Archive for Batman

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

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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

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Eighteen months after the destructive attack by General Zod in Metropolis from Man of Steel, Superman has become a controversial figure. Daily Planet journalist Clark Kent, Superman’s alter ego, has moved in with Lois Lane. Billionaire Bruce Wayne, who has operated in Gotham City as Batman for nearly two decades, sees Superman as a potential threat to humanity. After learning of Batman’s activities, Superman also views him as a threat, and seeks to stop him via the Daily Planet articles under his disguise.

Wayne learns that weapon-trafficker Anatoli Knyazev has been contacting LexCorp’s mogul Lex Luthor. Meanwhile, Luthor tries to convince Senator June Finch to allow him to import Kryptonite retrieved from the Indian Ocean (results of Zod’s terraforming attempt), claiming to use it as a “deterrent” against Kryptonians. He also makes side dealings with Finch’s subordinate and demands access to Zod’s body and the Kryptonian scout ship. In the next meeting with Luthor, Finch denies his request.

Wayne attends Luthor’s party at LexCorp, where he meets mysterious antiques dealer Diana Prince, and retrieves data from the company’s mainframe. The data drive, however, is stolen by Prince, who later returns it to Bruce, due to her inability to decrypt the data. While decrypting the drive at the Batcave, Wayne receives a vision of a post-apocalyptic world, where he leads a group of rebels against Superman. He is snapped out of the vision by a mysterious time traveler, who warns him of Lane’s crucial role in the distant future, and urges him to find “the others”. Wayne later realizes that Luthor is not only experimenting with Kryptonite, but also investigating metahumans. One of them is Prince herself, who is an immortal warrior. Wayne admits to Alfred Pennyworth that he plans to steal the Kryptonite to weaponize it, should it become necessary to fight Superman. Batman pursues the convoy carrying the Kryptonite from the White Portuguese ship to LexCorp, but Superman intercedes and orders him to cease his activities.

Luthor orchestrates a bombing at a congressional hearing, where Finch is questioning Superman on the validity of his actions. The bomb kills dozens of people, including Finch. Frustrated with failing to save people, Superman goes into self-imposed exile. Batman breaks into LexCorp and steals the Kryptonite, in preparation to battle Superman by building a powerful exoskeleton and creating a Kryptonite grenade launcher and a Kryptonite-tipped spear. Meanwhile, Luthor enters the Kryptonian ship and learns of its functions, as well as recorded alien worlds.

Luthor kidnaps and holds hostage Martha Kent, Clark’s adoptive mother. He reveals that he has been sending messages to Batman and Superman to heighten their animosity towards each other. Luthor forces Superman to fight and kill Batman, in exchange for Martha’s life. Superman tries to reason with Batman, but Batman initiates the fight and eventually subdues him. Before Batman can kill Superman with the spear, Superman urges Batman to “save Martha”, whose name is also shared with Wayne’s late mother. Lane arrives and explains the situation. Upon learning of Luthor’s plan, Batman leaves to rescue Martha, while Superman confronts Luthor on the scout ship. Luthor unleashes a monstrous creature made from Zod’s body spliced with Luthor’s DNA. Superman, Batman and Diana join forces to fight the creature, but are outmatched by its ability to absorb energy. Realizing that it is vulnerable to Kryptonite, Superman retrieves the Kryptonite spear and impales the creature, while it stabs him with its bone protrusions, killing Superman.

Luthor is arrested and imprisoned. Facing Batman in prison, he gloats that Superman’s death has made the world vulnerable to powerful alien threats. A memorial is held for Superman in Metropolis. Clark is also declared dead and Wayne, Lane, Martha, and Diana attend a private funeral for him in Smallville. Martha passes an envelope to Lane, which contains an engagement ring from Clark. After the funeral, Wayne reveals to Diana that he plans to form a team of metahumans, starting from the ones from Luthor’s files, to protect the world in Superman’s absence. After they leave, a faint heartbeat echoes from Clark’s coffin and the dirt around it begins to levitate

REVIEW:

Let’s get ready to rumble! The fight every comic book fan and superhero nerd has been waiting on is about to go down in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The question on everyone’s mind, though, is with Zack Snyder directing will this be more flash over substance? Also, would it just be better to wait for the “main event” coming next month in Captain America: Civil War?

What is this about?

