Robot 6

Your Mileage May Vary: Smallville: Absolute Justice

Smallville event “Absolute Justice” hit this week, and the long-awaited appearance of the Justice Society definitely got people talking.

It probably goes without saying that this post contains episode spoilers.

Eric Stettmeier of Toyriffic thought the episode surpassed his expectations:

Hawkman and Green Arrow, together again

Hawkman and Green Arrow, together again

The JSA were extremely well represented, their reason for fading into obscurity was well established, and their reasons for reappearing equally so. The episode had “Easter-eggs” galore, including Ma Hunkel – yes MA freaking HUNKEL! No one but Geoff Johns would have slipped the original Red Tornado into the mix like that. Her brief moment on screen (only in civilian guise unfortunately) sent shivers down my spine. And it didn’t stop there. Checkmate, Amanda Waller, mention that guys like Ted Grant (Wildcat) and Alan Scott (Green Lantern) are still out there, and one final line referencing The Suicide Squad – this episode contained enough seed material to keep Smallville going for another decade!

Lady Momus of Super Critique enjoyed the episode with some reservations:

I love that they got Daniel from Stargate as Hawkman, although I really wish they hadn’t gone with such a scratchy voice. He’s a good actor, but the voice made it hard for me to take him seriously. And it’s strangely appropriate that they got him to do the part, considering that Hawkman’s known for being reincarnated, and Daniel was best known for dying and coming back to life.

I like that they included Stargirl, but I spent the whole time bashing the portrayal. For one thing, she’s supposed to be 16, and if that actress was 16, I’m Queen of England. At least she’s skinny and short, so as long as you didn’t look at her face, you could almost pretend she was 16.

While Michael from Bad News From Outer Space thought it was “Dullsville”:

I just felt the storytelling was rushed and muddled. It was all about the JSA and not the Smallville regulars. It truly was a JSA pilot episode. There were a few cute bits, like Hawkman and Green Arrow getting on each other’s nerves (name calling and acting like 12 year olds being a superhero team-up tradition). Lois meets Dr. Fate and tells him, “Nice helmet.” “Thanks,” Fate quickly responds. Early on there were some Super-Friends jokes too. But there wasn’t much more to this episode.

There was no true sense of wonder to be had in the whole two hours; early episodes of Smallville were able to accomplish this. It all seemed like a response to cash in on the retro-heroes seen in the Watchmen movie; the opening credits of that film was heralded by everyone, regardless of how they viewed the movie itself. The Incredibles also did the “government hunted us old heroes out of existence” story as well, so there was no new ground covered in “Absolute Justice.”

So what do you think?

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Comments

33 Comments

Is it just me or did the 2 hour movie event feel like it could have been done in 1 hour! There were so many long commercial breaks. I like the fact they’ve really been moving forward with this series lately, I can’t wait to see were it leads.

I liked it.But Smallville clearly needs better action.

I enjoyed it on many levels. My only beef with the episode was the choice to have Carter Hall speak in Bale-tone whenever he had his helmet on. It came across as campy. Other than that, for a show with barely the budget it used to have, i thought it was satisfactory and launched the characters on interesting new roads. Especially Tess Mercer. Did anyone catch when Fate told Clark that Lex would be his ultimate enemy? Hope that means they’ll bring him back at some point.

The JSA lineup was great, though the villain didn’t do much for me. That line at the end about the Suicide Squad was a nice touch, even if it’s trying to set up another similar ‘event’. My biggest gripe was with some of the dialog, and that the retro-heroes reel would have no historical reasoning for being filmed. Nice as a DCU catalog, but not very engaging as a tv show.

I liked it. Smallville isn’t the same show that it started out as, for better or worse.

It was alright. The villain was stupid and annoying, and Pam Grier delivered her lines as if she were reading them from a cue card. It was nice seeing some of those characters, but Fate looked ridiculous and the Hawkman personality and faux-Bale voice were off-putting. The flight sequences for Hawkman also looked silly. Maybe it’s just a result of budget restrictions, but a lot of it seemed cheap and campy. The DC Direct props were kind of hilarious though. My first time seeing Clark in the goofy Neo outfit too.

Basically, I enjoyed seeing the characters but wish it had been much better.

