JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time Review


This is a Justice League film I remember hearing about ages ago and always thought it sounded interesting. You can’t go wrong with time travel after all and so this was bound to be a pretty fun adventure. It’s not the most ambitious film to be sure and at under an hour there is only so much that the movie can do. Still, I thought it was a good journey and the film even delivered on a really solid fight scene with Robin. It won’t be making a name for itself among the other big DC films but ultimately I would give this one a thumbs up.

The movie starts with Lex Luthor and the Legion of Doom fighting the Justice League once more. They have a new freeze cannon that can end all life on the planet. The legion actually puts up a pretty good fight but ultimately Captain Cold gets a bit greedy and puts the machine on a setting that’s too high so it blows up and Lex gets frozen. Around 1000 years later we cut away to the Legion of Superheroes where Karate Kid and Dawnstar are walking around one of the Legion bases. They have been declined entry into the Legion one more time which they are sad about. Karate Kid feels like he is ready for this and to demonstrate to Dawnstar he even comes close to breaking Lex out of the exhibit he is in. Unfortunately he actually did break it.

Lex manages to escape back to the present and the two kids follow him. Lex now has possession over one of the more powerful time villains and intends to use him to let his team go to the past and prevent Clark Kent from ever being Superman. Can the young heroes in training alert the League to this before it’s too late or will they ultimately be doomed here?

Now there’s one thing I have to mention about the time travel here because the film fumbles the ball rather early in this respect. We don’t know exactly when Lex woke up except that he is generally in the 31st century. When he breaks out of the ice he sees that he was found around the year 2800 so when he gets the hourglass he wishes to be brought back exactly 1000 years. There’s no reason for him to assume that it has literally been 1000 years to the very day. Naturally it works out though and he arrives just as he had been frozen but the years didn’t really add up to me. I was more than a little skeptical at this point. Beyond that the time travel is handled well though.

It’s using more of a linear timeline theory so if you change something in the past then it alters the future so things never really happened. Naturally with a short run time the film can’t delve into this too much though. That part’s unfortunate because you feel like there’s a lot you could do with showing a world where Superman doesn’t exist. Technically that part probably only lasts for a few minutes really. The film moves at an incredible speed at all times so it can cover the plot as it is.

The writing is solid here though. All of the heroes act suitably heroic and the villains also look good. It’s always nice to see Lex as the leader of the villains of course and Bizarro got to have some fun which was nice as well. This is actually a very powerful roster for the Legion of Doom. They can definitely give the JL a run for their money in this film. The group fights are a lot of fun and we get two of those but the standout fight has to be Robin vs Karate Kid. I was glad that Robin was able to hold his own. The Kid is known for being a top tier hand to hand fighter but Robin was trained personally by Batman so he’s not someone who should go down without a fight.

Fans of Robin will definitely be satisfied with his portrayal here. In general the League looks pretty good. Naturally Flash is the most nerfed of the group as per usual since otherwise he would really be messing up most of the villains. Wonder Woman also doesn’t get a whole lot to do next to the others as she surprisingly has a smaller role than the backups like Aquaman and Cyborg but it helps that they got to go into the past. Batman was also fairly low key here although at least he had his space battles. The opening group fight was a good way to introduce the heroes and villains while also keeping the stakes high. Toyman’s design here was also a lot of fun. He may not be as powerful as his DCAU version but he still did good all the same.

The animation is good although most if not all of the character designs are a bit suspect. Superman’s face makes him look a lot meaner than usual or at least a lot more stern I guess. If I had to choose, Aquaman may have had the best design here. Still, the fights are on point which is ultimately what counts. The battles are all really good with a lot going on. It’s a shame that this film never got a sequel because it would have been fun to have had another Justice League film series go on. The movie even has a pretty big cliffhanger at the end. There’s a whole lot you can do with that and the ending was so sudden that it also really worked as a plot twist. It’s not exactly something you would have seen coming.

As for the two new characters, they were reasonable. Naturally I enjoyed Karate Kid a lot because he’s super headstrong and always jumping into battle. His skills certainly aren’t nearly as good as he claims them to be though. The only time he looked impressive was his brief fight against the evil trio in the Arctic and that was brief. Otherwise he spent a lot of the film getting kicked around. Dawnstar reminded me a lot of Dagger from Marvel with her light based powers. She may not be as quick to jump into the fights but she can brawl when needed. She can also put the fear in other characters like when she blessed someone’s car. Towards the end of her chant it almost sounded like a threat with some of the things she put in there.

Overall, Trapped in Time is definitely a good film. I would certainly recommend it. It gives you a lot of fun scenes, good battles, and a plot involving time travel. You really can’t go wrong with those elements. It’s definitely going for a Super Friends vibe just modernized a bit with the animation/fights and having a slightly more serious tone. The final battles with the prisoner of time were enjoyable and it’s just always hard to turn down a film with the Justice League in it. I feel like if it had not been Target exclusive then perhaps it would have sold more and even gotten those sequels on deck. You can’t win them all of course but we need more films like this. If you haven’t seen it yet then I definitely recommend changing that.

Overall 7/10

Wall -E Review


Wall E is a very well known film that I hadn’t gotten around to seeing yet. It always looked like a lot of fun and after seeing it I can certainly say that this is a quality film. Wall E has a good amount of drama and heartfelt moments. I also liked the little moments of danger we got near the end. Despite the apocalyptic backgrounds this isn’t an action film so don’t expect any big confrontations. This is more of a story about why you can’t get too dependent on technology or you are going to be in pretty big trouble.

The movie starts out by introducing us to a desolate Earth. Humans have already fled the planet so Wall E is really the only bot left. He goes around cleaning up the litter but it does get boring after a while. Fortunately another bot named Eve shows up one day which makes things more fun for Wall E. He finally has a friend even if she is deadly serious about her business. They stick together during the tough times when she has technical difficulties but their calm life can’t last forever. Eventually she has to go back to where the humans are to report that it’s safe to return to Earth again. The issue is….what if someone doesn’t want them to go back to Earth?

Now it’s hard to really tell where to end the plot summary as even what I have put there feels like it goes pretty deep into the film. Still, I feel like that’s a fair dropping off point since that’s where the first real conflict begins. It’s from that point where we can really get the characters in some danger. The first half of the film manages to get by without a lot of dialogue which is impressive since the backgrounds and aesthetic have to really speak for themselves here.

The animation is definitely solid though and it holds up well to this day. The opening backgrounds with the destroyed cities reminded me of Advent Children to an extent. Wall E’s design is also fun and looks a whole lot like ROB the Robot. The laser blasts from Eve are also on point. Then you have the soundtrack which is good. It may not be too extensive or anything like that but the tunes are memorable and work well. The film has a lot of energy throughout.