Following his titanic struggle against General Zod, Metropolis has been razed to the ground and Superman is the most controversial figure in the world. While for many he is still an emblem of hope, a growing number of people consider him a threat to humanity, seeking justice for the chaos he has brought to Earth. As far as Bruce Wayne is concerned, Superman is clearly a danger to society. He fears for the future of the world with such a reckless power left ungoverned, and so he dons his mask and cape to right Superman’s wrongs. The rivalry between them is furious, fueled by bitterness and vengeance, and nothing can dissuade them from waging this war. However, a dark new threat arises in the form of a third man: one who has a power greater than either of them to endanger the world and cause total destruction!

What did I like?

It’s all about the game. Batman has always been a badass, even in his campier days, but in this flick, he takes it to another level. There is a scene near the end of the film where he swoops in and, like a ninja takes out a room of about 12 guys with guns. It is a sight to behold and, those of us that have played the Arkham City franchise of Batman games may recognize that the fighting style is very similar. Whether that was done on purpose or not, I cannot be sure, but I liked it!

Clash of the Titans. Say what you will about Man of Steel, it brought Superman back to the forefront of the DC cinematic universe. A place he should have stayed, but they just couldn’t resist having Batman in there. So, here we go, a fight for supremacy, Superman vs. Batman. I would have preferred this be Christian Bale’s Batman, though, for continuity’s sake. No offense to Ben Affleck, he did perhaps the best Batman we’ve seen since…well, since Kevin Conroy in the animated series. The fight between these two pushes them to their limits, which is what we would expect.

She’s a Wonder. I do not believe Wonder Woman has ever graced the big screen with her presence. We all know of the infamous TV series starring Lynda Carter, her appearance in the Justice League animated series, and various other incarnations, including her own animated film. Word just dropped that her film was moved up to next summer, which is sure to have feminists and fans of the Amazon warrior happy. For me, I’m just glad we finally got to see her. Now, whether or not this is what she should look and act like is a different topic for another section.

What didn’t I like?

Contrast. Batman and Superman are both heroes to their cities and whatnot but it is their methodology which causes them to butt heads often. If you expecting to see that in this film, you will be sadly disappointed. The best way I can put this is that dark needs light and vice versa, but when you have two dark characters they cancel each other out. For this to have truly effective, we needed the Superman we all know, love, and deserve. A character steeped in goodness, truth, and is a beacon for right. Instead, we have a Superman who really isn’t that different from Batman, and that is why during the fight I found myself enjoying it, sure, but not really cheering for either one, because there was no clear side, save for the consequences should one or the other lose.

Riddle me this! Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by the Justice League cartoon, but when I think of Lex Luthor, I see a cold, calculating, brilliant businessman. That is not what we get here. Before I begin my rant on Lex, it should be known that none of the other films have produced one that is equal to what we got in animated form, including the original Superman franchise. None of those, however, insulted their audience with this version of Lex who might as well have been playing The Riddler, because that is what his mannerisms felt like. I kept expecting him to throw a riddle or two out at any moment. That didn’t happen, so we are left with this crazed, ADHD version of Lex who seems like a kid playing with his inheritance and brilliance. Oh, and don’t get me started on the casting of Jesse Eisenberg. It is well documents that any film with him is automatically starting out in the negative, but apparently the filmmakers could have cast Bryan Cranston, but instead they cast this punk and…ugh…let me stop before I throw my computer across the room.

That Gal. Give credit where it’s due, Gal Gadot put in the work to bulk up for her role as Wonder Woman. It just isn’t enough, as she still looks anorexically thin. I’m sure that I am not the only one that thinks this, but when I envision Wonder Woman, I think of Lucy Lawless during her Xena days. Can’t you just imagine her, or some equivalent, as Wonder Woman?

Anything Marvel can do. By now, everyone knows that this is a) not the sequel Superman deserves and b) is nothing more than a setup for a Justice League movie. Here’s the thing about that, Marvel meticulous took their time setting up The Avengers. It was something that had never been done before. Now everyone is trying to set up their own cinematic universe. Hell, even on television (ironically DC isn’t doing too bad in that department), they’re doing it. For me, I feel as if this is just something being fast tracked because they feel they are behind Marvel and need to play catch up.

Final verdict on Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice? There are good and bad parts to this film. First, the additions of Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman work much better than what everyone who initially criticized their casting thought they would. There is a scene where Batman perches on the side of a building and it looks like it is straight off the cover of one of the graphic novels! On the other side of the coin, this is a film that should be fun, with two uber popular superheroes duking it out for superior, but that level of fun never shows. Instead, we get a film that is so dark, it almost makes you want to slit your own wrists! DC really needs to lighten up. I also question the casting of Jeremy Irons as Alfred. He just seemed to not fit. All in all, there are more faults in this film than reasons to watch, but do I recommend it? Reluctantly, yes…it is still a high quality superhero movie. I don’t think I’ll be rushing to see it again, though.

