The Batman Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

Wonder Woman Bloodlines Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

Glass Review


It’s time to look at the end of the Unbreakable trilogy. It definitely has not been the best one as both of the opening films were pretty bad. Perhaps it could pull off a bit of a miracle and end on a high note? The film tries its best but ultimately falters. As with any films from this director the movie doesn’t really start off that bad. It’s reasonably engaging throughout but the film quickly starts to lose steam and each plot twist is worse than the last. The final ones will almost make you roll your eyes because of how it hurts the logic of the film. The entire premise doesn’t work either but more on that in a minute.

So it’s been around 10+ years since David was running around and beating people up with his superhero powers. He is now a team with Joseph. Joseph finds the bad guys and David puts them away. Their latest target turns out to be Kevin as that villain managed to escape last time. David corners him and they have a pretty close fight but a company of soldiers appear and defeat them both. David, Kevin, and David’s old enemy Elijah are now being held in a psychiatric facility. Ellie explains that her job is to eliminate their delusions. Her theory is that these three characters don’t have powers and merely think that they do. What if she’s right?

Here’s the deal and perhaps the most tragic part of the film. This plot could actually work….if the first two films did not exist. Then it would really be her word against theirs and it would be completely possible that they do not have powers. A lot of people are delusional so you could totally ride that plot line to the bank. I think that could have made for a very interesting thriller. The problem is that this is the final film in the trilogy.

In the first two films we learn beyond the shadow of a doubt that both characters have powers. David is able to bench press over 350 pounds without ever coming close to that before and he knows that he has never been injured. Ellie’s comebacks against that are extremely weak and for some reason David doesn’t bring up any of the counters that he could have. I don’t really blame him though because Ellie probably would have dismissed them anyway.

Then for Kevin I dare say it’s even worse. He was shot multiple times in the first film and bent steel. Ellie’s comeback is that he could have grabbed a pair of pliers and used leverage to bend the bars. Nice theory…but we actually saw him do this in the last film and we know that the bullets hit him and weren’t weakened dummy rounds as she said. Again, this could have been an interesting exchange but since we know it’s fake that hurts the plot a lot. A great deal of the film is spent in the asylum as Ellie makes her various cases. The vast majority of the film takes place here and it drags on quite a bit.

This is in part because Elijah is pretending to be brain dead for most of the film and David never talks much anyway. That means that a lot of the dialogue is from Kevin who is the worst member of the 3. He’s crazy and totally evil which doesn’t work as a good combo if you’re one of the main characters. All of his scenes are pretty suspect. I didn’t like him in his movie and I certainly don’t like him here. Most of his personas are also pretty weak since in this film they joined the horde. In Split at least some of them were still good guys. In this film they all seem evil except for the Kevin persona who is naturally the weakest.

David talks a little more than the first film which is good. He’s still a little too quiet though and I’d like to have seen him talk a bit more and defend himself. He tends to take a pretty passive stance in the fights so the opponent always lands the hit first. He’s incredibly sloppy which is probably intentional but gets him into a pretty bad spot at the end. His weakness to water is also pretty massive to the point where it’s pretty tragic. He almost might as well not have powers. David’s also super gullible thanks to some scenes at the end. By default he’s one of the best characters here though.

Joseph was probably my favorite character. He helps David out a lot and is also pretty cautious. He warns his Dad that the cops are after him and also tries to make a case to get him out of the psychiatric place. Things may not turn out in his favor but at least he tried. I’d have liked to see him try harder to save David in the end but realistically it probably wouldn’t have done a whole lot of good.

Ellie is one of the key players here and she certainly gets some twists. Unfortunately those twists really don’t make any sense and don’t help her character. She’s definitely interesting but her goals are impossible unless the characters are incredibly gullible. I suppose she is a fun enough character, definitely pretty ruthless when she wants something done.

Elijah is still the big mastermind villain as always. I don’t see the point of the brain dead routine for most of the film though. If it’s to get people to let their guard down, then why keep showing that he can break out of the cell? If anything he’s lucky that they didn’t beef up security or start tying him up at night. Things go according to his plan and he has a lot of backups, but this part of the plan made no sense to me. It was also unfortunate because it meant that he wasn’t able to talk for most of the film.

Mrs Price gets to appear a bit here and she’s a fun character. I liked her in the first movie. Her role here is fairly minor as she just hyped up Elijah a bit. She never really tries to tell Elijah that he shouldn’t be evil here but I suppose it’s possible that she did off screen. Hard to say but maybe at this point he has had such a hard life she doesn’t blame him for falling off the deep end.

Casey’s character takes an unfortunate arc in this film. She appears to have a huge case of stockholders syndrome here as she’s grown to like Kevin and keeps defending him. The guy is a mass murderer who has been apparently murdering a bunch of people off screen. He would have gotten 3 more victims at the beginning if he wasn’t stopped. It was cool seeing Casey show up because it made this feel even more like a crossover. She just needed a much better role.

As I’ve mentioned above, the film is at its best during the intro scenes when it’s building up the crossover effect. There may only have been 2 films earlier but this feels like a big crossover right away. One of the things that helps with this is that we got supporting characters from both movies. The fact that it’s able to get a bit of hype going is impressive since both films weren’t good. So I’ll give the movie some props there. It was at least engaging for a while.

Ultimately I have to give the writing a thumbs down though. A lot of the scenes just don’t make any sense. The ending is also just pretty bad even aside from that. David’s plot certainly ends in a rather gruesome way. It’s definitely a callback which is interesting and all but not the way I’d end it there. I’m glad we did get a twist ending of sorts at least even if it’ll never actually lead to anything.

Overall, Glass was exactly the crossover you could expect from these two films. It is the best film in the trilogy but unfortunately that is not enough to actually make it a good movie. If you watched both of the earlier movies then you should check this out since you’re so close to the end as it is. That being said, if you want a hype crossover with more quality I’d recommend checking out Batman V Superman. It also builds up the atmosphere quite nicely but then also delivers with an amazing payoff at the end. That’s exactly the kind of experience that you want.

