Archive for Barbara Gordon

Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Since his last encounter against Batman, Mr. Freeze has found a home in the Arctic and started a family (of sorts) with the still cryogenically-encased Nora, an Inuit boy named Kunac, and two pet polar bears, Hotchka and Shaka. Nora’s condition begins to rapidly deteriorate due to a submarine accidentally emerging from underwater directly underneath them, shattering her containment vessel. Freeze returns to Gotham City with his companions, and enlists the help of Dr. Gregory Belson to find a cure. Belson determines that Nora needs an organ transplant, but due to her rare blood type there are no suitable donors available.

Freeze declares that they will use a live donor, even though it means the donor will die in the process. Belson is at first reluctant to kill an innocent girl, but Freeze bribes him with a gold nugget and even more gold from an entire vein in the Arctic that will put an end to Belson’s financial problems. Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) is a perfect match, and Freeze learns from her roommate that she is at a restaurant with her boyfriend, Dick Grayson (Robin). Freeze attacks the restaurant and kidnaps Barbara, taking her to an abandoned oil rig where he and Belson are hiding. Freeze and Belson explain the situation to Barbara, who claims that she is willing to help Nora for the “blood transfusion”, but not at the oil rig, prompting Freeze to keep Barbara imprisoned. The time for the operation comes, Barbara realizes that they are lying when they say she’ll need to be put under for the simple operation and escapes with the help of Kunac. Belson gives pursuit and almost catches her, before the arrival of Batman and Robin.

Freeze follows, and in the ensuing confrontation, Belson accidentally shoots one of the fuel tanks and starts a rapidly-spreading fire as Freeze traps Batman and Robin. Freeze insists that Belson perform the operation, despite the oil rig blazing and ready to explode, but Belson betrays Freeze and attempts to escape alone, only to be killed by falling wreckage. Freeze’s leg is broken, but he tells Batman and Robin to save Nora and Kunac first, along with Barbara. Nora, Kunac and Barbara are taken to safety in the Batwing, but Batman fails to save the weakened Freeze in time, as the platform collapses beneath them, hitting him in the shoulder, and sending Freeze plummeting into the ocean below.

Batman manages to get back to the Batwing and get aboard just before the oil rig finally explodes, but Freeze escapes just in time, holding onto the swimming Hotchka and Shaka. Freeze then returns with his polar bears to the Arctic to resume his life alone, having frozen his leg in an ice cast, watching through a window he sees on a television in a research station that Nora has been revived after an organ transplant operation funded by Wayne Enterprises, moving him happily to tears.

REVIEW:

 Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero is another direct-to-DVD (video at the time) film in the universe of the 90s Batman animated series. If you ever saw that series, then you know how well crafted it was. Picture that on a larger scale and you have what this film brings to the table.

The animation here can be seen as “cartoony”, but it was supposed to be. For goodness sakes, this was the 90s, a time when everything didn’t need to look real.

In contrast to the cartoony look, though, the story is more on the mature side. I mean, there’s nothing R-rated, but Mr. Freeze does get a bit more, pardon the pun, cold-hearted with the way he goes about things.

One of the negatives for this film, though, is how little Batman was in it. This actually should have been titles Robin & Mr. Freeze: Subzero, because he is the main character, here. I’m glad we got some real Robin action. I could’ve done with more Batgirl, but that’s just being picky.

The action is what we’ve come to expect from comic book action animation. I would love to say that they did something groundbreaking, but there wasn’t anything fancy about this flick.

In the end, Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero comes off as a glorified Batman: The Animated Series episode. Having said that, one must remember the high standards of that series, so a glorified episode is not an insult.

I liked this film a lot. It isn’t my favorite in the scope of all the Batman films I’ve seen, but it is quite enjoyable, especially if you were a fan of the old animated series. This is definitely a good film to watch if you’re not into the darker fare that Batman has evolved into these days (not counting Brave & the Bold).

4 out of 5 stars

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Some 40 years after Batman: The Animated Series, the Joker, as young as he was in the previous series, has returned and taken over a faction of the Jokerz, a street gang devoted to the Clown Prince of Crime’s image. On his orders, they steal high-tech equipment. One heist coincides with Bruce Wayne’s formal announcement of his return to active leadership of Wayne Enterprises, which reveals the Joker to the world and Bruce in particular. Despite Terry McGinnis’ intervention, the Joker escapes.

Bruce insists that it cannot be the real Joker, whose death he claims to have witnessed decades before, yet all evidence points to him being the genuine article. Terry speculates that Bruce killed the Joker to prevent him from committing a particularly heinous crime. Bruce, unwilling to let Terry face the Joker, demands that he return the Batsuit, to which Terry complies after a heated argument.

Later on, as Terry is dancing with his girlfriend Dana at a nightclub, he is attacked by the Jokerz, who have been sent by the Joker to kill him. At the same time, the Joker himself ambushes and attacks Bruce in the Batcave, leaving him for dead. Dana is injured, but Terry defeats the Jokerz and Dana is taken to Gotham General Hospital. Terry rushes to Wayne Manor, and finds Bruce half-dead from Joker venom. Terry quickly administers an antidote, and tnds to Bruce with the help of Barbara Gordon.

