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

Advertisements
Editorial

8 necessary traits to being a good Hero?

It’s time to take a look at what it means to be a good main character. There are a lot of qualities that you need to have to be a quality lead and it’s a very broad subject. There’s no way I can tackle literally every part of this equation, but I will at least get to the important parts. A hero stops the villains. That’s the basic definition of it at least, but there’s a whole lot more to it than that. You’ve got to have a strong fortitude, the will to defend others and fighting battles that are not winnable. You gotta protect your family and friends even if it means going against the law. The characters I use as examples below aren’t necessarily great heroes, but they have shown at least that one of the 8 major traits that all big heroes need. So without further adieu lets talk about this.

Disclaimer: The images/gifs below include scenes from Naruto (The flashback saga between the classic series/Shippuden), RWBY (The volume 6 Adam short), Yu Yu Hakusho (The second showdown with Sensui), Sword Art Online (The Sleeping Knights arc), Super Smash Bros Brawl (Final cutscene), Fairy Tail (The Sabretooth arc), Seraph of the End (The first meetup with the leads), Bleach (Soul Society climax), My Hero Academy (The introduction to the Mafia arc), and Dragon Ball Z (The Buu Arc). So if you haven’t read/watched those series and are concerned for spoilers then you may want to look away. Mainly the scenes here are bits without context and I wouldn’t consider them all that spoilery, but I know what a spoiler is depends on the individual. Some prefer to be 100% surprised so even seeing 2 characters together is a bit of a spoiler since now you know that they cross paths. For others it has to be something bigger, but nonetheless you at least know the various series involved now.

1 A Hero can’t be bound to the law.

You can’t always follow the protocols. Follow your heart, not the law. Of course this is in the context that the heroes will still follow the just ones of course. You have to keep in mind that half of the time the villains are the ones running these worlds. If you blindly follow the laws then you’ll end up allowing villains to get away with everything. If you’re a hero who is a part of a larger organization then you have to watch out as the group will often try to stifle you. They need to wait for proof and such, which as an organizational policy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, this means that innocents will still be suffering during the wait. That’s when a real hero steps up.

A good example of a hero moving in on his own is Natsu from Fairy Tail. Here’s the context behind the clip here. There’s a guild known as Sabertooth which is a group that carries out missions. The group has a very strict policy where if you lose you’re publicly shamed and then thrown out of the guild. Natsu finds out about this and decides to break in and take out the leader. Attacking another guild isn’t something you’re supposed to do and especially attacking on your own is typically a suicide mission. The Fairy Tail group is a lot more reasonable than other guilds so I actually think they may have supported Natsu here, but at the same time I’m glad Natsu didn’t wait to go check with everyone. He went right to the group and if he wasn’t interrupted I really think he would have taken down the whole group there. Natsu wasn’t playing around.

2. Heroes can’t worry about villainous mind games.

There are a lot of villains who start talking about their grand ambitions, how they’re actually the good guys and all of that nonsense. It tends to work on some characters who start weakening in their resolve against the villains. Some heroes go all the way in turning to the dark side while others simply become paralyzed with fear. True heroes really don’t care though and that’s part of what makes them a good hero. A good hero doesn’t need to worry about if what they’re doing is the best course of action or not. They’ve already thought through their plan earlier so at this point they just need to go in and get stuff done. In Yu Yu Hakusho a big part of the Sensui arc was the villain trying to convince the heroes that humans are even worse than demons. It works on some of the characters, but Yusuke never buys into this from the start. It’s not that he’s disregarding Sensui’s points, but at the end of the day the villain’s trying to destroy the planet so no justification will save him from Yusuke’s beat down. A hero can’t waver in their convictions.

3. Heroes save their family and friends no matter what


This one seems to be really hard for a lot of heroes. They become bound by their own feelings and the law rather than standing by their allies. Kakashi’s line in the image shown above perfectly describes the true heroes from the ones who neglect their title. Time and time again we see a hero get framed and his or her supposed best friends and comrades are quick to turn. One of the worst examples of this was in the 6th Naruto movie where almost the whole leaf village decided to take him down as well as allowing Kakashi to sacrifice himself. None of those are real heroes. Even if nobody else believes in your friends you’ve got to save them. Even if it’s against the law or you’re outnumbered you’ve gotta at least try to save those closest to you. Mikaela’s whole character is built around how he’s sworn to always protect Yu. It hasn’t been easy, but in the clip below he finally locates him and gains a surge of strength to save him. Not everyone here may be enemies, but they’re all pawns so Mikaela has to save Yu on his own.

4. Heroes don’t back down


This is a big one because depending on the circumstances it’s easy to lose all respect for a character. An infamous example of this is Deku from one of the latest arcs as he allows a girl to be kidnapped and tortured in part because he was scared of the villain, but also because he was told to let it happen. That’s falling for 2 taboos in a row there. It’s very hard if not impossible to ever recover from that. As a hero you can’t back down. If something bad is happening in front of you then you’ve got to act. This includes a scenario where you don’t have a chance of winning and have to try anyway. Even if you lose at least you’ll have bought some time or at least weakened the villain. Even if you’ll ultimately be defeated without dealing damage, it’s better to stand and fight than flee. The villains win automatically when you don’t even try. Kirito is one of those fighters who is always quick to jump into a fight even if it may not be a winnable one. He certainly won’t back down and in this clip Asuna and the others showed similar resolve. You’ve just got to stand your ground.

