Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Reign of the Supermen Review


It’s time to look at a pretty recent Superman film. This one is the follow up to the big battle with Doomsday that came out a while back. It’s a solid follow up that doesn’t quite match the action and intensity of the earlier film, but does give Superman’s supporting cast more of a role. If the last film was an end of the world type event then this film is the quick breather before things get back to end of the world stakes.

The film starts off by introducing us to the Supermen who have arrived to take over for Superman. One of these guys is Superboy who was created by Lex to show the world that the new Superman is under his leadership. He is fairly strong, but definitely has an ego and doesn’t seem ultra heroic. Then you’ve got Steel who doesn’t have any fancy super powers, but he does have his hammer which is pretty sturdy. You’ve got the Eradicator who is the most merciless of the Supermen and has made it his life
s goal to destroy all of the criminals. Even if the law doesn’t recognize someone as a criminal like Lex Luthor the Eradicator will try to take him down. Finally you’ve got the Cyborg Superman who claims to be the real one. He definitely seems the most compassionate of the 4 and the most powerful as well, but is it too good to be true? Lois must get to the bottom of this and get some closure on the status of Superman.

I’m less familiar with this follow up arc compared to the Doomsday one, but the film seems like a good take on it. Definitely more of a loose adaption since it’s putting this one in the New 52 continuity along with the Justice League. I miss the Blue and Red Supermen since I think they were in the original arc, but it is possible that they came in a little after. Either way, the important thing isn’t so much the adaption, but just how it stands up on its own.

First off the animation is still really good. I like the New 52 style animation, it’s actually decently close to how DC used to look at its peak. It may not be the DCAU, but it’s one of the next best things. It works well for the action scenes as well as the general landscape around the fights. Then the soundtrack is decent although not really memorable. The sounds and such work well during the film which is what counts.

From the 4 Supermen my favorite is still Cyborg Superman. He’s always been one of the better Superman characters so it’s nice to see him here. He may not be one of the most popular Superman villains, but he is still known well enough where people will probably be able to see through him pretty quick. His character arc goes down a pretty different path here as he actually works for someone which is a bit out of character. He does rectify this by the end which is good though. Then we have the Eradicator who is the next best member of the Supermen. It’s pretty interesting to see a Suprman who uses energy blasts instead of his fists. There’s a twist about his identity which works pretty well. It also makes him very versatile since he can really go anywhere.

Superboy is fun enough. He feels like the B grade version of Damian though. He is super confident, but tends to lose the fights he is in. It’s not his fault that he happens to be in a film with guys who are way stronger than him, but you would think that it would tone down his confidence a bit. He also has one critical moment where he just abandons someone to die as well. As I said, he’s just not very heroic. I think he’ll only get better from here on out though. Then you’ve got Steel who is the most out of his league here. He’s got a hammer, but what’s that gonna do against people who are as strong as Kryptonians? They can just shatter the hammer with ease. Steel means well though and he’s definitely a nice guy. He always gives me flashbacks of the old Steel film. I’m sure he’ll continue to be a useful ally as the films go on.

I do think that including the Justice League and the Darkseid plot was a bit of a mistake though. The main issue is that it brings in a lot of extra power level situations that aren’t actually needed here. One big question you’ll have is where are the League and what are they doing about the Superman situation. Well..not much of anything. Wonder Woman mentions that they’re stretched thin and then later on when they show up to help the President none of them actually want to go talk to Cyborg Superman. The way that they are written out of the film is also on the lazy side. You won’t actually be able to buy the scene for a second, not as long as someone like the Flash is there. This subplot does lead into the after credits scene which will likely be one of the best of the new line of DC titles. It still could have happened without the League actually appearing though. Just have the Cyborg Superman plot twist happen at the very end as he’s being defeated which leads to the cliffhanger. Darkseid and the gang are hype, but you know there’s no time for a proper round 2 anyway, that needs its own film.

The writing here is pretty solid. You’ve got an interesting plot that, while it may not have a whole lot of replay value thanks to the minimal amount of fights, makes for a good watch. It’s a fresh story so you’re ready to see where it leads you. The pacing here is good and it’s always interesting to see a world without Superman. The only scene that does drag on quite a bit is when Lois meets up with Wonder Woman. It seemed like a homage to one comic where they met up, but the dialogue was a lot stronger there. This scene mainly feels like it’s trying to buy time and it didn’t seem like it really set anything up either. Good to see that WW and Lois get along, but you could have probably guessed that anyway. I think if that had led up to a cool team up as they infiltrate LexCorp or something then that would be hype. Lois also has to use her charms to try and get some info at LexCorp so in general her plot was definitely one of the weak links here.

The best scenes are all when the Supermen are around and picking fights with each other. I haven’t mentioned Superman himself much yet, but he’s solid as always. He’s not really at full power here or even close to it so you don’t get to see him really taking it to anyone this time around. No worries, I’m sure he’ll get a lot of cool fight scenes in future movies as it is.

Overall, Reign of the Supermen is a fun concept and makes for a solid movie. It won’t go down as one of the more memorable DC titles, but there’s nothing really wrong with it either. It’s more of a low stakes film that focuses on the character development side of things. As Superman hasn’t gotten quite as much time in his Clark Kent form in this continuity I’m sure fans will like seeing how everyone reacts to him being gone. With this film done I’m pretty close to being caught up with the DC titles. Hopefully we get another Superman or Justice League film soon, but in the meanwhile the Wonder Woman one looks like it should be solid and Batman Hush always had an interesting plot.

Overall 7/10

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Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 8/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

DC Showcase: Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew Review


It’s time to look at a DC team that probably isn’t one of the more popular ones around. Captain Carrot sadly never became a household name as one of the ultimate animal mascots. It’s too bad since the comics definitely are pretty fun. I will admit that it is pretty weak relative to the other ongoing DC comics back in the day so I can’t blame people for not really buying it. Still, it holds up really well and as always the Showcase series makes sure to bring quite a lot of comics here. You’re in for a fun surprise.

The collection actually starts off with the crossover comic which is where we meet Captain Carrot. Basically he used to be an ordinary rabbit, but after eating a radioactive carrot he gains Super Strength, Speed, and Flight. The guy is also basically indestructible which is really handy. Superman ended up in this crazy alternate Earth after things started getting messy on his Earth. It’s like missing your train stop only Superman missed his whole planet. Unfortunately Superman wasn’t ready for how different this world would be and after Captain Carrot beats him up a bit Superman gets kidnapped. Fortunately Captain Carrot will have the help of other animals who gained super powers thanks to this event. Little does the team know that this will be just the beginning of their outings.

