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Posts tagged “Batman

Review: Gotham season 4

GOTHAMUnlike the other DC TV shows that I reviewed a few days ago, Gotham has potential.  Sure, it’s been eye rolling and frustrating to comic book fans at times, but season 4 makes up for a lot of that.  Warning that there are some spoilers ahead.

This season did a great job of really delving into some of the lore that makes Batman who he is.  Although there were some episodes that dragged (Barbara getting the Demon’s Head was a horrible plot point), most of them kept me wanting to watch more.

By the season’s end we get to see who will actually become the Joker.  He isn’t the Joker yet, but this take on him really shows him as the Red Hood without wearing the hood.  We’ve got multiple cliffhangers.  Butch will surely become Solomon Grundy again, Penguin will have his empire back, Riddler and Lee will be in debted to Hugo Strange and Penguin, Selina will undoubtedly have survived and used up one of her nine lives, Gotham is looking to be “No Man’s Land” straight from the comics, villains like Firefly and Mr. Freeze are on the loose and ready to make their marks, Bruce Wayne and Gordon standing on the rooftop near the spotlight is a bit of a foreshadowing, and everything is set up for a good conclusion to the prequel show.  The next season is said to be the final one with Bruce finally becoming Batman, probably resulting in Jeremiah becoming the Joker, and so much more anticipated comic book accurate points.  At least that’s what we can hope for.

For Season 4 of Gotham, I have to give it a high score of 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  Perhaps it’s because the CW has left such a bad watching experience that I’m willing to accept what Gotham has given us, but I think that the writers of this show really care about what they are working with, at least to some degree.  What did you think of this season?  Do you agree or disagree?  Comment below and share your thoughts.

 

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Review: Justice League

justice-league-posterI’ll give you a heads up now.  There will be some spoilers in this review, but I will try to keep it to a minimum.  If you’d like my rating of the movie without all the intricacies you can scroll down to the final paragraph.

Justice League has finally happened, but the reception is once again split down the middle.  DC and Warner Brothers are having a rough streak at keeping the audiences happy overall.  I could get into why, but perhaps that’s another article.  Here’s what I can say…

This movie will make longtime fans of the characters happy.  For those who look at plot and effects, well that may be a different story.  Here’s a brief character breakdown:

Batman: Affleck looks tired in the role.  Perhaps part of what the negativity is comes from him.  I still think he’s a great batman and Bruce Wayne, but there’s no passion in the actor’s eyes.  That being said, Batman was very enjoyable and seems to have been set up to eventually phase into either an Alfred like role for the team or being replaced by perhaps Dick Grayson at some point under the cowl.

Wonder Woman: Gal Gadot rocks the role again, and she really is the glue to this whole team.  I feel they could have used her more in the film, but there’s only so much you can do with this many characters in a two hour movie.

The Flash: I was very skeptical about the casting of Ezra Miller in this part.  He doesn’t look like the Barry Allen that fans have come to know, and the one on TV has been prominent in everyone’s minds.  From the second he took to the screen however, I was pleasantly surprised.  I hate his suit with a passion.  For a character that can run at super speeds, you’d think it’d be more aerodynamic and uniform.  This looks like a machine more than something a hero would wear.  Other than that, I think he is portrayed quite well in the movie as an up and coming hero.

Cyborg: If it weren’t for the horrible CGI on him, I really think he’d have been great.  Unfortunately because he is hard to look at at times, and there is not much about him learning each of his upgrades, it’s difficult to enjoy the time he’s on screen.

Aquaman: This is another casting that I thought was strange, but am completely on board with now.  He is easily one of the best things about the movie.  Like Wonder Woman, he has limited screen time, but I think he was presented well as far as quickly learning back story.  He brings quite a bit of humor and badassery to the plot.  I also like how they mention it isn’t the fish he talks to, but the water itself.  This actually makes a lot more sense.

Superman: Finally, we get a Superman that is closer to what he is in the comics.  He has a brighter costume, and less brooding persona.  That may not be the case when he is first brought back from the dead, but what we do get is a very cool few scenes.  The moment when he is brought back and faces the League is my favorite part of the whole movie.  I could watch it over and over and never get bored.  It made the comic book geek in me happy that Joss Whedon took over to give it what fans have wanted.  If I had to offer one complaint it would be that I really hoped we’d have seen him in his black and silver suit with a slight mullet.  In all reality hair does continue to grow after death for a bit, so him being clean cut made no sense.

Steppenwolf: I was surprised to hear he was going to be the main villain, but excited as well.  He was one of my favorite villains when I was a kid, and seeing a proper interpretation of him got me stoked.  While the Parademons really worked, however, he wasn’t as memorable.  The back story we got felt like it was missing quite a bit, but that could have been forgiven if we’d had something visually fun to look at.  The biggest problem I had with the movie was him.  The CGI was absolutely horrible.  When you are given movies like Star Wars and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, and you have these visually stunning fake people, why would computer graphics that look like they belong in the early 2000s be involved.  All I could see while watching him was the way Hulk looked way back when Eric Bana played him.  It was very very hard to watch him speak or see any close up of his face.

The small roles and cameos of a Green Lantern from ages ago, plus Zeus, Lois, Commisioner Gordon, Marc McClure’s appearance, and the post credits with Lex Luthor and Deathstroke were all welcome additions to enhance the story.

A side note… Whoever markets the toylines for these movies should be shot.  All my son wants for Christmas is a Steppenwolf action figure to face off against his League.  In order to get one, I’d have to buy all the heroes he currently owns.  Needless to say I’m not doing that and ebay will hold the answers for me as I get an older version of the character with no stupid CGI barf face.

