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BlokeBusting The Essentials #47: The Killing Joke

#47: The Killing Joke

Or

The Day The Clown Died?

We’re back and ready to review another superhero film. And we’ve already covered 3 Bat-related movies, so naturally we’re on to another one! But this one is the first animated film we’ve covered, so let’s see if it holds up to the others (not a particularly high bar, but still)! And this, more than any we’ve covered so far, will have SPOILERS. So fair warning.

First Impressions

I knew a bit about this story before I hit play. I’ve gained a fair bit of comic knowledge through general osmosis, be it from friends or the inter-webs. So I came into this film already knowing the ending. I also know that the backstory that we get for The Joker in this film has been one of many woven throughout the years, and as such is not definitive canon. However, for the critique of this film, we shall assume that what we were shown is what the directors intended to be the truth for their characters. So, let’s see what’s what.

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Lego Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis

LEGO DC Superheroes: Aquaman Rage of Atlantis 2018

I’m continuing my Aquaman month here by watching yet another Aquaman movie, this time around I’m watching the animated LEGO movie that featured Aquaman last year. I’ve seen several of these animated LEGO movies and they’re all pretty similar to each other. They’re not quite as funny or impressive as the theatrical LEGO movies, but they have a similar humor and they also seem to introduce a fair number of lesser known DC comics characters which is always fun for someone like me who doesn’t have an in depth knowledge of the comics. This movie also starts off with the premise that Aquaman is a pretty useless superhero but by the end, the team accepts him. It’s pretty much the same quality as the other LEGO home video releases. It’s fun, but it’s not extraordinary.

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Aquaman

Aquaman 2006

As I continue my trial period for DC Universe, I noticed that they had the Aquaman pilot pseudo-spinoff from Smallville available to watch on there. And I also realized that even though it wasn’t a double length pilot movie, it does pass the 40+ minutes for my feature length requirement. And considering I recently watched the new Aquaman, I figured that I’d give it a shot. I was a fan of Smallville and watched it regularly through the first 7 or 8 seasons before dropping off just before the end. I remember hearing about this pilot when it was in the works but I never looked it up until just now. It has a surprisingly good cast in some of the minor roles and it also has someone who seems to be superhero pilot bad luck as Adrianne Palicki was in this failed pilot, the Wonder Woman failed pilot, and the Marvel’s Most Wanted Mockingbird failed pilot spinoff of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. As far as the actual Aquaman pilot goes, it’s a fairly standard origin setup for a monster-of-the-week first season. It doesn’t really do anything special or interesting. It’s just the same old format with an underwater theme to it.

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Aquaman

Aquaman 2018

I’ve finally gotten around to the last big movie from last year that I hadn’t watched yet. The only ones I have left are some foreign, some indies, and still a few of the lesser marketed DC Animated movies. I wanted to see this one in theaters but it just didn’t quite work out for me. Despite that, I had high hopes for this as it has become the highest grossing DC movie ever, and from the word of mouth, I heard it was a lot of fun. It brought the color and humor back to the forefront of the DC movies. It’s also interesting as it’s more or less an origin story, but we’ve already seen this character in two different movies beforehand, one where he played a significant role. I had a lot of fun with it and I’m glad that I finally got around to watching it.

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Legends of the Superheroes

Legends of the Superheroes 1979

Batman’s 80th anniversary just passed yesterday and in celebration I finally gave in and signed up for DC Universe’s new streaming app with their 80 cents for the first month sale. The main reason why I wanted to get the app was to watch this DC oddity that I had heard about but never got around to watching until now. It’s not quite a movie, not quite a miniseries, but it’s a two-part TV special that honestly feels like DC’s answer to the Star Wars Holiday Special. It’s ultra-low budget, it feels like a sketch comedy show with superheroes, and it’s difficult to tell what they really wanted to do with this property. It’s one of the very few Hanna Barbera live action properties and was tied into the Superfriends cartoon, but they couldn’t use Superman or Wonder Woman due to their rights being tied up in other places at the time. It’s pretty much one of those so-bad-it’s-good, but it did catch a couple genuine laughs out of me.

