Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego DC Batman: Family Matters Review

It’s time to look at one of the latest Lego adventures. DC has been particularly good at using this format and this movie is no exception. This time we’re back to focusing just on the Batman characters and it works out pretty well if you ask me. Batman steals the show and we get to adapt both the Red Hood and Omac sagas in one film. That’s pretty impressive.

The movie starts out with Batman really not liking the fact that he has to continue living as Bruce Wayne. It’s all just a big distraction from his true passion in life which is beating up enemies. It’s gotten to the point where Batman can’t even stay awake during a board meeting. Something’s got to give and he gets his chance when Wayne Enterprises develops the Brother Eye. In theory it can replace Bruce Wayne so Batman jumps on the idea and even decides to sell Wayne Enterprises entirely. Now he can be Batman 24/7. The only problem is that the city is as dangerous as ever. A mysterious figure is bumping off all of Batman’s allies one by one. If he doesn’t stop this guy soon then everyone is doomed. Additionally, Brother Eye may be deadlier than it appears to be. (Although it looks pretty deadly from the jump.)

One of the main reasons why this film works so well is because of how good Batman looks. He’s got that smug confidence that we’re all used to seeing at this point. Not only is Batman highly skilled but he knows it and it’s even gone to his head by this point. Only Alfred is really able to keep him in check. The others can just hope that Batman sees it their way. The voice actor has done a good job of becoming an iconic voice for the character as well. There doesn’t seem to be anything that Batman can’t do at this point. He beats Solomon Grundy with ease and always has a plan of action even if Brother Eye proves to be a formidable foe.

The rest of the Bat characters are also fun. Damian wants to prove himself as Robin but has to work pretty hard at this since Batman really doesn’t trust him yet. He does well enough when it counts and takes down a bunch of the robots with ease. Batwoman gets one of the larger roles from the allies though. She’s certainly got a lot of confidence and takes Killer Croc on with no hesitation. I like the concept of Batwoman since she’s more of a loner like Huntress. Batwoman doesn’t necessarily work under Batman since they usually have no affiliation. That being said, her skills do suffer a bit as a result since she doesn’t get that training. Here she has got that confidence that you always want to see in a hero.

Batgirl gets less to do as a result though. She holds a petty grudge against Nightwing for a good portion of the film. Her fight with Scarecrow was fun as she had to work her way through illusions and mirrors to get at him. The mind games definitely took their toll though which made Red Hood’s job pretty easy. Nightwing looks good and is the only one to not fall for the quick sucker hit. At least he gave Red Hood a good fight and that makes sense. From all of the Robins I do consider Dick Grayson to be the most skilled. After that I would put Jason Todd as number 2 and then Damian as 3. While I do think Tim Drake is a great character and a fun Robin, he’d have to round out the group almost by default. The Robins are just stacked when it comes to power.

Red Hood definitely looks really good here. He gets a lot of hype and seems to be the smartest character next to Batman. The film has no shortage of emotional moments like this plot line as well as the reason why Brother Eye is so sore. Red Hood’s identity may not be much of a secret and I don’t think it was supposed to be, but it’s still nice to have the reveal later on. It’s just a good arc in general whether it’s through a film or a Lego adventure. We didn’t even need the Omac subplot and the film would have still been great but it made for a solid climax.

It’s always good to round things out with some big action scenes and Family Matters didn’t forget about that part. I can’t really say that I had any issues with the film. As far as animation goes there isn’t really anything to say because it’s the same as always. Either you like the Lego style or you don’t. This film wouldn’t be changing your opinion one way or the other because it’s not trying anything different with that. I don’t think there is much you could try either. Legos will always look like Legos or it wouldn’t be a film in that style. That’s the way I see it at least.

A Lego film will usually live or die on the writing. If the writing is bad then the jokes won’t really land and the whole thing will fall flat. What the film is hoping for is that the jokes will be pretty funny and this one succeeds there. Right from the gate we get a lot of great lines. I wouldn’t even mind a whole film about Bruce Wayne just mocking everyone and trying to make it a whole film without people blowing his cover. Batman may not be as cautious when he’s Bruce Wayne like when he’s talking about his Batman job on the phone, but it goes hand in hand with his contempt for everyone. Batman doesn’t think it’s a security risk to be on the phone because nobody’s smart enough to stop him. The arrogance makes for a lot of comedic moments.

Overall, Family Matters is one of the stronger DC Lego specials. The dialogue is some of the best I’ve seen in the franchise and there’s a lot of action here. If you mentally switch the animation out this could legitimately be one of the big DC animated films. The fights are good and the pacing is tight. The film feels like it ends pretty quickly as a result. If you like Lego or at least don’t mind the format then I highly recommend checking this one out. You really can’t go wrong here and it’s always fun to see Batman getting his hype. Even if his scenes may not all be meant to be taken seriously they’re still hype.

Overall 8/10

Batgirl Battles, Battles, Meryl Silverburgh Battles

Meryl Silverburgh vs Batgirl

Suggested by iKnowledge Meryl Silverburgh is a very strong combatant who is an expert with a gun. You won’t be sneaking up on her and she won’t miss any shots. That being said, Batgirl has tangled with many opponents like her and won’t have a problem claiming the win here. Her whole toolkit is built to handle opponents who have a gun and Meryl will fall like all the rest. Barbara’s too experienced and skilled to lose. Batgirl wins.

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Superman Adventures Volume 3 Review
It’s time for the next volume in the Superman Adventures series! The last one was pretty great and this volume continues to operate on that high level. It’s hard to say which volume is actually better. This one may claim a slight edge but it’s pretty much neck and neck. I’m gonna miss these Superman stories, but coming up I’ll be reviewing some Batman comics so those should also be pretty cool. The DCAU lives on!

The first story has Jimmy show a new intern around as he tries to get a story. Unfortunately, this kid isn’t very good at anything so he holds Jimmy back the entire time and even embarrasses him in front of Superman. I thought the story was a little mean spirited towards Jimmy. I didn’t like the new kid at all and he was a little over the top with how quiet he was and how he constantly kept getting in Jimmy’s way. There was a twist at the end which you could probably have guessed from the start, but it couldn’t save him. Not a bad story, but probably the weakest of the batch since Superman didn’t really get to appear much.