After insisting on being let in on what happened to the Joker, Barbara reluctantly reveals his final criminal act. Many years back, when the Gotham Knights were still active, the Joker and his sidekick, Harley Quinn, kidnapped Tim Drake, the third Robin, and subjected him to brutal physical and psychological torture, bleaching his skin white, dying his hair green, and contorting his lips into a rictus reminiscent of the Joker’s. In the process, Tim revealed Batman’s secret identity. The Joker tried to get the transformed Tim to kill Batman, but he instead turned on the Joker and killed him (how differs between the edited and unedited versions). The Joker’s body was buried beneath Arkham Asylum, while Harley fell into a pit during a battle with Batgirl and was never found. Following the incident, Dr. Leslie Thompkins helped rehabilitate Tim. Bruce forbade Tim from being Robin again, vowing to never put another young partner in danger. Tim eventually settled down with a wife and family, and currently holds a job as a communications engineer.

Terry decides to question Tim, who denies any involvement and expresses resentment about his past life as Robin. Terry then suspects Jordan Price, who would have taken control of Wayne-Powers Enterprises were it not for Bruce’s return. However, Terry finds the Jokerz on Price’s yacht, trying to kill him(during this discussion, it is discovered that Price had hired the Jokerz gang and their leader to assault Wayne at his return banquet). He rescues Price before a satellite laser weapon destroys the boat, then turns him into the police, having recorded an admission of guilt before rescuing him.

Back in the Batcave, Terry’s attention is drawn to Tim’s Robin costume, the only one the Joker apparently went out of his way to destroy. Remembering Tim’s resentment, Terry deduces that Tim must be working with the Joker, especially when Terry discovers that the high-tech equipment the Jokerz have been stealing can be combined to form a satellite jamming station which can take over control of any satellite, thus explaining how the Joker destroyed Price’s yacht. Bruce is skeptical, but nonetheless sends Terry to question Tim again. Terry tries to confront Tim at his job site, but is lured into a trap by the Joker. Escaping in the Batmobile, he is then chased through Gotham by the laser-armed satellite.

When the Joker inexplicably stops trying to kill him, Terry tracks him to an abandoned candy factory. After fighting off the Jokerz, he discovers Tim Drake. Tim initially seems to be confused, but quickly turns on Terry, revealing that he and the Joker are one and the same; as part of Tim’s transformation, the Joker implanted a microchip in Tim carrying his consciousness and personality, allowing him to physically and mentally transform Tim into a clone of himself. Soon, Tim’s transformation into the Joker will be permanent.

The Joker prepares to fire the satellite on Gotham again, targeting Wayne Manor, Dana’s hospital, and Terry’s house, ultimately burning a path of destruction into Gotham City in the shape of a smiley face. Before he can fire, Terry sets Bruce’s guard dog, Ace, on the Joker. The Joker’s deadly joy buzzer is knocked into the controls in the confrontation, destroying the beam’s guidance system and causing it to make a beeline for the factory.

The Joker attempts to escape, but Terry seals the factory, and the two adversaries face off in a final confrontation. Unable to overcome the Joker, who has Tim’s combat training, Terry confronts the Joker on his obsession with Batman and his inability to make the original Batman laugh or respect him, sending him into a crazed fury. An enraged Joker throws a handful of grenades at his opponent, sending Terry crashing to the floor. The Joker pins him to the ground and begins to strangle him. Having retrieved the joy buzzer, Terry uses it to fry the microchip containing the Joker’s consciousness, destorying the last trace of the Joker’s life. Tim reverts to his old self, and Terry escapes with Tim and Ace before the satellite destroys the factory, taking the satellite jammer with it and stopping the beam.

In the city jail, two of the Jokerz, the Dee-Dee twins (Delia and Deidre Dennis), are revealed to be the twin granddaughters of the elderly Harley Quinn (“Nana Harley”), who survived the fall from Arkham. She bails them out while lamenting what disappointments they are. Meanwhile, Terry meets Tim properly in the hospital while Tim is talking with Barbara. Bruce arrives just as Terry leaves, and tells Terry that it is not being Batman that makes him a worthwhile person, but the other way round. Bruce joins Barbara and Tim in the hospital room and they finally restrengthen the bonds of their long-lost friendship. The film ends with Terry donning the Batsuit and flying off into the heart of Gotham City, now with a greater understanding of his responsibilities as wearer of the mask.

REVIEW:

I had almost forgotten about Batman Beyond, but for some reason this film was recommended and all the memories of that underrated BAtman series came flooding back.

In order to fully understand this flick, you have to all but forget everything you know about Batman, except for the basics and remember that this is set in the future. Once you do that, this becomes a very entertaining film complete with all types of twists and turns.

The good..the story. It is well documented that pretty much all the sidekicks and allies Bruce Wayne had are bitter, and this takes that to the next level. On top of that, we get a nice little story involving Batman’s greatest foe, The Joker, and its done with the Joker the way he is meant to be. The animation is stunning, and *GASP* HAND DRAWN!!!!! The voice cast is pretty good, listen for Melissa Joan HArt and Dean Stockwell.

The bad…this is meant for those that are fans with the Batman Beyond cartoon, so if you’re not familiar with the series, then you’re more than likely going to be a little lost, but I think that has more to do with the future setting.

There are very few films I’ve seen that really blow me away, but this one really dis do. What makes that feat more impressive is that there are no fancy gimmicks done with the animation here, just good old-fashioned, HAND DRAWN animation. The mixture of this and a superb story and wholly entertaining film make this a must-see, especially for Batman fans.

5 out of 5 stars