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

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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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

Justice League vs Teen Titans Review


The DC movies continue as I finally got to check out this film. As you may remember, I was pleasantly surprised by how Batman: Bad Blood was and hoped that this one would continue things on track. It’s definitely a solid film and I’d say that it is 2nd only to the former in the post Flashpoint era. I have more issues with it than I did for Bad Blood and it never reached the same level of intensity and animation that the former had, but it is a quality film. So don’t let the cover art scare you, it’s just DC’s way of reducing sales for all of its current films.

A demonic being by the name of Trigon has set his sights on the planet Earth. His ticket there is his daughter Raven, who is currently a member of the Teen Titans. She had trapped him in hell and he is unable to break free so he sends his subordinates to capture her. Can Raven defeat them and keep her friends safe? Meanwhile, Robin completely embarrasses the Justice League in front of the city so Batman demotes him from League member to Teen Titan. Robin doesn’t take it well, but learns that sometimes it is good to protect those who are weaker.

As you hopefully probably guessed, the title is pure clickbait. The Justice League vs Teen Titans fight lasts for only about 2-4 minutes. The rest of the film is mainly about the Titans although the Justice League gets their moments as well. That’s fine, I know that most Vs titles never actually go anywhere. Just look at Batman vs Robin although admittedly, that fight certainly lasted longer than this one. There’s a lot to talk about in this film so lets start with the Justice League.

They’re on the backburner in this film. While it is a sequel to Throne of Atlantis, the world just doesn’t revolve around them this time. Superman looks both good and bad. It was interesting to see him at first because he acts like the protagonist in a B grade horror film. A monster whizzes past, the door slams, and the room is even chilled to the core. Superman’s only reaction is the classic “If this is a joke…then it’s not funny!” and then he even yells in terror as he is taken over. For starters, the whole “Superman has no willpower” thing that the New 52 made popular is total nonsense. Superman doesn’t get taken over and his reaction times are good enough so he wouldn’t be taken in like that. It happens though. There is a lot of plot hax here. Nothing that hurts the film as a whole, but it does make you shake your head.

Superman getting steamrolled by Trigon at the end is another moment where you have to tilt your head. Superman beats guys like that for breakfast. The rest of the League didn’t do much better. Too bad Green Lantern wasn’t here to save the day eh? Superman’s fight against Wonder Woman and Flash was brilliant though. As I’ve always said, Superman is easily the strongest comic book character of all time. It’s not even close. I like how he’s faster than the Flash, Smarter than Batman, and a better warrior than Wonder Woman. It’s part of why he’s a good character, he invalidates the rest of the League with his existence. Effortlessly breaking Flash’s leg and then trapping Wonder Woman with her lasso is something for the record books. It was the best part of the film hands down and should answer any debates as to who would win in a fight. As Flash pointed out, it was a bit of a brutal way to take him down, but it was effective. It was also good to see Flash’s accelerated healing factor be acknowledged for once. I feel like most animated features don’t even remember this. On a final note, Superman’s voice has got to go. It was awful in this film. Maybe the guy was out of practice or something, but it sounded nothing like Superman.

Flash didn’t actually get a role beyond that. He got the shaft from the League members. Batman was good as always. It’s definitely unfortunate for him that Damian always acts out when they’re in public. Still, Batman takes control of the situation as always and even prevents himself from being mind controlled. He handled the whole thing quite well. His plan to have Wonder Woman hide herself and not engaging Superman as well was a little iffy though. Didn’t seem as brave a move as you’d expect. Wonder Woman didn’t hide which is a good thing, but she didn’t pursue either. I would have liked for her to have gone after Superman anyway. Her terribly irrelevant relationship with Superman can drag both characters down if it keeps up so hopefully that goes away soon. I don’t want it to be a main plot though, let it be a one line thing.

One last note on the Justice League, I can’t buy into the whole confrontation that happened later on. They want to take Raven in for questioning and basically arrest her? These aren’t the Avengers. The Justice League don’t randomly shoot civilians or kidnap teenagers for no reason. I can’t picture the heroes doing this. They could have handled the situation with more tact and I also don’t see how they didn’t notice Trigon the whole time. There were some stretches in logic to be sure, but at least it was still good to see the League. They got a bit more of a role than I had expected them too.