All the problems with CGI aside, I really found the movie to be a fun time.  Would I say see it in the theater?  No.  I’d say wait to rent it, but don’t miss out.  People who enjoyed Batman vs Superman should enjoy what it has evolved into here.  People who hated Batman vs Superman should feel happy that it’s evolved into something better.  It is not better than Wonder Woman, but I’ll place it above BvS, Man Of Steel, and that God awful Suicide Squad movie.  I give it 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  It would have had another star from me if the effects were done right, and another if they’d managed the story better, but I don’t think it deserves some of the hate it is getting.  If this is what the DC extended universe is going to start to shape up to be with its characters, then I’m all for it.  What did you think of Justice League?


Review: Son Of Batman

Son-of-BatmanAfter the abomination of Justice League War, my hopes were teetering with this dc animated movie. Thankfully, I found that they redeemed themselves here. This review will have some spoilers, so if you are looking for my graded rating, skip down to the last paragraph, because spoilery begins here. Animation and sound seemed flawless, so I’ll break the movie down by character and focus on the plot points with them as a whole.
Ra’s Al Ghul: I have to say that I was slightly disappointed in his arc.  I had always been under the impression that the Lazarus Pit could heal any wound.  Yet he dies in the first five minutes of the film.  His grandson and daughter show up minutes after he is burned to death, mere feet from the Lazarus pit, and they didn’t push him into it.  Okay, maybe Damian tried, but I don’t see why Talia wouldn’t have.  Instead, she stopped her son and said that Ra’s is dead.  I found this as a flaw that isn’t forgivable. Otherwise, his swordsmanship was fun to watch in his battle with Slade.  It just would have been nice to see a little more back story between the two.

Damian Wayne / Robin: Damian is the perfect material to be a Robin right off the bat. (Pun intended).  He’s got an attitude, skills, and the brains suited to make a great sidekick to Batman, but he still needs guidance as he lets brash decisions take over his actions.  He grows in this movie from being a rebellious child into understanding (slightly) the error of his ways.  Arguably, you could say that Damian in this movie is on his way to becoming the best Robin yet.

Slade Wilson/Deathstroke: Slade has become one of my favorite characters of all time.  Between watching the original Teen Titans cartoon from a few years back, and now with Arrow, Deathstroke time and again proves to be a mastermind villain.  He takes down the League of Assassins with his own league of mercenary ninjas, and single handedly defeats his old master Ra’s Al Ghul.  My only problem here is that I really wanted to know more about WHY he wanted to take over the league.  He could have just formed his own, or perhaps come up with another plan, but there really wasn’t much as to why he was doing what he was doing other than he thought he was more worthy of the mantle that had now been passed down to Damian by Ra’s.

Killer Croc: okay so he was only in it for five minutes, but I’m sort of glad.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Croc as a character, but this design is downright awful.  I understand he was on a new steroid that caused him to grow a tail, but it was just bad.  Was he a problem for Batman?  Yes.  But I just can’t get the fact that he looked like Lizard from The Amazing Spiderman.

Alfred Pennyworth: After seeing what they did with Alfred in Beware The Batman, I’m glad they took a step back and made him what he is known for in this movie.  He played a great supporting mentor role to both Batman and Robin.

Dr. Kirk Langstrom / Manbat: More like Man Bats plural.  Langstrom being kidnapped and forced to work by Deathstroke was a great story line, but I have a slight issue with the many Man-Bats.  I was hoping to just see the one best Man-Bat as him, but instead we had ninja MenBats.  I’m not saying this was a bad thing, it just wasn’t up to par with how I would have liked to have seen him portrayed.

Dick Grayson / Nightwing: His role here is perhaps just as important as Damian’s.  He arrives as sort of a guide to Damian, even though at first he believes he is one of the badguys.  They butt heads quite a bit, but being the original Robin, for him to finally accept Damian in the role just proves that the younger of the pair is meant to be in that costume.

Commisioner Gordon: For the first time in a DC animation, I didn’t feel like the Gotham Police department were all that useless.  Did they do much?  no.  But Gordon seemed to have his head on his shoulders realistically and I can’t wait to see if they continue down this route with future DC animations.

Talia Al Ghul: Talia has always been a problem for me, but not necessarily all in a bad way.  In this movie she hasn’t changed the way I feel about her, so here are my thoughts as a whole.  I HATE the fact that she kept Damian from his true father for all this time, and then just leaves him in Bruce’s hands.  BUT I love the dedicated and badass person she is.  The scene in the beginning where she is just kicking ninja ass all over the place shows why there is such an attraction between her and Bruce, but still I’m torn.  Part of me likes her and part of me can’t stand her.

Bruce Wayne/Batman: We didn’t see too much of Bruce to judge his role, but as Batman the part was nailed.  There isn’t much else to say here.  Batman lived up to his namesake yet again.

All in all, I was pleased by Son Of Batman.  Deathstroke escaping from his fate might be impossible, but We’ve now got a suitable Robin in the DC animated universe, and Nightwing as well.  If they were to do a Batman Incorporated movie, this is the way to kick a few stones in that direction.  I give Son of Batman 6 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins mainly for animation and voice direction, but also because it was enjoyable.  It would have been higher if those few plot points were tackled in a different manner.  I recommend it to any Batman fan.

 


Review: Batman The Dark Knight Returns Part 2

batman-the-dark-knight-returns-part-2-poster1review by Rick Pipito

Where do I begin?  I had the opportunity to see an early release of Batman The Dark Knight Returns Part 2.  If you have been with me for a few months, you may have caught my review of the first part.  In that review, I gave it many compliments and more than my seal of approval.  So what did I think of the second part?  There are SPOILERS AHEAD, so if you want to judge for yourself, skip down to the last paragraph for my spoiler free rating.

I’m not sure what happened with this, but it is definitely a case of “the sequel didn’t stand up to the standards the first one set.”  Voice casting was horrible.  I still enjoyed Peter Weller as an older Batman, and even the Joker had his moments, but overall it was nothing to write home about.