5. Heroes don’t make sacrifices

One of the worst things a hero can do is allow someone to be sacrificed. I don’t care if it’s the other character’s plan, if the character begs the hero to let him die, etc. If the hero allows this then that’s a problem. There’s always another way and in the cases where there isn’t, well I guess everyone’s gonna have to die then. Better to go down as a team than to let someone make the sacrifice. Endgame did a good job with that with the Black Widow and Hawkeye dynamic since both of them did their best to stop the other. You have to do everything you can to stop the other person even if it means taking the plunge yourself. I’m not against the hero doing a self sacrifice move, but you can’t let anyone else do it. The point of being a hero is taking the shots so someone else doesn’t have to. Is it selfish? Yes, but sometimes being a hero is about being selfish. That may be a topic for another day. Here Ichigo just prevented Rukia from dying even though at this point she didn’t want to get anyone in trouble. He just decided to save her anyway and that’s always the right call.

6. Heroes act rather than wait

This is a big one. You can have the loftiest ideals in the world, but if you’re not acting upon them then you’re doing more harm than good. I’ve seen a lot of villains created in part because the heroes are ineffective. Take a look at this clip. The White Fang is at this moment a fairly peaceful group, but they are being stopped by bandits (or countrymen as the world of Remnant definitely did not like the Faunus) and the leader just halfheartedly tells them to stop. Of course they continue to shoot because it’s a very passive attempt at best. You have to actually stop them. In this case, Adam was right to neutralize the bunch. He didn’t murder any until the end, but he made sure that they wouldn’t hurt anyone else. Now, for the last person? I don’t see anything wrong in that instance as he had to make a snap decision to save his comrades. Could he have just sliced the gun? Sure, but that’s way easier said than done and he only had an instant. Again, a hero can’t hesitate as more lives would be lost. You just have to act and live with the consequences there.

7. Heroes can’t be pawns

There’s a little overlap here with the bullet about not always following the law. Sometimes heroes allow themselves to be pawns by either acting in a situation where they’re just going off of someone’s word or they’re doing something they know is wrong because their boss told them to do so. One instance of this was when Captain Adam chose to help Cadmus rather than the League. He stood by as they tortured a League member and were planning to murder several others. You just can’t call yourself a hero at that point. At least if you don’t realize that you’re a pawn you can use that as a defense but if you willingly jump into the role then it’s all over. Vegeta allowed himself to be mind controlled in order to access his next form and fight Goku, but he never let Babidi give him any real orders. At the end of the day Vegeta still does whatever he wants and that’s exactly the kind of hero you want. If the orders you’re given don’t make sense then you shouldn’t follow them.

8. Heroes inspire confidence

This last one is a bit obvious, but worth mentioning. A Hero should inspire confidence. His or her mere presence should turn a situation around and bring some hope into a situation that was filled with despair. Originally I chose a Justice League clip with Superman here, but the gif website was having some issues and I couldn’t load the video so I quickly had to go with another option. Sonic’s another hero who inspires confidence and the scene of him saving everyone in Super Smash Bros Brawl was perfect. Not only did it finally solidify him as the strongest character in the game, but it was just the perfect entrance. Sonic’s appearance automatically changes the whole situation and a good hero should have that kind of impact. A hero doesn’t have to be massively powerful like Sonic or Superman, but a hero should have enough experience and tools in his kit to always be able to give the good guys some valuable help. If a hero shows up and everyone stays gloomy or throws some insults around then you’ve done something wrong.

So, these are my 8 bullet points on what makes a good hero. There are more things of course, but I feel like these are the main 8 without starting to repeat myself. Eventually a lot of the other points would overlap. Look, if you’ve got a brave hero who fights to save everyone then that’s a great character. A hero should always strive to save everyone even if it isn’t practical. The more cynical heroes who think you have to let everyone die are the ones who are really missing out on the big picture here. At that point you may be doing the right thing, but you don’t have the right hero mentality. So, what kind of hero do you get when you merge all of these aspects? Well, you get one of the ultimate anime characters of legend, a hero through and through.

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

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

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

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Teen Titans Go! To The Movies Review


It’s time to look at the Teen Titans GO! movie that came out recently. I’ve watched the show ever since its beginning and it’s always been very hit or miss. It can have some decent episodes and then it can have some truly terrible ones. As a result the show is leaning towards a negative rating at the moment, but of course things can certainly change by the end. With a film I figured the writers would try to be on their best behavior and come up with a good story so as not to embarrass its viewers. Well, the movie is a considerable step up and I can happily say that it was a quality movie. I was worried for a little while, but it all turned out okay.

The film starts with the Teen Titans being mocked by the Justice League. While Robin and co. aren’t thrilled about this it’s hard to deny that the League have a lot more going for them. They’ve got big budget films on their resume while the Titans haven’t got a clue. Robin decides that the only way their group will ever be respected is if they get a big budget movie. They head over to Jade Wilson to plead their case but she explains that she’ll never make a film about them. The only way around this is if the Titans can get rid of all other heroes or finally get an arch nemesis. Both options will be tough for these guys, but Robin knows that it’s time to step up. Can the team do it?

