Editorial

What makes for a good villain?


It’s time to look at what makes for a good villain. Now, there are a lot of factors to consider when looking at such a sweeping generalization. There are many different kinds of villains and different situations to put them in of course. As such it can be difficult to just grab a few attributes and say that they make a villain. As a disclaimer you have to consider a whole lot but I am going to list 5 factors which I see in my favorite villains. If you have all 5 you are basically guaranteed to be an amazing villain but even just having one of them should help quite a lot in rising you up the charts. As you may or may not know, I consider Bass EXE to be the greatest villain of all time. He is an example of a villain who meets all 5 criteria. He also happens to be the most powerful villain if you ask me but that’s a discussion for another time. So without further build up, lets take a look at the 5 main criteria.

Cool Design

This first one is pretty obvious. It’s hard to like a villain when you just don’t like their design. It would be next to impossible for me to like a villain like Bubbleman. No matter how powerful he may become, I wouldn’t be able to take him seriously. To a degree voice is a similar aspect that can make or break a villain but it’s not universal the way a design is. You could be reading a book or a manga where the description of the design is still there but you can’t picture the voice as well. A good design is a great first step for a villain. It helps you instantly assess what this guy/girl is all about. It’s your initial impression and those are absolutely critical. You’re not likely to forget your first impression of a villain.

As with just about everything media related designs are very subjective. What I consider to be a good design will typically have a strong color contrast/sleek design. Purple is a color that is usually associated with villains and always tends to work quite well. Red and black make for a solid pair. Then you’ve got pure white/silver like Zeref which is pretty great. Ideally you want a design that looks combat ready although you can also go for one that is startlingly happy/unassuming which can work out well like the final boss of Undertale. A bad design to me is one that is either very generic so you forget it, or a design where you can instantly tell the villain can’t fight.

Honor Code

The honor code is definitely a pretty big one. I don’t want a villain who hides behind others or hostages all the time. I want a villain who is confident in their own abilities and isn’t afraid to tangle with the heroes whether it be physically or mentally. A good villain knows exactly what their goals are and sticks true to them. It’s a matter of pride and villains need to have that as well as heroes. The main example I’m using for this is Grimmjow. He and Ichigo had a rivalry right from the start of the series. Grimmjow absolutely wants to crush the lead but he wants to do it on his terms. He’s not going to be satisfied beating up on a weakened Ichigo. He even has Orihime heal the lead so they can tangle which is pretty much unheard of. That always helps me gain respect for a villain. A true villain should be able to overcome his opponent when they are at their peak and without outside help. Grimmjow’s even willing to fight other villains to ensure he gets his fair fight.

I’m not opposed to friendship power within the villains of course, but in general I like when a villain can just handle his business right from the start. Likewise a “dirty” trick during a fight may not be out of bounds if it was already 1 on 1. At that point anything goes of course and if the villain has already been fighting then more power to him. A villain who admits defeat and starts attacking random civilians to distract the hero has already lost in every sense of the word. You have to stay true to your ideals to the very end.

Has to be a threat

This is another one that probably seems obvious but is worth noting. If you’re a villain who gets completely wrecked time and time again then it’s going to be very hard to enjoy the character. This could work for a comic relief villain which follows a very different set of rules but not for a big villain that we’re supposed to take seriously. A villain needs to take care of business and that should be established early on. This is very common so there are probably millions of good examples I can use. The one I choose here would be Hideyoshi’s first appearance in Sengoku Basara or at least his first appearance in the war. He immediately sets the tone by forcing both armies to acknowledge him. He stops a huge array of arrows in their tracks with simple wind pressure and then takes down a captain in a single hit. This guy’s power is on a whole other level and it’s just hard to top that debut. I was certainly very satisfied at the very least. When you’re a threat like that, you’re forced to acknowledge the villain right away.

Has solid motivations

Now, I’m all for the villains who just want to destroy the world of course, but what really takes a villain to the next level is when they have solid goals. If the goal is something you can understand then that will play a big role in how endearing they are. A villain who is upset because some guy elbowed him when walking through a line? That’s so petty you may lose respect. A villain whose world is about to be crushed but can save it by destroying the other world first? Well, that’s something you can buy into. He would even possibly be considered the Hero from another point of view. There’s a saying that everyone is the hero of their own story. While I don’t find that to be true necessarily, I think a villain’s motivation should feel that way. You never lose sight of the fact that they are a villain but that’s not the important thing. The important thing is that this is now a villain you can sympathize with.