4 out of 5 stars

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2016 by Mystery Man

Justice League_Throne of Atlantis

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In the Atlantic Ocean, the USS California submarine picks up incoming human-like threats approaching the sub by sonar. The sub is attacked and the entire crew is killed by the hostiles. At S.T.A.R. Labs’ Justice League headquarters, Cyborg, who has recently received environmental upgrades in an operation that replaced his remaining lung, is given news by Colonel Steve Trevor, the liaison for the Justice League, over the sunken sub. Cyborg decides to check it himself, deciding against Trevor’s idea of calling the other superheroes, saying, “there is no Justice League”, given the lack of help given to each other since Darkseid’s invasion.

At Mercy Reef in Maine, Arthur Curry, drunk over his father’s recent death, picks a fight when they wanted to eat the lobster Arthur was talking to. He defeats them and when the last man tries to stab him, his knife breaks into pieces against Arthur’s chest. After throwing him into the ocean, Arthur leaves, unaware that Mera and Dr. Shin are watching him. Cyborg uses a Boom Tube to teleport to the sub and discovers hand prints on the hull and that several nuclear missiles are missing. He is then attacked by the same hostiles and suffers damage to his servos through his escape, though he takes a knife-like weapon from one of his attackers.

Back at HQ, Cyborg gets help from Flash and Captain Marvel to get Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. Green Lantern decides to head to Gotham City to get Batman, who is chasing henchmen of the Scarecrow. Green Lantern captures them for Batman, but angers Batman who needed them to lead him to Scarecrow. Batman joins the team and they check the now-raised sub. They realize the enemy is warriors from Earth’s origin.

Diana reveals that these warriors are from Atlantis, beings turned into underwater creatures by their king’s mystical trident, after seeing the weapon that Cyborg had nabbed. Using Captain Marvel’s suggestion, Superman and Batman decide to meet Atlantis-expert Dr. Shin, while the others are tasked to find Atlantis.

At Atlantis, Prince Orm and Black Manta meet with Orm’s mother, Queen Atlanna. They argue over declaring war on the surface world, noting the damage during Darkseid’s attack, with Atlanna saying that the volcano that killed Orm’s father was due to Darkseid’s forces while Orm says it was the Justice League’s fight with Darkseid. Orm also says that the humans polluting the Earth will eventually destroy it and Atlantis, which he believes is reason to attack them first. Atlanna silences Orm and asks Mera to bring Arthur, her other son, to Atlantis. Black Manta uses a craft holographically disguised as a submarine to attack Atlantis using the stolen missiles, framing the surface for their “unprovoked” attack.

Dr. Shin tries to tell Arthur that his father asked him before his death to help Arthur. Moments later, Dr. Shin is killed by Atlantean soldiers sent by Black Manta. Arthur is overwhelmed by the attack, knocked out and blasted out of his collapsing house, but is saved by Mera, who dispatches the soldiers by using her control over water, and takes him underwater.

Batman and Superman enter Dr. Shin’s home discovering that his work is destroyed. Superman recreates a photograph of Curry and a letter from his father revealing that his son is half-Atlantean. Batman decides they must find him.

The attack on Atlantis leads the citizens and Orm to demand war and to break the seal on war plans created by the former king in the event of conflict with the surface. Queen Atlanna states that they might need to reveal themselves after centuries of hiding and contact the Justice League. Arthur wakes up with gills on his neck in underwater Atlantean ruins with Mera, who explains that he was in Atlantis and that Atlanna was Arthur’s mother.

As a royal, she could not be with his father or Arthur, so she left to be with her king and Orm, though she still loved Arthur greatly and watched him when he was a child. Arthur had once encountered Atlanna when he was swimming by the shore. Now, Atlanna believes Arthur can help Atlantis bridge between the two worlds.

Mera then dresses him in the king’s royal garb, hidden by Atlanna inside the ruins. Arthur, having difficulty processing the situation, removes the armor and crown, leaving only the orange and green Atlantean bodysuit, and heads to the surface with Mera following him.