Overall 3/10

Venom Review


When Venom was first announced there was a lot of panic in the streets since there are so many good arcs to choose from and so little time. Naturally it made sense to choose one where Venom is a little more on the heroic side to build him up as the main character of this universe (Or that’s what they should do at least) so then the film builds its origin story around that. It was actually quite a bit better than I expected after hearing the negative buzz. It’s a good film that can hold its own and I’m definitely ready for that sequel.

The film starts with Venom crash landing on Earth along with 3-4 other symbiotes. (The film opted to switch the pronunciation back to normal) they had been captured by the government except for one who manages to escape. This corrupt company wants to find a way to merge humans and aliens so they can live in space and are murdering a bunch of people off the streets in order to do this. Eddie once tried stopping this company but it cost him everything. Well, a doctor has convinced him to give it a second shot and with a symbiotic of his own, Eddie may just have a chance. He’s been beaten by corporate, humiliated, treated like a drunk has been. Eddie decides that it’s time he stood up for himself.

A lot of this film will probably depend on how much you like Eddie Brock himself. The guy is definitely not like your average hero. He’s usually a little on the drunk side and is always down on his luck. He means well but at the same time doesn’t think things through. On one hand you see several examples of him being a good person like when he gave a homeless lady some money or how he tends to get along with everyone like the door man and the owner of a convenience store. Eddie’s just a very easy going guy even if he can be a little slow to adapt to what’s going on. I don’t think his character personality was executed nearly as well as it could or should have been though. I think he could have been very likable if handled right but from what we got he can be rather annoying.

The Venom symbiote is a lot of fun though. His personality reminds me of Blue Beetle’s scarab. At first he is pretty ruthless and acts like a villain but gets rehabilitated rather convincingly. Even from the start he is pretty handy to Eddie and as he mentions, Venom is a reasonable guy. He even lets Eddie square away his personal issues before they head out on their final mission. The symbiote is always quick on his feet and I’d say he is also quite patient considering how much Eddie is complaining throughout all of this. Venom’s easily the best character here although I have a hard time believing that he wasn’t cool back on his world. I like to think he is just trying to be sympathetic to Eddie which shows once again that he is a pretty nice guy. The plot of a character being possessed by another entity or being forced to share a body can usually go on 3 ways. The spirit is evil and crushes the hero, the spirit is heroic and they team up, or the spirit is rather ruthless but will help the hero for mutual survival and down the road they become friends. The final version is typically the best route, especially when the other entity never fully turns good and is always a bit of a loose cannon. That’s why I’m glad the film went this route.

I do have to say that the writing can be rather weak though. The script isn’t great which makes the characters a little harder to like than they would be otherwise. The language definitely could have been toned down quite a bit. There is also the matter of the romance being quite weak here. The main heroine’s instant rebound was super suspect as she clearly couldn’t have cared for Eddie much if she’s already moved on so completely. There was a time skip of a few months which is supposed to make this feel more organic…but it doesn’t really work. Throw in the fact that some sketchy stuff happens later on and I don’t think her character arc is going in a good direction. Plus, Dan seemed like a reasonable character but you get the feeling that he is doomed from the start. At least he tried helping Eddie. Two other supporting characters who were fun were the Deli owner and the homeless lady by the store. They seemed to be pretty nice characters who were doing their best to get by. Eddie being nice to them is part of the reason why he’s a likable character in the first place. The rapport with those characters is on point and hopefully the Deli owner gets to appear in the sequel. Maybe she can give him some more advice.

As for the scientist lady who tries to enlist Eddie’s help….I can’t say that I was really a fan of hers. She just seems a little wishy washy and far too late about suddenly feeling bad about her work. The company she works for has already murdered a ton of people. She has a quick line about how it was worth it since they were curing cancer, but not anymore since they’re trying for space travel. While the latter does seem to be less important than the former, the ends don’t justify the means either way. Then when she does make her move she isn’t particularly smart. She should have left the complex the instant things went sideways. Did she forget that security cameras are a thing? As soon as the villain found out that someone had broken in she should have left. She just wasn’t nearly as compelling as the other characters.

Then you have the corporate big shot who is trying to harness the power of the symbiotes for his own gain. The guy is heralded as a genius, but doesn’t seem all that smart from what we see. It just looks like he has a lot of money and gets everyone else to do the inventing for him. I mean, that happens a lot in real life as well as the small workers do all the work for the big shots who take the credit, but it needed to be said. Still, he’s a pretty fun main villain. He’s very full of himself and definitely does take down a lot of characters during the course of the movie. He definitely gets outranked once Riot shows up though. Also, he wants to inhabit space since Earth was too overpopulated. I think he would have liked Thanos’ plans to snap half of all life away. Then things would be balanced….as all things should be. He would have joined Thanos’ ranks in a heartbeat….and then chickened out halfway so he would have been doomed.

Riot is definitely a fun character. He makes for a great villain and his deign is pretty hype. In general the designs for the symbiote creatures were pretty solid. Venom looks like his classic 90s self and of course Riot is basically just a grayer version of Venom. This makes for a pretty epic climax in the film where both characters really get to go at it. With the raw power that both characters have as well as their regeneration, it means that neither one will be going down very quickly. I suppose that it’s unlikely we will have Riot show up again in a sequel since the next film will likely feature the fan favorite Carnage as the villain. We’ll see if that guy can really match up to Riot though.

Naturally this film does have an after credits scene so you may want to stick around for that. It’s a fairly low key scene involving a character who certainly doesn’t seem to be very interesting, but you could argue that this side of him doesn’t actually matter. The real deal will show up soon. It’s definitely a good stinger for the next film though. It does its job of cluing you in as to what will happen next time as opposed to just going for a quick gag. There is another scene at the end, but that one’s just a preview for Spider Verse so you don’t need to stick around for that. Having previews for other films don’t count and shouldn’t be left for the end unless it’s a direct sequel or something like that.

