In April of this year, WB Animation brought the characters of DC Comics’s Justice League to the world of Monty Oum’s RWBY in an adaptation of a RWBY/Justice League and DC/RWBY comic storyline. Applying a fish out of water approach, heroes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Vixen, The Flash, Green Lantern, and Cyborg come to meet Blake Belladonna, Weiss Schnee, and sisters Ruby Rose and Yang Xiao Long. For audiences now familiar with the Rooster Teeth produced digital series, Part One does a great job of balancing the information and lore of that world with the DC characters, creating a film that’s fairly easy to engage with no matter your level of world knowledge. Now, you can experience the rest of the crossover story as Part Two comes home, taking the dangers of RWBY’s home and transplanting them in the DC Universe.
If you’re not familiar with the events of Part One, you can find the film on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and digital, as well as streaming on Max now. For a quick sense of the film, here’s an extended preview.
Though they achieved victory in their combined efforts against a digital foe, Kilg%re, who had imprisoned them all in a holoworld version of RWBY’s home Remnant, the battle was not yet won as an enemy of RWBY has somehow made it to the Justice League’s world, using the creatures that plague their land to overwhelm the heroes at near every entanglement. This time, the Justice League will need to figure out how to bring RWBY to them if there’s going to be a chance at saving the day.
There’s good news and bad news with Part Two and each may vary with the viewer. The good news is, unlike Part One, Two is able to mostly jump straight into the action as the stakes are fairly well established, as are the characters and their abilities. That the majority of the story takes place in the DC Universe also reduces some of the lift of the narrative as more audiences are likely familiar with the characters within it, allowing for many new characters to appear to join the fray without slowing down the momentum. Additionally, as this is a part two, the fallout of the events are able to get explored in an appropriate way without feeling rushed, specifically **spoiler warning for Part One** how The Flash (voiced by David Dastmalchian) is handling being taken over by Kilg%re (voiced by Tru Valentino). Rather than brushing it off, Flash truly struggles with this, adding some necessary emotional weight to the plot that so heavily is marked by action set piece after action set piece. While it may be enough to just see these characters interact or how Team RWBY responds to a world without their natural abilities, that the script by Meghan Fitzmartin takes the time to address and explore the post-traumatic stress of having one’s autonomy stripped is impressive. **end of spoiler for Part One**
Part Two also builds on the relationships established in One with Superman and Ruby (voiced by Travis Willingham and Lindsay Jones respectively) and Batman and Weiss (voiced by Troy Baker and Kara Eberle respectively) making strong use of a few quiet moments for them to either continue where they were narratively or thematically in Part One. Ruby is somewhat still struggling as a leader and Weiss with her identity as being from a place that seems to no longer exist, things which their DC counterparts understand to a degree. Where things start to struggle a bit in Part Two is exemplified with this aspect: so much of what’s going on in the world of RWBY may be unknown to the audience and therefore can’t capture the full significance of what’s being discussed. Look, I get that RWBY has nine seasons with 116 episodes of varying length, as well as other forms of media to further their story, but whereas the implementation of the RWBY aspects in Part One were just enough for outsiders to get, those same aspects get explored more in Part Two, making it harder for those outside the realm of understanding to really connect. For the most part, outside of Flash, there’s no real journey for the DC characters, even if Superman and Batman do get a chance to offer their insight into the plight of the RWBY characters. On the bright side, Part Two is nowhere near as bad as 2022’s Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse which was just a feature film with DC Super Hero Girls piggy-backing on the name of Teen Titans Go!, much to the disappointment of my entire household. (You say it’s a crossover episode, there should be balance, not just a passing exchange and a quick reference later.)
Additionally, while the film’s digitally-designed elements made sense in the first film as DC crosses to RWBY, maintaining that look in Part Two underwhelms at times. There’s consistency, absolutely, between this and Part One, but where the look and structure of locations in RWBY make sense to have the specific art design, as well as the sparseness of other characters due to the holoworld they were trapped in, but carrying this forward in Part Two leads to a sense of absence. Yes, there are creatures attacking everywhere, seemingly all at once, which is why the Justice League needs the help of RWBY to figure out why they can’t defeat them this time around. However, in one set piece set on a bridge, which has been going on for a while based on the dialogue, out of nowhere appear two civilians in need of saving, as if none of the heroes noticed them before *or* they hadn’t had time to escape. Given the barren landscape of civilians during all the fight sequences, having just two appear is strange and brings attention to the lack of people outside of the DC and RWBY-related ones.
Impressively, Part Two includes two featurettes totaling roughly 14 minutes that explore the making of the film from the perspective of the filmmakers and the cast. The first, “You look…Different: RWBY on Earth” identifies the approaches that were taken on the narrative, the character design, and performances, as the characters of RWBY join the fray on Earth. Rather than being just a simple 1:1, the filmmakers took the opportunity (much like with Part One) to re-envision Team RWBY as the rules of Earth are different than Remnant. One nice stylistic continuance is the way the animation presents itself using a very anime-like style in terms of reactions to things, like visible yellow asterisk when characters are surprised by something or when one of the RWBY team discover their anatomy has shifted on Earth, which keeps the tone light and uses the medium well to convey the rules of the world. In the second featurette, “I’ve Got Your Back,” the focus is on the characters and their respective journeys as they continue from Part One. Again, it’s clear that the arcs for Team RWBY are based in their current on-going story, so even though the featurette does provide additional context, this featurette and what it shares about the characters will really only resonate with those established in RWBY more so than strict DC fans.
Though it may not seem like it, Part Two delivers a solid landing for all that it setup in Part One, making the two-parter feel like it’s worth the time investment. This really is a film that fans of RWBY will appreciate far more than your average DC fans, but there’s still plenty to enjoy. In fact, this may be just the gateway for those outside of RWBY to begin their journey and that’s certainly the best reaction to any crossover: curiosity. Speaking of, as for what’s next from WB Animation, there’s no trailer for any upcoming 2023 productions, so it may be time to keep an eye on the horizon toward 2024.
Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part Two Special Features:
- You look…Different: RWBY on Earth – Earth is not exactly the same as Remnant, the world where Team RWBY live. The enemies are different. The Justice League heroes are different. And Team RWBY’s powers? They’re all extremely different. In this featurette, we get a closer look at Team RWBY on Earth. (6:45)
- I’ve Got Your Back – In Part One, Justice League and RWBY members had to work together to save Remnant. Now in Part Two, on Earth, they all must work together to save each other. In this featurette, we get into the story behind so many of the characters saving each other both physically and emotionally. (7:12)
Available on digital October 17th, 2023.
Available on 4K UHD and Blu-ray October 31st, 2023.
For more information, head to the official Warner Bros. Pictures Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part Two webpage.
Final Score: 3 out of 5.
This piece was written during the SAG-AFTRA strike. Without the labor of the actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn’t exist.