Over the last couple weeks or so I’ve caught a few superhero bits here and there that don’t quite fit my criteria for a superhero movie one way or another. So instead of just letting it all go by the wayside, I thought I’d collect my thoughts on them in a single post here while also including why I don’t quite consider them to be superhero movie material. Though a couple of them are pretty obvious as to why. And I should be catching up on a couple more movies in the near future.
Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam
This came from a series of DC Showcase short films that they used to do in the early days of their DVD releases. They would have a short film attached to one of their movies as a bonus feature. Then they released this slightly longer short film that also collected all of the short films they had made to date in an hour long feature more or less. And the shorts were also slightly extended. This is also currently available to stream on the DC Universe app which is where I watched it. I had already seen all of the other shorts and wrote about them here way back in the first year of this site. Because this short was in a separate release, I never got around to it, and also because it was a short film I don’t count it in my list of superhero feature length films and hadn’t gotten around to it. The main reason why I even watched it now is that I signed up for DC Universe and it was one of the few non-TV series that I hadn’t watched before and I had recently watched the new Shazam. I found some of the similarities rather interesting like how Billy Batson meets the wizard Shazam via a subway car, and while he’s referred to as Shazam in the title, they do still refer to his Captain Marvel name at least once within the short. The addition of Superman/Clark Kent to the origin was interesting, especially as Superman does have his weakness towards Black Adam’s magic. Out of all of the shorts included, it was actually one of the weakest, but it was still a decent origin overall.
I had reviewed the actual feature length Secret Warriors fairly recently, but there are also a couple other Marvel Rising episodes. And while Secret Warriors was feature length, the other two episodes they have available are both only 20-some minutes each. The interesting thing is that while Secret Warriors feels like the pilot origin movie, Initiation and Chasing Ghosts are like a two-part episode where Secret Warriors takes place in-between them and focuses on Gwen Stacy who’s referred to as Ghost Spider here rather than Spider-Woman or Spider-Gwen. There is no Peter Parker, instead it’s one of Gwen’s other friends who was killed and it was Ghost Spider who took the blame. There is a little bit of crossover with Secret Warriors as she crosses paths with Quake and Patriot in the first episode, and with more of the team as well as the villain Exile in the latter episode. Gwen was a fun character, and it was interesting to see the dynamic between her and her father Captain Stacy who thinks Ghost Spider is a criminal. It was fun and light and as I mentioned in my review for Secret Warriors, it feels like Marvel’s girl-focused superhero property though it does a better job at being diverse but also gender neutral, giving a good, kid-friendly superhero story without overly catering to girls. And at the moment, you can watch Initiation here and Chasing Ghosts here via the Marvel HQ YouTube channel. They’ve also announced a few new titles recently including one featuring Shuri, but I’m not sure how many might be feature length, and how many are more TV episode length.
Max Steel: Go, Turbo!
This is the final movie that I watched recently and I actually anticipated it being something that I would cover for a full movie review here until I did a little bit more research. As far as the criteria I have for the format of movies, there’s not a whole lot of rules. I don’t include fan films in general, except for certain exceptions when they have a theatrical release through a movie studio. In most cases these are foreign films like Turkish Superman. The film has to be “feature length” which is longer than 40 minutes – the same rules that they use for the Oscars. And while this length could easily include TV episodes that are an hour long after commercials, I don’t count anything that would be considered a TV episode, even a double length episode aside from reunion TV movies made after the series ended and pilot movies that never became a full series. This movie is the pilot episodes of the animated series repackaged into a DVD movie. As far as the actual movie itself, it was actually a better introduction to the character of Max Steel than the live action movie that came after it in 2016. There’s a lot more action scenes, and they’re able to set up the concept of the character just as well in thirty fewer minutes. There’s still a touch of the cliched high school drama where Max immediately runs afoul of the stereotypical bully and befriends the hot/cool girl and her hipster friend. But the majority of the film centers around the conflict between the bad aliens and Max’s uncle and the Intech corporation. Steel is still the best character though he isn’t quite as funny as what I remember from the live action movie. It was a decent film and I’m curious to seek out some of the latter made-for-TV movies that came after the series which I would officially cover for this site. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.