Injustice is a 2021 animated video-on-demand superhero film based on the 2013 video game of the same name, developed by NetherRealm Studios and based on characters from DC Comics. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment, and distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, it is the 43rd installment in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies (DCUAOM) line. The film is directed by Matt Peters from a story by Ernie Altbacker and stars Justin Hartley as Superman, Anson Mount as Batman, alongside an ensemble cast including Kevin Pollak, Laura Bailey, Oliver Hudson, Gillian Jacobs, Yuri Lowenthal, Derek Phillips, Anika Noni Rose, Reid Scott, and Janet Varney. The film, set in a separate continuity from the main DC Universe, follows Superman’s descend into madness after being tricked by the Joker into killing his pregnant wife Lois Lane and detonating a nuclear weapon that destroys Metropolis.
The film was announced in May 2021, with Altbacker writing the script. The film adapts elements from both the Injustice video-game and its prequel comic book series, primarily the Year One arc, but tells an original narrative, which diverges from the source material. The film received mixed to negative reviews from critics and fans, with praise directed at the animation, voice acting, and particular scenes taken from the comics but with most criticism falling upon its failure to live up to the premise, its rushed feel, which results in most characters being underdeveloped or killed off unceremoniously and it’s unfaithfulness to the comics’ storyline.
On Earth-22, the Joker and Harley Quinn kidnap Lois Lane, kill Jimmy Olsen, and steal a nuclear weapon, which they connect to a heart rate monitor surgically attached to the former's heart. Batman orders all Justice League members to find Lois. The Flash finds the Scarecrow dead in his lab and his supply of fear toxin missing, before being killed by a trap set by the Joker. Superman eventually finds the Joker and Harley hiding on a submarine, but when he confronts them, he is attacked by Doomsday and proceeds to punch the monster into space. As the other heroes arrive and apprehend the Joker and Harley, Batman realizes that they used the fear toxin, mixed with Kryptonite, to make Superman hallucinate that he is fighting Doomsday; in reality, he beat Lois to death. Batman tries to warn Superman, but it is too late; Lois's heartbeat stops, and the nuke detonates, destroying Metropolis and killing millions of people. As Batman questions the Joker over his motives, the latter reveals that, tired of his losing battle against Batman, he sought to try and corrupt Superman instead. Moments later, Superman arrives and, acting out of grief and rage at the loss of his teammate, the Flash, his wife, unborn child, and city, murders the Joker.
While Green Arrow takes Harley to his hideout to protect her from Superman's wrath, Superman reveals his identity before the United Nations and announces his intentions to put the Earth at peace, by force if necessary. The Justice League is left divided over Superman's actions, as some members, such as Wonder Woman, believe in his cause to eliminate violent criminals, while others, including Batman, keep their no-killing vow. Some heroes, such as Aquaman, refuse to pick a side and leave the League.
Meanwhile, the United States government, concerned that Superman will interfere in their operations, orders Mirror Master to kidnap Jonathan Kent to be used as leverage against him. Superman begins to question his actions, but Wonder Woman reassures him that he is doing the right thing and offers to help him find Jonathan. Confronting Mirror Master, Wonder Woman learns of Jonathan's whereabouts and takes his belt, which Superman uses to find and rescue his father. Elsewhere, Batman confronts the President and warns him that Superman will kill him if he ever finds out he ordered Jonathan's capture.
Later, Superman visits Batman to make peace, but they argue over their ideological views, and Batman refuses to join Superman. While trying to stop Superman from relocating Arkham Asylum inmates to a more secure facility, Batman and Nightwing are shocked to discover that Robin has joined Superman. Harley, who has escaped from Green Arrow and decided to become a hero, releases the inmates, forcing Batman and Superman to temporarily put their differences aside to fight them. During the battle, Robin gets angry at Nightwing and accidentally kills him, which causes Batman to disown him for his actions. Catwoman, after learning about what happened from Superman, comforts Batman, while Nightwing meets Rama Kushna in the afterlife, who transforms him into "Deadwing".
While Superman allies with Ra's al Ghul, Batman forms an underground resistance and plans to steal a red sun cannon from the Fortress of Solitude. During the break-in, Ra's kills the Atom and destroys the cannon, Superman overpowers Captain Atom, and Jonathan, whom Superman had been keeping safe at the Fortress, is accidentally killed by one of Green Arrow's arrows, causing Superman to murder the latter in revenge. After Superman transforms the Earth into a police state using surveillance drones, Batman has Plastic Man break Mr. Terrific out of prison, and leaks video footage of Superman killing a group of partying teenagers inspired by the Joker to ruin his public image.
