In a parallel Earth ruled by the Crime Syndicate, the Justice League must fight their evil doppelgangers in a battle that would be dead even, except that their malicious counterparts are willing to do the one thing Batman and Superman never would: kill.
review of Justice League — Crisis on Two Earths (2010) starring William Baldwin, Mark Harmon, Chris Noth, Gina Torres, James Woods
The animated movie Justice League — Crisis on Two Earths uses the idea of alternate universes. What if someone else had become Batman, or if young Clark Kent were raised by mobsters instead of the Kents? The idea has been used for many years in the comics. Crisis on Two Earths uses that setting to tell a very interesting story, with the best kind of ‘adult’ storytelling. Everyone remains clothed, but ideas are explored, worldviews are challenged. Ending with a debate/fight between the heroic Batman and his evil counterpart, Owlman, over Nihilism — seriously.
Not as it seems
Crisis on Two Earths begins with Lex Luthor in a power suit, accompanied by the Joker in a Jester’s costume. They break into a high-security area and steal a ‘quantum trigger’. Alarms going off, the pair tries to escape from … the Justice League? The Jester sacrifices himself to buy Luthor the time to escape, and is killed by what appears to be Hawkgirl …. Using a flaming sword and (in the first of many nods to other characters and fiction what appears to be J’onn J’onnz the Martian Manhunter …. Looking like one of the Green Martians from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom novels.
The dying Jester gets his revenge on his murderers by detonating an explosive, killing them all. Luthor is soon confronted by the rest of the Justice League. Except that they’re not the Justice League that the audience knows. They wear different costumes and are different people. They’re a villainous version of the League known as the Crime Syndicate. Whom Luthor escapes from by leaving their dimension and traveling to the dimension that the viewers are more familiar with, populated by the Justice League. And asking for their help in freeing his world from the villainous Crime Syndicate.
This heroic Luthor ( ‘call me Lex’ ), with the aid of the Justice League, starts attacking the Crime Syndicate’s various operations. They fight alternate versions of many of the various DC Universe characters — Green Arrow, Black Canary, Captain Marvel, etc. But even after they win, including arresting the leader of the Crime Syndicate, Ultraman, all is not well.
After victory, things get worse
The president of the United States is Slade Wilson. In DC Comics he’s known as Deathstroke, as ‘Slade’ in the Teen Titans cartoon series. He’s afraid of the Crime Syndicate. To the point of releasing Ultraman. The second half of the movie is more deadly than the first. As Batman’s counterpart, Owlman, has come to believe that the existence of alternate realities means that everything is futile. Since any decision that anyone makes is rendered moot by the opposite decision on some alternate Earth. And that the only meaningful action that he can take is to destroy the original ‘Earth Prime’. And all reality. Unless our heroes can combine forces and stop him …
I thoroughly enjoyed Crisis on Two Earths and recommend it highly.