Slade gets a pretty big role here as you’d expect since he is easily the Titans’ most iconic villain. This film is the first time they’ve met in Go continuity so it was nice to see him arrive. He’s played in a much more comedic light here as you’d probably expect. It may take a little while to get used to him since his “Mind Manipulation” gimmick isn’t quite as humorous as most of the other Titans. Still, he does give us a pretty good twist by the end (Well, if you’ve read the comics you might not be fooled but the twist works to an extent regardless because there are two routes that the movie could have went with) and he can certainly fight. I was glad to have him on board here.

Where the film excels is naturally in the writing/humor. See, typically the issue with the series is that the humor is cringy instead of funny. Usually it’s very crude or just flat out gross. This film rarely goes there and instead the humor is in how crazy the Titans are and how unprofessional the team can be. A good example of humor is how the Titans go around preventing everyone’s origin. The humor can also be a bit dark in how they have to murder some people without going too far into dicey territory. As I mentioned the only gag that drags on is Slade’s. (Saying his name gets old as well) When Slade isn’t around the rest of the humor is fast and to the point.

I also liked the film’s soundtrack. Some of the songs were meant to be parodies of course, but they still worked very well with or without context. Robin’s song about being a real hero was awesome. Likewise I really enjoyed the Teen Titans opening song that was also used during the climax. It’s really impressive just how good the song is honestly. It’s the kind of song you could actually listen to in a serious context and still enjoy it. It helps that the graphics for both scenes with the song were quite impressive. It started the film out on a high note and right away you could tell that it was a bit of a step up from the show. Even the animation was quite on point here. While the style isn’t really different from the show, there is a lot more movement so I imagine that the animators had to use many extra frames. It allows for better visual gags and some nice action scenes as well. On a technical level the film had no issues and since the writing was solid as well you can see how this film got off on the right foot.

As far as the main characters go, Robin is certainly the best hero just like you would expect. He actually knows how and when to get serious unlike the rest of the heroes. He got the team their opportunity to get a movie and didn’t mess it up unlike the others. He really wants to be a good crime fighter and is just held back by the others. I’d go as far as to say that without the others he would have already had his movie. Still, he’s pretty patient with the other titans and has all the qualities of a good leader. Unfortunately the other four don’t look very good here. They actively try to wreck his movie in a fit of jealousy and rage. You could argue that it is quite personal since right after Jade tells the Titans to stop goofing around they immediately did the opposite. I think the implication here is that they didn’t like the way she said it, but it’s still awful petty of them. Cmon now guys. You really feel bad for Robin the whole time and even if he does get suckered by the end you can’t blame him for trying. This was his life’s dream and he may not have gotten the opportunity again otherwise. You go Robin!

Another strong area in the film is its ever changing plot. While getting a movie is the main focus of course the film goes into a few different segways where you think it may spend a lot of time doing something only to refocus. A good example of this is the heroes deciding to go back in time to change the superhero origins of the League to replace them. You’d expect this to be the bulk of the plot in any other movie but here this montage only lasts for a little while before the Titans go with plan B. I think that plot could have been its own movie as well, but the film could have potentially locked itself in a bit since then it would become a bit more predictable as to what would happen next. It still worked for the quick gags though. There’s just a lot happening in this film throughout and it has the kind of energy that you want to see in a movie like this. It embraces how crazy it is and ultimately ends up being the definitive comedy DC film.

Of course this wouldn’t be a true comic book film without a post credits scene right? It hints at a future project to come if you take the scene at face value. Honestly I wouldn’t have taken it very seriously myself since it would be the ultimate gag to get everyone’s hopes and dreams up. Of course, we do have a rumored crossover film coming up which is similar to a direct sequel so I guess in a way that does lend some credibility to the scene. Regardless it is a pretty fun scene though and one that I’m sure you’ll have fun with.

Overall, Teen Titans Go! really surprised me with this one. The humor is just so much better than you would have expected based on the show. We’ve gotten glimpses of what the show could be like from time to time, but to actually pull this off for over an hour straight? I couldn’t help but be impressed. Aside from the Slade humor being a bit weak I can’t think of any negatives for this film. Even if you haven’t seen the show before now I highly recommend checking this film out. It’s just a lot of fun and all you need is a basic understanding of DC comics or at least the comic book movie industry to really get into what’s happening here. Who knows, maybe you’ll be able to accept Robin as a real hero!

Overall 7/10

7 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Juistice League Action Review


It’s time to look at a recent DC show that was rather short lived. Granted, it hasn’t officially been cancelled yet as a few sites still hold out hope on it returning, but the odds of that happening do seem rather slim at times. It’s a shame because the show was fun even if it was severely limited by the dreaded 15 minute format, still one of the worst modern innovations for cartoons in general. We got some action and some more adventures with the heroes so that was pretty cool.

