Archive for Batman

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

It’s back to the 1960s as Batman and Robin spring into action when Gotham City is threatened by a quartet of Batman’s most fiendish foes–Penguin, The Joker, Riddler and Catwoman. This time, the four Super-Villains have combined their wicked talents to hatch a plot so nefarious that the Dynamic Duo will need to go to outer space (and back) to foil their arch enemies and restore order in Gotham City. It’s a truly fantastic adventure that will pit good against evil, good against good, evil against evil… and feature two words that exponentially raise the stakes for both sides: Replicator Ray. Holy Multiplication Tables!

What people are saying:

“It’s both a subtle jab at more dour versions of Batman in the mythology and acts as a stamp that marks West’s version as a cunning and capable character.” 4 stars

“What’s this? A DC Original Animated Movie that is smartly written, fun, and captures the spirit of what it’s adapting? Not simply a extended episode serving as a homage to the original 60’s series, but actually a true Batman ’66 feature-length adventure. Sure, the returning cast members may sound their age- but they sure sound like they’re having the same kind of fun they had back in the day. And they thought Batman couldn’t be thing way again.” 4 stars

“Once you get past the voices, which are of course noticeably older or replacements for those that have passed on, you can settle into a film that perfectly captures the spirit of the 60’s show while adding in some clever commentary on Batman interactions that have appeared since. The animated medium allows for the proceedings to be on a much bigger scale, and while that counts against it towards the end when the runtime starts to go on a little too long (it’s about four episodes worth of the TV show and might have been better sticking to its standard two-part, 40 minute story format), it does use the extra time to wrap up a character arc from the show. It’s this tendency to go beyond its remit, as well as its razor-sharp script and contagious sense of fun, that makes it easy to recommend to Batman fans old and new alike.” 3 1/2 stars

“Let’s take just a second: Adam West has been Batman off and on for 50 years. That may be type-casting, but when fans think of Batman, The Caped Crusader, the name that comes to mind after Bruce Wayne is Adam West. Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders reminds us all why Adam West is the best Batman. It brings back everything we liked about the series. This is pretty much a sequel to the Batman ’66 film. The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler and Catwoman have teamed up again to take over Gotham and ultimately – the world! There are jokes about three Catwomen. Commissioner Gordon sports his trademark mustache. There are cool things here in animation that would burst a live-action budget as far as special effects. There is one questionable joke that for me fell flat. Your mileage may vary. Make no mistake: this is The Bright Knight, a far different Batman than what we have seen since 1989. There is a sequel coming, with William (Captain Kirk) Shatner as Two-Face. Hopefully this will develop into a franchise – maybe a true return for the Caped Crusaders!” 5 stars

“There’s a joy impossible to deny. It’s crafted by a team that can hardly contain its adoration for the material. That love is so apparent it might win over a new generation.” 4 1/2 stars

Justice League

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes–Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash–it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

What people are saying:

Justice League… has been conceived, in each and every frame, to correct the sins of Batman v Superman. It’s not just a sequel—it’s an act of franchise penance. The movie… is never messy or bombastic. It’s light and clean and simple (at times almost too simple), with razory repartee and combat duels that make a point of not going on for too long” 4 stars

“A turgid film that thinks it’s more important than it really is bringing together characters that haven’t been given much in the way of individual support so far, making them feel tacked-on.” 3 1/2 stars

“Another tremendously lazy and incoherent mess of a film. If the idea of 2 hours of green screen doesnt turn you off immediately, the total lack of pacing, acting ability, and visual appeal certainly should.” 1 star

“Entertaining, yes, but one can’t shake the feeling DC is still trying to play catch up with Marvel. Also of note is that while there is a noticeably lighter tone to this film, they actors/characters still do not seem to be having fun. Don’t get me started on Henry Cavil’s upper lip!” 2 1/2 stars

“This movie is a lot better than it has gotten credit for, and personally I think it’s the best of the 5 films in the DC Extended Universe so far, but it’s still hard to not view it as a knock-off of “The Avengers”. The plot of both films is the exact same – a group of superheroes form a team to stop an extraterrestrial villain and his army of creatures from conquering the world, but is not executed as well here. Having said that, I guess if you’re going to rip a film off, you may as well rip off a good one, as this ends up being mostly entertaining. The cast of the DCEU continues to be fantastic, specifically newcomers Ezra Miller (Flash) and Jason Momoa (Aquaman). I thought Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) and Ben Affleck (Batman) weren’t quite as charming as in prior films, but Henry Cavill continues to shine as Superman. He is the only Superman actor in the same league as Christopher Reeve. There are a few really good moments, including a scene which showcases how much of a beast Superman is, and a humorous scene where Aquaman falls victim to Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth. The villain is unfortunately weak, partly due to being completely CGI. I’m guessing we won’t get a sequel, as this was the lowest grossing DCEU movie, despite it supposed to be a culmination movie of sorts and the “biggest” one in the series. Ultimately, it is a good movie, though doesn’t really meet expectations after all of the build-up.” 4 stars