While the lobster scene wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it would be I definitely don’t think it was needed in the film. All the scenes of Eddie just eating random stuff just didn’t age particularly well and showing him trying to deal with being the host to Venom could have just been shown through the voice in his head. Why would Venom be trolling him like this? Also, the film briefly delves into the whole “The symbiote will destroy you from the inside” plot, but in Eddie’s case he should have believed Venom. He had already seen the regeneration in action so why wouldn’t that keep working to protect him? Worst case is that he becomes dependent on the symbiote to live, but if that’s the case then so be it. Venom seems like a trust worthy guy.

This film also keeps up Sony’s trend of having scenes from the trailer show up at the very end of the movie. It’s a pretty interesting strategy as you keep waiting for the moments to arrive and almost start to think that maybe they were cut until they finally show up at the end. An example of this is the deli scene near the end that basically everyone knows about since it was in the trailer and probably a lot of TV spots. It’s a pretty fun way to end the film I suppose. It’s one of the perks about being more of a villain who just helps out the world for his own reasons. If Batman, Spiderman, or another hero did this then it would be time to write a lot of quick editorials about how this was a terrible mistake. When Venom does it? Eh, it’s no real problem. Venom’s not the kind of guy who typically spares people. At least he didn’t destroy the cops right? When done right characters like this can have some pretty interesting story arcs. Eddie doesn’t really seem to care much about hiding his identity and pretty soon the villains are going to be terrified of him. The crime rate should drop quite a bit in his home town although he will have to make sure to be at least a little more subtle before the government starts going after him.

Venom’s also fairly tame with the violence considering that at one point it was possibly going to be R. It just goes to show that the film didn’t need it and honestly no film has ever been improved by upping the rating that far. All it does is water films down with excessive content so I’m glad that the sequel is going to stay like this one. With the cool effects we’ve already seen here we are guaranteed to have some really fun fights as it is. It also makes sense to keep the opponents to symbiotes since it will be tough for a normal opponent to hope to fight Venom. Even Spider-Man likely wouldn’t stand a chance against this version of Venom although since his spider-sense should work it could still be a good fight.

Overall, Venom was a solid film. It delivered on the action scenes and it’s also good to have a lead like Eddie who is very down to Earth and looks after the every day guy. He keeps on helping the neighborhood and won’t let fame cloud his mind. It’ll be nice to see him in the sequel as his confidence should be a lot higher and he’ll have his life under control once again. So long as the sequel stays on point and maybe fixes up the writing, it could definitely be quite the title to look out for. If you haven’t seen this film yet then you should try to fix that while you still can. Its theater run won’t last forever after all. Minor thing to watch out for as well, the film decided to drop the whole SymBYote thing so…if you’re watching for that line then keep this in mind.

Overall 6/10

Batman vs Two Face Review


Adam West really had a good run as Batman. His TV show was very successful to the point where we now have comics and movies being released to ride the nostalgia. They’ve been handled very well and while I wasn’t thrilled with how the first film made Batman evil, this one suffers from no such issue. Considering that it’s likely the final Batman movie with this iconic lead, it’s a great way to go out. The film is really well made and balances the humor and action pretty well. It’s a movie that I can easily recommend to any comic fan or moviegoer.

The film starts off by adapting the classic Two Face origin story. Hugo Strange built a device to suck the evil out of all the villains, but it wasn’t stable so some of the residue got on Harvey Dent. This transformed him into the legendary villain and in a surprise twist he is defeated by Batman and Robin during the opening montage. We skip ahead a little while as there are multiple time skips in the intro of the film. Harvey Dent has been cured and rehabilitated. He has to slowly work up the ranks once again, but vows to keep bringing criminals to justice. At first everything seems to be okay, but then Two Face pops up once again. Batman doesn’t believe that it is Harvey, but Robin believes that Bruce is not able to see the truth that is right in front of him because of his friendship with Dent. However, Robin is not impartial either as he wants to put Dent away since he feels like his friendship to Bruce is now playing second fiddle. Tensions are high!

Two Face is a likable villain from the start. He’s cool as Harvey Dent and as Two Face. As Dent he is a charismatic guy who always takes command of the situation and doesn’t back down from the hero types. Even when Robin tries to intimidate him he comes up with quick counters like Robin’s bed time. It was a great comeback and I wouldn’t want him to try and play nice when the other guy is being mean. Dent also looks really good in the court room and even intimidates Batman which was an intense moment. As Two Face his voice may not have the same impact, but his character is still the same. The coin gimmick is always pretty solid and he’s just an interesting character. Two Face never feels like he’s overstayed his welcome and he is certainly a threat since even his underlings are a match for Batman and Robin. In the Batman ’66 universe, it’s safe to say that he is Batman’s greatest foe. The other villains have been reduced to guinea pigs for Hugo Strange’s experiments.

Batman is a great hero as always. His voice perfectly suits the character and he is shown to be a genius. Batman picks up on all of the clues right away and puts justice above all else. Now when it comes to combat you can tell that Batman is getting older. He has a hard time against paid goons and must get captured almost 10 times in the film when you consider the opening montage. He definitely would have benefitted from a little more prep time in this case. He still has a lot of great gadgets as always though so Batman is still prepared. He handled the evil Robin plot pretty well as to be expected.

Robin spends most of the film being jealous of Harvey. This is good in the sense that Robin gets to throw a lot more burns Harvey’s way as a result and even follows him into an abandoned warehouse by his lonesome. THe downside of this is that Robin is the one who usually ends up getting burned and the whole situation doesn’t go well for him at all. He just seems out of his league the whole time and definitely will have to keep training if he wants to be on Batman’s level. The evil Robin plot was fortunately a lot smaller than I had expected. I was worried he would be evil for a while which would have hurt the dynamic like the first film. Part of what makes Batman ’66 fun is the banter between both Batman and Robin. The show simply wouldn’t have been as fun without one of the two heroes being present.