As for how well the team gets along, these guy probably bicker more than most of the others. Very rarely does the team actually really get along. Pig Iron and Captain Carrot are constantly getting at each other’s feelings with the low blows. Then you’ve got Kat and Yankee who seem to despise each other. Fastback also doesn’t get along with Yankee and Rubber Duck tends to be pretty self absorbed. It makes for a pretty interesting dynamic, but I have to say that if I was on the team I wouldn’t be able to trust the others. I’d always be watching my back.

Pig Iron is the strong guy of the group. To an extent that may almost be redundant with how powerful Captain Carrot is, but I suppose you can never have too much muscle right? He is very much like the Thing as he constantly talks about quitting the team. He tends to not be a crowd favorite in-universe because of his scary design. He slowly grows more used to being a part of the team though so by the end he is mostly done with all the quitting talk. He’s not my favorite member but ultimately he’s not bad.

As expected Captain Carrot is definitely my favorite member. He’s the voice of reason and that makes him a solid leader. He still does jump into action whenever needed and always keeps the team from splitting apart. There are times where he was fine with letting Pig Iron go though. You’ll feel bad for Carrot though since nobody really cares about his comics much. He writes a lot of comics, but the team never reads them and whenever he is close to missing a deadline they don’t bother to help him either. Ah well, the life of a leader is never easy right?

Then you’ve got Fastback whose name is pretty self explanatory in terms of his role on the team. I feel like he got less screen time than the others in general to be honest. This also makes him a little less interesting than the others. His super speed is definitely very handy in a fight of course, but in terms of personality he is pretty dry. In comparison Rubber Duck is possibly the weakest member of the group, but he’s a much more likable character. The guy is always bragging and he definitely enjoys being a rich actor. Certainly nothing wrong with that though, you should enjoy your role. What’s the point of becoming the best in your craft if you never take time out to enjoy it? He has the abilities of Mr. Fantastic which helps a lot in a support role, but when the big villains come to town he is pretty much helpless.

Then you’ve got Yankee Poodle and sometimes you may wonder why she is still on the team. None of the other members seem to like her and the feeling appears to be mutual. She’s just in it for the free publicity and to fatten her own wallet. Her ability uses stars to push people away. It’s a bit of a vague ability, but one that is very versatile even if it is lacking in power. Yankee makes for a good member because of how antagonistic she is. She’s not a hero, but just someone who happens to be on a hero team which is an interesting dynamic.

Then you’ve got Cheese who is a rat who comes in to help the others at times. He’s not a part of the original roster, but he does his best to help. The guy can shrink, but that’s really it so he won’t end up being one of the power houses. He’s a decent character, but doesn’t really add anything to the dynamic. Then you’ve got Alley Kat who is potentially one of the most powerful members. While she doesn’t have the strength or speed or the top 3, she has magical abilities which transcend dimensions. In theory her abilities don’t have a real limit. As a result she is usually written out of the scenario or put in a spot where her abilities won’t do a whole lot. She’s a pretty good character, definitely more aloof than the others, but she also tends to stay on task. When the other characters fail you can at least count on her to keep the heroes in the game.

There aren’t any real main villains. A few of them do appear more than once though like the Godzilla homage and the Armadillo. Both of these villains are pretty solid. In general with the writing being so good it’s not surprising in the slightest. When you’ve got writing that is really good then everything tends to fall in place with the character cast. Of course the actual story is still important, but a good cast can carry just about any story if you think about it. Superman may seem to be a bit condescending throughout his appearance, but you have to cut him a bit of slack here. How can you not see a bunch of little animals running around and not at least try to get them to stand down. Superman knows he is strong enough to handle these situations and just wants to make sure that nobody gets hurt.

Most of the comics are stand alones although there is enough continuity to bring them all together. For example for a few comics the heroes plan to go on vacation, but things keep happening that prevents them from doing this. It actually felt pretty tragic by the end because it felt like they would never make any progress. The heroes get kidnapped quite a bit and venture into different worlds more than once. One comic that was especially solid was when a time patrolling villain kidnapped the team. He was a pretty op threat since he can manipulate time. This is one example where Alley Kat was the only one who could match him.

Then towards the end there is a mini series about the Carrot Crew heading over to Oz in Wonderland. It brings in a lot of the classic characters from that series along with a lot of old foes as the heroes must save this world. I’m thinking this comic came out a while after the original ones as it feels more modern. In some ways the team has regressed in this arc though as Pig Iron is back to thinking about quitting and he bickers with Captain Carrot more than usual. It also brings back the romance plot with Alley Kat which happened quite a bit in the old comics, but naturally it didn’t go anywhere.

Still, the romance does need to be mentioned and it’s definitely the weaker part of the dynamic. It definitely seems like Alley Cat is doomed from the start since Carrot fell in love with one of the characters he drew in a comic. She turned out to actually be real in an alternate world and they teamed up at one point. Things got dicey for Super Squirrel since in the comics he likes that heroine. So, the romance may have all been a bit much here, but regardless I did like the crossover with the Justice League parody. It was pretty crazy and a bit one sided, but it was nice to see the Carrot Crew show them up. It’s sort of like the writers way of saying that the Carrot Crew could hold their own against the Justice League.

The heroes are actually pretty overpowered even if it doesn’t always feel that way. Carrot is on par with Superman as they fought to a draw and if anything Carrot seemed more impressive. Then you’ve got Pig Iron who is every bit as strong as Carrot and may even have the slight edge. Then you’ve got Fastback who says he is faster than light and Alley Cat who can warp through dimensions and do just about anything with her spells. That’s a really good roster. At the same time, they still get knocked out by random villains every other comic so you do have to wonder about all of this. Either the villains are that powerful in which case the power creep is crazy or the heroes just tend to exaggerate their abilities a bit. It’s likely the later, but it’s still pretty fun to see them being acknowledged as such a threat.

