Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Avengers Assemble Review


This Avengers show definitely ran for a very long time. It got over 120 episodes which is impressive for any title. It managed to reach 5 seasons and adapted a ton of different Marvel events and brought in all of the fan favorite characters. While it’s not quite as solid as Avenger EMH or the classic 90’s X-Men show, it’s still a pretty good team show. It’s a very good title that you’ll have fun with. It checks off the right boxes and from the current wave of Marvel shows I would definitely say that it was the best one. The Avengers are just fun to have around.

It was a little funny how the show started though as they bump off Captain America almost immediately. Naturally any comic book fan knows that this isn’t going to stick, but it’s fun anyway. The heroes try to stay serious and for irony they have Iron Man tell the other characters that this is no time for jokes. Everyone ends up joking and making banter anyway, but they do try to keep some serious-ness about them during the first episode. The first episodes tried experimenting with comic book panels for the animation. So the characters would fly for example, but the screen would shrink to a panel size. It was an interesting idea, but I’m glad that it was thrown out almost immediately.

Season 1 is mainly about Red Skull and his Cabal of villains. It’s always nice to have a good villain group and these guys could hold their own so it worked out. Attuma and Dracula are among the members and those guys are no joke. While the series was still just starting it was a solid way to incorporate the fights right away and you got a feel for the show. It’s certainly one of the weaker seasons overall, but it holds its own just fine. It’d probably be nostalgic to go back and see how season 1 has aged.

Season 2 has quite a lot going on. First off you have the arrival of Thanos which brings us a ton of fights and then you get Ultron’s big move. Additionally the Squadron Supreme shows up with their Justice League-esque members as they try to take down the Avengers once and for all. That was definitely one of the highlights here since those guys have never really gotten to appear in the Marvel comics before now. It was great to see them on the big screen at long last.

Season 3 brings back Ultron and also adds in the Inhumans as well as a Civil War arc of sorts. It’s another pretty packed season and I do think that the show really started to hit its stride around season 2, but it continued seamlessly into season 3. The show just looked sharper and had more engaging episodes. The Civil War parts are always fun and you can’t really go wrong with Ultron either. There were a lot of fights to enjoy here and the effects of these events did continue into season 4.

Season 4 brings in the Secret Wars which was definitely cool. It’s not handled nearly as well as it was in the old Spider-Man cartoon, but it is really hard to top that one right? It does span almost the whole season though so there is a lot of time for things to happen, but it’s pretty changed from the comic. There are less spontaneous battles and chaos going on which is not the Secret Wars that I remember. We really need a full movie adaption of that legendary saga. Now that would be a lot of fun. Still, it was like an ensemble of all the heroes throughout the series so that was cool.

Season 5 is definitely the weakest of the bunch. The show effectively became the Black Panther show instead of an Avengers title. I’m rarely a fan of Black Panther as the MCU is one of the only continuities to make him likable. Typically he’s just way too arrogant and is basically a villain at times. You can probably imagine that the show wasn’t able to change that so when he is the main focus there isn’t much to really hold your interest here. It’s a whole season just to show why he is better than the Avengers. The basic plot though is that the Shadow Council is framing Black Panther and they intend to destroy the world. To stop them he’ll need a lot of old artifacts from Wakanda and he may have to time travel to use them.

So there’s definitely a lot happening here. As I mentioned, starting with season 2 the show did get better. The animation improved quite drastically as the colors were sharper and it actually got a little closer to the 90’s in terms of style and design. There was even a good soundtrack with a lot of tunes that almost seemed directly ripped from the Justice League cartoon. I wonder if that’s even possible or maybe the shows used some public domain music. Either way it did make everything a lot more epic.

And yet…the show still couldn’t reach the classics. So why is that? I’ve thought about it a lot and it’s hard to explain, but I’ll do my best to convey it. At no point in this show do you feel any serious stakes or truly hype moments. In The X-Men show the Phoenix Saga was grand and a real page turner. The Spider-Man show had quite a few sagas like the Secret Wars and Avengers EMH had the whole skrull invasion. Assemble has a ton of arcs, but none of them are quite as solid as those were. I think there are two guilty factors here. One is the nonstop humor in the show. If the heroes are constantly joking during the fights and not taking it seriously then the audience can’t either. Why feel scared for the heroes if they’re getting choked and still making puns? Assemble never really knows when to take a break from the one liners but that’s also true for most modern cartoons. It takes away any sense of danger.

Then there is the fact that the heroes seem to be able to lose to just about anyone. We get villains as powerful as Thanos and the Beyonder and then have to try and take guys like the Leader seriously. The stakes go from being universal to street level and it keeps flipping back and forth so often that it destroys your sense of scale. A show can certainly go back and forth, but like with the comics if you keep on going too often then things are going to get a little messy and you’ll experience event fatigue. We can’t blame the animation or soundtrack since I already mentioned that those are quite good. I suppose you can take some shots at the fight scenes though. There’s no weight behind any of the hits. Fights like Thor vs Hyperion are decent, but they don’t come anywhere close to the fights of EMH or something like Justice League. Everyone hits about as hard as sandpaper.

The fights can still look good though and I do enjoy the action, it’s just on a completely different level. It’s why most of the current superhero shows are stuck at a 7. It’s a very respectable score and the show is fun, but they just don’t manage to get to “Great” status. You need more of an engaging plot and a really strong cast to pull that off. That’s not something that Assemble is quite ready to do. Maybe the show will come back and try to prove me wrong at some point. I’d definitely be up for more Avengers action and lasting over 100 episodes is definitely impressive in and of itself.

