Justice Society: World War II Review


The Justice Society is a group that has always been overshadowed by the Justice League in the past. They’re a group with a lot of heart but typically can’t keep up in the power levels department. Plus, they tend to only be around in the past so there aren’t a lot of opportunities to show them off. Well, they finally got their own film and it’s a pretty good one. I feel like the setting holds the film back a bit and I never quite warmed up to the group but in the end you will have a good time with this one.

The movie starts off with the Justice Society group getting formed in the past while the Flash helps Superman fight off Brainiac in the present. Superman’s having a tough time for once as Brainiac is kicking him around and nearly finishes the job before the Flash steps in. However, the Flash was so eager to help that he accidentally ended up going a little too fast and warps to the past. The Society needs some help to fight off the Nazi’s so Flash is eager to support but will they still stand a chance once the Atlanteans get involved?

Now I know what you’re thinking. The Flash can whoop all the villains in an instant and then run home right? Well, to make sure that didn’t happen, the film has Flash lose most of his speed. The idea here is that since there are now 2 Flashes at once, the Speed Force can’t quite handle it and so they’re both slower since they’re tapping into the Speed Force. I have to assume that the Force gets stronger later on since you have guys like Bart and Wally using the Speed Force at the same time as Barry. So it might feel a bit convenient but I can respect wanting to keep the power levels from being too crazy.

Even with that you might not buy into the Flash having a tough time with most of these situations and that’s valid. Part of the issue with having the film be set during World War II is that there aren’t many real threats to go up against the group. It’s a little harder to throw in tension when you’ve got superheroes fighting off random guys with guns. It’s naturally satisfying to see the Nazi’s get wrecked of course but by the same token you won’t feel very nervous for the heroes even when the stakes are high. The movie isn’t afraid to get rather serious about how not everyone will make it out of this one.

There’s also a really good twist the film has later on which completely helps to redefine what’s happening. I thought that was excellent and it allowed the film to really effectively use the setting. You could probably even take it farther but it may run the risk of the Justice Society being overshadowed in their own film so that could have been risky. As it was, adding Aquaman and his right hand man was a really good idea here because now Wonder woman had someone to fight. Obviously she is really the power hitter of the group and so you need someone who can actually fight her.

Aquaman vs Wonder Woman is absolutely the highlight of the film. Their fight has a lot of back and forth to it and can be surprisingly long. It’s not a one and done kind of deal which is great. Aquaman seemed to have the slight edge in their fights but it was fairly even so it would take him a while to win. Personally I’d consider Wonder Woman to be stronger in most continuities but she always did seem weaker in the older eras so I suppose I can see how Aquaman would win here.

Either way having super powered action is definitely the way to go. The present fight against Brainiac was also fun. Honestly it’s almost too good since that makes for a much more engaging story than what’s actually happening in the war. You already know most of the main storybeats of World War II after all even if they’re adding extra super villains and threats around. In the present it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s happening. That’s enough on the setting though.

For the animation, it’s using the style that the last few DC films have so it is definitely a keeper for this continuity. While it’s definitely a lot weaker than the more traditional DC films like Superman Doomsday and all the New 52 items, the fight scenes look good. While the colors may all be faded out in that New Frontier/Superfriends kind of look, the choreography shows up. Aquaman was swinging his staff around like he was Thor using Mjolnir. The battles are fast paced and definitely work well.

The soundtrack isn’t particularly memorable though as I couldn’t recall any main themes. The character designs are all on point with the exception of Wonder Woman. She reminded me of Rocketman for some reason with how her head was extremely sharp and seemed like the crown was on so tight that the whole shape changed. You’ll know what I mean as soon as you start the film. I never really got used to it and hopefully her appearances in the modern era wouldn’t have that issue. It was the only design that didn’t quite seem right.

As for the characters, it was a solid cast overall. Barry felt a bit more like Wally with how he was joking around the whole film. Barry’s personality does change a whole lot based on what continuity you’re in though so I wouldn’t say it’s out of character but a little different from the Barry I’m used to. He tends to sandbag in the fights a whole lot but does good in clutch situations. Superman naturally looks great in the present even if he still tends to make some rookie mistakes. In the past their version of Superman’s definitely not as good though. Definitely not someone who will have your back.

Then we have the Justice Society and their gang seems rather wound up as they yell a lot and are quick to move against Flash. I thought they were completely unreasonable during the first meetup and it took them a while to really get going. Surprisingly Hawkman seems to be the most levelheaded member of the group. He tries to get everyone to work together and also talks them through the tough moments. It’s definitely one of his best animated portrayals yet.

Wonder Woman has fun with the group and seems like a decent leader. She makes some questionable decisions (Leaving Black Canary to guard the Flash…really? but is ultimately the reason the group is still alive as she can deal with the threats that nobody else can. Hour Man still makes for an interesting hero with how his powers work but man is it a huge weakness. He just can’t stay active for very long and his powers are constantly running out as a result of that. Jay is the Flash from this team and I thought he was good. He seems to have not practiced with his powers as much as Barry so he doesn’t know how to do a lot of things but he also comes through with one trick that Barry didn’t know so that helps to even it out. He’s a nice enough guy and does tend to support Barry.

Black Canary gets a rather big role here as she gets some character development. She can be rather rude to Flash without provocation and we learn why that is later on. Her power is certainly very helpful that’s for sure. Finally there’s Steve Trevor who may not really be a member of the group but he’s always around to help and provide cover fire. You have to give him credit for jumping into all of these dangerous situations without hesitation. Takes a lot of guts to do that and he is definitely a great role model for all the heroes.

For the villains, Aquaman’s right hand man wasn’t particularly interesting. Mind control is definitely handy for many reasons but as a villain he barely had any real personality. He’s the kind of guy who plays all of the sides but can’t really fight on his own. As for Aquaman, he has no strength of will here and gets manipulated all of the time so it’s not a great look for him. He has great power but really needs to work on his mental defenses.

Overall, Justice Society is a very balanced movie. It’s got a lot of positives going for it without a doubt but ultimately doesn’t excel in any one area which is why it won’t go down as one of the more memorable ones. I’d like to see the Justice Society return in the present someday, now that could make for a pretty good battle movie. Still, if you’re looking for a solid movie to watch then you can’t go wrong here. The pacing is good and it’s an all around enjoyable experience.

Overall 7/10

The Batman Review


The latest Batman film is now here and it has definitely been doing quite well at the box office. It’s always nice to see Batman getting more films too because the guy is one of the most well known comic book heroes for good reason. He’s a fun lead and there’s a lot of stories you can do with him. I would definitely say this was one of the best live action Batman films. Under the Dark Knight but it basically takes down everything else. I’m certainly ready for them to bring out the sequel as soon as possible.

