Category Archives: DC
Black Adam 2022
This is the first new set of DCEU movies even though they’re still connected to the first set of DCEU movies with a couple of the characters introduced in cameos. While the term “Phase One” has been thrown around here and there, it would make more sense if this would be considered the phase two of the DCEU or go with some terminology that’s not obviously derivative of Marvel’s release strategy. The early reviews for this movie were slightly below mediocre but I still had high hopes that I would enjoy the film. I had very little knowledge about Black Adam as a character outside of a brief appearance “Superman/Shazam the Return of Black Adam” where he was very clearly a villain and as it was a short film he was a villain with no real motivation or back story outside of someone who is a match for Superman and Shazam. The same was true for the Justice Society and the characters used in this version of the Justice Society outside of a few vague appearances of Hawkman. But besides all of that, I did quite enjoy this introduction of Black Adam as this non-heroic character who makes the decision to become a reluctant hero. And as with all recent releases here, there will be spoilers ahead so be warned.Read the rest of this entry
The Batman 2022
It hasn’t been easy trying to resume a normal schedule here. With a ten month old daughter at home and two podcasts that I’m actually keeping on schedule (for the most part) it’s been a lot harder to find time to watch a 3 hour movie. But several months after it coming to HBO Max I managed to watch it over the course of two evenings. I had already heard a lot of mixed-but-mostly-positive things about this film so I was ready to enjoy it. And for the most part, it was quite enjoyable. I’m not fully on board with the emo teenager vibe to Bruce Wayne when he has to be in his late twenties minimum if not mid thirties like Robert Pattinson who is playing him. The rest of the cast is fantastic, the decision to make this more like a detective story rather than an origin or straight up action film is a good one. There’s really a lot to love in this film and while there are plenty of nits to pick, they don’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the film.Read the rest of this entry
Batman: Soul of the Dragon
Batman: Soul of the Dragon 2021
It’s been a couple months since I subscribed to HBO Max with the intention of catching up on several of the animated DC movies that I’ve missed out on these past couple years but I only just now got around to watching the first one. There wasn’t any specific reason why I picked this one out of the others that were on there, it just stood out as being a little bit different than what I’ve come to expect in these animated movies and in that respect, it very much was. This was done in the style of the 70’s with a bit of classic Bond mixed with Bruce Lee and some exploitation cinema all mixed together. Not only that, but despite the fact that this is labelled as a Batman movie, ninety percent of the film is all about Bruce Wayne and Batman only shows up for one scene near the beginning, then for the climactic end battle. The story beats were a little on the cliched side, but it was cliches done with love and it was a lot of fun overall. This is still a relatively recent release so there will be spoilers ahead. You have been warned.Read the rest of this entry
Wonder Woman 1984
Wonder Woman 1984 2020
Even though not a whole lot of films came out last year, this was the biggest one that I overlooked. The reception was very mixed, with some people enjoying the new take on Wonder Woman, but many people weren’t very fond of this movie which is a very different version of Wonder Woman as her first movie. And this is despite having practically the same creative team behind both movies. Instead of taking place in World War I, it’s taking place in the 1980’s and all the kitsch and nostalgia associated with it. The tone is much lighter and there is a stronger undertone of magical reality than what was present in the first film. And even though I watched it several days ago, I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about the film as a whole. I generally enjoyed many parts of it, but I severely questioned several decisions throughout the film.Read the rest of this entry
The Suicide Squad
The Suicide Squad 2021
It still feels kind of good to be going back to theaters despite the returning dread for the unusually large group of unvaccinated masses that may force the rest of us back into some form of lockdown or at least a return to mask wearing. But besides all of that I did make it to my local theater rather than spending the $15 or however much it is to get a month of HBO Max and watch this film at home like so many people out there decided to do. I did quite enjoy the experience and I even shelled out the extra cash to see this on an IMAX screen though I was slightly underwhelmed as well as slightly nauseated from the opening scene. The picture was very clear and sharp, but I didn’t feel that much of a difference between a regular digital projection, and at least this specific IMAX screen. It’s also unclear as to how well the movie is doing in terms of popularity as most of the critical reviews as well as most personal reviews from people I know have been extremely positive, but the actual box office numbers are quite low. It’s likely largely a factor of the HBO Max availability at no extra charge with small contributions from the Covid resurgence and the poor reception and unclear differentiation from the previous Suicide Squad film. But all of that doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, what really matters is that I had a grand time watching this film and am ready to discuss it in full, including the large number of gruesome deaths that take place. So if you’d rather be surprised by who lives and who dies, read no further. The rest of you, enjoy.Read the rest of this entry
Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Zack Snyder’s Justice League 2021
I’m back with another superhero movie review and even though this movie is only a couple months old, I feel like I’ve been waiting for this one for ages. With some movies that have regular and director’s cuts I will do a “quickie” review that mostly covers the differences between the two versions that are often 80 to 90% the same movie so I just cover the differences. This is a different case and one much closer to the Donner Cut of Superman II where much of the story beats are different and the overall tone is way different. In fact, this is probably the instance where the vast majority of the film is different between the two versions. My guess is that there is only about 5-10% of the footage used in both films, and that’s 5% of the theatrical version which is half as long. For my part, I liked the theatrical cut well enough but there were plenty of glaring issues with it. This version almost feels more like a miniseries which it almost was and could still be watched that way, but that actually solves one of the issues where this team film came too quickly without introducing the rest of the team beforehand. Having this amount of length really helps to build each individual character before bringing them together as a team. And as this is still a new release, there will be spoilers in the review so be warned.Read the rest of this entry
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War
It seems like we’ve been in the era of this interconnected for a good long while. It was kicked off with the events in the Flashpoint Paradox back in 2013 but really started with Justice League War in 2014 with the biggest connective tissues being Jason O’Mara as the voice of Batman and a similar visual style in the animation. The DC Animated Movies have also crossed the line from PG-13 to R several times and this is one of the bleakest and most violent animated movies in quite a while yet there’s still enough humor to keep things entertaining without completely going off the rails. It also brings together several of the spin-off-yet-still-connected movies like the Teen Titans, Suicide Squad, and Constantine that feels like it’s following a loose parallel to Avengers: Endgame without feeling derivative. Like always, this was fun and it really builds on everything that came before it to make a fitting end to this little corner of the DC Animated Universe. And as this is a recent release, I won’t be shying away from story details so this is your spoiler warning.Read the rest of this entry
Superman: Red Son 2020
It’s still been difficult to try and get back into any sort of normal rhythm for this site, but I haven’t yet abandoned it. In fact, the site reached a major milestone the other day. We’ve reached 1 million total views! Thanks everyone for the continued support and visits. As for new movies, it seems like it’s mostly streaming and home video, including the DC Animated movies. I’ve always been a fan of alternate realities/Elseworlds stories, especially when it comes to superheroes. These characters have been around long enough that their origin stories are going to be multiple choice anyway. Why not allow writers to take things into more extreme directions if it’s going to tell an interesting story rather than just a slightly different shade of the same thing over and over. This takes the Superman origin story and turns it on its head. It’s similar and yet very different from the Batman Elseworlds story Gotham by Gaslight, turning Superman into a very different character rather than just injecting him into a different setting.Read the rest of this entry
BlokeBusting The Essentials #88: Green Lantern
#88: Green Lantern
They Made The Supersuit Green. And Animated…
Wow, that was the longest time-out ever! I do apologise for the delay, but things got a bit hectic and erratic for a while. I hope you are all keeping as safe as possible, wearing your superhero masks (because they look cool, if nothing else) and not going too stir-crazy. Anyway, on with the show. We’re here. We knew this one would turn up eventually. Oh boy…
This film was something that kinda came out of nowhere and I went into knowing next to nothing about the Green Lantern canon. My memory of the outcome of the first watch (and only until last month) was: “That was…… a thing.”. I recall that I didn’t mind Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, but the rest of the film was not very good (or even borderline terrible). Did the film get better over time? Let’s find out!