Get ready for a lot of power level shenanigans, but for a long running superhero cartoon like this one that is basically inevitable. This kind of thing never really hurts the score, you just gotta roll with it. Season 5 is particularly guilty of this as Black Panther beats the entire Avengers crew multiple times. The show tries to make him seem like Batman at times with how prepared for everything he is. Even when he gets betrayed he always tries to make it seem like someone else’s fault. Then you’ve got Ultron taking down Thanos with the gauntlet which was pretty fun. That one’s more believable since Ultron is well, he’s Ultron. Still, I remember that one getting a lot of headlines back in the day and we also can’t forget Iron Man taking on the Byeonder. At the end of the day this show is all about seeing your favorite heroes duke it out with a bunch of villains and it delivers.

As for the characters, they’re all about the same as you would expect them to be from the movies or the comics. None of them are particularly changed or anything. Iron Man is still the leader of the group who likes to goof off, but it always ready with a solution when the world needs him. Then you’ve got Captain America who is more by the books but will startle everyone with the occasional joke. Thor is unfortunately not very smart in this version so he sometimes acts more like the Hulk than the green behemoth. Ms. Marvel is here to cover the newbie angle. She just wants the team to accept her and since she is a kid they all see her as the rookie. Interestingly her character is completely different in the current Spider-Man show as she gets pretty overconfident there. I like to think that Teen Titans Go got this one right as Robin explained in one comic that characters just act differently depending on what crew they’re with. It’s why he’s so goofy with the Titans, but gets serious when Batman is around. I guess not having the Avengers around just makes Ms. Marvel a whole lot braver.

As for the villains Thanos and Ultron are definitely a blast. Thanos gets to really go all out in the battle on the Moon and the scene of him hitting Thor against the hammer definitely looked painful. Ultron plays mind games with everyone as always and definitely has a lot of firepower. Then you’ve got Red Skull who has a really big role here and makes for a decent villain. The Squadron Supreme also deserves a mention. They really should have beaten the Avengers most of the times they fought. Their team is just OP and it reminds me once again why the Justice League would totally school the Avengers in a fair fight. Their members are just way too powerful and completely out of their league.

Overall, There’s not a whole lot more to say here. Avengers Assemble is definitely what you’d expect from a modern Avengers show. It gives us a lot of quality episodes and sagas. The show really takes advantage of the wide roster of Avengers through the years and how many characters they’ve faced. While the show may not contain the soul of the older titles, it still does a very respectable job. There isn’t really anything to dislike about the show and the large array of episodes ensure that it has a lot of replay value as well. It’s a show that you can pick up and watch at any time or if you have a favorite character you can look him or her up and odds are that the show will have introduced this fighter. The amount of guest stars here is quite impressive and having a consistently solid show that you could watch week after week is a very nice thing. If you are a big fan of comics or just like a good action show then I’d recommend checking this one out. It’s a good cartoon for a Saturday Morning.

Overall 7/10

Advertisements
Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Incredibles 2 Review


It’s time to look at the second Incredibles film. It’s naturally been a long time since the first one so the question was really whether this sequel would go for nostalgia or just pick up where the first one left off. I think it did a good job of getting some nice nostalgia in the opening scene and then just going for the plot. Of course, you can do both and nostalgia is often a good thing, but with this method it’ll make watching both of them back to back very easy.

After the Incredibles save the day once more we find out that times have changed. Heroes are now illegal so helping save the day is considered a crime. It’s related to the whole vigilante argument. The heroes come in and save the day but usually with a lot of property damage of which they aren’t exactly held liable. Heroes must go underground or be arrested. Mr Incredible doesn’t like this and wants to keep on being a hero while Elastigirl believes that they have to follow the law.

Fortunately their debate is postponed when a rich guy named Winston shows up and declares that he will make heroes legal again. Of course, it’s going to be tricky to do so. First he thinks Elastigirl is the key as she can stop minor crimes and do so with no actual damage. He’ll even give her a camera so that the public can see how heroic she is. A new villain even shows up which is convenient for her. Maybe…too convenient. Is this guy hiding something?

With the way the plot is set up you can probably guess right away that something is shifty here. Still, while you may guess part of how this will go down, it may be difficult to guess it completely, at least for a little while. It’s a good plot set up so it definitely works well. I do think the film did a good job of making Winston fairly likable. He’s a rich guy who is actually using his profits for good. He’s a slick business man but one with morals. That’s always nice to see. His sister Evelyn is a genius and is the other half of how the two became so rich. She does tend to bring up how Mr Incredible used to overshadow Elastigirl quite a lot though even when the heroine tries to debunk it. I’m glad that Elastigirl didn’t fall for the bait each time.

Going back to the opening scene, it was definitely a solid way to start the film. Seeing the situation from this random kid’s perspective was pretty hype and worked to make the opening a little more suspenseful. It was also great to see the memory manipulator as it not only destroyed a possible romance plot before it even got started, but it felt like a homage to Men in Black. That’s definitely what you want to see.