Soon, they are attacked by the Trench. The creatures overwhelm Arthur. One of them bit Arthur’s hand, making him bleed. The Justice League arrives in time to defeat the Trench. Orm hears from Black Manta that the Trench failed to kill Arthur. Orm and Queen Atlanna argue because Orm wants to start a war and reveals his knowledge of Curry. Queen Atlanna reveals to him that she knows he attacked Atlantis. With this news, Black Manta confronts the queen, but is overpowered by her trident. Orm then stabs her from behind, killing her and taking over Atlantis as the new king.

Arthur, Mera, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Cyborg arrive at Atlantis and learn of Queen Atlanna’s death. The Atlantean people were under the mistaken impression that a surface dweller killed her. The heroes are then defeated by Orm, who has assumed the mantle of “Ocean Master” and uses the trident to incapacitate and restrain them inside cocoon-like pods. Even Superman bleeds when attacked with the trident. The group is sent to be consumed by the monstrous Dark Trench, while Ocean Master leads Atlantis’ army to the surface.

Arthur destroys his pod by tapping into the power of the trident and with Superman’s help, as well as his telepathic control over sea creatures, they save the rest and defeat the monster. In Metropolis, a massive tidal wave created by Ocean Master’s trident is used to conceal Ocean Master’s army, which reaches the shores and attacks. The military is powerless until the League arrive.

During the fight, Superman saves John Henry Irons, and Wonder Woman saves Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. Arthur is attacked by Black Manta, who reveals that he manipulated Ocean Master and plans to kill him when the time is right and take Atlantis for himself. While Black Manta is revealing his plan, Arthur calls a megalodon to attack him, dragging Black Manta underwater. Mera and the League attack Ocean Master, but are once again defeated due to his Trident’s power, as Shazam turned to his normal form, Billy Batson and Cyborg is electrocuted and disabled. Wonder Woman successfully disarms him of the Trident, though she is nearly incapacitated by its energy when she holds it. Superman is stabbed in the chest with it. Curry becomes the last to face Ocean Master. Curry has an upper hand during the because Orm is unable to use its full power on Arthur given his status as Atlantean royalty. Despite this, Ocean Master defeats Arthur with the trident’s power by using it to create a massive blast of power to incapacitate him. Batman saves Cyborg from dying by electrocuting him with a taser device, and Cyborg reveals that he has video of Ocean Master confessing to killing his mother when they were captured. Ocean Master nearly kills Arthur, impaling him on his trident. Cyborg broadcasts Ocean Master’s confession all over Metropolis for Atlantis’ soldiers to see. Stunned by this treachery, the soldiers do not obey Ocean Master’s commands and Arthur uses the distraction to defeat him. He then convinces the soldiers to stand down and declares his desire to bring Atlantis and the surface world together in peace.

Later in Atlantis, Arthur is crowned as king, with the Justice League celebrating among the audience. Batman suggests that, with new threats appearing, they need to solidify the team and Cyborg reveals plans for a watchtower. Arthur joins as Aquaman (which is a nickname everyone on the Internet gave him and he hates), and soon heads with now-love interest Mera against the Trenchers outside Atlantis.

In the post-credits, Ocean Master is incarcerated at Belle Reve, yelling at the guards to release him. He is approached by Lex Luthor who has a proposition

REVIEW:

Everyone knows the “big 3” over at DC (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman), but there was a time when you would also include Flash and Aquaman in the mix. Since that time the Flash has become beloved in his own right, but Aquaman has become the punch line of many jokes. Justice League: Throne of Atlantis is meant to reintroduce us to the King of the Seas and also prepare us because he also makes his big screen debut in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

What is this about?

Aquaman is forced to choose sides between the Justice League and Atlantis, when Atlantean warriors begin a war to conquer the surface world, starting with the coastal cities of Gotham and Metropolis.

What did I like?

Grown up. It has been a minute since I last saw a DC Animated film, I think the last one I saw was Son of Batman, but I have noticed that each one has gotten progressively more and more adult, either with the violence, tone, language, etc. Part of me isn’t quite a fan of that, but another part of me looks as what comics are today, especially DC, as opposed to where they were when I was growing up, and it fits. Also, it must be considered that fans that watched those first DC films have grown and matured with each picture. Looking at the preview for The Killing Joke that was released yesterday, I would say maturity level has reached max!