I think another aspect of the comic that makes it so solid is the fact that we see a lot of the heroes’ human identities as well. It can always be hard to hit a good balance for that, but it’s something that I’ve always liked to see. I understand the logic of just showing the superhero in his powered up form 24/7 but seeing both sides of the story helps a lot for character development. Take a look at the classic Superman animated series, the Clark Kent scenes are essential. Without the human scenes you’re only seeing half a story and with Captain Carrot you get to see everyone’s day to day life in addition to their superhero fights. It’s also done pretty gradually so it all flows well.

Naturally the art is pretty good here. The comics are consistent and all of the character models are on point. It’s pretty easy to read through. It won’t look quite as awesome as it should since the art is printed in black and white for this collection, but it’s definitely solid all the same. I like the facial expressions here and in particular Captain Carrot steals the show whenever he is on screen. He really was the right pick for the leader of this outfit and proves it constantly. The fights are on point as well and the writing is dynamite throughout. The puns and clever lines here just never stop.

Overall, Captain Carrot and his Zoo Crew is definitely a collection that I would recommend. There’s a whole lot of issues here so you don’t need to be worried about the value. It’s got all the classic strengths of the DC comics while also throwing in a whole new set of characters to root for. It may not be the next Justice League, but I think you’ll end up liking this collection a lot more than you may dare expect. The comic only really has the one big crossover so it’s nice to see that the characters can hold their own adventures. I checked on Comicvine to see what happened to them after these issues and it definitely looks like things got dark for the crew so enjoy these happy stories while you can folks.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Justice League vs The Fatal Five Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 8/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Scooby Doo Team Up Volume 6 Review


It’s time for some more Scooby Doo adventures! These guys have helped quite a lot of people out by this point. They’ve aided heroes like Batman, Superman, and many more over the course of this series. It’s always fun to see how they interact with the other series and evidently many others must feel the same way for this title to have reached 6 trades. This volume is another solid one with a good array of stories.

The first issue has the team come over to aid the Atom in his fight against a ghost who exists on an atomic level. The gang is a little skeptical of a ghost showing up since usually they’re fake. That being said, how could someone put on a mask and then shrink to this size? The Atom gets a lot of hype here as he beats up on the enemies while also apologizing to the gang for not saving any for them. The Mystery Inc also keep their cool here (Aside from Shaggy and Scoob) as they realize what’s up. It’s definitely a pretty solid intro issue and the cool part is that it’s the only one that actually continues to the next.

The gang may have just escaped from their growing problems, but then they meet up with the Atomic Ant. I’m not familiar with the guy, but apparently his thing is that he has super strength and can fly thanks to a jet pack. It’s definitely a pretty handy thing to have up his sleeve. Still, he’s up against a group of monsters so Fred and the others have to think of a way to help them. This one isn’t really a mystery so much as just a team up battle. Daphne has learned how to fight thanks to a book she read during another issue which is a nice bit of character development that stuck. Together they end up having the edge in this fight.

Then we’ve got a team up issue with Huntress, Batgirl, and Black Canary. It’s tough for Huntress because she’s trying to get things done and just take out villains, but the rest of the group is busy dealing with the Mystery Inc comedy shenanigans. She is ultimately forced to play the straight man here as Huntress points out that this is no time for games. The rest of the gang apparently don’t really agree with that based on how they act. Still, the team will have to put their differences aside to save Gotham City, but can they do it? It’ll take all of their skills this time.

Then we’ve got a pretty fun comic with the Inferior Five. The story takes this moment to also bring in a lot of other infamous DC characters. I didn’t even know most of them so that was pretty neat. We finally have a group that is even more nervous than the Scooby Doo gang. There are a lot of other guest stars here as well and the whole thing takes place near a game show so that was pretty neat.

Following that we’ve also got an issue with the Legion of Superheroes. The Fatal Five have struck again and it also seems as though the ghost of Ferro Lad is here to haunt the heroes. He even has a twin brother who seems made up for the series and may have a grudge against the league. This one’s probably the closest case we have here to a full on mystery. It’s also one of the best comics in the collection as we get some fights and the gang looks reasonably good. It’s also cool to see Ferro Lad even if he is a ghost here because I remember reading the fateful issues where he ultimately paid the big price.

Finally we have Yogi Bear show up in another issue. He definitely steals the show here as he tricks the mystery gang into thinking that he is the police chief for a bit. In their defense, they’ve come across so many strange cases that it isn’t even unbelievable for that to be the case. Of course while he is guilty of many crimes it seems as if someone might be framing Yogi. Who would dare do such a thing? Furthermore, who would even want to frame Yogi? The bear seems like a nice guy and you have to make some pretty big enemies for this to happen.

Definitely a solid array of stories here as I mentioned. The art for the issues is also pretty good. The style lends itself well to team up adventures. All of the character designs are on point and it’s very easy to read through the adventures. 6 issues is also a reasonable length for a trade as I see a lot with only 4. You’re definitely getting some pretty good value for your dollar. The Mystery Inc are all in character as well. Naturally the two members who look the best here are Daphne and Fred. Daphne is the team’s best fighter by far and actually does contribute in quite a few of the fights against real villains. Then Fred always sticks up for the team and stands up to the others who try to talk down to them. Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby mostly just hold the team back which is why they should be glad that they have Fred and Daphne at the ready.

Overall, This is a solid collection to add to your pile. Whether you know a lot or a little about the Scooby Doo franchise and DC ones, the stories are very accessible. You can easily gather what is happening right away and then go from there. I definitely recommend checking it out and even more so if you are already a fan of these franchises. I definitely wonder if the series is still going. Hopefully so as there are always more heroes to cross over with. I don’t know when I’ll be reading another comic, but I’ll definitely be ready for whatever it is.

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Justice League #0 Review


While at the theater for the Shazam movie they ended up giving out free copies of Shazam’s first appearance in the New 52 so that was pretty cool. It’s been a long while since I’ve read a single issue as I typically read the trades. I remember how Shazam’s new portrayal was always pretty controversial. He’s definitely a lot meaner than in his original days but it works pretty well. At least if you just judge from this issue, he’s pretty solid although he loses some edge once he transforms.

The issue starts with Black Adam beating up the wizard and then dashing out of there. The Wizard feels pretty shaken at this point and then a kid named Billy Batson shows up and threatens to beat the wizard up. While this isn’t the “pure good” person that the wizard was hoping for, he learns that maybe such a person would never appear. He gives Billy his powers and the kid turns into the powerful Shazam. He manages to get Freddy to believe that this is his new identity and then he goes around beating people up. The issue ends with Shazam realizing that he can potentially make a lot of money in his new form.