For this one I’ll use Mr. Freeze as an example from Sub Zero and the Batman animated series His wife is terminally ill and only has a slim shot of survival. The way to do this is to do a blood transfusion with someone from a rare blood type. Only problem is that the transfusion will destroy whoever undergoes the operation because of how much blood is needed. Perhaps if you could find two people then this could work but there isn’t a whole lot of time and Mr. Freeze is already a known criminal. As a result he decides to kidnap someone so that he can save the wife which leads into the movie. This is a perfect example as you know that what Freeze is doing is wrong and he knows it as well. Still, it is worth it to him in order to save his wife and that’s as solid a motivation as you can get. It made him a particularly great villain in the DCAU and one of the best Batman villains out there. Later on Freeze eventually begins to get buried by feelings of rage and feelings of revenge towards society but this is how he started out,.

Overwhelming confidence

Finally we have another trait which ties in to the others. A good villain needs to have absolute confidence. These villains aren’t afraid to defy authority even if a higher up tells them to do something. I already used Grimmjow as an example but that’s something he did quite well. The villains who are quickly to kneel before another don’t have the same true respect for themselves that other villains have. A lot of the best villains in history have always been overwhelmingly confident to the point of arrogance. They may readily lower their defenses just to show the heroes how absolutely outclassed they are. Honestly, it was hard to pick an example here because you could pick almost literally any villain and you would be good to go. That just shows how critical this factor is.

Ultimately I’m going with Jiren. How confident do you have to be to close your eyes and meditate in the middle of a battle with your universe on the line? You got to admit that this takes a whole lot of guts on his part. A lot of villains absolutely wouldn’t dare even if they were powerful. It’s a great moment though because that unwavering conviction in your abilities is exactly what you need in order to succeed.

So those are the 5 traits a good villain really should have. If you have all of these traits then you are probably going to go down as one of the all time great villains. Whenever a villain is introduced with some of these traits I get excited. Now, there are certainly things a villain can do in order to lose that hype which I will go into in my reverse editorial on what makes for a bad villain. That one should be fun and I already know quite a few off the top of my head. A lot of villains will end up having traits from both in which case you just have to see which side wins out. It’s rare to find a perfect character like Bass EXE but there are still tons of other amazing villains. In theory every great series should have a great villain to combat the hero. If you have no great villains then that could be trouble for the series long term.

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

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis Review


It’s time to look at the next big LEGO adventure. This time Aquaman takes the center stage as he tries to prove himself. It’s a pretty fun LEGO adventure and while it can’t quite match up to the best ones out there, it holds its own pretty well. We get some decent fight scenes and it’s always fun to see the Justice League return no matter what format it is. So without further ado let’s dive into this.

The film starts off with the Justice League sending out a call for help to Aquaman. He is delighted to hear this, especially because the villain is attacking a river so he’ll be able to do some real damage. Unfortunately this area is just called a river but it’s totally dry so Lobo beats Aquaman up. Aquaman struggles to hold onto his confidence but even the Justice League can barely defend him in faqront of the media and Ocean Master has now taken over Atlantis. If Aquaman doesn’t regain his confidence really soon I’m afraid that it’s going to be too late for him.

DC’s been doing quite well with the Lego adventures and this one continues the run of solid titles in the franchise. While Aquaman can’t hold his own film nearly as well as the Flash, he’s a fun enough lead. We really hadn’t seen him in the other specials so this was a good way to give him some focus with the league. Naturally a lot of his scenes are played for laughs. Most of the characters land a lot of burns at his expense but Aquaman does his best not to let it get to him. He still keeps on trying to be the best and after he gets drunk Aquaman finally experiences some clarity on what he has to do next. It took him a while to get to the answer, but better late than never right?

The Lego animation is fairly consistent with how all of the others were. Lego in general still isn’t my favorite style but this one still gives us some pretty good fight scenes. Superman surprisingly (well maybe it’s not too surprising) doesn’t look great in the battles though. Lobo is just too powerful and really deals out the pain to everyone who goes up against him. It’s always nice to see him looking good though since Lobo is often one of my favorite DC villains. I like his biker theme and the fact that he actually can fight with the likes of Superman. His appearances in the DCAU is really what got me into being a fan.

Meanwhile the humor is pretty sound as you’d expect. My favorite humor scenes are admittedly the ones that are poking fun at Aquaman a lot. It’s the low hanging fruit of course, but you can’t help but smirk when Ocean Master shows his little compilation video of Aquaman getting wrecked. The humor scenes that don’t work quite so well are the more over the top ones like when Wonder Woman gets dazed/confused for a while. Damian trying to act like a kid also doesn’t work quite as well. I was surprised to see him and Batgirl since they basically come out of nowhere, but the more guest stars the better.

