The short answer: Yes.
JLA ADVENTURES: TRAPPED IN TIME is singular in a lot of ways. First, it’s a rare stealth release – one that had little to no “official” marketing from the company. It’s also a Target in-store exclusive, an all-ages release, and hit stores a mere two weeks before the much “bigger” JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR. But, most importantly, it’s good.
The movie follows Legion of Super-Heroes trainees Karate Kid (Dante Bosco; HOOK, AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER, THE LEGEND OF KORRA) and Dawnstar (Laura Bailey;BLEACH, NARUTO:SHIPPUDEN) as they team up with the League to battle the Legion of Doom and the powerful Time Trapper. There have been a lot of comparisons to the Super Friends cartoon of the 70s and 80s and they’re not wrong. But it’s not a direct lift by any stretch. Writer Michael Ryan delivers a strong script that is as original as it is full of homages. And while the overall structure is familiar to anyone with 80s cartoon knowledge, Ryan still delivers some nice twists offering a fresh experience for both kids and adults alike. Introducing two new characters, as leads no less, could be a daunting task but he handles it with skill.
Director Giancarlo Volple (the excellent GREEN LANTERN: THE ANIMATED SERIES) packs a lot of action into the film and the sequences are great, one of the highlights being a game of keep away with some precious cargo. The fight scenes are balanced and really well animated. I’m especially impressed by how they handled Karate Kid’s powers and abilities and predictably delighted that Dawnstar had a good showing. Volpe and Ryan should be lauded for skillfully handling moments that in lesser hands can come across as staid, like expository conversations or establishing shots, and delivering a movie who’s pacing doesn’t falter.
Another bright spot is the costume design. Though there are a few weird elements, you can absolutely picture how awesome they’d look in toy form or as Halloween costumes. The DVD cover doesn’t do Wonder Woman’s costume justice – it’s definitely one of the best official redesigns and I’m a sucker for a cape.
Overall I’m really, really happy with this release and it’s a breath of fresh air with the current onslaught of joyless darkness present in seemingly all the other DC properties (save TEEN TITANS GO and THE BATMAN, which they seem to be on the verge of axing like YOUNG JUSTICE). It’s worth the purchase and very affordable at $12-$15, a much better buy than that Twinkie Maker on clearance that you’re not going to use anyway.
JLA ADVENTURES is available in Target stores now!