Meanwhile the animation still looks pretty nice as always. The character costumes are cool and the battles are fun. I don’t really think the first film had any big fights since there were no other heroes so it was cool to see them here. Lucius did a good job in the house where it was basically just him against a bunch of opponents. His ice abilities are very useful for such confrontations and I think he could have easily claimed a full win if he had just been a little more careful in the matchup. The soundtrack is less impressive as I can’t recall any really memorable tunes, but it wasn’t bad.

Mr Incredible is good for the most part even if he does get pretty jealous of Elastigirl almost immediately. I would have thought he would be a better sport about the whole thing. I did agree with him on the moral debate of following a law though. They can’t just follow every law the way Elastigirl was saying they should. If a law is bad then it’s bad. You can’t quite follow it at that point. Still, Incredible did his best to look after the kids and did a good job there. He may not have done very well in the climax at times, (Losing in a battle of super strength to a random hero) but at the end of the day he did what he had to.

Meanwhile Elastigirl was good. She used her powers very strategically throughout the film. This is particularly evident when she has to stop a train as that is pretty tough for someone with her powers, but she is able to maneuver very well. Her fight scene against the guy with the mask was also pretty solid. I like how he would throw in cheap shots while they were running. It’s the kind of thing you would expect a villain to do.

Violet and Dash aren’t quite as solid. Considering that Violet knows about the memory manipulation I feel like she should have realized what was happening a lot sooner. It would have made more sense if she didn’t know that the heroes ever did that. Her barriers are handy though so I’d like to see her get in more fights. She just happened to fight someone that was a bad matchup for her. Portals are hard to defend against. Dash is still too young to be of much help in a fight which is a shame since his power is probably the best of the bunch. No way you should lose when you have super speed.

As expected, Jack Jack doesn’t add much to the plot as he is just a baby. Still, he could have been worse. At least he doesn’t get too many scenes to himself. Meanwhile, Lucius continues to excel and is certainly the best character in the film. He does a good job during the house fight where it was 1 vs around 6 and shows a lot of natural leadership skills. He’s definitely the kind of ally that you want on your team. He seems more skilled and competent than Mr Incredible if we’re being honest.

I do have some questions about the superheroes becoming illegal bit though. How are the heroes able to hide in plain sight so easily? Is this one of those laws that the government doesn’t really care about? Sort of a “look the other way” kind of deal because that’s the only way I can see them not arresting the heroes by now. Especially with how active they are. Maybe they would get fined the next time or something. It is taken to the extreme for humor of course like showing how they would rather the heroes not even try to stop the villains, but of course some media try to seriously make that case as well. The bottom line is that the citizens and government in these things don’t usually appreciate the danger of a super villain. It’s only once they blow up a city or something that they see why heroes are needed.

Overall, Incredibles 2 is definitely a fun sequel. It brings back everything you enjoyed about the first film and even manages to improve upon that. This is certainly a success in my book. While Mr Incredible himself may not be quite as impressive as he was in the first film, he’s still a fun lead at the very least. Hopefully by the third film he’ll be back to being the heroic lead that we’re used to seeing. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I’d say that it’s time to change that.

Overall 7/10

8 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

My Hero Academia Review


It’s time to review one of the most popular anime from a year or so ago. This show was talked about quite a lot and was compared to One Punch Man constantly since both shows came out at around the same time and dealt with superheroes. I’m not going to prolong the drama this time though, One Punch Man wins this fight. Both of these titles are great shows, but there is a big gap between incredibly amazing and great. My Hero Academia is a great show, but it’s not stellar to the point where I could easily rewatch the whole show again. One Punch Man has a better cast, universe, animation, soundtrack, fights, potential, and just hype in general. The two shows can’t really be compared as it stands now, but OPM did have a really fast start. Season 2 will likely not be quite as hype although there are some big scenes coming up while Hero Academia’s season 2 should be leaps and bounds above the first if handled right. Perhaps that is when the comeback will happen so either way, we’ll be comparing both of these when the season 2’s come out.

The story follows a kid named Deku. In this planet, almost all people are born with quirks. Typically you’ll gain one that is similar to your parents. Unfortunately, Deku is one of the few who is quirkless. He has no powers, but Deku has always looked up to superheroes and wants to be one anyway. Fortunately, he meets up with All Might, the world’s number one hero. All Might decides to give Deku a portion of his powers. Deku can now join up with the other students at the most prestigious school in the world, but will he be able to keep up with these borrowed powers? He also has to be careful since he is now one of the world’s strongest beings and he could easily destroy one of his classmates by accident if he were to go all out.

As this is just season 1, most of the episodes are for world building and character introductions. They do manage to squeeze in one fight with the villain group during the final few episodes though. That is definitely the best part of the season although I also liked the hero vs villain mock battles that occurred a little before that. The only part that gets annoying is Deku’s narration during the episodes where he foreshadows events. It usually ends up just being clickbait and the show doesn’t really need it since the actual content is interesting enough to get you to check in anyway. Of course, I believe that it was in the manga as well, so it’s not as if the show just randomly added it.

My Hero Academia has a lot of energy and instantly feels like a modern show. All current shows should feel like this and the same thing applies to a video game. If it doesn’t feel new and modern, then something is wrong. My Hero Academia definitely had a pretty good budget. The colors stand out and the characters are streamlined. The show did a good job with this since some of the designs could have easily been a little clunky. Kaachan’s in particular stands out since the design is very convoluted when he’s in his superhero form.

