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Lego Justice League vs. Bizarro League

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League 2015

Starting my unintentional batch of superhero movies intended for younger audiences with the latest home video Lego movie release. There’s been a small handful of these Lego home video releases, though many of them are extremely short. Even this one clocks in at just under an hour. If you’re familiar with the Lego brand of entertainment outside of just the Lego movie then you know that it is generally filled with a large number of rapid fire gags and jokes and Bizarro League is no different. It is a bit of a misnomer though, as the entire “vs” aspect of the movie is over within just a few minutes and instead the two groups spend most of their time working together to fight Darkseid. It’s by no means a great film that you should go seek out immediately, but if you have kids of your own, this is a great way to spend an hour together and I bet you will spend quite a bit of it laughing your minifig head off. There’s even a bit of a message buried under all the laughs.
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The Lego Movie

The Lego Movie 2014

So I managed to make it out to theaters to see my first theatrical movie of 2014. It’s not exactly what you might call a “superhero movie”, but there are quite a few superheroes as supporting characters so I’ll let that slide. It’s almost more like a Lego version of the Matrix, complete with “the one” also known as “the special”, the master builders who can change the code by rearranging the Lego blocks, and-spoiler- a bit of a twist involving a second world outside the world. Aside from that, there’s a lot more laughs, a lot more heart, and a lot less violence. I loved it, my daughter Jena loved it, and my wife loved it. It’s a whole lot of fun from beginning to end.
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Justice League: War

Justice League: War 2014

Taking a quick break from the non-superhero comic book adaptations I watched a couple brand new DC Animation releases: Justice League: War and JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time. My review of Trapped in Time will be up in a couple days, but first I’m going to talk a bit about Justice League: War which is the first Animated offering from DC’s New 52 timeline offering up yet another Justice League origin story, though I haven’t read any of the New 52. Fortunately, even though a lot of it is the same thing we’ve seen more than a couple times, it’s still a fun ride. After the very dark turn in DC Animation with Dark Knight Returns and The Flashpoint Paradox, War lightens things up quite a bit while not going all the way around to being too shallow. There’s still plenty of action to be had here and they sneak in a single swear word, but the blood is kept to a minimum. It was also a nice change of pace to add Shazam into the mix, as he’s not usually one of the regulars in these movies.
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Words without pictures: A Superhero novel

Infinite Crisis by Greg Cox

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve moved to the Chicago area and am now facing an hour’s train ride each way to work. To my surprise, my sister is a moderate fan of superheroes as well and she lent me her copy of Infinite Crisis: A Novel to read. I was familiar with the storyline and the previous event Crisis on Infinite Earths in name only. This is the first superhero novel I’ve ever read. When I was in my teens/early twenties I read a ton of fantasy books, mainly all of the Forgotten Realms series that was published at the time, as well as the Weis/Hickman written Dragonlance novels and Robert Jordan’s massive Wheel of Time series. One of the things I noticed fairly early on is how much is lost without visuals. Comic books and superheroes are very much a visual medium. And I understand that fantasy can be very visual as well, but for some reason reading about superheroes without the visuals to back it up felt a lot more silly to me. Especially when you get to the fact that this novel covers a huge crossover comics event that features literally hundreds of heroes and villains and has about a dozen main characters. And on top of that, seeing Batman survive being strangled by some superhuman villain is one thing, but reading several times how he’s only surviving because of his armored neckpiece just sits the wrong way with me. But aside from a few qualms, I generally enjoyed it.

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Green Lantern: Emerald Knights

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights 2010

Back to yet another movie my wife picked out for me at the video store. Apparently she has horrible timing, as this would have fit much better right after the first two Green Lantern movies I watched, but that’s completely beside the point. In an effort to cross-market with the theatrical release of the live action Green Lantern movie, DC Animation released this animated movie, which is a compilation of other Green Lantern’s stories similar to Gotham Knight, but this movie wraps it around a central framework based on Hal Jordan telling stories to a rookie lantern. It’s well done animation on par with all of the other DC animated movies I’ve seen to this point and I really enjoyed it.

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Green Lantern: First Flight

Green Lantern: First Flight 2009

After watching the mediocre live action origin story, it made me want to revisit an earlier Green Lantern origin movie, only this one was animated and straight to home video. It was also a whole lot better. As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, I really love all of the DC Animation that I’ve seen so far which ranges from pretty good to excellent. They’ve covered a lot of ground on some of the better comic book stories out there without worrying too much about being a blockbuster. They’re generally all under the supervision and occasional direction of legendary Bruce Timm. The only downside I really have with them which isn’t a major downside is that they all tend to be rather short, most of them clocking in at a little over an hour. I’m still waiting for when they have the guts to make one of these animated movies for the theaters. I imagine it’s because of the decline of 2D animation. But whatever, First Flight is still a great movie.

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Why doesn’t DC make a theatrical animated movie?

Aside from a couple of their big movies like the original Superman, and some of the Batman movies, DC has yet to really capitalize on their cast of characters in the theaters. While Marvel has had a handful of bad movies, they haven’t had many unsuccessful movies. DC however has had many flops. From Steel to Catwoman to Supergirl to Superman 3 & 4 to recent disappointments like Green Lantern and the Spirit, DC hasn’t had the best of luck with their secondary characters. But one thing that DC has going for it that fewer people know about is their amazing animation department. For the past several years, DC Animation has been cranking out some fantastic direct-to-DVD animated movies led by the talented Bruce Timm who was famously behind Batman: The Animated Series. The quality of these movies is generally very high, with great animation, great stories, and great voice acting. But the question is, why don’t they make one into a theatrical feature film?

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Green Lantern

Green Lantern 2011

After watching so many Marvel movies, I thought it was only fair to come back with a DC movie. I’ve been wanting to watch Green Lantern for a while now, I’ve heard there’s a lot of hate out there for it, but from what I’ve seen of the movie so far, I thought I would generally like it. And I was right, I did like it, but at the same time, I didn’t love it. I enjoyed the animated Green Lantern movie First Flight much better, which is a shame because Green Lantern as a character has a lot of potential and this movie took several steps in the right direction, it just didn’t get all the way there yet.

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