Batman’66 Volume 5 Review

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It’s been a real pleasure reading the Batman’66 comics. They’ve all been really fun to read and this is a period in Batman’s career that deserved the extra exposure. Unfortunately, this is the final volume of the main series. It had a really good run to last this long, but it’s all over now. It ended on a pretty high note with this volume though and at least I still have 3 more crossovers to read. Until those are done, I can take solace in the fact that there is more Adam West to come.

Most of the issues here have 2 adventures so the collection is able to fit in quite a lot. As such I won’t go into all of the adventures, but I’ll at least touch on most of them. The first story is more of a short than anything else as we see a few kids dress up on Halloween and try to emulate the Dynamic Duo. They stand up to bullies and give everyone a fair shake. They may not get the candy in the end, but Batman and Robin are nice enough to make it up to them. As Batman points out, being a nice person is its own reward, but it’s still fun to receive some candy. It’s a nice little story that perfectly captures Batman’s character. His heroic nature is why he’s such a great character here.

In a more intense story, Solomon Grundy shows up. He is nigh invulnerable so the heroes have a little trouble with him. Fortunately, Batman is prepared for all contingencies and knows that Grundy can’t really handle a good zap. Being alive, albeit temporarily, was just too much for his system to get used too. That’s why it’s tough being an undead fighter sometimes. What do you do about such a thing? As for the Clayface story that followed. The heroes just confuse him quite a bit. The climax may have been a bit weak there as I don’t see Clayface being fooled so easily, but as long as it gets him out of their hair. He was pretty dangerous so it’s fortunate that they stopped him.

One of the more entertaining stories was when all of Gotham’s biggest villains got together and decided to improve their PR. Fortunately, Barbara Gordon worked there so she tricks them into bickering with each other until the cops can come to arrest them. Remember the good ole days when the cops could actually take down foes like the Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, and the Riddler? This was definitely back in the days where they got a lot of hype like this. The stories aren’t meant to be taken too seriously so don’t overthink this. Just roll with it and remember that when you’re creating a name for a company, you should have a neutral initial to start it off.

Bane finally made his debut in another comic and even had the famous scene where he breaks Batman’s back. Of course this Dark Knight thought ahead and had a batarang near his back which absorbed the impact and saved him from being crippled. It was certainly a fortunate event and as Batman always points out, it’s best to be prepared for all eventualities. It was certainly a good motto to live by this time. Bane was a wrestler here which makes sense as it gives him a good reason to be so formidable. He ends up getting overwhelmed by sheer numbers in the end, but I definitely liked his portrayal. He was certainly a nice threat and maybe the strongest Batman villain in the series. At least, the strongest human.

After a quick battle with Killer Croc, a villain decided to have a big team up. She’s known as the Mom or something like that. She frees a bunch of villains and gives the heroes so much trouble that they let her share a cell with her kids. It’s one of the few times Batman compromises with the villains so that’s quite a feat in itself. Still, he makes a nice speech to help us realize that it actually was the right choice in the end. It was a pretty fun comic and I’m always up for villain team ups.

The team ups kept coming in the last two adventures. In one, Catwoman showed up to help the heroes stop Solomon Grundy and Killer Croc. She apparently had not been using her full strength until now so the heroes were pretty surprised. Of course, Batman admitted that he had been holding back against her as well. It was interesting to see her on the same side as Batman for once although you can’t really imagine it lasting. The final issue was everything you could want in a finale. All of the villains team up again, but Riddler rats them out so Batman takes em all down. It was a pretty huge ensemble of villains so for Batman to take them all down was most impressive. Slow and steady wins the race after all, just pick off a few of them and keep it moving. Eventually you’ll have am all down. The comic also had a guest star for the heroes as Batgirl showed up to lend a helping hand. The only big character to not appear was Aunt Harriett. I forget if that was her actual name, but the nice little lady that always tried to find out Batman’s secret identity. It would have been fun to have had her show up.

The Batman issues have always been pretty fun and played the humor out pretty well. This volume is no exception as the characters unleash epic one liner after one liner. It’s definitely my kind of humor as the heroes are so ultra heroic, but don’t seem to notice. They just act natural about it and there’s no annoying character constantly getting shocked about this or pointing out how crazy it is. It’s just the norm in this fair city and even the police wonder what they would do without the duo. The setting is just perfect and it always makes me tempted to go watch the TV show. I can see why this was such a big success back in the day.

The art is also pretty solid as you’d expect. The characters are all looking pretty sharp and the backgrounds are pretty good. The comic does a good job of making everyone look like their older show appearances. The art is always easy to read so you can really appreciate what is happening. Mix that in with the excellent writing and you just have a really good recipe for success. It’s why the collection is such a blast to read through. It’s just got everything you could want in a comic.

Overall, You probably know what to expect from a Batman’66 comic by now. It’s more or less the same as the previous collections and that’s a good thing. Don’t fix what isn’t broken right? It’s a pretty solid rule that I stand by and while taking risks can pay off…it is called a risk for a reason. The issues did also have some more outlandish foes like Clayface and Solomon Grundy which was interesting to see in this setting. I’m definitely looking forward to the crossover with Wonder Woman as well since that is bound to be a blast and she is certainly a lot more Super than most of the characters they have to deal with. If you’ve somehow never read a Batman’66 comic before and don’t understand what all the fuss is about, it’s time for you to start with this one!

Overall 8/10

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Batman & Robin Adventures Volume 1 Review

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It’s time for some more Batman adventures! Robin gets to be a main character throughout this time which is certainly cool with me. He adds some witty banter to the dynamic and is the only Robin who grew up with Batman for this long so he can call the Dark Knight out if he disagrees with him. The stories are a little more serious than the normal Batman Adventures or at least it feels that way so Batman should definitely be glad that he has the backup. It’s a pretty solid collection of stories that has aged well.