Catwoman also gets a role in this film. Her dialogue with Batman is always so corny that it’s funny. As a result, I can’t say I mind their romance as much as I would otherwise although I still find it out of character for Batman. If she really does turn good, then I suppose it’s good that Batman never lost hope in her rehabilitation. Of course, would he still have her serve out her jail time or go for a nullification on the grounds of being a hero? She gets to fight in the climax and while Batman seemed to doubt her fighting abilities, I think we’ve seen her as a villain long enough to know that she is definitely a fighter. If the villains have to deal with 3 opponents from now on, Gotham just got a whole lot safer.

Alfred looks really good in this movie so his fans are certainly going to be thrilled. He stands up to the villains and never backs down. He stays stern to the end and does his best to make sure that neither Batman or Robin do something they’ll regret. Aunt Harriett isn’t quite as good though as she doesn’t contribute anything to the film except to annoy everyone. Her role in the first film was a little better when she was caught by Evil Bruce Wayne. Admittedly it was definitely a scene that really worked for the evil plot.

I wouldn’t mind seeing more of the human angle for the next Adam West installment if one were to come out. As it is, this Gotham is a lot happier and less crime infested than the one we’re all used too so it would be cool to see how the heroes interact with everyone on a daily basis. We see Bruce Wayne briefly and there are human scenes around, but it would be interesting to see this Utopia. Gotham seems like a pretty perfect place if we’re being honest so it’s even hard to see how Metropolis could be better. Lets face it, a Batman vs Superman movie in this continuity would be amazing!

The animation is quite solid as you would expect. The character designs are on point and the backgrounds look like something out of a mainstream DC film. After all, the animation is still at that high level for a modern action film, it’s just intentionally drawn to look campy and retro. As a result, it’s a film that still has its usual fun, but looks good while doing it. DC’s always been great with animation and that certainly hasn’t stopped in this film. The soundtrack is also pretty good although less memorable. The themes work well with what is happening on screen and that’s always the important part. It’s not super soft music or something that would distract you from the action.

The film isn’t very long so the pacing is very fast. There’s always something happening and the movie just doesn’t slow down. There are also no negatives to be found here which is quite impressive. I just can’t think of anything I disliked about the movie. I’m sure there are minor nitpicks and the film isn’t a 9 after all, but that’s a case of not enough great elements as opposed to bad ones. The film accomplishes at everything it sets out to do. What you expect from an Adam West Batman movie is a lot of good humor and solid action scenes. We get both in this movie. Who doesn’t like seeing Batman as the ultimate hero who is so over the top that even crossing the street too fast is a violation of rights for him? It’s just great and I can’t stress enough how the voice really sells the performance. That’s why getting another film without Adam West would certainly be risky. I’m sure the writers could handle it snce the writing is also very good, but it may be worth it to call the series something else if that happens. Go for the same tone but put it in a new universe.

Overall, Batman vs. Two Face is a great film. The vs title could be misleading if you were expecting a big fist fight, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that you would be expecting more of a mind battle considering it’s Batman. Two Face can fight when necessary though and does get his action in. The writing is on point and the animation looks good. Batman really gets his full credit and while it wasn’t Robin’s best day, he got a lot of good hits in as well. You really can’t afford to miss this one if you consider yourself to be a big DC fan or a comic fan in general. It’s pretty happy but also transitions well for the serious moments. There’s a nice mystery as to who Two Face is which you can sink your teeth into as you wait for the climax. It’s the perfect blend of why DC is so great.

Overall 8/10

The Phantom Review


The Ghost Who Walks is definitely not someone to be trifled with. The villains learn that the hard way during the film, but does it hold up well? I’d actually say that it does as it’s a pretty solid superhero film all around. With a memorable villain to help improve the cast, it’s got all the potential that it needs. The actual Phantom could certainly have been better, but his ineptitude also helps make the film pretty fun.

The film starts off with a very quick origin story for the Phantom. He washed ashore a strange island one day and was given a cool ring. Its effects are fairly vague, but Kit then decided that he would become a crime fighter. In the present, a tough corporate businessman named Drax has decided to take over the world. To do this, he’ll have to assemble the 3 mystical skulls which will make him all powerful. Any minion who questions his decisions are promptly eliminated which leaves no room for dissension. He will have the skulls soon so Kit must don the costume once again and stop him. Meanwhile, a reporter named Diana is trying to help out as well, but is she out of her depth?

Lets launch right into the characters. Drax is a really good main villain because he’s charismatic. He has a sense of humor despite being completely evil and at least gives his minions a chance. They just get too bold at times so he has to silence them. The scene where he throws a spear and tkaes one of the villains down was quite impressive. The guy clearly works out and has skill to make the shot so casually in one try. He also saw through one of the traitors pretty easily and suckered the guy. Admittedly that scene was easily the most violent moment in the whole film. It was pretty intense. Even in the end Drax never gives up and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if he could beat the Phantom in a fight. He takes everything in stride and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that he really holds the film up.

The 2nd in command is a guy named Quill. He destroyed the Phantom in the past so he wonders how the guy could be back. Phantom’s family tradition of donning the costume definitely helps to support the legend since the hero is seemingly always around. It wouldn’t work well in the modern times since people would realize that it’s a different guy with cameras and all, but for this point in history it’s simply a smart business move. Sala is another one of the big villains although she isn’t nearly as sold on the path of evil. We don’t even know why she is evil to start with, but I’ll assume that she just likes robbing people and showing off how rich she is. A stern talking too from Diana quickly gets her to see the light in the situation. She really doesn’t have much of a role beyond this mini character arc though, but at least she can fight.