Ocean Master makes for a fun villain. He may not always be the biggest mastermind but he did convince Aquaman to give up the throne without a fight which does take a good degree of skill. A lot of villains would love to be able to say that they took over Atlantis without having to lift a finger. It’s usually just not that easy though. Things may not have worked out well for him in the end, but if not for the rest of the heroes being around he probably could have pulled the whole thing off. There’s also the slight sympathy angle that any story with Ocean Master comes equipped with because Aquaman tends to put him down without realizing it. “It’s good to be king!” was definitely something that Ocean Master doesn’t need to hear from Aquaman on a daily basis. Still doesn’t make him any less of a villain though.

The most tragic part for Ocean Master though is the fact that he starts to be overshadowed by the other villains here like the Red Lanterns. How can he really hope to compete with powerful foes like that? Dex-starr and Atrocitus both get fun roles and you don’t really doubt that either one of them would be able to clobber Ocean Master. It was a cool team up though because that’s one of those out of the box pairings that seems like it would be interesting.

Meanwhile we have a full subplot about Jessica Cruz working to find confidence in being a Green Lantern. It’s not as good as the main plot, but it’s decent. Most of it involves her ring giving her a lot of snark as it constantly mocks Jessica and makes things tough for her on purpose. Honestly Jessica has enough trouble trying to be a fighter, the ring doing its thing really doesn’t end up helping matters at all. It just ends up getting in the way and making trouble for both of them. I lost a lot of sympathy for Jessica when she started making fun of Batman’s utility belt though. The first time you can write off as an accident, but after that it has to be intentional. It may have been a humor plot, but it still hurt Jessica all the same. Especially since Batman was the best character in the special. One simply does not disrespect the Dark Knight like that.

Overall, Rage of Atlantis is a fun DC special. There’s not a lot more to say beyond what I’ve already mentioned. If you like Aquaman or the new Green Lantern Jessica then you should enjoy this one. Quite a lot of characters show up and so the special is able to make the most of its longer run time. I wonder which hero will get a lego special next. I dare say that Green Lantern has earned his, but I wouldn’t mind another Batman centered JL special either. Those are always fun.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Batman: Hush Review


It’s time to look at the most recent Batman film to come out. It’s adapting what I consider to be one of the most well known Batman arcs out there. I’m still waiting for Battle for the Cowl, but it’s always nice to have more adaptions at the ready. I haven’t read Hush yet so it was interesting to go into it fresh. (Of course I already knew about the Superman fight though) It’s a good story although some parts of it were a bit weak which keeps this from being one of the best Batman films. It definitely gets obliterated by Bad Blood which is quickly becoming one of the definitive Batman titles.

The movie starts with Catwoman being back in town and back to her thieving ways. Batman is disappointed but he goes in to stop her only to be shot from behind and knocked out. A new villain named Hush is around and he has been following Batman for quite a while. Somehow he is getting a lot of the villains in Gotham to make a move so Batman is busier than he has ever been before. He still believes that Catwoman can be changed and so one part of the plot is that he’s hanging out with her both as Batman and as Bruce Wayne. Meanwhile you have Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Riddler, Joker, Bane, and a bunch of other Batman villains running around. Batman does have his support staff of Nightwing, Batgirl, Damian, and others but will they be enough to stop this new threat?

Well, let’s look at the good things first. As always the animation is great. Regardless of how the films have been in other areas at times, the animation has been consistently great for all of the main-line DC films. It’s quite top notch and the closest thing you’ll see to the classic DCAU animation. It’s really come into its own and all of the fight scenes are very good. The wind effects after each blow is swung are handled very well and the choreography is great. The character designs are all really good and same goes for the backgrounds.

The story is engaging as always. You’ll be eager to see what’s next at all times. This movie also feels like a crossover of sorts as you see guys like Superman and Lex Luthor show up as well as Nightwing, Batgirl, and Damian. While the latter 3 are Batman characters you still don’t see everyone show up like that all too often. Batgirl in particular feels like a bit of a guest star character as she shows up for one quick fight scene and then leaves again. Personally I feel like she should be able to defeat Catwoman, but typically that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Now I think where the film is at its weakest is with the romance here. Batman is borderline out of character for a good chunk of the movie. As always he lets his interest in Catwoman get personal but to a greater degree than usual. There’s quite a lot of romance in this film and it’s not like Batman to let such things distract him during such a dangerous time. He knows Hush is around so he has no time to be with Catwoman right now. Taking up time as both Bruce and Batman is also time he could be using to solve the case. He was even awfully close to letting her convince him to leave the city for a while even with the villain at large.