Batman: Assault on Arkham

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Being locked away in Arkham has little effect on Joker and his latest desire to detonate a dirty bomb within Gotham. The clock begins to tick and a deadly triangle unfolds as Amanda Waller unleashes Task Force X to save the day…while Batman has his own plans for salvation.

What people are saying:

“…gleefully immoral” heist film which, having “no real [plot] arc to speak of”, relies on its violent action and clever character dynamics within the Suicide Squad to carry it. Due to its villainous protagonists, dark comedy, and sexual content, Mendelson considers the production of Assault on Arkham an experimental decision by DC, and a successful experiment as it tells a style of comic book story that would never get approval as a live-action project” 4 1/2 stars

“DC Entertainment thrills with one of its boldest and mature films yet while finally figuring out the secret to telling engaging and fun adventures of DC Comic characters beyond Batman and the Justice League.” 4 stars

“The versions of the characters are well done and the voice-work is as good as always for DC comics animation, the story has a good set-up and some nice twists and turns, but it feels like more could have been done with the characters and the small moments of development some have don’t quite work. Also the whole thing is over-the-top in its machismo, at times to the point of parody.” 3 stars

“A little dumb and rushed at times, Batman: Assault on Arkham seems to be fan service for both the comic book fans and for the teenage boys watching it. Some of the charters are completely useless, like that communist that even got his own title card and everything that dies in less than half an hour into the film. And the plot has to revolve around batman not the side-characters this film was made to showcase, the dubbing of the animation can be terrible at worst and bad at best. But with that said the fight scenes are cool and the story is creative. all in all this is an OK movie worth checking out.” 3 1/2 stars

“The animation team at DC did a good job with this feature. It is like a darker, adult version of the Batman universe more akin to Chris Nolan’s “Dark Knight” Trilogy. I really liked how they merged the elements of the superhero genre with the tropes of a heist film (with the various surprises and complications, switched allegiances, Deadshot as the jaded leader who has done missions hundreds of times, Captain Boomerang being the rebellious new guy, Harley Quinn as the crazy, untrustworthy one who could easily FUBAR the mission, King Shark as the muscle, etc.). It also included plenty of great action and numerous cool little node to the “Arkham” games. The voice casting is almost spot-on, too, with the only exception being Matthew Gray Gubler sounding a little off as the Riddler. I just had a couple of minor issues with the film, though; they detract from the overall movie, but do not derail it from being entertaining. First, I think they over-sexualized Harley Quinn (even more so than the “Arkham” series the movie is based on) with no compelling reasoning behind this move. Secondly, while it gets course-corrected in the last ten minutes of the film, the climax ends up devolving into a retread of the main “breakout” plot of the first “Arkham Asylum,” which was disappointing after all of the other elements in the film (including the interesting plot, for the most part) were so new and shocking compared the previous animated DC films.” 4 1/2 stars

The Lego Batman Movie

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In the irreverent spirit of fun that made “The LEGO (R) Movie” a worldwide phenomenon, the self-described leading man of that ensemble – LEGO Batman – stars in his own big-screen adventure: “The LEGO (R) Batman Movie.” But there are big changes brewing in Gotham, and if he wants to save the city from The Joker’s hostile takeover, Batman may have to drop the lone vigilante thing, try to work with others and maybe, just maybe, learn to lighten up.

What people are saying:

The LEGO Batman Movie isn’t the same experience as watching The LEGO Movie, but I also don’t think it’s trying to be. It’s trying to be a fun superhero movie with clever callbacks to previous Batman films (every single Batman movie all the way back to the 1940s serials are referenced) that can, at least, provide DC superhero fans with a taste of fun amidst all the doom and gloom. (That can either be a reference to ‘the real world’ or the current DC Cinematic Universe films, you can choose either one you want or both.) And at that, The LEGO Batman Movie succeeds” 5 stars

The Lego Batman Movie works precisely because it knows audiences are sick of its hero. It’s a reassessment, an intervention, an effort to try and remember what’s fun about him.” 4 stars

