JLA: Trapped in Time – Review

jla trapped in time box art

Tuesday, January 21 was a big day for the Justice League. That day saw the world premiere of Justice League: War at the Paley Center in New York City and the release of JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time exclusively at Target stores nationwide.

The release of JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time may have caught you unaware. The first I heard of it was less than two weeks ago. Needless to say, I was intrigued, so intrigued that I ventured out in a blizzard during lunch to my nearest Target to secure a copy.

A sticker on Trapped in Time says it’s a limited time Target exclusive. I’m not sure if this means it will see wide release into other stores after a few months, or if once Target sells out of their stock, that’s it.

JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time is a very different movie than Justice League: War. While War’s art direction is based on Jim Lee’s New 52 costumes, Crisis in Time draws its inspiration from many places. Superman is basically in his New 52 outfit with a more stylized S-symbol on his chest. Wonder Woman is wearing her caped costume from Infinite Crisis. Batman’s costume is a mix of New 52 and the recent Brave and the Bold cartoon. It’s not clear which Robin we’re seeing, but he’s in Tim’s original costume with a mop of hair.

jla trapped in time trinity

The lineup is straight out of the Super Powers years of Super Friends. The JLA consists of Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, The Flash and Aquaman, and the villains are their Super Friends era Legion of Doom counterparts. Even Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog make a very quick blink and you’ll miss them cameo.

jla trapped in time wendy and marvin

Diedrich Bader, aka the best thing about The Drew Carey show, voices Batman here. This isn’t his first time voicing the dark knight. He also voiced Batman on Batman: The Brave and the Bold. The voice of the narrator in Trapped in Time is also Diedrich Bader, which made me think for a second that he was doing every voice in the movie early in my viewing of it.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back Premiere

The story of Trapped in Timeis a fun one, involving Lex Luthor being thawed out of an ice block in the future ala Demolition Man. While in the future, Lex learns Superman is really Clark Kent and acquires the means to time travel, which leads to exactly what you think Lex Luthor would do if he knew Superman’s secret identity and could travel in time. He’s pursued by Dawnstar and Karate Kid of The Legion of Superheroes. Dawnstar is one of my favorite LoSH members, so I was happy to see her represented here.

jla trapped in time lex

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. I would have liked it better if we saw the ramifications of a world where Superman didn’t exist. But the same fight that causes Superman to blink out of existence Back to the Future style is resolved in a way that the viewer never gets to see what the world would be like if the Legion of Doom could run amok without having to worry about the Justice League. One of my favorite movies is Back to the Future II, so of course I’m be disappointed by not being able to see the Legion of Doom controlled alternate timeline. The movie does end with a twist that sets up what I’m guessing will be the next Target exclusive original JLA DVD. The twist ending was good enough that I would venture out into another blizzard to acquire the sequel.

Comparing JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time and Justice League: War, Trapped in Time is definitely the more family friendly movie. War contains a hero uttering a curse word in the climatic final battle, something that played well to the 20-and-30-somethings at the premiere, but might not fly as well in the living room of a family with a small child. The storytelling in JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time is perfect for pre-schoolers to 6th graders. I’d recommend Justice League: War to teens on up.

secret origins of the super friends

As per comicbook.com, Trapped in Time is a retelling of the Super Friends episode Secret Origins of the Super Friends, with the story updated to focus on Lex Luthor travelling back in time to eliminate Superman from ever existing. This is a streamline of the  original, which focused on the villains trying to eliminate Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern from history. Oddly enough, Secret Origins of the Super Friends is not one of the two Super Friends episodes included in the DVD’s bonus features.

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