Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League Gotham City Breakout Review

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It’s time for another lego film. In this one, we get 2 main plots instead of 3 or 4 like usual. This allows each individual plot to be fleshed out more but of course it means that you have to like both or you’re out of luck. Fortunately, both plots are pretty solid. The Batman plot ends up winning for me, but both of them are on the up and up.

The film starts with Batman’s friends deciding that he needs to take a vacation. As such, Nightwing and Batgirl take him to the place where he first learned how to become Batman. Batman’s master is known as Madame Mantis and she is the one person that he actually fears. It can be a little novel to see Batman actually scared of someone (for 2 seconds anyway) but the next twist made the whole thing even more interesting. Basically, Mantis had actually been kidnapped and Deathstroke had taken her place. Here’s why this is interesting.

For starters..Mantis had actually been beating Batman. That means Deathstroke is even more lethal than he used to be. He also saw a side of Batman that few ever have..his nervous side. Now, Batman claims that he knew this from the start which was a nice save but you have to decide whether you believe it or not. At the very least, Batman did end up winning in the end. It was a great way to start off the plot, but maybe that was also a bad thing. The rest of the story (Batman’s side) isn’t quite as exciting as this initial confrontation. The fight was epic, fast paced, and well choreographed. It was just hard to top it.

Batman and friends discover an underground bunch of beings who work under Madame Mantis and together the gang teams up to take down Deathstroke and foil his evil ambitions. I can’t say that I liked the Trogowogs much and I had to look their name up online because there is no way I was gonna remember it. The revamped origin story of Deathstroke and Batman was pretty cool though. I wouldn’t mind if it became canon since it adds an extra layer of intensity to their rivalry.

Meanwhile, Superman is left in charge of protecting Gotham while Batman is away. Arrogant and over confident as usual, Superman believes that the city’s villains are a joke. This leads to him being tricked by the Joker and losing to Poison Ivy. The whole film is a lesson in humility for Superman. While I could start talking about plot hax and how Batman’s villains really would be a joke to Superman…it’s so self explanatory that I won’t even bother. I don’t mind seeing Superman get put in his place either. His over confidence is why I like the character, but I definitely don’t mind poking a little fun at him. Superman is eventually forced to call in Cyborg and Wonder Woman although they also have a hard time with the situation. It’s a little odd since they certainly aren’t overconfident, but it proves what Batman has been saying for years. He’s the best member, the other Leaguers are just here to back him up!

A big part of the plot is that Robin wants to help out, but Superman constantly patronizes him and reminds the poor boy that kids can’t fight super villains. Superman’s technically correct if this was a normal universe, but in comic book land we all know that kids can be pretty tough. Robin works on his homework for a while, but eventually realizes that without him the team is doomed. He gets set to win and ultimately proves to be the League’s secret weapon. Who’d have thunk it?

As per usual I have to give a shoutout to Batman’s voice actor. The specials really wouldn’t be the same without him since the dialogue is part of why the specials are so fun. Batman just steals the show with ever appearance that he has. The rest of the characters are solid as well and fulfill the parts as best they can, but Batman’s just feels totally legitimate. He sounds like the guy from “How it should have ended” and maybe it’s just easier to voice Batman. Who knows, but either way it works well.

The soundtrack is also pretty good as per usual. The Lego films have been getting progressively better with the fight scenes or at least consistent. The format has shown that it can actually deliver serious fights when it wants to do so. The fight with Batman’s teacher at the beginning was definitely the best one in the film. I’m still not crazy about Lego animation and at this point I don’t think I’ll be changing my mind on that anytime soon, but it won’t take you out of the film. If anything, I’m fairly used to it by now and it still beats Stop Motion. That one’s definitely aged the worst.

The film’s pretty short as always since it’s just over an hour. 70 minutes seems to be everyone’s favorite go to for short films. The old films from the 40’s-60’s were always around 70 minutes like the Universal Monster films and same with anime. Maybe there’s some kind of research which shows that 70 minutes is just right. I do admit that it helps the pacing to stay consistently fast so I suppose it has worked out quite well. With the Lego style, I suppose going to 2 hours could be hit or miss, but if done well it could definitely work.