The pacing is also on point and the writing is good so you have all the fundamentals for a solid film. As a main character Wall E is also fun to follow on his journey for friendship. He may not be able to talk a lot but he’s a nice guy and always means well. Whenever he thinks Eve is in trouble, Wall E jumps in to help and save the day. Meanwhile Eve is a solid heroine. She is definitely packing heat with her energy blaster which really comes in handy. She has to be one of the strongest characters in the film although unfortunately her reaction times aren’t always on point so enemies get close enough to turn her off more than once. That’s definitely something she would have to work on for a sequel.

Then you have the antagonist who is pretty solid. I won’t say his name but when he steps in you know that things are about to get dangerous for the heroes. He’s a pretty fun villain who always seems to be able to get the upper hand. I liked the design and you can tell that he’s based off of a popular villain from another sci-fi film. Finally you have the Captain who does well in the end. He may not have made all of the right decisions for a while but ultimately he stepped up when he had too and that’s what counts. You know that the Earth will be safe under his command.

The movie definitely paints a dangerous picture of how the humans won’t be doing so well if they slack off. It’s pretty crazy to see that the humans have given up to the point where they can barely even move or survive on their own. Definitely not their best appearance. I like to think that at least somebody would have stayed strong and resisted the temptations everywhere but I suppose there were no heroes in this era. If anything it’s impressive that they’re still alive at all since most of them barely appear to be functioning anymore. The robots definitely had all of the power here.

Something tells me this film probably won’t get a sequel at this point but there’s definitely a lot you could do with a future storyline. Have an evil robot show up to conquer the planet or maybe half of the humans decide to revolt and try to go back to where they were. It’s fun to think about at least. There isn’t a whole lot more to talk about for this title due to the nature of the film. A lot of the film is really just about enjoying the landscapes and Wall E’s heartfelt journey. It’s all very effective and it’s a unique approach. It’s definitely a style that has to be handled carefully as with weaker writing it could just end up being rather dull and boring like 2001: A Space Odyssey. Fortunately Wall E was up to the task.

Overall, Wall E is a fun film. I wouldn’t say it ultimately rises up to be one of Pixar’s best movies, but it certainly does the job of being a quality watch. There’s a lot to enjoy here from the characters to the solid animation. Once the humans do get involved it’s nice to see them. They may not have stayed very alert but at least they’re all pretty nice people who are ready to help. It shows that this community managed to stay pretty well connected. If you haven’t see Wall E yet then I’d recommend it. It’s a pleasant film that really goes by in a flash.

Overall 7/10

The Lion King (2019) Review


Time to look at the modern remake to the original Lion King. The original is definitely a classic with one of the most impactful deaths at the time. I don’t think anyone ever truly forgets Mufasa. Well, this remake is mostly beat for beat although it does add a new subplot of sorts which I liked. In the end it isn’t able to do anything as effectively as the original though and does lose the head to head. As a stand alone film it is good though.

The movie starts with Simba finally being born. His father Mufasa is the strongest Lion in the land and resides as a King who was restored order to the world. The Hyenas don’t like this but everyone else enjoys the planet as it is. Animal Land would likely point out that this happiness cannot be sustained as even Simba points out that they have to eat their friends at times since the Lions are meat eaters. Mufasa explains they try not too eat too often like that though. Well, Mufasa’s brother Scar is not happy about this. He wants to be King and it’s implied he even liked the Queen but lost out. Well, he quickly murders Mufasa and tricks Simba into running away. Can Simba return to reclaim the throne or is it game over for him?

I suppose Mufasa’s role is rather small in the grand scheme of things but he’s always a fun character. One thing I really like about him is the amount of raw power he has at his disposal. He takes on a whole squad of Hyenas and is always ready. It’s a shame that he had to die here since the land had a bright future under him. I would enjoy an alternate reality path where we see what would happen if he stayed as King. That said, I do think he was a little too lenient on Scar the whole time. Ignoring obvious threats and such. I think at the very least he should have warned Simba a little more.

A good chunk of the film is the journey as Simba finds out what it is like to live in the wild. Pumbaa and Timon help him with this even if their advice isn’t always very helpful. They believe that life is meaningless which is…rather a depressing outlook when you think about it. They have a lot of fun scenes though and do have Simba’s back. Simba may have started out as being rather gullible and such but by the end of the film he’s definitely improved. I can see him being a fun character in the second film. I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan in this one.

The best character in this film has to be Zazu. You really feel for the guy the whole time because he’s trying his best to uphold the rules and keep everyone on the straight and narrow. At the end of the day the issue is that everyone rebels against him. Additionally Zazu’s really just a little bird when you think about it so it’s not like he can fight. That makes him even more brave. Especially when you have someone like Scar around. Scar’s a solid villain as well. He’s got a plan and knows how to execute it. The whole thing is handled really well as shown by how easily he took over without firing a shot. Scar has charisma even if he lacks brute power.

Then you have Nala who is Simba’s best friend. She didn’t get a big role in the original after finding Simba so that’s why I liked the inclusion of a Hyene leader with an actual personality. They got to go at it during the climax of the film and of course I won’t turn down an extra fight. It was a nice way to wrap things up. Nala’s also a solid character since she was pro actively trying to save the Lions the whole time. In general the climax is a lot of fun with solid action and a dramatic backdrop. It’s hard to really top that.

One thing I couldn’t help but think about though was why there weren’t really any other Male lions in the pack. Part of why Scar took over so easily is because there was nobody to resist him but why was that the case? If there had even been a handful of guys there they should have been able to take down Scar and his obvious rebellion. In fact, based on how few lions were around it seems to be like the Hyenas should have easily invaded long ago. Their numbers are far greater than the Lions and they could just pick them off at any time. there is a strength gap of course but nothing too crazy there either. I dunno, but it felt noticeable.

The graphics are definitely top notch. You could really think that this was live action at times which is really impressive. In terms of realism it’s hard to really say that any film can top this one. It helps that there are no humans around of course but it’s super impressive no matter how you slice it. Unfortunately it’s still not able to beat the original film in this category which came out over a decade ago. The reason being that realism will usually be crushed by an animation style that just goes all in. The original film has more color and life to it. I still remember the comparison videos popping up everywhere and it is true that the original just feels a lot more exciting and looks sharper. It’s to be expected since it was hand drawn but if you don’t compare this to the original then you should still be able to appreciate the look.

I wouldn’t say any of the songs in particular stand out to me but they’re solid enough. The songs have a nice up beat flavor to them and there’s always something happening in the background to pay attention to. As for the fact that the film revolves around animals fighting each other, the film had a good amount of restraint with not letting this go too far. You can still expect some of course and we even have a scene where Scar is eating an animal while subtly threatening the lions which is pretty intense. That was probably the most noteworthy scene to me. In part because you can totally cut it out and nothing changes. So this aspect doesn’t hurt the film as much as it potentially could have but I think it could have jumped another star otherwise.