Since the Watchmen sequel news broke, it’s been wondered “What will Geoff Johns’ Watchmen look like?”
Now we know.

I know it was bad but every time I try to think of complaints a little voice in my head goes “SUICIDE SQUAD! AMANDA WALLER! CHECKMATE!” and I forget all the problems.

I thought the show was great within the confines of a tv show. I’ve enjoyed Smallville from the begining and have appreciated the twists and turns of an alternate view of the world of Superman. The JSA episode gave me everything I hoped for and more. With all the tidbits dropped in, there are countless future stories that can be followed, not the least of which was the reference to a future apocalypse (Apokolips?) I give it a 4.5 out of 5.

Why the writers of the show are doing everything they can to keep Clark out of costume but let Hawkman and Dr. Fate show up in wings and bucket helmets is beyond me.

The biggest reason i stopped watching the show is because at the rate it’s going, Clark won’t actually become Superman until he’s in his 50′s.

This is the second time I’ve tried to watch this thing and fallen asleep during it.

It’s very tedious and boring, even with the long commercial breaks fast forwarded via DVR. YAWN.

i liked the episode even if iPam was acting like she was reading from cue cards and they stuck a pad in her clothes to look Amanda lovely figure. plus hated the hawkman voice and fate was a little creepy with the voice and the red eyes from the helmet . also loved the set up for Suicide squad plus does the apokolypse refer to a battle royal with zod and kandor or was Amanda hinting at the coming of a certrain big bad god created by jack kirby.

Best. Episode. Ever!

I tuned in and enjoyed it. J’onn in his alien form was great. I stopped watching Smallville once it moved to Fridays. I love Oliver and Lois but find Clark and Chloe annoying. Was glad they didn’t get much screen time. I’ve said it before, WB should let Smallville go and do a Justice League series.

Ok… I saw it. I wish they;re go ahead and cancel Smallville and make the JSA series that almost telegraphed through the entire episode.

The Good:
* The costuming… Stargirl was spot on (maybe a little old), Most of the others were done very well, and I don’t care what people say… I LIKED Dr. Fate’s helmet. And, the point of costumes is that they;re not something you see everyday. i think the compromises they had to to with the costuming were acceptable (and a hell of a lot better than the X-Men costumes, to be honest)
* The plot… very JSA
* The Easter Eggs… too many to mention
* Hawkman vs Green Arrow banter: Check your comic books, kiddies, they do this ALL the time.
* Checkmate… now here’s a psudo-villian I can get behind. And it came off very “OLD” Checkmate (circa 90s)
* Suicide Squad… Please, We need this as a new series… on FX. :)
* Tom Welling: Directing… he need to do it much much more.
* Michael Shanks: I’m betting he’s a Hawkman fan… there’s just something there.

The Bad:
* Shanks’ “I’m Hawkman” voice: I always pictured Hawkman as sounding like a king, not like he need s a Ricola.
* Hawkman’s Wings: I get that they’re probably not going to come off very well… they never do, without major CGI. I personally would have chosen to go with a more “Thanagar” style wing, or perhaps a combo of the two, just for production sake. With that said… I still think what they had was good for what they had.
* Pam Greer: I like Pam, always have. He phoned this in and She’s NOT Amanda Waller. CCH Pounder (The Shield) *IS* Amanda Waller.
* Commercials: This would have been an hour episode if not for the commercial breaks… there should have been way more contents. But it’s the CW.
* Tom Welling: Acting. At this point, I’m pretty sure it;s not the actor as much as the writers. Christ, will you let him grow up already!
* Jack Frost/Icicle 2: OK… for the record. Crazy does NOT equal Whiny.
* Checkmate… I just KNOW this is going to be all over Smallville now which is bad. Amanda Waller will simply have the “League” killed and/or recruited…. and Smallville Lois simply doesn’t have the press clout to survive the encounter.

The Ugly:
*Smallville: The pace-killing cuts to the Smallville gang and plot lines. I know it’s a Smallville episode of a sorts but… Agent Mercer… really?.It came off as Smallville being the little brother that keeps trying to get involved with the big brother’s D&D game.,,, until finally Mom says “Let him play or you’re not going to…”

The Verdict: I’d love to see it as it;s own series. If so… let;s see the new Canary be inducted (and given a more suitable, less “punk-rock-chick” costume). And, let;s not see contrived “Smallville” cross overs… let this be the “big kids’ show. 3.5 out of 5

I liked it alot, and I look forward to any future returns of the JSA, but one thing came to mind, The Wall held on long to a the announcement of the coming “Apocalypse” or “Apokalips”? Hell they have thrown in the Legion, JSA, Wonder Twins(In a way), Doomsday, the City of Kandor, Zod, why not heralds of Darkseid?