Another story has Bruce Wayne get kidnapped by the Mad Hatter. He won’t be released unless Batman shows up but the problem is that Bruce Wayne actually is Batman! Superman decides to lend a helping hand and teams up with Batgirl to find him. This leads to Superman showing her how he deals with criminals in Metropolis like buying them a coffee. It was a pretty interesting scene and reminds you that above all else, Superman’s always a stand up guy. Batman even had to thank him in the end. It was a fun crossover story and probably one of the only times we’ll see Superman and Batgirl team up.

Next up we have a Clark Kent story. He’s been spending so much time as Superman that he has been neglecting his reporter duties. It’s hardly his fault as he can’t let someone get mugged just because he wanted to write an article. Still, Clark’s in hot water so he has to find a way out of this predicament. He learns of a suspicious rail road and decides to crack the case. The issue lightly deals with the classic topic of whether or not he should really be Clark Kent. The comic can’t get into that much as it’s way too deep of a topic for a single issue, but it’s always an interesting question. If he were to become Superman 24/7, where would it stop? He could eventually become a dictator or society would start to rely on him too much. I do think it would be for the best if he wasn’t Clark Kent much at all, but I suppose if he never took time to relax he’d go crazy. It’s a tough call for sure.

The Parasite comic is more of a standard Superman action story. It’s one of the only comics in this batch where Superman could fight an opponent at his level so I was certainly all for that. Superman does fall for his tricks a little too easily and I think his power shouldn’t leave quite so quickly but that’s what makes Parasite such a dangerous opponent. His fight with Superman is fun and I’m glad that Superman decided to get in on the action so quickly. Letting the cops try to deal with Parasite seemed like a reeeeally bad idea from the start. No offense to Metropolis’ finest, but they’re not ready for this. I always liked Parasite quite a bit as well. He just has a really cool design and great powers.

The action got dialed up further in the Supergirl adventure though. With Superman busy on a Justice League mission, it’s up to Supergirl to protect Metropolis. It won’t be easy though as General Zod and two other Kryptonians escape from the Phantom Zone. Taking on all 3 of them is pretty difficult even for Supergirl. What helps is that she’s immune to kryptonite but so is General Zod. This was pretty interesting and it goes against Justice League Unlimited, but I suppose they couldn’t have known there would be an episode like that. I don’t really see why Supergirl would be immune to Kryptonite and didn’t quite buy into the explanation. Still, it is an incredibly useful ability to have without a doubt. She’ll always have the edge as long as she carried a chunk around with her. It would have been fun to see Superman show up so it’d be 2 against 3, but Supergirl really did a nice job of out thinking the villains.

Brainiac returned in another comic as he started messing with everyone’s electronics. Professor Hamilton is around so he’s as annoying as ever, but Superman has to do all of the hard work. While Hamilton is busy destroying Superman’s precious memories, Superman stands up to Brainiac. The intellectual villain has always been one of Superman’s iconic foes and it’s nice to see him here. I think Superman’s massive speed advantage makes it so that he should always win the fight with ease, but we shouldn’t discount a genius intellect too quickly eh?

One unique story had a group of kids decide to outwit Superman. They got a prototype suit from Lex that could teleport so they’d use it to steal sneakers and other such stuff. They would each take turns in the suit which made them all act really differently. This made it difficult for Superman to actually pinpoint a motive or track them at all. He would need science for this mission and even then he had to find a way to apprehend the kids without actually hurting them. Fortunately, the suit is a prototype so it’s not completely perfect yet. It wasn’t my favorite story in the batch but it was all right.

A much better story involves an assasination attempt. Someone is after the President’s life so Superman decides to act as a bodyguard until an important meeting is over. The Assassin shows up and is strangely confident despite Superman being around. It’s a pretty tense issue and the villain was pretty fun. You may not feel too much of a threat since it’s a guy with a gun trying to get past Superman, but he is resourceful I’ll give him that. It’s also nice to see the President and the army teaming up with Superman. It always makes for a pretty fun dynamic.

As always, the art is pretty good. It captures that nice DCAU feel the whole time. Sometimes the artist will even have a lot of fun and make Superman look serious all of a sudden. A good example is when he broke into the White House. There’s a twist about that of course, but it made for a pretty intense moment. The fight scenes are all on point as well. It’s certainly not the streamlined masterpiece that you see from today’s comics, but it has that retro hand drawn feel to it. I’d personally say that it works quite well.

What really helps these issues shine is the high writing quality. Superman always acts like himself, a peerless hero who always makes the right calls. He doesn’t waver in the line of good and evil or doubt himself, he just makes the hero calls. The supporting cast is very fun. They all have personality and aren’t portrayed as caricatures of themselves. The stories balance humor and being serious with great results. There are really no negatives with the comic once again and you’ll find yourself reading it cover to cover in one sitting. It’s not too short either so don’t worry about that. The collection has 9 issues I believe.

Overall, Superman continues to have a lot of great stories. The actual series had over 60 issues, but for some reason this is the last main graphic novel collection. After this they started reprinting the comics or throwing random ones into a collection. I hope the rest of them are nearly packed at some point because I want to check out the rest. It’d be a shame to see them just end like that. I highly recommend checking out this collection. As a Superman fan you’ll definitely appreciate it and you’ll certainly enjoy it even if you just like comics in general. It’s a must buy!

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

The Lego Batman Movie Review

It’s time to review the recent Lego Batman film that was in theaters a while back. This movie got a lot of hype as one person even told me that it was the greatest comic book movie of all time. Of course, that person didn’t enjoy Man of Steel or Batman V Superman so some credibility may have been lost there. It’s a fun film and has fun going over the top with the Lego visuals. Despite the epic action scenes, some of the jokes don’t work as well as the normal shorts as they are reused and stretched a bit much. It’s a fun film, but one with the typical flaws of turning what could have been a 30 minute Lego short into a full length film.

The film starts off with a pretty intense action scene as Batman reminds the world why he is the top crime fighter around. Joker has amassed an army of villains who obey his every order and he wants them to shut down Gotham City. Batman manages to defeat all of them rather effortlessly but also hurts Joker’s feelings when he admits that Superman is actually his greatest enemy. Joker decides to retaliate by destroying the city and hires some pretty notable figures like King Kong and Sauron to help him. Batman may need some help from Barbara and Robin if he’s going to survive this, but will he ask for help?