Portrayal of the Joker was wonderful, aside from the fact that he barely laughed.  He was a psychotic maniac killer with no remorse.  Other than him though, everything was wrong (and like I said, the voice could have been better – he’s no Mark Hamill).

The story begins with Batman disguised as an old hag in a store.  A thug boss named Bruno robs a convenience store.  Bruno was drawn horribly.  The design was terrible.  She wore no shirt with only swastikas over her nipples, and looked like a man.  In fact, every female in this cartoon looked transgendered.  At the same time, most of the men could have been drag queens.  I’m not sure why this was done, but it was annoying.  So Batman as the old hag takes out the goons and Bruno, but for some reason never takes a second to remove his old lady disguise.  hmmm.  Wierd at that.

Then we get to a scene with Clark Kent meeting with Bruce Wayne.  Of course Clark hasn’t aged because he is Superman, while Wayne is old.  Anyway, Clark is standing on a hill with an eagle on his arm and his shirt unbuttoned.  Hair blowing in the wind, this iconic pose makes him closely resemble Fabio more than the hero he is.  It is so cheesy, it forced me to shake my head.  At the same time, Clark is now working for the President of the United States.  By the way, this story is taking place in the 1980s with Ronald Reagan as president.  President Reagan’s portrayal is downright awful.  From voice acting to design to seeming like a dimwit, it is off on all accounts and downright offensive for some viewers I’m sure.

Finally, we get to a great scene.  When the Joker appears on a television talk show, he murders everyone there.  I can’t express how great this scene was, and you really get the feel for who the Joker really is.  On another note, Batman is a fugitive and facing off against the Gotham City Police Department.  On the roof of the building where the murders are happening, the real heroes can’t work together for five minutes, and they just leave the scene without investigating below.  Oh, did I mention that Gotham police department is terrible.  They can’t hit the broad side of a barn, and never catch their targets.

Apparently Selina Kyle, who is old and obese at this point, is running an escort service.  Her cameo here was a little misplaced, but nice to see.  While the GCPD is more focused on taking down Batman, he is chasing Joker into a tunnel of love.  The amusement park sees its share of death.  Joker killing everyone by shooting everything that moves is awesome.  Robin’s battle, though short lived, with Joker’s goon ends greatly as well.

Now we get to the battle between Joker and Bats.  When Joker gets a batarang in his eyeball, he barely flinches.  No pain at all for some reason, and he continues on as if he were wearing an eye patch.  At the end of the battle, Batman breaks Joker’s neck, but it doesn’t kill him, it only paralyzes him.  Somehow even though he can’t move, Joker manages to finish himself off by making his own neck break sideways.  Batman burns his body and is losing his grip on who his is because Joker stabbed him a dozen times in the stomach.

BATMAN SHOULD BE DEAD!  but somehow he is immortal and manages to live only to fight Superman a few days later.  That’s right I said Superman.  After being caught in a nuclear explosion (the animation here is amazing by the way), Superman has not fully recovered.  Bats and Supes duke it out, and with a little help by Green Arrow (who now has one arm), Batman beats Superman.

There is a lot I’m leaving out here, because the build up to this moment is great, but I’m not sure how he can even stand against the man of steel since his guts are still sewn together.  Ridiculous and useless fight that proved only that Batman is still a force with which to be reckoned.

What really gets me is that Alfred dies of a stroke, which makes sense, and the Wayne manor is burned to the ground.  Oh, Bruce Wayne also dies of a heart attack, but at his funeral we find out he faked his death.  Not sure how he did this cause it doesn’t explain it.  In the end, Wayne, Robin, Oliver Queen and the leftover mutants from part one build a new hideout/cave underground as a Bat-army.

SPOILERS ENDED.  Okay, so I skipped a lot of detail, but didn’t want to waste any more of my time talking about something that really disappointed me.  Bruce Timm in my opinion is the king of superhero animation, but sadly this interpretation of the graphic novel is not worth the time.  Granted, this is only my opinion, but I’m a HUGE fan of ALL the DC animation series and films, and this one has officially replaced “All Star Superman” as the worst one yet.  So here I sit, disappointed in something I had very high hopes for.  I still recommend checking out part one, but with my rating of 3 out of 10 stars, I can’t say many great things about part 2.  Please chime in with your thoughts if you check this one out.


Review: Smallville Season 11 Episode 2: Detective

5The moment in Smallville history that I’ve waited eleven years to see has finally arrived.  So the question is, was it worth it?  Here is a breakdown and review of issues #5-8 of the Smallville Season 11 comic, that make up episode 2.  This review will be FILLED WITH SPOILERS.  Here we go.

The episode begins with Lois and Clark in a playful bedroom setting in the Fortress of Solitude.  As I mentioned in the previous review, I love how they captured Lois’ personality, and Clark’s slightly more serious side.  He is so focused on his work as Superman, that he sometimes doesn’t realize how vacant toward their relationship he can sometimes be.

Meanwhile in Gotham city, a group of thugs is in negotiations with Intergang.  While waiting for their meeting, they get their asses handed to them by Nightwing.  The hero takes down the whole high tech weapon armed group single handedly, but as one man flees, he is stopped by The Batman himself, and Bats wants answers.  Here is what I think.  Gotham city is drawn the way it should be.  It’s rainy and dark, and looks like scumbags would be running the streets.  When Batman speaks, I can hear Christian Bale’s barking voice.  The way the artists made the word bubbles show that he is growling in his darker tone.  It works very well for this comic too.  The action and way that Batman and Nightwing take down the group feels just like Batman.  Here are the differences… Batman and Nightwing are wearing slightly different attire than what we are used to seeing, but it is close enough to the source material to still be true and exciting.  At first I had an issue with Nightwing not being Dick Grayson or Robin not being Batman’s sidekick, but I actually don’t mind it now.  Barbara Gordon is the one behind the Nightwing mask.  I like this for the mere fact that it gives Batman a counterpart, and adds to the variety of interactions he has to deal with.