You can definitely see where the film took some events from while not adapting this 1-1. Shazam is definitely attracted to money pretty easily here, but hopefully he’ll use it to help the neighborhood out. Naturally there isn’t a whole lot that you can cover in a single issue but this does a good job of setting up the characters and events. Personally I thought Billy was pretty solid here. He seems like the kind of guy who protects his neighborhood from the shadows even if he’s not all that nice about it. As Shazam he definitely seems a lot more normal so maybe that’s a subtle effect of the transformation.

The art is definitely solid. While parts of it have that New 52 glimmer, others are a bit more rugged to try and fit the tone of the issue. The end result is a very good looking comic that’s easy to read and looks pretty impressive. It’s definitely very solid. There aren’t any fights yet of course, but once those come it’ll probably look even better. I suppose the weakest part is probably the humans and even that looks pretty good for the most part I’d say.

The New 52 still feels so recent, but I suppose at this point it’s ancient history. I never really kept up with the Shazam series, assuming he ever actually got one. If he was just relegated to side issues and guest star roles then that would be pretty unfortunate. There’s definitely a lot you can do with the character. After all, he’s basically Superman 2.0 so that makes for a good read. Then there’s the fact that Billy doesn’t let anyone mess with him. Makes for a very unique experience I’d say.

Overall, Shazam is a pretty solid first comic. I’d definitely check out the follow up issues. Somehow I don’t think that’ll be happening anytime soon, but next time I’m at the library I’ll definitely stay sharp. If you have never read the new Shazam adventures then I’d recommend changing that. With Black Adam introduced out of the gate and solid artwork throughout, the series is poised to really deliver on the action front in the future.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Shazam! Review


It’s time to look at DC’s latest venture into the cinema. They’ve definitely had a rocky road critically although things have started to look up for them lately. Meanwhile, they’ve mostly ranged from excellent to great for me with the exception of a few films. This one’s pretty good. It’s better than Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman, but certainly not as good as the titles with Batman and Superman. Shazam will definitely be a good addition to the next Justice League film though with the powers that he brings to the table.

The film starts off by introducing us to Dr. Sivana and why he ends up turning to the path of darkness. Then we see Billy who ended up getting lost from his mother at an early age. He’s bounced from home to home since then and has finally made it to a foster home which is effectively his last chance. The kids there try to make him feel welcome, but until he sees his mother again he can’t find any closure. Making things more complicated is the fact that he was chosen by a wizard to be the legendary Shazam. He has exceptional powers now, but doesn’t know what to do with them. Can he figure this out before Silvana takes him down?

Lets start with the positives here. DC’s always had a real knack for fight scenes and the battles between Silvana and Shazam show this. I still like how they portray super speed. Shazam mostly focuses on his flight and strength to win the day but the film is sure to let you know that he’s got speed when necessary. They throw each other through buildings and you can feel the power behind the hits. There’s enough of a difference in scale so you know he’s not quite Superman level but otherwise you could make a case for him being the strongest Justice League member. Seeing the characters fly around and trade blows is always pretty hype.

The film also has some fun taking shots at classic film cliches. There’s a moment where Silvana is trying to make a big speech and Shazam can’t hear him because they’re pretty far away. Usually the hero can conveniently hear the villain in moments like this so that was pretty nice. In general the writing is pretty decent. It’s not amazing or anything, but it gets the job done. More impressive than the script is the fact that the supporting character cast is pretty solid. We’ve got the foster parents who are really tolerant of Billy’s rebellious acts without being pushovers. They do give him a talk after he continues to be defiant, but they never go over the edge. They were foster kids at one point themselves so they do understand the situation quite well. They’re clearly very nice people and they do a great job of getting him situated right away. He honestly couldn’t ask for better foster parents, but of course that is what ends up making him a bit annoying at times.

The other kids are also pretty nice for the most part. Darla is a very sincere character who is always looking at the bright side of things. She’s taken a bad situation and done her best to spin it into a good one. Freddy may not be the most sociable guy out there, but he does try hard to do his part in welcoming Billy. His style of humor may take a bit of getting used to, but he’s a good character and one who certainly does know a lot about heroes. He has to put up with the most from all of the kids since he has trouble walking and is constantly bullied so the fact that he hasn’t become jaded yet is impressive. The other kids don’t get a whole lot to do but are pretty good for the most part. The quiet kid is probably the only one who doesn’t really get any big moments and as a result never gets to grow on you.

Silvana is also a strong villain. The fact that he spent his life trying to learn how to find the Wizard and never losing sight of his goal is quite impressive. That level of determination/obsession is usually relegated to main character status. Villains who are able to keep this level of focus usually end up being a success. He definitely came close to fulfilling his goals and was a good pick for Shazam’s first big villain. In comparison the 7 Deadly Sins aren’t quite as impressive as they’re mainly just here to provide us with more action. Certainly not a bad thing and that may be comic accurate as I don’t remember them too well from there but I’d have liked them to have gotten a bit more character and screen time.

The film’s also got a pretty nice set of animations for the credits. That’s not an aspect that I usually even bother mentioning, but I appreciated the effort here. The more overconfident Shazam portrayal there was definitely humorous and I liked the design. Then we’ve also got the two post credit scenes. The first one is the serious sequel stinger while the second is a comedy moment. Both are pretty solid and succeed at their objectives. The regular ending to the film is also pretty great. So the film definitely did have a lot going for it.

Shazam also does give us a pretty decent blend of humor and serious moments. The scene of Sivana cornering the board and showing off his monsters for the first time is definitely pretty intense. I’ll also give some credit to one of the women who actually tried running while everyone was just standing around waiting to get murdered. Pretty much any moment with the villains is handled pretty seriously while any scene with Shazam is comedic. Typically the film keeps the parallel well which is always difficult. It could have probably laid off the jokes a bit at times, but they’re not bad for the most part so they don’t really take away from the experience.