From the heroic supporting characters we have Diana. She talks tough and never backs down from a case. I got a lot of Lois Lane vibes from her and she doesn’t even appear to be grateful when saved since she could have saved her self, apparently. I wouldn’t be too impressed at being saved by Phantom either, but desperate times and all. Diana does live up to her reputation as she quickly figures out who Kit is. Kit’s origin story helps make it easy though since he had to take up the mantle right when his father died which meant that he had to leave New York rather suddenly and vanish into the forest for years. He was gone for so long that he forgot the currency and ended up paying a cab driver a few thousand dollars for a quick ride. Those scenes always make me feel sad, but I guess it’s good for the cab driver. Sometimes threatening your passengers actually works. At any rate, Diana was a good heroine.

Finally, we have Kit . I can’t say that he’s a great character and I knew this as soon as he started getting wrecked by the random villains at the beginning of the movie. He had the drop on them and still had to settle for a tie. He gets ambushed multiple times during the film. One time where he looks particularly bad is when he breaks into a museum to steal one of the skulls, but does it during broad daylight while in his civilian form surrounded by people. Of course that didn’t work and if the villains didn’t stop him, the cops would have. (After all, the cops sold out to the villains which is the only reason why they aren’t around.) I have to assume that he hasn’t been a hero for too long based on all of the rookie mistakes that he makes throughout. I’d say that he means well but accepting a kiss from Sala was pretty iffy and didn’t do his character any favors. He’s fun to mock, but that’s basically the only reason to like Kit. Even the whole breaking off contact for several years was pretty iffy since he had absolutely no reason to do so. Felt rather random.

The film has its share of plot holes or at least weak writing like Kit’s animals getting across an entire island with greater speed than a plane. It’s certainly not going to win any Oscars, but at least it’s always a fun film. The fight scenes aren’t super stylized or polished but they get the job done. There’s that genuine nature to the film that you won’t see in a modern film as here you can imagine a normal joe just putting on a costume and running outside the house. It’s a film that can’t be made anymore and is a lost product of the old times.

The film also moves really quickly so there is rarely a dull moment. Something is always happening and finding the skulls never felt tedious as a result. The scene where Drax finally obtains two of them were certainly fun as he starts running around and blasting everything. You almost feel bad for him since a 4th skull being added into the picture was basically cheating. He worked so hard to collect the others only to be told this plot twist. Better luck next time and all, but this was his chance. I’ll give a quick shoutout to Phantom’s two sidekicks, the wolf and the horse. They were very useful during the adventure and he would have been sunk without their support.

Overall, The Phantom is surprisingly a good movie. It certainly kept my attention from start to finish. That’s mainly because the characters were actually good. Surprisingly the villains were better than the heroes, but the film certainly wouldn’t have been as humorous without the Phantom. I’m not sure how he commands so much respect for everyone throughout since the guy isn’t that impressive, but he is rich and that does go a long way. His costume should remind you a bit of guys like Daredevil or other street brawlers so at least his costume had some heart. Throw in a lot of similarities to Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider and this is a film that can be fun for many different movie fans. If you haven’t seen the film yet, then it’s time to finally give it a watch. I also wouldn’t mind a sequel although it’s really too late for that. A reboot/remake could have some potential but only if they skip through the origin. The whole Jungle Experience is honestly a minefield full of things that could go wrong which made it even more impressive when this film still managed to succeed.

Overall 7/10

Spider-Man


It’s time for the latest Spiderman adventure. Ultimate still feels pretty fresh but I’m glad that they churned out another show so soon. I never want the gap between titles to be too long. It’s off to a good start and should make for a solid Superhero show. The animation may not be that good, but considering how animation has been dropping off in American television for years now, it could have been a lot worse. I’ll definitely be sticking with it and will have a review up when the series is over.

Overall 7/10

Ultimate Spiderman Review


It’s time for a superhero show that really serves as the definition of what you can expect from one. I feel like if someone ever asked me to name what I think is the title that feels like what you can expect from an average comic book show, I’d have to recommend this one. Justice League is a great Superhero show and Teen Titans Go is a poor one. Ultimate is more of a symbol of what they all strive to be. It’s not great or very good, but it’s not bad or even mediocre. It’s a good show that blends in a lot of action and comedy. All of Marvel’s current shows essentially have the same style to them and Spiderman is what started the trend. At over 100 episodes, I can safely say that the show did all right for itself.

The show’s main premise is that Nick Fury believes Spiderman should be doing something more with his life. Instead of taking out ordinary crooks, he wants him to become the Ultimate Spiderman. Spiderman decides to give this a shot and is placed on a Shield attack squad with White Tiger, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Nova. Together, the team has to take on a lot of villains and prove to the world that they are the strongest team out there. Can Spiderman really handle this level of pressure though?

Season 1 is mainly episodic as we get used to the team and see them take on challenges. There are quite a lot of guest stars to keep you interested such as Iron-Man, Hulk, and Doctor Strange. You also start to get a sense of which villains will play a big role as Venom and Doctor Octopus show up numerous times. Octopus can get old fast as his design is just so bad in this version and it doesn’t make for particularly engaging fights. Still, I suppose he makes sense as the big villain since he constantly has a master plan up his sleeve. I wish I could take him seriously but he has to be one of the worst villains in the show.

There aren’t many specific episodes to call out for season 1 as great ones since this was the weakest season. The Iron-Man team up against the Living Laser was pretty fun. The big two part episode with Green Goblin wasn’t bad either and Venom certainly got to appear quite a bit. On the whole I think they dropped the ball with Venom though. His never really gets around to being with Eddie Brock and is instead treated like more of a power up the whole time. Harry puts him on sometimes and then loses him again. Eventually the writers would decide on his roll, but I definitely didn’t miss his Harry days from season 1.