The movie starts with Batman crushing some goons. He realizes that he can’t be everywhere in the city at once though and uses the shadows to help him establish that presence among the villains. If they don’t know where he is, then they will always be fearing him as soon as the Bat Signal appears in the sky. The system works but Batman fears that it doesn’t work well enough as crime rates have only risen and the city is as bleak as ever. Meanwhile someone has started bumping off all of the powerful men of Gotham. He leaves a riddle next to each murder addressed to the Batman in particular. The only common element appears to be that he is murdering people who claim to help the people but are actually working with villains or committing crimes on the side. Regardless of whether this guy is murdering villains or not, Batman has to stop him and fast!

As always with a brand new continuity there’s a lot to talk about here although you could say the same would be true even if it was a sequel because the film is super long and there’s a lot to talk about, plus it’s a franchise film so those are fun to dive into. There’s a lot of good things to talk about here and I had my share of issues but in the end it makes for a pretty fun experience. It’s never a bad idea to have more Batmen either so if we do a big crossover some day then maybe we could get them all in one movie.

This Batman is portrayed really well. I like the fact that his costume is finally, truly bulletproof. I always felt like that was a necessity when you are constantly fighting with every random minion in the city. All it takes it a lucky shot to take Batman down otherwise. The suit also has a lot of good coverage, only half of Batman’s face is uncovered but every other part is bulletproof so it would be very hard to take him down that way.

Batman’s got a lot of confidence and he’s also aggressive. This version of the character is absolutely not playing around and the scene of him breaking into the Iceberg lounge to beat everyone up was great. You feel the power behind his attacks and the film helps to build up the suspense in all of his scenes with a lot of dramatic music. While Affleck is still the best incarnation of both Batman and Bruce Wayne, I would say this is my second favorite Batman portrayal.

On the flip side, this is probably the worst version of Bruce Wayne I’ve seen. Not physically, but he just doesn’t look or feel like how you would expect him to be. As Bruce he is rather cold and snippy to Alfred, he’s given up on helping through his money so the guy just hides from the world now and it seems like he breaks down easy like one scene where he runs to a villain for answers. Now, he’s still new at the job and this is a very different kind of portrayal for Bruce but I don’t think it works. He doesn’t even look as strong as he should be considering that the guy should be working out and training constantly in his pursuit of vengeance.

He’s rarely Bruce Wayne in this film so it’s not much of an issue but it’s hard to look at him and think that this is actually Bruce Wayne. At first glance he looks more like the Joker to me. I think by the second film he should have more of a chance to bulk up and get his confidence back. I’d prefer they keep him serious and don’t have him start flirting all the time but having him be more confident and presentable would be a great improvement. Show him starting to use his money for good and to set up systems to make sure this actually works and doesn’t get drowned in all of Gotham’s crazy corruption. It’s probably hard to find good people here but Bruce should be able to find some ways especially since he has his Batman connection to get the job done.

Back to the positives, the special effects were really solid here and the same goes for the battle scenes. The only scene that felt off was Batman gliding across the city. Maybe it’s because the wings are tiny unlike most of his costumes or the way he’s floating but it just looked really off. Felt like a very old kind of special effect like something you’d see out of the 80s or 90s with him flying since it looked like something that could have been done with a fake background. Otherwise you’ll get to see a lot of really memorable visuals and the constant rain is handled well. The spotlights can be a bit bright and the constant cameras taking pictures can grate the eyes a bit but you will definitely not forget the scenery. The battle scenes properly get across the intensity of Batman’s punches as well and are also choreographed well. These may be some of the best Batman fights right now, at least against minions.

The Batman theme is also solid. It feels like a homage to the DCAU theme and my only complaint would be that it feels unfinished. You get the familiar jingles the whole time but it keeps playing as if on loop and the song never climaxes. It just keeps that intro beat until it fades. I would like to see a proper ending to that, maybe in the sequel. The lyrical song that plays 2-3 times is good though. It helps to keep the atmosphere up and the film did a really good job with the atmosphere in general. Gotham doesn’t feel like a fun place to live.

Regarding the long length, I’m definitely cool with it. My rule of thumb is that good films should always be longer and bad films should be shorter. Another way I’d frame it is that length usually has a very minimal impact on a film if any. A film I disliked would likely still be bad whether it was shorter or longer and a film I enjoyed would still be good whether it was longer or shorter. I don’t find length to be too important in that sense but personally I advocate for all films to be 2 hours minimum. From there you can be as long as you want. Even if you go up to 4 hours, the film should still be great if it’s done well.

Batman’s usual supporting cast is around here and they’re solid as you’d expect. You have Gordon who isn’t quite the commissioner yet but you can tell that’ll come in soon. He’s got Batman’s back and they make for a solid team. I definitely thought he was really solid here and would like to see more of him in the sequel. Alfred doesn’t do much here but he’s fun enough. They just need to dial up the sarcasm in the sequel and I’d like Bruce to be a little kinder to him. They don’t have the same friendly dynamic that they usually do and I can’t use stress as an excuse for Batman.

There aren’t a lot of other big allies yet so the cast actually wasn’t huge but that makes sense since as an origin film you don’t want to distract from Batman too much. I expect the mayor will end up being a bigger character in the sequel so we’ll see how she does there. I expect a sequel would also introduce Harvey Dent and possibly Bullock and Montoya as she brings in her staff. So the last big hero here would be Catwoman although that’s not quite accurate as she helps Batman a lot but is decisively still a villain here.

Catwoman looks good here and gets some solid fights. Her costume may not be particularly impressive (The mask just doesn’t work) but she beats her share of enemies and even saves Batman some work on the detective angle by tracking someone down herself along with a lot of evidence. She would certainly be a talented hero if she wanted to be but that’s rarely in the cards for her. I expect to see Catwoman return in the sequel but whether she does or not, this was a good way to introduce her. She at least has an honor code so you don’t mind if she succeeds even as a villain to an extent.

Unfortunately the main villain Riddler was not very good at all and might be the worst main villain in a while. Bane, Joker, Mr. Freeze, and a number of prior Batman villains were more engaging than this guy. I’d have liked for him to have had an actual costume instead of a normal mask. This guy might as well have been Hush or “Halloween” with how he was murdering people considering that he didn’t have that usual Riddler confidence and swagger. The guy cracks a lot and only talks tough when things are going perfectly. Any slip up and he starts slipping as well.

His scenes also tend to be the weakest in the film. He’s one of those villains trying to be as dark as possible so one villain dies in a particularly brutal way and for the other he inflicts some extra harm just to make a joke later on. The film is good at keeping the more violent scenes off-camera so you only know based on the after effects and criminal reports what happened. That is a good thing but I think they could have toned the Riddler down a bit. Make him less of a psycho so you could have more people in Gotham be mixed about the whole thing.