Overall, The Lion King (2019) is a good remake. It’s fairly similar to the original one with the extra fight at the end being the only big change I would say. Even then calling it a “big” change is probably an exaggeration to be honest since it’s not like it affects a whole lot. If you haven’t seen the original or you saw it a long time ago and want a fresh version then this is a good one to check out. Otherwise there just isn’t any reason to recommend this over the original so I would say to just go and watch that one instead. It’s always the risk with remakes. If the original one was better then you may as well just watch it again instead of seeing the new version.

Overall 6/10

Fate/Grand Order -First Order- Review


Grand Order is definitely a huge mobile game. You typically hear it referred to as Fate Go and in terms of sales there’s pretty much no other plot based mobile game that can match it. With a game being this massive it makes sense that it would span to become a whole franchise in itself. This movie starts us off with adapting the first part of the game and it’s a blast. It’s incredibly solid with a self contained story that perfectly ends off at a point where you’ll want to play the game to see where it goes or hope that the rest gets adapted.

The story starts by introducing us to some new concepts. There is an organization named Chaldea which exists to oversee the safety and continued existence of the human race. They do so by monitoring a globe that’s effectively a replica of the planet Earth that shows up to 2 years in advance. As long as this globe is safe, so will the Earth be. The series follows a new recruit named Ritsuka who is the final master who has been selected to help this organization. He ends up being thrown into the fire rather literally as an explosion occurs in the base which causes all of the other masters to be incapacitated or worse. This seems to be an act of sabotage and the globe has also turned into a ball of fire. The human race now has less than 2 years until they are obliterated. Rituska will have to use experimental time travel technology to warp back to the early 2000s where the Holy Grail War of the iconic Fate Stay Night is going on.

However, the timeline has been warped of course so nothing is as it should be. There is no Shirou Emiya left here and Servants are running around without masters. Ritsuka will have to find the source of this anomaly and revert the timeline back to its intended path. Fortunately he won’t be alone. A nice girl named Mash is here with him as a Servant. In Fate, a “Servant” is a fighter of unimaginable power who makes a contract with a master so that they can accomplish their goals. In the real world Mash was close to death after being crushed by debris but in this world she can harness extra powers as a Demi Servant including superhuman physical abilities as well as an unbreakable shield. The two heroes will be going up against Heroic Spirits with a lot of experience though so this won’t be easy.

Grand Order throws you right into the action and that’s really how things should be. You’ve got enough context here with the time travel and the idea of humanity being on the brink. From there you can enjoy the high concepts and action. The animation here is really high tier. The action is on point at all times and it’s nice to see all of the contrasting fighting styles. You’ve got sword fighters, archers, mages, shield based fighters, etc. Since all servants in this universe with few exceptions are famous heroes from various folklore and even real life, it’s always fun to see how they will be presented. One of the standout fights here would have to be Mash’s battle against Medusa while the Archer vs Caster battles are excellent as well. You’re not going to find any action scene that is sub par here or even average. They’re all just great. I would say the Saber fight is probably the weakest one as it’s less about choreography than the others and focuses on which is stronger, the sword or the shield. It’s still a satisfying conclusion though.

Ritsuka is a solid main character. He’s heroic and quick on the uptake. He may be a new recruit but he’s not panicking or yelling the whole time whenever he learns new details. When they tell him about the time travel he just jumps right in to help out with the plan. He may not be able to fight at this point but as a Master he does give Mash energy so he can at least focus on doing that. Then you have Mash who is a solid heroine. She’s fairly emotionless the whole time. Her backstory will get more detail in the show but you can quickly understand what her core personality is. Mash is very down to business and as a result she is able to fight very efficiently. She may be weaker than the other Servants but with her calculating fight style she can at least hold her own for a while.

There aren’t a lot of people who use a shield as a primary weapon either so that’s pretty unique. Then you have Olga who was the field commander in Chaldea. She has skill as a mage and it’s implied that she could be a formidable master but something is holding her back. She’s a fun enough character even if she typically exists to hold Ritsuka back from his attempts to jump into the fight. It’d be nice if she took a more active role to help but realistically the extent of her abilities seem to be basic energy blasts that wouldn’t work on any of the power powerful opponents. She’s a fun character to have around though.

Then we have Romani who has to step in as the director since basically everyone died in the fire. He went from being a humble doctor to the top role so that was quite the switch. He’s a fun guy though and likes to go about life on his own pace. He may panic a little more than some of the other characters as he is usually completely out of his depth but he tries his best. There’s also an animal mascot in the film who seems like he’ll be around for the long-haul but right now has not done anything for the plot. When an animal like this shows up though you know it’s going to end up being important near the end so keep an eye on this guy.

There’s also Lev who is one of the higher ranking members of the team. There’s not a whole lot to say about him here. Once we go to the Stay Night era, naturally we see some of the hype Servants although a lot of them died off screen before the series starts. It makes sense that Archer would still be around though. I would say he’s easily the most underrated Servant which I think is intentional on his part. I do question whether he could truly be controlled here since his “Independent Action” skill should make this completely impossible. My best guess here is that he has just decided to help Saber out with her plan because it’s another way to stick it to a certain character’s motivations. This other character would not agree with any of this. Of course another explanation could be that the subtle corruption influence makes it so Archer isn’t being controlled so much as influenced into really thinking this is what he wants to do. It’s a debate in itself but I would be on the first side.

Then we have Caster who is a lot of fun. As the Lancer in previous incarnations he was always one of the most honorable fighters and you could always count on him to make the right decisions and help out when needed. He keeps that heroic nature about him here as well. While some Heroic Spirits may not feel….Heroic, that’s never an issue with him. I do think he has more skill in his Lancer incarnation but he performs really impressively in this film. I do like the fact that in Fate any hero can be summoned in any role since it shows that they have so many skills that they can properly service any role. That said, I would assume they all have their specialties and that the first time we see them in FSN it is in their ideal roles. Medusa (I think this would be the Rider class) also looks pretty solid here. She definitely had quite the body count by the end of the film and her close quarter combat skills were impressive.

While the film goes through its action in a fairly standard fashion without getting overly gritty or anything, there’s one scene where you feel like it’s there just for shock value. Lets just say one statue bleeds a whole lot when it breaks, yet later on when a bunch of other statues are destroyed there is no blood to be had which makes a lot more sense. So that scene felt a bit forced but it’s a super minor thing and I wouldn’t call it that extreme. The film has a dark color scheme but that’s more for effect then trying to be edgy. It feels like Fate always takes place at night and I suppose that’s because there would be less humans getting in the way of the fights. I recall some kind of explanation like that in the first series although of course attacking in the day is still allowed.

Now you may have some power level questions by the end of this and that’s fair. Some of the fights here do go in a way that you will have a tough time buying but when the main characters are so severely outclassed you’ll probably expect that from jump. Particularly since all of the Servants here have been bumped up even more than usual. Of course one does have a habit of being defeated a lot but even so you get the feeling that Mash and Ritsuka would die as soon as they entered the battle. Even Caster really got lucky here as I don’t see him being able to even remotely be able to challenge Archer. As a Lancer I think he can put up a good fight and maybe even take the win if he can defeat Archer before the latter has the chance to use his Noble Phantasm but as a Caster I don’t see that being an option. The actual fights are still a lot of fun though.