That about covers the animation. The best animated scenes are typically when Deku is about to throw a huge punch. The energy effect through his arm came out well. Naturally, the soundtrack is also really good. The theme song is still one of my favorites in anime and I listened to it quite a few times. There’s a lot of competition nowadays though so it could easily drop off of the top 10 given time. The villain theme is also very good and brings the hype when the villains make their move. There’s also a decent hero theme and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s a pretty diverse set of themes, but there are only 13 episodes so some don’t get to appear too much. Between the opening, fight themes, and the villain themes, My Hero Academia is definitely set and has a great soundtrack that can hold its own with the best of them.

Deku’s a reasonable lead. Standing up to Bakugou near the middle definitely helped his character a lot. If he had been super timid and just run away the whole time, it would have been annoying. Even if they ultimately decide to make Bakugou nicer so he can be one of the main heroes, at this point he is just a bully. The only way to deal with those is to teach them a lesson and claim the win. The sad part is that Deku could easily beat Bakugou with a single hit, but such a blow could easily kill him so Deku has to try and win with strategy. Deku just kept making the right calls throughout the anime and they were ones that other leads might have hesitated for. For example, Deku jumped in with a 100% shot at Shigaraki when All Might was cancelled. The attempt didn’t work, but at least Deku was willing to blow his arm off to help. He kept on jumping back into the fray even when the teachers and other kids told him not too. Deku’s definitely one of the bravest guys here and now that he also has more self confidence, I look forward to him continuing to improve in the next season. Having a main character who is extremely powerful and smart without being arrogant is also very unique. There aren’t many characters like that around.

Bakugou is the rival in the show and he’s certainly a little more extreme than some others. He’s not as bad as Gajeel from Fairy Tail since he doesn’t go around crucifying all of Deku’s friends before immediately turning good, but it is still impossible to sympathize with him. He threatens Deku constantly and even burns a notebook that Deku spent years filling up with data. He’s never remorseful about this either and still has the gall to be upset at Deku for actually defending himself. This plot line will continue for a while and the whole time it’s just hard to even remotely see Bakugou’s side of the story. He’s a solid character when he’s not around Deku though and he does help out a lot in the final battles. He’s one of the few characters with a combat quirk so he really needs to put it to good use. Bakugou’s a good character as an antagonist, but if he’s meant to be more like Sasuke from pre Shippuden or Mika from Seraph in the sense that we should empathize with their goals and motivations…then it’s not working so far.

Uraraka is the main heroine, but she surprisingly hasn’t gotten to do much yet. She’s a nice enough character and she went out of her way to save Deku from what could have been a very embarrassing entrance into the school. She can be rather oblivious and unfortunately her power is one of the worst in the series, but at least she’s a good friend to have around. I am hoping that she gets a power up at some point though. Iida is another one of the supporting characters. He’ll get a major role in the second season (or 3rd) so stay tuned for that. He’s a good character at the moment. Iida’s an ultra “Follow the rules” kind of character, but he pulls off the role well. Abandoning the others to go and get reinforcements was a bit risky though. I’m not saying that it was totally the wrong call, but this is where you separate the champs from the supporting characters. True, getting reinforcements is good to secure a win, but you’ll likely lose some friends along the way. Staying can be dangerous, but then you’ll all live or die together. I think a true hero has got to stay and if anything, act as a decoy or a sacrifice to let the others get away. I think that would have been the right move here.

Todoroki is another rival for Deku and he’s my favorite character in the series. He hasn’t done much yet, but he’s the strongest student at the school (Aside from Deku) and he has a very cool and calm demeanor. He’s the kind of character who would really stand out in just about any show and you can never have too many rivals. His personality will get heavily nerfed in the future so enjoy him while you can. Having elemental powers is always really handy as well since what you can do is really only limited by your imagination. Another student who is around is Asui. She’s also not much of a fighter, but she gives Deku a lot of support at well and is really good in that kind of role. Her frog-like athletics allow her to cross large areas with a large bound so she can get teammates out of harm’s way.

There are a lot of students and it’s going to take a while for the show to really introduce them all. I suppose that more of them will show up in season 2, but in the manga some of them never got to really do anything. That’s the problem with such a large cast, but at least it means that every supporting character is actually a real character and not just a nameless individual. The others are good so far and they’ll make for a decent supporting cast. It’s hard to say where they stack up against Naruto’s. One day I’ll have to compare them more. The only bad one is Mineta, but man….he is a terrible character. He’s the one bad aspect of the show. The show really has virtually no fanservice, but Mineta always has to have the sketchy lines and his running gag of going after the female characters to grab them is just unnecessary and terrible. Even if the characters try drowning him afterwards, it’s a little too late and the problem is that none of the characters seem to even care. I hope he’s written out of the show at some point.

As with the students, there are a lot of pro heroes, but most of them haven’t done much yet. All Might is the main hero of course and while he is a homage to Superman, he’s not quite as transparent. As he appears more and more, you get glimpses into the fact that he has to keep a lot of secrets from the rest of the world. He believes that he is a symbol of peace to he has to seem invincible so villains won’t try to make a move. I can understand the logic, but people are going to find out about his weakness so he needs to tell more of the heroes as soon as possible or they’re going to be in a lot of danger. I also think All Might could have let the other heroes help out a bit more. Surely Todoroki would have been some help against Noumu. He did save All Might after all and the fact that his abilities are long range means that it’ll be tougher for the villains to hit him. From All Might’s point of view though, he made the right call. No need to put the others in danger, but I would have liked to have seen the kids defy him more.