After a brief showing of Lex and Otis speaking at Luthorcorp, and Lois at the Daily Planet, Superman discovers that a thug’s laser weaponry was manufactured by Luthorcorp.  The writers brought back Detective Dan Turpin for a few frames, and then we are brought to a lunch meeting between Lex and Bruce Wayne.  The wealthy business men are discussing Waynetech’s building of a Supercollider in Antarctica, which he is looking for partners.  When Lex declines, they are both relieved.  Barbara and Otis sit at an adjacent table eavesdropping on the conversation.  I love the business meeting, as it was necessary to explain why Bats would be in Metropolis, even though he was there to track intergang’s weapons to the same source Superman found.  What I don’t know about is how they portray Barbara here.  We know Otis is a loof, but they almost have Barbara as a little quirky and goofy.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it just seemed off in this setting.  Not to mention, they don’t explain who she is to Mr. Wayne.  Is she just another woman he is using as arm candy?  We don’t get to find out because Superman interrupts the lunch to discuss his findings with Luthor.

A small cameo by another Smallville/DC character in his jail cell is shown, and then Batman is interrogating Bruno Manheim in a different jail altogether.  Superman appears to show his distaste for Batman’s methods, but Batman is prepared with a defense.  Yes, his chest emblem is harnessing red sun energy.  The Dark Knight won’t have interference, and cracks the Man of Steel in his jaw, sending him sprawling on the floor.  —-end part 1smallville-season-11-6

Begin part 2—–The cover for this comic is definiely world’s finest at its best, but what is inside is better.  Chloe and Oliver briefly discuss the Earth 2 issue, and are still trying to figure out what is coming.  I have to say, this is killing me.  They are talking about this Crisis, and I know I will have to wait for months to find out the answer.  As long as they keep teasing it little by little, I’m fine, but I really wish they would just publish the whole episode in 1 large part instead of 4 that lasts for months.

Batman and Superman are still duking it out, but it seems to be more of a test on both their parts as they don’t really try to hurt each other.  Batman uses kryptonite centered batarangs and his red sun effect to even the odds.  As the battle escalates to the rooftop, Superman discovers what the fight really is about.  Batman uses it as a distraction.  He wanted Manheim to escape, so that Nightwing could pursue.  A quick reference to Checkmate in a few frames, and the Batwing overhead get the fanboy in me going, but even better than the World’s finest duel is when Oliver shows up to take on Nightwing.  I won’t spoil how that battle goes, but it is worth seeing.

When Superman successfully interrogates Manheim, where Batman could not, the Bat is impressed.  He is shown here in the batwing with nightwing, and apparently when he has his mask off, Batman paints the lower half of his face with black makeup in this version.  It makes his cowl appear all the darker.  I’m not sure how I feel about this either.  I get it, but what if Wayne had to show up really quick after a battle.  Does Batman really have time to put on makeup and take it off during transitions?  I doubt it.

We get a few pages of non costumed interaction, which fills in the minor plotlines nicely.  This is probably one of the best parts of this issue as far as story goes.  Okay, well that is until Superman and Batman meet again on a rooftop (I won’t spoil how Bats knows to meet there).  When the two agree that their methods are different, but they will work together, an epic handshake seals the deal.

Oliver further investigates Lex for some harassing emails that he is getting from him.  Little does he know that Tess is still in Lex’s subconscious attempting these methods of communications.

As Joe Chill, who is old, in a wheelchair and needs an oxygen tank, is confronted by Batman, the Dark Knight keeps his temper in check.  After all, this is the man who killed his parents.  I love the flashback frame here.  They made the young Joe Chill really look like Jack Nicholson in the frame where he aims at Mr. and Mrs. Wayne.  I don’t know if this is coincidence, but it is really interesting to think of an easter egg like that.  As the heroes discuss happenings with Joe Chill, a pair of villains 7shows up.  It was the perfect way to end an issue, but killed me to wait another month. —-end of issue #2

Beginning of part 3——  Lois Lane, drawn in the sexiest way with Erica Durance’s likeness confronts the Toyman, Winslow Schott, in his jail cell.  She believes he is behind some of the criminal activity, but he points her in a new direction.  The man he accuses is Oswald Loomis, who goes by the name Prankster.  So, Smallville changed his costume, but this is one of the cases where I think it works for the better.

As Prankster and Mr. Freeze (who looks awesome) attack Batman and Superman, their partenering appears to be too much.  Chill is taken out, Batman is frozen solid, and Superman is shot with kryptonite bullets.  Oliver and Nightwing help the two to get away from the authorities, but now the police believe that Batman is the one who killed Superman.  I just need to say, that I missed what the Batmobile is supposed to be.  While I enjoyed Nolan’s version, the badass car is always my preference.  This entire issue is dedicated to showing how Batman is able to get away from the authorities in order to save Superman’s life.  It is action packed, and in my opinion is the best of the four parts.  The final frame reveal is Loomis and Victor Fries in a sub zero room, where the Prankster informs Mr. Freeze that his kryptonite bullets have tracking devices in them.  Sure, Bats and Supes may have escaped, while hanging onto life’s thread, but with the villains knowing their location, we are left to wonder how they could possibly succeed. —–end part 3

Begin part 4—– Lex and his subconscious conversation with Tess is entertaining, but I wonder how long they can keep this8 up.  It seems like it is going in circles a bit.  The only real progress we’ve made at this point is that Lex tells Tess that since she is in HIS mind, he plans to find a way to access her memories, and anything he used to know before losing his own.  This would mean that he’d know EVERYTHING about Superman and his past with Clark, Oliver and everyone else.  Bad News, but good for the suspense.