The first two stories make up the initial adventure as Two Face has yet another relapse. He had been close to getting out of jail, but Joker tricks him into thinking that Bruce Wayne has backstabbed him by getting together with Two Face’s friend. He believes Joker of course since he has no reason to doubt the Crown Price of Crime and gets to work on taking revenge against Bruce Wayne. He even managed to kidnap Dick Grayson who had previously warned Batman that he had way too high of an opinion on Two Face. He doesn’t really believe in Two Face’s potential to turn good again unlike Batman. By the end of the issue Batman seems to agree as he finally considers Two Face to just be another thug. It’s a rather dark ending, but I probably agree with it. Two Face is constantly turning evil and I can’t seriously see him ever turning into a good guy. It’s just not who he is. It was a decently fun adventure although I still don’t like Two Face which limits it a little.

The next story had the Riddler return. He finally figured out that Batman had to be a rich billionaire who lived in Gotham to he kidnaps everyone who attended the latest billionaire meeting. Fortunately Batman doesn’t go to events like that and shows up to foil his plans. It’s a pretty straight forward adventure but I have to give the Riddler some credit for piecing the puzzle together. After all it just makes a lot of sense that Batman has to be rich and since there is a whole club for it, it was just a good idea. He may have lost the day, but he ultimately won the war.

After that, the next story was a Penguin adventure. He wants to free the Birds from the Zoo so he is smuggling them back to their homes, but only after they help him get rich. Ah well, there goes his sympathy points. Fortunately Batman is ready for them, but he does have to go through a few birds to do it which wasn’t cool. Batman should have just had some sleeping gas or something which could have stopped them dead in their tracks. It would have been a more peaceful way to claim victory. This was easily the weakest adventure in the collection.

I think the production values took a slight hit in the following story as everyone turns chibi at certain points and the character model is all over the place. Still, it’s a fun Joker comic so it still manages to be pretty good. He has vowed to destroy the Riddler so Batman decides to stop him. The problem is that Joker apparently always gets his man although the comic starts with someone managing to escape him. Batman basically foils him at every turn and doesn’t even let Joker take down any minor villains. I can see why Joker would be upset by the end since it was a pretty rough day for him. It was some nice hype for Batman’s detective skills though and Joker fans should be happy that he came so close.

The next story was another highlight as a magazine reports that Batman has fired Robin. Batman decides not to tell the magazines that this is a lie because he doesn’t deal with reports like that. It’ll all blow over. The problem is that a lot of people start dressing up as Robin and getting into trouble as they can’t handle the thugs of Gotham. This is getting out of hand, but what can they do? You can imagine the fun hijinx that ensues from all of this and the main Robin gets to prove himself once more. My only gripe with this one is that the fake Robins maybe talk a little too tough to Batman and get away with it. Like the one guy who basically threatened Batman not to try and make him go away so Batman just let him come along for a bit. I just don’t think threatening Batman is ever a good idea, but I suppose this guy knew how to make it work.

Back to a bit of a weak story as the Ventriloquist shows up. He breaks out of jail and decides to destroy his Mom so Batman has to really hurry this time. There’s a twist as his Mom is already dead, but he destroyed a picture of her and then shot himself. It’s just a very boring story with an unlikable villain. There’s just no real hook with this villain as he’s about as generic as they come and he’s not crazy in a good way. You can make a crazy villain be entertaining…or you can just make a villain be like the Ventriloquist.

Robin doesn’t look too good in the next comic as he is defeated by Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn and then brainwashed to do their bidding. The whole thing is a little humiliating for him but he gets a lot of hype as even Batman can’t out think him. Robin’s plans are simply too good and it shows that he really has learned a lot over the years. He isn’t the boy wonder that he used to be, Robin is now a true crime fighting expert. It wasn’t really my kind of story as Harley and Ivy rarely make for a great villain team up, but as a Robin fan I enjoyed seeing him get so much hype.

We get a Batgirl vs Talia story which is pretty fun. Batgirl had just been leaving her day job when Talia walked in and took down the guards. This naturally led to a scuffle but Talia proved to be way too strong for Batgirl which is really accurate. I like Batgirl as much as the next guy, but there is absolutely no way that she can hope to take down Talia. Talia is a master at hand to hand combat while Batgirl has just taught herself enough to beat the common crooks at this point. Talia tries her best to defeat Batgirl without destroying her which proves to be as difficult as you’d expect. While the ending is a little cheesy, it had to happen since having the villain actually win in the end would have been a little crazy. It was definitely one of the better stories with quite a lot of action to be found inside.

The final story has Talia return to tell Batman that she wants to stop Ra’s plan to destroy most of the world again. Robin isn’t invited but manages to follow them in secret as Batman unleashes his plan. It’s a pretty fun comic although Ra’s is probably overplayed by this point. His plans also always seem very easy to stop but I guess the strength of them is how well he covers them up. After all, if Talia hadn’t tipped off Batman, nobody would have even known that he was planning anything. He could have leveled part of the world before anyone even knew something was wrong. That’s actually pretty impressive, but once Batman is on the case, you may as well say that it’s curtains for the villains.

The collection is pretty similar to the last Batman one I read, but with more Robin stories which is always a good thing. Ironically despite the title he still missed a few issues here. I suppose that’s just how it goes and he can’t be in all of them but he does make the comics more fun. He finally gives Batman someone to bounce ideas off of and his detective skills are nothing to sneeze at. Batman’s also pretty great as per usual so the heroic duo is really on point.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this collection if you haven’t read it yet. It’s a pretty good bundle of light hearted action stories and the writing is on point. The art is also pretty good and you’ll really be able to appreciate the designs. Some of the stories may lag behind the others, but I wouldn’t actually call them bad either. Even the weakest of stories can still be fairly decent in its own right. I have one more Batman collection coming up so keep an eye out for that review in the near future.