Aizawa is the other hero to get a big role. He’s a cool enough hero and basically plays the Kakashi role here. He’s very strict and pushes the students to their limits. He’s also a fairly good fighter although his powers are really only good for one on one fights. The fact that he can nullify powers means that he can potentially take down some of the strongest villains in the series, but unless he can improve his physical abilities, he’ll inevitably hit a wall when the foes become faster and stronger than mortal levels. We already see that here to an extent, although most villains won’t be quite as strong as Noumu. The principal also appears and I like to think that he’s the spy within the hero ranks. I don’t like him so that’d be a double bonus.

Shigaraki is the figurehead of the villains. We don’t know much about him yet, but he wants to destroy All Might and bring the world to chaos. His ability to destroy whatever he touches is certainly very dangerous. It’s not instantaneous, but it will cause severe damage. His ability is a good counter to Deku since he just needs one good hit to make up for the fact that he would die to a single hit as well. He nearly defeats Deku several times and they’ll definitely meet up more soon. His costume involves multiple hands grabbing him, which is a little odd. He’s definitely a strange villain and not quite as interesting as his partner, but he’s not bad. At least he can fight, which is a good start.

Kurogiri is Shigaraki’s partner and definitely a cooler villain. His shadows ability is actually very overpowered and makes him one of the most dangerous threats in the series. He can appear just about anywhere at any time and the only place where you can hit him is his neck. I’m still a little skeptical on how the heroes missed him the first time if there is a real guy underneath the shadows so I’m going to assume that there’s another trick to his powers. (Or plot hax) He has a very intimidating voice and he’s the main reason why the villain’s plan could work at all. He may not be the leader, but he’s very deadly.

Noumu is a mindless monster with a lot of attack power and durability. This makes him a good match-up for All Might. The design is okay, but it would score more cool points if the brain wasn’t always showing. He’s good as an opponent and isn’t a bad villain. He’s clearly not as interesting as some of the others, but he’s fast, strong, and nimble. He doesn’t suffer from the strong, but slow curse and I wouldn’t mind seeing him again.

The show has a good character cast and that definitely goes a long way. The actual universe isn’t quite as interesting as other titles since there isn’t much to explore or other areas to be interested in. As far as we know, it’s just a pretty happy world with heroes. To make up for that, it was essential that there were a lot of likable characters, solid animation, and just good all around writing. Luckily, My Hero Academia does all of this well and the big fight at the end was a nice, epic way to wrap up season 1. Hopefully the series can continue to go on for a long time so one day it’ll be long enough to actually have us compare it to flagship titles like Naruto and Bleach. It’s a solid start to the next generation and it just needs to keep up the momentum.


Overall, I definitely recommend this show. It has a lot of action and likable characters. The producers, writers, and staff involved definitely put a lot of effort into the show. The 13 episodes will fly by before you know it, but luckily season 2 is already on the way. It’s definitely going to be an exciting sequel and the OVA that came out also looks really great. I don’t believe that they ever fix Deku’s costume either, which is good since I much prefer the blue suit that he ended up using for most of the series anyway. This is one mainstream, popular anime that really lived up to the hype. Between this, One Punch Man, and Madoka, that helps to counter Sword Art Online and Attack on Titan. I’ll be reviewing another super hyped show soon so we’ll see if I can say the same about that one.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom Review

LEGO_JL_DOOM_BD_OSLV_3D_1000524019-2
That title’s a mouthful eh? I thought about shortening it, but this is how I formatted the previous films so I may as well keep it in. Also, I’ve published other posts with long names in the past so it’s not all that new. This may be surprising to hear, but Attack of the Legion of Doom is easily the best Lego film out there. It beats The Lego film and even all of the other DC titles. I don’t see this one being surpassed to be honest since it really hits all of the right notes. This is Lego as it was always meant to be.

The Justice League have effectively ended all crime. The villains have not been able to get anything going since they are always outgunned. Lex Luthor decides to fix this problem by making his own group…the Legion of Doom! He holds tryouts to see who will join his legendary group. In the end, the roster includes Gorilla Grodd, Sinestro, Lex Luthor, Black Manta, Cheetah, and a few others. The League will have to fight extra hard if they want to beat this well knit team, but they have some problems of their own. Batman was voted as the leader of the Justice League, dethroning Superman and raising tensions among the rest of the team. Cyborg is also dealing with some drama so this is the perfect time for the Legion of Doom to strike!

There is one major reason above all others as to why this is the best Lego special. Lego specials don’t really do much in terms of fight scenes because they are comedies above all else. There may be the occasional fight, but typically they are short and not really played seriously. That’s not the case in this special as we actually get some extended fight scenes and they are played completely (90% anyway) seriously. These are fight scenes that you could picture actually looking really good with another animation style. DC wasn’t pulling its punches this time. One scene in particular that looked good was when Batman used his secret punch on Black Manta. These kinds of action scenes you would not usually see in Lego.