As for the characters, most of them are similar to how they are in the comics so I’ll really focus on the main ones. It’s interesting to see a young version of Luke Cage and Iron Fist. It’s an odd choice since part of Cage’s whole personality is that he’s a gritty guy who’s seen things and makes for a perfect anti hero to hire for a mission. Here he’s just a nice guy who goes to school. Iron Fist doesn’t have to be changed much as he’s just younger but they overplay his formal mannerisms at times. He’s probably the most mature member of the group though. White Tiger is the confident member of the group who always talks a good game, but she doesn’t really have any special abilities (At least for the first 20+ episodes) so it’s a little tough for her to keep up in a fight. Nova is the best member by far. He’s always pranking Spiderman and getting the last laugh in. Of course since he has the Power Cosmic, that is usually used as more plot hax than anything else. He should win every fight, but he just tends to miss every shot. That can be a little annoying.

Season 2 focuses on the Sinister Six. This means…you guessed it, Doctor Octopus is back in his full glory. He has assembled his team of powerful fighters like the Kraven, and Electro. Spiderman must put a stop to these guys while also helping the Lizard not get hurt in the process. He knows that a scientist is effectively trapped within the Lizard, but he’s doing his best to keep it under control. The Rhino is a kid underneath his guise, but the guy can’t seem to make up his mind on whether he wants to be a hero or not so it’s a little hard to help him out.

The Kraven episode may not sound great on paper as it’s just a team up with Spiderman and White Tiger, but it was actually pretty solid. The show did a lot of justice to Kraven as he was actually a real threat and always had good fight scenes in the show. I definitely enjoyed the episode at any rate and White Tiger finally got a big power up. The first Sinister Six episode also came on and it was pretty fun. It was rather rushed though as Spiderman had to beat them all in a single episode.

Then we had the Carnage episode which was fun. Again, I don’t think the Symbiotes were handled all that well and the show should have looked to the 90’s cartoon for inspiration but I suppose it did its best. I gotta give the Stan Lee team up episode a shoutout as well. Who would have thought that Spiderman would be teaming up with the One Above All? There were one liners for days in this episode. For a slightly more serious episode, the Deadpool guest star was fun. It was a little sad that Spiderman’s friends immediately preferred him, but Deadpool is charismatic. He always makes for good humor as well.

Season 3’s big hook is that it adapts the Spider Verse storyline from the comics. A mystical artifact is broken so Spiderman has to go to various universes to find the pieces. He meets up with Ultimate Spiderman, Noir, Spiderham, and other versions of himself along the way. It was a fun multi part epic, but the main problem was that it was incredibly repetitive. Every episode had the exact same format and story telling. It was cool seeing every Spiderman admit that the main one was the best every time, but it didn’t always seem sincere because of how much it was spammed. The show maybe laid it on a little thick that time. Spiderman was definitely a team player in this season as he ended up teaming with the Avengers and then forming his own Warriors group. They definitely kept Parker busy and this led to his original team from season 1 being gradually written out of the show.

The Avengers two part event was fun, but mostly just the second part. The first one didn’t really get to go anywhere since Loki and Spiderman switched bodies. The second at least gave us a fight between the Avengers and Spiderman’s new team. Agent Venom was cool since this was a route I could finally get behind for Venom. I miss his classic Brock form, but I suppose this is the next best thing. It’s just a shame that he got so weak after this. I basically already covered the Spider Verse. It would have been a lot better if not for being so repetitive.

The Crossover with Jessie was interesting since I didn’t even remember that the show existed. On a more epic note, the show adapted the Contest of Champions Mobile Game and that was a lot of fun. Honestly, I wish we could have gotten closer to 10 episode of this as there are so many cool fights you can pull off with this concept. There was quite a bit of plot hax at times and Spiderman did a bad job of picking his teams, but this one really took advantage of how the show loves its guest stars. Spiderman could basically choose from anyone that he’s met so there were a bunch of options. It wasn’t handled quite as well as the Secret Wars from the 90’s show, but it was good nonetheless.

Finally, Season 4 had the return of the Sinister Six. Yeah…the show decided to give them another season. I guess they felt they could do more with them. This last season was certainly the most ambitious though as it had quite a lot of plot lines and multi parters including the return of the Spider Verse. By the end of the show you had certainly gotten used to Spiderman and his friends.

Hydra is usually rather boring, but the opening two parter was good because it saw the debut of the Scarlet Spider and started the ball rolling. Unlike the first 3 seasons, this one had an ongoing plot that would last the entire season. Who is the Scarlet Spider and can they trust him? The Scarlet Spider is a fun character because he’s constantly insulting Spiderman and just generally being a jerk. Yeah, he’s definitely not a nice guy, but he’s not supposed to be one anyway. This is just how he rolls. Of course, it is far too late when they try to get us to feel bad for him. That’s the drawback of being this kind of character and making certain decisions.

The next episode was also pretty solid as Miles is brought into the picture and becomes a main character. The two Spidermen have to team up with Doctor Strange to defeat his version of the Green Goblin and it’s pretty intense. This character is consistently portrayed to be too powerful for the heroes so they have to use a lot of teamwork to keep him down. Miles is a fun enough Spiderman even if he can be a little overconfident despite not usually lasting too long in a fight. His electric abilities really help to give him an edge in a fight and make up for that experience though. He’ll only get better as he keeps on fighting.

The next episodes get pretty intense as the team faces the threat of a traitor in their midst. Agent Venom is put in a wheelchair and Harry falls into a coma. It’s hard to picture any of this happening in the first 3 seasons as it’s actually rather dark and the plot is very serious. The Sinister Six then returns and this time they go after Aunt May along with one of the traitors so Spiderman is forced to get serious about this ordeal. Another character seemingly dies at the end although we know that nobody ever dies in comic land.