After all, he’s murdering a bunch of villains so if he did it without the torture then you could see why he has so many dedicated followers and groups of protesters cheering for him everywhere. With the torture you figure that people wouldn’t be quite as on board. Either way I’d rather this guy does not return, I just didn’t care for him in any way so as a villain he didn’t hold up his end of the film.

There are a few other villains running around here like the Penguin and Falcone. They’re decent enough, I like that the Penguin is able to talk tough to Batman the whole time. He definitely doesn’t feel the fear the way that most do. For Falcone I like his confidence, the guy never lets up. I’d take either one of these villains over the Riddler as the main antagonist to be honest. That said, I’d rather none are chosen as the main villain of a sequel, staying in supporting roles is the best way to go.

I’d also like the next film to give us an enemy that Batman can actually fight. This film had no real opponents for Batman to test his skills against. Ultimately he only fights random guys with guns for the entirety of the film. That works well enough for an origin but I don’t think you can do that 2 times in a row. The next film absolutely needs a villain that’s more of a threat so we can get more crispy action scenes. As I said earlier though, the battles with the goons are still solid here.

There is a little scene at the end to try and hype you up for some future events. Personally I see it as more of an Easter Egg than anything and it won’t necessarily lead into anything. IN a way I’d rather not because while this character is fun, there are already so many versions that we may as well switch it up. Also based on the context of the scene, we can assume that Batman’s already faced this opponent in this universe and come out on top so lets give him a new threat.

The power levels are all good here as Batman looks very powerful as he should. I can’t think of any moments where I thought that he should have handled things way differently in a fight. The only dramatic moment that didn’t feel legit involves a rope that Batman needs to cut at one point in the film. He has to go over and cut it which nearly needs to his demise so we get the slow mo effect and dramatic music. The whole time I was just thinking…he’s got his batarang on his emblem as established earlier. Why not just toss that? Would have been way safer and then there’s no risk. Felt like he just forgot about it I guess.

The writing is good though. You’ll be invested in the mystery and part of why the film is able to breeze past the 3 hours is because there’s always a lot going on with the various characters and their plots. It feels like an adventure that keeps on changing and adapting and that should help with the replay value as well because there’s just never any time to get bored. On a rewatch maybe you’ll fast forward the Riddler but everything else will be as fresh as when you first saw it.

As a miscellaneous note, the romance here felt rather tacked on. It seems like the writers just felt they had to include some scenes of Catwoman and Batman getting close because it’s expected but there’s just no good reason for it. They aren’t close here at all and barely know each other so it feels like the scenes are out of nowhere. Even the ending is really dramatic with the two of them but it just shouldn’t be. Especially with Batman’s portrayal here where he’s very serious and not the kind of guy to lose focus like that. I think that definitely could have been removed.

As I end things off, there is definitely an after credits scene I would have thrown in or just make this the ending scene instead of the quick easter egg moment. I’d like for a thug to have been running as Batman catches up to him. The guy does the whole “Who are you” as he fumbles with his gun and starts sobbing. That’s when we could get the dramatic “I’m The Batman” response as the film cuts to black. Would have been absolutely perfect and in line with the film’s messaging if you ask me. Ah well, maybe we can lead off with that in the next film.

Overall, The Batman is definitely a solid film that I would recommend. It’s got a lot of quality action and it never drags on so you don’t have to worry about that. The Riddler is a very lackluster villain but there’s a reason why he has never been considered a top tier Batman villain. This film just supports that but it’s always good to give other villains a chance. Maybe next time we could see someone like Clayface, he’s never had a film before and there’s a lot you could do with him. Of course I also wouldn’t mind if they throw in some guest stars like Superman to start a whole new meetup for the first time. The possibilities are definitely endless here.

Overall 7/10

The Flash Volume 3 Gorilla Warfare Review


It’s certainly been quite a while since I’ve checked out a Flash comic, that’s for sure. Or any comic for that matter. Volume 2 ended with Gorilla Grodd and the troops heading to Earth just when the Rogues Gallery had been having a big fight with the Flash. Now they have to break that up in order to fight off the invasion but it may already be too late for Central City. That was a good cliffhanger to end things off with so Volume 3 is really able to start quickly. The arc really takes up almost all of the volume but you would expect no less for Grodd.

So as mentioned, Gorilla Grodd’s army is here and the Flash has a very tenuous partnership with the Rogues for now. By that I mean that the Flash definitely has to watch his back at all times or it could be game over for him. This won’t be as easy as normal though because Gorilla Grodd has obtained super speed of his own. Meanwhile Iris and friends are still stuck inside the speed force and trying to get out but they have to make sure not to mess with the timestream too much. That never tends to end well.

The arc takes up the first 5 issues out of 7 in the volume so quite a lot happens. I always had a hard time taking Grodd seriously as a Flash villain because super speed means this guy should not be able to do anything. Giving him the Speed Force as well helps to change that because now Flash is the one in a tough spot. I won’t say unwinnable, but it would be difficult to cause an upset if they both have the same level of speed only Grodd is massively stronger. You could argue that the Flash’s experience would allow him to win but I’d argue that the experience isn’t enough to even give him the advantage let alone make this an easy win.

It’s honestly a very impressive showing for Gorilla Grodd to the point where the Flash pulls a Dr. Strange and thinks through hundreds if not thousands of scenarios and can’t find any way where he can directly defeat Gorilla Grodd. Ultimately he has to think outside of the box on this one. The plan is certainly an interesting one. Depending on how his plan went I may have been shaking my head but ultimately it was well thought out. It may not guarantee his victory but it does stack as many possible advantages as possible in order to at least make this close.

The volume really shows off Barry’s intelligence which is always good. He is a genius in his own right even if he’s not as smart as Batman or Superman. Barry knows how to come up with a plan and is quite self sufficient. The guy’s been the hero of Central City for a while after all and the volume treats him with a lot of respect. Part of why the Justice League is so fun is because you can make an argument for several members ultimately being the deadliest person in the group. Flash is no exception with how he can bend time to his will and move so quickly. Usually this means you may have some power level hax but the comic solved that issue by giving Grodd his speed. Ultimately the arc was a lot of fun.

There are two main subplots here, one of which is solid and the other which is underwhelming. The good one is with the Rogues fighting off the Gorillas. It’s always fun to have a villains vs villains kind of confrontation and this one lives up to that. The rogues are just lucky that the rest of the Gorillas don’t have super speed. Captain Cold is still bickering about trying to be the leader a lot but the group does ultimately team up to stop the threat. I look forward to seeing them step in as villains again in a future arc.