I was glad that Batman pointed out all of the tropes that companies use when starting movies. The ominous music and long logos always do seem to be a staple and starting the film out in all black is probably one of the more annoying ones. It shows that the film is trying to win an Oscar instead of trying to make a movie. Batman points all of this out and then gets to work on wrecking everyone. As always, his voice is perfect for the character. He gets Batman’s serious nature across and delivers his lines without sounding like he’s going to laugh.

Batman has looked great in the Lego films and for the most part this one is no exception. He’s as overconfident as ever and is even more of a loner in the Lego films than he is in the main ones. It’s the Batman that we wanted and the one that we deserve. He conquers overwhelming odds and doesn’t learn the teamwork moral until the final 15 minutes so he lasted quite a while. Yeah, Batman was basically on point. The only trouble here was his rapping gig on the side. That just felt a little out of character and was a new twist that I couldn’t get behind. Seriously…lets not bring the singing in. That just doesn’t feel right if you ask me. The songs are bad on purpose…but it doesn’t work.

Keep in mind that I’m just talking about Batman singing. The film had a lot of retro songs that worked fairly well. Remember Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up Never Gonna Let You Down” song? That one makes a cameo and it was brilliant. Batman chose another song instead though. Ironically I couldn’t actually hear the one he chose though because the sound effects were way louder than the movie. I can only imagine how hard it would be to hear the music in the theater with the sound effects bashing away at the walls. I’m pretty cool with that though as they brought the Adam West visual effects back at long last. That was pretty sweet.

The Lego graphics are also on point. It’s still Lego so it falls short of the average animated movie, but I feel like they brought the style to the height of what it can do. The cool Crisis City vibes I was getting from the climax made it that much more intense. The opening action scene was also really fast paced and visually interesting. At times it felt like the film was on 2x speed with how quickly everything was happening. That’s a good thing though as it made Batman’s skills appear to be even more extreme and hype.

Lets talk about some of the aspects where the film didn’t fare as well. It all starts with the Joker. His whole plot about wanting to be Batman’s greatest enemy starts off as annoying and very quickly turns cringe worthy. It ends up overriding his entire character as every single scene with him on screen is about that. The film goes way too far with its obvious parallels here and Batman is ultimately forced to admit that Joker has earned the title. Even if it could have possibly been funny for some, the joke drags on for way too long. It just keeps coming back over and over again well past the point where you just want it to go away. It really hurt the film in my opinion and was the biggest detriment to it in the end. The film should have just kept on focusing on the absurd parts of the film like the opening with the bombs over the city. That’s the film’s forte and it needed to remember that.

I can’t say that Robin was very likable either. He goes from being a big Batman fan who is fairly timid to just rummaging through Batman’s stuff without permission and messing with the guy. Where was the respect? He just ends up getting in the way a lot of the time and while I was glad that it gave us an excuse to hear Batman’s useful life lessons, Robin could have been a better character. Most of the humor with his character didn’t work well either. You know what the problem is? Batman’s the only character here who understands humor. I’d wager that over 90% of the jokes that worked in this film are the ones that Batman used. That’s just a guess off the top of my head, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the cast.

At least Batgirl was pretty good. Once she takes over as Commissioner she begins to take names. She did a good job ob taking down all of Batman’s most dangerous enemies without breaking a sweat. She may have taken all of Batman’s insults and attempts to get her out of the action a little too personally, but at least she could fight. From all of the supporting characters, she was easily the best. Alfred wasn’t bad either, but he spent more time trying to shut Batman down and get in his way than actually helping. Also, am I the only one who thinks that the group was way too ungrateful to Batman after he saved their lived from the Hollywood villains? He could have just not done that and they’d all be broken like the cops that he smashed at the prison.

The Justice League makes a nice little cameo. It’s fun to see them all around and while it may have been a little mean of Superman not to invite Batman to the party…Batman did say that they were worst enemies. I suppose Superman is just trying to live up to the title. I was kind of expecting him to show up at the end, but I suppose he wasn’t needed this time. The climax was already really explosive and intense anyway.

When it all boils down to it, I think the film had a stronger opening than ending. As I mentioned earlier, the first part was really on point with Batman taking names and then Bruce Wayne pointing out how awesome Batman was. Grabbing a glass of water just to dramatically spit it out is a classic Batman thing to do. The second half just got a little confused with all of the extra characters and the whole Joker plot when in reality it should have focused on Batman. I think the problem may have been the length. A lot of the DC Lego films are roughly 70 minutes at this point, but this one was closer to 90 I believe. Maybe they just couldn’t fit in all of the extra time. The plot is fairly basic after all so it could have been done a lot quicker.

That being said, the pacing was pretty good. Something is always happening so it’s not really a lack of ideas. It’s just a lack of focus. Maybe they thought people would get bored if Batman got too much screen time and wanted to include everyone. That didn’t work so well as you might expect. I admire the effort though and I am glad that this got to be in the theater. It’s pretty surreal to see Lego Batman actually get mainstream as people saw it in the theater. Not bad…not bad at all.

Overall, This wasn’t a bad film. It had its good moments and while it struggled a bit, the goods outweighed the bad. The Joker plot may have shed the film a star or 2, but Batman’s strong performance keeps the film on the positive side of the spectrum. If we get a sequel I’d like to see Superman get more of a role and the two characters can duke it out. This is a rare time where I’d like the character development to revert as well so Batman is a solo act again. That being said, since his personality didn’t change, they could also just come up with an excuse to have the other characters just be on vacation or something. I’d recommend checking this film out if you haven’t already. Otherwise, you should check out some of the earlier specials as the action is just as good, but you’ll also see a higher level of witty banter between the characters. The wit is what makes or breaks the Lego films after all and DC seems to have a knack for it.

Overall 6/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Batman’66 Volume 3 Review

I always liked Adam West’s portrayal of Batman. It felt on point and felt natural. This is the Batman that I remembered, making lots of puns and having a good time while taking down villains. That being said, the serious Batman from New 52 or the DCAU is certainly a classic as well. Both versions certainly work well when given a good story to back themselves up. Volume 3 of Batman’66 plays out as you would expect it too. It doesn’t take any risks and simply follows the formula along. As such, nothing’s unexpected, but it’s still a good story like the first two volumes.