Now the negatives or more precisely, what the film was weak at. It didn’t make any huge mistakes that would cost it a lot of points, but are factors that keep it from a higher score. First off is Billy. He can be pretty annoying, mainly because you just can’t trust him. He lets Freddy down after the kid was counting on him and as a result he gets bullied even more. Even if Billy wasn’t happy to have been put on the spot like that, just leaving him to get beaten was a really bad moment. Honestly, that was his worst scene if you ask me. Prior to that even if he had a bad attitude at least he would reluctantly stick up for Freddy and the others. You can portray Billy as a very optimistic “Golly” character from the old days or the very edgy rebellious version from the modern day, but this film does neither. It just makes him a character with a sour attitude who is basically a coward. He spends the vast majority of the film running away from every obstacle and challenge in his way. By the time he finally mans up the film is over. After Shazam runs away and abandons everyone for like the 5th time you’ll have had enough of the character. He just doesn’t feel like a hero. It’s part of his character development of course, but I can’t remember a time I’ve seen a hero be this afraid of combat and constantly running. Typically when you obtain super powers you either embrace it and jump right into action (Dr. Strange, Captain America) or you don’t engage the fight but quickly do what you need to in order to survive but I can’t think of a time a main hero just abandoned everyone to die. I have no doubt that Shazam will be better in the sequel, but in this film I have to say that he was a bad character. You can’t just let bullies mess with your family and look the other way. That’s not gonna fly.

The climax is also surprisingly a little unexciting despite the fact that by all accounts it should have been excellent. I can’t really say much about the climax at all so as to avoid all possible spoilers, but it’s not as good as the early fight scene from early on in the film. Maybe it’s because the villains can’t really fight or because the hero can be so slow on the uptake. We get quite a few scenes of “I can do this?” moments where it gets old pretty quick. The visuals are still pretty good of course, but I think focusing more on Shazam vs Sivana would have helped more. This isn’t really a negative as the climax is still good, but I couldn’t help but feel it was missing something. I might also blame this on Shazam still being dominated even in the final climax.

Shazam also goes for a bit of an emotional aspect during the movie. Mainly this is dealing with Billy’s past and present as he tries to move on. It doesn’t work too well though so some of these drama moments just end up failing. Particularly the plot with the mother as it goes exactly the way you would expect and by this point you’re probably super fed up with Billy. It just feels like he didn’t really think any of this through. When it comes to personal relationships like this it’s naturally easier said than done, but it would have been better if he could have been searching for her without just ditching everyone constantly. It slows down the pacing of the film so it’s not quite as 24/7 engaging as the other films. For example, I’d say that Aquaman was more consistent with bringing in exciting scenes over and over.

Overall, Shazam is definitely a pretty good film. It’s not a great film and that may seem bad in an age where the superhero films have been hitting it out of the park so well, but not every film can be a grand slam. It’s not even a film that was just barely positive, it’s one that is all around a solid title. I’d say there’s reasonable replay value here. Most of the jokes are quick references or moments that don’t require a lot of build up so they will hold up on a re-watch. There’s no animal violence to be found here or any moment that will really make you shake your head. It’s just a good film that will keep your attention throughout. If you haven’t checked this film out yet then I’d recommend doing so. It’s not really connected to the rest so you don’t have to watch a prior DC film to get into this one. You can just dive in and enjoy it.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Batman Ninja Review


Time to look at one of the strangest Batman films to date. This one goes for a very different look and even takes place in a different era than where Batman usually is. It’s a fun enough film, I think parts of it end up feeling more experimental than fixed, but it has potential. Either way it’s a fun way to spend 90 minutes and I’d be game for a sequel.

The film starts with Batman trying to stop Gorilla Grodd’s latest invention. It’s a time machine that he is planning to use to rule the Earth across all of its different eras. Batman blows it up, but this has the unintended effect of bringing him and everyone who was in range of the device into Feudal Japan. He is now in the Sengoku period and each of Batman’s enemies have commanded one of the territories. Joker naturally owns the biggest one. Batman will have to quickly get used to this period and make arrangements with local armies to fight back. He may even have to team up with Grodd, but can the ape be trusted?

After that beginning the film does play out a little differently than I thought it would. I got the feeling that Batman was going to have to unite Japan and take out all of the villains. Of course, maybe it’s for the best that it didn’t go that way since each fight would have been really rushed. I’m ultimately pretty glad that Batman just ignored everyone else and ran to where Joker was. His Batmobile looks better than usual here as it has multiple vehicles built inside. It was too bad when they were ultimately broken.

In general Batman looks pretty good here. I’m still not crazy about his design, but personality wise he basically made all of the right choices. Even if if the hostage was almost definitely fake and just Harley in disguise, that’s not a risk that Batman can simply make. In hand to hand he was doing quite good as well and his plans were on point. Even his quick period of self doubt was shorter than most as he quickly got back on the saddle. That’s definitely what I like to see from our lead.

His array of Robins also show up and were fairly helpful I suppose. As always, Red Hood was definitely the most violent and intense of the bunch though. He was really willing to take Joker and Harley down for the count. Batman’s not up for murder like that so I feel like if that happened in the present he would have probably tried to arrest Jason. This just wasn’t a good time to do so. Catwoman looks all right as well. As always she basically plays the field until one side has the edge and then she makes her move. Things worked out pretty well for her so the plan was definitely her best option.

There’s not much to talk about for the soundtrack but how about the animation? Well, for the most part it looks good. The character models are very detailed and there’s a high tech feel to the whole thing. While the fights can be a little blocky at times it doesn’t take away from the nice choreography. On the other hand, we do get one stretch of time for the farmer scenes where the budget completely dies out. I didn’t mind the video game type cutscenes when Batman says that he’ll have to do things like Feudal Japan civilians would as it’s a bit of a throwback. This artistic fadeaway style is something else though. The scenes just don’t look good and you start to feel like the budget is drying up real quick. Fortunately these are quick scenes though.

There’s a lot of action to be found here. As soon as one fight scene ends you can bet that a new one is about to start up. There is rarely a few scenes in a row where nothing much is happening. With the short length this is basically a must so I’m glad that the film handled this well. You can feel a good amount of power behind each of Batman’s blows which is always important. He strikes with minimal movement as each blow is very precise. The film does a good job of getting that across.

As for the villains, Joker is certainly the main one here. His voice will take some getting used to, but the character definitely gets a lot of respect here. He actually has Batman on the defensive a few times which is more than most villains can say. He actually looks really good during combat which is always nice to see. Grodd also looks pretty solid here even if he isn’t quite as impressive. He’s also a strategic mastermind in his own right so he shouldn’t be underestimated.