Superman has had successful recovery thanks to Batman, and when he awakens, he is approached by Barbara and Lois.  Oh, and by the way, I forgot to mention in the previous part.  Superman did figure out who Batman is just by hearing his voice.  He distinguished the vibrations of his vocals and remembered hearing Bruce Wayne’s vocals in their brief meeting during the billionaire lunch.  This was a unique way to do it, and yet careless in a way on Clark’s end.  Why?  Well Lois is there, because Clark just flat out told Batman and Nightwing who he was and who Lois was.  Its good on the trust factor, but a little risky in my opinion.

During Clark’s recovery, Batman was hard at work.  He built 2 suits of armor, and tracked the villains to their hideout.  How much time has passed here?  It doesn’t say, and I wonder how he could possibly do something in so little amount of time.  I’d only assume that weeks have gone by.  Superman’s new suit is a golden colored lead suit with his “S” on the front.  This is to protect him from Kryptonite, while Batman’s new armor will shield and keep him warm from frigid temperatures.  Neither suit has a cape either.  I do enjoy the designs and variety too.

Green Arrow is questioned by police in the meantime, and Prankster betrays Mr. Freeze.  Now, Freeze is being controlled by Loomis, and is literally a walking nuclear freeze bomb that will detonate and kill everyone within a mile radius.  There is also a very creative and cool “toy” here that is a Captain Carrot action figure.  Another geek out moment on my end.

Now for the final showdown.  Superman takes on Prankster in a giant robot that sort of resembles an oversized Megaman likeness.  I’m not for the look, but the battle is pretty cool.  Of course, Supes’ new suit is destroyed, but he bests the Prankster.  In the meantime, Batman works to save Mr. Freeze’s life and those lives of the people in the city.  We get to see a real quick use of Green Arrow’s Boxing glove arrow.  It had been mentioned earlier in the series as a joke, but has since come to fruition.  Batman of course makes fun of Arrow’s new toy, but it was effective.

And what about Nightwing and Lois?  Well, they team up to kick some armed bad guy butt, and boy do they hold their own.  Well, that is until there is an explosion, that literally rocks the boat.  Superman lifting the whole yacht out of the water was nice because we got to see Batman’s reaction to such an amazing sight.

At the end, Bruce is shown in Crime Alley.  Superman finds him, and there is a brief mention of Alfred.  They basically thank each other here and Bruce offers his assistance whenever Superman might need him.  Clark says he’d offer the same, but knows Batman would never ask.  They shake one final time and part ways.

Oliver thinks about training Mia Dearden to be his full time sidekick, Speedy, but as he talks about this with Chloe it begins to snow.  This is all courtesy of Mr. Freeze’s gun which Clark is flying high over the city.  It is implied that this happens around Christmas time (and perfect because it was released in December).  As the perfect final Christmas gift, Chloe announces to Oliver that she is pregnant.

All in all, it was what I would expect from Smallville.  They created their own versions and story based on what we all know and love.  There were some down moments, but for the most part, it was everything I wanted it to be.  I’m not sure if they modeled Bruce Wayne and Barbara Gordon after any specific actors, but they fit right in with the CW “pretty person” syndrome, if you know what I mean.  I recommend picking up these issues, but do it as all 4 parts.  You will want to read straight through instead of waiting for the next issue.

Episode # 3 review of “Haunted” will come in 4 months.


Review: Batman The Dark Knight Returns Part 1

Review by Rick Pipito

I have had the pleasure of watching one of the most unique Batman stories come to life in animation.  Some die hard fans may criticize me for reviewing this movie or even think about watching it without reading the original comic that it was based upon, but I did so because I know how things often don’t translate well from page to screen.  Now that I’ve seen it, I can go back and find the miniseries and read it to see the similarities and differences.  Warning SPOILERS AHEAD!

First, I’ll list the things I didn’t like:

1) Without a shirt on, I’d think Bruce Wayne should have visible scarring.  This isn’t there or even implied.

2) When the Mutant leader calls him out of the safety of his Batmobile Tank, Batman doesn’t hesitate when he is clearly outmatched.  This isn’t very Batman like to not use his brains, but since he is much older (55 years old), I can understand his wanting to prove himself to his inner thoughts.

3) Robin / Carrie Kelley suddenly decides she wants to put on a cape and save the day with Batman.  She’s naive and young, I get that, but that is not my issue.  The problem I have is that her acrobatic and medical skills are not really addressed.  I guess they will leave this for part two since, Batman did flat out ask her.  Still it would have been nice to know.

4) IF we were to assume that this story is in modern day, then it would make Commisioner Gordon around 90 years old.  I know this because he referenced World War Two and his old war stories.  A 90 year old Commisioner would not still be active.

Okay, that’s it.  There was nothing else that I didn’t like about this feature.  So here is where I really enjoyed the movie:

1) Peter Weller was a welcome addition for Bruce Wayne/Batman’s voice.  He sounded older, and his lack of emotion rounds out the feel of who Batman is.  I admit, I was skeptical at first, but for an OLD Batman, he was perfect.

2) Gordon sitting with Wayne in the diner in the beginning established their relationship.  It was obvious that Gordon knew Wayne used to be (Batman), and addresses that he couldn’t believe he was fooled by Bruce Wayne who acted drunk while drinking Ginger Ale, even though everyone thought it was Champagne.

3) Wayne drinking actual alcohol was interesting.  This showed his human side.  Without Batman, he didn’t know how else to cope.

4) The status of his relationship with Dick Grayson was mentioned as being nonexistent, and references to Jason Todd’s death were nice as well.  (Continuity wise with the comics, this wouldn’t gel however, as Jason is now alive in print).

5) The way that Bruce decides to be Batman again is a great buildup.  His dreams, memories, newspaper headlines, two muggers trying to mug him (which he scares away, as he begs them to try to mug him), and a drunken stupor that he drank himself into were really great story points.