This one brings 6 issues so let’s take a look at hoe they fared. One of them saw an old Egg themed villain return, but he has now evolved to a level where he can use his mind for abilities like telepathy. Batman and Robin must now figure out a way to defeat this foe since the guy can basically defeat them with a glance. This won’t be easy…that’s for sure. My problem with this issue is simply the fact that the villain was portrayed to be way too powerful. Defeating the heroes with a glance is just too much and as a result, it’s hard to really believe the ending. It felt like plot hax was everywhere. That’s why you never want to make villains too powerful unless the heroes get some kind of power up as well.

One of the better stories definitely involved a big Batman robot that will help make Gotham city a nicer place. Batman trains the robot and decides to leave it to its own devices. The moral involves how robots can’t adapt to the situation, which you probably could have guessed from the get go. It’s obvious, but still fitting and I was glad that the robot didn’t randomly turn evil. I was actually expecting that the entire time so I was glad to be proven wrong. Maybe this was the best story in the collection.

Another issue involved a team up between the Penguin and Widow Black. These two are a dangerous tag team and actually defeat the heroes rather easily. The part that I don’t really buy is how quickly the Penguin betrayed her. Sure, Batman reminded him that he would be betrayed eventually, but didn’t he realize that from the get go? I feel like the writers had no idea on how to save the heroes since Batman and Robin were literally put in a sticky situation. Regardless of how realistic that ending may have been, it was good to see a new(ish) villain to the series. This isn’t her first appearance in media or anything like that, but I definitely don’t remember this villain so it’s probably been a while. She’s not the greatest, but more variety is a good thing.

Another all star is definitely the issue where a TV show of Batman and Robin is produced. This leads to a lot of dicey moments for the heroes since villains are beginning to fear them. They don’t want that. This isn’t the 90’s after all! They decide to shut down the program, but find out that it is being run by a villain. This was certainly an entertaining story and I always like the idea of villains using TV to wreck the heroes. It is a solid strategy and almost worked. If anything, the villain should have stayed undercover a little longer. The heroes wouldn’t have dared to have attacked him. A running gag was that the heroes would do “The Bat Business” to the villains, which makes them cower in fear. Considering that the heroes reluctantly hit the villains a little, it could be anything. I feel the comic was hinting towards tickling and that used to be a big joke back in the day, but thankfully that era has passed.

Next up, we saw the return of Batgirl! Batman and Robin are always eager to have another hero to help out, even if it makes Robin look a little worse in comparison. The Joker and Catwoman are teaming up this time so that means double trouble for the heroes. I’ll admit that this comic was surprisingly uneventful though. I can’t really remember the plot even after seeing the cover and the summary. I just remember Batgirl being in it and the quick team up as the heroes had to break up some fights. Not a bad comic, but not really a very good one either. Still, it is a Batman’66 comic that basically follows all the tropes so it’s your standard stuff.

Finally, Marsha decides to leave the Brady Bunch and make a name for herself. She wants all the jewels in the world and actually manages to enter the Bat Cave!!! Luckily for the heroes, She decides not to go for his secret identity since the cops could have been alerted. Not her best decision, but now the Dark Knight can rest easy as he takes her down once and for all. The villains weren’t actually that tough as Marsha can’t fight, but the tension of her possibly knowing his identity (Or coming close) really makes the issue.

It was a fine collection of issues. This volume’s definitely not as good as the Green Hornet crossover, but that…was a crossover. You can’t expect the normal volumes to come close. As far as going against volumes 1 and 2, I’d say that 3 is more of less the same. The thing with Batman’66 is that almost all of the issues are essentially interchangeable. It all comes down to whether you like the style or not. I still love seeing all of the puns and Batman ends up putting everyone in their place even when he only fights reluctantly. He wants to help all of the villains out after all. He makes for a great lead. Robin’s mostly just here to get humiliated and you can feel bad for the guy, but I suppose that he tries. He just tends to almost let the secret identity out a lot, which can certainly be disastrous.

The cover may be very underwhelming, but the art in the actual issues is still solid. It’s easy to really get into the flow of things and you’ll feel like you’re back in the 1960’s. The art does a good job of emulating the classic style and the overall comic is better off for it. I doubt it’s very difficult to draw from the artist’s perspective compared to other styles, but the finished product is really what counts.

Overall, This is a solid continuation from the first two volumes. At this point, you know whether you like the comics and its premise or not. It’s a lot of fun and is filled with many puns, but some Batman fans may still not be used to this happy version of the character. It’s a comedy over action volume as that is the direction that the series is typically focused on. It works quite well and I know what I want to happen in volume 4. We need Superman to appear. This series is typically very realistic, but now that it’s in comic format, I feel like adding Superman wouldn’t be super out of place. It could actually work if handled well…don’t you think?

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Batman Mystery of the Batwoman Review

Revisits are always fun and this is a Batman film that I’ve definitely seen a few times. I’ve always sided with Mask of the Phantasm from the classic Batman films, but this one certainly holds its own and has a nice blend of action and detective elements inside. I do think that the woman behind the mask is a cop out in the end, but so it goes.

A new vigilante has appeared with a bat inspired costume. She certainly has no qualms about crossing the line and goes all in on all missions. Batman has to put a stop to this before she does something she’ll regret or gets hurt in this crusade. After all, Batman’s been through a few tough scrapes before and he’s one of the greatest heroes of all time. It’ll be tough to catch her, but there are three key suspects for him to take a look at. The first is a new detective whose family business was burned by Thorne and they never recovered. We’ve got the motive and she definitely has a tough personality. Next up is the young genius from Wayne Enterprises who developed a new metal which can be transfigured into any shape with ease. This has a lot of practical applications as well as uses in the field. Hmmmm. Finally, we have the daughter of a big gang who is rich and likes to go on adventures. She’s certainly got the resources. Well, it’s time for Batman to look into this!

The film moves at a fairly quick pace and the first action scene happens immediately. It’s a formula that all films should follow. Literally all films without exception should open up with some kind of action/fight scene to get the fans hyped. It was probably the best looking scene animation-wise as well. There’s only one plot that I’m not crazy about and I’m sure that all of you can guess if you’ve seen the film. Does Bruce Wayne have to have a love interest in every single film? It gets old fast and the film didn’t need that. He falls in love with the gangster’s daughter of course and that definitely distracts him from the case for a little while. As far as romances go, it’s not terrible, but it’s still rushed and doesn’t really have a place in the film.