“After the endless outpouring of “this movie is just SOOO GREAT!!”, I finally got a chance to sit down and watch. It was incredibly disappointing. Way too many references being thrown around rapid-fire, the action was happening way too fast to catch what was going on related to the movie, let alone all the side references. Not especially fond of the choice of voice cast. Will Arnett was doing his best to hold the Kevin Conroy Batman voice and Ralph Fiennes made an excellent Alfred, the rest were forgettable. In fact, I had to use the pause button during the credits to figure out who the rest of the cast were. I got bored enough to fall asleep during the movie two or three times and didn’t feel compelled to wind back when I woke. I didn’t feel like I had missed anything. I think this movie has been classified as a “greatest movie ever” because the public was TOLD to think it was great. We really need to rein in pre-release movie hype.” 2 stars

“This is fun and all, but it suffers from the curse of all the best stuff being given away in the trailer. It also doesn’t have the novelty factor any more, since the animation isn’t anything we didn’t see in The Lego Movie. The jokes are funny, and as a Batman fan I enjoyed seeing a lighter side of that, but in hindsight I wish I had waited to rent it instead of paying to see it in theaters.” 3 stars

“This film was not part of DCEU, still it made an impact to my experience, the animation was so smooth and it moves in a fast then slow paste, the storyline was typical like the other Batman movies, characters like Robin and Batgirl had a silly of a backstory that are not align to the comics, the script was written like a child’s play conversation which makes it perfect for children, what is outstanding is the chemistry between heroes and villains and this is the first film written in a form like that, it was emotional, sympathetic, and inspiring, it is connected to the topic of self-worth, I know this is a spinoff film for kids but still it feels like it’s how the real world interacts with one another. We got tosee enough screentime of both Superheroes and Supervillains but in a one-to-one connection, this film has its touch and I had great experience watching it.” 4 1/2 stars

Justice League: Gods and Monsters

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In an alternative history Zod is Superman’s father, Batman is a vampiric Man-Bat, and Wonder Woman is the child of Ares, God of War. When these dark heroes form an alliance, the question everyone asks is will they save the world, or rule it?

What people are saying:

“Another solid entry in the DCU line, Justice League: Gods and Monsters works best as an entrée into what should be a fascinating and highly entertaining series of its own.” 4 stars

“I did not like anything about this film. I’m not a comics book expert but have read DC comics growing up. I viewed this expecting to see the classic justice league or at least a re-boot of the characters. Instead I saw completely different characters I’ve never seen before & didn’t understand why. There was no explanation or mystery that unfolded it was simply confusing & boring because these versions of the classic Batman, super woman, super man just weren’t interesting at all. If your a die hard fan I’m guessing you would like this film if your only familiar with the main story lines for these characters you’ll probably be disappointed, even though the actors seem to do well with what they were given.” 1 star

“This wasn’t as bad as I was lead to believe. I kinda dug the skewed take on the DC trio. Superman (Son of Zod & Lara El), Wonder Woman (New God grand-daughter of Highfather). and Batman (Kirk Langstrom, a vampire created by science) take on a warped William Magnus & his Metal Men. It was pretty damn good.” 3 stars

“Wow! Dark, disturbing alternate universe “superhero” movie that is definitely not for kids. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are all evil, calculating, violent arms of the federal government and not in the Bizarro way but something completely different. The Justice League is a sinister monument in the middle of the city. Eerie. This unholy alliance is tasked with solving a mystery when a number of key scientists are killed in spectacular ways. Not just any scientists but those that would have been Antman, Ironman and Dr. Freeze in the normal universe. I’ve always wondered in the back of my mind what would happen if a true superhero were to live amongst us. Would they want to dominate us? Shepherd us? Both scenarios are disturbing and this movie explores those options in dramatic and sometimes bloody detail. Lex Luthor said it best, “Unassailable power is never to be trusted.” Dark, compelling, violent – highly recommended for those who’d like a different take on superheros.” 5 stars

“I love pretty much all the animated hero shows that matter, and I was riveted for this. Is it good? I dunno, but I LOVED it. Too much blood and violence? I’m a grown man, I can take it. Honestly, the whole “nobody ever dies” idea is a bit of a stretch. When a building is destroyed, I’m going to bet at least one person doesn’t make it out alive. In a time of constant remakes and reboots, this is a refreshing and well-executed original story line set in an alternate universe. Not for the kids, but if this is what WB Animation is up to, I say “more, please.” 5 stars

Batman vs. Robin

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

When Batman finds himself under attack by his own son, Damian (Robin), he at first suspects the hand of Ra’s Al Ghul behind the treachery, but then comes to see that the boy may be controlled by a mysterious and murderous society known as the Court of Owls.

