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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.

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The Best of the Decade pt. 3: Marvel & DC

And it’s finally time to finish off this giant best of the decade list with the biggest superhero movies to come out over the past ten years. The blockbuster live action movies from DC, Marvel, and the connected Marvel Cinematic Universe. And hopefully after this, I’ll get back to watching some more movies including the movie that won the Patreon poll so be on the lookout for that review coming up soon, plus the new releases will be starting very soon kicking things off with Birds of Prey, the sequel/spin-off for Suicide Squad. It’s been a great decade for Marvel, DC has been much more hit and miss with a strong finish. So, let’s get to the lists!

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The Best of the Decade pt 1: Animation

It’s a new decade, so of course it’s time to look back at the previous decade and rank stuff. So here I am joining in by ranking the top movies that I cover here over the past ten years. And since I’m a big believer that comic book movies aren’t a genre, I’ve split the decade into six different categories and I’ll be sharing two top ten lists each week over the next three weeks. The two lists that I’m sharing today are both animation, but because of their massive output and similar quality across the board, DC Animation is given their own separate category. As for the other list, there is a mix of bigger budget theatrically released animated superhero movies as well as lower budget comic book movies. Enough chit chat, onto the lists!

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The Kitchen

The Kitchen 2019

It’s the last month of the year and I was able to catch up with the last major theatrical release of this past year. There are still a few other home video and TV movie releases that I haven’t gotten around to, but I should get pretty close before the end of this month and will have a ranked list next month. As for this specific movie, I didn’t hear very much good about this when it was in theaters and while I strongly considered going out to watch it, I just missed it. I thought it was interesting that it was based on a comic and it was about Hell’s Kitchen which is usually associated with Daredevil, though it has absolutely nothing to do with any superheroes at all. Instead, it’s a period drama about the mob featuring comedic actresses. Unfortunately, the trailer featured pretty much all of the comedic bits in the mostly dramatic movie, none of the characters really had any strong personalities to draw me into their stories and by the time things got interesting in the third act, it wasn’t enough to save the film.

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Wonder Woman: Bloodlines

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines 2019

It’s time to check out the latest movie from DC Animation. This one takes a slight curveball as it doesn’t really continue the previous continuity though there’s a couple references so that it could still be a part of the major continuity despite being a stand-alone story. It’s also notable for nearly having the entire voice cast be female characters outside of Steve Trevor and a Minotaur. For the most part it follows pretty well in line with the rest of the DC animated movies. It’s a lot of fun to watch with some good action sequences and some nice character beats mixed in here and there. It’s also worth noting that the DC Showcase short packaged with this home video release: Death, is quite excellent as well.

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LEGO DC Batman: Family Matters

LEGO DC Batman: Family Matters 2019

It’s time for yet another LEGO DC animated feature and it pretty much follows the same overall formula with the typical LEGO style humor focused on the different DC characters. This also loosely follows a variation on the Bat family plot involving many different Bat-family characters including three of the four main Robins (Tim Drake always seems to get left in the cold in these animated movies). And for a change of pace it actually takes a bit of a look at not just the exploits of Batman, but also the importance of Bruce Wayne and his position of wealth and power within the context of Gotham City. Not exactly something that you would expect in a LEGO movie though it definitely keeps the irreverence to keep things light and not overly deep.

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Teen Titans Go! vs Teen Titans

Teen Titans Go! vs Teen Titans 2019

At my latest trip to the local library, I picked up the latest DC Animated movie with the Teen Titans. I probably said this before when I reviewed the theatrical Teen Titans Go! movie but I’m generally a fan of Go! It makes me laugh, I like the meta humor that comes with it, and there’s plenty of other superhero properties so in general the humor that exists in Go! is different than pretty much anything else in DC. I’ve also more recently been able to go through some of the old episodes of Teen Titans and actually noticed that it was generally a lot less serious than I thought it was going to be. It’s much more serious than Go! but it has plenty of humor to go around. I also love alternate universe stuff and this takes things to an utterly chaotic and ridiculous level that I absolutely loved and I had so much fun watching this. And while there’s not really much of a surprise twist, this is a recent movie so here is your spoiler warning.

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Look, Up in the Sky

Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman 2006

I just recently mentioned that many of these comic book documentaries all felt the same, with plenty of comic book illustrations and talking head interviews with artists and writers. This one is actually quite a notable step up and part of that comes with the pedigree. At least in part, it was created to tie in with Superman Returns, which brought about plenty of Superman nostalgia as it was basically created as a sequel to Superman II. It also helped bring about the Richard Donner cut of that movie, and as a result, this has a lot of star power in terms of its interviews. It also has a large amount of varying media depictions of Superman starting from the early radio programs all the way up through Smallville and Superman Returns. But similar to my recent viewing of the Shazam DC Spotlight, this didn’t feel like it was just a promotional vehicle for Superman Returns, it was a full fledged Superman documentary that gave equal weight to the new movie as it did every other part of Superman’s history. And it did such with a fair amount of interesting and entertaining information.

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DC Spotlight: Shazam!

DC Spotlight: Shazam! 2019

When I went to watch Batman Hush on DC Universe, there was another 2019 title listed right next to it called DC Spotlight: Shazam! I hadn’t heard about this title and when I checked it out, I noticed that it was 52 minutes which qualifies for my definition of feature length, it was a DC Universe Original, and the opening logo made it seem like the first in a possible series of these comic book documentaries. I’ve reviewed a handful of these types of documentaries in the past and it’s becoming more and more difficult just because they are all so similar to each other. They’re all varying degrees of interesting, as this one was, but there’s rarely enough to make it stand out as more than just another comic book documentary.

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Batman: Hush

Batman: Hush 2019

The DC Animated universe continues to deliver animated movies based on some of the most celebrated story arcs across their comics. I had heard about Hush here and there though I never really knew what it was about until I watched it for the first time just the other day. There were plenty of good elements, but there was one big change that I had heard inklings of and didn’t really think worked. This also follows the current animated continuity after Reign of the Superman which had a couple nice moments that connected the stories. It was good, but there were some serious issues the more I thought about this movie. And as there is a bit of a mystery surrounding the identity of Hush, I will be discussing it in full so here’s your spoiler warning.

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