Aquaman. One superhero who has never really received the credit he deserves is Aquaman. I think a good part of this is how he was portrayed in the 60s and 70s Super Friends cartoon. No matter what was done to him in the comics (new outfit, cutting his own arm off, etc.), he just couldn’t be taken seriously. What is really frustrating about this is that a very similar character over at Marvel, Sub-Mariner, doesn’t get this treatment, yet he has the same powers and wings on his feet. Yes, I said wings on his feet…for a guy that spends most of his time underwater! At any rate, I’m glad this, the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us (which made him a total badass, btw), and his big screen debut, played by Jason Momoa, are helping his credibility. Aquaman does not need to contantly be the butt of jokes. Leave that to characters like Ambush Bug, Squirrel Girl, Matter Eater Lad, etc.

Continuity. Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox seemed to give us a point of continuity that all the DC Animated films have used going forward. I like it, because it shows that this Justice League isn’t fully functional, Cyborg is still getting used to his body, and other little details that you can only get if you keep a central story going. I’m sure some films deviate from this plan, but it looks like most are sticking to it, which is a huge plus.

What didn’t I like?

Back off. As usual, DC can’t do anything without Batman or Superman being involved these days. I say these days because everything they’ve done involving Green Lantern has worked without either and the Wonder Woman animated film is still one of their best to date (without either). Why can’t Aquaman have his own film? This is a problem DC has, they think that everything revolves around Batman and Superman, and won’t give the other characters a chance, even on television. Arrow and that whole universe may not show Bats or Supes, but take a good look at how Arrow is portrayed, it is very similar to Batman, more so that it already is. Supergirl is allowed to do the same kind of thing with Superman, because that’s family and he’s part of her story, etc. Back to Aquaman, though, how is he ever going to gain a following that doesn’t think of him as a big joke, if he can’t get out of the shadow of those two?

What’s my motivation? Villains usually are evil for a reason. Total insanity, wronged by a boss, family business, death of a loved one, etc. I’m not exactly sure what Orm’s motivation is? Sure, his father died, but so did Arthur’s and he’s not trying to take over the world!

Justice is not served. Going back to the topic of this being Aquaman’s movie…why do we need the entire Justice League? On top of that, they seemed to take over the film so much that we barely get much of Aquaman’s story. Instead we get Cyborg’s repairs, Superman and Wonder Woman’s relationship, Batman asserting himself as team leader, etc. None of this was necessary, especially for a character that few know about.

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis is a mixed bag. It offers some good action, a decent story, and gives us an abridged origin of Aquaman. On the flipside though, there is too much Justice League, a villain who doesn’t really know why he’s a bad guy, another one that is just there to be there, and some ok animation. Do I recommend this? Well, if you want this story told better and with a lighter tone, check out the episode on Justice League that featured Aquaman. If you prefer this darker, more violent version, then this may be for you. Personally, I prefer the loud, boisterous Aquaman from Brave & the Bold! Outrageous!

3 1/3 out of 5 stars

The Lego Movie

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In the Lego universe, the wizard Vitruvius attempts to protect a superweapon called the “Kragle” from the evil Lord Business. He fails to do so, but prophesies that a person called “the Special” will find the Piece of Resistance capable of stopping the Kragle.

Eight and a half years later, a construction worker named Emmet Brickowski comes across a woman named Wyldstyle, who searches for something after hours at Emmet’s construction site. When he investigates, Emmet falls into a hole and finds the Piece of Resistance. Compelled to touch it, Emmet experiences vivid visions and passes out. He awakens with the Piece of Resistance attached to his back in the custody of Bad Cop, Business’ lieutenant. There, Emmet learns of Business’ plans to freeze the world with the Kragle, a tube of Krazy Glue with the label partially rubbed out. Wyldstyle rescues Emmet, believing him to be the Special, and takes him to meet Vitruvius. Emmet learns that she and the wizard are Master Builders—people capable of building anything they need without instruction manuals—who oppose Business’ attempts to suppress their creativity. Though disappointed to find Emmet is not a Master Builder, Wyldstyle and Vitruvius are convinced of his potential when he recalls visions of a humanoid deity called “the Man Upstairs”.

Emmet, Wyldstyle, and Vitruvius evade Bad Cop’s forces with the aid of Batman. They attend a council of Master Builders, who are unimpressed with Emmet and refuse to fight Business. Bad Cop’s forces attack and capture everyone except for Emmet and a few others. Emmet devises a team plan to infiltrate Business’ headquarters and disarm the Kragle. However, he and his allies are captured and imprisoned, and Vitruvius is killed by Lord Business, who sets his headquarters to self-destruct and leaves everyone to die. Vitruvius reveals he made up the prophecy as he dies, but soon reappears to Emmet as a ghost and tells him it is his self-belief that makes him the Special. Strapped to the self-destruct mechanism’s battery, Emmet flings himself off the edge of the universe and saves his friends. Inspired by Emmet’s sacrifice, Wyldstyle rallies the Lego people across the universe to use whatever creativity they have to build machines and weapons to fight Business’ forces.