Overall, This is a pretty fun DC special. It’s not the best Lego adventure, but it can hold its own with ease. I am glad that Batman’s plot got a lot of screen time since a DC special without him just would not work well. This one also didn’t have Supergirl rhyming the whole time like a certain other special so I was down with that. Aside from her, there haven’t really been any poorly written heroes in the Lego specials. We’ve had some bad villains like Vandal Savage, but that’s all. I’d recommend checking this one out if you enjoyed the other DC specials. It’s fairly similar to them and follows a rather safe formula. It hits enough of the right notes to certainly be counted as a good film.

Overall 7/10

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Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown? Review

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Time for the next Charlie Brown special! In this one, Linus has to move away because his father has moved on to a new job. This means that he will be leaving the old cast for good now. It’s been a fun ride, but every status quo must end someday. I don’t think anyone actually believed that he would be gone by the time that the special ended, but I won’t say whether or not he actually goes through with it. Regardless, it’s a solid Charlie Brown special and even his fight with Snoopy is handled a lot better than the movie. That being said, I can’t say that Linus is particularly likable in this one.

Linus is just a little more aggressive and mean in this film. He threatens Snoopy when the Beagle tries to take away his blanket. They don’t actually fight like in the film which is good, but he still takes it in the end. He gives it to Snoopy when he leaves town for a while so that was good. He even writes post cards, but in this film, I’ll take the other supporting characters for the most part. Sally doesn’t do much except make her own promises. We actually get two parallels of the same subplot so see the contrast. Peppermint Patty handles being stood up a whole lot better than Sally does at least. She may not have been all that smart this time as she ignored Charlie the whole time, but she’ll learn how to do that quite well in the coming specials. This is a bit of a prequel in the sense that this is where Patty’s daily phone calls to Charlie Brown started.

Charlie Brown is the best human character by far this time. He was sad when Linus left, but he handled it well and even got a good night’s sleep until the phone rang. He even decided not to pay Snoopy the 50 cents for a meet up so he’s wizened up a little over the years. The Charlie Brown specials just wouldn’t be the same without the main character at the helm. Snoopy also steals the show as expected. It makes sense that he would be the guy in charge of the food at the party and he even replaced Lucy as the advice giving doctor. Snoopy may charge more since his time is so valuable, but that’s just how he roles. Snoopy was also nice enough to give Linus his blanket back, which was actually a little unexpected. Snoopy is not averse to being the bigger man once in a while.

Having 3 different romance running gags in the special was a little much though. Especially since two of them were ultimately the same exact plot. They aren’t around all that much though and the 3 respective guys all take it in stride by pretending not to know what is happening or gently rejecting the offer. After all, they’re too busy. The party was definitely fun although it is a little surprising that Snoopy didn’t have a proper feast for the heroes. I will assume that he was just trolling them all for the fun of it. He couldn’t have actually just not thought this through right? He’s Snoopy after all!

The animation and soundtrack are par for the course with these specials. Nothing has really changed and the animation style is iconic for the series so they’ll want to keep it around for as long as possible. The characters all look well drawn and the style is certainly better than other animated features. For its time, this animation was fairly good. There is really no music this time around so there’s nothing to really say about that angle.

Overall, I enjoyed this special. It was a solid one that didn’t rely on any gimmicks and just had good dialogue between the characters. It felt like more of an ordinary day for the group and how they handled the loss of Linus. The ending is very predictable, but it really had to end that way because a big change to the status quo would be like taking an unnecessary risk at this point. Especially to a fan favorite character. Unless that is what the special did in the end..heh heh. If you enjoy the other Charlie Brown specials or just feel like watching a relaxing special with the characters all having a good time, this one’s for you. Just be warned if you’re a Linus fan as this isn’t his best moment.

Overall 7/10

Lego DC Comics: Batman Be-Leaguered Review

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It’s time to take a look at the quick animated special that came out a while ago. It was included with the main movie in the DVD so I got to check it out. This is a fun adventure and it’s certainly very short. At just a little over 20 minutes, you can bet that it’ll be over in a flash. It was short, but I do think that it holds its own against the first Lego film thanks to the Justice League interactions. Those were certainly a lot of fun.