Aside from that, Batman was in character for this film. As Batman, he puts the pieces together with ease and he looks like the experienced hero that he should be. It’s always annoying to see so many films show him as a novice or a rookie. I want to see Batman as an experience veteran and I’m willing to bet that most of his fans feel the same way. They’ll be satisfied with how he looks here and his fight against Bane is one of the highlights of the film. It’s a good battle and neither fighter is willing to back down until the battlefield forces a change. Batman is a little outmatched here, but I blame it on cheap shots and the fact that Batman had to watch out for everyone. Otherwise, I go with Batman every time, but Bane makes for a very good opponent. Bane is always portrayed as a strong villain, but this film also showed his intelligent side. It’s not shown very often, but he is crafty and a very deadly mercenary. Certainly not your average power enemy.

Kathy gets the largest role from the 3 new heroines. From the three characters, I’d put her in the middle. Her romance with Bruce is a bit much, but aside from that she’s all right. The problem is that the romance makes up most of her character and she doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time as Batwoman. Rocky is my least favorite member of the three. It’s cool that she’s smart, but she’s a little too timid for me to find her very likable. Rocky also should have broken up with the dude who’s in prison. Sure, he did everything to help her in the long run, but he still came across as rude and ungrateful. It’s good to see that she’s good at video games though. The best member is certainly Sonia. She’s the most determined and is the most passionate about her goals. She’s willing to take on Batman if necessary and nearly gets into a gunfight with him.

From the villains, I forgot how weak the Penguin is. He definitely looks very inept as a villain, but it makes sense that he would be out of shape from pretending to be a villain for so long. Rupert Thorne isn’t any better and I’ve never found him to be an interesting villain. Ditto for the new gang boss. The two ladies who work for the Penguin were impressive though and they gave Batwoman a great fight. It was one of the more enjoyable fights in the film. Penguin’s definitely hired some very good help, that’s for sure.

All in all, the film’s just a lot of fun. It’s always nostalgic to see the definitive version of Gotham and the cases that it brings. I don’t know how long the film is, but it goes by very quickly while still having enough time to introduce all of these characters and provide us with some fight scenes. The writing is very well done as well and it much better than most other superhero films in that category.

Naturally, the animation is quite good here. The DCAU holds up so well through the test of time that it beats most of the current products from DC. The character models are still perfect and make for great fight scenes that are easy to watch and still carry the weight behind each punch that I tend to miss nowadays. It doesn’t have the same theatrical feel that Sub Zero and Mask of the Phantasm had. That’s fine as a movie doesn’t need to have that film feel. There aren’t a large abundance of films that have been able to pull that off after all, but it’s fun to see.

I wouldn’t say that there’s too much of a soundtrack here. It’s certainly not as epic as in Mask of the Phantasm. That being said, there is one song popped up during the credits and the scene in the lounge. It was pretty good and seemed to be treated like a bit of a guest star appearance for the singer. It fit well and it’s the kind of song that can easily be turned into a fight scene theme without sounding off. It’s not the quickest song in the world, but it’ll do. Beyond that, the soundtrack is mostly just the sound effects during the scenes. Usually, this is so subtle that I don’t even notice that the scene is basically silent. It’s always interesting to think back and try to remember if there was music in a scene or not.

Overall, This is a good Batman film. It’s certainly one of his best even when we count all of the non DCAU ones. I remember thinking that there wasn’t enough action in this film whenever I saw it back in the day. It’s not a huge issue, but I do think that another fight scene or two would have been good. Maybe a longer one between Batman and Batwoman since the first scuffle ended with a cheap shot. Batman’s prep time did help him out though and I’m glad that he kept on solving the mysteries. If you haven’t seen this film yet, then you should definitely fix that ASAP! It’s a Batman film that all Batman fans can enjoy and even if you’re not a comic book reader, it’s easy to follow along. Once you see the film, you can decide if the ending is a cop out or not.

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Birds of Prey Volume 11 Metropolis or Dust Review

This is the first Birds of Prey level that I’ve played so that was interesting. Unfortunately, I can’t say that it was very good. The main characters aren’t the greatest and there are no real villains in this collection. Ah well…maybe next time I suppose. The concept is still pretty neat and as the group is made up of hand to hand fighters for the most part, that will give the series a chance for many hand to hand fights.

The Birds of Prey were on a routine mission when things quickly escalated in Metroplis. A lady became a big crime lord once her father was out of the picture, but the other mobsters didn’t take her seriously. That was their mistake and she decided to eliminate them all at once with her giant robot. Oracle’s preparations were sabotaged by Misfit and the thing became a big incident with many fatalities. Oracle’s confidence was shattered through this. Can she trust her instincts now? Meanwhile, Huntress must help Lady Blackhawk defeat an enemy from the past.

The plot in and of itself isn’t bad I suppose, but it’s not exactly an eye opener for someone walking through an aisle of comics. Seeing Superman was cool though and he made a lot of good points as expected. Oracle should have called in some extra heroes as soon as the giant mech appeared. That being said..who actually does that? You can bet that the Teen Titans or a fellow JL member would not have called for backup. While it is sound advice, nobody uses it and that includes Superman.

It’s also sad for Oracle since her group was doing just fine. In a way, Misfit saved the day by teleporting into the robot in the first place, but then she also wrecked everything by pushing the big red button. It was an odd scene as you would expect it in a comedy situation, but it actually had some real ramifications behind it. It’s always interesting to see that because when you really look at a comic, the heroes take crazy risks all the time. “Don’t move or the hostage gets it!” Heroes often ignore the villain and quickly charge in or throw something. It works out, but should it? Seeing these attempts and hunches fail sometimes is always intriguing for that reason, but it still makes Misfit look absolutely terrible as a character.

Oracle isn’t a likable lead, which probably hurt the comic a little. I’ve always thought that Batgirl was a character who could be likable one minute and irritating the next. She’s had a mixed track record, but I can’t say that I’ve ever seen an incarnation of Oracle that I was a big fan of. Barbara’s better as Batgirl and it would be nice to see her in that role again. Oracle is just too harsh with the characters and always acts as if she is in the right. Oracle isn’t actually helping on the field so she should act with a little more modesty. These heroes have a decent amount of experience under their belt at this point as well.

