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Batman Ninja

Batman Ninja 2018

I’ve been very curious about this title ever since the first trailers started being released. This is the first DC anime title since the anthology Batman: Gotham Knight that was released in the early days of the DC animated movies back in 2008. I’ve only heard a few things about the movie since, though what I had heard was mostly positive there were some warnings about how weird it was. Even with the warnings, I don’t think I was fully prepared for how far out there this movie goes. Aside from the out-there-ness of it, there are some great moments throughout and I quite enjoyed the majority of this film. If you haven’t seen it, I will be discussing how far out there this movie goes. So if you’d like to be surprised then here’s your spoiler warning.

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The LEGO Ninjago Movie

The LEGO Ninjago Movie 2017

One thing that I still have a difficult time with on occasion is deciding whether or not something is a “superhero movie” or some other category. When it comes to martial arts heroes, even ones with magical/supernatural powers I generally consider that its own separate genre but I still wanted to watch this film to decide for myself. And as I watched it, I decided that it was basically a LEGO Power Rangers movie. They have secret identities, super powers, and there’s an over the top villain they have to fight. It just happens to have a ninja motif to it. On the actual movie side of things, it felt like they were trying to tweak the formula to the first LEGO Movie, but it came up a little short and honestly felt a lot more mean spirited with its humor rather than self-depricating. The humor was still funny, but the characters weren’t as fully realized.

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Reign of the Supermen

Reign of the Supermen 2019

This is the second half of a two part DC Animated film that follows directly after the Death of Superman. Several years after Batman got his two-part animated movie based on one of his most famous comics, Superman got his two-parter and it was released in theaters through Fathom Events. Not only that, but I was able to see the double feature in theaters myself and I was glad that I did. While I would give the edge to Death of Superman for being the better movie, Reign of the Supermen was an excellent wrap up and a part of the story that I hadn’t really experienced before as Batman v Superman went a different direction aside from the inclusion of Apokalips in Justice League and Superman/Doomsday was an extremely truncated version with a completely different latter half. Similar to Death of Superman, I vaguely remember bits of the original comic story, but not nearly enough to notice major changes and I’ve never been one to believe that movies should adhere strictly to the original comic. And as I mention with all new releases, I will be discussing this film in full including any potential spoilers.

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Ethel & Ernest

Ethel & Ernest 2016

I always enjoy getting around to watching comic book movies that aren’t just about superheroes. This is the second film that I watched based on a graphic novel by Raymond Briggs after the lesser known 80’s animation When the Wind Blows. Briggs is probably best known for his children’s book the Snowman and while children’s books do share some similarities with comic books and graphic novels, there’s enough of a difference that I don’t include any of them in my list. This has a somewhat similar style as When the Wind Blows except that the backgrounds in this film are gorgeous. The two main characters actually feel like they inspired the two characters in the previous movie but they are actually inspired by the author’s actual parents. This film chronicles the relatively basic life of two simple people living in London through the events of World War II as well as their years afterwards. It might be simple, but it’s a poignant look at these two people’s life from the perspective of their eventual son.

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LEGO DC SuperHero Girls: Brain Drain

LEGO DC SuperHero Girls: Brain Drain 2017

Even though I had just complained about the difficulty in reviewing these DC SuperHero Girls movies because they are so similar in nature, I still decided to watch and review another one back to back. At least this time I was pleasantly surprised by the return of the LEGO style humor that was laced throughout the movie that helped keep my interest up more than several of the previous iterations. There were a handful of fun little callbacks to the history of DC superheroes, but there were still issues with too much stuff going on and an overreliance on newly introduced supervillain Lena Luthor. Of the four of these SuperHero Girls movies that I’ve watched, I would say that this has been my favorite so far, but they’re all right around the same level of mediocre, but good for young girl superhero fans.

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DC SuperHero Girls: Intergalactic Games

DC SuperHero Girls: Intergalactic Games 2017

One thing that I realized while watching this movie is that it is going to be increasingly difficult to review more movies in this series without getting too repetitive. I’m going to try my best, but this is only the third of these movies that I’ve watched and I feel like I’ve already said everything that needs to be said in the previous two reviews. And there’s three more of these that have already come out left for me to watch and review. But while these aren’t the greatest in cinematic creation, they aren’t completely insufferable and they generally clock in at the standard for DC animated films being just an hour and fifteen minutes. The one thing that I am slightly curious about is if there is any continuity between the movies going forward, especially as they switch from regular animation in this movie to LEGO animation for the next several.

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2018

It’s been a long year and while I have been to the movie theaters a few times to see movies that I would have normally reviewed for this site, only the first couple actually worked out that way. But I had heard such great things about this movie that I just had to see it. And everything I heard was true and more. The visual style of this film is gorgeous and unlike anything else I’ve ever seen before. The sheer amount of Easter Eggs and references that only a major comic book nerd could fully catch was astounding, and the way it opened up the Spider-Verse to someone only knowledgeable via movies and TV series was fantastic. And to top it all off, it had a great story, great action, hilarious comedy, and fully formed characters with interesting and believable choices. Just a great way to round out 2018. And since this is a very recent movie, I always discuss the movie in full so this is your spoiler warning.

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LEGO DC Superhero Girls: Super-Villain High

LEGO DC Superhero Girls: Super-Villain High 2018

I’m still working my way through the movies of the past couple years including the many DC animated features and this one seems like a sub-genre within a sub-genre as there have been a few Superhero Girls webseries and movies and there have been a few LEGO DC movies and this combines the two into something else. I also felt like I was missing a little something having not seen the previous Brain Drain. But it wasn’t exactly too difficult to follow. And when I compare it to the previous similar properties, it falls right in line with the other LEGO DC movies and it’s on the higher side of the previous Superhero Girls that I’ve watched. It’s fun, it’s somewhat self-aware, and it’s important just to exist as a superhero property with a significant amount of positive female characters.

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Batman and Harley Quinn

Batman and Harley Quinn 2017

When this movie was first announced, I was actually quite excited for it. I would consider Harley Quinn to be my favorite comic book character. I love her aesthetic and her unpredictability, but when the first trailer came out I sensed trouble despite the fact that it was clearly modeled after the designs of the 90’s Batman the Animated Series. And while the animation style and several of the voice actors are from that series the tone and content of the movie is much more adult than the original series ever was. Unfortunately the idea of more adult is just plenty of jokes and references to sex and some blood including a character death. It just felt completely out of place and while a few of the jokes did make me laugh quite a bit, it never really felt right and never came together as a whole.

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Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom

Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom 2017

Last year I decided to take a chance on the first Howard Lovecraft movie. At the time, I thought it was just a low budget knock off film that somehow was trying to trade in on the HP Lovecraft lore and was also based on an indie comic. This year I did a little bit more digging and discovered Arcana Studio spun off of Arcana Comics. They do seem to be a low budget animation studio, but the majority of their films are adaptations of their comics which I think is a great concept. I wasn’t a huge fan of the first Howard Lovecraft film, it seemed like a fascinating world, but there wasn’t much of a character arc and the tone seemed like a weird childish goth with mediocre voice actors except a couple token cameos. The sequel works much better with an overall darker tone with less kid-centric humor, bigger roles for the notable voice actors, and more of a character arc for Howard himself. I actually quite enjoyed this one and am curious to see where things end up in the third movie coming out in a couple weeks.

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