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Posts tagged “DC Animated movies

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.

 

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Review: Justice League War

Justice-League-War-2013-Movie-PosterDC comics has put out some of the BEST animations dating all the way back to Batman The Animated Series.  Sure there have been a few duds here and there, but overall they’ve been nice.  Here’s how I believe Justice League War fared.  Be warned… There ARE SPOILERS AHEAD!  If you don’t want to be spoiled, scroll down to the final paragraph for my rating.

Where to begin?  How about voice acting?  Batman was a bit different than normally, but I liked what was brough here.  The new voice is easily catchy and works well.  Darkseid’s voice was perhaps the BEST in a long time.  I loved how the gravelly look of his skin sort of echoed through his booming voice.  Other than those two, I didn’t feel anyone stood out as different enough to mention or necessarily bad, so once again I give Andrea Romano my approval for voice casting.

Animation:  The new 52 outfits were okay.  I didn’t mind the modern look, but I did have a few things that bothered me.  Parademons looked like garbage, as did Cyborg’s initial design.  I wanted to know what was going on.  My son was confused as well, and said, “Daddy, that’s not Cyborg.  It’s a giant robot.”  My daughter, more fascinated with Wonder Woman wondered a few things as well.  One of her comments echoed in my mind before she said it.  Wonder Woman didn’t look all that beautiful.  I’m not saying she has to be a sex symbol, but Wonder Woman is supposed to appear pretty.  I get the amazonian warrior thing, but to me, her face wasn’t animated all that well.  At least not as good as past interpretations.  Some of the CG didn’t gel with the animation in parts of the battle, but overall the animation wasn’t bad.  I had more of a problem with the designs than anything.

Story:  Sigh.  I now know why people despise the New 52.  This was NOT a good story, and had many flaws.  First off, why was a Parademon dressed like Batman in the beginning?  It made no sense and was ignored throughout the rest of the story.  Then Wonder Woman again.  I know she’s new to our world and customs, but damn if she didn’t seem like an idiot.  If a tempermental and ill educated 16 year old (not an Amazonian leader) wore the wonder woman attire, that is what you’d have here.  Flat out?  She seemed like a moron with a teenage crush on Superman because he was “so strong.”  Green Lantern’s outbursts were another thing.  I know Hal Jordan is a sarcastic and cocky guy, but this version of Hal was not very bright despite his emerald glow.  Even with an untended broken arm, he was going to go back into battle against Darkseid… oh, and since when did he know how to set a broken limb?  I didn’t know that the green Lantern ring could perfectly set broken bones too.  Then there is Superman….

So Superman now just attacks people he doesn’t know?  Green Lantern and Batman were immediately perceived as threats, and he damn near tried to kill them.  Speaking of, he killed Desaad (the Emperor Palpatine look alike) with a neck snap.  WTF?!   And Billy Batson is now a punk thief who just so happened to shout “Shazam” as he was going to bludgeon a parademon.  Oh, right, I guess Captain Marvel (Shazam) is now just an accidental origin that suddenly knows how to be a hero.  Wisdom of Solomon or Wit of bad writers?  I’m going with the latter.  I wasn’t aware he could shoot lightning from his hands now either.

Flash, Batman and Cyborg were all good in the movie, but as I mentioned I hated Cyborg’s initial design.  Darkseid was less threat and more destroyer however.  I enjoyed seeing him destroy everything, but he seemed too powerful to allow a stab in both eyes.  Yes, they stabbed his eyes out.  Common sense would tell you that Wonder Woman’s first sword thrust into his right eye would also shish kabob his brain judging by how deep the blade went, but I guess Darkseid has no brain now either.  The other question is if Wonder Woman and the others don’t hesitate to kill the Parademons, why wouldn’t then they just kill Darkseid too.  They could have at this point… instead they stuck a crowbar in his other eye.  Ugh.  Should I continue?

Oh yes, then Cyborg (who basically is one of Darkseid’s computers at this point) closes the portals to Apokolips, but upon closing them, they act as black holes, but they only suck in the Parademons.. nothing else.  No cars, nothing.  Just Parademons.  The final battle against Darkseid was weak too.  I felt as though I was watching 7 Ghostbusters try to wrangle a ghost into a trap with their combined crossing of streams.  Oh wait, that’s another franchise.  And don’t get me started on that Super 7 comment.

Yes, I’ve become increasingly angrier as I’ve written this just thinking about it all.  Maybe it was because I just reviewed JLA Trapped In Time as well.  One GOOD thing that can be said is that there was a post credits scene that showed Ocean Master rising from the depths with a dead Atlantean in his arms.  I guess this means we are getting a New 52 shared dcanimated universe now.  I am eager to see an Aquaman stand alone animated movie that follows this up, but I really don’t care to see this League again on screen unless something is done to correct the monstrosity that was War.