6) Harvey Dent.  That is all I have to say.  Two-Face still existing even after his face was surgically altered to make him look presentable again was good, but when they showed a brief glimpse of what he’d look like with his entire face mangled, that was downright frightening.

7) Batman’s age shows.  He has to use a brace to repair his broken bones, but he also hits his victims repetetively.  A younger Batman could have taken them out in half the punches.  His willingness to use guns, and his rifle grapple gun are just another point to show that he knows he’s no longer in his prime.  Climbing a rope was too much for him at one point, yet he managed.  All of this combined made it that much more interesting.

8) At one point, I really though Gordon was dead.  I was shocked, but it worked well.

9) The easter egg in the convenience store was particularly for comic fans as a copy of “Sandman,” “V For Vendetta,” and “Swamp Thing” were on the magazine racks.

10) Batman still instilled fear in his old age.  One person even committed suicide after a brief confrontation.  That is how intimidating he remained.

11) The Batmobile/Battank reminded me of the Tumbler from the Chris Nolan trilogy, only cooler.  He took on an entire army of mutants with this vehicle and although I thought he was killing everyone, it seems he still kept true to his own morals by using rubber bullets.

12) The second battle between the mutant leader and Batman redeems Batman from his first.  This really shows that Bats fights with his brain.  The whole battle is strategically planned, and he takes his enemy down one limb at a time.  In my opinion, it was the most entertaining animated or live action fight I’ve ever seen in a Batman toon or movie.

Other notes of interest.

1) Lana Lang apparently has eaten way too much (not that I have a problem with overweight people because I don’t).  Lana was just known as this smallville girl who later did some journalism and fashion work.  She was shown here as the acting editor of the Daily Planet.  This is definitely a setup for Superman to appear in part 2. (he did in the comic)

2) James “Jimmy” Olsen was mentioned briefly.  (just another hint at part 2 I guess)

3) Before the bat signal was reactivated, Gordon got ahold of Batman on an old, red rotary phone.  This HAD to be a tribute to the Adam West Batman series, as that was how Gordon used to call him.

4) Batman wears 2 outfits.  The first is his classic Blue and gray when he first comes back.  After being beaten by the Mutant leader the first time, Batman dons a darker (black and gray) outfit that is more modern.

My review? Bruce Timm continues to bring us genius work.   I’m going all out and giving it a 10 out of 10.  Even with the things I slightly disliked, I can’t say they bother me that much.  I also have  to hope that those things will be addressed in part 2.


Rick Pipito Reviews: The Dark Knight Rises

It has taken me a few hours, but now I can breathe and tell you what I thought about The Dark Knight Rises.  My rating right off the “bat” (pun intended) is a 9 out of 10.  There were a couple problems I had, but I got over them quickly, and I’ll explain below.  I am going to go in depth about quite a few of the MAJOR SPOILERS, to perhaps open a discussion.  If you’d like a review without spoilers, check out my brother’s review.  Again, I will have to warn you that there will be Spoilers after this paragraph.

“And here we go,”… again.  Christopher Nolan has given us an epic work of art.  This whole trilogy as individual installments was outstanding, but as a whole, they are EPIC!  That being said, he has stayed true (for the most part) to the fans of the Batman universe and for one final time, he has pulled no punches.  I noticed three things that stood out to me.  Elements of this story were taken from four major plots from the 1990s and early 2000s.  (Knightfall, Tim Drake, No Man’s Land, and the Talia/Bane relationship.)

It has been 8 years since the death of Harvey Dent, and Bruce Wayne has become a recluse.  Batman is no longer needed by the city, and Wayne is basically considered Howard Hughes at this point.  Here was my first issue with this point.  Could Batman really stay out of it for that long?  It seemed like too long of a gap for me.  Batman became obsessed in the comics with protecting Gotham.  So why can I ignore this?  Because he didn’t need to be the bat anymore.  The Harvey Dent act made organized crime extinct.

From the explosive opening on the plane, Tom Hardy really shows how menacing Bane is.  Okay, so my second problem with the movie was that there was nothing called “Venom” running through tubes to beef up Bane into a monstrosity.  Then I saw the movie, and accepted the changes greatfully.  Though I would have loved to see that, I think the choice to alter his story slightly was a wise one.  His background of being born and raised in prison was kept true to the comics, with the added part of him needing the mask.  The mask could have been talked about more, but it was highlighted to the point of knowing that it kept him from feeling any pain.

Still not convinced?  Okay, let me put it this way.  Say you get into a fight with someone who is visibly a lot stronger than you.  There have been plenty of times when the smaller person wins because of speed and size.  A smaller person can maneuver around someone and manage to land more hits to take down his/her larger opponent.  Now, take the same situation, but substitute someone that can experience no pain for the muscle bound one.  Now its a whole different battle.  How the hell do you take down someone who you can’t even hurt?

The Camera angles and vicious fight sequences between Bane and Batman made Tom Hardy really look monstrous anyway, so there was no need for the steroid compound.  He even punched a chunk of concrete off of a pillar at one point.  Oh, and as a fan, I will admit, I had a tear in my eye when he lifted Batman over his head and literally Broke The Bat!  It was the exact same scene from the comics, and replayed nicely.  I couldn’t believe it.

Christian Bale also did an amazing job as usual.  I still want to giggle a little when I hear his Batman Bark, but overall, his performance was great.  Bruce Wayne had nothing left to live for, and the emotional scene between him and Alfred, where he tells Alfred “goodbye,” had half the people in the theater choked up.  The battle Batman deals with in this movie isn’t just Bane either.  He is dealing with his own self managment.  He has shut himself out from the world, and has to realize at his deepest darkest hour, what he needed to do.  Bane made the Joker look like a joke.  He was a terrorist mastermind that even fooled the world’s greatest detective.