The plot I was not really feeling was with Turbine, Iris, and the gang. So they were hopping around a lot and ultimately show up in the speed force to help but it was a little hard to care. They didn’t help a whole lot and while I know Turbine needs to get home, you would just be waiting to get back to the Barry plot. It seems like Turbo’s plot will end up being important in a future arc so maybe next volume will be his time to shine. In the meantime though it just wasn’t very big yet. Also, Iris is just so unlikable in the New 52 so far so she tends to be annoying in most of the scenes.

We get a flashback where she went on a date with Barry just to try and use him to get her brother out of prison. Manipulating someone with a fake date’s definitely not good. In the present they’ve patched things up well enough but Barry is currently dating Patty and you can’t help but feel that Patty is ultimately doomed. It’s too bad because Patty seems like a good character throughout. She’s been very understanding of his Flash persona and has just been nothing but supportive throughout the series. I’d like to see Iris and Barry just have a very constructive friendship but we’ll see how that goes.

The final two issues deal with the Trickster being charged with murder. He denies the charges and Barry believes him because he knows the Trickster wouldn’t murder someone. Personally….I’d be a little dubious since the guy is a villain even if he usually seems harmless. Also, some of the guys who went into the Speed Force have started developing super speed. Interestingly, only Iris has not awakened her abilities yet which concerns Flash but he doesn’t have time to tackle every issue at once. He needs to convince these guys to stop using their powers so freely and he needs to find evidence to help out the Trickster. One last problem though…his speed has mysteriously vanished. Can he still prove that the Trickster is innocent?

Albert and Gomez are the two guys who awakened the super speed abilities and they are rather annoying. They get themselves into trouble almost immediately and are extremely aggressive right from the jump. Sure, they’re right that they can’t just get rid of their powers and may as well use them but you’d think they would take babysteps first. Maybe train in abandoned areas, get used to the speed, etc. There are so many ways to prepare yourself with super speed since it’s such an amazing power. Jumping right into big fights is not the way to go. I think what rubs me the wrong way is how upset they are and it really feels like they will turn evil in short order. They’re also quite rude to the Flash for no reason. If they keep their powers I definitely expect things to get dicey.

The Flash losing his powers feels pretty random for now. At the end of the volume we find out that this may tie into a Batman case involving a power syphoning device. Cyborg is looking into it and this is a nice nod to the rest of the League being around. It’s the perfect way to include their presence while still having the Flash doing his own thing. Without this happening the mini arc would be extremely easy so I see why the plot device was included.

After all, the stakes here is that a group of rebels are planning to break the Trickster out and that could cause some political strife as the group is a part of an independent nation. It’s certainly impressive that they started this up since these guys don’t seem all that ready for politics. Still, apparently this could cause huge issues so the Flash has to be careful on how he handles this. We get to see how he would fight with gadgets and such to also try and avoid hurting anyone. It’s a fun adventure which may be a lot more low key than the Grodd fights but works well enough.

Finally, the cliffhanger is about the Reverse Flash showing up. I have no idea which version or iteration this one is but he seems to be taking the title literally as he may have just saved someone he murdered only to destroy the guy again? The whole setup is about doing things in reverse which is fun. I want to see more of this gimmick going forward. He’s already talking big and I expect he’ll try to bring some pseudo moral argument over to Barry which the lead should just disregard. Reverse Flash is historically one of his most dangerous foes though so this should be a tough fight.

As expected, the artwork is really solid here. The New 52 era always looked super impressive visually and this comic is no exception. The fight scenes are on point and it makes the comic very easy to read. You never have to pause and wonder what’s going on or anything like that. The whole story just flows together real easy. The writing is good too with all the characters remaining in character and acting sensible. Even Iris who I wasn’t a big fan of is still written well. I just didn’t like the decisions she would end up making.

Overall, The Flash continues to be a strong run for the character. Each arc is interesting and brings a good amount of action and adventure. With the Reverse Flash coming in, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next arc is the best one yet. The beginning to a long comic run is always super important and I’d say the writer’s been nailing it here. Each story keeps introducing new elements for the future so there’s always quite a few plot threads to juggle. The toughest thing will be keeping the Flash from instantly winning without constantly reverting to taking his powers away or just making the enemies also gain super speed. Of course if you have to choose an option to reuse, I would always go with the latter because high speed battles never get old. Also, it just makes sense for his gallery to have super speed as it’s logically the best way to put up a fight against him.

Overall 7/10

Birds of Prey Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

DC may have made some of the movies starring superheroes of all time like Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman but it’s certainly made some of the worst movies starring villains with Joker and Suicide Squad. While this one is better than Joker, it’s still at a really low level and feels like it is picking up where Suicide Squad left off in a lot of the worst ways. The more we get films like this, the more I’m convinced it is definitely best to stick to films based around the heroes. Not every film can pull off a Venom where you get the lead to be a rather fun anti-hero. The first step is probably to remove Harley Quinn from the starring role though. You also have to get the memo that any film with a villain as the main characters needs to make that character effectively turn good or be an anti-hero. You can’t have the villain…stay a villain.

The movie starts with Joker dumping Harley Quinn so she’s quite upset. She gets drunk and into trouble a whole lot but this catches up to her once she tells the world that Joker no longer protects her. She barely lasts a day before she is captured and Black Mask orders her to find a jewel that Cassandra Cain stole. If she doesn’t produce this jewel then she will be destroyed. Meanwhile Renee Montoya of the cops needs to find this jewel as well. She wants to make Gotham a better place but it’s been a tough road. Meanwhile Black Mask orders Black Canary to get the jewel as well and Huntress is making an appearance here as well.

So everyone wants the jewel that’s for sure. Don’t get hyped about Cassandra Cain though. Like just about everyone else in the film, she is the character in name only. This has to be one of the biggest ruined portrayals of a character. Forget Taskmaster, Lex Luthor, and the other big names. Cain has to take the cake here. Gone is the history of her being a lethal fighter trained from childhood who would go on to be one of the strongest hand to hand fighters in the DC verse. This version of Cain is a petty thief who isn’t very smart in choosing her targets. She is even caught by the cops almost immediately which speaks to her “skill” at being a thief. I did not like Cain here. I doubt I’d have liked her much even if she had a random name since she’s an annoying kid who gets everyone into trouble but this did not help matters.

Zsasz and Black Mask are your classic gritty villains here. Black Mask has a thing where he likes to cut off people’s faces. I don’t know if this is something he does in the comics as well but it’s certainly just here to remind you that he’s evil evil. The guy is incredibly unbalanced as he throws fits and cries and everything. You’re certainly not meant to find this guy all that interesting and his death scene is certainly something. Even the mask isn’t imposing because you already can’t take this guy seriously.

