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Black Adam

Black Adam 2022

This is the first new set of DCEU movies even though they’re still connected to the first set of DCEU movies with a couple of the characters introduced in cameos. While the term “Phase One” has been thrown around here and there, it would make more sense if this would be considered the phase two of the DCEU or go with some terminology that’s not obviously derivative of Marvel’s release strategy. The early reviews for this movie were slightly below mediocre but I still had high hopes that I would enjoy the film. I had very little knowledge about Black Adam as a character outside of a brief appearance “Superman/Shazam the Return of Black Adam” where he was very clearly a villain and as it was a short film he was a villain with no real motivation or back story outside of someone who is a match for Superman and Shazam. The same was true for the Justice Society and the characters used in this version of the Justice Society outside of a few vague appearances of Hawkman. But besides all of that, I did quite enjoy this introduction of Black Adam as this non-heroic character who makes the decision to become a reluctant hero. And as with all recent releases here, there will be spoilers ahead so be warned.

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The Batman

The Batman 2022

It hasn’t been easy trying to resume a normal schedule here. With a ten month old daughter at home and two podcasts that I’m actually keeping on schedule (for the most part) it’s been a lot harder to find time to watch a 3 hour movie. But several months after it coming to HBO Max I managed to watch it over the course of two evenings. I had already heard a lot of mixed-but-mostly-positive things about this film so I was ready to enjoy it. And for the most part, it was quite enjoyable. I’m not fully on board with the emo teenager vibe to Bruce Wayne when he has to be in his late twenties minimum if not mid thirties like Robert Pattinson who is playing him. The rest of the cast is fantastic, the decision to make this more like a detective story rather than an origin or straight up action film is a good one. There’s really a lot to love in this film and while there are plenty of nits to pick, they don’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the film.

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Batman: Soul of the Dragon

Batman: Soul of the Dragon 2021

It’s been a couple months since I subscribed to HBO Max with the intention of catching up on several of the animated DC movies that I’ve missed out on these past couple years but I only just now got around to watching the first one. There wasn’t any specific reason why I picked this one out of the others that were on there, it just stood out as being a little bit different than what I’ve come to expect in these animated movies and in that respect, it very much was. This was done in the style of the 70’s with a bit of classic Bond mixed with Bruce Lee and some exploitation cinema all mixed together. Not only that, but despite the fact that this is labelled as a Batman movie, ninety percent of the film is all about Bruce Wayne and Batman only shows up for one scene near the beginning, then for the climactic end battle. The story beats were a little on the cliched side, but it was cliches done with love and it was a lot of fun overall. This is still a relatively recent release so there will be spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

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Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman 1984 2020

Even though not a whole lot of films came out last year, this was the biggest one that I overlooked. The reception was very mixed, with some people enjoying the new take on Wonder Woman, but many people weren’t very fond of this movie which is a very different version of Wonder Woman as her first movie. And this is despite having practically the same creative team behind both movies. Instead of taking place in World War I, it’s taking place in the 1980’s and all the kitsch and nostalgia associated with it. The tone is much lighter and there is a stronger undertone of magical reality than what was present in the first film. And even though I watched it several days ago, I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about the film as a whole. I generally enjoyed many parts of it, but I severely questioned several decisions throughout the film.

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The Suicide Squad

The Suicide Squad 2021

It still feels kind of good to be going back to theaters despite the returning dread for the unusually large group of unvaccinated masses that may force the rest of us back into some form of lockdown or at least a return to mask wearing. But besides all of that I did make it to my local theater rather than spending the $15 or however much it is to get a month of HBO Max and watch this film at home like so many people out there decided to do. I did quite enjoy the experience and I even shelled out the extra cash to see this on an IMAX screen though I was slightly underwhelmed as well as slightly nauseated from the opening scene. The picture was very clear and sharp, but I didn’t feel that much of a difference between a regular digital projection, and at least this specific IMAX screen. It’s also unclear as to how well the movie is doing in terms of popularity as most of the critical reviews as well as most personal reviews from people I know have been extremely positive, but the actual box office numbers are quite low. It’s likely largely a factor of the HBO Max availability at no extra charge with small contributions from the Covid resurgence and the poor reception and unclear differentiation from the previous Suicide Squad film. But all of that doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, what really matters is that I had a grand time watching this film and am ready to discuss it in full, including the large number of gruesome deaths that take place. So if you’d rather be surprised by who lives and who dies, read no further. The rest of you, enjoy.

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Zack Snyder’s Justice League

Zack Snyder’s Justice League 2021

I’m back with another superhero movie review and even though this movie is only a couple months old, I feel like I’ve been waiting for this one for ages. With some movies that have regular and director’s cuts I will do a “quickie” review that mostly covers the differences between the two versions that are often 80 to 90% the same movie so I just cover the differences. This is a different case and one much closer to the Donner Cut of Superman II where much of the story beats are different and the overall tone is way different. In fact, this is probably the instance where the vast majority of the film is different between the two versions. My guess is that there is only about 5-10% of the footage used in both films, and that’s 5% of the theatrical version which is half as long. For my part, I liked the theatrical cut well enough but there were plenty of glaring issues with it. This version almost feels more like a miniseries which it almost was and could still be watched that way, but that actually solves one of the issues where this team film came too quickly without introducing the rest of the team beforehand. Having this amount of length really helps to build each individual character before bringing them together as a team. And as this is still a new release, there will be spoilers in the review so be warned.

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Justice League Dark: Apokolips War

It seems like we’ve been in the era of this interconnected for a good long while. It was kicked off with the events in the Flashpoint Paradox back in 2013 but really started with Justice League War in 2014 with the biggest connective tissues being Jason O’Mara as the voice of Batman and a similar visual style in the animation. The DC Animated Movies have also crossed the line from PG-13 to R several times and this is one of the bleakest and most violent animated movies in quite a while yet there’s still enough humor to keep things entertaining without completely going off the rails. It also brings together several of the spin-off-yet-still-connected movies like the Teen Titans, Suicide Squad, and Constantine that feels like it’s following a loose parallel to Avengers: Endgame without feeling derivative. Like always, this was fun and it really builds on everything that came before it to make a fitting end to this little corner of the DC Animated Universe. And as this is a recent release, I won’t be shying away from story details so this is your spoiler warning.

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Red Son

Superman: Red Son 2020

It’s still been difficult to try and get back into any sort of normal rhythm for this site, but I haven’t yet abandoned it. In fact, the site reached a major milestone the other day. We’ve reached 1 million total views! Thanks everyone for the continued support and visits. As for new movies, it seems like it’s mostly streaming and home video, including the DC Animated movies. I’ve always been a fan of alternate realities/Elseworlds stories, especially when it comes to superheroes. These characters have been around long enough that their origin stories are going to be multiple choice anyway. Why not allow writers to take things into more extreme directions if it’s going to tell an interesting story rather than just a slightly different shade of the same thing over and over. This takes the Superman origin story and turns it on its head. It’s similar and yet very different from the Batman Elseworlds story Gotham by Gaslight, turning Superman into a very different character rather than just injecting him into a different setting.

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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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