Naturally there isn’t really any kind of ongoing plot here. Most of the episodes are stand alone adventures with maybe a reference or two in there somewhere. Interestingly enough the first 4 episodes was a multi part epic though. It would have been cool if the rest of the show had gone that route. It’s a way that you can get past the animation and the time constraints to tell more of a full story although I suppose that wasn’t the priority here. It’s leagues better than DC’s other current show Teen Titans Go though as this one puts the action as more of a priority than the humor with Teen Titans does the opposite. The humor we do get from Justice League is also just a lot better than Go’s.

The animation will take a lot of getting used to, but specifically it is probably the character designs that seem a little off. Everyone’s super skinny which may just be a flash thing as that’s the same way the characters are drawn in Teen Titans and for the most part MLP. I’m definitely not a big fan of Flash and to be honest at this point I’m pretty sure that CGI has started to pass it for the most part as well. I’m not sure if this is Flash or an odd form of hand drawn animation but it looks more like the former. The fight scenes can be pretty good when the show tries though and I can see them pulling something off with this art. We don’t get big fights all that often though as mostly they are quick skirmishes but we’ll take those. We also do have the good sound effects from the old DCAU days back as well.

There isn’t much of a soundtrack here, but whatever is around goes well enough with the story. Again, you don’t want to expect too much here, but the beginning of the show did have a lot of promise. The first elemental villains that we got were a lot of fun. They were even very powerful as they gave Wonder Woman and Superman a pretty good fight. We had Batman going up against some classic thugs in a fight that may sound boring but it was handled very well and hearing Batman’s old voice again was great. The first few episodes actually took themselves very seriously and it felt like it could be a Justice League sequel.

Gradually the show switched up its approach a bit though. It acts more like a homage to the JL show than a sequel and the comedy episodes became more frequent. There’s nothing wrong with a comedy series of course, but I think the show would have been able to reach the next level if it had just stayed like the first few episodes. For the most part they were the best ones. Other good episodes were: Firestorm’s debut episode where he has to fight off a group of androids, The Time Travel episode where Batman has to stop Chronos from murdering him on his first night as Batman, The Arcade Game where Toyman puts the heroes into a video game, The episode where Lex gets Amazonian abilities, and the one where Lex and Batman have to match wits with the fate of the world at stake.

Most of the episodes are quite solid but in particular those are some of the episodes that I really enjoyed. I could probably count the number of mediocre episodes on one hand in comparison. So at the very least JL Action was always a lot of fun. With each segment being so short it was also pretty clear from the start that pacing would not be an issue. Each adventure feels like it goes by very quickly.

Another thing I liked about the show is that it did give more screen time to some characters who didn’t do a lot in the main series. Firestorm gets a big role and is featured in many episodes. His abilities are very handy to have after all and in general he could be one of the team’s strongest members. Booster Gold also appears quite frequently to mess with time and try to get rich. At the very least you have to respect his resolve since the guy never gives up no matter how many tries it takes. We even get an episode for the Super pups as they fight the Red Lanterns. There was some serious power level shenanigans here since Krypto should have looked a lot better than he did in the fight but I’ll let it slide. In general power levels are often tricky for super hero shows and a good out to use is that the heroes are probably holding back quite a lot in order to not seriously hurt the villains.

Hopefully we do get a full Justice League show at some point. To put it one way, Justice League Action feels more like a RWBY Chibi kind of series where it is made to complement the main title. We need a full length Justice League series to air at some point and then Action could air while it’s on break. Justice League is a huge franchise so you’d think that it would sell quite well and yet DC hasn’t really made a move in a while. It’s a gold mine just waiting to happen.

There’s not much else to say about this show because we’re all already very familiar with the characters and there’s not much of a plot to discuss so even as a show review it’s a little on the short side. As a final note before the wrap up, I will say that Batman and Superman are the best characters as always. They always tend to have great episodes backing them up and the contrast between the two fighters is always nice as well. It’s why they are so legendary at this point.

Overall, This was a fun DC show. I would put it behind most of the other recent ones but it didn’t really make any mistakes. I’m not a huge fan of the format but it probably did about as much as it could with it while still keeping the comedy elements that Cartoon Network demands. I’d like to see the DCAU return again at some point with a full show. If you haven’t seen it yet then I’d recommend checking out JL Action. It’ll give you a chance to hang out with your favorite characters once again and it should feel pretty nostalgic in general.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash Review


It’s time to look at one of the newest Lego films around! DC has had a pretty good track record with their Lego adventures and are certainly leading the pack. This is because their specials actually have some pretty solid action scenes to go along with the good one liners. I dare say that DC has taken Legos to the peak of where they can reach and this one continues their roll. It still has some competition ahead of it for being the best DC specials, but I would put this one up there as probably top 3. Flash makes for a great main character and always makes the right moves.

The story starts with the Justice League trying to fend off an attack from the Joker. Unfortunately for them they are getting creamed. Flash should have been there to help, but he was busy enjoying a donut with a milkshake. Truly that is an underrated combo if you ask me. Still, he manages to save the day anyway, but then a mysterious being known as the Reverse Flash shows up. Flash chases him, but finds himself back to the start of the day. This keeps on happening and it seems like Flash is stuck in a time loop. In order to get out he will have to move even faster, but what if doing this ends up wrecking reality itself!? Only one way to find out!