Another feather in this film’s hat is the soundtrack. The music themes are a little hard to describe. I’d say that they have a bit of a party theme to them. It’s easy to jam to the beat as you watch the heroes and villains duke it out. The themes are very fast paced and definitely a lot of fun to listen too. It is easily the best soundtrack in all of Lego and that’s considering the fact that The Lego Movie had a fairly decent soundtrack as well. When you consider how good the music was and the fact that the action scenes were so solid, it is easy to see why this is the best Lego film.

Meanwhile, the Lego graphics are about what you’d expect from now. I still consider this to be one of the weakest animation styles out there, but it is what it is. It looks like your average Lego film so at least there is a lot of consistency there. It’s not better than usual or worse than usual. It simply fills the bill and moves on.

One of the main plots is that nobody really thinks Cyborg is League material. He begins to doubt it as well when he constantly puts the team in danger so that’s a cause for some tension. It’s a great plot because that’s what we all thought when the New 52 tried to force Cyborg on us as a Justice League member. I’m sorry folks, but he’ll always be a Teen Titan to me. Dick Grayson, Starfire, Raven, and Beast Boy are in the same boat. You can throw them on other teams like the Outlaws or the Doom Patrol, but they’ll always be Teen Titans when it counts. Cyborg really tries, but he simply can’t keep up with the rest of the team.

As per usual, Batman steals the show here although Superman is a decently close second. Batman taking charge of the League was great and he even reminds us that he is the brains of the operation on many occasions. He is the only one who saw through just about all of the plot twists in the film and he held his own when it came time to fight. He was also smart enough to realize that leaving the planet while there were still a lot of villains there was not a wise move, even if Superman overruled him there. Batman’s the ultimate solo act and without him the League would be finished. The films have done a good job of taking a comical spin on his personality traits, but not taking the bad ones and making them worse. (Teen Titans Go) Rather, they’ve taken his better qualities and made them even better.

Likewise, it is good to see Superman’s ultra heroism at work here. He is so fair and just that he naturally assumed that he could not vote for himself in the election. He knows that the system works after all and he always manages to get in some one liners as he fights crime. Naturally, there is no fear of the other villains within him since Superman is all but invincible so he grins for just about the whole film. There is some kryptonite towards the end, but Superman definitely doesn’t go down without a fight.

Flash and Green Lantern spend the whole film fighting over Wonder Woman so I can’t say that they handled things all that well. This is an example of a quality that I was hoping would not be dramatized. Wonder Woman’s role is fairly minimal as she tries to ignore Flash and and GL whenever possible although it’s not always easy. As for the villains, they’re all fairly accurate here. It’s easy to sympathize with the Trickster a little since the heroes intentionally mess with him quite a bit. Sinestro is easily shown to be one of the smarter villains from the get go which was good. He certainly deserves the title more than the others. Lex Luthor called the shots as expected and he insulted Gorilla Grodd quite a bit, which could be a subtle reference. Deathstroke also gets a quick cameo, which was handled very well. His fans are sure to be pleased.

Make sure you stick around for the end of the film by the way since it hints at big things to come. I’m certainly ready to see this plot actually happen since it has been set up for quite a while now. Seeing the big villain at the end arrive to fight the Justice League will be a blast. If the writers are able to handle it well like they did here, we’ll be in for quite the show. I still doubt it will be able to beat this film, but I’m ready to see what they do with it here.

Overall, Even if Lego films are not your thing, this is a film that I would recommend. The writing is very good as is the soundtrack. The Justice League members look solid for the most part and the fact that we actually get some fight scenes here is just an added bonus. The film is also fairly short as well so it is not like you would lose a lot of your time by giving this one a shot. You can say that you’ve seen Lego at its peak and if this doesn’t help you become a Superman fan, nothing will! (It’s a great answer to Batman V Superman as well folks since they both get to trade witty banter and try to out think each other with their very different views on how to handle a situation)

Overall 8/10

TV Shows

Daredevil

marvels-daredevil-poster-2
Well, I knew that the Netflix deal was a bad idea from the instant that I heard about it. My worst fears came true and this part of the continuity is best left forgotten. It is simply too extreme. I suppose that I’ll have a review for it someday, but don’t expect this series to end anytime soon.

Overall 0/10

TV Show Update

Batman The Animated Series Update

161231-120429-batman
I now own the complete Batman TV show! This ties in well with the Superman series and I’m even farther along in this one. Both reviews will likely be coming in soon once I’m done with them. This is certainly a very good Batman series and it does have a theatrical feel that the others simply don’t have. This is certainly a keeper!

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Justice League Throne of Atlantis Review

justice-league-throne-of-atlantis
Well, the sequel to Justice League War has finally arrived. I was not thrilled with the shift into the New 52 lineup from the start and this title definitely doesn’t help. It’s easily the worst Justice League film to date and that’s a pretty sad title to achieve. With such a great cast, it isn’t hard to make any Justice League film an elite, but this just shows how important a good writing staff/director is. All right, let’s look at why this film didn’t succeed.

A submarine is travelling through the waters when the crew is murdered by several underwater beings. The missiles are stolen so the Justice League is brought in to investigate. Meanwhile, Prince Orm is riling up Atlantis to go and face the surface dwellers. The Queen is keeping him in check, but for how long? Aquaman must leave the life that he has led on the surface to realize his destiny as an Atlantean. The players are all moving towards the climax where a confrontation shall be had!