Now lets talk about the Teen Titans. As you’d expect, it’ll take a few minutes to get used to their new designs and voices. Starfire’s is an improvement from the start for me as I never liked her “I don’t understand human culture” gimmick. The jokes with it were never that funny so seeing her as a capable team leader was a nice change of pace. I feel like she was a little underpowered here. I do agree with her losing to Wonder Woman of course, but she did absolutely terrible against the Trigon demons to the point where Blue Beetle and Robin were doing far better. I’m just not sure I totally buy that, but it’s not an issue with her character.

Beast Boy was annoying as per usual. He was just a bit much the whole time and I also had to chuckle when I saw his undercover getup. It’s something that you usually see the mysterious heroine wear in an anime. I have a co-worker who has the same get up and she is not a guy. It’s just not something that you really see a guy wearing or maybe it’s just the way that it was animated. Either way, it was funny because that style isn’t for a character like Beast Boy. His personality would make you think that he’d be wearing something a lot brighter or more outlandish.

Raven was great as per usual. I think she did panic a little too quickly with the Trigon situation though. As she explained, he is still trapped in the crystal so it’s not as if he can do anything. All he can do is summon his minions and she can handle those right? Admittedly, she looked a little too weak in the first confrontation until she used her demonic powers, but they shouldn’t be a serious threat. Of course, once the Titans were held hostage, she didn’t really have any other choice. So long as we don’t get any random romance between her and Robin, their friendship is also a good subplot. They definitely do have similar pasts and aren’t good with others. Raven just handles it by keeping to herself while Robin likes to insult everyone. The Titans definitely would be in a jam without Raven’s powers so they’re lucky that she stays as a hero.

Robin was also a very solid character. Yeah, he’s a little meaner here and may have regressed a little in character development, (He still thinks Ra’s is a great man with good ideals? I feel like he should have moved on from that by now considering how crazy the guy was) but I still like his confidence. Robin does well in a fight and saving the Titans was a good way to start. He was also handling Blue Beetle pretty well until the unexpected attack. That’s why you should never let your guard down, even in a sparring session. At first I wasn’t thrilled about DC forcing Damian into every single plot, but now I’m okay with it. I’m still gonna say that Dick Grayson is my favorite Robin, but Damian is better than Nightwing. Nightwing appears for a few minutes here and never really looks good anymore. His era is really done at this point.

Blue Beetle is effectively Cyborg’s replacement on the team. For him, I didn’t have to get used to a new voice, but the new design would take some getting used too. The buzzcut look just didn’t feel quite as right as the Young Justice look. Still, he was a good character. He got less of a role than the others, but that’s probably because the Blue Beetle will get his own film like Raven at some point. There’s certainly a lot they can do with him. I definitely had no problems with him and I’ve always liked the Beetle. It definitely doesn’t take any nonsense from anyone and always goes out swinging. There’s not much to say about Cyborg to be honest. Of course, I had hoped that this film would help him see what team he should really be on. I can’t say that happens, but I can say that Cyborg has always acted more like a Teen Titan than a League member. It’s like how the Beast never quite fit in as an Avenger since he was an X-Man for so long. It’s hard to just switch teams.

I’d say that one thing which holds this film back a little is the writing. It is a lot weaker than the last film and maybe even last few films. It could be the Teen Titans angle I suppose, but a lot of the dialogue is pretty forced. Most of the lines are either from Beast Boy or about Beast Boy. Batman asking Cyborg what happens to the food that he eats was also completely out of left field. Those are just a few examples and the dialogue could be a little distracting at times. It got serious when necessary though and don’t get me wrong. It’s not overwhelming or constantly in your face, but it’s still consistent enough to be noticeable.

The animation for the film is pretty solid. That being said, it is certainly a step under Batman: Bad Blood. You’ll notice that for the hand to hand fight scenes, the camera starts to be a little shaky as to hide the actual animation. I found that to be a little odd, as if the animators weren’t too confident. The energy displays were on point though and the energy that all of the Trigon creations emitted was similar to Bass’ iconic energies or any cool anime villain. It worked quite well and since this film was a lot more supernatural than the last few, it got to use all of these effects quite a lot. I also like the fact that Batman and Robin’s eyes are always glowing through the suit. It does make them look more menacing.