Batman also loses control of himself in the scene with Joker awfully quick. I get that it was a big moment, but I don’t see how it hit him quite so hard. Surely it’s not quite as traumatic as what happened to Jason Todd and Batman was able to control himself a lot better there. You could make the case that it’s how these situations keep piling up which pushed him over the edge, but I think it’s a bit of a stretch. Batman is portrayed as extremely emotional in this film compared to the others and I don’t think this was a good idea. He just doesn’t feel like Batman at times. Damian is the voice of reason instead and it’s too bad that he only got a cameo here.

Meanwhile Catwoman also looks pretty bad here. She does do a good job of trying to get past her thieving ways to an extent although it’s hard to really buy into it since she’s said this many times before. (Albeit, not in this continuity) The way her character arc ends doesn’t make any sense though. The way she acts at the end doesn’t make any sense because what happened shouldn’t have been new information for her. I’d understand if we saw something more drastic, but Batman didn’t do anything that you wouldn’t expect him to do. It makes Catwoman appear a bit shallow. She’s never been one of my favorite characters anyway but it’s still not great for her.

Then we’ve got Joker who looks downright terrible here. The guy is usually not a bit player that everyone has their way with, but you wouldn’t know that from this film. He’s completely overwhelmed and out of his depth from the start. He doesn’t even realize that he is walking into a trap. Usually the Joker is able to match wits with Batman so this was odd. I was expecting him to look more like how he did in Phantasm where he turned the tables pretty quick. Here all he did was get wrecked for a while and do a terrible job of trying to explain what was going on. Harley Quinn did better as she was at least doing something about the situation.

We get other villains but they don’t get as big of a role. Poison Ivy kept some of her hype here since Hush was worried enough about her abilities to have a bomb at the ready. Poison Ivy may not be one of the biggest Batman enemies, but she is definitely one of the most dangerous. Her plants are just really handy to have around. Bane and Clayface are just here for cameos but they are cool to see as well. Superman is the biggest guest appearance, but he looks pretty terrible as well. There’s no conceivable way that Poison Ivy should have been able to get the drop on him. I don’t care if she had Kryptonite make-up and a green suit, he should have been ready. The instant she got close he would have detected it but not been weak enough to faint. That’s when it’s time to dash out of there. I also wish he had more will power since he tends to get mind controlled in every other film. Lex looked good at least and he has a point that Batman should treat him with more respect since he is now a League member. Without him Batman would have been in trouble.

How about Hush? Well, he’s definitely a solid villain. It’s always nice to have a villain that can really test Batman’s deductive abilities. Hush does a good job of keeping everyone wary and he has a good design/voice. The guy is an intimidating villain and you’ll be interested in seeing who his true identity was. The movie did a good job of giving you a fair chance to make the connection without making it obvious. I wasn’t able to figure out who it was before the film ended so the movie did good there. He also gives us a solid fight scene at the end of the film.

Batman movies usually have some kind of mystery in it and that’s part of the draw. So having a solid mystery with Hush in it does help this movie stay interesting. Then you’ve also got a solid array of fight scenes which help support the movie. The pacing is solid and something is always happening here. It’s really just the romance and some of the characters being out of character that holds this film back. Put it this way, I’d put this movie above Son of Batman, Batman vs Robin, Batman Year One, Gotham Knights, and Mystery of the Batwomen, but I’d put it under Sub-Zero, Mask of the Phantasm, Bad Blood, Return of the Joker, and Red Hood. I’m probably missing a Batman film or two, but these are the ones I knew off the top of my head. It’s a reasonable ranking and that puts this movie around the middle of the pack which is pretty good.

Overall, While I had my issues with Batman Hush it is still a very good movie. It’s the kind of title where even if you know the outcome of the mystery it still works pretty well for re-watches. There is a lot of replay value to be found here and any Batman fan can quickly get into the film and enjoy it. If you haven’t seen this movie yet then you should definitely check it out. I can see why the arc is pretty well known as one of the big Batman arcs. Now I hope we can get a Battle for the Cowl arc soon. We’ve got all of the necessary characters introduced into the series already so it would definitely work and we’re running out of Batman arcs to use anyway. I think it’s the next logical step.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review


It’s time to look at a crossover that came out pretty recently. I never read the comic although it always looked pretty cool. The film seems to be a pretty straight adaption which is nice and it’s definitely a story that holds up well. I’d consider this to be one of the stronger recent DC films and I’d definitely be up for a sequel since there is a bit of a cliffhanger at the end.

