Long before superhero movies and TV shows were the pop culture phenomenons they are now, if you were a kid who enjoyed comic books, one of your few options for seeing such tales translated in a different medium was to watch Super Friends. It's been more 30 years since Super Friends aired, but the Saturday morning Hanna-Barbera cartoon is still remembered for its cheesy treatment of the starring heroes. Now that Justice League is available on home media, a new video has been released that puts Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg through that same kind of delightfully retro lens.
It wouldn't be a proper Super Friends homage without a narrator introducing each of these heroes, with snippets of them in action shown as triumphant music plays. That would have been enough, but the fact that this Justice League video also looks low-quality, as if it was airing on a television from the '70s or '80s, enhances this tribute. The cinematic Justice League and the old school Super Friends don't have that much in common outside of some shared membership, but both teams have the same mission: to protect Earth and fight evil from across the cosmos. Now if only this video had a tag at the end showing Lex Luthor and Deathstroke together as the narrator said, "Meanwhile at the Legion of Doom!"
Although this video is calling back to a simpler time in superhero media, it is fitting that compared to director Zack Snyder's previous DCEU entries, Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League had a lighter tone. While part of that tonal shift was already planned for in the script, the shift was enhanced when Joss Whedon came aboard the movie, because while he was initially hired to write some scenes for the reshoots, he was later tasked with overseeing post-production after Snyder departed. While this difference in tone may have been appealing to some moviegoers, Justice League was ultimately met with mixed critical reception, and its commercial performance was underwhelming, making only $657.7 million off a $300 million budget.
Nevertheless, the blend of Justice League footage with the Super Friends vibe works well, and while it's extremely unlikely that we'll ever see a DCEU movie rocking that same kind of cheesy tone, I wouldn't mind if DC poured some money into releasing a direct-to-video animated Super Friends movie that could be enjoyed by kids and adults alike.
Justice League will be available on Blu-ray and DVD starting tomorrow, March 13, but you can buy it now on Digital HD if you so choose. While it remains to be seen whether or not Justice League 2 is still happening, the DCEU continues later this year with Aquaman's release on December 21, and Shazam! and Wonder Woman 2 will follow on April 5, 2019 and November 1, 2019, respectively.