One of the things that I really like about this movie is that, right from the beginning, it just throws you into the deep end and lets you figure it out as you go. I know the Justice League and its various members well enough, but I’d never heard of RWBY before. Which means for most of the film, I was trying to play catch-up. That’s not a bad thing, though. In fact, I think it enhances the story.
The movie opens with Superman (Chandler Riggs) suddenly waking up in an anime world, with no memory of how he got there, surrounded by people he’s never met, who are in the middle of fighting a monster. He offers to help, but his powers seem to be greatly diminished in this world—what world is it, again? He’s also been transformed into a teenager.
Who he’s met is Ruby (Lindsay Jones) and her team of Huntresses: Blake (Arryn Zech) and Yang (Barbara Dunkelman). Together with their friend Weiss (Kara Eberle), who shows up later, they make up Team RWBY (pronounced Ruby), in the world of Remnant.
It soon becomes clear that Superman isn’t the only member of the Justice League who’s become trapped here either. Batman (Nat Wolff), Wonder Woman (Natalie Alyn Lind), Flash (David Errigo Jr.), Cyborg (Tru Valentino), Vixen (Ozioma Akagha), and Green Lantern Jessica Cruz (Jeannie Tirado) all find themselves in this strange world, also all turned into teenagers, with nothing but flashes of memory to explain what happened to them.
Not only that, some of the friends they meet in Remnant are having memory troubles, too. It’s their world, but something is wrong with it. If they could just figure out what it is…
That’s what I mean when I say having to play catch-up enhances the story. Our heroes, on both sides, are thrown headfirst into this adventure without really understanding what’s going on. I liked being in the same boat as them, having to figure things out as I went along. It enhances the pace of the movie and keeps the story from dragging. Characters from Remnant do give us a Cliff’s Notes version of the lore of their world, which helped me follow along and not be totally lost. That doesn’t mean things aren’t complicated, though.
Of course, the Justice League have their share of complicated lore, too, which they have to explain to Team RWBY and the others from Remnant. One of the things that makes the story fun is that characters from both sides aren’t afraid to point out when established lore seems a little ridiculous. (“Super Man? Really? I’m not calling you that.”)
In general, the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously. For one thing, the Justice League are all now subject to some of the sillier anime conventions. They also all act like teenagers, which in this case means a lot of awkward flirting with their new companions. That lighthearted silliness helps us connect better with the world and the characters, which in turn makes us more invested in the more serious parts of the story.
I imagine someone who’s more familiar with the show and the world of RWBY would get more out of this movie than I did; however, even if you’ve never seen it before, you can still enjoy the movie and get enough of a handle on what’s going on to follow the plot. Then once you’re finished, if you have the Blu-ray, there are two different featurettes you can watch which will help explain things even further.
The Blu-ray also includes the standard “From the Vault” episodes of animated DC shows. In this case, we have “Kids’ Stuff” from Justice League Unlimited which is a fun episode and fits the theme. We also have an episode of Justice League Action which is a show I’d vaguely heard about but never seen before. The vibe seems to be similar to Teen Titans Go! in that it puts familiar DC characters into a more comedic and cartoony setting—with episodes of only 10 minutes. The one featured here is “Plastic Man Saves the World” which doesn’t really fit with the theme of the movie, but it’s still a lot of fun. Plus, John de Lancie plays Brainiac. The episode would be worth watching for that alone.
As for the movie, the full title includes the words “Part One.” While the story is pretty much resolved by the end, there are a couple of loose ends and a definite cliffhanger, indicating that there will, in fact, be a “Part Two” in the near future. I look forward to seeing what they do with it. If it’s anything like this one, it’s sure to be a lot of fun.
Creative Team: Kerry Shawcross (director, producer), Meghan Fitzmartin (written by), Kimberly S. Moreau (producer), Ethan Spaulding (producer), Michael Uslan (executive producer), and Sam Register (executive producer)
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment
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