JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time is a Family-friendly Delight for DC Fans
If you’re looking for silly superhero fun kids can watch that happens to have a handful of characters we’ve rarely seen outside the comics, you should probably check out this movie.
This weekend I made my yearly travel to the mysterious land of Toronto, Canada, to see quite a few of my Canadian friends and those international friends who could make the trip. And because many of these friends are superhero nerds, I made sure to bring JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time, the straight-to-DVD WB release only made available in the US as of last month. Sitting down and rewatching the kid-friendly adventure with my buddies, I got to appreciate just how good the movie is
I was worried about the superteens from the future Karate Kid and Dawnstar simply because they were the only characters I didn’t know much about going into the movie, but truth be told, I like them. Even when they were doing the “I’m from the future and don’t understand how taxis work” schtick, it was pretty charming. More than that, the story did a decent job of setting up their personal flaws as young heroes and how they had to deal with it. They’re also the ones to come up with solutions the two times things get really bad for the heroes. And they happen to be two non-white characters whose costumes are appropriate for their age (I looked up Dawnstar’s comic costume and this is a vast improvement, especially considering she’s a teenager here).
One of the smartest things JLA Adventures did was not specifically say which Flash this was — Barry Allen or Wally West. For fans of Wally West desperate to see him in more stories, it was very easy to see this Flash as Wally. Truth be told I would have loved a few more quips from him, but the Flash has a cute moment with Martha and John Kent that felt very Wally along with some good food jokes that work for the character. And as I mentioned in my original post about the DVD coming out, Young Justice’s Jason Spisak voiced him, so yes I’m calling him Wally.
But something else I noticed was that Robin was also only named Robin in the credits, which means there are four different Robins he could be (not including Stephanie Brown because this Robin wasn’t wearing eggplant purple … obviously this rules her out). This Robin is too belligerent to be Dick Grayson, too reckless to be Tim Drake and is too much of a normal kid to be Damian Wayne. I am absolutely convinced that the Robin in JLA Adventures is Jason Todd. That makes this only the second DC animated feature with Jason Todd and he didn’t die this time! So if you’re a fan of both goofy teenage Jason Todd and goofy teenage Jason Todd not getting beaten to death with a crowbar, do I have a DVD for you!
Besides the characters, the animation on the fight scenes in particular is gorgeous. Easily my favorite bit of animation was the two-on-one fight between Robin and the new kids. And sure, the dialogue was silly at times, but the tone of the whole movie fit that silliness because it’s aimed for kids. It is, however, still clever enough for adults who like these characters. The worst thing I can say about it is that at 52-minutes long, it’s very short. Expanding the villainous plot to include messing with the various Justice League members’ pasts (or at least Diana and Bruce as the big trio) would have given the story the depth it needed to feel like a full movie. As it is, JLA Adventures works much better if you think of it as a one hour TV pilot … which just makes me wish we were getting a JLA Adventures TV show. Why aren’t we getting a JLA Adventures TV show?
When I picked it up, it was $12.99 at Target (it’s being sold exclusively at Target as of now). I really don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t want to get this if you at all a fan of these characters.