The soundtrack is also a step down, but it’s reasonably good. There aren’t really any battle themes this time around or none that I can recall. That being said, we did get some lyrical songs for the montages. The song that played during Robin and Beast Boy’s duel was pretty catchy. The one for the amusement park adventures was also solid. They easily made up for the lack of battle themes although the best of both worlds would be to include them all. The sound effects for the hits was a little lower which was unfortunate, but I guess it’s tough to get that perfect balance.

I need to give a quick shoutout to Lex and the Legion of Doom for the worst villain plan ever as well. A little hyperbole thrown in there, but what were they thinking? So, Lex, Solomon Grundy, Toyman, Weather Wizard, and Cheetah thought that they could defeat the Justice League? They may have had the element of surprise, but they never had a chance of victory. Each individual fighter was outranked by his/her counterpart. There was just no strategy or gameplan here which was odd. Lex had a great line though. It went along the lines of “You guys are always fighting (Demons, gods, Superheroes, Machines, etc) and I’m just a poor industrialist caught in the middle.” Superman even had to sarcastically admit that Lex had a point there. It was just an awesome line to be honest. Plus, it’s a nice way to think about things and it could give you newfound respect for his predicament. That being said, Lex still needs to up his game. He may have had an after credits scene in a previous film, but apparently the writers decided to ditch that. Ah well, it happens. We’ll see if this post credits scene leads to something more direct. Well..we know it does since the next film is already out.

Overall, Justice League vs Teen Titans continues DC’s path into the light. This marks two films in a row where DC is looking like their old selves. I could definitely recommend this film to anyone. It moves very quickly and there is a lot of action. Superman’s scenes are great and went a long way to ensuring that this film got a solid 8. It was a team effort though with the film just being solid all around. Seeing the Justice League and Teen Titans in a movie together is pretty fun. While I’d like the film to be a little longer, being under 90 minutes does guarantee good pacing. It’s a tradeoff, but one that makes the film a little more accessible to everyone. Next up is Teen Titans: Judas Contract so we’ll see how that goes. I don’t expect it to be quite as good since Terra’s annoying and the whole arc will probably be annoying, but if handled well it could be good. I did like the comic after all and Damian can easily fill in for Grayson’s role since he is so skilled already. Also, it’s time to redeem Deathstroke since he looked completely terrible last time. Here’s to hoping that DC pulls out another winner. If they do manage this, then I think we can officially say that DC animation is back to quality for the forseeable future. Now they just need to fix their DVD covers.

Overall 8/10

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Cosmic Clash Review

lego-dc-comics-super-heroes-justice-league-cosmic-clash-2016-movie-poster
It’s time for another Lego Justice League Adventure! This one is quite a step down from the last one, but lets be honest…how could it possibly have topped that one? The last one was near perfection and the series had been hitting it on all cylinders. It makes sense that it would have to slow down at some point and this was that moment. The film may not be all that long, but it didn’t feel that way and several parts slowed it down. Unfortunately, the film lost its identity, but I believe it will find it again.

Brainiac is coming to Earth and the heroes may not be able to stop him this time. This being has conquered many planets before and Earth is just to be another stepping stone for him. To ensure that the Justice League do not interfere, Brainiac erases their memories and sends them into the distant path. Specifically, he does this to Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Superman since they are the League’s heavy hitters. Batman must don the cape once more (Well, fine he already had the cape) and travel back in time to restore their memories and then come back to finish off Brainiac. Can the other members buy him some time along with the new recruit: Supergirl, or is humanity already doomed?

The film starts off very strong with the Justice League taking care of business as usual. The way that they handled the invasion was very on point and while Batman may not have been invited for hide and seek…at least the heroes were apologetic about it. I can see their side of the story as well since there is no reason for them to expect that Batman would have wanted a piece of the action right? These films are always at their best when the League is around since the banter between them is always solid.