Overall 7/10

The Batman Adventures Volume 2 Review

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It’s time for another Batman Adventures review. The DCAU adventures have been a lot of fun and so I was expecting quality from the start. Fortunately, that is exactly what I got in return. This collection brings 10 stories and they are all from the main title so no specials of anniversary issues. It’s cool because so far the series has managed to do that for the first two volumes. None of the stories are bad which makes for a consistent volume.

The first story sees the return of the Man Bat. Everyone assumes that Kirk has had a relapse and he doesn’t help his case by admitting that there are gaps in his memory. Batman steps in, but the clues just don’t add up. It turns out that someone was framing Man Bat. This was a decent story although a slightly weak way to start the volume. As you all may know, I’m not a big Man Bat fan so his stories just aren’t as interesting as the others. Writing was on point though and there technically wasn’t anything wrong with it.

The second story was a Batgirl one as she had to go up against Cat Woman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy. This was a more enjoyable story with a lot of constant action and Batgirl always makes for a good lead. This was pretty early on in her career so I’m a little skeptical on how well she would actually do against these villains in a fight but it was pretty reasonable the whole time. A costume party is always the perfect way to stop crime while keeping your cover as well so it was a good decision on her part to take this chance to attack.

Next up is a team up with Talia and Batman. Essentially, she tricks him into helping her stop some criminals who stole proof of Ra’s illegal deals. That’s actually really impressive if you think about it, but once Batman and Talia are on the case you know that it’s all over. I still don’t buy into the romance part of it, but that’s why it’s always cool that Bruce Wayne is actually just a fake alter ego that Batman made. Batman himself is still all business as per usual and looks good throughout all of the issues.

The next story was a Robin story. I suppose the series was trying to switch up the protagonists pretty consistently. I suppose I can roll with that. The enemy is the Ventriloquist this time so Robin has no trouble taking him down. This seems like it came out just a little before the Nightwing phase so it’s nice to see a Robin who is so confident and competent the whole time. He basically spends the whole comic taking names and even points out something Batman could have done differently in his mission before he was cut off.

Commissioner Gordon got the next story and this one was surprisingly really good. Gordon decides to save a cop who’s been exposed by the villains on his own since he feels guilty about it. He allows Batman to also work on saving him, but tells him not to move in until Gordon has his shot. Gordon takes a lot of the crooks down and does a good job. In the end he may not have been able to win, but you have to admire the attempt. The DCAU definitely did the best job at making him a great character. He was a by the books guy without being overboard to the point where he would try to constantly arrest Batman.

Joker was up next and this issue did a good job of capturing the essence of Joker. He’s a villain, but one with a code of honor. He learns that someone is making comics where he always loses to Batman so he fires the author and kidnaps the replacement so the adventures can be more realistic. As a result, Joker wins in a few of the issues before Batman finally defeated him. As Joker pointed out, he wouldn’t lose so easily this time because he was fighting for the kids. He had to protect them from the comic’s lies. It was just a very entertaining comic to read and Joker actually put up a pretty good fight against Batman when it came time for fisticuffs.

Next up was a Ra’s story as he wants to change the world once again. He always acts as if he will ultimately help the planet which I don’t buy into. I actually preferred the Talia story, but this one isn’t as bad. It plays out as you’d expect and Batman seamlessly infiltrates the enemy ranks and shuts the project down. There wasn’t quite as much action in this story, but it had a good blend of detective work and action mixed in. I definitely liked the ninja outfit that Batman borrowed for the mission and the character who originally wore it must have been pretty cool.

Batgirl and Robin returned for a big team up issue. It was cool to see them team up for what was evidently one of the first times. Robin showed off his experience while Batgirl brought in the X factor they needed to take on the crooks and steal the proof they needed. It was a more low stakes adventure that focused on the core of being a crime fighter, stopping your every day crooks. Technically that is definitely a big part of the job as you can’t expect to see a super villain every time.

A pretty intense story that came up next had the return of the Scarecrow. He found a way to deliver the fear straight to everyone’s minds so they all feared just the sight of him. Nobody was immune so Batman just had to toughen up and get past it. Scarecrow may not be a tough villain, but his fear gimmick is certainly not something to be taken lightly. At least Batman has a lot of experience with dealing with his inner fears so he’s one of the perfect heroes for taking this guy on.

The final issue had a few D list villains escape from prison to unleash their master plan. It was a villain centered story, but it was reasonably amusing. The Nice Guy is certainly an interesting villain and he made the right call in not attacking the dog at the end. It’s probably the most light hearted story in the bunch and is a reasonably good way to end the batch. I probably won’t remember any of those villains, but it was a nice dynamic.

The art is pretty good. The designs from the DCAU are always good to look at and it’s pretty easy to keep track of what’s happening. The issues actually end a lot sooner than usual because each issue only has a few panels and they’re all huge. It makes reading through the comics really easy although I wonder why this is the case. It’s certainly a different style compared to the rest of the DCAU adventures. What really makes this comic solid aside from the art is that the writing is just really good. You can easily picture these stories being full length episodes and everyone stays in character. It’s no wonder why the DCAU has stayed so popular over the years.