I’m surprised how many people feel this episode was good. It was really difficult to watch. The acting was terrible, costumes were ridiculous, and the episode felt very drawn out. Geoff is a hell of a writer, but even that couldnt save this episode. Comic fans need to set their standards alot higher, wanting something to be good, can’t make it good. And calling out low quality doesnt hurt beloved characters, putting out low quality adaptations hurts them.
The novelty of seeing the JSA on TV isnt enough to overlook the fact that it was just bad TV. Just my opinion.

SIXTEEN? She told me she was thirty-seven!!

Robert Hicinbothem

February 7, 2010 at 6:05 am

I absolutely loved it! I haven’t watched Smallville since somewhere around season 2, but I had to tune into this and was definitely not disappointed. The time went quickly because I was so into it. There weren’t any more commercials than in any other show so I don’t know where people came up with that. I agree with the critiques regarding Hawkman’s voice and don’t see the harm in Amanda Waller actually being played by an overweight African American woman (it’s not an insult, it’s the character), but everything else was just amazing. Dr. Fate? Amazing! Stargirl? Awesome! Wesley Dodds and the Star Spangled KId? Ma Hunkel?! Wildcat, Flash, Green Lantern? I would look to buy this episode on DVD if it comes out!

I have to say that I didn’t know what to expect going into this experience, but I just let the show take me where it wanted to and definitely don’t regret it. It could’ve gone badly, but it was amazing! I can’t believe the number of times I caught myself with my mouth hanging open cause I was geeking out for what I was seeing. Just awesome and Smallville may have gained another viewer in me.

I would have probably enjoyed the show more if my wife hadn’t been making fun of it all the way through. By the end, I was saying, “You just wait until one of your ‘Harry Potter’ movies comes on!”

ANYWAY … yeah, I wondered if we were sort of seeing the League of Smallville Replacement Watchmen, just as Justin Hartley plays We Can’t Use Batman every week. That’s not meant as a put down, really, just a fact of life for this show.

Johns’ story and the dialogue sold the episode for me, and rang a lot of fanboy bells. Loved seeing Ma Hunkle and the rest. I noticed that the most interesting characters that the show could have featured given its budget were reduced to cameos. Come on, wouldn’t Sandman have been a great visual and an interesting character to keep around – and also cheap as heck to use as well? The golden age Hawkman has always been a favorite of mine, but I’m not sure he was the best choice to use on the show. I didn’t mind Shanks in the role, had no problems with his slight spare tire (he’s SUPPOSED to be a guy in his forties who hasn’t been in action for awhile), but the “I’m Batman” monotone snarl was hard to listen to. Dr. Fate was a necessary character to use, and they did quite well with him (although he looked like my Uncle Herb in a superhero outfit). True, the episode could have been condensed into one hour, but from interviews with Johns, it appears that the show was trying to stretch its budget and make all of those weird props worth the money they spent on them. I don’t usually watch the show (Clark in his mid to late 20′s with no glasses and no super suit just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me), but this wasn’t too bad.

Hugo said: “I would have probably enjoyed the show more if my wife hadn’t been making fun of it all the way through. By the end, I was saying, “You just wait until one of your ‘Harry Potter’ movies comes on!”

Um, OK, but the HP movies have generally been pretty good. I’ve been deeply disappointed with the last two, mostly due to the many things cut or simply changed from the books, but the casting and acting in those films has been excellent — from the main kids, to the awesome array of great adult actors who have been in the series (Smallville can’t come close to that) — and the best films of the series (most notably Prisoner of Azkaban) are just damned good. I’m going into the final two movies with high hopes, since doing the final book as two movies hopefully means they’ll mostly leave the book intact on the big scren.