Huntress was easily the best character of the bunch. She still talks a little tougher than her skills can actually back up, but I would not call that a bad thing. It’s good to have one character who’s ready to take the win even if she’s not all that powerful. Lady Blackhawk is essentially DC’s Black Widow in terms of personality. At least, that’s how she is in this graphic novel and I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of her. That being said, she spends most of the comic being brainwashed so she didn’t have a chance to stop being a little on the generic side. We’ll see how she improves from here, but strength of will is something that she’s lacking.

Manhunter’s role was very small as she was mostly the group’s informant who went around doing the hard work. She seems like a good character and is certainly a tough one even if that’s part of why all of the members start to blend together. Each of the members is the tough and stern character who beats up on the bad guys. I feel like Misfit, Black Alice, and Huntress are the only characters with actual personalities and with the exception of the latter, the other two characters aren’t likable.

Black Alice is basically a villain who only pretends to be a hero when it’s convenient. She certainly has no business being on the Birds of Prey squad. She is decently powerful as she can steal your powers, which will come in handy when fighting someone like Superman. This technique seems to be activated by thought, which makes it nearly impossible to neutralize. That being said, she’s pretty whiney and isn’t a team player. It’s just hard to root for her.

Likewise, Misfit isn’t really a good character either. Oracle never lets her into the field, which makes you root for Misfit a little. That is all thrown out the window though when Misfit’s comic relief tendencies destroyed hundreds of people in a big explosion. Now we see why Oracle keeps her out of the field and it destroyed any chance that Misfit had of being a good character. I also don’t really care for jokesters if that’s their only gimmick. You have to have something to compliement it unless your jokes are just That good. If you’re great at that role, then it can work, but that’s not Misfit’s strength.

This comic would have been a lot better without the Killer Shark plot. One guy found some drugs in his grand father’s stuff and decided to become a super villain. It’s apparently easy to get into that profession once you have a costume. He was able to find Blackhawk’s apartment somehow and then he even made a villain lair as he defeated the two heroines. Do we really need more cheap villains like this? They seem to pop up all the time now. The plot twist about Lady Killer Shark also smells like a retcon to me. I hope that’s not the case because that would be a really bad change. Why not take things at face value like characters randomly being evil in the past? Of course, maybe this wasn’t a retcon, in which case it’s still bad, but not a bad twist since there wouldn’t have been a twist.

I did enjoy the art though. It’s smooth and fairly streamlined. The action scenes are fun when they happen and I’m always up for a good hand to hand fight scene when it’s done right. Good art can take a comic a long way. It won’t end up saving it in the long run, but it can win you part of the battle. This series just needs to step up with the rest of its sections to truly be a strong title. The writing wasn’t bad so we really just need a good villain and for the main characters to get a little more likable.

Overall, Birds of Prey is still a good concept, but this volume just didn’t work out for me. It could be a one time deal though and every series can have an underwhelming trade paperback at some point. There have been several Birds of Prey series over the past and this is volume 11 of one so maybe the series was just about to get good or it had jumped the shark. Instead of waiting to find out, check out the early Supergirl volumes in the New 52. That was a great series!

Overall 5/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Batman/Superman Volume 3 Second Chance Review

I said that there wouldn’t be another DC comic review for a bit, but I completely forgot that I had checked this one out. The Batman/Superman series in the New 52 always looked intriguing, but not necessarily in a good way. I really didn’t like the art in the first volume and I always stayed away from the series. It struck me as a random/non canon event that just didn’t look very entertaining. Surprisingly, it seems to actually be treated as canon. This volume actually ended up being pretty good even if it could have been better.

The first few issues are main stand alone stories until the arc begins. One story takes place during the Doomed event as Superman has been infected with the Doomsday virus. Batman, Steel, and Wonder Woman head to the Fortress of Solitude to look for a cure when they find out that Superman’s villains have managed to modify the Phantom Zone and they can actually deal real damage now. Taking them down will be tricky for the three heroes!

Another story had Batman get sick as a microscopic hero died inside of his blood stream and was poisoning him. Superman decided to go along with the Atom inside of Batman to fight off the intruders. Unfortunately, one of the men got past them so a weakened Batman had to deal with him. This was probably the most action packed of the stories and my personal favorite of the adventures. We got a lot of Batman hype and Superman also did a good job during the fight.

Next was the big arc where a cosmic being decided to mess around with Batman and Superman. She decided to get rid of their memories and throw them back onto Earth to see how they reacted. Another cosmic being who rules the dark part of the DC universe captured her, but decided to let the whole situation play out since it was very amusing for him. Batman became a happier version of himself while Superman became the dictator that everyone expected him to be. Yup..another evil Superman story!

Still, it was handled much better than the average one would be. Superman certainly lost his qualms about actually injuring people and destroying them, but he actually felt like a realistic version of himself despite that. If Superman was not a hero, but did whatever he wanted, then this could look a little like how it should. With Catwoman as a bad influence on him, it makes sense that he would make quite a few mistakes and at least he started out by trying to help her fight off giant machines.

Meanwhile, it was probably a little tougher for Batman although his plot was more enjoyable on the whole. He decided that he did want to be a hero, but he’d do it his way. Since he was no longer burdened by the murder of his parents, Batman took on crime with a smile. He even teamed up with Lois Lane for the climax as she became the new Bat Girl. The only unfortunate part was that his Bruce Wayne side kicked in and he actually hung out with the mayor’s wife. That part was really unnecessary and definitely didn’t add anything to the adventure.

One of the weaknesses for the comic was certainly the art. As mentioned earlier, I thought that the artwork for the Atom comic was actually pretty good for the most part although a lot of the faces would be out of proportion and even funny to look at sometimes. The story arc part mainly just had problems with trying to look too live action esque. Similar to the Kingdom Come event from way back when. It just doesn’t work so well for the action scenes and a more cartoony/colorful look just works better. It’s why I like the vibrant style of the New 52 comics so much.

I do find it funny how Batman and Superman are probably portrayed better here than in just about any other New 52 comic that I’ve seen. Superman Unchained is even better if we choose to count that, but otherwise, this was impressive. Even considering that Batman and Superman lost their memories, they were pretty good. Ignoring that one regrettable Batman scene, his new persona was decent and before that he looked perfect. He was able to take on a super villain while barely conscious and at less than half power. Superman looked as heroic as he should and this could have even felt like the Pre 52 hero that we’ve always loved.