Overall, This is a pretty fun collection of stories. There aren’t too many breakout hits that will really stay memorable, but none of the stories are bad. They’re all pretty fun and nostalgic to read through and I look forward to checking out more comics in the series. Ironically I have now read volumes 3 and 2 so I just need to find the original somewhere. With both Batman and Superman having 3 volumes it’ll be interesting to see which one reaches 4 first. If you count spinoffs, then Batman has already won though as I’ll be reading that one next. Get ready for Robin to get more of a role. If you haven’t checked this comic out yet, then I’d definitely recommend changing that!

Overall 7/10

Superman Adventures Volume 3 Review

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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

Superman Adventures Volume 2 Review

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It’s time for the next installment in the Superman Adventures series. Honestly it’s been a long time since I rented a comic so it’s good to start off with the greatest Superhero out there. My local library may have had the biggest selection in all of NYPL, but they’re going to be closing their doors for the next 3 years so I figured this could be my last chance to just go and pick out the ones that I wanted. I got quite a few DC comics and one Marvel one so prepare for those reviews to come out soon. In the meantime, this comic was just as great as I expected it to be.

It brings about 7 issues which is a good deal for a graphic novel. The first two stories deal with Superman contracting a rare kryptonite disease and now he is dying. His powers are fading away and the general public doesn’t know about it so they’re all bashing Superman. They claim that he has lost his drive or that he doesn’t want to play the hero anymore. Lois Lane is one of those skeptics until she learns the truth and decides to join a last ditch excavation to try and cure Superman once and for all. She’ll have to go through a war torn country to find it though, but at least this’ll give Superman a fighting chance.

It’s a pretty fun double comic. Hamilton is still annoying since I know he grows up to be a traitor someday but I suppose I’ll try to work around that. Lois is also a little iffy since I would have thought that she’d suspect something instead of also thinking that Superman was getting lazy. At least she is a woman of action though and quickly does her best to revert the situation. It’s just as much a Lois story as it is a Superman one and the dynamic works well. The ending is a little sad for a doctor who helps Superman out though. He was being blackmailed by Lex and is basically told to destroy Superman or to die. The doctor decides not to do it and Superman just tells him that he did the right thing…and then leaves the Doctor. It’s heavily implied that he just left the Doctor to his own devices which seems a little cruel of him. Superman didn’t seem very sympathetic at all but I suppose he’s still sore at almost dying. It would have been a sad way to go.

The next story had less stakes but was pretty amusing. An alien race arrives on Earth and challenges Superman to a best of 3 bout with their champion. He is incredibly strong and has some complex weapons which he uses to overwhelm Superman. The Man of Steel will have to put all of his common sense to use to defeat this opponent and that’s just what he does. What do you do when you’re fighting someone and both of you have weapons that you don’t understand? Just throw it away and win in fisticuffs. There aren’t many who can beat Superman that way after all. The writing may have been a little weak as this guy should not have been throwing Superman around, but I suppose I’ll overlook it in the spirit of just having a good time. Superman also should have been able to lift his medal at the end if you ask me.

There was also a special featured in this collection where Lobo is back in town. Superman inhaled a gas that is deadly to everyone on Earth so he goes to space to find the cure. Turns out Lobo is after the same cure, but only so he can collect the reward. The two ultimately have to team up against a bunch of aliens. Unlike the more gullible characters who fall for Lobo’s tricks, Superman is one step ahead of him the whole time. Their group dynamic is pretty interesting and I’m always up for some good banter. Lobo definitely doesn’t look nearly as impressive as Superman in this comic and I can certainly agree to that. While there may not be as much action as in other comics, it’s certainly one of the better issues here.

If you want one of the weaker issues, look no further than the Robocop issue. There’s this assassin with a Robocop suit who is out to silence all of the witnesses who are against Lex and the other local villains. A TV reporter with something to prove ends up telling him where the last witness is by mistake so now it’s a race against time. It wasn’t a bad comic by any means, but this guy isn’t even remotely a threat during the entire issue. Perry was also being a little unreasonable with how news is only what is written down and not what is recorded. As Lois pointed out, he should just be happy that his cameras are always the first ones on TV. I mean you can’t ask for much more than that right? Even if it is weaker than the others, I’m up for a more street level Superman comic once in a while.

Back to the more outlandish plots, Mr. Mxy- has returned to try and make Superman’s life twisted. He erases Superman’s memories and alters reality so that Clark was never Superman and he is instead. It takes a while for Superman to piece the puzzle together, but Mxy was pretty thorough with how much he changed reality so I can’t really blame him. Superman’s plan is pretty sound after that though. Mr. Mxy is definitely one of his most overpowered foes so it certainly involves plot hax each time. Mr Mxy just shouldn’t read stuff that he doesn’t know. That being said, I’ll take this kind of plot hax over serious power level stuff any day. I also thought Mxy did a great job of impersonating Superman even down to the personality.

On another more street level comic, Bilbo is having a tough time at the bar. See, he’s always lying about knowing Superman and it has finally caught up to him. He feels pretty bad, not about constantly getting drunk or lying to everyone, but he feels bad that nobody bought into his lie. He decides to be a real hero and gets to work beating up a gang. Superman shows up as well and feels bad for Bilbo so he officially makes them friends so now Bilbo isn’t actually lying when he says the stories. At least he has one true story, the rest are technically lies. It’s an entertaining issue, but it’s really hard to actually feel bad for Bilbo as my summary implies. He really brought all of this down upon himself after all. Nobody was pressuring him to make up those fantastic lies after all and he kept sinking himself into a deeper and deeper hole. The comic does show what a nice guy Superman is though.