But whatever… I’ve never been a Smallville fan, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt I guess… I thought it was OK, probably better than episode of the dreadul Heroes, but that’s mild praise. The costumes and effects/mattes were as cheesy as the pictures and previews seemed, the acting was pretty awful for the most part, and the idea that it took all these heroes, including SUPERMAN, to take down Icicle? Honestly? That was ridiculous. Just as ridiculous as all the “heroes” being unable to take down Sylar in the Heroes season 1 finale. Like that show, Smallville really needs to work on its action/fight scenes.

I give the show props for the effort, and Johns had a decent idea. Maybe it’s all building towards something pretty cool (Darkseid?), but this was still really cheesy. Having Pam Grier is always a plus, so that’s cool, and there were some good moments, but this really left me wanting. I can’t say I’ll be tuning in on a weekly basis.

“(Clark in his mid to late 20′s with no glasses and no super suit just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me),”

That too… How the f*** is he supposed to become Superman and have no one recognize him as Clark? I can accept the glasses, etc., as a disguise in the comics for some reason, but in live action it’s ridiculous.

I hadn’t watched an episode of Smallville in 7 years, and this further cemented why. Truly awful. I’m also not that big a fan of Geoff Johns, but I do like his JSA run, so I felt the need to watch. Johns’ work often comes off like fan fiction, in general, with an overarching “wouldn’t it be cool if…” feel to it, and this episode had it in spades. The entire two hours were loaded with “Wow Cool!” moments. Can’t deny the awesomeness of seeing/hearing about all these characters that I dig in a live-action format, but when wrapped up in a giant blanket of lame, good lord… I should have just dug out some old JSA comics than waste my time with Smallville.

And why was Stargirl 53 years old?

Shaun, I agree that the acting, budget, effects, writing, etc. is better in the HP films. My point of contention with my wife was that we usually have mutual respect for our imaginary worlds. I don’t mess with her wizards and she (usually) doesn’t mess with my rocket ships and meta-humans.

I burned Absolute Justice to DVD as I was watching it and was able to cut out all of the commercials while doing so. When the show ended, the timer on my DVD recorder hadn’t quite reached an hour and 25 minutes. Almost 35 minutes of commercials in a two hour span seems pretty excessive to me–even for a self-loving network like the CW…

I haven’t watched an entire episode of the show in six years if not longer, but I just couldn’t resist live action Hawkman and Dr. Fate, and besides, lots of people keep saying it’s really, really good this year, and I was interested in seeing how the old “Smallville” checklist held up.

As it turns out, pretty well:

Going through contortions that would make a Cirque du Soleil performer wince to give Allison Mack, who plays a female friend of Clark Kent who is named neither Lana Lang nor Lois Lane, a reason to be on the show? Check. (Seriously, Chloe is Oracle now? Seriously?)

Tom Welling staring meaningfully at another character as they speak, or simply off into space, as if he is a) thoughtfully pondering the ramifications of the events of this week, or b) trying to remember his next line? Check.

Shout outs to other incarnations of the characters such as “mild mannered reporter” and “Lois & Clark”? Check.

Holding fast to “no flights, no tights” for Clark but letting other characters wear goofy things like vinyl green hoodies and sunglasses at night? Check. (And what was that John Jones had on under his coat? What is he here, the Martian Crossing Guard?)

Someone once again intoning gravely about the awesomeness of Clark’s destiny as really important sounding music swirls in the background, even though the biggest step he’s apparently taken toward that destiny in nine years is switching from a blue shirt under a red jacket to an all-black wardrobe? Check.

As far as the JSA stuff goes, I still can’t figure out why no one’s ever heard of a group of people who include a boxer dressed up like a giant black cat, a guy who wore a puffy red blouse with a purple cape and a brightly glowing ring, and another who had giant wings strapped on his back. Or, for that matter, why Stargirl looked like she aged 30 years when she put her mask on, why Dr. Fate could see Clark’s future but not the bad guy with a big ice spear behind him, or why Hawkman talked like he had a little Christian Bale caught in his throat. Above all else, I remain profoundly disappointed that nobody once said the words “cosmic rod.”

Oh, well. I guess if it wasn’t lame, it wouldn’t be “Smallville.” After all, if you took the “lame” out of “Smallville,” you’d end up with “Slvill.” Or “Sllvil.” And that would make even less sense.

Fate didnt see the big ice spear behind him because he cant see his own future. He says so twice in the episode.