- Ryan Reynolds: Hal Jordan/Green Lantern
As I said before, I didn’t mind him as Hal when I saw the film. For all the film’s faults, Ryan always seems to be trying his best with what he has. The issue is that the film is on such a tight track that any of the things you’d like them to try (maybe showing him abusing the power a bit, learning that he can do anything and needs to overcome the human flaws to be a paragon or even just a scene where we really get to see him struggle with the “right thing”) are just not there because the bad guy has made another bad guy and the good guy must defeat the bad guy so he can then defeat the bad guy. I have to think that if the film was made now with the same cast, we’d see a vastly different film with more time for Ryan to flex both his acting and comedy chops. Ah well…
- Blake Lively: Carol Ferris
I do appreciate that this character is shown as a smart, forward-thinking woman who has moved on from their relationship and is not a typical damsel in distress. And then that all comes crashing down when she becomes a damsel in distress. And I’m not saying that she is transformed into the standard Daphne figure, but she’s thrust into a situation where the only way out is for Green Lantern to save her since she, you know, doesn’t have powers or anything. It’s kinda hard to keep a human relevant to the plot outside of a relationship of some kind when giant space magic is going on. So yeah, another “what could have been” moment thanks to the script.
- Peter Sarsgaard: Hector Hammond
This was probably the best character in the film, if only because it felt the most like he had an actual full arc. He starts out timid before growing into a villain that can be somewhat sympathised with. We see him drown in the villainy and we know that he will need to be defeated. So we’re really looking forward to seeing the final confrontation. And then….. he gets taken out by the above-mentioned space magic. (Yes, I know the character is Parallax but basically it’s Space Magic as far as the film’s creators seem to be concerned.) It’s such an anti-climax that I am genuinely surprised that nobody took the writer aside and explained what a boring way to remove a villain it was. Such a shame.
- Mark Strong: Thaal Sinestro
I like him. I could actually believe his character’s arc, his reasoning for his actions and his dislike for the Earthian Green Lantern. And there might be a reason for this. More than anyone else, this character is heavily based on the original comic character. So we do get to see what following the source material closely can do (I know, such a novel concept!). And this character really doesn’t get that much screen time, so there wasn’t much of a chance to see what happens when they move away from the stereotypical “I don’t like you but eventually I will work with you because I need to” mean superior. Which was probably good for this film as we really needed something good to grab from this film.
Right. So, this film is set in modern times (or at least current times as of when the film was made) and has a fairly good amount of exposition for those new to Green Lantern. The problem we have is that most of the characters are so cookie-cutter that we’re often looking to the plot and background for any substance and…… it’s not really there. Now I’ll be the first to admit that a fair number of comic book narratives don’t hold up to much sustained critiques. There’s a lot of hand waving or “Obviously this couldn’t be done this way because…. squirrel!” in comics as some characters are too powerful for things to be an issue. And in this film we see plenty of hand waving. The main human bad guy is able to use his powers because….. his brain is connected to the space fog? The reason Hal’s ring constructions are sometimes broken immediately and sometimes stronger than anything else is….. he just thought a bit harder this time. The reason both Parallax’s host and Sinestro utterly believe(d) that the Yellow Fear force can be controlled despite every single piece of evidence stating otherwise is…… OK, that one is still a mystery to me.
And I feel like the film really does try too hard to answer all the questions in one go. If we got this film today, I honestly think they would have learned from modern films and known that we don’t need EVERYTHING explained and wrapped up in the first film. My take? I’d not have Parallax show up on Earth. He’d have escaped but we wouldn’t learn it until the middle of the film. We’d get more of the descent into madness from Hector so we can see the character really struggle with not wanting to lose his mind but slowly losing the fight to Parallax throughout the film. We’d see more of the viewpoints of the Lantern Corps and get to really understand the wide range of characters and viewpoints brought into the Corps while seeing the underlying x-factor that all members of the Corps have and that Hal obviously has even if he has trouble seeing it himself. And I honestly think that’s all we needed. More character depth and less “SHOW EVERYTHING!!” would really have helped this film. But obviously that’s not what we got. *sighs*
Ok, time to see what Bubba has to say about this film!
