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

Wonder Woman 1984 Review


It’s certainly been a while but time to take a look at the latest comic book movie to come out. It’s the first in the new streaming age although it has a simultaneous release in theaters so it’s pretty unique. Personally I’m all for it, you get to have your custom theater meal all set, good lounge chair and at least if it’s provided on HBO Max, totally free. It’s a pretty slamming deal but we’ll see if this actually continues past COVID or if it’s a very temporary deal. This review goes fairly in depth so while I wouldn’t say there are any true spoilers, the less you know about a film the better if you want the complete experience. If you haven’t seen the film yet then you may want to before continuing.

The movie starts by showing us some more of Diana’s home in Themyscira. She participates in an event and does really well but ultimately grows overconfident and ends up throwing away her victory. It’s a fun opening and Diana showed that at a young age she was already surpassing all of the warriors there. It definitely pays to be part god. We then go to the present where Diana stops a crime and we get introduced to the main plot here. An interesting wishing stone has turned up and the FBI want her co-worker Barbara to look at it. Meanwhile a rich man by the name of Maxwell Lord needs the wishing stone to turn his life around so he’ll need to quickly manipulate her in order to get to it. Can Diana get this stone out of here before damage is done and does this explain why Steve has seemingly returned?

There’s definitely quite a bit going on here. First I’ll just say that Maxwell makes for a pretty fun villain. The idea of a wishing stone is certainly tempting to all and naturally it’s what he would need to turn his empire around. The fact that he can control the consequences of the wish is also pretty handy. He’s definitely trying to prove to himself and everyone else that he’s a great man which puts him in a lot of tough situations. The guy has a lot of charisma though and always stands out.

Barbara is one of the main focuses here though. She gets a big character arc as she starts off as the awkward scientist who gets a taste of true power and wants to keep it. I’d definitely have to say that she’s a pretty poor character for most of it but once she gets some abilities then she’s more of an interesting villain. Barbara’s able to fight now and while the power/adoration goes to her head almost immediately she finally gains some confidence. I don’t think there’s a question of who would win between her and Wonder Woman at peak strength but she is strong enough where we can get some fun action scenes there.

For a good chunk of the film Diana is in a depowered state so we don’t get a whole lot of fight scenes. Aside from humans and such the first fight we get is in the White House and that probably is the most interesting one. It’s just a shame that the fight couldn’t have been longer due to the circumstances but I like seeing super powers used in a location like that. It’s just a lot of fun to watch. I don’t think there would have been a way to stop Barbara there but at least Diana gave it a good try and Steve had a pretty good fight with the guards.

At times the physics in the film felt a bit odd though. For example in most of Wonder Woman’s fights she is sliding across the ground like it’s made of ice. I’m thinking maybe the film was trying to just use a unique way of showing super speed here. Maybe in a way where her super strength allows her to defy gravity to an extent which is how she moves so fast. I wouldn’t say the execution is great as it just doesn’t feel as natural but it’s still fun to see her beating up on the crooks as expected. We also know she would have been able to handle the guns and such a lot better if she was at full power.

Her armor also gets to appear a bit as it was used frequently in the promotional materials. You may be surprised that it really doesn’t look very good at all but I was actually a big fan of this. I’ve always maintained that heroes or villains of Wonder Woman’s caliber have no need of such armaments. If anything they slow you down. It would have to be some kind of super haxes equipment to justify its use. Whenever she takes out a sword in the animated movies for example I just wonder why do it? (Doomsday breaking the sword with a single punch in Death of Superman just reinforces that point as she did better without the sword) You can see how her fighting style gets very sloppy when she puts on the armor maybe because it limits her agility so as soon as she gets rid of it then she does well again. I don’t expect she would try using it again.

Wonder Woman’s character is always a pretty complex one. She’s definitely a hero through and through but mixes tactics from Batman and Superman while adding her own spin in. I see her as being more willing to be a vigilante like Batman which she utilizes in this film as she spies through cameras and keeps a secret identity. However, as Wonder Woman she also tries to be a symbol for humanity like Superman although interestingly between this film and the first it seems that she is trying to keep her identity hidden now. Maybe she doesn’t want people to know that she’s immortal? Honestly if I were her I’d really want to stand out then because figuring out her secret identity would be tougher. She probably needs a wig though because most characters would connect the dots pretty quickly especially with how she stands out at parties.