The soundtrack here is definitely solid. You have a lot of the grand Fate themes that you will have come to expect. The story feels really grand and lives up to the title with the music amping it up like this. You always expect that Fate will be firing on all cylinders with the technical aspects and this film is no exception. You’ll be at the edge of your seat right away. The writing is great as well with the characters having a lot of sharp dialogue and considering all options. We also get a plot twist at the end of the film. It comes out of nowhere and is definitely effective. You’ll also feel bad for one character since things don’t go quite as planned. Then the ending has a big cliffhanger leading to a bunch of paths with a lot of potential.

Overall, First Order is a great introduction to the Grand Order timeline. I love time travel so seeing that introduced was naturally excellent. The future timeline and snowy landscape was also fun. It’s just a very interesting view of a possible Fate future with a lot of things to consider. The film really flies by so it’s over before you know it. The animation is top tier and the soundtrack is on point. I look forward to seeing more of the Grand Order universe and having them take advantage of the limitless possibilities with this plot. With 7 Singularities to correct and each one being in a different time period you know those will all make for pretty epic adventures. I’d definitely recommend checking this movie out.

Overall 8/10

A Silent Voice Review


I remember reading the manga for this one a long time ago and definitely destroyed it. It was extremely mean spirited the whole time and even by the end a lot of characters got away with a whole bunch. Well, turning an entire series into a single film means there are going to need to be significant cuts around the board so maybe this adaption would be better. It does seem like in particular they cut out a lot of the pre time skip content to get to the modern day quicker. I would say its better than the manga.

The movie starts with a transfer student named Shoko entering Shoya’s class. She has difficulty hearing and as a result isn’t able to speak very well either. Shoya and the boys quickly decide to start bullying her and eventually the whole class gets in on this. They keep on breaking her hearing aids and talking behind her back. Eventually she transfers out of the class and everyone pins the blame on Shoya. He was the ringleader but everyone was in on it. We cut to a few years later where Shoya has decided to destroy himself but ultimately decides not to. He runs into Shoko again and decides that he needs to make things right and become her friend. Can he really do it though or is he too far gone?

Right away you can kind of tell how much you will like the film based on how much you can buy into Shoya’s arc. As mentioned, the film does a pretty good job of really cutting out a lot of the opening moments and kind of breezing through things. It’s appreciated but I definitely still didn’t like Shoya. He started out mild but very quickly began to escalate well past the point of no return. He is effectively a different character pre and post time skip, but even with that it was hard to like him.

He could have defended himself a lot better with the rest of the friends later on. When Miki was spreading rumors once again he should have quickly come clean and told his side of the story. Instead he retreated once more but not before taking shots at every character to make himself appear to be the bad guy again.

All in all, Shoya does his best to atone for his earlier mistakes. So you have to give him some props but it doesn’t mean you have to like the guy either. He would still be one of the weaker characters in the film. Unfortunately the best character from the manga (Satoshi) has a smaller role here. He still looks very good in his appearances though as he pressures Miki to do the right thing and just seems like a stand up guy. He feels like the most heroic member of the group to be sure. He’s just a lot of fun and I’d have liked to see more of him.

From all of the characters Miki is probably low key the most malicious one of the group. At least a character like Naoka is pretty upfront about how much she dislikes Shoko. Miki is always trying to play the victim card while constantly bringing up things from Shoya’s past. It’s impossible to ever sympathize with her and by the end you feel like she gets away with everything. That’s why she’s my least favorite character.

Lets talk about Naoka though. She used to be good friends with Shoya and his posse until Shoko entered the mix. Initially she did act friendly towards the girl but eventually it was just too challenging for her so she gave up and became a bully. A lot of things happened and after the time skip she is no longer friends with Shoya but she blames this on Shoko. It gets to the point where she even beats up on Shoko near the end of the film.

Naoka’s personality makes her a pretty fun character but it can’t disguise the fact that she is easily one of the meanest ones around. Her ability of cutting through all the passive aggressive comments of the others and saying it like it is really helps her character stand out. Definitely no excuse for physically attacking Shoko at the end though. It’s good Shoko’s Mom was there to fight back or things would have really gotten out of hand.

From the main characters Miyoko is easily one of the more minor ones. She was someone who at least tried to be Shoko’s friend but ultimately had to leave schools. I don’t believe it was her choice though so while she blames herself a bit later on, I don’t think she deserves any blame for that. She did the best she could while in school and at least gave Shoko some fond memories.

Then we have Tomohiro who ends up being Shoyo’s first friend after the timeskip. He’s a pretty nice guy and definitely gave a lot of solid emotional support when it was needed most. He’s just a stand up guy and is someone who actively sticks up for himself as well. I was also glad that he didn’t just turn on Shoyo after the main character’s last outburst and knew that he was just not having a good moment.

Yuzuru is Shoko’s younger sister and definitely a fun character as well. She certainly doesn’t mind trolling the other characters and next to Shoko/Shoya she probably has the biggest role here. Yuzuru gets a lot of quality character development throughout but started as a great character from the onset. She wanted to make sure that nobody was going to mess with Shoko again and went to great lengths to ensure that was the case. She made a lot of sacrifices to help out.

Finally we have Shoko as the main heroine. She’s definitely a very nice character but almost nice to a fault in some instances. She really makes sure to turn the other cheek when people are being mean to her and continues to try being friends with everyone to the point where she can be a bit oblivious. It’s the main aspect of her that Naoka has a problem with. Shoko always puts on a brave face even if it’s not 100% genuine.

I don’t think you can fault someone for wanting to look at things through a positive lens though. She could have been more self aware but at the same time she was still just a kid and one with far less social experience than the rest due to her hearing issues. It’s part of why the first act is a tough watch because she is doing her best while the entire classroom is just being tough on her.

You’d think at least the teacher would have stepped in but he didn’t do much here. In the manga he’s a lot more antagonistic though so at least they toned him down to just being someone who never actually acts. So Shoko’s definitely a very good character and one of the best ones. The film does a great job of having you sympathize with her situation. Her mother also looks very good. She may have a much smaller role but she is doing her best to help out like contacting the school and jumping into fights. She also went to great lengths to find Shoko when she went missing and in general just did all of the right things.

The animation is naturally solid here. It’s all pretty smooth. You’re not going to see a lot of striking colors for the most part as this takes place in a town where there aren’t a ton of electronics or things of that nature so it’s more about the character designs and such. The writing is also on point.