The other villains don’t get a huge role though. It’s pretty much unavoidable, but that’s why this concept could have really worked for a full TV season or something like that. Having Batman tackle all of the districts would be pretty cool. Aw well, either way we did get a bunch of giant robots for some fights so that was pretty neat. Then the quick Bane vs Batman scuffle was also pretty intense. It’s always nice to see Batman bringing out a whole lot of tech like this. He’s a genius and with prep time you’d expect him to have a lot of tools at his disposal.

We have to quickly talk about the ending though. It’s basically there for cool points, but makes no sense otherwise. So Batman…the guy who is always trying to hide his secret identity has decided that he’s had enough of that. He gets into a horse driven carriage that has Bat emblems all over it. Why would he draw attention to himself like that? It’s a moment that just feels really forced and I had to bring that up. Not a bad ending I guess, but in universe it just makes no sense.

Overall, Batman Ninja is definitely a fun film. It brings that proper blend of being a super hero film along with some anime inspirations. The fights are good and there’s not much bad to say about the film. The animation could certainly be more refined and the character designs need some work, but as long as you remember this is an AU then that doesn’t even matter quite as much. If you haven’t checked this film out yet then I would recommend changing that. It certainly has a good amount of enjoyment to offer you.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Aquaman Review


It’s time to look at DC’s latest superhero movie in their cinematic universe. The universe got off to a rough start with its first few titles not quite hitting it out of the park like you would expect. Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, and Justice League were all superb films. It wasn’t the quality that was lacking, but for some reason people just weren’t giving it great reviews. They simply weren’t ready for it. Whether this is due to smear campaigning by Marvel and its fans, fans just preferring more of a comedy/action blend for their CBMs, or something else, it is what it is. DC was forced to undergo a change so for Wonder Woman and Suicide Squad they went with Marvel’s approach and made the films more of a action/comedy hybrid. Gone were the darker, more thought provoking CBMs and we were more in line with the norm. In Wonder Woman’s case it succeeded and based on the films coming up it seems like DC will be sticking with this approach. Well, there’s nothing wrong with it. If it works for Marvel it can work for DC. Still, I think I will miss those original 3 films. (With Justice League’s original cut never quite being seen but what we got still had fair amount of its original identity I suppose) Aquaman is a solid film and if the rest are as good then DC will be in good hands.

The film starts off with a nice action scene as Aquaman’s mother Atlanna fights off a bunch of guards. I always think that a good way to spice up the origin story is by having the parents actually be secretly good fighters. In this case Atlanna is the one who does the fighting and she is quite good at it. It’s a nice way to start the movie and then she leaves to go back to Atlantis to die for her crimes of having a kid with a mere surface dweller. We then cut to the present where Aquaman has embraced his gifts as a defender of Earth. He grabs some drinks and saves people who are nearby. You could say that he is a local hero. That all changes when Mera shows up. She is the princess of Atlantis and explains to a reluctant Aquaman that the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Atlantis is on the brink of war with Earth and if that happens then there will be big consequences. Most likely Earth would win since Superman could vaporize everyone, but that would be a last resort like the Snap and so by then everyone would have died. Aquaman must claim his birthright as King to put a stop to this. Can Aquaman really do this? He’ll have to put the bottle down and become something he’s always feared becoming. Something even greater than a king…a Super Hero!

It is said that films rise and fall on their supporting casts. It can be relatively easy to make a good main character (Not to trivialize this. Good writing is key to any character) but creating good supporting characters is a lot tougher. Particularly in a one shot film or the first in a series since they won’t get as much screen time as the lead and must be developed so that they are not simply walking tropes of characters with little personality. Fortunately, Aquaman does well in this area, especially as I am still not sold on Aquaman himself.

I will acknowledge that Aquaman is far improved from his portrayal in Justice League. There he was just very annoying and you almost wished that he wasn’t in it. Here we at least see why he became such a loud persona…even if that doesn’t make him much more tolerable. Here’s the problem with Aquaman, and he points this out himself. He’s good at beating people up and heading home. When that doesn’t work he is out of options and as he learns in this film, it usually isn’t enough. He loses in almost every fight that he gets into in Aquaman as the moral of the film is to fight creatively and to use his other gifts. It’s not Aquaman’s fault that he’s losing, but he takes the “not very smart” character a little far. He doesn’t seem as earnest or interesting as other leads. I won’t go as far as to call him a bad lead, but there’s nothing that makes him stand out. In a world of dynamic characters like Tony Stark, Bruce Wayne, Steve Rogers, and Clark Kent, there really isn’t any way for Aquaman to stand out. This is actually one of the few problems Justice League 2 may face. The trinity are rock solid, but the other members have a long way to go before they are all that good.

Backing up into the supporting lineup is where the true fighters are. Mere’s water manipulation abilities have always been very potent and the film illustrates why that is. She can shoot water with enough concussive blast to knock out an Atlantean. She can conjure up water from just about anywhere. If she is fighting someone underwater then there is no way she can lose. Mera could have easily beaten all of the enemies in the film, but the only reason she did not is because of the tribal traditions of the clan it wouldn’t have defused the war. As a result she needed Aquaman to help out. Still, Mera’s skills are never in doubt and she has to save him quite a few times. I’m already hoping that she will show up in Justice League 2 as she could hold her own against some of the villains.

Yes, this does force me to quickly sidetrack into one of the film’s weaknesses..the romance. The romance with Aquaman and Mera really feels undeserved and just falls flat. It all happens fairly quick with no real reason for them to pair up. It’s just there to check the box but cut the romance out and I don’t think anything would actually change. There just isn’t much to it. It could have been a lot worse so I’ll give the film credit for showing some restraint. Still, it should not have even been a factor.

Back to supporting characters. Vulko made for a pretty good mentor. While he isn’t the strongest fighter out there, he’s a good tactician and manages to keep the peace for as long as possible. He’s fortunate that Orm isn’t completely evil like other villains or he could have really been doomed. Meanwhile, Orm makes for a good villain. Villains don’t always need to have some tragic backstory or extra development to be good. Sometimes, they can simply be total villains with no reason for it and that works out well. Finally, you have the villains who believe they are fighting for a noble cause or that the ends justify the means. In Orm’s case, he makes a compelling argument for why war is needed. The humans have been polluting the oceans for a long time and show no signs of slowing down. If they don’t do anything then the war will be lost before it ever begins.