Finally we have the big Dr. Fate comic. It seems like everyone went to Zatanna’s family to train as Superman also went there in his youth. He worked on fighting monsters and becoming immune to monsters. In the present, one of those monsters has now escaped and aims to take Superman down with him. Superman must remember his training which he can’t remember too well at the moment and take them down. Fate also shows up at the very end, but not as much as you would expect. While the stakes are higher here than in most of the other comics, it didn’t work too well for me. The whole explanations while in the portal were pretty convoluted and it jumped from the present to the past a little too often and suddenly. It was a little hard to keep up with and even the art was rather chaotic. It had a good start and a decent end, but it just all felt a little hollow to me. Ah well, magic is supposed to be confusing I suppose.

The art is very good during the comics. The issue with the best art was probably the Lobo special which makes sense since I imagine they definitely put a lot of effort into that one. The whole collection is quality though and it really captured the DCAU style. It would have been nice if these stories could have kept on going for years and years, but I think we’re reaching the end of them. I have the next collection at the ready though so I’ll be reading that one very soon.

Overall, The collection is a pretty good size. 6 normal issues and two specials is nothing to sneeze at. Superman’s the main character so you can’t go wrong there. It’s his DCAU personality as well so he’s essentially the perfect main character. It really is a Superman story as well since there are basically no guest stars. (Fate appeared so briefly that it barely even counts) I do love me some guest stars and the next collection has at least one, but it also reminds you that Superman is holding up the whole collection and doing it rather easily. Just as important, there are no real negatives in the comic. There are no objectionable scenes of any kind. It’s another reason why I loved the DCAU. You didn’t have to be nervous about reading through it because you know it was made for all ages. The writing is great and the comics are a blast. This was really DC at its height and I still miss these days. If you want a trip down nostalgia lane, this is a great place to start. It’s a must read for all Superman fans.

Overall 8/10

The Lego Batman Movie Review

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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

Steel Review

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It’s time for an old superhero film. This one wasn’t exactly critically acclaimed when it first came out, but it’s aged pretty well. It’s a light hearted film that’s pretty fun and never take itself too seriously. This makes some of the fatalities throughout the film fairly unexpected when they happen. It would have been better if they could have actually tied this into Superman instead of treating the latter as if it was fictional, but I’ll take what I can get for now.

The plot follows a man named John who works with the government on testing weapons. Unfortunately, one of their men, Burke, wanted to show off for a senator so that he could get a promotion. He activates the weapon past its safety limitations and destroys the senator by mistake. He is expelled from the army (No real charges aside from a court hearing) and Steel decides to step away from the army. He’s done with the job now. His friend Sparky was injured so now it’s just too personal. She is fated to live in a wheelchair now and is having a hard time adjusting.

Steel isn’t able to lead a normal life as teenagers somehow got the experimental weapons from the army and are robbing banks with it. Steel realizes that he’ll need new weapons to fight these guys with weapons so he teams up with Uncle Joe and brings in Sparky so that the three of them can build a bunch of gadgets. They build him a steel suit, a hammer, magnets, and even a grapple hook. Steel is ready to bring on the hurt, but can he really hope to stop these villains?

Right away you can tell that Steel is going to be pretty fun. The opening action scene with John chasing one of the teenagers who fired at the cops was pretty fun. They weave their way in and out of the subway system and John has to use his super strength to keep up. He lifts a gate off its hinges and this is all before he even gets the steel suit. It was also fun because it shows what a heroic guy John is.

Is John a little on the cheesy side? Sure. The whole film is rather cheesy and campy and feels a little older than it actually is. I’m fine with that though as I’ve always been a fan of both those genres. John himself acts like the perfect hero as he looks out for his community and always does the right thing. Everyone can count on him and he has a really good reputation. He has no dark secrets or hidden memories, he’s just a nice guy. The fact that Shaq isn’t much of an actor only helps this case as he’s constantly grinning and acting like a nice guy that you might meet outside. He doesn’t use as many puns as I was hoping for, but he gets the job done.

Sparky is the main heroine and she’s a fun character. I was worried that she would be lost in doubt for a while as getting crippled really got to her, but she got past this. It was cool to see her gun infused wheelchair and every hero needs good tech support. I imagine we would have seen more of her fighting crime in the sequel if the franchise had ever gotten that far. Uncle Joe is the other supporting character who helped Steel out. He has connections and can get any piece of tech that he asks for. The guy may push Steel rather hard, but he’s another likable old chap. There’s not a whole lot to him, but sometimes there doesn’t need to be.

Finally we have the main villain, Burke. His name doesn’t exactly strike fear into your heart now does it? I couldn’t really take him seriously, but I do admire the fact that he doesn’t waste time. After murdering one of his subordinates, he is subtly threatened by the secretary. At this point, I thought Burke wouldn’t live through the film and she would get the last laugh as a stinger to the next film. Instead, he takes her out of the equation 2 minutes later with an elevator stunt. I came to the realization of what was happening at the same time that she did and it was rather unexpected. As I mentioned earlier, some of the deaths I didn’t really see coming because of the happy tone that the rest of the film had.

Still, that’s not enough to make Burke a good villain. None of the others were any better though so he’s the best by default. The guy he tricked into letting him be the big boss was probably the most gullible gangster boss I’ve seen in a while. Did he really not see Burke’s betrayal coming? I have to give one of the minions some props though because he looked exactly like the Donald Trump impersonator from SNL. It was uncanny and a bit distracting, but pretty novel.

Surprisingly the best fight scene here was the one with the trains. It was more of a chase than a fight, but it was still pretty fun. Once Steel was in the suit, we actually didn’t get many action scenes. He’d usually just use the magnet and then everyone would run away. He didn’t fare well against the tank, but fighting a vehicle isn’t much of a fight either. It would have been cool if Burke had made his own suit, but I suppose you’d wonder how he made it or why he’d bother.