Superman invites Batman to join the Justice League, but the Dark Knight refuses. He doesn’t trust Superman after all and the thought of being in a league is not for him. Batman is a solo act after all, but the League members start to disappear one after the other. It’s up to Batman to find out who is doing this and stop the villain before someone actually gets hurt. It’s time to see if Batman has the skills needed to pull this off.

The voices have been switched along with some of the designs. It took a minute to get used to Batman’s new look and voice, but it worked out quite well. Batman is much more paranoid this time around and he is constantly thinking about how he can’t trust Superman. The Dark Knight brings up a lot of valid points so you may start to agree with him after a while. How can he be wrong right? Once again, Batman is really the star of the show and the main reason why this special is so much fun. Batman proves that he can hold his own against any of the other members.

Superman’s voice isn’t as good as the last one, but he’s still a fun powerhouse to have around. He does a good job of trying to recruit Batman. The other Justice League members were fun to see as well. Cyborg is purposely portrayed like his Teen Titans self, which is cool. The writers decided to make Wonder Woman a little mean this time, which was interesting. I can’t say that she was likable here and I guess that means that I just didn’t care for her parody as opposed to most of the others. From the other League members, The Flash is the one who looked the best. His speed is definitely legendary and it’s good to see how fast he can move. You can argue that the film makes him look a little too fast for comedy, but I’d argue that he actually is this fast. He’s the Flash after all! Besides Superman, I’d consider him to be one of the fastest heroes of all time.

I’m still not crazy about the Lego animation, but it’s here and it’s here to stay. These films are mainly comedies so that’s how the style is used. I would prefer another style, but it wouldn’t be a Lego film if they weren’t using Lego animation right? We do get some action scenes, which is always fun and the ending shows why the Justice League are feared as one of the strongest fighting units out there. Stopping them is simply tough, even for Luthor and the other villains. A certain cosmic being also appears. This guy is certainly strong and nearly invincible so I’m glad that the League didn’t try to fight him. I don’t like seeing the heroes lose to guys who can’t be defeated. It doesn’t end up feeling like a fair fight.

Overall, This was a fun special to watch. It was incredibly short, but Batman still had enough time to outshine the rest of the Justice League and also save the day. As far as I am concerned, the film succeeded there. Batman’s reason for joining the League at the end is also pretty intense. You’ll definitely want to stick around for the final part in the Lego series (for now) as it directly continues from this film as Batman’s plot continues to advance. He is not going to let Superman endanger the world….not on his watch! If you like the Lego series or are looking for a humorous adventure with your favorite DC heroes, this is definitely the film to check out.

Overall 7/10

Big Hero 6 Review

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Disney is back with another Marvel film! The Big Hero 6 cast is pretty obscure compared to most other teams, but that’s okay since it means that the film can have a little fun with this adaption right? The fact that it’s animated and in theaters was pretty cool. It may not be quite as comic book aimed as it would have otherwise been, but since the odds of the team getting a film at all are slim, we’re more than content to have this version. It’s a fun film to check out and while it’s not quite the next Frozen, you’ll be glad that you saw it.

The plot involves an unmotivated genius named Hiro. He had fun engaging in bot fights for a while. Things changed when his brother was destroyed in a large explosion. Hiro inherited a bot named Baymax from him and then he finds out that someone has stolen Hiro’s old nanobot invention. He likely wouldn’t care about this too much, but the person who stole them was responsible for the brother’s death. Hiro isn’t going to stand for this and he decides to take this guy out…permanently. Together with some friends, the heroes set off for their ultimate battle!

Hero 6’s animation is pretty solid. The film really goes all out when you see the city for the first time. I don’t think it does quite as good a job on the character models, which look a little stiff, but it’s also just that I don’t quite care for the style all that much. The action scenes are definitely fun to watch and having nanomites as a weapon can really work well. It’s like using sand or another similar element so you can do just about anything with it. You are only limited by your imagination after all. I can’t say that there’s much of a soundtrack to be found though, but typically a film can only have one or the other anyway so it’s not a huge loss.