I don’t think she would have qualms about murdering people the way the other two would though with her more warrior like backstory. That said, I was glad the film didn’t go down a certain way here with two different scenarios as it would have certainly raised a lot of intriguing points. It would be a lot easier to defend her though than with the infamous snap or random people getting shot down during the BVS rampage with the second instance since there isn’t much of a clean out. The first one involving a water battle though would have had no real defense. Particularly as she consistently had the upper hand here. Would have reminded me of Phoenix’s big moment in Dark Phoenix where I wondered what was going on since she had the upper hand by far. This wasn’t quite that drastic with the power gap but it was there.

That said, with the film’s ending you just know that it didn’t wrap up quite so neatly. Not everyone will make a selfless move here and some may not have had a drawback big enough to actually make the move. I expect a lot of people ended up in different circumstances than they were in. It also doesn’t seem like this rolls back time in any way to things that happened as a result of your new circumstance are probably still there. It raises a lot of interesting potential plots for other films since you can introduce almost anything as a result of that.

Now for some issues with the film. As with the first one I wasn’t very impressed with the dialogue. We no longer have all of the romance dialogue with Steve and Diana as he corrupts her with the views of the world and their forced dialogue on the boat. That said, we’re shown a world that is pretty desperate here. Any scene with Diana in public has everyone throwing themselves at her. You have Barbara getting harassed by everyone outside and it’s like people can’t help but constantly make comments about her and Diana. You could get it if it was just the one drunk guy showing up twice so they could make an example out of him but almost every guy in the film? It starts to get a little overboard. It also just has a hard time making conversations interesting like any Barbara conversation pre change.

Outside of Steve (Who is with Diana anyway) and the guy whose identity is currently gone it’s hard to think of any guy who looked all that sensible here. Maxwell wasn’t authentic in his adoration as it was all part of his plan to sucker Barbara but of course he took advantage of this as well. The scenes just felt pretty forced. Then you’ve also got the whole plot of Steve returning. Lets just say there is quite the cost for this but Diana seems perfectly content with this price. Now down the road we can assume that maybe, perhaps she would try to correct this but I’m not so sure. Particularly given the amount of resistance she had to ending things at all, if there were no super villain on the loose it seems like she would have been okay with this which is morally dubious at best.

I suppose all heroes have something they can be selfish about at times but this would have been a pretty huge skeleton in her hero closet so to speak. As for Steve, he’s pretty solid. I’d say he’s better than in the first film. He does what he can to help out in the movie. He may just be a normal guy in a world that’s getting crazier and crazier but he actually contributes quite a bit like when he ended up taking down some guards and even piloting a plane. It’s definitely really handy to have a pilot on your side.

As mentioned, the film is a bit of a slow burner so you shouldn’t expect things to turn up for a while. At first we mainly get a lot of introductions with the characters and slowly exploring the world as we see Diana is perfectly content while Maxwell and Barbara are having a terrible time. This eventually leads us to their flipping things around and then we eventually get to the hype White House battle. While there are some action scenes earlier, since it’s Wonder Woman beating up on normal humans it’s not going to be particularly exciting. It’d be like seeing Superman flying in to beat up some bank robbers. That said, I’ll never say no to an action scene of course. It would have been great if we could have gotten a longer climax battle with Barbara though.

The after credits scene for the film is pretty fun. Now, I’m thinking it’s just a fun little cameo for the fans as well as closure for one character so I wouldn’t expect anything to come of it, but if something did there’s a lot of possibilities for this character. Is this character actually going down a villainous path? A future ally to help out the heroes? I think adding this character into a future movie would be an excellent move particularly if for Wonder Woman 3 we get a plot like the planet enders from Supergirl only this time it’s a few people from Themyscira coming over to cause trouble. This character could be quite valuable assistance and I’m assuming the Themyscira fighters would get buffed by some aliens or a deal with the gods to balance things out.

Naturally the soundtrack is solid here. We’ve got the classic Wonder Woman theme from BVS as well as a remixed version at the ready. It’s always a pretty grand theme that starts you off on the right track. The other themes are also pretty solid and get you ready for a good time. Music is always a pretty important factor and this film definitely didn’t disappoint. I also already spoke about the graphics but in particular I like the lasso’s glow. It always looks very strong and the fact that it can latch onto anything and extend/retract at will makes it a very versatile weapon.

