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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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DC SuperHero Girls: Intergalactic Games

DC SuperHero Girls: Intergalactic Games 2017

One thing that I realized while watching this movie is that it is going to be increasingly difficult to review more movies in this series without getting too repetitive. I’m going to try my best, but this is only the third of these movies that I’ve watched and I feel like I’ve already said everything that needs to be said in the previous two reviews. And there’s three more of these that have already come out left for me to watch and review. But while these aren’t the greatest in cinematic creation, they aren’t completely insufferable and they generally clock in at the standard for DC animated films being just an hour and fifteen minutes. The one thing that I am slightly curious about is if there is any continuity between the movies going forward, especially as they switch from regular animation in this movie to LEGO animation for the next several.

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LEGO DC Superhero Girls: Super-Villain High

LEGO DC Superhero Girls: Super-Villain High 2018

I’m still working my way through the movies of the past couple years including the many DC animated features and this one seems like a sub-genre within a sub-genre as there have been a few Superhero Girls webseries and movies and there have been a few LEGO DC movies and this combines the two into something else. I also felt like I was missing a little something having not seen the previous Brain Drain. But it wasn’t exactly too difficult to follow. And when I compare it to the previous similar properties, it falls right in line with the other LEGO DC movies and it’s on the higher side of the previous Superhero Girls that I’ve watched. It’s fun, it’s somewhat self-aware, and it’s important just to exist as a superhero property with a significant amount of positive female characters.

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Batman: Gotham by Gaslight

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight 2018

I’m not exactly the biggest fan of Jack the Ripper, generally the most I know of him are when various TV shows that I watch have the random episode where they go back in time or something along those lines to have a Jack the Ripper episode. Aside from that, there’s also the mediocre comic book movie From Hell. And on top of that, I actually went into this movie knowing nothing about the background of the comic aside from the fact that it’s basically Batman if he existed in the early 1900’s. It is actually the first Elseworlds style story that even pre-dated the Elseworlds title. It basically comes from the question “what if Batman tried to solve the Jack the Ripper case?” only instead of random people asking the question, it’s asked by comic book writer Brian Augustyn and drawn by Mike Mignola. I thought it was pretty entertaining but I wasn’t fond of the final reveal, which I will be discussing so here’s your spoiler warning.

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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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Batman vs Two-Face

Batman vs Two-Face 2017

One of the most difficult things about falling behind over the past year is the continued break-neck pace that DC puts out their animated direct-to-home-video movies. There’s 3-4 in their regular animated line, 2-3 Lego versions, a couple Superhero Girl movies, and occasionally a few others like this one. This is the sequel to the previous year’s Return of the Caped Crusaders, an animated continuation of the Adam West Batman series from the 60’s with Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar returning to voice their characters. This time around they also add William Shatner as the voice of Two-Face and the Batman movie’s Catwoman Lee Meriwether. This also happens to the be the last film of Adam West before he passed away. Similar to the previous film, this was a lot of fun. It also took a slightly different direction to not overly homage previous incarnations and simply tell a new story in a similarly comedic fashion to the 60’s series with a more modern sensibility.

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Vixen: The Movie

Vixen: The Movie 2017

One of the last shows that I actively covered over on my sister site Channel: Superhero was the first season of an animated series set in the Arrowverse and airing on the CW app/website CW Seed. One of my biggest issues in the webseries is that it felt more like a movie/full episode that was chopped up into episodes rather than an actual webseries. And while I didn’t continue in on watching the second season, they were cut together with a few extra scenes into this animated movie that falls right alongside the typical DC Animated movies. I do find that it’s somewhat appropriate that I’ve waited this long to review this film as it is Black History Month and in general, that’s where I’ve reviewed most Black superhero movies. I will also be updating my top Black superhero movies of all time list once I’ve watched Black Panther in just a couple week’s time. But as for the actual quality of this movie, it falls somewhere in the midrange of the average DC Animated movie. Vixen is an interesting character, but the movie itself doesn’t really do anything to make itself stand out as anything other than just another superhero origin story, just with a little African folklore flair to it.
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Teen Titans: The Judas Contract

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract 2017

It actually feels like a fairly light year for DC animated movies when compared to last year when there were quite a few movies from various different DC properties while this is only the fourth animated movie counting the theatrical Lego Batman movie and the latest DC Superhero Girls movie. Even so, I feel like I’ve fallen behind on these as this came out a couple months ago and I’m only just now getting around to watching and reviewing it. I did quite enjoy Teen Titans vs the Justice League and this movie does feel like a step up from that one. This also seems to do a good job of including more social relationships within the story instead of just focusing on the plot and action which helps differentiate itself from other superhero stories to a certain extent. There were a few too many attempts at maturing the story by including sex jokes, but overall this was an enjoyable continuation of the animated Teen Titans storyline. And as usual with all my reviews and especially recent releases, I will be discussing the movie in full including any potential plot spoilers.
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Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman 2017

I have to say that it’s a great year for superhero cinema so far. We got an amazing send-off for Wolverine, a hilariously fun follow up to the Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy, and now we get not only our first female-led superhero film in over 12 years, but the first truly great one. Not only that, but it feels like it’s been a long time to get a hero from DC that feels so positive, hopeful, and truly heroic rather than someone overburdened by their responsibilities/failures. Director Patty Jenkins delivered a hero that stood out among her peers in every aspect, from the action to the drama and while the romance may have been slightly lacking, it’s not like it has much competition. And as with every review, but especially new releases, I may be discussing story elements that would be considered spoilers, so you have been warned.
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