I’m always up for a good time travel story. Nowadays this usually goes hand in hand with the Flash and his story arcs. Flashpoint is probably the most well known Flash event of all time and then the TV show also likes to casually mess around with the past and the future. It makes for good story arcs that open up a lot of moral questions like should you change the past or simply ignore it. Typically they go for the worst possible moral though and that is that the past shouldn’t be altered. Fortunately, it’s safe to say that this special doesn’t really go there at all. The trope can be especially annoying when the villain changed the past first and the hero still isn’t able to go back and correct it. A bit off topic though so lets get back to the adventure.

I do like how Flash handled the situation though. He kept on going after the Reverse Flash because he knew that one day he would surpass his limits. Even though Batman kept telling him to wait Flash would go anyway. The montage showed that he probably tries this at least 50 times. Imagine living through the same day that many times and not going crazy. Flash really kept it together and in the end he made the right move since Batman’s great advice was simply to say “Run faster.” That’s really the best advice that Batman’s got? Flash was able to do it of course, but after Batman’s constant “Wait” moments I was expecting something else. Still, Flash was easily the best character here and that’s not easy to do in a special where Batman and Superman are present.

In the other plot we have Reverse Flash proving to the world that he is a better hero than the normal Flash. Instead of trying to join the League or anything like that he spends his time trying to prove that they aren’t needed anymore. With the speed at which he solves crimes it may even appear to be true. If he were a legitimate hero then he would have a mild point, but of course he would run out of energy at some point so the league would have to step in again. It’s fun how he makes everyone look pretty petty at times like when the League was caught eaves dropping on him. Batman saved the situation from being a tragedy, but it still was not their greatest moment. Ah well, they did their best.

As far as the Justice League goes, they were all in character. Batman and Superman were a great contrast to each other as you would expect. Superman was super cheerful and would try being nice to Flash while Batman would just give him the tough facts. Wonder Woman was more of a mediator and Cyborg was busy messing everything up like usual. Likewise with Plasticman but to a greater extent. The new member of the group who got a lot of screen time was the Atom. If they wanted him to look terrible than they succeeded.

Considering that he is a new recruit the guy seems to have a considerable ego. He complains quite a lot and you have to repeatedly wonder how he actually got on the team. The guy definitely doesn’t seem like he belongs, but I guess that’s just one of those mysteries that you have to think about for a little while. He gets a subplot of his own where he tries to contact the league while he’s tiny and it’s a treacherous journey for him. I’d like to say that it helped him get likable by the end but not really. At this rate the new recruits are all going to keep on losing out.

I will say that the first half of the special does beat the latter though. I enjoyed the Groundhog shenanigans from the beginning as Flash kept trying to stop his evil doppelganger. His route to the trouble involving all of the food and villain arrests were fun as well. The movie accurately shows just how overpowered the Flash should be and since it’s part comedy they are actually able to pull this off instead of totally nerfing him. That’s not to say that the second half is bad, but Dr. Fate singalongs just don’t have the same appeal you know? It was definitely a radically different take on him, but at least it had personality. Dr. Fate usually doesn’t actually do much except get in everyone’s way. I do feel bad for Zatanna though since her training seems like it will take a very long time to actually get anywhere.

There’s not much to say about the animation that hasn’t been said before. It’s Lego animation so it’s pretty much the same every time. I’m not a huge fan of it, but it looks well enough and at this point it’s pretty polished. The action scenes are still solid as I mentioned earlier and they did a good job with the speed animations. As far as I’m concerned, they put in the proper amount of effort there. There isn’t much of a noticeable soundtrack here so it’s a few steps behind some of the others, but the sound effects are good and what music we do get tends to be solid as well.

The writing is on point which is always very important for a film like this one. The humor is actually good as opposed to just being obnoxious or annoying. Well, those two things are kind of the same I guess. Either way, the writing really understands the characters here. Cyborg and Atom are annoying, but it’s not necessarily the humor that makes them annoying, but the characters and I wouldn’t hold that against the writing since I’m pretty sure that it’s intentional. It may not be laugh out loud funny (Almost nothing is) but it works pretty well and the sarcastic wit from the heroes is part of the charm behind the Legos.

Overall, The Flash is a solid movie and one that I would certainly recommend. Whether you are a fan of Lego adventures or comic book films this is one title that you don’t want to miss. It really pulls out all of the stops and each act of the film feels like a complete film. Honestly the first act alone could have worked as the whole movie and I would have been satisfied. It’s a long 70ish minutes, but not in a bad way. They manage to squeeze a lot of content in there so I’d say that it’s actually very fast paced. There really isn’t anything majorly negative to say about the film and that’s how you know that it’s quite solid.

Overall 8/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Justice League Review


After all these years of hype the Justice League movie is finally upon us. The series has been amazing so far despite getting critically pounded. Not every film was great, but for the most part they were all solid. This film also ended up being an excellent addition to the cinematic universe. It can be a bit of a slow burner at times but one that does build up to a great climax.