In response, Superman dispatches Amazo to enforce global peace, but the android quickly turns violent, as it has been programmed by Ra's to kill Superman. Amazo, who is able to replicate Superman's powers, kills Hawkman and Cyborg, but Batman and his allies (Plastic Man, Catwoman, and Harley) arrive and help Superman and Wonder Woman destroy the android. Meanwhile, Robin duels Ra's, and defeats him with Deadwing's help. Despite their help, Superman prepares to have the Insurgents arrested, but is confronted by Superman from Earth-One, who was brought into this universe by Mr. Terrific. Superman defeats his counterpart, but eventually surrenders after being met with a version of Lois from another universe, who lost her Superman during his fight with Brainiac. Realizing how far he has fallen, Superman agrees to be imprisoned, while Batman prepares for his future with Catwoman.
|Justin Hartley||Kal-El / Clark Kent / Superman|
|Anson Mount||Bruce Wayne / Batman|
|Laura Bailey||Lois Lane|
|Zach Callison||Damian Wayne / Robin|
|Brian T. Delaney||Hal Jordan / Green Lantern|
|Brandon Micheal Hall||Victor Stone / Cyborg|
|Andrew Morgado||Mirror Master soldier|
|Edwin Hodge||Michael Holt / Mr. Terrific|
|Oliver Hudson||Patrick "Eel" O'Brian / Plastic Man|
|Gillian Jacobs||Harley Quinn|
|Yuri Lowenthal||Evan McCulloch / Mirror Master|
Barry Allen / Flash
|Derek Phillips||Dick Grayson / Nightwing / Deadwing|
|Kevin Pollak||The Joker|
|Anika Noni Rose||Selina Kyle / Catwoman|
|Reid Scott||Oliver "Ollie" Queen / Green Arrow|
|Faran Tahir||Ra's al Ghul|
|Fred Tatasciore||Nathaniel Adam / Captain Atom|
|Janet Varney||Diana Prince / Wonder Woman|
- The Atom
- Calendar Man
- Mad Hatter
- Poison Ivy
- Solomon Grundy
- Reverse Flash
- Captain Boomerang
- Captain Cold
- Killer Frost
- Weather Wizrad
- Martha Kent (picture)
- Doomsday (illusion)
Differences between the film and the game and comic
Despite being adapted to the Injustice franchise, the film also had some different moments which diverged from the source material.
- Flash was a main character in both the games and the comics, and remained alive in the series. However, in the film, he plays a minor role, appearing only in the beginning, on which he is killed by the Joker's trap.
- Jonathan Kent and Martha were both kidnapped by Mirror Master in the comics. In the Film, only Jonathan was kidnapped by Mirror Master.
- In addition, Jonathan was only shot in the arm by Green Arrow's accidental hit, which Superman blocked the attack. Superman then starting beating Arrow to death. However, in the film, after Green Arrow accidentally shot Jonathan Kent, which led to his death, Superman kills him in revenge with Heat Vision.
- Shazam was a main character in one game and the comics, and was killed by Superman in the first game. However, in the film, he decides to leave the Justice League, not wanting to be in the Regime, nor the Insurgency. At least, he remains alive.
- Aquaman was a main character in both the games and the comics, who was once a Insurgency member, until forced to join Superman's Regime when the tyrant threatened to destroy Atlantis. Here, he decides to quit the Justice League, not wanting to be part of the war that will soon happen.
- Some major characters incluidng Black Canary, Hawkgirl, Batwoman, Ares, and Lex Luthor (who appeared in the comic and the game) are absent from the film.
- Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) was a main character in both the games and the comics, who joined the Regime to protect his family (which Carol Ferris partially understood Hal's reason), before becoming the Yellow Lantern, thanks to Sinserto who also joined the Regime. In the film, he declines of joining either Insurgency and Regime, due to the Guardians needing him and John Stewart back on Oa, remaining a Green Lantern.
- Wonder Woman joins Superman in both the games and the comics, who was also partially responsible for Superman's path of evil. However, in the near-end of the film, she finds out that Superman slaughtered teens idolizing the Joker. In the end, she turns on him when he decides to hypocritically arrest Batman's team after they help them defeat Amazo.
- Dick Grayson is still accidentally killed by Damian Wayne as in the comics. However in the film, his neck does not land on a rock, which means that Dick might have died via blunt-force trauma to the head caused by the baton impulsively thrown by Damian.
- Although he still becomes a new version of Deadman, Dick does not replace Boston Brand like he does in the comics.
- Catwoman was with the Insurgency in the comics until she was forced to join the Regime, hoping that Superman would spare Batman in the first game. In the film, she never joins Superman, and stays on Batman's side, especially after comforting him following the death of Dick Grayson.
- Cyborg was a main character in both the games and the comics, remaining alive in the series. However, in the film, he was killed by Amazo during the last battle.
- Hawkman was an ally of Batman's Insurgency before betraying so he could kill Superman for turning his wife against him, only for Superman to beat him to death in the comics. However in the film, he joins Superman's Regime and battles Amazo until the robot kills him.