Ultimately what holds the film back from being one that I would solidly recommend is just how many aspects of the film are un-relentlessly tragic all the time. Just when you think Shoko is finally safe the bullying starts up again in the second half. As bad as Shoya was in picking on her early on, then you see him getting bullied extensively after that and of course he takes it out on her. We have a grandmother dying later on in the film just to heap onto the plate. There’s also the fact that both Shoya and Shoko are suicidal at different points in the film.

It has its happy moments but most of the film is fairly dreary with this. At least the ending is on a high note since a sad ending would have really been rough. As it stands, at least you do know that things are going to get better for the main characters and they are through the worst of it.

Overall, A Silent Voice makes for a better movie than manga. In this case cutting out some things just helped to at least dial back the mean spirited nature of the story. If you’re up for an emotional story of a bully turning over a new leaf and coming to terms with himself then this is probably about as good a story as you’ll find here. Alternately if you want a redemption story that is a little more upbeat, check out Final Fantasy VII Advent Children.

Overall 5/10

Wonder Woman Bloodlines Review


It’s been a little while since I saw one of the DC animated films so it’s nice to jump back in. Wonder Woman gives us a partial origin story here along with a new adventure. It’s a pretty fun film with a solid amount of action and good characters. Ultimately it doesn’t beat the original Wonder Woman film but we do get to throw in a lot of Wonder Woman’s big opponents from back in the day. Her rogues gallery has never gotten to appear quite as much as most of the other big DC characters so it’s always fun to see them. What she needs one day is a full TV show and then we’ll be able to see more of them.

The movie starts off with the origin story as Steve was fighting a Parademon (Feels like these guys cause a lot of trouble in this continuity!) and then crashed onto Wonder Woman’s island. Naturally the queen decides he has to be captured so Wonder Woman knocks out the guard, fights with the queen, and then escapes with Steve. The catch of course is that she is now banished from the island forever. Steve takes Wonder Woman to an old historian to learn about culture in the outside world. The lady also has a daughter named Vanessa who isn’t having a super fun time at home.

We then cut to the present where Vanessa is a complete rebel now and has gotten involved in shady dealings. Wonder Woman and Steve go to stop her but during the fighting Vanessa’s mom is destroyed. Vanessa now decides she wants revenge on Wonder Woman and intends to murder her as the Silver Swan. Meanwhile Dr. Poison and her mysterious leader have more plans up their sleeve. Will Wonder Woman be able to stop them and save the Silver Swan or is this all going to end in complete disaster?

The origin story here is fairly basic. The addition of the Parademon was a nice way to give it some higher stakes. I still do feel like the idea that you can just crash onto the island or see it so easily means that it’s not a great defensive barrier though. I always question how more people don’t see it to be honest. There needs to be some other magical element at play to defend them if you ask me. From there we definitely have a more aggressive Wonder Woman who quickly solves things with her fists here but given how unreasonable the Amazons usually are I can see why this would be the fastest way out. I suppose it’s a nice intro into the film. It may be something we’ve seen before but it was executed well.

With the main story you’re going to need to deal with Vanessa. To me the opening of the film’s main story is the slowest part. Vanessa’s a fairly annoying character from square one. Julia may not be the nicest mother to her at times but it’s not like she was comically mean or anything exaggerated. Vanessa also didn’t exactly do a whole lot to stand out. I think she could have pressed the issue with Julia a bit and it would have worked since Wonder Woman was always around. Instead Vanessa went to the dark side and was pretty unreasonable the whole time. She had a fun suit of armor and abilities of course but as a character I would give her a thumbs down here. She just went down complaining a whole lot throughout the movie.

The other villains are better even if some of them aren’t great. Doctor Poison for example is a fun enough street level bad guy even if she never feels like a threat to Wonder Woman. Doctor Cyber is a lot more disappointing mainly because she was the mastermind here. Not only did she completely not think her plan through but because of this she barely even got to fight in the end. Not a good look for her. We also got a few other WW villains here like Giganta and Cheetah. It was fun to see them. I liked Giganta’s new costume here as it’s a lot more streamlined compared to the usual one and Cheetah looked really good with her speed. I’m always up for bringing along the classic villains.

Another big villain here is Medusa who looks great. She gives us one of the highlight fights in the film. I think you could make a case for Cheetah vs Wonder Woman still being the best fight but it’s really close. What helps the final fight shine a lot is it highlights Wonder Woman’s endurance. When you think about it that will always be one of her greatest assets because as an Amazon she won’t tire as quickly as most fighters. In the comics I recall it was even mentioned that her stamina is even greater than Superman’s so in a way it evens out with his power/speed being higher.

Medusa feels more like a mastermind here. Yes, I would have been cool with her not growing and turning huge here, but she showed pretty solid speed so the fight never grew dull. There was still a lot of high speed movement here as well as strategy. Wonder Woman using the acid was fairly brutal but a necessary step based on how powerful Medusa’s influence was. There wasn’t really another way around it. Based on all the abilities Medusa has, you can easily see her being one of the most deadly Wonder Woman villains. Honestly I figured her gaze would not affect a true Amazon but I suppose if it didn’t then she wouldn’t make for an imposing threat so that’s fair.

As for Wonder Woman, she’s a solid lead as always. I’m not a huge fan of her portrayal here relative to other versions but is still good in her own right. For example I thought she had a little less self confidence than in other versions like stammering in her first scene meeting Vanessa or still being haunted by her actions in the past with the Amazons. She’s certainly going for more of a pacifist route for most of the film such as continually trying to save Silver Swan and not even calling the Justice League in because she feared they wouldn’t be too understanding of the predicament. That was some major shade to the League I have to say, I guess they aren’t as close as you would think. Wonder Woman does fight her way through every challenge though.

The post credits scene is also pretty intense. Wonder Woman connects the dots and goes to confront someone. It’s a solid way to end the film regardless of if the plot will come back. That being said, you do feel like she could have done something more like capture the villain. Proof or not, Wonder Woman has diplomatic immunity as the Amazon representative and I’m sure with enough digging she could find the proof later on. This does work as a great introduction for a new villain though and if we had more films I’d love to see her try a few new plans.

One thing I have to mention here though is the hostage situation. At one point very early on in the film a guy holds a lady at gunpoint and basically does the whole “don’t move” thing on Wonder Woman. She basically ignores him and throws her lasso which knocks him away and then she gloats that she had another option. It’s a nice scene but when you think about it, she was basically calling his bluff. If he intended to shoot then the hostage would be dead. Often times in these things you either see a hero be completely paralyzed by the hostage situation or like Wonder Woman they just run at the villain anyway and hope for the best. It’s always an interesting scenario because if it went wrong it would haunt the hero forever. I just always find it interesting how differently a hostage situation can be handled from film to film. All’s well that ends well though.