What people are saying:

“More a mash-up of two of the most highly regarded Batman stories in the last 20 years than its title implies it stands alongside the best efforts of Warner Bros. Animated.” 4 1/2 stars

“This could of been the next red hood movie, if they would of stuck to just one story, but instead they shove all these storys all together instead of focusing on batman and the owls. Court of owls /night of the owls was a great stoty and would of been fine on its own, but they just shoved all these other plots in and it just didn’t work. They even took some of the best scenes from the book and cheapened them, like making that intense amazing maze part of the story and turning into a quick drugged dream thing.” 1 star

“The story itself was good, not the best but not the worst I’ve seen. The kid was just annoying at first, but it got better as the story progressed. I do think it could have been a lot better, the storyline they used had more potential but it wasn’t bad. As far as content. Definitely not for kids, I wouldn’t even say 13 and up, i’d say older. Lots of blood, violence, even a straight up massacre. Some of the language and the sexual content was unnecessary so be aware of that if you are looking at this for children. ” 3 stars

“The anticipation of the eventual fight between Batman and Robin is palpable. With all the talented voice actors bringing in realism of the character’s conflicts, it’s hard not to enjoy.” 4 stars

“Not good, this is actually a terrible adaptation of the court of owls comic storyline. The way they reworked it with Damian Wayne was just terrible, and the story line goes out of its way to make batman seem incompetent. It would have been better if they had just straight up done a court of owls animated movie and skipped out the son of batman stuff for two reasons. The first being the aforementioned batman incompetence like batman sending a ten year old boy into the wilderness on his own, stupid, or robin solving the doll maker crime before batman, lame. Then of course the second being that Damien is the most annoyingly pig headed, and truly unsavory robins ever created, plainly put he’s just unlikable and really petulant through the whole film. Spent the hour and twenty minutes on count down waiting for the torture to end.” 1 star

Batman: The Killing Joke

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Barbara Gordon as Batgirl fails to stop a robbery, but manages to stop one fleeing criminal with help from Batman. Unknown to Batgirl, the robbers’ leader Paris Franz develops a dangerous obsession with Batgirl. As Batgirl starts receiving messages from Franz, Batman shares his concerns that she is not taking the situation seriously. After Franz tricks Batgirl into finding his uncle’s dead body, Batman becomes even more concerned about Batgirl’s safety and takes her off the case. Outraged, Batgirl starts attacking Batman both verbally and physically. She eventually subdues him, shares a kiss with him, and they have sex. The next night, Batgirl tries to apologize to Batman, but he is ambushed by Franz and his men prompting Batgirl to go to his aid. When she arrives, she fights Franz and beats him, but relents from killing him. Realizing Batman was right, Batgirl retires from crime-fighting.

Sometime later, Batman investigates a murder scene with Detective Harvey Bullock and concludes that Joker, currently held at Arkham Asylum, might be behind the crime. He goes to Arkham Asylum to talk to him, only to discover that he had escaped. He then learns that Joker attacked Barbara and her father Commissioner James Gordon, shooting and permanently paralyzing Barbara in front of Gordon before kidnapping the latter. Joker takes Gordon to an amusement park and subjects him to torture, showing him photos he took of Barbara after shooting her.

While the present-day story progresses, flashbacks are used to explain Joker’s origins. It is revealed that he was an engineer who quit his job at a chemical company to become a stand-up comedian, only to fail miserably. Desperately trying to support his pregnant wife Jeannie, he agrees to guide two criminals through his former workplace at the chemical plant in order to rob a card company next door. In turn, the criminals tell him that he has to use the Red Hood’s mask and caped costume, intending to frame him. During the planning, the police inform him that Jeannie and her baby both died in a household accident. Grief-stricken, the engineer tries to withdraw from the plan, but the criminals talk him into keeping his commitment to them.

At the plant, the criminals have him don the red mask and cape. Once inside, they run into security personnel, and a shootout occurs. The criminals are gunned down and the engineer is confronted by Batman, who is investigating the disturbance. Terrified, the engineer trips and falls into the chemical plant’s waste pound, managing to escape Batman in the process, and is swept through a pipe leading to the outside. Once outside, he realizes that the chemicals have permanently bleached his skin chalk-white, stained his lips ruby-red, and dyed his hair bright green. The entire ordeal, combined with Jeannie’s death, drives him into insanity and leads him to become the Joker.