The film starts off with a group of FOOT soldiers showing up in Gotham and stealing some kind of experimental tech. Batman decides to look into it and the next target is determined to be Wayne Tech. He prevents them from stealing the device, but is ultimately defeated by their leader, The Shredder. Batman now needs to figure out how to stop this threat and believes there may be a connection with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They’d better give him some details or he’ll be taking them down.

With a crossover you always want a definitive victor and the film did a good job with that. Batman does fight the 4 turtles and he pretty easily takes them down. The fight is also very early on in the film which I think was a good idea. I like build up for a film as well but I feel like this outcome was pretty obvious from the start (no shade to the turtles) so this just made sense. Batman and Shredder also have a fight with an actual outcome which was cool. I definitely won’t say who won of course, but it was a really solid fight and there were no cop outs. I can’t say I agree with the outcome necessarily but I can respect it. It’s a pretty close fight either way and as a crossover it’s nice to see them battle since they’re both considered to be in the top% of hand to hand fighters in their respective universes.

The animation will take a little time to get used to I’d say. The character designs are a bit off and it’s definitely a step down from the mainstream DC films. Still, it’s probably this way to look more like the comic. Donatello is a little too slim but the others are mostly on point. I’d say that Leonardo definitely had the best design from the 4. The fight scenes don’t suffer from this as the characters just get right into the thick of the action and the fight scenes are nice and extended. There is time for both combatants to really get in on the action. Batman’s fight with the Shredder round 1 is the best part of the movie without a doubt.

This film has pretty solid writing to back it up as well. There isn’t really a weak point here and that’s important. At worst you can say that the breaking into Arkham for the 100th time was a bit old by this point. I wouldn’t have minded sticking to the main plot, but that probably would have made the film a little too short. The scene of Batman deciding that the turtles were getting in his way was also a little forced for drama I’d say. Still, these are extremely minor things.

Batman’s definitely the best character in the movie. He really gets to make the most of his experience and hand to hand combat skills. He may not trust the others much, but at the end of the day he’ll make the right call. Sadly this is one of Damian’s weaker appearances. He just isn’t nearly as skilled as he usually is and only puts up a fight against the Turtles in a bit of a comic relief battle. I feel like in a serious fight he should be able to beat them like Batman. Batgirl doesn’t get a huge role, but she is around for the Arkham battles and helps out. She gets to show off her intellect a lot here.

From the Turtle side, Leonardo’s the best one. He gets a lot of action and is certainly shown to be the most skilled of the turtles. He is always the one to help the heroes make a comeback and also manages to keep his emotions in check when it looks like it is curtains for the others. Raphael also looks reasonably good here. He definitely doesn’t get to have any real wins compared to Leonardo, but he is quick to get in on the action. Donatello and Michelangelo definitely can’t compete. Donatello at least has the planning on his side but Michelangelo is mainly just here for the gags. The comic relief character is usually doomed to be one of the weaker ones in the film.

For the villains, Shredder definitely looked good. It’s always nice to see him in his more serious incarnations. His armor was also top quality to hold its own against Batman’s. (Although Batman’s spikes were definitely shown to be sharper) I feel like Shredder was on the losing end of the bargain though since he has to trust Ra’s to keep his end of the bargain. Way I see it, you should never finish your part of the plan before the other guy has a chance to start his. Then there’s no incentive for the other guy to do his part. Meanwhile Ra’s definitely looks good. I don’t think this plan was his most brilliant one, but he does a good job of making sure it succeeds. He also puts in a pretty good fight which is to be expected since he’s a premiere fighter as well.

There are other sub villains, but they don’t get a huge role. Most of the Arkham guys aren’t even in their right minds since they took the serum. It was definitely a unique choice for the fights, but I think it would have been even better if they had stayed in their normal designs. The Arkham stuff was probably the weakest part of the film compared to the other acts, but at the end of the day it was basically nonstop fight scenes so it was still pretty solid. You can’t go wrong with a good action scene. Naturally the film does get a little violent at times, but it’s never nearly as excessive as some of DC’s other titles. A few people get sliced and diced but that’s basically the extent of it.

Overall, Batman vs the Ninja Turtles is a great film. There’s a lot of action here and a steady amount of good dialogue. I was definitely on Team Batman all the way, but the turtles make for good sidekicks. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I’d recommend checking it out. It’s always nice to have more crossovers get animated and this was a great pick. I’m hoping we get more such titles at some point. Maybe we can finally get the Superman vs He Man movie at some point.

Overall 8/10

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Batman vs Leopold Fitz




This is a tribute to the Batman vs TMNT film that came out recently. Batman definitely handled his business pretty well and showed why he is one of the most skilled martial artists out there. Leopold Fitz is pretty intelligent in his own right, but he’s not the genius that Batman is, nor does he have the dark knight’s hand to hand expertise. When you combine both factors into the equation there is just no way that Leopold can hope to win this battle. Batman wins.