Steve and Etta have a subplot where they face their own dangers the whole time. It’s decent enough I suppose. I’m not a big fan of Etta in general. Her 60’s incarnation may be the best one but I think it’s time to finally make her more of a true fighter. Steve…is Steve. As always he’s a fairly tough fighter who backs Wonder Woman up but he’s so weak in comparison all he can do is crack jokes a lot of time to lift the tension. Don’t get me wrong, he saves her a number of times in the film and is pretty proficient with his gun skills but even with that it can be hard to take him seriously in the fights. He’s also basically the rebound guy with Wonder Woman now that Superman’s in the picture so the romance angle isn’t quite so developed.

The only part of the Steve plot where you have to raise an eyebrow is when he and Etta have to take on a Minotaur. The Minotaur is slow enough where they can keep on dodging it while letting it crash into the walls and it’s weak enough where it literally faints from doing so at different points. The Minotaur disrespect was real here. Aside from that the film gave Steve pretty realistic moments where he could help out without nerfing any of the other big villains.

As always the amazons look pretty weak which is to be expected. They are supposedly a group always ready for war but they clearly aren’t. They have such high tech equipment like the purple ray and yet for battle they use bows and arrows along with swords. The Amazons desperately need to open up their borders or something because as they are now they are completely defenseless against any real threats. It makes it hard to take them seriously so Wonder Woman is probably lucky that she got booted out of there. They reap what they sow and all that.

As always the animation here is very smooth. DC always has done a great job with this. The fight scenes are on point and the costumes work really well too. Wonder Woman’s design’s a little different here as the film seems to be modeling her more like a true amazon. As a result she’s quite a bit taller and more warrior-like which makes sense. In this style I actually preferred the film’s new design for her rather than the classic one but that’s more a credit to how solid the new one looks. The battle scenes are pretty dynamic and really get across how powerful the heroine is.

Quick shoutout to the random thug early on in the film. After her reconstruction, Silver Swan decides to go and murder some people. Usually the mobsters will just die instantly but this guy got slashed but still had the wits to take a step back and fire a shot. Naturally it’s not like he ended up coming out on top here either way but I have to give him credit for trying. It was an unwinnable battle, but he did his best.

Overall, Wonder Woman Bloodlines is a pretty solid film. You get a good amount of fight scenes, character interactions, and solid animation. It goes by pretty quick as the movie isn’t super long or anything. Doctor Cyber may have been rather underwhelming but it was fun seeing the rest of the villains show up. Vanessa’s plot could be a bit on the dull side for the opening scenes and overly dramatic at other times but through it all it was always fun seeing Wonder Woman use her wits to take down all of her opponents. I’d definitely recommend checking this film out and adding it to your DC roster.

Overall 7/10

The Grinch Review


The Grinch is a pretty classic story although it’s been a pretty long while since I’ve seen any version of it. It’s a story that holds up though and I would have to say that this is the best adaption of it that I’ve seen. The characters are really solid, the animation is on point, and the story is good. When you mix that all together then you’ve got yourself a really solid combo and the movie just flies by.

The movie starts by introducing us to the Grinch. He lives in a pretty fancy cave with his dog Max. They have a pretty nice set up with everything running automatically and Max oversees the whole thing. In general it’s just hard not to like these guys at least with this first impression. Unfortunately for the Grinch he did not have enough food to survive Christmas without going into town. He heads out and decides to make life miserable for everyone else as well. When the Grinch learns that Christmas is going to be even bigger this year he decides that it’s time to shut it down. If he steals everyone’s presents then that should end things right?

Meanwhile Cindy is the main human here. She’s a little girl who is always spreading cheer around and having a pretty good time. Her Mom has to work really hard in order to support her though. Her only Christmas wish is for Santa to help the Mom out but it’s been tough to get in touch with him. She decides that she will have to lay a trap for Santa so that she can explain the wish. She gets some help from the rest of the kids in her neighborhood but will she really be able to take Santa down for the count? Only time will tell.

One thing that stands out about the film right away is the bright and colorful environment. The whole film just looks amazing. It’s some of the best animation I’ve seen in one of these films in a while. Maybe it comes down to the city’s design and the Christmas decorations but either way it really stood out. The characters are all really solid as well. Let’s start with Bricklebaum since he’s more of a side character.

He’s a nice neighbor who always ignores the Grinch’s slights and keeps minding his business. I can definitely respect this guy and his dedication to his craft. That’s the kind of drive that you really want to see from him. He’s also just fundamentally a good person. Naturally to the Grinch he is seen as quite extreme and over the top but it’s all very genuine. So he just really clicked as a supporting character. Then you’ve got Cindy’s Mom who is also solid and does a good job of managing everything at home. Even the other kids at least help Cindy even if they’re all ingrates for having to be guilt tripped into doing it. You know that Cindy would have helped them out with no questions asked.

Cindy is a pretty reasonable character. I’ll give her credit for being such a pro-active character. She was always right there in the thick of things. Her route from home to the cave or town was also a lot of fun. She’s got serious sledding skills that’s for sure. Then we get to the main two. Max is a really solid dog. He’s smart and very loyal. I was glad that the Grinch and Max had a really good dynamic here. They get along and make each other even better. They do have a disagreement in the film but it’s a pretty small one and they get on the same page again.

As for the Grinch, he is an antagonist at first of course. He’s mean to people for no reason like pushing the food that they want away or popping balloons. Whatever inconvenience the Grinch can cause you, he will do it. It makes him a pretty fun villain though. It’s not like he does anything too crazy either. Most of what he does is pretty mean spirited but amounts to just inconveniences here and there. Fortunately the townsfolk are so nice that they don’t pay him a whole lot of attention. It does mean that his character arc can feel a bit cheesy towards the end though. Anyone who knows about the Grinch story knows exactly how this is going to go of course. I thought the execution was pretty good though.

There are other side characters of course like the lone reindeer who hangs out with Grinch. The Grinch wasn’t thrilled about having him at first but ultimately relented which was the first indicator that maybe he had a heart after all. It’s just a nice story with some good emotional beats and quick pacing. The film never drags on or anything like that and the writing is good. At the end of the day those are the key ingredients to having a good movie. The ending is satisfying so then you’ve got a full product.

If there’s any part of the film that wasn’t needed then I would say that I could have done without the narrator. I know that rhymes are a staple of the Dr Seuss adventures so that’s probably why he is here but you don’t really need him. In my mind the film would have been just as complete without him and you can understand what is going on well enough without the play by play. I wouldn’t call it a negative though. It’s just one thing that I would tweak but it’s not something that holds the film back either.

Overall, The Grinch is a pretty good film. It’s always nice to see a quality Christmas film at the ready. This is definitely the definitive Grinch movie in my mind so if you haven’t seen any version yet then I would recommend starting with this one. It really embraces how Whoville is a lot different from a usual town. They go all in on Christmas and with the solid animation they’re able to show how much fun people have when travelling around town.

Overall 7/10

Arthur’s Perfect Christmas Review


It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen this Arthur Christmas special that’s for sure. It’s definitely a very well made special that’s for sure. It’s nice to see all of the celebrations and the nostalgic Arthur characters running around. This special has aged very well and will continue to be a solid watch each year. It’s definitely rough when a gift doesn’t go the way you think it will so you can understand Arthur’s plight.