Back in the present day and after many unsuccessful attempts, Batman manages to find Gordon after Joker sends him a clue that leads him to the amusement park. He saves Gordon while the Joker retreats into the funhouse. Despite being tortured, Gordon remains sane and he demands Batman to capture Joker “by the book”. Batman follows Joker through the funhouse as Joker tries to persuade him that the world is just one big joke and thus not worth fighting for. He also states that just one bad day is enough to drive an ordinary man insane, and mocks Batman by correctly guessing that it was one bad day that drove Batman into becoming a vigilante.

Batman eventually subdues the Joker, tells him that Gordon remained sane despite everything he suffered, and concludes that Joker is alone in his madness. He then attempts to reach out to Joker, offering his help in rehabilitation in order to put an end to their everlasting fight, which Batman fears may one day result in their deaths. Joker declines, commenting it is too late for Batman to help. He then says that the situation reminds him of a joke, which he proceeds to tell. Batman starts laughing at the punch line, accompanying Joker’s maniacal laughter as the police arrive. The laughter then stops as the screen fades to black.

In a mid-credits scene, Barbara is in her wheelchair entering a secret room in her apartment. As she turns on the computers, Oracle’s logo appears on the screen

REVIEW:

Batman has been around for years and through that time he has amassed quite a few stories. One that many fans thought would never make it to film, animated or otherwise, is the intensely dark Batman: The Killing Joke. Well, this is set to be released on DVD, but tonight it was in theaters and I had the chance to check it out. Here are my thoughts.

What is this about?

Based on Alan Moore’s graphic novel. As Batman hunts for the escaped Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime attacks the Gordon family to prove a diabolical point mirroring his own fall into madness.

What did I like?

Voices carry. For those of us that grew up with Batman: The Animated Series and the series of cartoons that followed, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill were our Batman and Joker, even though other versions attempted to take their place. Do you remember any of the others who have stepped into these roles? No, and that is why they have such a lasting legacy and were chosen to voice such an important work.

Not for kids. Much has been said about the violent, dark nature of this film. Let me tell you right now, this is most definitely NOT FOR KIDS. There is violence, dark themes, and nary a cheery scene to be found, which is the only reason this film works. I am glad they didn’t water it down to appeal to the 13 and under crowd. I can’t imagine how that would have turned out, other than horrible.

Straight out of the book. For some reason, filmmakers have a really hard time keeping with the source material. They usually make the excuse of “it works better on screen if we change this or that”. This story works so well on so many levels that the filmmakers did very little changing, except for adding a prologue, which I’ll get to shortly. On top of that, they even ripped many of the images direct from the graphic novel itself. Very nice touch! My personal favorite is when the unknown man emerges from the chemicals, takes of the red helmet and begins maniacally laughing. What other way would there be to introduce…THE JOKER?!?

What didn’t I like?

Batgirl. In an attempt to make what happens to Barbara more of a tragedy, the filmmakers decided to give us a little backstory of her as Batgirl the night before. Had this been a Batgirl movie or a Batman and Batgirl story, it would have been great, but this just felt unnecessarily tacked on. I also must mention that they had sex (offscreen). I can’t be the only one who did not feel comfortable with that! In all the Batman/Batgirl stories I’ve read, there has never been any sexual tension between them. This seemed like a substitute Catwoman tale, in my opinion.

Character design. I didn’t hate the character design, but I have a small issue. As I was sitting in the theater tonight, it hit me that this is a more adult animated tale, but the animation reminds me of those geared toward younger crowds. What could be done about this? I don’t really know, to be honest. Just a small point I felt needed to be pointed out.

Length. It’s been a few years since I last read this book, but I know that it has to have had enough material to fill up a 90 minute film (minus that horrible prologue). Maybe I was just having too much fun seeing the comic on the big screen, but I felt as if this could have been about 10-15 minutes longer, giving us a little more time with Conroy and Hamill reprising these characters that we all want to see and hear from them again.

Final verdict on Batman: The Killing Joke. It is a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, there are so many things that just blew me out of the water, faithfulness to the source material, great music, the return of Conroy and Hamill, etc. On the other hand, though, I just can’t get over the Batgirl storyline that was thrown in here. Not only was it bad, but it didn’t accomplish the goal of making us feel something more for her. They would have been better served just letting us use our personal knowledge of the character, rather than whatever this was. *SIGH* So, do I recommend this? Yes, very highly! Once you get past the Batgirl stuff, you have a great story that we all thought would never make it past the pages of the graphic novel. For that reason, if for no other, you should give it a shot! Now I can wait for them to start thinking of ways to bring Green Lantern: Darkest Night to the screen!

4 1/3 out of 5 stars