One of the things that really helped the film stand out was its intense soundtrack. The themes were all really cool and particularly Steel’s theme. It would play for quite a few scenes when Steel would show up and it helped get that freestyle vibe to the film. A good soundtrack can absolutely go a long way and I was pleasantly surprised to see that Steel had one.

Overall, Steel has aged well and it’s a fun film that you can watch while eating a bowl of popcorn. It may not have the effects and explosions of a modern action film, but it has all the heart and wit that you could ask for. It’s a simple film at heart and it’s not too ambitious. It just adapts a straight forward plot and keeps it moving. I’d recommend checking it out and I have a feeling that you’ll enjoy it a lot more than you would have expected. I definitely wouldn’t mind a Steel reboot at some point although it would be hard to top this one. Throw in the cape and give us some good action scenes and it’s anyone’s game though.

Overall 7/10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

Wonder Woman (2017) Review

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All right, it’s time to check out DC’s latest film in its big film continuity. It scored 2 mega hits with Man of Steel and Batman V Superman, but then delivered one of the worst films of all time in this genre with Suicide Squad. Clearly it’s been an all or nothing gamble thus far. Well, DC tried to stay with this motto for a while, but ultimately they had to cave in. Critics demolished their older films for being too serious so DC had to fall in line. This was their first attempt to make a film that’s more like a Marvel film with a large increase in humor and a lighter tone. It works to an extent and this film is fun, but a considerable step down from the first two. I’ve been a little cautious about this new tone as Justice League also looks like it’s going to be very jokey, but perhaps it’s good that they switched sooner rather than later. The dark tone worked surprisingly well for Batman V Superman, but typically it’s a recipe for disaster. This is the safer option for the series especially if they want the critics on their side. That being said, I hope we still get a lot of action.

The film starts off with a long prologue of Wonder Woman growing up on Paradise Island and deciding that she wants to be a warrior. She trains in secret and quickly grows to be the strongest on the island. One day, Steve Trevor crashes on the island along with a bunch of Germans so the Amazonian warriors are forced to fight back. They suffer many losses but drive back the intruders. Steve pleads his case to return to Europe to expose the German deeds and potentially end the war with a book that he has found and Wonder Woman decides to go with him. She believes that Ares is secretly behind this war and that destroying him will finally Make Humanity Great Again! Steve doesn’t believe her, but he now has a ticket to get off the island so he agrees to take her to Ares. Can the two of them stop the war?

There’s definitely a lot to say about a big film like this so I guess lets start with the positives. The big climax was pretty great. I had been worried that we wouldn’t have any real villains during the movie and it would just be Wonder Woman beating up helpless soldiers the whole time. Fortunately, we did get a big boss in the end. It should be obvious who the villain is, but I won’t say just in case. We got some tributes to Man of Steel with the imagery and seeing the super fight was intense. The speed and punches were at a high level and still show that DC has the best fights. Wonder Woman’s use of her lasso in the battle was great as well and her bracelets are definitely going to be very useful in future films.

Also, the film gets the sword out of the picture for the climax so Wonder Woman has to fight in hand to hand combat. I can safely say that this is how Wonder Woman should always be fighting. Hand to hand is just the most satisfying for fighters like her, Superman, and the other heavy hitters. It makes their strength feel more real. Now, you can make the case that there is a bit of power level fluctuations in this fight as WW’s opponent is initially much faster than her along with being much stronger as well but suddenly can’t dodge. We can chalk that up to arrogance on his part of just plot hax. Either way, the fight and visuals were on point so it’s not really a big deal.

Speaking of the visuals, those were definitely pretty solid. Wonder Woman’s lasso certainly glowed rather well and seeing it used in combat was fun. The video game esque combos that Wonder Woman got off it was certainly cool. The fiery landscape at the end was also very epic. DC seems to like it as we’ve now gotten this landscape for BVS, Wonder Woman, and it’s confirmed for Justice League as we see it in the trailer. It’s a great background so I wouldn’t mind if they used it for all future films. It just works really well.

Time to quickly mention a moment in the film that felt rather convenient. This was when Wonder Woman decided to raid the Amazonian armory and steal the artifacts. Why was there a random brick sticking out on the wall so she could grab it? I don’t get the purpose of that brick as it would just make stealing from the place a little easier. There were like 4 or 5 others that I saw as Wonder Woman crashed so maybe it was a design thing for the tower? It’s not like it mattered since she could climb it on her own, but I was a little puzzled.

One plot element that didn’t make sense as well in a more major way was how Paradise Island has no defenses. Apparently you can just wander near the barrier and walk right in. Once you’re through, then the illusion fades. If it’s that easy, I can’t believe that more people haven’t gotten through. So either the Amazons have been murdering everyone who’s gotten through (That wouldn’t be too hard to believe, but they acted as if a man hasn’t shown up in a long time) or they’ve just been lucky. Regardless, I think it would have made more sense to have had an actual physical barrier or gusts of wind that typically blow everyone else back. That way, Steve crashing there could still work since he would be going so fast that the winds couldn’t stop him.

Okay, time to talk about the iffy parts in the film. Roughly the first 100 minutes are pretty slow. I had my phone off and my watch is still broken so I couldn’t record the exact time, but it’s not a very exciting start. Wonder Woman training on the island isn’t exciting, but I suppose it’s necessary so the average viewer can get used to the character. As long as origin stories are done once and then never brought back again, then I’m okay with them. Every character has to go through the motions at some point although Hulk still did it best by just including it in the intro. That being said, most films counter this by starting off with a big action sequence. I feel like that would have been useful for this film. Have Wonder Woman start off with a cool fight in the present time as she beats up some super powered crooks or something and then have her reminisce about the good ole days.