Speaking of detectives, John Blake was an unexpected surprise.  Joseph Gordon Levitt was probably the highlight of the movie for me.  I knew something was up, and from the second he told the background story of his parents and the foster care by Bruce Wayne’s donations, I turned to my wife and said, “Holy $#!+.  That’s Robin.”  Yes, his name may have been changed, but he literally was Tim Drake from the comics.  My suspicions were placed in concrete when Bruce told him that he needed a mask to protect his loved ones, and gave him the coordinates to the batcave.  And yes, his first name was revealed to be Robin.

So Batman had a sidekick, and so did catwoman… well, sort of.  To my knowledge, they never said what Selina Kyle’s roommate/thief friend’s name was, but she most definitely was Holly Robinson from the comics.  A short and fun role that was worked in well.  But the highlight here isn’t the sidekick, it’s the main act.  Anne Hathaway was the best Selina Kyle/Catwoman I’ve ever seen.  Don’t get me wrong.  Michelle Pfeiffer was excellent, but I feel that Anne really made the performance top.  The head piece and hair could have been done differently for the cat look, and I missed the nails and whip, but she kicked major ass.  Both the good guys and the bad guys, really weren’t ready for the beating that she could dish out.

So other than the three main performances, what else can be said?  Well, all of the supporting characters (Gary Oldman’s Jim Gordon, Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox, and Michael Caine’s Alfred Pennyworth) were a pleasure to watch.  Speaking of pleasure, there was also Marion Cottilard as Miranda Tate.  I figured it out, from the second that Ra’s Al Ghul was mentioned and Wayne and Tate slept together, that this wasn’t who it appeared to be.  I knew she was Talia Al Ghul, but wasn’t expecting the twist (quite literally) that happened when she revealed her true colors.  I only wish that if the series were to go on from here, that Talia would have survived with child of Bruce Wayne.  Afterall, Damien Wayne (their child) is now the current Robin in the comics, so it would have been something extra, but not needed.

Liam Neeson is another one.  He showed up in a brief cameo as Ra’s Al Ghul.  I loved how he explained that he was immortal in more ways than one, and that it was just left that way.  On the same note, Cillian Murphy reprised his role as Jonathan Crane, aka Scarecrow.  This time he was judge at blackgate prison.  I only have this to say…  I think that if Heath Ledger was still alive, this role would have been given to him as the Joker.  It would have made more sense to have the joker carrying out these sentences in the way they were portrayed, and had Murphy do something else to complete it, but still, it brought a smile to my face, regardless of who was sitting on the judge’s chair.

One final role that I wasn’t expecting was Roland Daggett.  In the animated series from the nineties, I recall the one episode with Daggett.  How do I remember this?  Because in that episode, he was the man directly responsible for the creation of Clayface.  He didn’t have a large role and there was no clayface, but it showed that he could be brought in at some point.  Another quick throw out was when the police laughed at Gordon’s claim that there was an army of mercenaries in the sewers.  Someone said something along the lines of “Sure, and I guess you want me to believe there is a giant alligator down there too.”  This was an obvious reference to Killer Croc.

Look, for those of you who might have a problem with the ending, tell me why…  I mean, it is obvious that Batman is not dead.  He was seen in Florence with Selena Kyle, Gordon had a repaired batlight, and he had a new protege (adopted son) to keep an eye on.  It wasn’t Batman that died, it was Bruce Wayne.  Don’t you see?  This was a potential setup by Chris Nolan so that someone can take these loose ends and run with them.  This trilogy was all about Batman beginning.  Now he is established.  Bruce Wayne doesn’t need to be anymore.  Batman is the key.  He always was.  It was that way in the comics as well.  Who knows, maybe a little Helena Kyle (Huntress) could be on their way as well somewhere down the line.

From the number of days it took Wayne to heal his back to the severing of Bane’s tubes, this movie may have altered a few things, but stayed true all around.  My brother mentioned the vehicles in his review.  I disagree with his view.  The Tumbler and Batpod were damn cool, and though I wasn’t too happy about the Bat, it definitely gave me a temporary satisfaction for the batwing.

My final thoughts are this.  Please PLEASE PLEASE… whoever is in charge at Warner Brothers/DC, do NOT start this franchise over!  Everyone wants to see what happens next.  You now have a Justice League movie in the works.  This is your first step.  Batman exists in a universe.  Use that universe.  Perhaps Wayne will come off of his sabatical/fake death once the world needs heroes.  You can recast him if you need to, but keep Nolan’s universe alive.  I will be sad to hear if this truly is the end of such an epic era of Batman.

The Dark Knight has risen to the challenge of what The Avengers has brought to the table.  DC has hit as hard as Marvel, now let’s watch each side continue to bring us the most entertaining films of all time!  Please, if you have any comments, make them.  I’d love to get a discussion going on everyone’s thoughts.


Who is the real Dark Knight?

In honor of The Dark Knight Rises being released this week, I’ve decided to take a look back at Batman in film.  Of course animated shows like “The Batman”, “Batman The Brave and The Bold,” and the animated series in the seventies showcased the world’s greatest detective, but which actor has portrayed him the best throughout the years?  Let’s take a look.

“Batman” first took to the screen in 1943, and was portrayed by Lewis Wilson.  Not many people today have seen this incarnation (myself included), but it broke ground for the character making it on film.  His costume look like a bad pair of pajamas today, but for its time, this was stunning.  The look of Alfred in the comics actually changed to match this version from what originally had been an overweight butler to the thin version we all know and love today.

Six years later, another 15 chapter series was made starring Robert Lowery.  This time it was called “Batman And Robin,” and though this didn’t feature any of the hero’s popular rogues either, Vicki Vale was a prominent character alongside Robin making his debut.  Batman’s chest logo was slightly different, and his ears resembled more like Devil horns than the traditional look, but at least this guy made it onto dvd years later.