The film starts us off a few days before Christmas. Each of the characters are getting ready for the day in their own way. Arthur is determined for this to be the best Christmas yet. I understand the feeling as I always go in expecting each year’s Christmas to surpass the last one and this year will be no different. Arthur is thrown a lot of curveballs though as the tree doesn’t tur out the way he had hoped and the menu is also a lot different. Still, Arthur is willing to give these changes a chance. The only thing that could ruin the day for him now would be if his Christmas present for his Mom were to break…

Then we’ve also got subplots for most of the other members of the cast. Binky is going to be cooking dessert for a soup kitchen he is volunteering at during Christmas and is testing out his recipes on everyone. It’s a pretty noble gesture but his cooking needs a lot of work. He makes rather basic mistakes in each of his dishes. It’s good that he’s trying but the first step of cooking is to try the food out yourself and it seems like Binky is not doing that. That doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in trying out his dishes now does it?

Muffy’s plot is about how she has scheduled a party while Francine will be observing Hanukkah with her family. Francine told her many times that attending the party would be impossible but Muffy wouldn’t hear about it. In a lot of these cases usually the mix up is because the character was unable to work up the courage to explain this. There is no such issue here as Francine told Muffy over 20 times. I liked how direct she was so the fault is entirely with Muffy this time around. There was no way that Francine could have been any clearer. So Muffy’s got to take the loss here.

Then you’ve got Buster who’s mother has been traumatized by Christmas and always celebrates it a few days early each year. It’s definitely a rather odd situation but at the end of the day she just wants to make sure that the day is a success for Buster. She is clearly trying pretty hard even if the whole thing is pretty exaggerated. Even the fancy restaurant food doesn’t look as good as what Buster would usually get at the Sugar Bowl. There are a few other characters having their own adventures like George, The Brain, and Mr. Ratburn but I wouldn’t consider those subplots so much as quick scenes to show us what they’re doing. They didn’t have any trail to go through which makes sense since the film can only squeeze in so many plots during its run time.

The movie is a little under an hour so there’s only so much it can do. The animation is pretty solid and consistent as always. The character designs are on point and the whole thing is nice to look at. This is the kind of hand drawn animation that will always age well. You can just feel the effort that was put into this. As this is a musical there are also a number of songs included. I wouldn’t say that any of them are all that solid though. It’s not really my style of music but it does still help to get the Christmas vibes in there.

Arthur’s Perfect Christmas also separates itself form other Christmas specials in that it does include some pretty key details like having the group go to Church in one scene and even having the Dad come up with the idea of having an authentic Christmas dinner like what they would have served in Bethlehem. While the dishes naturally may not sound the best next to some classic staples like Mac and Cheese, I like that the topic was broached. The film was clearly acknowledging the history of celebrating Christmas due to Jesus Christ’s birth. It’s always great to see that.

The special is high energy throughout and coupled with the solid writing that naturally makes for a fun adventure. Arthur tends to dream about the worst case scenarios as always. He really lets his imagination run wild even when it’s a positive event. Then you have DW who still panics quite a lot. At least she tried to be happy about the Duck at first even if she wasn’t able to stay strong in the end. I suppose if you’re hoping for a cool toy and get something else that can be tough. She was nice enough to think about Santa by leaving the cookies out which was neat. All of the characters are pretty solid at the end of the day.

Overall, Arthur’s Perfect Christmas is a pretty fun special. It’s definitely a fitting one to check out as Christmas quickly approaches and I’d recommend it. I’ll give Arthur points for being pretty tolerant of all the different things that could have sabotaged his Christmas. He was okay with the menu change, the Christmas tree change, and even handled the songs decently even if they did set him off pretty quick. He definitely doesn’t seem to like any of the fast paced music tracks that DW tends to enjoy which is unfortunate. Who knows, maybe one day he will get on board with these although I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Overall 7/10

The Last Unicorn Review


The Last Unicorn is one of those films that sounds pretty intense right off the bat. Kind of reminds me of Pryzm the Dark Unicorn although the circumstances are pretty different. This is definitely a solid film that I would recommend. In general I would say the Unicorns look pretty bad here but I suppose the villains are just that tough. It’s definitely a film that has aged pretty well with the grand songs playing and the intense action sequences. It seems like this is a pretty easy movie to miss when going through all the classics but you’ll definitely owe it to yourself to check it out.

The movie starts with a Unicorn being told that she is the last of her kind. She refuses to believe this at first. After all, how would some random people know that the rest are gone? If anything then wouldn’t they have thought there were none left until they met her? There’s a little butterfly that flies around singing vague stuff so the Unicorn decides to check for herself. Unfortunately she is kidnapped by Fortuna and forced to be in an animal circus for misfits. She is freed by Schmendrick, a magician in training. They eventually add another comrade by the name of Molly. The Unicorn finds out that all of the Unicorns have been captured by King Haggard so she decides to free them. The tough part will be that he is guarded by the Red Bull, a being so powerful that even all of the Unicorns teaming up were unable to do much against him. This Unicorn is unsure that she will do much better either.

For most of the film this character is just known as the Unicorn. She gains a name once she is in her human form but for the review I’ll just stick to “Unicorn”. Unicorn doesn’t look great I have to say and I would not consider her to be one of the best characters here. Her goal is to save the Unicorns but her resolve quickly fades when the Red Bull shows up. She does not even try to fight him and immediately runs. Before she can be destroyed she is saved by Schmendrick but otherwise she would have been doomed right from the start. Not a great showing for a being who is supposed to be so incredibly powerful. Here’s another thing to think about while you’re at it. She was kidnapped by a second rate mage almost immediately. She could not break out of her cage.

So for the whole film I couldn’t buy into the Unicorn’s hype. She’s just not that powerful and it’s easy to see how the rest of her race all lost to a single bull. Then when she is saved at the cost of her immortality she is completely ungrateful. She pouts for a long time and then ultimately forgets her goals and fades even further. Even in her final confrontation she needs quite a lot of help to really push forward. She’s definitely got a full character arc here but it doesn’t really help her all that much. I was just not really a fan of hers and I would have gained a lot more respect if she had stuck to her goal of saving the Unicorns or just put up more of a fight. She basically lost every fight she was a part of.

Schmendrick is the other big character here as he keeps on working at his craft so that he can be a very powerful mage someday. He tries pretty hard and does come through when it counts. It’s pretty rough for him though since the others are always giving him a hard time and he has to do all of the difficult jobs. He’s a nice enough guy though and a decent supporting character. Molly’s another good comrade although her role is quite a bit smaller. She mainly serves as moral support for both the Unicorn and Schmendrick. Without her both of these characters would have given up at some point.