Emmet finds himself in the real world, where the events of the story are being played out in a basement by a boy, Finn, on his father’s Lego set. The father—revealed as “the Man Upstairs”—chastises his son for ruining the set by creating hodgepodges of different playsets, and proceeds to permanently glue his perceived perfect creations together. Realizing the danger his friends are in, Emmet wills himself to move and gains Finn’s attention. Finn returns Emmet and the Piece of Resistance to the set, where Emmet now possesses the powers of a Master Builder and confronts Business. Meanwhile, Finn’s father looks at his son’s creations and realizes that Finn had based the villainous Business on him. Through a speech Emmet gives Business, Finn tells his father that he is special and has the power to change everything. Finn’s father reconciles with his son, which plays out as Business having a change of heart, capping the Kragle with the Piece of Resistance, and ungluing his victims with mineral spirits. As a result of the father allowing Finn’s younger sister to join them in playing with his Lego sets, aliens from the planet Duplo beam down and announce their plans to destroy everyone.

REVIEW:

Like most kids, especially boys, I grew up playing with Legos. I think when I finally stopped playing with them, my parents and sister’s feet were the happiest since they could finally stop stepping on them. Back then, who would have ever thought that those little toys would become a feature length motion-picture that took the box office by surprise, even earning an Oscar nod (more on that later)? I’ve been poked, prodded, coerced, and every other adjective you can possibly imagine to check this out, so let’s see what I thought about it, shall we?

What is this about?

After being mistaken for the LEGO Master Builder, ordinary mini-guy Emmet is swept up in an urgent quest to thwart the evil plans of Lord Business. Emmet’s adventures include daunting challenges and hilarious missteps in this computer-animated epic.

What did I like?

Boy, what an imagination. Watching this film, two things are sure to pop in your head. First, to create all these worlds, inventions, and effects out of Legos is impressive, even going so far as using Legos for water! More importantly, though, is the second thing that may pop in your brain. This plot seems a bit juvenile in its executions. Almost as if it were being done by a little boy playing with Legos, but we find out in the end that is exactly what it is. These filmmakers made the masterful decision of bringing a child’s imagination to the big screen, and with tremendous results!

Animation. The animation in this flick is far above what it has any right to be. I say that because there are a few Lego brand animated series on television and DVD right now and they are utter crap, but to turn around and see this and you have to be taken aback. This animation is so good that at times you totally forget you’re watching Legos! Hell, I’ll go one further and say that I wished I would’ve seen this in theaters…in 3D no less (and you know that’s saying something, coming from me!!!)

Nothing is safe. These days Lego playsets can be anything from the Batcave, to the Wild West, to Mordor, to NY City, and all points between and beyond. This film takes note of that and uses it to its advantage. We get scenes with many of the most popular sets, as well as some satirical skewering of pretty much any and everyone. Here’s the thing, though. The pop culture references made throughout the film are just enough to whet your whistle, as opposed to the complete drowning that happens in films like the Shrek franchise.

What didn’t I like?

Dark moment. This is a fun movie, full of light-hearted innocence and childlike imagination, but there is one scene that is as dark as you can get. The character Lord Business has kidnapped the parents of his security chief, Bad Cop, and is about to Kragle them, but just as he is about to he changes his mind, holds Bad Cop down, erases the Good Cop side of him, and tells Bad Cop to Kragle his own parents! I remind you this is a film aimed at kids!

Live action. For all the great animation and innovation this film shows, they decide to have an extended live-action segment at the end. I can understand having a short scene showing a kid playing with Legos. That makes sense, but this went on into some father/son issues that I felt was just unnecessary. No one is watching this film to see a father and son mend fences. We want to see Lego stuffs!

Green Lantern. One of my favorite DC superheroes is Green Lantern, so I may be a little biased in saying this, but it has to be said. WTF did they do to Green Lantern in this film?!? First off, Jonah Hill as GL? What kind of bass acwards casting is that? Second, why was he so needy? I didn’t get it? When has Green Lantern ever been looked at as needy and such? If anything, this should have been Aquaman (although if you play the game Injustice: Gods Among Us you’ll see Aquaman is no joke), Cyborg, or maybe Robin/Nightwing in some mini-plot involving Batman leaving him. I know some out there probably enjoyed this, but I was not one of them.