For this review, I’m going to do some damage control before I get into the many negatives. One positive is that Batman doesn’t get hit during the film. He may as well be invincible since nobody can stop him. The flip side to this is that Batman never even gets to throw a punch this time. He’s basically in this film for star power since he doesn’t really have a role. He looks pretty good in his scenes, which is a plus. He gives up a little quickly on the flooding issue, but that just shows how dicey the situation was.

Another positive for the film is the animation. It still looks pretty good like in Justice League War. The battle scenes all flow pretty smoothly and there isn’t really anything negative to say about the animation. The character designs are another matter. They all look below average to be honest and it’s like they aren’t even trying in the New 52. Superman’s is probably the worst, but there’s something about GL’s that just isn’t appealing. At least, compared to his real uniform. Aquaman looks good, but he doesn’t have much of a costume to change here.

Are there more positives? Well, I’m sure we’ll find some as we go through the negatives. It’s time for some real talk folks so strap yourselves in because this roller coaster is about to begin its free fall! It’s hard to know where to start, but let’s begin with the romance section. Having Wonder Woman and Superman get together is completely pointless and it’s insulting to the fans. I grew up with the classic days where Superman made sure to keep everyone in the friend zone. He was firm about this so that villains couldn’t use his friends as targets. That was the Superman that I know. His pairing with Wonder Woman is wince worthy at best and it makes both of the characters look pretty awful here. More on that during their individual sections. Cyborg randomly gets a pairing as well and it’s just as sad. Superheroes don’t need rushed romances to keep the audience engaged and it just makes things sadder for us…the fans!

DC’s decided that their new films are going to be a lot more violent than the older ones. This started out with Flashpoint and I’m sure that we all remember the films that came afterwards. Well, Throne of Atlantis tries to compete with those as the blood runs like water here. The fight scenes will make you think that you’re watching Mortal Kombat considering how many beheadings and diemembering appear in the film. Everyone gets stabbed at some point. Superman begins to bleed for no real reason when he gets zapped by the staff and let’s not forget the hand to hand scenes. The film adds some noises like the sound of a jaw breaking to make the scenes more “intense.” Aquaman really beats up on the normal joes and it’s the kind of fight scene that could easily be done without the extra effects. DC says gritty and I say unnecessary. The overload of violence is just distracting and it really takes away from the film. It definitely makes the title unsuitable for kids and it is definitely a very strong PG 13 so you’ll want to be careful with your teenagers as well. It’s probably not the most violent DC film to date, but it certainly tries hard to achieve that spot. So, the fights are pretty streamlined and flashy, but the violence hurts them pretty badly. They may be trying to send a message to Marvel’s animated features, but this blurs that message.

The writers also seemed to want to suck the philosophical questions that the comic had so they made Prince Orm a one dimensional villain. He is not a nice guy by any stretch of the imagination and he’s just your average super villain who wants to destroy everything. Once he gets the staff of power, he just goes around beating everyone up. His design also looks pretty fake as if the film is adding insult to injury. You’ll probably want to boo him off the stage since he’s so generic and not very intimidating.

Black Manta is also here, but he doesn’t serve much of a purpose either. He gets a brief fight with Aquaman, but he is humiliated and we remember that the Aquaman hype train will not be derailed until the next film. for quite a while. I’m fine with it since that’s handled pretty well, but Black Manta should have known that he was outmatched. He was just very sub par here.

That transitions into another area where the film needed some help. The writing. We’ve got violence, but that doesn’t make the film gritty enough right? Time to throw in some language! There aren’t many big swears, but the ones that are there were definitely added to show how edgy the villains are. Black Manta and a throwaway villain in Gotham just use the word for no discernible reason. They’re just using it because they can and I always attribute that to bad writing. The writers of today sometimes realize that they can’t match the ones from the Bogart and Bacall days so they don’t even bother. Adding in swear words is one of the ultimate cop outs.

The movie is definitely a lot different from the original comic and unfortunately, it is much worse. We don’t really get any action scenes since most of the “fights” just result in the Leaguers decimating hundreds of mindless monsters or watching the flip side of that. The only real fight for the League is at the end against Ocean Master and that one’s wince worthy due to plot hax. The movie also takes away any sense of danger since they erase the flood scene. It’s odd because it’s hyped up as the villains bring a giant tsunami towards Metropolis, but then they just part the waves dramatically and decide to attack the city on foot. It’s probably one of the most foolish decisions that I have ever seen in a film and it’s embarrassing for them. There is literally no point to using such a tactic and you’re basically giving the heroes a chance to fight back this way. Batman’s big “People are going to die” moment from the comic just doesn’t work this time since only a few soldiers are taken out during the battle. Not quite the amount of casualties that we were expecting huh? Cyborg’s drama about going through with the operation to replace his lung? It’s taken out here as he just says yeah from the start. The film wanted to speed along through everything.

The pacing is very quick, but a little too much so this time. The film is barely over an hour so it rushes through Aquaman’s origin so that they can have Ocean Master take the stage. This results in every area of the film feeling rushed since nothing is developed so that they can go to the next scene. The Justice League get the shaft at times because of this and you’ll find yourself just waiting for them to come back. The longest draught is when Batman and Superman leave to investigate. They don’t appear again for what feels like 10-15 minutes since it’s time for Aquaman’s subplot. This is the kind of film that should have easily been 2 hours and I think that it would have helped the film tremendously.