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part Review


It’s time to look at the follow up to the original Lego Movie. That one was a pretty big hit and did a good job of being a big Warner Bros crossover. It was a good blend of action and comedy and brought the lego genre over to the general public. Unfortunately this sequel missed the mark on just about everything that made the first film so good. The biggest problem here though is that the film insists on making the human characters a bigger part of the experience and I don’t think this was a good move.

The heroes saved the universe last time, but the world is invaded by new creatures. I’ll quickly mention here that it was neat how quickly these guys attacked. It’s almost like the second Mortal Kombat film in that respect as they really waste absolutely no time. The heroes get wrecked and we get a 5 year timeskip. The Justice League left a while back to put a stop to these guys but they were never seen again. The invaders seem to be after colorful objects so the heroes removed all of them and now live in a very grim apocalyptic world. They’ve all adapted to these tough times except for Emmett. He still wants everyone to be happy but as a result his new house brings the invaders back. They break in and steal the 5 strongest heroes. Emmett must now man up and try to save them along with the help of the mysterious Rex. Can they do it?

Lets jump right into the human part of the movie. The big problem with throwing them into the mix is how it takes away from the actual movie. It worked a bit as a twist in the first movie, but this one should have just ignored the human aspect. Whenever the humans appear the film acknowledges this by showing us how everything happening in the fictional world is just pretend. Even the villain references this quite a lot about how their actions don’t matter since it’s all imagination. The heroes have the ability to slightly move but that’s about it. Also, the human scenes are pretty cringey. Maybe if the owners were adults it would help, but kids? Yeah, that’s not gonna work.

I think that if you’re gonna add human characters then you need to do it like in Toy Story. It works there because it’s acknowledges that the toys actually can move and think. They just pretend to be toys. In these films it’s basically stated that they actually are toys that only have small wills and can’t really do much of anything. It really takes you out of the zone whenever they show up.

If you ignore the humans then it’s still fun enough, but that’s hard to do. Rex makes for a pretty good character here. I dare say that he was probably the best character in the movie. He kept everyone on their toes and did a good job building his space ship and not being afraid of anything. He’s probably one of the only characters here who is actually prepared for an invasion. Even Batman wasn’t quite able to match this guy here. Batman gets his good share of scenes, but then towards the end there’s a bit of a marriage plot that doesn’t help his case. That whole plot….was not very good. I preferred the invasion dynamic. Of course the team-up is inevitable once you see the human plot, but it’s one that we really didn’t need.

Emmett is decent although I dare say he was better in the first film. Like all of the characters say here, the guy just hasn’t adjusted while everyone else has. While he is still a nice guy, those qualities that helped them in the first film are actually holding them back in this one. Every time there is a tense scene he quickly does something with comic relief to try and defuse the tension. It’s likely because he isn’t ready for this level of drama but after a point you want the heroes to put him on the bench so the real fighters can get in on the action.

Wyldstyle looks good as always though. When the first wave showed up she is one of the only ones who is able to put up a fight. She’s still got good fighting moves even if there are less opportunities to show them here. She’s definitely the best hero on the team. From the villains the best member was definitely Mayhem. She can also fight and definitely does a good job of infiltrating the hero base. If the villains had even one more fighter like her then the heroes would have definitely been doomed from the start.

As for the animation, it’s Lego style which still isn’t really my thing. That being said, I do feel like the animation here wasn’t quite as good as in the first film. This one feels more “normal” like any average TV special. The first one went all in with the action scenes and visuals. It could be in part due to the fact that there are less colorful backdrops here though or maybe that there’s less action and more comedy instead so the animators can’t show off. Regardless that part isn’t one of its strengths. The soundtrack is decent. We get a new rendition of Everything is Awesome although it’s not quite as good. I was surprised that the film didn’t opt to go for a whole new song instead but nothing wrong with throwing in a good remix.

One thing I’d like to have seen more here is the heroes manipulating the lego pieces to turn them into vehicles and weapons. That’s always been a pretty cool visual in the Lego films and the first one used it quite a bit. When you can turn anything into a weapon it really makes you a fighter to be feared. Emmett did try this near the beginning when he made a robot suit and while it wasn’t effective, I’d like to see him and the others do more of that. The final battle could have really been a battle of builders if the film had gone that route. It’s definitely the best way to handle the Lego visuals.