You all know that Lego Animation isn’t my favorite so the film can’t rely on its animation to get it through to a solid score. The writing and soundtrack have to be on point. While the music isn’t quite as dynamic as some of the other films, it’s still pretty solid as it should be. What helps to make the film pretty good is that the writing is mostly good. This is also what brings it down from past films. The writing is excellent with the main Justice League members. They all look pretty great and Batman steals the show as expected. His voice actor does a tremendous job in the role and the character just has all of the best moments. Unfortunately, the writing falters with Brainiac and Supergirl. I feel like the film overplayed its hand with those two.

Supergirl’s personality is a little different than usual as she’s all about being a cheer leader and constantly cheers throughout the film. “Give me a D and an O and O and M” for example as she keeps on punching out villains and this gets old the very first time that she did it. As she continues on and on…it just doesn’t help matters. I can’t say that I really liked her in this film and she joins Cyborg as a member of the team who doesn’t really feel like she’s there yet. It was a fun in joke though as Cyborg was basically cut off during his big montage moment by the others. All of the main Leaguers got their own big moment inspired by the animated Justice League’s intro, but Cyborg had to share with someone and it only lasted for an instant. I forgot who he had to share with though.

As for Brainiac, he’s maybe a little too silly at times. His dialogue isn’t crafty and subtlety funny like the League members and just goes for more of the obvious jokes. His banter with the other Brainiacs is cool though and managing to see through their ruse was actually pretty impressive. I guess we know why he is the brains of the operation right? He can’t fight the others in hand to hand combat, but he had a lot of robots to make for a bit of a climax. His plan was good at any rate since erasing the memories of the heroes was basically fool proof. It’s just that Batman exists so no plan is ever completely fool proof.

As for the Batman plot, I only liked one out of the three time travel adventures. Wonder Woman’s will be clear as to why I didn’t like it. Batman warps back to the Caveman era so the locale is pretty bad and I don’t care for everyone speaking like a Caveman. It was interesting to see Wonder Woman show her true colors and murder all of the men though. They were asking for it so I won’t really object. Luckily Batman was around to set things straight. Green Lantern’s also dragged on, but not nearly as much. I did like how they incorporated the meme of Batman riding a shark and he just acted pretty hardcore the whole time. I’m not sure about Batman being caught so easily though. The pirates should have been thoroughly outclassed. These two segments are what held down the film to an extent, but at least the final segment helped to make up for it.

Batman winds up in an apocalyptic future that will remind you of Future’s End. Superman is now working for Brainiac so Batman must take him down yet again to prove once and for all who the strongest crime fighter is. Batman won’t even resort to Kryponite because deep down…he’s never needed it! It’s a pretty intense fight and we even have the Legion of Superheroes show up. This was definitely a fun part of the film and I’m always eager to see Batman and Superman go at it. It’s a match-up that never gets old and seeing as how they’re the best characters in all of DC Comics, it’s easy to see why.

If anything, I’d just like to see more of the League next time. When I mentioned that the film lost its identity, it’s that the plot just wasn’t worth it. Having the League sent to different eras ensured that we couldn’t see the whole team for very long. It meant that we only had the D listers in the main plot as Batman tried to gather up everyone in the B Plot. The film is at its best when the League is bantering and making fun of the villains as they humiliate them. We didn’t get much of a chance of that here, but at least we did learn that while Superman is one of the greatest Hide and Seek players, Batman is the best. Just about all of the really funny moments involve Batman, Superman, or the League as a whole. Removing that aspect also ensures that you’re removing a critical piece of the film.

Overall, This is still a solid film though and one that I’d recommend. Other titles like Teen Titans GO can learn a thing or two from this one on how to do humor effectively. Specifically, look at Batman. I can’t stress enough just how good he is and this is one of those cases where he is even better than Superman. Batman gets all of the best lines and character development as well as some of the best action scenes. He’s always got a good plan even if nobody ever listens to him. I don’t know where the League would be without him, but it’s safe to say that the group wouldn’t be nearly as potent. I look forward to seeing which Lego Justice League film comes out next. It’s a series that I hope doesn’t end anytime soon as there are still many stories to tell.

Overall 7/10

Justice League Heroes Stats and Records

Stats time! The game doesn’t let you load the completed file so I couldn’t look at the stats in more depth. This is the jist of it though…..yeah. The game definitely needed a level select.

Heroes are Level 9
Gold: 13