One of the biggest problems is the power level issues that are found here. Wonder Woman lands a direct punch on Ocean Master and it does virtually no damage while Aquaman is able to land some killer blows. Wonder Woman is stronger than Aquaman and the opening scene of the film practically proves this. Aquaman has trouble with random grunts and that’s pretty sad. They land a lot of hits and they don’t defeat Aquaman, but he certainly doesn’t look as strong as Wonder Woman or Superman. Superman looks particularly terrible as he is beaten down two times without doing any real damage. The first time, he grabs Ocean Master’s scepter….big mistake. He is quickly zapped and loses in a single blow. I think we can all agree that Superman doesn’t go down with one shot and especially not to someone like this. The Flash is naturally tripped and that sidelines him for the rest of the film. A random trip…he didn’t even get zapped! Green Lantern is swamped by minions like in War and when he breaks out he is quickly taken out with a zap. Cyborg is stabbed because he was too slow to dodge and Shazam gets one shotted by the lightning as well. (Shazam’s lightning did no damage of course) Aquaman gets in more hits than the rest of the Leaguers, but he is also stabbed and taken out of action.

Batman doesn’t get to fight Ocean Master, which may be a good thing since we can tell that the writers did not know what they were doing. Instead of a satisfying ending where one of the heroes beats Ocean Master, we basically just get a betrayal plot twist. (Not for the fans, but for the Atlanteans) This finishes with a blind side punch from one of the heroes. Now they can all remember how they were crushed but won with a sucker punch. That’s not a good way to end the film and it’s pretty depressing for the heroes. There is an after credit scene that has some potential for a good sequel, but we’ll see what arc this film tries to adapt. If it really is Trinity War, then it will likely be an even looser adaption this time around.

As I mentioned, Batman was kept in character here. Cyborg is still not very likable and he has a new subplot where he’s very cold to people. He’s a machine after all, but he eventually warms up to everyone and gets a romance going. That was pretty terrible. Shazam still looks really bad and his voice is very high pitched. You can’t take him seriously and he doesn’t have the Wisdom of Shazam here. His character just doesn’t make sense as it’s still Billy’s mind just with an adult form. He looks pretty bad and he’s not likable either.

The Flash is basically perfect and it’s too bad that he doesn’t get to have more action scenes. He’s certainly one of the strongest members of the team and there is no opponent that should be confident of his chances against the speedster. Green Lantern is pretty similar to his portrayal in War, but he still seems to be portrayed as one of the weaker links. He doesn’t get beaten up on a lot like in the last film, but he still needs some work if he’s going to be a good hero. It’s sad because he is usually a great character, but I’ll have to say goodbye to that version.

Wonder Woman is technically good, but she really gets 0 character apart from the romance plot. We’re reminded that she is a good warrior when she is slashing away at the villains of course, but that’s about it. I just can’t forget that plot with Superman so she is certainly one of the least likable characters. This applies to Superman as well, who really seems like a shell of his former self. He talks about how he’s going to make one of the villains eat his weapon and it’s lines like that, which makes this new version of Superman hard to identify with. He talks tough, but he’s typically just showing off or getting beaten up. It’s hard to really be a fan of him here and he gets to sink just like Wonder Woman.

Aquaman looks pretty good here, but he does fall into the romance plot with Mera way too quickly. You have to realize that the film mostly takes place over the span of a single day…so that’s a reeeeally rushed romance. Aquaman doesn’t betray the League like he did in the comic so he’s a lot more heroic here. He does what needs to be done and Aquaman turns out to be a good fighter. There’s really nothing negative to say about him aside from the rushed romance. Likewise, Mera is certainly a capable fighter and she does well when needed. Her water abilities are very potent and they make her a lethal fighter to be up against.

Seeing the Justice League get to form for a second time was pretty fun. The film actually started out decently well with this plot since the daily trip to Gotham was pretty intense as per usual. Seeing GL go to fetch Batman was definitely in character since he wasn’t going to let the dark knight skip a meeting this time. Gotham always has a certain edge to it that distinguishes the city from the rest and we also get some of the best animation featured in that moment. Not bad Batman…not bad! It’s a little disappointing to see how irresponsible Superman and Wonder Woman were though. We can naturally understand why Batman and GL didn’t show up at the meeting, but why wouldn’t the power hitters come? You can make the case that they didn’t hear the signal…but that’s highly unlikely. Ah well, more time for those two characteres to sink I suppose.

Lois and Jimmy were two characters who had no purpose in this film, but it’s time for the review to start winding down. Ultimately, the film was just plagued with too many negatives for me to really call it a good film. Take away the Justice League and it’s probably a bad film. The iconic characters are what keeps it afloat,m but the actual handling of this otion picture just wasn’t up to par with what you would expect. The film is also extremely light on meaningful action and I would be disappointed if the upcoming live action film had a similar climax. I’m expecting big things from that title and I don’t want to be disappointed! There isn’t much of a soundtrack to be found here so I’ll skip that.

Overall, Throne of Atlantis is pretty disappointing. These could be dicey times for DC. The box art isn’t very good and it follows that live action feel that I’m not a fan of. The violence is way over the top to try to make the film gritty and I had problems with just about every scene. The final fight must be one of the most inaccurate moments in all of cinema. The animation looks nice and the main characters are mostly all pretty likable, but that’s just not good enough to help the film this time. I recommend just skipping this one and watching Crisis on Two Earths yet again. That film never gets old!

Overall 5/10