Once Steve lands on the island, things go south. The film’s writing is particularly bad as we get very long flirting conversations. Since the Amazons haven’t seen a man in a while, the film plays up this angle extremely hard. It just keeps coming back and back over and over again. The whole boat ride is basically about this as well as Wonder Woman’s conversation with Steve while he was bathing. The film goes for some misdirects by having Steve misinterpret what’s happening half the time, but these scenes are just filler and not very well handled filler at that.

One plot I’ve never cared for much was the “I don’t know about human culture so I’m going to take everything literally and get into a bunch of crazy situations” trope. This one isn’t as exaggerated as other versions that I’ve seen through the years, but it is surprisingly high up. Wonder Woman doesn’t know that you can’t undress in public, but she’s read a lot of rather mature novels. She gets into a lot of trouble by waving her sword around and falling for Steve’s flirtations. I should mention that the romance is pretty bad as you’d expect. It was expected of course since Steve Rogers was about to get in the plane for the last time….I mean Steve Trevor. He got to have some fun before dying this way.

Another issue here is the supporting cast. Don’t bother to learn any of their names since they are complete throwaways. Steve figures that to break into Germany they’re going to need some men. So he picks up a drunk punching bag who used to be a sniper but is too traumatized to shoot anymore and is only good for singing. We get a liar whose whole strength is being charismatic, but there is never a chance to use this skill except for a drive through enemy territory where the villains are so inept that they let a guy in without a passport. Finally we have an Indian who is good at stealing cars and making smoke signals. These are not interesting characters nor are they good ones. The Indian is the only one who is somewhat tolerable as he doesn’t actually do anything…but then why is he in the film? Any scene with the singer is pretty bad and he really should have been cut out. The liar guy is also just bad as he’s only good for bringing us the beer scenes and we really didn’t even need those. The slow dance could be cut out as well.

I think it’s fair to say that the humor is also pretty bad. I suppose it’s a little better than Guardians as it’s handled with more tact and we don’t have a character like Drax running around, but it’s not really funny either. I can’t say that I really laughed at any of the scenes. The funniest moment of the film would probably be when Steve pretends that he can’t hear his boss and hangs up. I rather like that trope and it’s one that has lived through the test of time.

One problem that this film has to an extent comes back to the fact that there is no villain until the final 20-30 minutes. Because of that, most of the action scenes are of Wonder Woman beating up humans. It’s a slight problem because it makes the fights less exciting. For example, how engaged would you be if Superman breaks into an enemy base and beats up all of the minions? It’s just so easy that it’s not as exciting as it could be. It depends on your mileage as we did have a lot of people cheering in the theater as Wonder Woman took them down. The scene of her breaking a tower to stop a sniper got a lot of applause as well. At the same time, for me there is less enthusiasm because that’s just so easy for her. It’s why I was thrilled for the last fight because it meant that she could finally have a challenge. I think I’ve basically covered everything now.

Meanwhile, the Amazons better hope that they never have to fight a real opponent. Despite their tough talk and camaraderie they wouldn’t last very long against any army. Their island suffered losses to a very small battalion of German troops. What this effectively says is that any army could easily defeat them if they wished to do so. It seems like Wonder Woman is the only one with any actual super powers since she is the chosen one. The rest have to constantly keep their guard up or they’ll be shot.

The film is never boring though so that’s always a good thing. Even if the dialogue isn’t always my favorite, it doesn’t feel like the film ever slows down to a halt. Part of that is the novelty of finally having a Wonder Woman film and the other part is the visuals. It’s an entertaining film and it’s why I’d have greater hopes for a sequel since it would ideally take place in modern day. The old World War 1 days may be a better backdrop than the Jungle or the Wild West, but it’s still nowhere close to a nice high tech city.

One worrisome thing to keep in mind is that the film doesn’t explain why Wonder Woman abandoned humanity. We learn in Batman V Superman that she kind of grew bored of them and only came out of retirement on a whim. I was expecting the film to end with her being jaded with humanity and going back to the island, but I suppose a sequel would delve into that. The reason why I’d be worried about this is because I want her sequel to take place in the present. Hopefully they can just briefly mention it or make some kind of excuse for why nobody’s heard of her. I mean, she’s not exactly stealthy based on this film or even the ending where she jumps across buildings striking a battle pose. Something just doesn’t add up here.

As for the soundtrack, it’s definitely pretty sharp. There are a lot of fast paced rock themes that are fun to listen to. Wonder Woman’s signature tune plays a few times and the end credits theme of the film is good as well. Throughout the movie the soundtrack was consistently rapid which is certainly my style. DC’s been hitting it out of the park in this area for sure. Hopefully we’ll get some more epic tunes like this in Justice League.

I suppose we can’t end the review without talking about Etta Candy. Her role was a lot smaller than I had expected, but that’s fine. She was a reasonably good character and she took the situation in stride the whole time. Candy’s the kind of person who always makes for a good friend. I didn’t talk about Steve much either, but I wasn’t a fan. He’s basically your average Captain Kirk. He fights for what’s right and makes the tough calls, but always finds time to flirt now and again. Wonder Woman’s a great lead and certainly makes for a contrast to Batman and Superman as she murders everyone in her path. As a warrior that’s just how it goes and especially in war time. The first villain, Doctor Poison is basically just your average scientist so there’s not much to say about her. She came and went. Hopefully she would not return for a sequel since I want to stick to fighters who can fight back. Adding in Aresia to the 2nd film would make sense if you ask me. She would be a great opponent.