Gotcha, Hugo… Like me, you appear to have been lucky enough to find a wife who has similar geek-tastic tastes, at least, even if they’re not entirely the same. We’re Star Trek fans, though we disagree about the Abrams reboot (she loved it, I did not), and we love HP and LOTR too.

She doesn’t quite understand my love for comic books and comic-related stuff (although she loves many of the better recent comic book movies), so we part ways there. She doesn’t pick on my comics love, and I don’t pick on her for some of musical tastes (Dave Matthews or Neil Diamond, for instance). :-)

Like a lot of people here and other forums, I haven’t watched a full episode of Smallville in years (actually, I gave up after the second episode because I could see the plot generator even then).

I think it’s interesting that a show that,–when it was created–tried to distance itself so far from it’s comic book roots was practically dipped in four-color processing for this episode. I also think it’s interesting that out of all the members of the JSA Johns’ could have used, he chose the three that he’s had the most impact on: He created Stargirl, rescued Dr. Fate and Hawkman from limbo, and scripted both the most recent Hawkman series and the Hawkman episodes of JLU.

Also… I can’t find reference to this anywhere, but was Pam Grier wearing a back brace? I don’t think I ever saw her move her neck the entire episode, and the way she walked reminded me of a friend who Multiple Scleroses.

“I burned Absolute Justice to DVD as I was watching it and was able to cut out all of the commercials while doing so. When the show ended, the timer on my DVD recorder hadn’t quite reached an hour and 25 minutes. Almost 35 minutes of commercials in a two hour span seems pretty excessive to me–even for a self-loving network like the CW…”

That’s pretty standard, a little on the low side really. Most “hour-long” shows are usually around 40-45 minutes with 15 – 20 minutes of commercials. Two hours worth of television should add up to about 30-40 minute of commercials.

I couldn’t watch more than a few minutes myself. I saw a few bits like the scene with Star Granny and her staff, Lois meeing Fate, Green Arrow hanging with Hawkman and Waller and Icicle. and didn’t find much to get me to keep watching. Looking back, I’m surprised I saw that much.
As for Waller and Icicle; terrible acting on both of their parts, she seemed bored and he was over-the-top whiney.

“Also… I can’t find reference to this anywhere, but was Pam Grier wearing a back brace? I don’t think I ever saw her move her neck the entire episode, and the way she walked reminded me of a friend who Multiple Scleroses.”

I noticed that too.

My wife is a Smallville fan and not a DC Universe fan, and from her perspective she was confused, bored, and disappointed that Smallville was hitting a slow, uneventful stride that plagued last season. (This season, with all the Zod stuff, had been pretty fast paced up until this ep.)

While I enjoyed all the DCU cameos (Sandman! Green Lantern! Flash! Ma Hunkel!), I had to agree with her. Plus, that scene where Martian Manhunter reverted to his alien form for a split second? It looked ridiculously cheap as hell.

Responding to a few of the comments:

Most live-action super-hero costumes look really lame unless the producers are working with a really big budget – much bigger than most tv shows and certainly bigger than Smallville. One problem is that very few actors have the physique of a super-hero and so they have to add padding and cheesy plastic. Dr. Fate’s suit was lame, but the helmet was actually pretty good. I’m really sorry that they killed Fate off.

I’m glad they didn’t include Wildcat. I’ve always found him to be one of the most boring DC character around; a low rent Batman without all of the back story a detective skills that make Batman interesting.

I didn’t mind Hawkman’s voice and I’m sure his flying would have been better with a bigger budget.

As for no one believing that Clark Kent and Superman are two different people based simply on a pair of glasses, I suggest the poster go back and watch the first two Christopher Reeve Superman movies. Reeve did a superb job of performing as two separate believable characters, even knowing that they were the same person. Clark’s mannerisms, slight clumsiness, and speech patterns were totally different from that of Superman. Reeve’s Superman costume was one of the best ever, partially because he spent a lot of time in the gym bulking up to prepare for the role.

Melissa,
If you’re a contributor in the Futuristic Motherhood anthology, you may be interested in viewing http://www.writersweekly.com. There might be information in regards to a satisfactory resolution in regards to a long-standing matter, if you are a contributor, I’m sure you understand, if not, sorry.

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