After a quick scene that I actually forgot until after the film, Justice League opens up with an action scene where Batman takes down a Parademon and realizes that the invasion is closer than ever before. This was a perfect scene to kick off the film since it immediately has the aliens show up so the heroes can form the team. While I will have a bunch of critiques coming up, there is nothing I can say about this scene. It was basically perfect from the set design to the Parademon’s special effects. After this Batman decides to track down Cyborg, The Flash, and Aquaman so that these super powered individuals can stop the invasion. Wonder Woman has been alerted to what was happening as well and shows up to help. Can this alliance really stop the armies of Apokolips?

Let’s start with the basics. The soundtrack is really good. It’s not as memorable as Man of Steel but it does a good job of sounding epic. The Wonder Woman theme returns which is always fun. I was expecting the cool Man of Steel tune but maybe next time. The graphics are also really good for the movie and that’s one area where DC really excels. I have yet to see a CBM top BVS, or this film with the backgrounds. Man of Steel and Avengers are also pretty high up in the rankings. Essentially the whole climax of Justice League is in a fiery, apocalyptic future backdrop which makes every scene even more epic.

You also have to give the film credit for most of the outfits. Batman’s is definitely one of the best he has ever had and maybe it is the best. It reminds me a lot of his look from Justice League Heroes. Superman and Wonder Woman’s costumes also look pretty sharp. I’m still not sold on Aquaman and Flash so those didn’t hit it off for me. Cyborg’s was pretty good and I actually liked the mysterious cloak/hoodie costume.

Now let’s get on to the characters. Batman is essentially the lead here. I’d say that he looks pretty good. He is still the brains of the group although his plan is typically just to get whoever he is talking to upset. It took him quite a bit to realize that the guy was Aquaman as well unless that was part of the plan. He gets beat up and saved quite a bit but his reckless self sacrifice plans are still on point. He did have a nice contingency plan for Superman again as well. When it comes to personality he’s still my 2nd favorite character as expected but he is really going to need more power ups as the films go by or he is going to have an even tougher time dealing with the villains. That is give him some prep time once again.

Superman is my favorite character as always even if they decided to go with the edgy route for this film. I don’t mind an edgy Superman if done right after all. He was comically out of character for the entirety of his first scene when he attacks the League. Sure he isn’t too thrilled about why he is around but the Superman you’d expect would just endure this quietly or at least ask some questions. Trying to seriously injure and destroy the other heroes just doesn’t seem to be in character at all. The film played it off like he was actually going to destroy Batman even using one of Batman’s edgy lines from the last film to show how the tables have turned. Later Superman is rather reluctant to help out and must be told to do so. He then does a complete 180 ad starts cracking some jokes and laughing with everyone. It’s almost like they had two different writers and the 2nd one took over just for the climax act of the film so the scenes didn’t gel well.

What both acts really got right was Superman’s power and speed though. If you’re familiar with the characters, you’ll know that Superman is way stronger than the other League members. He could beat them teaming up without using all of his power. The film demonstrates that quite nicely. Even when he’s not been able to be in the sun for a while and was likely not at full power, the heroes just couldn’t hurt him. Wonder Woman is very strong but not strong enough to actually deal damage to him. Flash is fast, but not fast enough to actually land a hit on Superman. This is essentially how every fight with Superman and the League should go and I was incredibly impressed with how Superman looked here. I get the feeling we won’t get to see him look quite as impressive ever again so remember these scenes well.

Going back to Superman’s personality for a second, it is also weird that he holds such a grudge against Batman. It’s true that only Batman called them friends and Superman was rather cold to him throughout the climax but I thought he got over that by now. Wouldn’t Superman give him a second chance or let bygones be bygones? At the very least I’d expect him to try and arrest Batman instead. I still say that Batman should have called in Martha right away. She would have ended the whole situation right away. Despite this, Superman naturally does make the hero calls in the end and he’s still the best. In a way it probably is annoying to have to save the world every other day since nobody else can do it, but Superman will get over it and be inspired again before long.

Wonder Woman naturally gets a big role as well to close out the trinity. It’s likely only second to Batman’s. Until Superman shows up she is the only power hitter of the team so she basically has to fight Steppenwolf on her own. Wonder Woman does a pretty good job of lasting and while he is a little too strong for her just having one more ally who could fight would have been very useful and could have tipped the scales. She’s certainly a solid character as well and I wouldn’t have minded if the main 3 had been the focus of the film since the rest of the League members weren’t all that good compared to them. The only scene where Wonder Woman looks bad is when she decides to go against Batman in his master plan. I’m cool with her disagreeing with him since not messing with death can be sound advice. That being said, she immediately goes for the personal attacks and brings Superman into the discussion yet when Batman responds in kind she snaps and breaks his shoulder. She can dish it out, but evidently she can’t take it. Batman’s response was also pretty on point since she did randomly vanish for a century. We can blame DC for not thinking that plotline through since it was out of character for her, but it happened so she doesn’t have a whole lot of room to counter here.