Zsasz is awful but I’ve never seen him in a continuity where he was good anyway so that’s to be expected. As always he’s a lunatic who just likes making scars and being a villain. He seems like a creep in all of his scenes and definitely someone you are hoping will get bumped off early so he won’t get much more screen time. With these two as the only big villains…that wasn’t setting things off on a good note.

The color scheme could have tipped you off to that right from the jump though. Everything is all gray scaled and grim throughout the movie. I saw a western film right after this one and the first scene has more color in it than this whole adventure. The gray scale can certainly work as with Man of Steel or Batman V Superman where you had a lot of compelling dialogue and great fights to balance it out. This film has none of that though so it just serves to continue to show Gotham as a super hopeless place that you should want to leave immediately.

As for the “Heroes” here, well firs toff is Harley Quinn who is decisively not a hero. She beats up people for no real reason like the guy at the club and abuses her power. She is quick to betray Cain when it benefits her and is really someone that you can’t trust at all. She talks tough but loses quite a lot of fights. If not for Black Canary saving her at the start she would have been in a lot of trouble. The problem is that Harley Quinn is not likable or entertaining. She’s just extremely annoying in all of her scenes and ends up being a liability most of the time. You absolutely do not want her in your corner if you’re going to be facing off against a tough opponent as she’ll fail more often than not.

The film will try to have you take her seriously again later on by having her beat a bunch of random thugs but she loses too many times in this film for that to actually work. Then you have Renee who is drunk half the time. That’s not doing her any favors and you don’t see how she will be much of an asset here. She isn’t a professional fighter or anything and the drinking will definitely hold her back. Of course like everyone else she is beating tons of experienced thugs at the end but you don’t see her career lasting long unless she gets some kind of big weapon.

Huntress should have easily been the best character here but she is used as borderline comic relief half the time. Nobody takes her name seriously and they interrupt her big speeches. She does get to use her crossbow to murder a lot of people of course but always blows up with her random anger issues that the other characters poke fun at. It’s a shame since she was so good in Justice League but she is severely lacking in this film. She doesn’t even get the classic costume or anything until the literal end of the film. She’s another character that might as well not be Huntress.

The worst part about all of these adaptions is that you’re likely stuck with them for the foreseeable future. Of course a good writer can improve these characters but otherwise you’re stuck. They really need to try and put some distance with the characters from Birds of Prey and Suicide Squad. Go for a soft reboot or something and then you can try to turn this around. I can’t say I have much hopes for any sequel or spinoff of this film though. It’s hard to picture it being a winner.

For Black Canary, well the film does remember that she has sonic abilities at the end. She is so incredibly nerfed though that a single hit is enough for her to faint. So I guess we can’t expect her to be going up against any tough fighters by the end of this. She does have a decent hand to hand fight against some of the random thugs though so at least there’s that.

This film could have really used an appearance by Batman at some point. Sure he would have stolen the show but it’d be worth it. This whole thing takes place in Gotham and Harley Quinn blew up a giant chemical plant. Surely Batman should be on the case right? Even just some references of Batman taking down minions would be nice since Black Mask is so openly sending his crooks around to bump people off and kidnap the characters off the street. I know this is Gotham but a lot of nights pass by without any sightings of the Batman. They can’t be everywhere but in this case it’s literally Gotham city, he should be popping up somewhere.

I would say Gotham itself is a big problem for the film. A lot of times films like to show how depraved Gotham is and that’s where they tend to fail. For example, of course we have a scene where the villain orders a girl to strip and dance. That’s completely unnecessary and we also have Harley Quinn shown to be someone who frequents these kinds of establishments as a villain. The movie has a lot of fanservice throughout and sketchy costumes.

Birds of Prey is unrelentingly depressing most of the time. This is a harsh city where the heroes lost years ago and villains rule all over the place. It’s not to the extreme of Joker but you will have a hard time finding any really happy/fun scenes. Harley and Cain have some bonding moments but mostly that’s just Harley being a terrible role model the whole time. Someone who will act nice and talk a good game but lose in one hit or just sell you out in the next scene. It was fun to see the owner of the restaurant accept the money and leave though. In this city that seems to be the quickest way out of here.

The writing’s not particularly good and the song choices are really bad. The final song’s probably the worst one by far and had to be aired out at several moments. Yeah this film was really going for grit. The action scenes could have been worse in that respect as it didn’t try going over the top most of the time. We did have some real choreography and fight scenes which is good. The film wasn’t trying to be gritty all of the time. Usually in the moments it wasn’t, it was the characters just being annoying all the time though.

Overall, Birds of Prey is a pretty bad film. At least I’m glad they ended up ditching the long sub title later on since nobody ever used the whole title anyway. I know that point’s been beaten to death but it’s not even all that accurate with Joker having dumped Harley Quinn as opposed to it being the other way around. You can of course say that the process helped her but when you consider the fact that she would probably run right back to him if he would have her….it doesn’t help her case. Regardless, the biggest issue here is that this is a film about the villains…that forgets to make the villains likable. Harley Quinn and her constant narration does not make for a good lead. The Birds of Prey group aren’t likable yet either. Black Canary is decent and Huntress has potential but for the moment give me a random lead from any big DC character and I would probably take him or her instead. The Birds of Prey will have to work hard to improve their characters in the next film but without Harley Quinn holding them back at least they have a chance.

Overall 2/10

Batman: The Long Halloween Part 2 Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

Part 2 picks up right where the first film left off which certainly makes sense. The Long Halloween crosses a full year as we end up right back with Halloween at the forefront here. This film has a lot more action though as Batman’s famous rogues show up this time. No more just fighting the mob, everyone wants some action now. I would say it’s slightly better than part 1 although they are both quite close.

Last time Poison Ivy took control of Batman using her plants and for months he has been forced to do her bidding. Catwoman finally shows up to save him and now they have to put things right. Is it too late to stop the mobs now that they have gained more control? Additionally, Dent is going further and further off the deeper end and of course Holiday is still out there. Gotham’s really in a bad spot right now and the only person who can possibly end this is Batman himself.

Harvey Dent really had a solid character arc and this movie did a good job of wrapping up. He did make for a very interesting DA and while everyone was expecting his Two Face persona to show up eventually, he didn’t suddenly go over the bend. There’s even a good amount of history behind the signature coin he uses as well. His methods may have ultimately gone the wrong way by the end but he definitely did a whole lot for the city.

Catwoman fans will be pleased at her role here since she really does look good in the fights. Without her Batman would have been checked out early. Additionally her fight with Poison Ivy may have been the best one in the film. It really leaned into the metahuman angle more than the other action scenes. It takes a lot of speed to get out of the way of her attacks and Catwoman was able to pull it off. She also helped out after the nerve gas angle so she was a very loyal ally throughout.