I feel as if DC has hired a bunch of high school kids to do their work at this point.  Poor dialogue and a shoddy plotline scream inexperience and lack of care.  Call me extremely disappointed.  3 out of 10 sCrypt coffins is all I can give this one, and the animation is really why I rate it that high.  What did you think?  Did you agree or do you feel my review is too harsh?

 


Review: Justice League Flashpoint Paradox

JusticeLeagueTheFlashpointParadoxJustice League Flashpoint Paradox is the newest DC animated movie.  I’ll briefly review this dvd, but there will be some spoilers ahead, so be warned.  I’ll try not to spoil too much.

The Flash has always been one of my absolute favorite DC comics characters (especially Barry Allen as the Flash).  This filled that inner need to see his version of the speedster on screen again.  We start off with Barry as a child, before he had the lab accident that created his abilities.  This whole childhood flashback was a perfect prologue to our story.

Following this scene, we get a battle with Flash’s rogues.  The highlight isn’t Mirror Master, Captain Boomerang, or Captain Cold however.  It is when Professor Zoom (The Reverse Flash) shows up.  I had a bit of chills watching Flash stand his own ground, and then finally lose the battle.  When the Justice League arrives to help, it got even better.

This was not the highlight though.  In the next part, Barry wakes up in an alternate reality where his mother never died, he never became the Flash, Bruce Wayne was shot instead of his parents (leaving his mother an insane version of the Joker, and his Father, an alcoholic Batman.  and Chaos all around.  Here are my problems with this reality…

Aquaman and Wonder Woman are the villains in this story.  This normally wouldn’t be an issue for me, as I can see why it would work, but the lack of explanation as to why they are willing to wage war on everyone else seems to be an annoyance.  There is also a secret weapon that Aquaman has (Captain Atom is chained up).   It is never explained as to why, and how he will just go nuclear when the time comes.

All that aside, this was a very brutal reality.  Barry convinces Batman to help him recreate the lab experiment that created the Flash.  After suffering third degree burns and a failed attempt, Barry goes for it again, only to have it work.  This was disturbing on many levels, but really nice to see him as the unselfish hero he is.  I loved it for both these aspects.

So the battle continues as Wonder Woman and Aquaman go all out war on each other.  Hell breaks loose, and we get a cool little cameo by an alternate Justice league and other heroes including Etrigan and The Shazam kids.  Oh wait I almost forgot…  Superman is in this reality, but I don’t want to spoil his presence in this world.  You have to see it to believe it.  Really cool.

My favorite parts are at the end though.  When Zoom arrives and he and Flash have their one on one battle, where the “True cause” of this reality is revealed.  Seeing The Flash tap into the speed force, as well as Batman (the real Batman once everything is set right) actually shed a tear and cry, was breathtaking.

So the ratings?  Well, stay through the credits because we kind of get a glimpse of what might be coming next in a short clip.  I’d give Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox an 8 out of 10.  Not the best DC animated movie to date, but among the contenders, and definitely one of my favorites.


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.


Babbling About Doom

Review by Rick Pipito

This week brought us the release of the newest DC Comics’ animated project, “Justice League: Doom.”  The story is based on the comic “JLA: Tower Of Babel.”  I have not read the Babel story, but Doom was probably one the best DC animations to date.  Be warned there are SPOILERS AHEAD…

The story premise is that Batman has a backup plan to take down each member of the League in case they go rogue.  As one of the only nonsuperpowered members of the JLA, I can immediately see why he would do this.  I’ve always known Batman to have a contingency plan for everything, but what would happen if a villain were to get his hands on these secrets?

While the Royal Flush gang is committing a robbery, the League shows up to thwart their plans.  Ten, Jack, Queen, King and Ace are well animated here and though their roles are minor compared to the rest of the story, they set the stage.  All previous incarnations of the RF Gang seemed to not matter that much.  They were always taken down too easily.  In this case they were as well, but it took the whole Justice League to do so.  Part of this is because someone has supplied the Royal Flush with advanced technology.

As they are carried off to prison, Batman returns to his cave injured in the fight.  There is a real quick glimpse of something in his rearview mirror, but it disappears.  Unlike Batman, he shrugs it off as something in his mind.  This is where he is mistaken.  Mirror Master sends one of his holograms through his mirror and is able to hack the batcave’s console.  I’m glad they did something with Mirror Master to boost him up a little.  I’m not talking about his redesigned costume, I mean he always seemed to be one of the “B” villains.  In Doom, he is more of an “A”.  In fact, this can be said about a few of the villains save for Bane and Metallo.

