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Steam Engines of Oz

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.

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Howard Lovecraft and the Kingdom of Madness

Howard Lovecraft and the Kingdom of Madness 2018

This is the third movie in a trilogy from comic studio slash low budget animation studio Arcana. The first movie felt a little overly kiddish, the second was a little darker and a little better. The third movie finishes out the trilogy and ends up falling somewhere inbetween the two. This has always been a lower budget animated series, but somehow the lower budget is felt a lot more in this final chapter. And I’m still not overly familiar with the mythology behind HP Lovecraft but of the three, I think I’ve either just started to get the hang of it after watching it over the course of three movies, or it was less dense this time around. It’s still an odd choice for what appears to be a children’s film but it’s not a bad ending to the trilogy. And even though this is a less popular film, it’s still a fairly recent release which I will be going into full spoilers so here’s your warning.

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Teen Titans Go! to the Movies

Teen Titans Go! to the Movies 2018

I’ll be honest: I’ve only seen a couple episodes of the original Teen Titans cartoon, but I’ve seen a much larger handful of Teen Titans Go! And on top of that, I’m someone who generally champions different takes on properties so I do quite enjoy the wacky sitcom-esque basis for Go! so I was actually quite excited to see this film even though I missed out on watching it when it was in theaters. This is a property that doesn’t take itself seriously and it often uses self-deprecating humor, there’s also quite a bit of background details that cover the breadth of DC comics knowledge though there’s not quite as much background details as something like a LEGO Movie, but for someone like me who has a lot of DC movie and TV knowledge, but not a lot of comics knowledge, there were a lot of deep cuts that I recognized, and plenty other deep cuts that were too deep for even me.

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Incredibles 2

Incredibles 2 2018

I’ve almost finished catching up with all the 2017 releases but I still have a ways to go with the 2018 releases. I actually watched this film with my daughter in theaters back when it first came out. I remember quite enjoying the film overall and hearing mostly positive praise for the film with a handful of complaints about how it was overly obvious and more or less mirrored the first film. Watching it again, I do see some flaws in logic, but for the most part it was great to see the family back together again and it felt just as good as it did the first time around. There’s a similar aspect of family difficulties right alongside some fantastic superhero action. There were a few questionable actions, but in general I was having too much fun just watching the movie that I didn’t really care.

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Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay

Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay 2018

I’m nearly caught up with all of my 2017 releases and now I just have one more DC Animated movie until I’m back to being fully caught up with all of their mainline releases other than the LEGO series. This continues the darker branch of animated movies that have gotten bloodier and this marks the fourth R rated feature. There’s plenty of blood, in fact this may be the highest on-screen kill count for any of these DC Animated movies to date and they’re typically bloody deaths and not just bloodless/faceless kills. It also brings in a handful of characters and ideas that are a little farther out there, and some that were very unfamiliar even to someone like me. But it all came together in an enjoyable way, there was even an interesting little twist that was unexpected but worked. It was totally a solid film.

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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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