Overall, The Lego Movie 2 feels like one of those sequels that was slapped together for no real reason. It doesn’t really do anything original and instead just feels like a much weaker version of the first Lego movie. I think it should have had more screen time from Batman and I dare say that it should have had more fights with the invaders. There are some pretty neat themes here like time travel, but it’s not quite as big a factor as you would expect. I also liked the fake out for the film ending. It had been long enough where if you didn’t know your tropes you may have actually believed it for a second so that was cool, but does lead into the next part. The film’s pretty long and parts of it tend to drag on by the end. If you saw the first film then I suppose you should watch this one so you can say that you saw the full saga, but otherwise you should just stick to the first film. Still, it’s not as if it’s the weakest of the Lego films. There are still enough moments where you will have fun here. Hopefully we do get a proper end to the trilogy at some point though.

Overall 6/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Justice League vs The Fatal Five Review


It’s time to look at a pretty new Justice League film. This title finally brings us back to the legendary DCAU so right away you know you’re in for a good time. It does a good job of really feeling like a long awaited sequel and this one can definitely hold its own in this esteemed continuity. Naturally it’s no Starcrossed or anything like that, but it’s a great nostalgia film. We have solid action scenes, writing is on point as always, etc. It’s a film that also has very solid replay value.

The movie starts off with Star Boy attempting to stop the Fatal Five. Unfortunately they are simply too strong and make it to the teleporter. In a last act of defiance Star Boy is able to finish the time shutdown so they are frozen in time as the orb crashes in the present. Star Boy also lands on Earth, but his medicine was destroyed so now his mind is slowly deteriorating. The cops catch him and he gets locked up in Arkham. Almost a year passes and the Justice League accidentally awaken the villains. They’re ready to fight but the only way to victory may be to get Star Boy on their side!

Meanwhile, Jessica Cruz has been having a lot of trouble adjusting to her new role as Green Lantern. She managed to survive a traumatic experience against a crazy gunman and the experience left her mentally scarred. She is now scared to even go outside some days and since her GL powers run on willpower, it’s a tough job for her. Still, the decision is taken out of her hands when it turns out that the Fatal Five are after her. She can let the Justice League fight them off for her or she can join in the fight and take them down. The decision is hers, but it is one that will have strong consequences.

Right away you may wonder how the Fatal Five can last more than 5 minutes against the League. It’s a fair question as they’re hitting way above their weight class here. Realistically the Fatal Five can’t do much against the League, but to even the odds the Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, and Martian Manhunter do not appear in this film. You’ve got Star Boy and Jessica, but neither one of them do much helping til we get to the second half of the film. As a result it’s really Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman who have to handle the villains. Often times they aren’t fighting at the same time as well. There are still a lot of significant power level issues, but those are almost expected at this point. Superman gets wrecked pretty easily by these guys and then later on one of them is going even with Wonder Woman.

The Fatal Five aren’t weaklings or anything, but they’re definitely not quite as strong as you’d think from watching their fights. The heroes also have to be a little nerfed here because part of the point is that Jessica needs to be the one to conquer her fears. You can probably see the character arc coming from a mile away, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a bad one. She certainly gets a solid role in the final fight, but it makes sense since a good GL should be able to take care of these guys. I’d just make the case that Superman or Wonder Woman should have been able to accomplish something similar. Power level concerns don’t really hurt the experience. You may roll your eyes but barring something totally crazy it doesn’t hurt the score.

While Superman did get steamrolled I did like the way he fought here. It may seem like a bit of a contradiction but before going down Superman was doing a good job of knocking one opponent, dodging a counter attack, hitting opponent #2, etc. He was rarely going down to surprise attacks and was just getting hit by combos. It’s a subtle distinction that is good to make as it’s more annoying when he’s just giving opponents his back the whole time. I mean, I like the confidence, but it doesn’t work if he’s actually taking damage. Batman also looks real solid here as expected. He’s naturally the one finding things out in the background and whenever he does enter into a fight the outcome is clear. He crushes all of his opponents with ease and certainly stays cool under pressure. He does a good job of co-leading the team with Superman in the DCAU. Batman may never claim to be the leader, but the others listen when he has something to say.

Wonder Woman’s role may not feel as big as the other two, but she certainly looks good as well. Attacking Jessica may have been a little extreme, but I suppose it got the job done. She always fights very tactically such as when one of the Fatal Five tries to use her own lasso against her and WW just flips the tables on him. She uses a lot of athletics in her combat and the style seems like a mix of Superman’s and Batman’s. It’s still a little unfortunate we couldn’t see the other Leaguers, but I’m sure they’ll get their chance in the future.