Who would have expected that something like The Lego Movie would be such an enjoyable film, let alone be as successful as it turned out to be? I know I didn’t, but after watching this tonight, I was pleasantly surprised. All the praise and hype that has been hoisted on this picture is well-deserved. I do wonder what it would have been like had they used stop-motion Legos as opposed to CGI, but that’s a personal preference. So, what did I think of this film? Well, there is a song in the film that will be stuck in your head once you hear it and sums up everything perfectly, “Everything is Awesome.”

5 out of 5 stars

Son of Batman

Posted in Animation, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

At the headquarters of the League of Assassins, Ra’s al Ghul grooms Damian Wayne (son of his daughter, Talia, and Batman) to succeed him as head of the league. The league is attacked by a group of assassins led by Slade Wilson, Ra’s al Ghul’s initial choice for successor before Ra’s met Batman. Feeling betrayed, Slade decided to seize power. During the battle Ra’s is fatally wounded, dying before he reaches the Lazarus Pit. Although Damian stabs Slade in the eye, Slade escapes. Talia takes Damian to Gotham City to protect him.

In Gotham City, Batman confronts Killer Croc, whom Talia subdues. She tells Batman about her father’s death and leaves their son in his care. Although Damian wants to avenge Ra’s al Ghul by killing Slade, Batman objects. Slade, now calling himself Deathstroke, captures Dr. Kirk Langstrom and his family to force him to recreate the Man-Bat formula. Batman follows a lead about the formula’s mutagen to Langstrom’s apartment, where he finds evidence of Deathstroke’s involvement. Talia is captured by Deathstroke when she attacks him.

Against Batman’s orders, Damian leaves the Batcave and defeats one of Deathstroke’s men. Before Damian kills him, Nightwing arrives, mistakes him for a criminal and subdues him before bringing him back to the Batcave. Batman berates Damian for his recklessness, willingness to kill and exposure of their operation, and makes him Robin to teach him discipline. Commissioner Gordon warns them about an abandoned stadium believed to house Deathstroke’s men.

At the stadium, Batman and Damian question Langstrom but are attacked when Damian becomes violent. In the cave, Langstrom reveals Deathstroke’s plan to create superhuman, flight-capable assassins. While Nightwing works with Langstrom on an antidote, Batman and Damian rescue his family. Batman guesses that Talia has been abducted when he finds evidence of torture in an empty cell, but is unaware that Deathstroke challenged Damian to a duel in exchange for Talia’s life.

Nightwing learns that Deathstroke is operating in an oil rig off the United Kingdom coast, and when Batman is distracted Damian goes to the rig. He finds Deathstroke and Talia in an underwater base with a swarm of Man-Bats and another Lazarus Pit, whose fluid Deathstroke intends to sell. Damian pulls a gun on Deathstroke, who holds one against Talia’s head. Damian drops his gun; Deathstroke fires at him, but Talia jumps out and takes the shot. As Deathstroke corners Damian, Batman appears and the Man-Bats attack. Batman wards them off with sonar-emitting devices, and Deathstroke flees.

Batman takes Talia into the Lazarus Pit, while Nightwing and Langstrom reach the oil rig and cure the Man-Bats. Damian defeats Deathstroke, refusing to kill him because he is his father’s son. The elevator from the rig to the underwater base is destroyed, flooding the base. Batman, Talia and Damian escape, but Deathstroke is left behind. Batman and Talia argue over Damian. She decides to let him care for their son, and leaves with the League of Assassins

REVIEW:

Anybody that knows anything about Batman knows of his sidekick, Robin (at least one version of him), but what about his son, Damian? Didn’t know Batman had a son, did you? Well, don’t feel bad because Damian is a more recent addition. Son of Batman, the next cog in the DC Animated Universe introduces us to the lad, but how is the film?

What is this about?

Hidden atop a secret mountain lies the League of Shadows and its fearless leader, Ra’s al Ghul. Together with his daughter Talia, he oversees a trained army of assassins bent on global domination. But an uprising from within threatens to shift the balance of power and sends Talia and her young son, Damian, fleeing to Gotham City. Talia seeks the protection of Batman, who, unbeknownst to him, is the boy’s father. With his son in tow, Batman wages war against the villain Deathstroke and the League of Shadows.

What did I like?