The collection was a tad light on action, but we did get a Mongul fight, the Atom battles, and the arc had some battles against the mechs that were after Catwoman. That’s all right though since the writing was pretty good and the comic was interesting. Being interesting is one of the most important parts in a comic collection after all and this one certainly had my attention. Perhaps I’ll check some other Batman/Superman comics at some point. If this series is not currently ongoing, DC needs to add another one since the Batman and Superman team up stories are always a lot of fun. I can’t think of a single pair of superheroes who are more interesting and fun to read about.

As far as plot hax goes, this comic was pretty good. There’s only one part that is guilty of it and that’s the whole plot of the arc. I still say that Superman cannot be mind controlled no matter who is doing it! I have to say that the evil monster who rules everything looked pretty good and that was one time where the gritty art worked quite well. He felt extremely evil and ominous. I don’t recognize the character, but he could make for a great mastermind even if it does seem like he may end up being a little overpowered. I’ll be interested in seeing how his plot continues.

Overall, this comic was a success. It’s too bad that Krypto got poisoned by Superman, but luckily he still held his own as he took down the villains and it was handled as well as that could be handled. The mayor’s wife moments were not handled well though and while Catwoman looked a lot better than usual, I also wouldn’t have minded if she was not here. Although, I like how Superman saw through her attempt to frame Lois Lane immediately even if he didn’t have his memories back. That’s how these things should always go. Between the art and everything else, I’m slightly keeping this comic from the standard 7, but I still recommend it if you’re looking for a good Batman/Superman story. The writing is good and the characters are in character which is always a good thing. Steel and Wonder Woman make for nice guest stars as well and they get their moment to shine. Now, it’s going to be time for a Marvel comic review next!

Overall 6/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Batman Beyond 2.0 Rewired Review

It looks like Batman Beyond has returned! His show was certainly a lot of fun so it’s good to see the hero return to the spotlight with his various comic series. Hopefully he will have a place to return to once Convergence is all over. Looking at the future through Batman Beyond’s comics continues to be cool and you won’t be disappointed by this collection.

Terry is still at odds with Bruce so now he’s teaming up with Nightwing instead. I think Terry’s in the wrong here, but I’ll get into that more in a bit. The mayor has been assassinated so it’s up to Terry to stop whoever is behind this. It will be tough though as the new villain has assembled a super powered team to help him and each member is very deadly. After tangling with them, Batman Beyond won’t have much time to rest as the Man Bat returns to cause some chaos. Can Terry save the day while keeping up with his social life?

Terry continues to show his similarities to Peter Parker as he is letting his job as Batman consume him. He’s falling behind in all of his classes and his family relationships are beginning to get strained. It’s not quite as innocent as Peter’s predicament though. Peter didn’t want everything to fall apart, but he couldn’t help being away for long periods of time. Terry is choosing to ignore his social life because being Batman allows him to avoid his problems. The same result as Peter, but Terry certainly had a choice. Still, it’s safe to say that it hasn’t done wonders for his friends.

It’s good that Terry is trying to be a really good hero, but he’s also making some big mistakes. He’s really upset at Bruce’s earlier deceptions from Joker night and he has basically cut all ties with him. I think that’s a huge overreaction as you have to expect some secrets to be kept in this line of work. Does Terry actually think that Nightwing will be completely honest with him as they continue to team up? I highly doubt it and I hope that Terry keeps this in mind. Also, as much as I like Nightwing, he’s no Batman. Bruce Wayne will always be smarter and more prepared to help Terry out from behind the scenes. This comic really showed that as he figured out the whole case from the Batcave. At the end of the comic, Terry is slowly starting to get back into the real world without the Batman suit so hopefully he will also decide to give Bruce Wayne another chance.

The art is solid for this collection and it does a good job of emulating the style of the DCAU shows. We actually get several flashbacks to various DCAU episodes, which is cool. I saw the episodes rather recently so it’s like a good boost of nostalgia. The action scenes also look good with this art style and it is certainly a keeper. Good artwork can really go a long way into making a good comic that much more fun.

The new villain’s abilities were decent, but he definitely seems to be more of a one shot character. Let’s just say that the guy’s secret identity didn’t do the villain any favors. It’s cool that he got his own group, but his abilities aren’t even that great. He has some mild thunder control, but that’s about it. Batman did have a difficult time with him though so I should give the villain some credit. He doesn’t go down without a fight. Inque and Spellbinder don’t look very good, but at least the sonic villain got some good hits on Batman as well. It just goes to show that Batman always has to be careful since the weapons at the villain’s disposal can still pack a punch if they hit.

Compared to the big villain team up, Man Bat’s arc was noticeably less intense. It’s just hard to take the guy seriously. The heroes did feel unprepared for him though as Bruce basically gambles the city on Man Bat actually being a good guy deep down. That’s an incredibly big gamble to make and he’s wagering with lives here. I would have preferred a satisfying victory where the heroes just outfight him. It is fun to see Bruce Wayne actually fight a little bit though as he throws a few batarangs to take out some of the villains.

There’s a mini comic at the end where Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordan decide to hash out their differences. Things didn’t really go well between them so they’re always rather serious in the present. They decide to just forget the past and try to work as allies in the present. Hopefully it works out as they have both been very helpful to Terry during his current crime fighting. Gordan is also going to need some help soon as the new mayor seems to dislike her for some reason. I assume that he may have some kind of secret reason for this, but maybe he actually does think that she is simply too old for the job. It’s not illogical thought to have as she is certainly very old and the average person would have retired by this point. As long as she is making a difference, the mayor should allow her to stay, but that doesn’t seem like it is going to be in the cards. I suspect that he is corrupt anyway.

Naturally, things don’t go well at Arkham once again. It seems like that place is simply doomed to never work in rehabilitating criminals. They are simply too far gone in Gotham and other villains are constantly trying to break them free. Since Batman is the only real hero in the city, it also makes sense that there are simply too many crooks for him to be there all the time. What he needs is a sidekick of his own. Batgirl Beyond could become one if she shows up soon or maybe he’ll find someone else. The only problem is that he’s already pretty young so a “sidekick” could be tricky.

