I used to read comics all the time, but I’ve fallen out of it the last few years since DC rolled out The New 52 and it left a sour taste on my tongue. As a result, I’ve missed a lot since then and, one of the things I’ve missed was Gods and Monsters. Knowing nothing about this story, I went into this movie blind – a movie that, honestly, I wasn’t that interested in – and loved every glorious, bloody, neck-breaking minute of it.
In an alternate universe (an Elseworld, if you will) Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are quite different. Superman is the son of General Zod. Batman is a vampire. Wonder Woman is a New God. Together, they form the Justice League, a trio of superbeings working with the US government and taking no shit from no one. They kill, they maim, they do anything needed to accomplish the mission.
But someone is setting them up and framing them for murders they didn’t commit. Now, this alternate Justice League has to track down the real perpetrators before the US government takes down the league by force.
With the last few animated releases, DC has been growing more and more mature, slanting their offerings to a more adult audience and, while the new DC animate movies have never been aimed specifically at children (except for a few really shitty ones), they have been getting darker and taking more chances. Heck, in this movie alone, I think I just witnessed more bloody death and swearing than I’ve ever seen in a DC animated movie. For goodness sake, they straight up murder a child in this movie and that is hardcore.
But it’s not just the added blood and violence that makes this movie good, though it is nice that the creators of this film decided to treat the audience like adults, rather it is the richness of the characters and the well-plotted story that sells this movie. It is a whodunit film of surprises with characters who, while hard-edged, you really care about and want to root for.
So there you go… not only can an Elseworlds movie be a success, it can be a raging success. Gods and Monsters is a story that respects your intelligence and delivers the goods for the adults in the room and, what’s even better, it features the return of the designs from the classic Bruce Timm Batman/Superman/Justice League cartoons from the 1990/2000’s which, in of itself, makes this movie special.