As for Gordon, he’s around the whole time too. He may get less to do in terms of helping out directly but he did keep signaling Batman even months after the guy had vanished. Gordon doesn’t give up easily and while the partnership may not have been perfect in the end, he seemed to have kept up a more optimistic view on how things went compared to Dent and Batman. Since this is a Part 2 the cast is quite a bit bigger than the first film since most of the characters return (The ones who weren’t destroyed) plus we get more of the villains.

Now some characters like the Penguin still don’t do much at all here. He just shows up to fire his gun and get one shotted. I still think Grundy didn’t really have any point being here but he does throw a punch and get mildly involved in the climax. From the new villains, Scarecrow gets a decent role. His fear toxin is definitely still a threat and a good reason for the heroes to take him out almost immediately or things can get ugly. His ability is super useful but since he has no immunity to it you can usually see how his plot will end. Surprisingly the Calendar Man still only gets a moment or two and then vanishes from the film.

Mad Hatter appears for a bit although I can’t take him too seriously. He’s only tough when the heroes can’t fight back, otherwise I wouldn’t say you should ever consider him to be a true threat. Poison Ivy is a much more deadly villain considering how versatile her moveset is. I would go as far as to say she is the strongest villain in the film as she has a way to take everyone else out. If she didn’t let her guard down that would have probably been game over for the heroes.

As for the reveal of who Holiday is, I would say it’s a satisfying reveal. The character makes sense and in the end I thought the mystery angle of the film was handled really well. That being said, you may still question some scenes from the first film. Is this character really strong and quick enough to outrun Batman during part 1? To always be one step ahead of the mobsters, jumping from shadow to shadow and nailing every shot? I suppose there may have been off screen training but you may be a little skeptical about this part by the time you’re done with the film. It’s nothing egregious enough where you could call it a plot hole but it does make you think twice.

As for Batman himself, well this appearance was probably tougher for him than the first one. He gets mind controlled for the opening part of the movie and then gets humiliated by the Scarecrow’s fear toxins. He loses quite a lot of fights here to underscore how new to the game he is. It’s certainly not the kind of portrayal you’re used to seeing from Batman but at the end of the day he steps up when needed and is still the best detective in Gotham.

I’m still not a big fan of the animation style but by part 2 you’re used to it. At the very least you’ve still got a good amount of motion like in the Catwoman fight and so I wouldn’t call this low budget or anything. I would have certainly liked a more dynamic art style but you deal with what you’ve got. The writing is still strong enough where you are never distracted during the movie and will have a good time either way.

What other film could ever develop Falcone into a mobster that’s actually very interesting? He’s a villain through and through but an interesting one. He will keep your attention the whole time and that’s not an easy thing to do. He certainly made a tricky call in bringing super villains into the roster but the plan was working well enough. If anything he may have been too cautious in how he manipulated Bruce Wayne and should have moved quicker. On the whole I like to see super villains as the focus but the film showed how the mobs can still put up a fight when needed. Additionally most Gotham villains aren’t bullet proof so I wouldn’t be shocked to see the mob hold their own.

Overall, Batman The Long Halloween Part 2 keeps up the energy from the first film. It may put more of the focus on the action compared to the detective work but that makes sense since part 1 had a lot of the setup. This film balances the two genres well. Then at the end of the film you have a quick scene after the credits start so you’ll want to be ready for that. It’s a fun scene and while I wouldn’t expect it to be leading into anything in particular, I’m always glad for a reminder of this being a shared universe. This is a solid Batman film and certainly one I’d recommend checking out.

Overall 7/10

Batman: The Long Halloween Part 1 Review


You always know a story has to be big when it gets adapted into a 2 part movie event. Not just any story can pull that off. Well, The Long Halloween is a story that just about every Batman fan has heard of so it’s pretty fitting. This one takes the franchise back to its detective roots and works pretty well. Definitely a strong Batman story you could recommend to anyone.

The movie starts with one of Carmine’s nephews being murdered on Halloween. The culprit left a jack-o lantern at the scene of the crime seemingly to taunt Carmine about this. Interestingly, this works out in Carmine’s favor since the guy was about to spill the beans on the whole mafia enterprise. Gordon calls in DA Harvey Dent as well as the Batman so the three of them can team up on this. They need to find the murderer but they also have to put the crime family away for good. This won’t be an easy mission but between the 3 of them they have a lot of energy. Batman is still in his younger days at this point and Harvey just became the DA. They all want to get some kind of win under their belt.

This isn’t going to be an overnight case though. This villain who has been dubbed Holiday has been murdering a different member of Carmine’s family or gang members on every big holiday. Unfortunately Batman and co. are never in time to stop him. Batman’s going to have to do some detective work to figure out who is behind this but the issue is that there are quite a lot of suspects. Sure, Holiday is murdering these suspects one by one but ideally Batman would like to catch him before they’re all dead. Will he be able to pull this off or is this one case that even the Dark Knight is not ready for?

First off, I definitely like the mystery vibe here. It feels like a reason long time since a mystery was the main plot of one of these films. I dare say that the last time may have been Under The Red Hood. You could make a case for Hush as well but I want to say that’s more on the action side. Although you could make that case for the Red Hood as well in which case we go back to Mystery of the Batwomen which did have the classic “Pick the right suspect” structure which makes sense as a mystery. Gotham is always a mysterious place where you would never want to live and the movie shows that off pretty well.

Batman also looks good here even if it is not one of his stronger appearances. A lot of the characters insult him like one of the mobsters who says he isn’t much of a detective and even Gordon criticizes him. At the end of the day he still makes a lot more progress than they do even if it’s with extensive help from Catwoman. Batman does well in narrowing down the suspects either way and he explores every avenue to stop the villains. He even meets up with the Calendar Man briefly. (That’s one guy I thought would have a much bigger role in the film)

Really Batman doesn’t let his guard down until the climax where he ends up getting punked twice but beyond that he did well here. At the end of the day he’s just a likable character as always and made sure not to do business with the mobsters. He makes it clear from the start that he’s going to do things by the book as Bruce Wayne and doesn’t cut any corners there. Gordon is one of the other big heroes here and he looks good. He is constrained a bit since he has to follow the rules more than Dent or Batman but he was the one to get the team together so he gets full credit for that. He’s always a very loyal ally for Batman and that’s important in a city like Gotham.

Harvey Dent gets a big role here and it’s always fun to see him in his career prior to becoming the famous Two Face. In basically every continuity including this one we see that he really was a great DA. Unfortunately you’re always just waiting for some acid to show up at some point for his origin. In Part 1 at least you feel bad for him though because the justice system in Gotham is just as corrupt as every other part of it. It seems like for every arrest that sticks, another few don’t. The gang have more connections than the super villains after all so nobody will testify against them. Still, he does his best each day.

