Battling For Metropolis…In My Backyard!

Good things come to those who wait, right? Obviously, that’s not guaranteed, but judging from what I’ve witnessed, it’s often proven true. Things I’ve only dreamed of as a kid have materialized. I’ve flexed with Hulk Hogan and I live in a world where there’s a Wonder Woman feature film. Life is good. In many respects, it keeps getting better. How’s that, you ask? Read on!

As a kid, I pondered what it would be like to have my own Batcave. While I settled for my basement as a substitute and stretched my imagination quite a bit, it didn’t stop me from dreaming. My friend and I even designated certain parts of our neighborhood as various locations in the DC Universe. So many years later, I wrote a blog post that really summed this up and wound up being copied and rewritten by other sites. As if they too spent their lives dedicated to absolute geekiness back when it was capable of blacklisting you in school and ruining your reputation. even interviewed me to discuss the post. From pretending Gotham and Metropolis was in my very neighborhood, to being on the state’s most prominent website talking about evidence that the DCU actually considers Gotham to be in New Jersey, things were coming full circle. At the time, news like this was still semi-controversial because the belief was always that New York had to be Gotham.

Cut to present day and The Hall of Freakin’ Justice has been erected in New Jersey. It’s not the Batcave under my condo, but as far as I’m concerned, this is the closest thing I’ll ever get to having those daydreams come true. It’s colossal and totally real. “Holy Headquarters, where is this place Batman?!” Settle down Robin, it’s come in the pre-chosen form of a theme park ride in none other than our old stomping grounds, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ.

I was fortunate enough to attend the opening of the long awaited (to our neck of the woods at least) 4D ride, Justice League: Battle For Metropolis at Six Flags. A dark ride at Great Adventure is huge news, but a DC-themed dark ride? Well, shit, it doesn’t get any more historic than that!

There’s a whole new DC-themed Metropolis land where the facade of the ride is the actual Hall of Justice. Many of you remember the HOJ from the animated Super Friends and Super Powers TV series when the Justice League would reconvene “BACK at the Hall of Justice!” In this case, it’s “Back at the Jersey Hall of Justice!” To stand in front of the actual building was quite a trip. It was like a comic book came to life in front of my eyes. I waited my whole life to be transported to the Hall of Justice and it’s actually here.

Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman, were on hand to celebrate the official opening of the ride. Talk about cosplay, these costumes couldn’t get any more official than this! DC Comics probably had them blessed by Geoff Johns. After seeing the Trinity of DC live in the flesh, it felt like the whole new land at Great Adventure had been triple stamped for authenticity.

I hopped on line like a little anxious kid. Doing a walk-jog hybrid through the still empty line queue, I noticed a towering monument to the heroes that I just hobnobbed with out front. It’s a sight to behold. Once inside, an animatronic version of Cyborg welcomes us and explains what he needs us to do while we’re on the ride. We’re reserves being enlisted to help the Justice League battle Lex Luthor and his fellow villains. I was cool with putting my life in danger as long as I’d get acknowledged as an “honorary Justice League Member” or something. Not much to ask.

This ride is a blast in more ways than one. If you’ve been on Toy Story Mania in Disney World, it has the same kind of vibe. You put on some 4D shades, hop in a car on a track, and each rider gets equipped with their own “laser gun” to shoot the bad guys with throughout the ride. They’re keeping score so you literally have to try to shoot everything villain-related possible or risk coming in 3rd to two 9 year olds like I did. Yes, I tanked both times I rode it because I was so in awe the entire time that I kept forgetting to shoot the gun in certain key areas.

Interactive video screens are mixed in with actual animatronics throughout the ride. Without hesitation, I can tell you what an absolute delight it was to witness an animatronic Joker come after me on an ATV with a flamethrower. It’s even cooler that Mark Hamill lends his brilliant Joker voice (at least it’s 100% certain it’s him in the video that plays on the monitors in the line queue.)

Witnessing the whole Justice League team in action was incredible. At times, it does feel like you’re in a giant video game, but that’s what makes it so cool. This ride offers the rare opportunity to fight alongside the likes of Supergirl and Green Lantern against Lex Luthor and all the DC rogues gallery in front of iconic DC backdrops like STAR Labs and Lexcorp. It was 100% awesome.

For me, the single glaring setback is that the ride lacks music. A proper score to indicate evil villains and triumphant heroes would really catapult the ride to the next level. It’s hard to say if anyone else will feel as passionate about this as me, but it’s literally the first thing I noticed. There’s a lot of dialogue which I assume they don’t want buried in the audio mix, but the music could easily lower during key lines. I’m also not sure if it had music and just wasn’t playing since I was one of the first riders – could’ve been a glitch. I’ll just have to ride it 17 more times next time I go to be absolutely sure.

Considering my recent complaint about Great Adventure, I probably should hold off on sharing my thoughts until I wait it out a bit. In my last post, I knocked Great Adventure for changing the name of the Justice League HQ storefront to the Gotham City Gift Shop. I swore that it was a huge mistake since the Justice League movie will be getting released and it seems like a no-brainer to have a gift shop based off their headquarters. Now the decision to make it more bat-infuenced makes complete sense since the park now has an actual Hall of Justice of its own. For your DC shopping needs, next to the ride is a new DCU store as well. So, I retract my comment about the Gotham City Gift Shop, it was the right move.

Great Adventure spared no expense to celebrate the occasion. Their breakfast and lunch spreads were out of this world and included fruit carved with DC superhero logos. Don’t worry if you aren’t in the New Jersey area, all the Six Flags theme parks have this ride already or are slated to get it very soon. I can’t guarantee they’ll have this half eaten fruit platter though.