Decades later, Adam West brought Batman to the screen in a campy series and movie.  They even did a reuinion movie a few years back.  Pretty much all of Batman’s classic rogues gallery made it this time, as well as Batgirl.  Sure, it may have been cheesy, but it was highly addictive to watch and safe for kids.  If it weren’t for Adam West, Batman might not have quite the allure that he has today.  This show is what really brought attention to the character.

A couple more decades passed and we were given an entirely unseen version of the character.  Michael Keaton portrayed him in 1989’s “Batman,” and again reprised the role in 1992’s “Batman Returns”.  This defined the character as we know him today and included the villains: Joker, Penguin and Catwoman.

For the next film, “Batman Forever,” his predecessor did not want to reprise the role, so Val Kilmer took over the suit.  Gotham city took on a more colorful tone, and some of the campiness was reintroduced to make it a little less over the top dark.  Robin, The Riddler and Two Face were introduced to this version.

After one film, he bailed and George Clooney took over the role in “Batman and Robin.”  Even with Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, Bane and Batgirl being introduced, the dialogue and character changes upset enough fans to make this one of the most hated films of all time.  Still, Clooney had a decent look and brought the hard jawed characteristic back to the character.  There was also another two sequels in the works.  “Batman Triumphant” would have brought the scarecrow and harley quinn around, as well as Jack Nicholson back as the Joker, but that was thrown out the window when the fourth one failed miserably.  There would have then been a “Batman: Dark Knight,” that would have seen Clooney solo again as Batman tried to prove his innocence.  Apparently Man-Bat would have been the only villain, making the city believe it was the hero commiting the crimes.  Clooney was supposed to be involved with both of these films which never saw the light of day.

During the time of these four movies, and beyond we were lucky enough to have another animated series.  I’m only including Kevin Conroy in this because he has defined the perfect voice of Batman and Bruce Wayne for over two decades now.  It began with “Batman The Animated Series” went on to other animated DC Universe projects and recently he has done the voice for the “Arkham Asylum” video games.

Many fan films have been created over the years, and actor Clark Bartram was chosen by a lot of people to portray a buffer looking Batman for any hollywood movie in the works.  Of course, he never was taken seriously by film makers, but he starred in the “Batman: Dead End” and “World’s Finest” short indy films.  You can watch these on Youtube and other online sources.

Finally, we come to the current Batman.  Christian Bale has portrayed the character in “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight,” and “The Dark Knight Rises”.  Ra’s Al Ghul, The Scarecrow, Joker, Two-Face, Catwoman, Bane, and even a brief cameo by Mr. Zsaszz came into this much darker and realistic version.  Bale has taken his batvoice to a whole new level, but has also upped the stakes with his portrayal of badassery.

All in all, it is a difficult choice for myself.  Michael Keaton is personally my favorite interpretation of the character, but cannot deny the awesomeness of Bale, Conroy, and yes Adam West.  Remember, there have been many different shades of Batman in comics over the years, so even the campy things can’t be ruled out.  Who is your favorite Batman?  Vote below, and feel free to discuss.


Master Combatant Poll Results

A few weeks ago, we opened the next chapter in our comic book battles wondering who would be the best hand to hand combatant in the following match up…  DC Comic’s has Batman, Marvel has the Taskmaster, sCrypt Comics brought Kristoff the Wiser, and a voter added Shujinko from the Mortal Kombat series…  So what were the results?

Marvel tanked in this round, with the Taskmaster being beaten with no votes.  Shujinko was then quickly beaten down by sCrypt’s Kristoff the Wiser.  Kristoff and The Dark Knight went head to head for some time, but in the end, even Kristoff’s vampiric skills couldn’t outmatch the Batman.

We will see Batman take to the screen this Friday in another great battle, but until the Dark Knight Rises debuts in theaters, I hope you all were satisfied with these results.  (I personally was hoping for Kristoff, but I’m a little biased.) lol.

Thanks for voting, and stay tuned for our next epic match up.


SDCC 2012: DC Coverage

Here are some pretty awesome highlights from DC’s panel coverage at San Diego Comic Con.  Obviously it is not ALL of the coverage as I am not there, but these are some of the things that caught my eye and interest.

A new Poster has been released for Man Of Steel, which I’ve included in this post.  Footage and Q & A panels were full, and it IS confirmed that the first official trailer will play with The Dark Knight Rises next weekend.  What did people think of the footage they saw?  Overall consensus seems to be that this will be unlike any incarnation of Superman we’ve seen yet on the screen.  It is a very dark take, but true to the character.  Though much of the plot remains shrouded in mystery, the trailer has enough in it to make you want more.

The Dark Knight Rises only has one week until release, and a reporter at www.mania.com as well as some of the other comic book movie sites have seen an early screening.  Although they were sworn to secrecy through tons of pages of nondisclosure agreements, the overall thought is this…  The trailers spoil NOTHING.  This is unlike any of the third chapters we’ve seen on screen so far (ala Spiderman 3, X-Men 3, Superman 3, batman forever.)  It may be considered the best entry yet, and if you thought that the Dark Knight was dark, then perhaps you should not take your kids to see TDKR.  It is said to be much more violent and adult oriented than any of the others.

Arrow debuts in October on the WB.  What has been shown so far of footage has grabbed my interest.  It is very Nolanesque in that it is based in the “real world”.  It has been announced that you should keep your eyes open past the pilot episode for many hero and villain appearances.  Most of these will probably be B listers or characters not showing off SUPER powers.  For example if Superman were to appear (which he isn’t supposed to at this point) but if he were, then he would probably show up as Clark Kent, and not exhibit any of his abilities.  I like this idea, and look forward to the possibilites this show has to offer.  There is also a free digital comic tie in download available at: www.comixology.com

Finally, Anthony Ruivivar has been announced as the voice of Bruce Wayne/Batman in the coming animated series “Beware The Batman.”

There you go.  I will keep looking for more info that I feel is necessary to post, and update accordingly.