Overall, Wonder Woman is a good film. It has a pretty great climax and Wonder Woman herself is a good lead. The film tripped up a bit with the below average writing and supporting cast, but that wasn’t enough to destroy the film. There’s no after credits scene I’m afraid, but I suppose DC didn’t want people to claim they were copying Marvel. Hopefully Justice League has one though. If you haven’t seen it yet, then you should definitely check the film out. Low replay value is an issue with the film, but it’s not something that would affect you on a first viewing. Wonder Woman will certainly play a major role in upcoming films so you’ll want to see her origin first hand.

Overall 6/10

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract Review

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Now I can finally be caught up with the main DC films. They’ve been on a solid roll and it’s good to have DC finally reclaim the throne. That being said, it’s not nearly as good as Bad Blood or Justice League vs Titans. Those films did set quite a high bar though and this film is still pretty solid. The action scenes are on point and all of the characters get to show off their skills. Considering that fans had been waiting for this film for around a decade, it was nice for them to finally get a payoff.

The Teen Titans are finally a pretty close knit team. They’ve even got a new member named Terra who is useful for breaking into enemy bases. Nightwing does his best to get back into the swing of things since he left the team for a long time. It looks like he showed up just in time since the assassin Deathstroke has shown up once again and he has his sights set on the Titans. The Justice League aren’t available to help in this round so Nightwing has to put his training to good use and solve this issue on his own.

The film starts off with a decent action sequence as we learn about one of the Teen Titans first missions. At the very least, it was how they first met Starfire and ultimately she would become the leader. I have to say that the old roster may have been a little stronger since they had Kid Flash, but Starfire’s a pretty decent replacement. The actual Titans from that era were fairly unlikable as expected since the film really played up the whole Teens angle. That also ends up hurting the main cast to an extent as well.

The main plot with Deathstroke taking everyone down was a lot of fun though. I was wondering how they would incorporate Deathstroke into the film since he met an untimely demise a while back, but the reason was satisfactory and the most plausible one of the bunch. Fortunately for him, Deathstroke also got a lot stronger and became better at hand to hand combat. He looked so terrible in Son of Batman, but this was a great way to finally treat the character with respect. I’m definitely a Deathstroke fan and his portrayal here was spot on.

Naturally, Terra also gets a big role, but I can’t say that she was likable here at all. I’d actually say that her TV show version was probably better. This one’s subplot with Deathstroke was pretty unnecessary and her “Too tough for everyone” personality didn’t work well. If you want an example of a character who pulled it off, look no further than Damian! Damian’s role here was fairly small since he wasn’t in the comic and the writers didn’t want to upset the fans. Still, he looked good in his brief appearance as he put up a fight against Deathstroke and seemed to be the only member with common sense. I know the Titans are about acceptance and all, but letting in random people with no background checks is extremely risky. Damian’s hunch proved to be correct as it always is.

A minor subplot is how Starfire is worried that the other members treat Nightwing as more of a leader than her. It’s to be expected since he was the leader for a while, but he’s a nice guy and does his best not to usurp her authority. Starfire’s not a bad character and still a big step up from the TV show version. She could be better though. This also wasn’t Nightwing’s best appearance and all of the scenes with him and Starfire typically just slow the film down. He still does well in combat though.

Beast Boy’s still as annoying as ever. There’s no way Terra should fall for him just because he is constantly pestering her. He was basically asking to be betrayed the whole time and it’ll probably be tough for me to ever be a big fan of his. Blue Beetle’s scarab continues to act up and it’ll be fun to see if a film tackles that plot at some point. His subplot was pretty boring though and definitely didn’t need to be in the film. It’s nice of him to help out, but did it have to immediately have to also become a romance subplot? What happened to just having nice co-workers?

Raven gets the smallest role here, but she already had her own film so that makes sense. Unfortunately, she is heavily nerfed as a result. Honestly, the power levels are pretty bad all around here which is a shame since the previous film did pretty good with them. Raven losing to Terra is one of those “I can’t believe that happened” moments and the Titans just ganging up on Brother Blood at the end was also pretty iffy. His powers seemed to magically vanish and suddenly he was getting wrecked by everyone. The only main fight that I was really okay with was Deathstroke taking on Damian and Nightwing since a super soldier serum can definitely make that plausible. Every bit of strength and speed helps a lot in a fight like that.

The animation is definitely sharp as expected. All of the fights are pretty sharp and the character designs on point. DC’s never disappointed in this area though so it’s hardly a surprise at all. Unfortunately, the soundtrack didn’t return from Justice League vs Teen Titans. That one had some really good tunes, but this one went for a more generic ensemble. It wasn’t bad, but I can’t remember a single tune, you’d think that it was a silent film.

Ultimately what holds this one back from being as good as the others is the writing. It’s a little more sub par this time around as it’s a TEEN Titans film as opposed to being a Teen Titans film. There’s a lot of romance and drama everywhere with some rather iffy lines being thrown around. We did get our fair share of superhero action as well, but these elements definitely weakened the film just enough. It also doesn’t help that I’m not a Brother Blood fan and he’s as boring as ever. At least he got a power up so he could actually fight here. Still, you can easily forget that HIVE is in the film and it wouldn’t really change much.

Overall, The Judas Contract is a good film. It’s not as sharply written as the last few films and Raven was nerfed way too hard, but it’s still enjoyable to watch. The film breezes by since it’s so short and that allows then pacing to always be pretty quick. Damian’s a highlight as always and Deathstroke has fully reclaimed his glory. I look forward to seeing what the rest of 2017 can bring for DC animation. I want to see a Justice League movie now that DC is bringing its A game back. A Trinity War adaption could be a lot of fun or we could even skip to the Darkseid War at this point. Wherever we go, it should be hype!

Overall 6/10