Of course, the Atlanteans could have at least tried to negotiate first. After all, as they point out several times the humans don’t even know they exist. Alerting them to this presence would at least open up a channel of dialogue. Then if the humans attack (and they will) the Atlanteans can counter and they will be within their rights. Still, as a backup option at least Orm is right that attacking now and sending a message will protect them from destruction. It’s not a heroic goal and Orm knows it, but protecting his people is his top concern. The film never shows him to be crazy, deluded, or ineffective. He’s on the wrong side, but otherwise he is a capable leader and that’s a good thing.

Then we have Nereus who is quick to join Orm’s cabal. It turns out that he is also looking for war and that’s reasonable. I do think he is quick to falter towards the end, but I suppose traditions are important. He’s not as cool as the other two big villains in the film, but he’s not bad. Then we have Black Manta who is the best of the villains. I’m all for a good villain revenge story. Most of the time it isn’t justified and can be a bit of a stretch in logic on the villain’s part, but regardless it makes for good motivation. Especially if the villain plays the long game and takes a long time to train and get stronger before seeking revenge. At that point, nothing will stop him/her from succeeding.

Sasuke Uchiha, Neo (RWBY), Broly, and many more. Villains whose whole ambitions have been turned to revenge over things done to them or their loved ones make for superb villains. It’s not a “Every villain who falls into this category is awesome) kind of thing, but if written well it’s hard to stop. A good way to sabotage this motive is to have the villain take it out on a target who isn’t a part of their revenge. If it’s someone getting in their way then that’s one thing. However, trying to attack the hero’s friends to get a reaction out of them is murky as it can make the villain a little hypocritical and can destroy whatever message they were trying to send. If they’ve got a problem with someone then that’s where it should stay. Manta blames Aquaman for murdering his father and is certainly right that it was murder. (He never goes after anyone else during this revenge tour which is important) Letting someone die when you can save them is only different from actively murdering the person in terms of scope. The latter is certainly putting you in as a bad guy while the former could be explained by a moment of cowardice or aggression. Naturally, those aren’t excusable, but I will concede that the latter is still worse just as a full lie is worse than a white lie. It’s all semantics though and at the end of the day I can see why Manta would want Aquaman dead. He does a good job gearing up for the second round and whenever he is on screen it’s a blast to watch. I look forward to seeing him in the sequel.

Atlanna is also a scene stealer whenever she shows up. Her role was handled extremely well and she gets the credit she deserves. While she may technically be lacking in raw power compared to Mera or Aquaman, she certainly makes up for this in talent and experience. You don’t get the idea that mother time has caught up to her. She’s older now, but still a fighter. Then we’ve also got the giant monster near the end who is quite solid. Honestly if the monster had died at the end I would have been pretty upset. Aquaman basically has him take a lot of extra hits which seemed to be causing a bit of effect towards the end. This monster seems pretty OP so it’ll be interesting to see how he is handled in future appearances.

I think that’s pretty much all of the big characters. It’s a nice roster as I mentioned earlier. As for the soundtrack, it’s less memorable than some of the other DC films but it wasn’t bad. I just seriously cannot think of any themes off the top of my head. As long as they weren’t bad then that’s the important thing I suppose. As for the writing, it’s decent to good. The characters are written well of course while the romance is lacking a bit. I do think that most of the jokes didn’t land though. At times the film tries a little hard to be funny, but doesn’t yet have the rapid fire dialogue that adds to the humor in some of the Marvel titles. It is naturally a tricky balance with the humor of course since there are no many different kinds. Unless it’s a dirty joke I wouldn’t dock the film any points for it. So, while the humor wasn’t the most effective, it doesn’t hurt my enjoyment of the film one way or the other here.

Naturally there is an after credits scene here. It’s very low key but not a bad scene. I think the problem is that with how great some of the previous after credits scenes have been over the years it’s hard to go back to simpler days. Still, this will always beat the alternative of not having such a scene and I do think the sequel should be pretty fun. Aquaman is also the kind of character who is pretty tough, but could certainly be beaten is taken by surprised or overwhelmed before getting to the water so this villain could be a legitimate threat. I was hoping for a Justice League stinger, but I think DC isn’t totally sure what to do with those characters as of yet so I don’t expect we will see Superman or Batman for a while. I’m hoping that at least Wonder Woman can still pop up from time to time to keep the group united and ready to fight though.

Overall, Aquaman is a solid film. It’s got a good amount of action and works out well as an origin film. Since Aquaman already showed up in Justice League at least the origin was relatively quick. The scenes that we did get weren’t too long which is always good. The pacing is on point and the supporting cast is solid. I won’t say that the film is amazing, but it’s a fun watch and has a good amount of replay value so you could certainly see it again. I think that is almost as important as being a good movie since a true “good” movie should be one that you can see more than once. If you haven’t checked this film out yet then I would recommend changing that.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

The Death of Superman Review


It’s time to look at this recent DC movie. Doomsday already got an adaption a long time ago, but now the New 52 lineup can give it a whirl as well. The animation and fights here aren’t quite as solid as the ones in the original, but I do think Superman got to use his speed a little more which is always cool. It’s a solid re imagining overall and will definitely have a lot of replay value for future watches. However, adding in the League also adds in a bunch of scenarios for the writers to have to deal with which the film doesn’t always put to full use.

The film starts off with a meteor heading to Earth. It busts through a space ship and falls onto Earth. Doomsday walks out and begins his murdering spree. He wants to destroy everything on Earth and slowly makes his way to the cities. The Justice League begin to track him, but this could take a while. Meanwhile Superman is debating on if he should finally tell Lois the truth or not. He better hurry because based on the title he may not have a whole lot of time left to live. Could this be it for the Man of Steel?

Surprisingly the first 40 minutes are used to focus on the Clark and Lois dynamic rather than getting us to the big fight. I think the Lois and Superman stuff have already been done to death, but I wouldn’t fault the film for it too much since I’m sure every writer wants a crack at this. Unfortunately I thought the film made Lois look really bad here. Granted, Clark isn’t in the right at every turn either, but my main issue is that Lois is just rather rude the entire film. She just doesn’t seem like a nice person and given how Superman is all about being nice it just seems a little off.