I often remember liking this movie more than most. I thought Ryan Reynolds was a decent choice for Hal Jordan, and I didn’t find the CGI costume as bad as others did. This time around, the flaws stood out a bit more than they did last time, but I still found enjoyment in nearly all of the scenes in space, there just wasn’t enough of it. I enjoyed Kilowogg, I thought Sinestro’s set up was great with a decent motivation and all the performances were well done. Where it fell apart was the follow through and the villains. Sinestro was set up great, then they just made him go “ok, now I’m evil for the sequel that we’ll never get” in the mid-credits sequence. Hal Jordan didn’t get enough training, he just sucked and then he was good. And the villains were awful. Parallax was a giant cloud that sucked out people’s fear in the form of a skeleton for some reason, and he infected some scientist who got a big head and telekinesis for some reason. It didn’t make sense and the giant cloud was ultimately defeated by a punch to the face. Just awful.
What’s more important about this film is where it falls in DC’s timeline. This was set up to be a start for the next Justice League. It was made inbetween the Dark Knight and the Dark Knight Rises, and it was obviously set up for Sinestro to become the villain for the next movie with the obvious potential to introduce other Justice League members to follow up on Marvel’s heels with their Avengers tease in Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk. Despite the negative reviews, it was a modest success with an opening weekend of $53M and a worldwide take over $200M, at least it would have been except for the fact that they sunk $200M into the film in the first place. This was really DC swinging for the fences and completely missing the mark. In a way, it was a good thing as Ryan Reynolds would go on to champion a faithful Deadpool movie and sequel, although DC’s extended universe has currently been met with very mixed results. And time will tell whether or not the rumored Green Lantern Corps movie comes to fruition as is successful.
Well put Mr Wheat, well put. And now, we move into the grand questions!
- Would I recommend this film to others?
- Does this film deserve to be on the list?
- If so, where does it appear on the list?
Shall we begin at the beginning? Why not!
1) I guess? It’s not terrible and some of the performances can be good. Ryan Reynolds does give a few great moments and Taika Waititi just exudes fun when he’s on screen (which isn’t much). But you really have to like and understand the trope-y comic book films of that era to get much from this film.
2) Yeah. It is the only live-action Green Lantern film we have and therefore does deserve a spot on the hallowed list. And so, the final question remains…
3) And the answer is:
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- The Crow
- Men In Black
- Dr Strange
- Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
- Batman: The Killing Joke
- Superman 3
- The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman
- The Meteor Man
- Green Lantern
- Howard The Duck
- The Fantastic Four (1994)
- The Punisher
- Batman & Robin
- The Amazing Spider-Man
- Batman Forever
- BvS: Dawn Of Justice
Wonder Woman (replacing The Death Of The Hulk)
X-Men: The Last Stand (replacing Catwoman)
Turbo Kid (replacing The Incredible Hulk)
The Incredibles 2 (replacing Fant4stic)
And there you have it! Now, I’ve recharged my ring and my sarcasm skills are back to full strength. I shall away to my penthouse apartment and prepare for the next instalment of BlokeBusting The Essentials. And if you see a weird man with only a small coloured bit of fabric over his eyes staring at you from your window, it’s probably not me. Promise. Ok bye!
Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn 2020
It’s the start of a new year and I was able to see the first theatrical superhero release of the new decade. It’s also the first film in what may or may not come to be known the year of the woman. At least in theatrical superhero movies. After this Harley Quinn movie, there’s Wonder Woman, Black Widow, and an Angelina Jolie-led Eternals movie on the horizon before the year’s out. Harley Quinn has been one of my favorite DC characters for a long time ever since her debut in Batman: The Animated Series. Quick personal note, I’m planning on getting a Harley tattoo this year. Margot Robbie was one of the best things to come out of the Suicide Squad movie and it’s great to see her get a turn to herself, in a slightly Deadpool-esque way. It’s unfortunate that it didn’t get the box office bump that was expected, but there’s still a chance that it will have staying power. Personally, I loved the film. I loved the characters, the humor, and especially the fight scenes. And as this is a recent release, I will be discussing the film in full so here’s your spoiler warning.Read the rest of this entry