Talia. Chances are if you’re reading this, then you are quite away of Batman’s rogues gallery, or you may recognize the name from The Dark Knight Rises where she was played by Marion Cotiliard. Talia has been a favorite character of mine, following 40s era Catwoman (where she wore the purple dress with a slit down both sides) and tied with a lesser known character, Nocturna. Now that we are getting more and more of Talia is a good thing, especially when she is portrayed as a badass assassin. Last night, I watched the premier of Agent Carter and one of my friends, who is a feminist, made a big deal about female representation. To that, I say whatever! A badass character is a badass character, no matter the sex.

Father/son. Way back when Bruce Wayne took Dick Grayson as his ward, he wasn’t exactly thrilled about the prospect, but over time, as well know, that relationship changed. Since then, there have been at least 2 other Robins, maybe 4, I’m not 100% sure, all of which have gone through a similar tumultuous relationship with the Batman. Now, enter the “blood heir” and you can just imagine how Bruce reacts. The reaction shows is exactly what you would expect from Batman, stoic and calculating. It is the relationship and interactions that take place from that point on that make this such an interesting part of the film. While there are no Ward Cleaver father-type moments, Bruce does show his parenting skills by putting his foot down. Hey, this isn’t the guy’s first rodeo. He has raised a few wards, remember?

Not for kids. If you are thinking this is a kid-friendly animated feature similar to the animated series we all bow down to, then you are sadly mistaken. The opening scene, which is full of blood splatters, violent deaths, a decapitation, and a vicious eye poke, as well as the burning death of Ra’s al Ghul, tells you that this is for a more mature audience. Hey, I’m all for a lighter Batman. Batman: The Brave and the Bold was my favorite animated series since the 90s cartoon, but every now and then, I like a darker, more mature animated film, and that is what we get with this film.

What didn’t I like?

Hint at a rivalry. As I alluded to earlier, Damian is the “blood heir” to Bruce Wayne, as he makes sure to let Dick Grayson know. Here’s the thing, Dick has long been a kindred spirit for Batman, as they both lost their parents, but now Damian shows up and is an actual blood relative. I don’t need to tell you that the rivalry between the two of them is fierce. Well, it should be, but the film teases us with it…twice! First is when Nightwing stops Damian from killing someone. They apparently fight, and by the looks of it after the cutaway, it was a slobber knocker. The second is in the Batcave when Damian tells Dick he’s Bruce’s heir and wants to be Robin. For time purposes, I understand that this couldn’t have been fleshed out some more, but that doesn’t stop me from wishing it had. These two just need to fight to the death and get it over with, hopefully with Dick winning.

Damian. Kids today are just brats. Ungrateful, disrespectful, brats. Damian is no different, except you throw in that he was raised in affluence and then dropped off with his rich and powerful father, and that is sure to not change his outlook on things. Did I mention the kid is named Damian? Do I really need to bring up a certain movie child with the name Damian and what he did?!?

The voice. Kevin Conroy seriously needs to come back and voice Batman again. Hey, Peter Cullen is still doing Optimus Prime and Frank Welker is Megatron everywhere except the movies, so why can’t Conroy be Bats? If not him, then give us Bruce Greenwood, who voiced him in the unceremoniously cancelled (because of too many female fans, I kid you not!) Young Justice, because Jason O’Mara is just there. O’Mara is ok with his reading, but he sounds like he is trying to find a balance between Conroy and what Christian Bale brought to the character, which may be his downfall. When/if he ever finds his own voice for Batman, then I think I can get behind him, but until then, I want Conroy, Greenwood, or someone else to be given a chance.

I haven’t read the graphic novel that this film comes from, but I do know that some things were changed and some characters omitted, such as the current Robin, Tim Drake, but I won’t get into that. Son of Batman showed great promise. The action is tight, Talia is definite animated eye candy (why else would they have her jumpsuit zipped down so low?), and we get a good Batman story. On the flipside, though, this isn’t one of the best we’ve seen from DC. The animation continues to have that wannabe anime feel that doesn’t gel with me for whatever reason. Also, Batman doesn’t make jokes!!!! All this aside, though, I think this is a solid enough film that would be worth your time, so give it a shot, sometime.

3 1/3 out of 5 stars

Trailer Thursday 7/3

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on July 3, 2014 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

First off, I want to wish everyone a Happy and safe 4th of July weekend!

Now, let’s travel back to the year 1989.

Keep in mind that superhero films have not had the best success up to this point, but as we settle into the our seats the trailer for Tim Burton’s Batman comes up and we are blown away by what we see! Can’t you just wait for this to hit the big screen!!!

 

 

Has it really been 25 years?!?