On a side note, I would have liked to have had more scenes of Batman insulting the League. He had to play ball with them since Superman wasn’t around and he was a bit of a leader for them, but it feels like a missed opportunity. If Superman had been around the whole time, Batman could have acted like the stone cold detective he usually is with subtle burns and verbal shots throughout the film. Maybe next time though and he still got his share of memorable lines. Next up is Aquaman. He’s the worst member on the team so I won’t dwell on him too much. He’s basically just a drunk guy with slight super strength who is supposed to be funny, but never quite makes it. He contributes absolutely nothing to the film. If you take him away then the events don’t change. He feels like filler throughout and the guy seems to just be around to annoy everyone. The film also tries to use him for humor which doesn’t work too well. This guy should not have been in the film and I had a feeling this would be the case ever since the first trailer.

On the humor side, I was impressed with the film. From the trailers/ the last two DC films I got the vibe that the film was going to be over the top with humor. Adding a ton of jokes here and there to liven things up. Surprisingly, the film is still pretty serious the whole time. This does feel like it’s in the same universe as Batman V Superman and the whole opening is very grim. I honestly wouldn’t have minded if the whole film was like the Batman vs Parademons scene as it’s dark out the whole time, but that brings along its own set of risks I suppose. While some of the humor can be forced, it never becomes too distracting from the film. The characters are all pretty serious during the fights as well so it’s not as if they’re distracting themselves. The film handled the balance quite well.

Our next League member is Flash and naturally the TV show comparisons will start the instant he appears. I’m not sure how they could have gotten his design and costume so wrong with the big budget. The TV show’s version looks superior in every way. I can’t speak for the personality since I never saw the Flash, but from the clips I’ve seen he also seems like a much better character. This one looks too young and the fact that he is a novice with his powers can be pretty grating at times. He doesn’t even feel all that fast compared to Quicksilver from the recent X-Men films. Flash would get decimated in a fight if we base it on the movies and while the nerf is okay if the writers felt like they would be getting into plot hax moments like Quicksilver vs Apocalypse, it sort of defeats the purpose of the Flash to an extent. He needed to be more confident and self assured. We got glimpses of Flash being quite intelligent, but they were very subtle and he never even got to fight in the film. He barely threw a single punch until near the very end and those may have just been tackles since it seems like he vibrated through his opponents. He’s essentially a Peter Parker ripoff right now so I’m hoping he improves for next time.

Cyborg is the final main member and he’s all right. He comes across as annoying and whiny for a while though as he’s inflated with self importance. Maybe it’s because he starts off as a Cyborg, but you don’t feel any sympathy for him. He would have died if the parts weren’t merged with him so I don’t think he has a whole lot of room to complain. Now, the process did look painful so if he talked about that then maybe I could buy into it, but he spends the whole time complaining and feeling bad for himself. It’s one big pity party with this guy and his plan at the end was really flawed as well. Without going into detail, he said he could stop the boxes by doing a cool magnetic pulse and all. The thing is, apparently he needs someone to actually push them apart as well and the only way to even have a chance is if you have a guy with Superman-like abilities…and Superman wasn’t around. The plan was for him to do it himself..but how? There’s no way he could have done it so he effectively led the team on a suicide mission. I still think of Cyborg as a Teen Titan and this film didn’t change that, but now that he’s accepted his powers he should improve quite a lot.

Unfortunately Lois Lane was a big miss in this film. Her depression over Superman’s passing is used as the excuse for why she’s not a daring reporter anymore, but this also doesn’t really work well with her character. While she’s never been all that great in this series, at least she took a lot of risks like in BVS where she went to get the spear or in Man of Steel where she broke into an alien ship. In this film she has completely given up on everything and has been reduced to a weak character. Her role is very small anyway, but it’s definitely not the Lois that I expected. Martha Kent is all right I guess, but none of her dialogue is particularly funny or heart warming despite that being the intent. The scenes of Martha and Lois chatting was easily the worst part of the film since it just felt like filler and didn’t add anything to the movie. You would basically just wait for the scenes to be over so we can get back to the plot. Fortunately this film was good at constantly shifting from scene to scene so you were usually not in one place for too long.

A human subplot that was actually decent was the family hiding in a cabin. Granted, this was also complete filler but at least it showed that some people were ready to defend themselves. The plot didn’t end exactly how I pictured with Superman showing up to save them and all, but it was still okay and didn’t last too long. Steppenwolf is basically the only villain in the film. He’s a miss as far as personality is concerned, but he’s a strong fighter which makes for an engaging antagonist. Not too many fighters use an axe so that was cool. He was really creaming the League and just about everyone else he fought aside from a certain hero. He definitely lived up to his hype and I’m eager to see how the films portray Darkseid. So far they’ve been very good at making the villains both strong and fast. I don’t think he will be an exception so Superman vs Darkseid could very well be the greatest fight in live action if handled right.

I do have to question the Amazonian tactics near the beginning though. So, they know that the box is vibrating and they also know more or less that it’s a bad sign since they fought the owners a thousand years ago. Naturally the Queen posts a few guards by it…and then sends the rest of the army to the other side of the island. Why would you do that? I think even a kid could have told you that you leave most of your army by the box that spells imminent danger. As a result, Steppenwolf tears through the few warriors that guards it. Showing her bravery, the Queen deserts her fellow sisters to get the box away and locks the cave behind her to seal their fate. Steppenwolf still destroys just about everyone as he grabs the box and leaves, but would he have fared as well against a whole army? I think he probably would have shredded them all pretty easily, but since the film played it off like the army was a threat, I think it was a tactical blunder.