We get back to back sagas as The Symbiotes slowly take over the world in one 3 part adventure and then the Spider Verse returns as the guest stars have to unite once more. Both of these events were pretty fun and the extra episodes really let the show cut loose. Even Gwen Stacy’s recent Spider-Gwen form gets to make an appearance. The Spider Slayers 3 part story was cool because Mary Jane finally got powers. She absorbed the Carnage symbiote and became one of the stronger characters in the series. That was definitely a nice upgrade to keep her up to par with the others. Mary Jane had a very small role throughout the series so her fans were glad to see the writers bringing her back in again. After being in season 1, she basically vanished for all of 2 and 3. From here on out, Mary Jane would be a main character although the series only had a few episodes left.

Finally, the Graduation Day 2 parter was a good way to end the series. It may have been embarrassing for everyone else as they were stuck in a bubble and couldn’t break it the whole time, but we had to prove to the world once and for all that Spiderman is the ultimate fighter. Seeing him save everyone is always pretty satisfying. Yeah, as you can tell I was pretty satisfied with season 4 as a whole Honestly, it was a great season and would have gotten a solid 8 if the first 3 didn’t exist. That being said, 3 7 star seasons and 1 8 star season ultimately end up equaling a 7. No matter how great that last season was, it can’t just bring up the curve all on its own.

That’s why it’s a shame that the show didn’t get one more season. Honestly, if the quality had continued to look up like season 4, then this really could have gone down as one of Marvel’s best titles. The ongoing plot had started to get rock solid and this is where the past 100 episodes of situations and characters popping up could have come in handy. With the sheer amount of heroes in the story, the show could have adapted any story arc that it wanted too. I could see the show deciding to tackle the Civil War and it would actually be able to do it justice in this version. It was not to be, but it was a fun glimpse at what the show could have been. Just imagine if all 100+ episodes had been at this level of quality.

One area where the show always excelled was with its animation. It was stylized to look like the iconic 90’s cartoon, but with up to date graphics. It was a little more streamlined and had a dark color scheme that worked well with the night time moments. I’d probably still make the case that the 90’s show ultimately won as its character designs were a step up, but the show definitely delivered in this department. Compared to the other current titles like Guardians of the Galaxy, or the upcoming Spiderman show this is a world of improvement. I would mention Avengers, but the animation for that one got considerably better with Season 2. It’s still a little behind Spiderman, but it’s close enough at this point where I didn’t really need to deliver any burns. There’s unfortunately nothing to say about Ultimate Spiderman’s soundtrack. There’s not a single memorable tune in the entire show.

The current Marvel shows all like to place a big emphasis on comedy. I suppose they just don’t want their shows to get too serious and it helps them gel better with the live action films which use a similar format. That being said, the TV show writers are not necessarily at the same level at times so many of the jokes can be forced. This is Spiderman as well so you can bet that the jokes are constant. They don’t really bother me for the most part, but it does cement the fact that the show won’t be known as an epic one. It can’t quite reach the same level of intensity as Justice League, X-Men, or Avengers EMH as a result. It’s a fun show with a lot of action and cool guest stars, but it never gets past the “Fun” aspect of the show. That means it is relegated to a solid seven, but can’t hit the elusive 8.

That’s not to say that the show didn’t try. As you saw with some of the episodes I hand picked above, it did have some pretty serious ones. The show also had a lot of really good fights that actually had good hand to hand and really solid animation. It’s just that for every great episode I showed above, there were also some really lackluster ones or even downright bad episodes. Some did have crude humor which could be annoying and other episodes could be boring. Every show has a few episodes which aren’t that good, but they’re balanced out by a higher average.

One thing the show actually did well was give characters character development and keep the universe moving. A lot actually happened during the 100 episodes and most of the characters are vastly different from how they started. New designs, new powers, and even personality shifts. The status quo wasn’t the same as when the show started which is important. The show wasn’t always consistent with this and I do get annoyed that Spiderman’s spider sense didn’t always work, but I suppose that’s bound to happen in any Spiderman show.

I can count on one hand the number of characters that the show actually wrecked: Vulture, Doctor Octopus, and Rhino. Those are the main ones anyway and season 4 was able to redeem Doctor Octopus. Beyond that, everyone was pretty true to form and it was fun seeing them all show up. Spiderman was also a fun lead as he was ultimately the hero that we all know and love. By the end he was pretty experienced and wise as well since he became a leader and got to learn how to lead in a few episodes. He got serious when he had too and was also a sharp fighter. It really felt like you grew with the characters in this series.

Overall, Ultimate Spiderman is a fun show. Perhaps it’s not what everyone was expecting or hoping for, but I was satisfied with it. I’m still glad it exists and that it lasted so long. The fact that it was entertaining and came up with so many different stories is nothing to sneeze at. It’s probably the best Spiderman show next to the 90’s one and it does come very close to matching that one as well. Its longer length gives it more replay value at any rate. The next show is coming out soon so I’ll see how that one turns out, but my expectations are a little lower. I’m going to miss all of the guest stars and the rich history this show brought along with it, but I suppose it’ll be nice to go back to having a solo Spiderman story for a chance with occasional guest stars rather than constant ones. Hopefully it can work through its poor animation and deliver a pretty good product.

Overall 7/10

Max Steel Review


It’s time for a superhero film that isn’t a part of the main DC or Marvel comics line. It takes some cues from the classic Spider-Man origin story and the Power Rangers series. By all accounts, this should have led to a film that was leagues above the average film. Unfortunately, this wasn’t to be as Max Steel isn’t a great film. It’s a decently good movie, but parts of the plot just end up being unintentionally funny or even cringy.

The film follows a kid named Max. He’s enjoying his day like normal when a robot appears and tells him that he’s gonna die. For some reason, Max has been emitting explosive particles and unless he expels them once in a while via energy blasts…it will consume him. Max doesn’t want that to happen, but he’s not really sure what to do about it. He’s not given much time to think things over as the robot gives him as Iron-Man suit which completely gets Max on board. “Why didn’t you mention that sooner?” is something along the lines of what he’d say. Unfortunately, a privately owned company filled with antagonistic share holders is after him. Run Max!