Overall, Batman Beyond 2.0 was fun. We got to relive some DCAU moments while watching some entertaining fights. I’m more than a little skeptical of Ten’s supposed allegiance to the good side, but hopefully Terry will continue to be wary of this as he hangs out with her. Getting tricked 3 times by the same person would be pretty embarrassing. I’m not sure how the Dana situation will play out as Terry tries to be a better person outside of the mask, but hopefully the comic doesn’t dwell on that. We had some very mild romance going in this volume, but it was handled well. I would expect no less from Batman Beyond! I recommend checking out this comic as it is still a fun version of DC’s future and the art is really good. If DC’s future actually were to end up playing out this way, I’d be satisfied. It’s a little bleak since there don’t seem to be many heroes anymore, but likewise, most of the super powered villains are gone as well. That means that the heroes from the good ole days essentially succeeded in their mission. Now, I’m just waiting for a time travel comic to happen in this series so that we can see Terry team up with the classic Batman in his prime!

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Batman Beyond Batgirl Beyond Review

It’s time to read one of the Batman Beyond comics. I believe that this is actually the first one that I’ve checked out and it’s good to see the the characters once again. Even though the title talks about Batgirl Beyond, she only gets a quick comic and actually isn’t that important to the plot. So, this would definitely rank pretty high on the misleading covers list. It’s still a pretty good adventure though even if we don’t get many serious villains yet.

The first adventure is an 8 part comic that takes place after Joker’s mad onslaught against the city. Bruce Wayne is critically injured and Dana is still trying to work past the traumatic events that have occurred. She decides that she will help Terry from now on in his quest against crime. She doesn’t really get to appear after that, but I’m sure that she will be back. Batman deals with one of his old sonic themed foes before realizing that it is a distraction. The real villain has kidnapped one of his friends and intends to destroy the city..and maybe even the world. Batman will have to hurry on over if he’s going to make it on time.

It’s a pretty good adventure and we definitely get our fair share of action. A lot of the story is running directly from the Joker incident so it probably won’t have the same emotional impact that it would have if we actually read that comic. Dana’s bro turning evil must have been a big twist..although I don’t think we ever saw him before that so maybe we wouldn’t have been surprised. Terry’s doubts about being Batman aren’t that great though as I feel that just about every teenage superhero seems to go through that doubting period and it gets old after a while. Batman never doubted himself so often back in the good ole days. I’m fine with Dana knowing Terry’s secret, but I hope that they mostly stay in the friend zone or that the romance at least doesn’t become a huge part of the series.

After that the Batgirl comic starts and it seems to really be a stand alone title at this point. Barbara Gordan finds out that one of the neighborhoods is getting pretty violent and people are fighting in the streets. She heads over to investigate, but is quickly defeated by the crooks. She’s saved by the new Batgirl who lets her know that they have been turned crazy by some kind of poison. Barbara Gordan goes to the nearest company to get to the bottom of this, but she may be in trouble now. Batgirl will have to come to her aid once more, but can the vigilante be trusted!?

I’m sure that Batgirl will inevitably meet up with Batman Beyond at some point, but so far this comic was basically filler. Batgirl seems like a decent fighter, but only decent. I don’t see how she will be anywhere near Batman level anytime soon since she is self taught and you can’t become a grandmaster in a year or two like that. She does pretty well in this comic though and Batgirl seems like she isn’t crossing any lines yet. She’ll be a good supporting character to have and maybe she’ll even help Barbara stay more relevant in this series. Having the two of them team up could make for a pretty good subplot.

Finally, we also get a bonus comic at the end where Ink returns. She wants to be human so she gets someone to give her a serum, but what side effects will this have? Ink has no time to worry about this as Batman shows up so the two of them begin to battle. Ink will need to think of something quickly to turn the tides against this futuristic superhero!

That comic is pretty short and the art takes a dip. It’s decent enough and the adventure is fun, but it’s certainly a stretch to see how Ink gets away in the comic. She seems outmatched from the start and Batman had every possible edge. It should have been easy for him to have won the match, but I guess he just wasn’t prepared to get scratched. Ah well, it beats the average bonus comic that you see at the end of a trade paperback.

Aside from the last comic where I wasn’t a big fan of the art, the trade is pretty consistent in how it looks. It’s not going to go down as one of the greatest pieces in DC history, but the character designs and battle scenes look pretty smooth. The art definitely works and it helps kick in the nostalgia glasses that I always wanted. I definitely have no complaints with it.

We get some guest stars in the form of the Metal Men. It’s good to see them return to the front lines and they seem to be pretty dependable as supporting characters for Batman. They’re the kind of characters that I wouldn’t want to appear too often since they could get old very quickly, but appearing once in a while won’t hurt. They seem likely to appear again soon based on how their character arc ended.

Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne seems to finally be learning about the values of teamwork. I guess a near death experience coupled with Terry’s doubts has forced him to think of all the options at his disposal. Bringing in more and more allies will definitely keep the world safe as well as attract more super villain groups. Actually, that reminds me of another story in this comic and actually the best one of the batch. That would be the Batman vs Batman Beyond comic. Bruce finds out that Terry is slowly losing his mind and he’s forced to take out the hero before Terry can hurt someone. It shows that Bruce can still fight even at his old age and he will always have the edge over Terry. With prep time, I have no doubt that this is true.

There is some plot hax in the fight of course and without prep time, Batman Beyond should definitely win. That being said, I don’t mind a little plot hax here since Wayne is in the lead. Terry is a pretty decent hero and he still acts like a mix of Batman and Spider Man. Again, I don’t care for the fact that he is doubting whether to be a superhero or not, but I’m sure that he’ll get over this soon. All true heroes overcome their doubts at some point and now that he’ll have more allies, the fight against crime will be much easier.

Overall, Batman Beyond gives us a pretty good adventure here. The title is very misleading, but maybe Batgirl’s comic got a lot of buzz when it came out so they wanted to capitalize on that. Regardless, none of the issues are actually bad and we get a good amount of action. The villain who unleashes the giant metal monster is pretty underwhelming though and she has an anticlimactic end after such a strong start. She is probably a one shot villain who will never appear again and I hope that this is the case as we don’t need any more third rate villains. I want more guys like the sound villain and even Ink since these villains tend to put up a good fight or at least talk tough before taking the loss. I recommend checking this comic out and especially if you’re a fan of the Batman Beyond comics. Time to see if Batman Beyond makes the right choice to tough it out as Batman!

Overall 7/10