His wife Gilda seems a lot more depressing in comparison. The film hints at a dark past here as she is permanently depressed and it doesn’t help that Harvey always has to run off on police business so they can’t be together for very long. It’s put a big strain on their relationship without a doubt. Speaking of relationships that aren’t working, Catwoman has a rather big role in this film. It seems like in this continuity she either began her career before Batman or just got good at it a bit quicker. She just knows more about the city and helps him out quite a bit but their careers are so different that they have to settle for just being allies. That’s always made the most sense anyway though.

Fans should certainly appreciate her role here. It’s got to be one of Catwoman’s most impressive appearances as she is strong and smart, a deadly combination for her adversaries. It’s also always fun to have more supervillains running around. It’s a bit of a loose term for her, but she is presumably still robbing people so she should count. The film is very grounded for the most part and that works well within the story but every time you see a costumed fighter it’s always a good thing.

The most random addition to the film is Solomon Grundy though. He feels extremely out of place and it’s not the kind of thing that would hurt the film or anything like that. You just wonder why he is here, you could take him out of both parts and nothing would really change to be honest. Then you have the Joker show up for the climax. He’s as crazy as ever and certainly elevates the threat to the next level. If you want to see the danger transition from being a street level threat to the whole city under fire, well Joker’s the guy for the job.

He’s clearly more dangerous than the mob so it’s good to see him getting his respect. Honestly the mob is only doing so well because every super villain is in jail at the moment. Otherwise it’s hard to see Carmine and his crew lasting very long at all. I may touch on this more in the part 2 review but it’s crazy to see how successful the mob is here. It sort of shows that if super villains weren’t around they would easily own the city without any real opposition.

As for Carmine himself, well he’s a fun mobster. I liked him as one of the big villains, he has an old school vibe to him. Picture any mobster/gangster from an old film and that’s the kind of guy he is. Carmine has absolute confidence in himself at all times and makes sure that the world doesn’t doubt how tough he is. Each of his scenes are interesting and it’s a good reflection of the film’s writing since whether it’s the heroes or villains on screen, you can always be sure of an entertaining scene.

When it comes to the animation style, this definitely doesn’t look as good as most of the older DC animated films like the New 52 ones or the films that came before that era. It’s definitely going for a different look but it just isn’t as colorful or detailed if you ask me. By the end of the film you’ll probably be used to it more or less but I would definitely be on board with a style that’s more eye catching. The one credit I’ll give the animation is that since it looks so much older than some of the other DC films, it does work to bring back that whole mob vibe.

The movie really flies by and has good pacing throughout. This is definitely a must for a mystery film and this movie nails it. There’s even a scene after the credits start which really leads in well to the next film. Lets just say one characters lets his guard down and then things go crazy. Now that’s a good way to build up hype for part 2. I’ve already seen Part 2 so you can bet that review will be up shortly.

Overall, Batman The Long Halloween may have a title that doesn’t really encompass the whole film but it does set the stage well (Would have called it Batman: The Long Year) since I saw this around Halloween. I don’t really have any negatives to say about the film aside from the animation not really being my style. It’s a strong adventure from start to finish and it maintains that pacing for the sequel. A whole show set with gangsters roaming the streets along with the villains would certainly be fun.

Overall 7/10

Superman: Man of Tomorrow Review


This is really the Superman film I’ve been waiting for. Red Son had a very brief time as the best Superman film for me but I always had a feeling this one could rise to the top. Not only was it bringing in two of my favorite villains in Parasite and Lobo, but it just looked like a pretty good retro Superman story. It definitely has a solid old school feeling while still incorporating some modern elements. I could certainly see this being a modern reboot that could work to set up a solid universe. The origin story also goes pretty fast so we can focus on the more interesting part of his first days as Superman instead of him growing up.

The movie starts with Clark Kent covering a big rocket launch by Lex Luthor. He’s an intern and not quite a reporter yet but is ready to move on up. Right away he’s introduced as a nice guy who makes friends with the janitor and does his best to try and get a scoop without cutting corners. The launch doesn’t go well and Lois is able to prove Lex’s guilt so he is thrown into prison. This is their first meeting so now Clark has seen what the ultimate reporter can do. While the fame doesn’t go to Lois Lane’s head, she is definitely one of the more antagonistic characters in the film so she won’t be making friends anytime soon.

Clark still wants to leave a positive impression but he has other problems to worry about. A space bounty hunter by the name of Lobo has arrived and wants to take Superman down. He claims that Clark is a Kryptonian. Then you’ve also got a mysterious stranger who follows Clark around a lot and even heads to his home in Smallville. Finally, you have the Parasite, a being of incredible power who may very well destroy this entire planet. Superman will have to stop these foes while also establishing himself as a hero for peace and not someone who needs to be feared.

There’s just a lot to like here right from the start. For starters it was nice to see more of Clark Kent. It seems like there isn’t often a lot of time to see the human side for Superman outside of fighting crime so that is always fun. I also like that this is a version of Clark where he is a top notch reporter and this is getting set up by the end of the film. He is ready to one up Lois when needed and he also visits Smallville pretty often. As he mentioned, it’s just a 10 minute trip for him (And that’s probably a cautious estimate) so he can really go and hang out at any time. The Kents also look good and these scenes really help develop the characters.

Then you have the Superman scenes which are a blast of course. I would say the stand out fight is the first battle with Superman and Lobo. While the animation may not be quite as colorful as the mainline DC films from the 52 era, the smooth animation does help with showing a lot of great choreography the whole time. There’s a lot of good back and forth with each character getting some good hits in but I would say it’s clear that Lobo has the edge here. Superman is still growing into his powers of course so he isn’t quite as powerful as he would usually be in later years of his career.

Admittedly when the final boss went the route of going for a giant monster as the final boss I did have to shake my head a bit. It seems like the ole giant enemy approach is inevitable nowadays but you just can’t get any great choreography out of that. Outside of Fate Grand Order where you could really feel the immense impact of the big enemy that the show was going for, I wouldn’t say it tends to be all that impressive. You can have multiple giant foes fighting each other but someone like Superman going up against a giant monster? I don’t think that’ll work out.

Still, it was less about the fight and more about showing off how Superman can use peace to solve some of his fights so that was handled pretty well. It was also a chance to get everyone involved in the fight. I would say Lobo seemed a little nerfed in this one since I think he could have done a lot better but you can’t win every fight right? I half expected Lex to put on his suit but I suppose it might be too early to bring that one out. As it stands, he is definitely not someone you can trust at all here. He is very quick to blast you in the back. It’s not really his most impressive appearance but he’s never all that worried so you feel like he’s got some other plans in the works.

