Injustice 2: the DCEU Movie We Need Right Now
by James O’Donnell @Jamezod
The Injustice series roared back to life this month with the latest release from Warner Brothers and NetherRelm Studios. Creative director Ed Boon is back with a vengeance after the success of 2015’s Mortal Kombat X and delivers what will undoubtedly turn out to be another massive hit.
The game is fairly similar to 2013’s Injustice: Gods Among Us as far as gameplay and controls are concerned. The cast has been slightly altered, with Batgirl, Nightwing and Shazam all noticeably absent while Swamp Thing, Black Canary and Supergirl (among others) have been added. The biggest difference this time around is the new character customization feature, which allows you to accrue items through completing the story mode and various other challenges throughout the game. Injustice 2 also features a Multiversity battle mode, which is similar to the Live Match function from Mortal Kombat X. This creates several limited time battles that allow the player to earn various rewards that they can use to purchase character upgrades. The only criticism I have is that they seem to have removed mini-games from the cinematic cut-scenes, which results in occasionally boring stretches between fights.
The biggest takeaway from Injustice 2 for me was the tragic lament I experienced in watching its amazing story unfold. This story picks up from where the previous game left off, with Superman’s regime in shambles, the Man of Steel locked away in a Red Sun prison and his underlings either jailed or on work release pardons. Batman, in his new role as leader of the free world, is forced to form uneasy alliances with old members of the regime Green Lantern, Flash and Aquaman when Braniac threatens to destroy all life on Earth. Not long after, he realizes that he must free Superman and the two re-form the World’s Finest duo in order to defeat their common enemy. The true hero of this story is Kara Zor-El, otherwise known as Supergirl, Kal-El’s older cousin. She is forced to choose between doing her duty as Superman’s protector and following her conscious as she sees the fascist brutality of Superman’s Regime.
Aside from the amazing main story, which explores the dynamic of old enemies allies themselves to defeat a common enemy then turning on each other again, we get some other amazing back stories. Supergirl is first seen training to overthrow Batman’s republic with an escaped Wonder Woman and Black Adam. It made me wish there could have been a flashback or two that showed some of that. [SPOILER] The game’s final note is Batman accepting Supergirl into his “Circle of Trust,” effectively replacing her corrupted cousin.
The most interesting side story that I think deserves his own game would be the re-emergence of Hal Jordan as a Green Lantern. Fans of the Injustice series know that as a member of Superman’s government, Hal Jordan took the mantle of a Yellow Lantern, a lantern Corps that rules through fear. There was a really inspiring moment in which Atrocitus temps Jordan to give in to his self-hatred and join the Red Lantern Corps. Near defeat, the strong willed hero garners strength by reciting the Green Lantern Oath then (if you’re good at the game) beats the shit of out Atrocitus and his dumb cat sidekick. There are allusions to the sacrifices that Hal Jordan had to make to recover his status as a member of the Corps that I think would make for an amazing game if not just a tie-in comic series.
I really hope that in the DCEU’s future endeavors, Geoff Johns takes into account the popularity of these games and introduces some of the themes that they’ve used to create such a compelling story. I will say that I was expecting a darker ending (as is usually the rule with sequels) but this game was an excellent follow up to the original and completely re-playable.