One of the things that you’ll notice right away is that the film had a bit of a limited budget. Max doesn’t even get to use his suit all that much because of this. There are only a handful of scenes with him in costume. Granted, those are the best parts of the film. Max’s fight against the Evil Max (Can’t spoil who the main villain is right? Hint, he gets the Golden Parachute) was pretty well done and if the whole film was like that, it would have been quite good. I’m always up for a solid hand to hand fight like that. Max’s training montage also wasn’t bad although it had nothing on Rocky.

Where things get tricky is the human side of things. As Max is your stereotypical Hollywood lead, he believes in love at first sight. This causes him to fall for Sofia instantly. The problem is that Max can be…cringy. That word is overused so I rarely use it myself, but it applies a lot here. We’ll get long scenes of Max just staring at Sofia because he’s at a loss for words. He tends to mumble a lot when they talk because he’s nervous. Max even brings back the 80’s trope of not being able to talk when Sodia is around so he starts spouting gibberish. Max then blows her off at least 10 times for the most mundane of reasons when he could easily explain the situation to her.

Sofia is evidently a nice character as she approaches Max most of the time and helps him fit in at school. Without her, things would have been pretty tough for him. Max just never appears all that grateful. He wants to be with her, but not enough to actually tell her much of anything. The only reason why she sticks around is because this is a Hollywood movie. It doesn’t make much sense otherwise. The biggest issue with Max is that he’s constantly running out of the room in a panic attack. See, he gets these visions and moments of disorientation. Instead of telling people, he dashes off. It becomes so much of a running gag that it’s even played for laughs in one scene. I can’t say that it was very funny though. It just made Max look insensitive again.

At the very least, this film isn’t very subtle. You can accurately predict most of the film right away. The main villain is incredibly obvious when he shows up. It’s meant to be a big twist, but there were no other suspects which is actually the problem. If you only have 4 main characters, Max, his Mom, the heroine, and a rich guy who knew Max’s father before his mysterious death…well it all points to one conclusion. The one part of the film that was a little surprising and came out of left field was the twist about the share holders. The whole time, it felt like the guys who were after Max were black ops mercenaries who destroyed anything in their path. Nah, it’s just a bunch of 9-5 guys who work for the share holders. They were also working for the wrong person as the majority shareholder had to step in. The scene made no sense by the way.

So, the Mom controls the company, yet she is out of the loop on everything. She knew about the aliens and everything, but didn’t know that Max would blow up. She kept the secret of how his Dad died from Max because “he wasn’t ready” but didn’t warn him not to go to the company since it wouldn’t bode well for him. I don’t think that the writers really thought this plot through at all. Don’t worry though, they squeezed in some aliens. There are living tornadoes that live among us. Yeah, I was pretty shook by this news as well. The only way to beat them is for Max to…land a hit against them. That’s not too hard, but it doesn’t make for a very thrilling fight. Also, the film didn’t have time for all of the fights so we get a good way of taking them out all at once at the end which will delay them for a bit. The sequel would probably wrap that up, but this film’s not getting a sequel anytime soon.

The villain’s not one of the smarter figures either. Since Max is a pretty inexperienced fighter with terrible plans..he takes advantage of that. See, the villain can absorb energy so Max figures that he’ll give the villain all of his energy. This will overload him right? I get the concept, but it’s a terrible plan. If the villain is trying to get your energy, then he has probably already thought of a way to do it effectively. The villain has the win in the bag, but then decides to bring Max next to his power supply at the end to make things more personal. After all, he wants Max to be back at full power so he can power up a machine. What he didn’t count on was the fact that Max wanted to use his powers on the villain instead of on the machine. The rest is history, but those two decisions were some of the worst ones that I’ve seen a superhero and supervillain make.

Steel is another one of the main characters and he’s the mini robot mascot of the film. He can’t really fight and is also not that intelligent. This isn’t a great combo. He’s always threatening to destroy Max’s friends and is always trying to drain his energy unexpectedly. Steel never really grew on me. I suppose he gets in a lot of burns, but they typically aren’t all that clever. He could have been worse though and maybe he was just overshadowed by Max. Max really is the worst character of the film with his constant panicking and being slow on the uptake for the new developments. He even uses Bing/Yahoo as a search engine if I recall correctly and that’s a rookie mistake. Sure, the freebies are cool, but you end up losing so much time that it’s just not worth it. A few dozen less “epic” zoom ins on Max and less shirtless scenes would have done wonders for the film as well. They’re just around to pad the time and to try and distract you from the plot holes. That strategy’s never been effective though as scenes of filler are the perfect time to think about past scenes and piece the puzzles together. At the very least, that’s what I like to do. Multi tasking and mentally prepping your review are always good things to do in those scenarios.

Overall, Max Steel was a funny film, but it wasn’t meant to be. It’s one of the rare examples of a cheesy/campy film in the modern era. That at least earns it some points even if it did completely bomb and I doubt we’ll be seeing a sequel. At least the cartoon series did a little better. The visuals are actually pretty good when they happen so it’s a shame that the film didn’t get a bigger budget. The writers/directors are probably glad that they didn’t spend more money on it though considering how hard it bombed. They would have lost even more money at that point. The main thing that could have improved this film would have been a better human subplot or more action scenes. Either definitely would have sufficed since the core premise of the plot is sound, the execution was just a bit off. Max Steel really played it safe on all accounts which may have limited its options, but also prevented it from falling into any cinematic pot holes. As the saying goes though, you can’t win by playing not to lose. This can suffice for a 6, but if the series wants to get any higher, it’s gonna have to improve. I’d recommend checking it out for a decent laugh and to remind yourself that independent superheroes still exist. That being said, it’s nowhere near as good as the average Marvel or DC film.

Overall 6/10

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

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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