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Constantine: City of Demons: The Movie

Constantine: City of Demons: The Movie 2018

I’m still playing catch up with the past couple years of superhero movies and this is the third webseries turned movie that debuted on CW Seed after Vixen and Freedom Fighters: The Ray, the latter of which I still have yet to watch. I liked the Keanu Reeves version of Constantine but I really loved the Matt Ryan version despite the fact that it only lasted a single season and I’m glad that he’s been able to continue the role in the animated movies and Legends of Tomorrow. And while this doesn’t completely fall in line with the live action series, it still has the same feeling to it. The movie falls right in line with the spirit of the TV series version but it dials up the gore several notches to some pretty extreme levels. And what this really does is make the importance of the decisions that Constantine has to make that much more impactful.

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Shazam!

Shazam! 2019

It’s previously been very rare for me to see any movies on opening weekend, let alone going to see a movie during an early screening. And while this wasn’t an extraordinarily exclusive early screening, it’s one of the first times I’ve ever gotten to see a movie early. As far as the character goes, I’m not overly familiar with DC’s Captain Marvel aside from a vague history of how he got his name before Marvel existed, then had to change it to Shazam to avoid confusion. It’s also an odd coincidence that Marvel’s Captain Marvel and DC’s Captain Marvel were released within weeks of each other. Not only that, but they both feature Djimon Hounsou in a minor role. And after the negativity surrounding the early extra grim-dark entries in the DC Universe, they’ve gone much closer to the successful Marvel route to lighten things up quite a bit. And while it might be a little closer to standard, it still works and makes this one of the most fun DC films in a long time. And as I do with every new release, there will be spoilers so here’s your warning.

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LEGO DC Superheroes: The Flash

LEGO DC Superheroes: The Flash 2018

Even though I still have a handful of movies on my List on Netflix, I decided to start my rotation of a few different streaming services to continue my catch up of superhero movies from the past couple years. For no particular reason I decided to start with Hulu and the first movie that I found on there was this one. I’ve generally been favorable towards the LEGO DC animated movies, they’re not nearly as good as either the theatrical LEGO movies nor the more adult skewed DC Animated Universe. But they’re still head and shoulders above most straight-to-video material marketed specifically towards kids so it’s not exactly a pain to watch. It has many of the DC voice actors including the perennial comedic Cyborg, and it has elements of the LEGO humor that’s used in all of their movies and video games. Plus, it has a time loop in it and that’s something I always enjoy.

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BlokeBusting the Essentials #98: Batman & Robin

Batman and Robin

#98: Batman & Robin

Or

The Dark, Dark, Dark Night Before The Dawn

Ok. This film has quite a few things that we can talk about, right off the bat (no pun intended). I’ll try to keep from jumping around too much, since I’m sure you already know what I’ll be bringing up. So this review will be a little different. I’m going to try and review it as if the last 20 years haven’t happened. This film is VERY much a product of its time and I think it needs to be viewed as such. So without further ado, here’s my take on this piece of Batman history.

First Impressions

This film was not one that I really cared about seeing at the time. I don’t recall if I’d seen the first instalment beforehand, though I’m fairly confident that I’d seen Batman Returns & Batman Forever. However, given that I was just under 10 years old when this one came out, I was clearly their prime audience. Well, that’s not true. I still don’t know who their audience was supposed to be, though I have a hunch that if I’d been about 6 years older I’d have been more interested in certain parts of the film. I remember not hating this film when I first saw it. I wasn’t really invested in the characters, I kinda enjoyed Arnie as Dr Freeze (mostly because he was a one-trick character that slotted into the film setting perfectly) and I didn’t mind Clooney as Wayne. But now that I’m older, a little wiser and way more invested in film, I have a few things that REALLY bothered me.

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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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