Low key I’d say Wonder Woman’s best feat here is when she is able to lasso a bullet after it has already whizzed past her. Keep in mind that she noticed the bullet after it was already past her and close to hitting Steve. So in that time she threw her lasso and tossed the bullet away while it was already close to his face. Definitely a pretty great speed feat for sure and so the movies can definitely give her a big opponent for film 3. At the moment I would say from her portrayal she seems to be the 4th most powerful DC hero in the universe. I would still take Superman, Flash, and Shazam over her. Superman is obvious. For Shazam it’s close but I do think the movie showed him to have better speed and strength. For Flash it’s really just the speed difference as it would be hard to hit him. Of course I expect her abilities will keep on improving the way that Thor’s has over the years. Once she masters her god abilities it may be time for a rematch with Superman or maybe have her fight with Black Adam in one of the upcoming titles.

Of course after the first Wonder Woman film we were all wondering what happened to cause her to go from being a symbol of justice to vanishing entirely since in BVS she hadn’t been seen in years and didn’t even want to get involved. Well, this film closes the gap a bit since she does seem to want to defeat opponents without them knowing she was even there. It explains her disappearance but I think we need a little more to show why she has abandoned helping people entirely. If that’s never explained it’s not a big deal since you can maybe assume she just grew tired of it but I do think there’s still a lot you could do with that premise. Maybe have Steve return a third time but this time it’s a shape shifter or something which disillusions her with everything.

Overall, Wonder Woman 1984 is pretty good. I do consider it to be a considerable improvement over the first film. Wonder Woman is a solid lead as always and the soundtrack is pretty good. The visuals are all on point and while the fights can be a little slippery against the human fighters, I feel like the film was intentionally testing out a new style here so I’ll give them points for the experimentation. Ideally in the third film we’ll be able to see Wonder Woman be able to fight more super villains with her full abilities on display and a current setting certainly wouldn’t hurt matters either. It’s a bit of a slow burner and so there wouldn’t be a lot of replay value here but if you haven’t seen this film yet you should definitely do so. Also worth knowing that if you have Verizon Fios you may be eligible for HBO Max for free so keep that in mind. I’m ready to see what DC has in store for us next.

Overall 7/10

What makes for a good villain?


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

Cool Design

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

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

Honor Code

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

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

Has to be a threat

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

Has solid motivations

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

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

Overwhelming confidence

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

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

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

The Flash: Starting Line Review


It’s been a while since I read a comic, especially a Flash one so it was good to see the ole speedster back in action. It’s a fairly modern one too so we get to blast through the origin stuff and get right to the adventures. The Rogues get a solid revival and quite a bit happens here. The story sets up a lot of future plot lines that’ll keep on going for some time so this line is off to a good start.

While each issue has a different villain for the most part there is still a larger plot in the background. The Flash used to be a very well liked figure in Central City but lately people have been turning against him. The cops think he is a wild vigilante who causes more harm than good and the reporters are all trying to frame him. One of Barry’s best friends even betrays him to run a social experiment. The guy has a point that they weren’t all that close though. Only Barry really took it hard while to the friend it was just good business. It’s why you certainly have to be careful on who you trust because some will turn around and back-stab you quite quickly.

It always makes for an interesting plot to see everyone turning on the Flash or whoever the hero of the adventure is. It’s annoying too as you can easily lose respect for these characters. The fact of the matter is that the Flash has saved all of these guys time and time again. It’s a bit late in the game for people to say that they’re better off without him. I could never comprehend the argument of the hero attracting trouble. If Flash wasn’t around then the city would have been destroyed many times over. You need a super hero when it comes to tricky cities like this. Otherwise the villains will just have their way. You also can’t do much better than the Flash. With his speed there is always a chance that you can be saved.

The first main arc deals with Mob Rule a lot. One of Barry’s old friends went missing one day. He has returned, but seems to now be a villainous sniper who is way in over his head. Barry tries to talk with him about this, but it’s a complicated situation. Some experiments were done on Manuel and now every time he is injured or a part of him is severed it turns into a whole other him. Now they are an army known as Mob Rule and they want to find a cure. The downside to having all of these clones is that they die after a few days. They kidnap Manuel and work on a bunch of cures but nothing is working and the group is getting more and more radical. Barry has to try and get Manuel out of this while he still can.

It’s more of a mystery thriller than the other Flash stories. Not only is the mob pretty discreet and hard to stop, but Flash has also been creating a lot of temporal anomalies lately so he is’t sure if he should be running full blast. I’m not a fan of Manuel though. He does seem to start a lot of the trouble which gets him into these sticky situations. He’s also quite quick to ditch Barry which puts him in a lot of danger. Finally the guy had no real gratitude to the Flash for saving him. Somehow he did the mental gymnastics of saying that it’s Flash’s fault that the cure didn’t work when it was obviously about to destroy him anyway. Everyone was really giving the Flash a hard time throughout the whole series.