With the secrets in hand he returns to his boss and meets with a few other archenemies of the Justice League.  Vandal Savage has arranged this meeting to form his new Legion of Doom.  Okay, here is one of the great parts of the story.  They go through explaining briefly, the origin of Vandal Savage and why he is over 80,000 years old and can’t die.  The details as to how remain sketchy, but his whole origin is there.  So where are they meeting?  None other than the swamp where the Hall of Doom has often been portrayed.  The reimagining of the hall is also another really nice nostalgiac point here.

At first I was a little disappointed by the lack of Justice Leaguers and Legion of Doom members, but I understand why they cut down the amount from the original comic.  There is just no way they could fit all of that into an animated movie and have it be under two hours long.  Still, my heart ached for it slightly.

After the plans have been set, the villains seek out to destroy their hero archenemies.  Each of these baddies has been taken down countless times by their counterparts, but this time they get even.  I’ll make it brief in explaining.

Bane buries Bruce Wayne alive in his parents’ grave.  Not only has he “broken the bat”, which he references (meaning that this takes place after the “Knightfall” storyline), but now he has broken Wayne as well.

Ma’alefa’ak poisons Jonn Jonzz and lights him on fire.  Jonn reverts to his Martian Manhunter shape and begins burning alive.

Cheetah poisons Wonder Woman forcing her to fight illusions in her mind to the point of near heart failure.

Mirror Master manages to strap a bomb on the Flash’s (Barry Allen) wrist.  Think of the movie “Speed” here and you will know what the bomb is going to do.

Star Sapphire convinces Hal Jordan that he has failed in saving lives.  Hal then can not power his Green Lantern ring because his will is broken.

Metallo manages to shoot Superman with a Kryptonite bullet.

So, now what?  The Legion has won and Savage offers each member their own piece of land to conquer when he blows up a third of the Earth’s population.  How does he do this?  Well, he plans to use a rocket that will leave a magnetic trail.  Once it impacts with the Sun, a large solar flare will follow the trail back to Earth and wipe out the whole side facing the star.  Realizing that Vandal Savage does not die (which the theory is tested in a cool way by one of the Legion members), they have no choice but to join his cause.

Here is one of the weak points of the story.  Batman manages to escape from his burial.  This would be damn near impossible to pull off, and quite frankly, I’m still not sure how he did it, but I’ll suspend disbelief.  Once he begins to put the pieces of the puzzle together, he and Cyborg manage to reassemble the team and save them from their ultimate doom.

When the heroes are able to regroup, they attack the Legion in the Hall of Doom.  A fight ensues and you can guess the victor.  Also, how they stop the flare from reaching Earth is a nice visual as well and shows the limitations of even the Green Lantern’s ring.

At the end, Cyborg is made a new member of the Justice League and Batman quits because no one sees eye to eye with why he made these contingency plans, and why he will make them again.  Another downer in my mind here is okay, Bats has always been a loner, but to let him walk off is insane.  The League just lets him go (all except Superman who seems to be the voice of reason here).  My question is “why can’t the heroes see how valuable Batman is to the team.”  If he can singlehandedly take down every one of them, then they should try to see his point of view instead of just downright chastising him.

While doing a little research I found these differences between the animated film and the original graphic novel:  1) Vandal Savage is used in place of Ra’s Al Ghul.  This is probably because Ra’s has been overused as a villain ever since Batman Begins made him a more mainstream character. 2) Aquaman is in the graphic novel and is given some of the Scarecrow’s fear gas to make him afraid of the water.  Without going near water, he will die in a matter of hours.  3) Plastic man is frozen in the graphic novel and shattered with a hammer. 4)  Green Lantern in the comic version is Kyle Raynor, and is rendered blind by his own ring. 5) Wally West Flash is in the graphic novel and is hit by a bullet that forces him to have seizures at the speed of light.  6) Superman is not hit by a bullet in the graphic novel.  Instead, his skin becomes transparent from red kryptonite and his organs are exposed to direct sunlight, which can be deadly.  7) Finally, Talia Al Ghul plays the saving part in the comics that Cyborg did in this dvd release.  There are other changes as well, but those are the major ones I thought were noteworthy.

The original voice castings from the previous Batman and Superman animated series and Justice League cartoons have reunited to do this movie.  For that alone, this dvd is worth buying.  The animation and designs are something new for each character, but closely resemble those in the current “Young Justice” animated series.  With all factors involved, I give this a 9 out of 10.  I will read the print version when I get my hands on a copy just to be able to do a better comparison.  Until then, I suggest you go grab your copy and tell me what you think…