As for the new heroes we have 3 to talk about. First off is Star Boy and I admit that I wasn’t a big fan of his character. At first I actually figured he was Cosmic Lad. The outfit was different, but it was filled with Stars and he kept seemingly manipulating metal at the beginning. Now I’m glad he wasn’t Cosmic Lad. He acts pretty scatter brained the whole film. There is a logical reason for this as he needs a certain chemical to stay sane, but it still makes his scenes pretty annoying. He just can’t seem to remember anything except for when it’s already too late. that’s certainly not too helpful you must admit. His powers are definitely cool though, making things heavy is definitely good enough to stop most opponents. Gravity manipulation is a very underrated ability.

Miss Martian is a new Justice League member in training and I can see why she isn’t a full member yet. She very nearly blows the whole situation in her first scene where innocents would have died. The whole thing doesn’t make any sense either since she gets real close to the villain, but stays in disguise until he whips out the gun and starts yelling. With her super strength and speed from that distance she should have been able to easily disarm him and keep going. Instead she also gives away Batman’s location. She’s pretty much a non factor for most of the film as well. She seems nice enough, but needs to keep working on how to be a hero.

Finally we have Jessica who is pretty reasonable. By the end of the film she has finally accepted herself as a hero. Her early scenes can be a bit more grating with all the self doubt, but at least she did jump in to save her town when necessary. She seems to have a lot more trouble getting started than freezing up which is good. Once she’s made a decision she does see it through. Jessica is the kind of character who will really benefit from the events of this film as she will now be a capable warrior in the sequel. The Green Lantern core is certainly pretty stacked as well since Hal, John, and Kyle are all excellent GL fighters as well. With Jessica on the team they barely even need the rest of the Justice League.

As for the Fatal Five, there isn’t quite as much to say about them. They make for a pretty good villain group. I like all of the members well enough and they gave us the team vs team fights which is always a good positive. We don’t get to see the final two members quite as much as the first 3, but they do look good once they show up. Their plan shouldn’t have gone quite as smoothly as it did though. You’ll likely see what I mean when you watch the film. They head over to OA to get the final two members and the Green Lanterns there don’t seem to have any kind of good plan. They should have jumped in before the gate was opened and then a lot of things would have been prevented. Ah well.

As expected the animation is pretty sharp here. The character designs are absolutely on point and it looks as good as ever. Now this is the kind of animation that lets you know DC is still on point. It’s not surprising as their films always tend to look amazing. If only Marvel could keep this up on their side. There’s a lot of reasons why the animation is so solid for DC, but a good part of it is the color schemes and effects they use. The attacks all have a lot of power behind them and the color stands out. They also speed up the fights quite a bit so when characters are engaged in a scuffle they’re all zipping around the place. It’s a great way to handle a good fight scene and the action here is definitely top notch. Another fun visual is when Superman zips towards the sun. His speed is definitely uncanny and to even come close to a light speed laser that already has a head start is a good feat.

While this is the DCAU, the film does try to make it clear from the start that it’s gonna still be a little more violent than the old days. Pretty much every random human who gets involved is quickly murdered and several heroes get stabbed and bleed out quite a bit. It never gets too excessive the way the New 52 films started out or other recent adventures. It’s just low enough where it doesn’t hurt the film but a little more and I think the film would have been trying too hard. The only visual that lingers is the store owner who gets murdered while the rest are pretty quick. It’s definitely all unnecessary so hopefully they keep a close eye on this for other DC films going forward.

Overall, Justice League vs The Fatal Five certainly delivers on all fronts. It’s an excellent Justice League title whether you’re already a big fan of the DCAU or this is your first experience. The writing is always on point and the cast of characters is excellent. It’s rare to have a film that basically has no weaknesses, but this is one of them. There’s a lot happening here from start to finish. Hopefully this really is just the first of many for the DCAU’s continuation saga. I’m ready to relive the golden days of comic book shows!

Overall 8/10

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Howard Aguello vs Batman




This is a tribute to Batman Ninja. Batman definitely looked pretty solid through and through here. He came up with good plans and adapted to this older world pretty quick. I somehow don’t think Howard would have been able to do much adapting at all. These two are polar opposites and Batman’s built a career out of putting guys like Howard away. There’s nothing Howard can throw at Batman that would intimidate the Dark Knight in the slightest. Batman wins.

Batman Battles, Battles, Broly Battles

Broly vs Batman




Suggested by Random Batman is a great detective and an even better fighter. It’s fair to say that in pure hand to hand he may be able to match Broly. Of course, that’s only in a scenario where neither one of them are able to use any abilities or super strength. Otherwise Broly has the massive advantage here. What’s Batman really going to do against a legendary Super Saiyan like this guy? The correct answer is that he’s not really going to do much of anything. Broly’s way too powerful. Broly wins.