The works of Award winning author, Rick Pipito, and more

Posts tagged “Wonder Woman

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?

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Review: Wonder Woman

Wonder_Woman_(2017_film)It’s no secret that the DCEU of movies has met with harsh criticism, and in some cases rightfully so.  Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman were split down the middle by fans and Suicide Squad was an absolute disaster.  Even before those the films were less than perfect.  Bad interpretations of villains in the previous Batman movies, a heavily CGI Green Lantern film, and the 5 prior Superman films were only good for the first two.  So the track record of DC films hasn’t been anything spectacular over the years.  Sure there were high points, but it really had me worry for Wonder Woman.

Then I saw it, and while the story felt similar to Captain America the First Avenger, it was Gal Gadot who really made this a great watch.  The actress is not only stunning, but connects with audiences on an emotional end, and then turns into a complete badass.  Chris Pine as Steve Trevor added a great amount of chemistry and humor needed.

The supporting cast did well, and the visual effects with the lasso were straight from the pages of the comic books.  The director’s decision to add more color to Wonder Woman’s costume was a smart one as well.  It made her stand out more in a very cold looking era film.

My complaints would be minor overall but still bothersome.  Ares was a great villain, but I saw the twist coming from the moment the actor stepped on screen.  It was way too predictable.  The over usage of Wonder Woman’s theme song grew tiresome, and some of the Amazonian fights looked off in the CGI department.

What I did like is that for the most part this was a true interpretation of the character.  I’d watch Gal Gadot in anything, but the comic fan in me couldn’t be happier.  I’m not sure I enjoyed the sort of force blast she showed with her gauntlets, but I think this was to show how she can ricochet most attacks that way.

Finally, DC films has something to list as their best movie to date (Yes that includes all other movies mentioned above).  We now have a female hero who is both a princess and warrior hero.  I give Wonder Woman 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think?


A Gift From sCrypt to Homemade Delish

A note by Rick Pipito

As you may or may not know, the wife of sCrypt Comics’ co-founder Rick Pipito, is a master in the kitchen.  Her expertise in food, beer and wine has attracted a large audience in the past year, bringing her up close with the likes of Lidia Bastianich, Mario Batalli, Anne Burrell, and more.  She has also been a contestant on ABC’s The Chew & NBC’s 10 Show Top Philly Chef, as well as had access to major food, wine and beer press events.  What does this have to do with our blog?  Nothing.  BUUUUTTT, in my travels to the comic book store, I found something of the perfect gift for her tastes and mine.  Behold, A Wonder Woman apron.  I’ve been wanting the Batman one for myself for when I cook on the grill, but since she is much more skilled than I in the likes of kitchen mastery, I felt she needed one first.  You can find these character aprons at many comic book retailers and online.

If you are a food, wine or beer person, or know someone that is, please check out her blog as well and follow her.  Send her a line, say hi, and tell her where you heard about her.  www.homemadedelish.com.  Roberta has had a great amount of creative input and criticisms in my work, and I’m proud to have her in my life.

Thanks


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…