The other big arc in the series saw the return of Captain Cold. He blames the Flash for the big blackout which prevented the hospital from helping his sister out when she was in critical condition. He now wants the Flash dead so their fights are a little more serious than usual. Flash just got done dealing with a crazy guy in the Speed Force who was messing things up so he doesn’t have a lot of time to worry about this. Captain Cold’s new freezing abilities make him much more of a serious threat than he used to be though. The fact that he naturally makes the Flash slower is quite handy in a fight. We also get to see the rest of the Rogues show up as they banded together under a new leader known as the Golden Glider. She wants the Rogues to be a purely evil group as opposed to what she considered to be weak tactics under Cold’s leadership.

They’ve got a very different approach on how to run a group. Cold believes that having an honor code is best and he does seem better equipped to be a leader. It is hard to keep that level of nuance while you’re a villain group though. I don’t see most villains really playing ball for very long. Most of them are in this business to murder the heroes and civilians. Captain Cold also isn’t a strong enough fighter to keep them in check. He was having trouble with Heatwave who isn’t exactly known as a powerhouse. Regardless, he does have a lot of experience and credibility though so people tend to listen to him. Golden Glider’s leadership was fairly short lived although I doubt her ambitions are over for now.

I mentioned him briefly before, but Turbine is a guy who was stuck in the SpeedForce for decades. I really don’t blame him for trying to get out. Flash guilt trips him because Turbine’s attempts for hurting the planet, but what else could he do? The Flash can’t reasonably expect this guy to just stay stuck for his whole life right? Turbine seems like he’s going to end up turning evil, but at least right now he seems pretty reasonable to me. The guy just wants to get home and Flash seemed to have absolutely no sympathy for him.

Meanwhile Iris gets a smaller role than usual as there is a new heroine around. This has allowed Iris to get her own plots away from Barry though. She’s now more of a detective/reporter like Lois Lane to the point where I’m sure they’re basing this interpretation on the iconic DC character. She’s an interesting character and this is probably her best portrayal. I think there’s a lot the series can do with her so hopefully she doesn’t go back with Barry. Patty is the new character involved with Barry and she seems reasonable. The relationship doesn’t seem too stable though since she can’t stand the Flash. Whenever the heroine doesn’t like the hero form you can’t help but think that things won’t really end well. That’s just too big of a split to remedy since the hero has to break the news at some point right? At least she does seem quite loyal when Barry is around and does her best to help him out. Patty has connections and skills in her own right so she can contribute quite a lot when it comes to detective work and solving cases.

There’s a whole plot with Gorilla Grodd which serves as his origin. It’s the least interesting part of the volume although it’s not like it’s bad or anything. I just can’t bring myself to care about them at the moment and the Flash getting amnesia felt incredibly convenient since otherwise he could have gotten out of there pretty easily. They’re clearly going to have a big role soon so we’ll see how that goes. I’ve never been impressed with Grodd’s strength even if he is technically considered to be one of Flash’s deadliest opponents. Give me the Rogues any day.

I basically talked about everyone except Barry so let’s take a step back here. Flash is a solid lead who does deal with some issues at the beginning but ultimately gets past them. He realizes that his speed is necessary to saving the world and stops overthinking things. He’s trying to learn how to speed up his mind as well and once he does this he should really be a super powerful hero. The Flash is already one of the strongest characters in DC if you ask me so if I were the writers I would make it take a super long time for Flash to actually master this technique. It’s effectively Ultra Instinct in the DC world. Barry’s always been my favorite Flash because he’s also got those detective skills on top of his super powers and he’s a very reasonable guy. His Barry Allen persona is simply interesting and the comic did a good job of showing that off.

The artwork is also pretty solid here. It may not be the most colorful I’ve seen, but it holds its own pretty well. I like the speed effects and there’s a lot of weight behind each hit. There was a good amount of effort put into the artwork for sure and it shows. It’s part of what makes this an easy read along with the quality writing. You’ll be drawn into the pages and ready for the next adventures to come.

Overall, This is a pretty solid collection of comics. The best issues are the ones where Flash is dealing with the Rogues and going undercover in the shady part of town. The Grodd stuff is less interesting but the comic does use him for a good cliffhanger. You can’t help but feel like Flash should wreck them all as soon as he wakes up so their gameplan should be to destroy him while he is still knocked out. If you haven’t checked this comic out yet then I’d recommend reading it. There are a lot of other plot lines going on that I haven’t even mentioned. While there are references to earlier comics you don’t really need to read them to get what is going on.

Overall 7/10

Batman: Hush Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10