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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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Justice League

Justice League 2017

I’m not entirely sure what bug got into me, but I’ve been full speed ahead trying to catch up on the year (more or less) that I’ve missed writing on this site. This is one of the biggest films that I missed from last  year and while it made a decent amount of money, it was a pretty big disappointment for what a Justice League movie could have made. Out of the major superhero movie releases of the year, it was the second lowest grossing film just above Logan which was R-rated and it was the lowest grossing film of the entire DCEU. It was plagued by some behind the scenes nightmares like the tragic loss of Zack Snyder’s daughter midway through filming so that the film was finished by Joss Whedon. There was also the well documented issue with Henry Cavill being unable to shave his mustache for reshoots while filming the latest Mission Impossible which created some unnerving scenes of CGI hair-removal. The resulting chaos resulted in a rather chaotic movie that shifted in tone from the more serious and dramatic Zack Snyder films that came before it, and the more irreverent humor associated with Joss Whedon with a lack of overall cohesion. Some moments worked, but the team never quite came together as a whole.

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The LEGO Batman Movie

The LEGO Batman Movie 2017

It’s finally time for my first theatrical movie of the year and it really starts out with a bang. I’m already reminded of last year’s Return of the Caped Crusaders that brought a lot of Batman nostalgia mixed with a hearty dose of comedy and satire. The only difference is that this one is just a bit more family friendly and has a fewer references to the 60’s series. There are still plenty of 60’s references, but they are fewer. It also tries to tell a heartfelt story deep down within all the jokes, dozens of obscure Batman villains, and several other non-Batman villains. This really felt like a film that was aimed almost directly at me, someone who has a sizable knowledge of the history of Batman but also thinks that Batman does not need to take himself quite so seriously. And in that regard, I absolutely loved this movie and everything it stood for. It might not quite live up to last year’s LEGO Movie, but it’s a hell of a fun ride anyway.
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Justice League Dark

Justice League Dark 2017

While this isn’t the first comic book movie to be released in 2017, this is the first 2017 comic book movie that I’ve gotten around to watching. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of DC’s animated movies and especially those directed by Jay Oliva. There’s just something about his action and style that gets to me every time. This is also the next in the continuing series of movies loosely connected continuity surrounding the expanding Justice League. And this had the right amount of action, humor, and drama to keep me hooked from beginning to end. Even though I was only vaguely familiar with many of the characters in this film, I connected with them and enjoyed this from beginning to end. Especially with its connection to the unfairly cancelled NBC series Constantine. My only real gripe with this film is that once again it pushed Batman front and center when he had no real reason to be included in this story other than the fact that he is DC’s cash cow and has to be included in every possible thing they do.
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FTMN Quickie: Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition

Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition 2016

Once again my movie viewing was decided via a Twitter poll which resulted in the mixed bag of revisiting the epic superhero film of the year made even more epic-er with about 30 minutes of footage so it now clocks in at just over three hours. Now, if you recall my original review for Batman vs Superman, I’m not one of the haters of this film, I thought it was just fine and I have been fully expecting that this extended cut makes some improvements. It’s just so difficult for me to put three hours into a movie, especially when I know that it’s just for one of these two paragraph quickie reviews looking specifically at an alternate cut of a film that I’ve already reviewed. But I did split the viewing up over about three nights and I did still like more than I didn’t like. But boy did those moments I didn’t like stick out like a sore thumb even more this time around. Is the Ultimate Cut really the best way to view this movie? A loose maybe is really the best I can do for that question right now.

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Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders 2016

I was disappointed during the last theatrical event for one of these DC animated features because I had car trouble and wasn’t able to go. Even though I wasn’t quite as excited for this film as I was for Killing Joke I figured it would still be a fun time at the theater and I was right. I don’t really have a whole lot of experience with ’66 Batman aside from the one movie, but even with only having that little bit of background I could tell the amount of care that went into this animated feature. There were plenty of references to the rogue’s gallery from the show and it captured the feel of the original show while still tossing in plenty of jokes geared towards someone who is familiar with Batman lore at large, seemingly poking fun at the darker, more modern version of Batman while celebrating the joy and camp of the earlier days.
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Batman Unlimited: Mechs Vs Mutants

Batman Unlimited: Mechs Vs Mutants 2016

Within a month of me finishing all of the animated comic book movies out there, they went and released two more already. Starting off with the latest entry in the Batman Unlimited series, something that I tend to think of as the “toy series” as it coincided with the release of a new toy line and overall is more kid friendly than the current Warner Premier animated movies that tend towards PG-13 to R for a more adult audience. Even when just looking at this comparatively to the other two Batman Unlimited movies that came before this one, there was a level of inconsistency with many of the characters like Penguin and even Killer Croc. But while it did take a while to win me over, the level of humor across the third act made up for a lot of nothing in the first two. At least a little.
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Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad 2016

Like with any recent DC live action movie release these days there’s a lot more to it than just “Did I like it?” or “Did I not like it?” It seems like it started a little bit with Manof Steel and escalated greatly with Batman vs Superman and once again there’s this great divide between a very low critical consensus and a record breaking box office. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Does it really even matter anymore as long as the money is flowing and nothing’s going to stop this DC train from moving along trying to catch up to the Marvel money train chugging a few billion dollars ahead. Obviously, I’m a superhero movie fan, you don’t sit through over 300 superhero movies without either being a fan, becoming a fan, or quitting about 100 movies ago. My expectations for Suicide Squad were very similar to the animated Assault on Arkham, and what I got wasn’t a far cry from it. The characters were fun, it was fast paced, sure there were some flaws with the story but at the end of the day, my wife and I had a great morning at the movies. It would just be nice if there was a little bit more cohesion so that everyone else had fun too.
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Batman: The Killing Joke

Batman: The Killing Joke 2016

Part of the reason why I decided to watch a bunch of animated movies during July was because I knew that Batman: The Killing Joke was coming out this month and there weren’t any other theatrical releases until August. What ultimately made this more special was that this film was something that I specifically called for almost 3 years ago, even calling for the R rating to separate it from the family fare. What’s probably most interesting about all this is that I haven’t actually read the Killing Joke myself. I’m acutely aware of it, not just for its critical praise and commercial success, but also for some of the more negative critics, specifically for its depictions and/or implications of violence against women and a piece of the large trend of Women in refrigerators. Even as fans started discussing this specific movie, there were also criticisms aimed against it for its new opening act that wasn’t a part of the original story. But for my part, I generally enjoyed the film but I can see some of the weak points in the story.
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The Batman vs Dracula

The Batman vs Dracula 2005

While I watched most of the run of the first incarnation of Batman: The Animated Series, I didn’t follow it with any of the later series including the one simply called The Batman. I don’t really know much about it at all, reading up on it it seems like it was intended to be a Batman for slightly younger audiences than the original series, but it found its footing a little bit better in later seasons. The first thing that struck me was the incredibly different and jarring design for the Joker. But as for looking at the movie as a whole, it didn’t have too much of a kid-friendly vibe to me. It got surprisingly dark in places, but it was mostly superficial. It’s a fun film that seems like a perfect movie to throw on for Halloween if you’re also a fan of Batman.
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