Then you have Lir who immediately falls for Unicorn while she’s in her human form. He means well even if the whole thing seemed futile for the most part. I can’t say I was a big fan of the romance but at least for Lir it’s not like he had a big master plan otherwise. In fact if Unicorn had told him about Haggard’s evil deeds and that he was threatening her I’m sure Lir would have stepped in. His best scene was at the end of the film when he asks for Schmendrick’s help in summoning and the guy says that it’s the hero’s job to help. Rather than point out that a mere human going up against a legendary monster made of fire is crazy, Lir just sucks it up and runs into the fight. He’s promptly taken out but the guy was brave to the end and did his best to protect the Unicorn. He went right into action there.

For the villains we’ve really got two main ones aside from the monster. The first villain to show up was Fortuna whose magical abilities are impressive. She is able to make very convincing illusions and her cages were sturdy enough where these creatures couldn’t break free so that’s not bad. She definitely had a pretty gruesome end though. Then you’ve got King Haggard who’s led a pretty successful criminal empire. He seems like the kind of villain who gets a bit overconfident though. Keep in mind that he could have ended things right away and the only reason the heroes were able to infiltrate so thoroughly was because he wanted to have some fun with them. He could have ended the Unicorn at any time which is saying something. He definitely runs a tight ship otherwise and is a pretty imposing villain.

Then you’ve got Red Bull who is the big monster taking everyone out. It’s a mindless monster that just seems to go after Unicorns automatically so if you shape shift then he’ll lose interest. I do question how he took all of the Unicorns down but if they lack courage the way the main one did then I suppose it may not have been too hard. I liked the design and the sheer ferociousness of the monster. Weakness against water is rough when the villain’s castle is built with a lake on all sides but it’s not like the Bull just disintegrates immediately or anything. If there were less opponents he probably still would have been able to claim the win.

The animation here is pretty smooth. It’s got that classic hand drawn feel which I always enjoy. The colors are sharp and I’d definitely be game with the company using this over the claymation/still motion techniques of the other titles. When in doubt always go with hand drawn and you can’t go wrong. The soundtrack is also on point here. There are quite a number of songs running around. While the quality may vary the best one is easily the Last Unicorn song. It’s pretty emotional and definitely makes the adventure feel pretty grand.

Overall, I would recommend checking out The Last Unicorn. It’s a pretty interesting film with a solid plot. It’s well balanced and has good pacing and writing to match. There’s really nothing bad to say about this film. I think it would have been even better with a different lead though. The Unicorn’s supreme confidence and attitude just wasn’t earned due to how weak she looked throughout the film. She really needed to get some wins or do something in the movie to show why the Unicorns are looked up to so much. We know that she has some magic so maybe just show us some of these offensive spells. Regardless, you do get to see Lir prove himself as a loyal hero always ready to defend the kingdom and his friends from evil.

Overall 7/10

Lego DC: Shazam!: Magic and Monsters Review


Feels like it’s been a while since DC came out with another one of their Lego adventures so it was nice to see this one show up. This time it’s Shazam’s turn to be the lead and he holds his own film pretty well. He’s always been a pretty fun character and since his abilities match up so well with Superman’s you can see them being good rivals. Naturally Batman does his best to grab a lot of the screen time as well so Shazam has to split it with him. It ends up being a bit of a team up film there but part of the charm in these Lego films is that the plot’s always moving pretty quickly so a lot happens here.

The movie starts with Shazam stopping some villains and even saving a dog from a tree. People are wondering who this new hero is and he’s definitely left a positive impression. Even the Daily Planet has become aware of his presence and so Clark Kent has to write a story about him. This is put on hold when a bunch of villains show up. The Justice League backs Superman up but it’s surprisingly a close fight until Shazam shows up and takes all of the villains down for the count. The League invites him to the team but the trouble for Shazam is that they have 3 rules: One of which is that no kids are allowed. Shazam can’t let them find out his secret but it might end up sabotaging his chances of being a member. Additionally Mr. Mind’s schemes aren’t quite over yet.

It’s pretty interesting to see Mr Mind getting a lead villain role here. The guy was teased at the end of the live action film so perhaps this is a bit of foreshadowing on what he could do. He can’t really fight all that well physically but has mind control so that’s always helpful. I don’t think the writers consider him to be that skilled though as he mentions multiple times that his abilities only work on weak willed people and kids. For the most part adults are off limits….that’s not going to be very good for him. Then there’s also the fact that he keeps hearing a voice in his head. There’s a nice twist about who’s talking to him at the end.

I did like his villain group though. It’s a pretty unique roster that you wouldn’t usually expect to see so I liked the creativity there. The guy fighting Superman was pretty interesting and the “Dummy” makes for a fun villain even if his matchup against the Flash has got to be the most one sided one. A guy with a gun taking on the fastest man alive? Really? Well, he did pretty well all things considered I suppose. The final act of the film also adds one more villain who was a lot of fun to see. Due to some plot reasons we don’t really get to see him mix it up with the League the way you would expect but I do think he would have made it a good fight.

Lego animation is pretty consistent so you either like the style or you don’t. It’s all pretty clear and what I like about the DC Lego adventures in particular is that they do still give you nice action scenes. The films are a solid blend of humor and action but a lot of the fight scenes are actually taken pretty seriously. Take the Batman vs Superman fight. Yes, these two get to go up against each other yet again. While they’re dishing out a lot of solid one liners and good banter, we get some real acrobatics here and see Batman pulling off some nice maneuvers. It’s easy to imagine this in the core DC animation style and the fight being pretty epic. So it’s the extra effort you get here that has always put DC at the very top of the Lego verse.

The writing is also really solid as always. Batman gets a lot of great lines in particular. I also like Superman’s showing here mainly in the first half of the film. It’s always nice seeing him as Clark Kent and he definitely takes the arrival of Shazam a lot more in stride than in Justice League. The movie has a lot of solid visual humor as well to match the lines like Shazam just casually popping in his Subway token to catch a ride to Eternity. It’s also just a very balanced portrayal of Shazam. As a kid Billy is a super nice guy as always even wishing well to the bullies who would pick on him. Then as Shazam he does keep in all of the SHAZAM attributes such as wisdom and speed which is good. It’s probably his best appearance since Superman & Shazam the animated short film that came out a while back. Even the Wizard looks good since he actually knows how to fight in this version and does a good job of holding his own.

Overall, Lego DC Shazam was definitely a really solid adventure. Shazam is a likable hero and would make a good regular addition to the team here. As always I would put Batman as the standout character here. In the Lego verse he really just owns the team and the writers have such a solid understanding of his character. In general the writing is just really good and the film’s pacing is also on point. I don’t really have anything to say against the film. It’s just a lot of fun throughout. I’d probably switch out the plot of the characters turning into kids that happens at one point but it does lead to some nice scenes so you could always say that he was still worth it. If you are in the mood for a fun film with some action and your classic DC characters around then you should definitely check this one out. The Lego films are also not that long so it’s not like it’ll take a lot of time either.

Overall 7/10