Case in point, Lois has a co-worker named Grant who is always trying to dig up the dirt on Clark for her. She seems like a really nice friend even if she’s a bit nosy and is just looking out for Lois. She even buys Lois a coffee. I think you’re not supposed to like Grant, but honestly she was just a quality character. Look, the gossip mill at work will always be going. At least she lets Lois know what the others know and gives Lois the option to control the information a little. Lois just brushes her off along with the others in the hopes that nobody will find out but that door has already been slammed shut. She just isn’t very open to talking about it. I also think this is an unfortunate aspect of centering Lois’ character around the romance. It consumes all of her scenes when she is typically supposed to be busy being an ace reporter. It’s probably one of her weakest appearances in the continuity.

Meanwhile Superman is nervous about telling her the truth which makes sense I guess, but if he’s getting serious about her then he should absolutely drop the bomb before the wedding. Doing it afterwards would just be super irresponsible. He was also a little too much at the dinner where he kept trying to silence his parents. The guy’s gotta be able to take a few embarrassing stories better than that. In fact, that would have been a good time to tell Lois that he was Superman. Would have been perfect to be honest. Well, the whole romance stuff certainly wasn’t the best, but the meat and potatoes of this is the fights anyway.

Once the fights start they are definitely a lot of fun. It’s always cool to see Doomsday going up against the Justice League because that isn’t a matchup you get to see often. The fights with them and then Superman are basically nonstop action so the whole second half is just a lot of combat. It all looks really solid and the film doesn’t disappoint. While I did mention earlier that it’s not up to par with the previous adaption I think calling the animation anything less than great would be selling it short. It’s still excellent and the action is enough to recommend the film.

Of course, I do think the Justice League seemed heavily nerfed throughout to make the plot work. That’s why sometimes films just cut everyone else out to avoid this issue. It becomes a case of if you’d rather have the audience suspend disbelief for no other heroes coming to help or having the heroes come and then be completely ineffective. This film chose the latter while the previous chose the former. Some characters like Hawkman are pretty accurate or if anything look too strong. That’s fine, but when we get to the big shots it gets a little tricky.

Case in point, The Flash. We see early on that Hawkman was able to land 2 hits that really sent Doomsday flying. Then Flash comes in and his attacks aren’t leaving a dent. When Flash goes at super speeds his hits actually increase in power tremendously. I think that’s one aspect of the Flash that is constantly overlooked, but at super speed he does have incredible amounts of super strength. That along with the Mace should have done considerable damage to Doomsday. Showing Doomsday taking a pounding and then adapting would have been good to see. Doomsday’s durability along with his regeneration is incredible after all and that would have made the fight so much better.

Then Green Lantern comes in and basically just plays defense. He tries trapping Doomsday and then making a barrier. Both are poor options. Blasting him from the sky and flying around a ton would have been far better options. Then he is knocked out in one hit. Keep in mind that the fight starts off in the early afternoon and doesn’t conclude until late in the evening yet none of the Leaguers wake up. I think the most accurate member was Wonder Woman. She actually gives Doomsday a long back and forth fight where she dealt quite a lot of damage. She showed off her super strength and combat experience. Superman will always be the real power hitter of the League, but I think having the others contribute in a similar way to Wonder Woman would have been good.

Also, the League completely forgot about team work or even fighting at the same time. Every leaguer waits until the other member is down to start fighting. Hawkman comes in first, then loses. Green Lantern then shows up and loses. Then Flash shows up and loses, etc. Martian Manhunter, Cyborg, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, nobody ever teams up at all. They seem to insist on fighting Doomsday 1 on 1 which makes no real sense. It also doesn’t make sense that Hawkman and Green Lantern would both have time to fight Doomsday before Flash arrives on the scene. With his speed even after saving civilians he should have been the first one on the scene. I think the main issue was having Doomsday take down the League while staying believable. Depending on how he beats them you could argue that either Superman has no chance or he suddenly gets power scaled way above the others. I think doing the latter would work just fine. Superman has always been the strongest member of the League and I would argue that typically it is by a fantastically large margin. That doesn’t need to change.

Showing the League hitting Doomsday with a bunch of combo attacks and the beast just refusing to stay down would have been very powerful. The film doesn’t even need to hold back on having him get extremely weakened or losing a limb or two and regenerating. It would show off his healing factor as well as his “adaption” ability. It would work similar to Amazo as their attempts to defeat him would only make him stronger. It’s a unique situation where they could show off all of the League’s talents and skills while still having Doomsday stay on top. I think that would have worked out really well and made the fight more realistic.

Well, that’s enough on the power levels. It isn’t really anything that would hurt the film but always something I need to note. Also, the League took way too long in finding Doomsday. He started murdering people early on and even took out Atlanteans, but it took at least a day to find him. Really? They should have found him within an hour or so after that. Just put the Flash on his trail. By the time they find Doomsday he had already murdered quite a few people. Which the New 52 lineup could be a little off an on with how violent they are. The first installments are quite violent and after that they started to dial it down a bit. This one is a little more on the violent side I’d say. It’s certainly more violent than necessary as we see Doomsday crush quite a few people.

Unfortunately this leads the film into the animal violence territory which was really unnecessary and definitely did hurt the film. A poor bear gets attacked by Doomsday. The scene has no purpose even within the narrative as we can already reasonably assume that he is stronger than a bear. If the film is trying to show that the food chain has been altered, that is rather obvious as well. All a scene like this does is take a star away from the film and lower its replay value. It’s a shame that the film had to mess up here.

There are quite a few after credit scenes here to set up the sequel. Basically each of the Supermen get a scene. I think it would have worked better as one long scene than all of the various cuts though. Just one long scene that sets up the sequel. It’s less jarring than having a quick 3 second scene, cut, 3 second scene, etc. Still, it’s a good attempt though and the sequel should definitely be fun. I look forward to seeing the League deal with these guys. This time they’ll need to be more prepared for the fight though.

Overall, The Death of Superman was a pretty good film, but one that could have definitely been even better. You’ll surely enjoy the big fights with Doomsday and it is nice to have it as part of a longer continuity since you see cameos for the supporting characters like Damian and the Atlanteans. I do think the film may have brought too much baggage with it in the first half though and it should have been trimmed down to get us to the action a little sooner. I definitely still recommend checking this film out though. It’s a good action story with a lot of hype moments. The title basically spoils most of the movie, but I think it’s assumed that you know the plot going into this one.

Overall 7/10