The Atlanteans were just as bad and only left a few scrubs to block the box. Steppenwolf wrecked them pretty easily and ran off. Honestly the humans were the ones putting up the best effort when you think about it. At first I was also skeptical of how they beat Steppenwolf in the past as well, but since they had a lot of guest stars helping then I was fine with it. I was convinced once the flying warrior showed up and even more when the gods of old turned up. Lets face it, they did all of the work. The Atlanteans, Humans, and Amazonians were just there for moral support.

I can’t say that I cared for the action scenes where Steppenwolf was wrecking those two armies either. It’s just never very fun to have a big character crushing a ton of powerless ones unless it’s a character you really like or something. As I’m not a Steppenwolf fan, you’re just waiting for a hero to show up so it’ll be a fair fight. Then you just keep on waiting until the fight is eventually over.

So, how high does this film rank in the all time list? Well, it’s definitely below Batman V Superman and I’d put it under Man of Steel as well. After that, it’s close between this one and Avengers for third. I think this one will edge out so Avengers grabs the 4th spot and Civil War grabs number 5 which rounds out my Top 5 Live Action CBMs of all time. What gives this one the edge for 3rd are essentially the action scenes since the one thing Avengers lacked was any big fights. Again, it’s an underrated edge for DC as their fight scenes cannot be beaten.

There are two after credit scenes. Surprisingly the first one is the happy comedy one instead of vice versa. Probably a way for DC to be different from Marvel. It’s a decent scene even if it goes nowhere and the film was playing it too safe. We all know that the guy on the right who scrunched up his face during the scene won because he was taking it very seriously. The 2nd scene gets some setup going for future DC films. It should make for a pretty good plot although I definitely want Darkseid for film 2. The problem with having other villains is that I’m going to be asking the real questions the whole time…how can they handle Superman? Black Adam would solve that equation, but everyone else would get lolstomped inside 2 seconds. Especially since Superman has been heavily amped from his already impressive Man of Steel portrayal.

This is a pretty long review as it is. The thoughts keep on piling up but this review would be way too long if I jotted it all down. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to discuss something in more detail. As for miscellaneous thoughts, one area where Avengers does have the edge is in the fact that the characters were already established. As a result, it felt like a huge crossover since all of the characters were crossing over. It merged at 4 films, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. This one in comparison only merged two, Batman/Superman and Wonder Woman. The other League members debuted in this film so it wasn’t as big and since they were newbies who hadn’t yet had their own film to save the world, they weren’t as impressive as they should be. Marvel’s formula is certainly the right one to building up a team film, but I am ultimately glad DC skipped a few steps because I don’t want to wait 5 more years for the first Justice League. Now that this one has finally been made, we can start expanding the universe more. I wouldn’t even mind if DC forgot about the spinoffs and decided to just focus on churning out Justice League film after film. It would be a pretty unique way to go about it and I’d be on board.

While a few horses certainly seemed to get hit during the battle with Steppenwolf, the film at least had the dignity to not have them be bleeding or crying out in pain. The film was actually surprisingly tame throughout and that’s something I have to give it credit for. There is some language but it’s all very mild for the film. We get one or two mild fanservice shots for Wonder Woman but the film also managed to restrain itself in this area and at least we didn’t have random bath scenes like in BVS. On the whole you can see that this film didn’t really have any major negatives which is essential to being known as an amazing film. Most of the minor stuff I listed above barely even register on the scale. Even the boring scenes or jokes that may not have been funny weren’t bad enough either. The film was very close to being perfect and while I can think of alternate plots that would have been more fun (Like Superman being around during the whole film) the movie did a great job with what it had. Perhaps the gaps of no action will be more noticeable in a re-watch, but maybe not. As a huge DC fan I was pretty invested from start to finish and I imagine this would be the case on a re-watch as well. What can I say, at the end of the day, I’m a big fan of the Justice League so naturally I’ll get an extra kick out of this film. It’s also why I’m a little more critical on it at times, but I think I did a good job of still keeping a very positive tone on it throughout this review. At the end of the day, all films can be a little bit better, but if it’s a 7 or higher, it means that I am satisfied with the result. (Even more so with a 9)

Overall, This was a great film. Once Superman showed up, it became an amazing one. Honestly, Superman’s depiction in terms of strength was enough for me to know that this would be one of the all time greats. He’s my favorite comic book character and I’ve always considered him to quite easily be the strongest character of all as well. DC has continued to surpass my expectations when it comes to fights and power levels. They are simply unmatched and when you have a character like Superman that just makes a lot of sense. I highly recommend checking this film out. It may not be quite as intense as Batman vs Superman or Man of Steel, but it did get the end of the world vibe just right. Something is always happening and the atmosphere is always tense. I will eagerly await the next Justice League or Superman film. It’ll also be nice to see if DC can save Aquaman and Flash in future films, but I feel like sticking to films where Superman can show his stuff is the safest option.

Overall 9/10