Hiro is a decent main character although I wouldn’t call him great by any means. He can be a little bland, but it’s nice to have a genius lead the charge so that’s a good thing. He tries to cross the line towards the beginning, but he is shown the error of his ways and things are looking up for him now. With Baymax at his side, he doesn’t need to fear anything. His other allies weren’t quite as impressive.

Before I get into them, let’s talk about Baymax. He’s the big mascot of the film and the guy that you are supposed to find really likable. I’m afraid that it didn’t work this time and it’s because Baymax just isn’t that smart. He can’t really take a hint and when it’s time for a fight, he looked terrible the first time. Even without combat knowledge downloaded, you’d think that he would do better. He almost caused Hiro to die in round 1 because he could barely even move. He does better in future rounds, but he’s just not my kind of character. Being naive is one thing, but lacking common sense is another. I really wish his design had been a little more similar to the comics, now that was an epic design! The Marshmallow look could grow on me someday though…maybe.

My least favorite member is Wasabi. He’s really used for all of the classic (overused) jokes and they get old very quickly. He screams in a really high pitched manner and he’s constantly reminding everyone why their current situation is scary. It’s sad since he has energy blades and he should use them properly. Next up, I didn’t care for Honey Lemon. Her “powers” are pretty terrible here as she is basically given gum to make the enemy get stuck. I’m guessing that Hiro was rushing a bit there. She didn’t add anything to the story and you could easily forget that she was even around as the climax approached.

Not all of the members were bad though. I liked Fred as he took this a little more seriously than the others as he tried to figure out who the culprit was. His Godzilla suit was also pretty epic and he put up a better fight than most of the other members. GoGo also did a good job here as she speedblitzed the villain at one point and really did most of the work in the first battle. Her high speed rollerskates make her a formidable threat and it’s something that can actually be taken seriously in a fight. Together, all of these members make up the Big Hero 6 so villains better beware. I like to think that the team will get more likable in future films, but the odds of this one getting a sequel isn’t terribly high.

The main villain is pretty intense. Once they say who he really is…he’s not quite as hardcore. Still, this villain is a threat when it comes down to a fight and he certainly holds nothing back. Whether his opponent is a kid or an adult, he plays for keeps. It’s all because of the nanites of course, but every villain needs a gimmick. I also liked the costume that he used since it evoked a sense of fear.

At most, I would just say that the beginning of the film is a little slow. Things don’t really start top pick up until the heroes meet the villain for the first time. Of course, that’s coming from me as an action fan. If I didn’t know that fight scenes were going to show up later, this may have been something that I would have not even noticed. The writing is solid here and that’s part of what makes the film fun. This kind of film really depends on how good the writing is since it could be a little tricky otherwise.

Also, is it just me or would anyone else have liked to have seen more of the Botfighting aspect of the film? That had a lot of potential and it would have been like watching Mega Man or LBX. I really hope that returns in a possible sequel, but with the fights being a little more equal and high tier. It’s no fair if Hiro’s genius just lets him win every time you know? As I mentioned, this one loses to Frozen, but beyond that, it could very well be the best Disney animated film. I can’t think of any that beat this one at the moment, which is actually pretty incredible. Good for Hero 6!

Overall, Big Hero 6 was a fun film to watch and I would totally be open to a sequel. The characters need a little more development, but that’s what sequels are for right? The action scenes were exciting and the animation certainly showed a lot of promise. I’m not sure where they’ll go from here as the world is fairly realistic so far, but I’m sure that they can think of something. I definitely recommend this for any film watcher who wants to watch something quick and fun. The film will be done before you know it and it won’t have dragged on at all. There aren’t many concrete negatives to worry about either so you can just watch the title without a worry. It certainly lived up to my expectations and beat most of the other modern animation films. On a side note, this film reminded me why owning a cafe would be pretty epic. I would definitely be snacking on the leftovers each night since there would be so many to choose from. Man, that would be the life….

Overall 7/10