My Hero Academia: Two Heroes 2018
I’ve been a fan of anime for a long time, back when it was referred to as Japanimation, and while I’ve heard of the series My Hero Academia, I’ve never watched an episode. Similar to Tiger and Bunny, the other anime superhero series that spawned a couple movies, this takes place in an alternate universe filled with people that have super powers. Similar to most anime movies that follow a series, this is more of a side story that brings in several of the characters. It took a little while to get into the world of the movie, and while I didn’t connect with all of the side characters, I really got into it by the end.
Justice League vs the Fatal Five
I’m a couple weeks into my 5-week trial of DC Universe and it’s a nice benefit that at least some of their home video releases are also being released on their streaming app the same day as their physical release date. I was a big fan of the Batman animated series as well as Superman the animated series but I fell out of cartoons before I was able to follow them to Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. And it was nice as it always is despite repeated assurances that he will retire the voice to see Kevin Conroy back as the voice of Batman along with the Justice League animated series voices for Superman and Wonder Woman. I had a few doubts considering that the last time they redid this style of animation was the disappointing Batman and Harley Quinn, but I’m pleased to say that they got things right this time around. There was still just a slight disconnect because they moved away from the kids series tone and brought it into a much harder PG-13 in terms of the violence and language, but it also just felt like a slightly more grown up version of the animated series, serieses, series’s, the multiple series. And as with every film I review, I will be discussing it in full so here is your spoiler warning.
LEGO DC Superheroes: Aquaman Rage of Atlantis 2018
I’m continuing my Aquaman month here by watching yet another Aquaman movie, this time around I’m watching the animated LEGO movie that featured Aquaman last year. I’ve seen several of these animated LEGO movies and they’re all pretty similar to each other. They’re not quite as funny or impressive as the theatrical LEGO movies, but they have a similar humor and they also seem to introduce a fair number of lesser known DC comics characters which is always fun for someone like me who doesn’t have an in depth knowledge of the comics. This movie also starts off with the premise that Aquaman is a pretty useless superhero but by the end, the team accepts him. It’s pretty much the same quality as the other LEGO home video releases. It’s fun, but it’s not extraordinary.
Constantine: City of Demons: The Movie 2018
I’m still playing catch up with the past couple years of superhero movies and this is the third webseries turned movie that debuted on CW Seed after Vixen and Freedom Fighters: The Ray, the latter of which I still have yet to watch. I liked the Keanu Reeves version of Constantine but I really loved the Matt Ryan version despite the fact that it only lasted a single season and I’m glad that he’s been able to continue the role in the animated movies and Legends of Tomorrow. And while this doesn’t completely fall in line with the live action series, it still has the same feeling to it. The movie falls right in line with the spirit of the TV series version but it dials up the gore several notches to some pretty extreme levels. And what this really does is make the importance of the decisions that Constantine has to make that much more impactful.
Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors
This is the most recent animated project from Marvel which have been very hit or miss and mainly focused on TV series lately. This almost seems like a response to DC’s Super Hero Girls only instead of making a team of super hero girls and market it directly to girls, this seems like just a generally diverse group of heroes that happen to be made up of more than half women. And while I haven’t seen much of the marketing for it, I get the impression that it is geared slightly more towards girls, but also generally gender neutral. This is my first experience with the majority of the heroes presented in here, though I have heard about several of them in passing and I was familiar with Chloe Bennet’s Quake from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. though I stopped watching shortly after she first got her powers. It also is an odd release strategy as this is basically the pilot movie that aired on TV and is now available on Marvel’s YouTube channel Marvel HQ. But the next two releases are 30 minutes followed by 44 minutes and are considered “TV specials”. It’s not a series, it’s not movies, the lengths are all over the place so far, but I’m curious where it’s going to go.
I was browsing through Vudu’s library of movies instead of choosing one of the movies from my curated lists on Hulu and Netflix and came across this movie. This will actually be the fifth animated movie that I’ve watched from Arcana Studio and they’ve had some mixed results. The Howard Lovecraft trilogy was ok, but I wasn’t a fan of the Steam Engines of Oz so I didn’t have a lot of hope for this movie. At only 73 minutes, I still figured that I’d give it a shot and even if I didn’t care for it, I hadn’t lost much time on it. Spoiler alert, I was right and this was a pretty poor movie that had shallow characters, poor humor, poor animation, and a weak plot.
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie 2017
This was a movie that I never planned on watching in theaters and somehow kept forgetting to add to my big list of superhero movies. But I never forgot about it and had actually heard quite good things about it, at least in the very general sense without revealing anything of the plot. When I finally watched it, I was quite surprised at the direction this movie went as it was equal parts Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, Deadpool, all mixed with a kid’s imagination on a PG level. It was fun, it was silly, it was absurd, it made me laugh quite a bit and was really a joy to behold despite not really having any deep down morale or message.
Birdboy: The Forgotten Children 2018
I’ve always been a fan of animated movies whether they’re what most American audiences think of like the standard Disney animated fare marketed towards children or the independent or foreign animation that’s targeted towards adults. This is definitely the latter of those two. It’s a Spanish animated feature based on a graphic novel called Psiconautas that takes place in a dystopian island populated with anthropomorphic animals alongside a handful of regular animals that still have the ability to communicate and some inanimate objects who can also speak. The film is filled with dark imagery of nuclear style explosions, death, drugs, violence, addiction, abuse, and plenty of others. It’s densely packed with intense imagery and themes and it unfolds in a way that’s somewhat difficult to unpack in a single viewing, but it is intensely fascinating and hauntingly beautiful in places.
LEGO DC Superheroes: The Flash 2018
Even though I still have a handful of movies on my List on Netflix, I decided to start my rotation of a few different streaming services to continue my catch up of superhero movies from the past couple years. For no particular reason I decided to start with Hulu and the first movie that I found on there was this one. I’ve generally been favorable towards the LEGO DC animated movies, they’re not nearly as good as either the theatrical LEGO movies nor the more adult skewed DC Animated Universe. But they’re still head and shoulders above most straight-to-video material marketed specifically towards kids so it’s not exactly a pain to watch. It has many of the DC voice actors including the perennial comedic Cyborg, and it has elements of the LEGO humor that’s used in all of their movies and video games. Plus, it has a time loop in it and that’s something I always enjoy.
Steam Engines of Oz 2018
I wasn’t intentionally going down the Arcana studios rabbit hole, but I just happened to see this DVD at the library after returning Howard Lovecraft and the Kingdom of Madness so I decided to pick it up and get it over with. I didn’t have very high hopes for it even though I was about fifty-fifty with the Howard Lovecraft trilogy. In general, I’m a big fan of Oz adaptations and I do like it when they go away from the traditional Dorothy route and get into some of the extended lore even if I technically haven’t read any of it myself. But this suffered from many of the problems that existed with the Howard Lovecraft series, especially the low budget animation and limited quality for voice actors outside of a few notable characters. But this one also suffered from lack of interesting characters or a cohesive story and failed on almost all accounts.