For Lois, as I mentioned she is definitely very tough on everyone here, but she is a fun character. Her power moves were definitely fun and she has an air of absolute confidence about her. She may have lost this final round against Superman but I’m sure she won’t give up. She is always ready to go into dangerous situations to get the scoop after all. I’m sure she and Clark will have a good rivalry going forward if he starts trying to take all the bylines like in the DCAU.

Lobo of course is a fun wild card character to have around. I definitely was not expecting any kind of team up with him so that was pretty intense. He’s one of those characters who really tends to overwhelm the screen while he’s appearing so you never forget the guy. Then you have the stranger who was following Superman around. That guy was definitely a pretty intense figure. I liked how it gave the film an extra element of being a mystery or part thriller. His fight in the night and showing up at the Kent’s place was intense. I do think Superman should have been a little quicker to break things up to be honest but he still did make it before things got too tricky so that’s the important thing.

The film does like its fake outs with death though. Two different characters seemingly die only to return later on. I admit that while I didn’t buy the second one for a minute, the first would have been interesting. I can see why they wouldn’t let it stick since that would start Superman’s career off on a rather depressing note and he might not be able to be quite as cheerful after that. It does work as a dramatic moment though even if you feel like Superman should have stepped in with someone being murdered right in front of him. No matter how weak he was feeling, that’s the time to dash in.

Overall, Superman: Man of Tomorrow is a great way to bring Superman back into the spotlight. It’s a good origin story that introduces him as a great hero who will certainly do a good job. He’s very likable and now even has a bit of a supporting cast for when we start the Justice League saga. Batman was also set up so it may be time for another Batman vs Superman adventure soon. That would definitely be fun. If you haven’t seen this film yet, then you should definitely do so. It really encompasses what a complete Superman film is expected to be. You have Clark digging up clues on his end, Superman saving the day sometimes with power and other times with deductive reasoning. There’s a lot going on here so the whole time you’re just hoping the film can keep on going. If a whole continuity does come out of this film, I look forward to seeing Superman return and have more adventures. There’s always a ton of potential with a fresh slate.

Overall 8/10

Superman: Red Son Review


It’s been a while since I saw a Superman film so it’s good to be back. When I read the comic a while back I was definitely a pretty big fan of it. The same is true of the movie. It does a good job of keeping in all of the big events and so you’ve got a complete story here. It’s a little ironic that one of the best Superman titles is one that’s actually a what if but it shows that the story of Superman can really be shown in many different ways.

The story starts off in an alternate timeline where Superman crash landed in Russia instead of the USA. He grows up under the reign of Stalin where he fights for the USSR. Gradually Superman realizes that the regime isn’t living up to the ideals that they had claimed to be so he decides to take things into his own hands. Superman desires a pure world where everyone can be happy. Unfortunately real life isn’t quite so easy and he gradually has to make small sacrifices here and there. Will these concessions eventually add up to drive him on the wrong path or will Superman find a way?

The problem Superman faces is that world peace is basically impossible. There will never be a situation where the whole world is at peace. There will always be people who don’t like the status quo or a shortage of resources that lead to people being unhappy. Superman can always strive to make the world better but once he seeks perfection, that is where he starts to get really frustrated. One of the things I really like about Red Son is that Superman keeps his core ideals. At the end of the day he will help anyone whether they are allies or not. He does want to be a symbol of hope and will do whatever he can in order to make that vision a reality.

Superman’s beliefs on how to help the people are just different growing up under the USSR but at the end of the day he comes to the same answer, it just took longer than usual. He’s definitely a standout character here to be sure. Then it’s also fun to see alternate versions of the rest of the Justice League as well. The Green Lanterns look good for example. They were actually doing really well against Superman in the fight and it’s impressive that Lex was able to reverse engineer the GL Ring.

Then you have Batman who grew up in Russia and so he is quite vicious as well. It also continues the impressive record Batman has against Superman. It seems like he always tends to win the majority of these contests. Prep time is just too good to pass up. Of course this Batman is not a hero by any stretch as he openly murders a bunch of people if it means that he will get closer to his goal. He’s as ruthless as can be.

Next up is Wonder Woman who gets a solid role here. She is trying for peace as much as possible but is very disillusioned with man’s world from the start. She sees Superman as the exception for a little while but ultimately he becomes too extreme. She has a good scene where she blocks his punch and appears as a good ally of justice. Her role may not be large but it was a fun one to be sure.

Lex gets a great role here as you would expect. His genius is what gives the US a chance against Superman as otherwise they would be in a completely unwinnable situation. He isn’t afraid to use underhanded tactics like intentionally allowing a satellite to nearly flatten Metropolis though but he calculates the future really well based on how he expects everyone to act. It would be nice to have more direct interactions between him and Superman of course but they do meet up near the end.

Lois also looks good in her screen time as she gets some important information to Superman and in general is a consistently strong character. Finally there’s also Brainiac who looks good here and gets a lot of respect. He just comes out of nowhere but then has a presence for the rest of the film. There are more characters of course but these are the big ones. Red Son juggles the cast really well. It’s not a particularly long film so it has to make the most of each scene and I would certainly say that it succeeds at that. Something is always happening here after all.

It adapts the comic material really well. Naturally there are a lot of things that need to be trimmed as otherwise the film would likely be over 2 hours but we get most of the big things. The one change that I wasn’t a fan of was in the original comic, the American Superior Man went out as a hero as he sacrificed his life to stop a nuke and put his hopes on Superman. In comparison he didn’t really get to have a big hero moment in this film. He just got overloaded and kind of melted. I thought the comic gave him a more fair portrayal.

Beyond that of course you can always have more detail in a comic since you can use up as many issues as needed and include a lot of great inner dialogue. We had a scene in the comic where Lex is so impressive that it was said he could have even defeated Superman by just talking to him for a few seconds. The core of the story is the clash of ideologies and seeing this alternate world though and the movie really executes this wonderfully. The ending to the movie is also perfect and really wraps up the movie in a way where you feel satisfied. Even if we don’t get a sequel, this tells a full story.

The animation here is pretty solid. The character designs are on point and it looks like the comic. The battles are solid and so I definitely have no issue with the visuals. There can be some violent scenes like one character blowing up or some dead bodies on the rise but the film has a lot of restraint and doesn’t go too far with any of this. You get just enough to further the plot and show what Superman has to go through without just dwelling on it the way some films do.

Overall, Superman Red Son is definitely a great film. If you like Superman or just want a good story then you’ll definitely be on board with this one. It’s just a very interesting take on Superman to be sure. It was also nice to see the other heroes appear even if just for a bit as it shows that at least some parts of the world still happened as usual since their timelines shouldn’t have all changed just because Superman grew up somewhere else. I’d actually question why we don’t have a Batman in Gotham but I suppose for alternate universes they don’t have to mirror the normal one exactly so these can all be creative changes.

Overall 8/10

JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

Wonder Woman Bloodlines Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10