from hitting Superman and accidentally accelerates through time, winding up in the 1940s. There, he finds a team called the Justice Society, which Barry had never heard of, consisting of Black Canary, Hawkman, Hourman, Jay Garrick/The Flash, and Wonder Woman (Elysia Rotaru, Omid Abtahi, Matthew Mercer, Armen Taylor, Stana Katic). Together with soldier and government liaison Steve Trevor (Chris Diamantopoulos), the team is in Europe trying to stop Adolf Hitler and the Nazis from acquiring magical items that could potentially help the Nazis win the war. Now Barry has to both help the team win the war and also find a way back to his own time.
This movie is pretty much built on the premise of “What if the Justice League fought Nazis?” It doesn’t really go much further than that, aside from trying to remind us that fighting the good fight together is the only way you can ever really win. However, if you wanted to see what it was like for a group of superpeople to go out and beat the hell out of one of the worst threats to ever face the world, then this film is for you. In order to avoid having too many massively overpowered people, the makeup of the Justice Society consists mostly of the heroes from that actual time period, including Wonder Woman. Fortunately, unlike in the actual Justice Society comics, Wonder Woman is allowed to do more than be the secretary for the group. Yes, that really happened. They also reduced Wonder Woman’s powerset considerably, since otherwise she would basically just run straight to Berlin and start decapitating the Nazi High Command without effort. Flash, who normally would be overpowered, is justifiably taken down a notch by having his access to the “speed force” reduced. The fact that Flash hasn’t heard of them means that it’s possible for members of the team to die, something that the film keeps stressing.
The biggest problem for this film is that it shifts the plot heavily about halfway through, because clearly they couldn’t think of a good enough threat for the heroes to fight within the Nazi army. This is kind of ridiculous when you consider how many supervillains from the 1940s were, in fact, just Nazis. There was literally a superman copy called “Captain Nazi,” and a number of “Barons” ranging from Blitzkrieg to Death to Luger. Despite that, the movie basically moves away from Nazis as the central antagonists in the last act and that’s just dumb.
The visuals in the movie are solid and the fight sequences are pretty good. The performances are great and the actual premise works for a movie. It’s just sad that the plot of the film ends up being almost completely inane. Also, one of the subplots is basically just a setup for a deus ex machina which, had it been the central plot, would probably have been more interesting than the film.
Overall, not the best film, despite a good start, but it’s still a decent watch.