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Justice League vs the Fatal Five

Justice League vs the Fatal Five

I’m a couple weeks into my 5-week trial of DC Universe and it’s a nice benefit that at least some of their home video releases are also being released on their streaming app the same day as their physical release date. I was a big fan of the Batman animated series as well as Superman the animated series but I fell out of cartoons before I was able to follow them to Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. And it was nice as it always is despite repeated assurances that he will retire the voice to see Kevin Conroy back as the voice of Batman along with the Justice League animated series voices for Superman and Wonder Woman. I had a few doubts considering that the last time they redid this style of animation was the disappointing Batman and Harley Quinn, but I’m pleased to say that they got things right this time around. There was still just a slight disconnect because they moved away from the kids series tone and brought it into a much harder PG-13 in terms of the violence and language, but it also just felt like a slightly more grown up version of the animated series, serieses, series’s, the multiple series. And as with every film I review, I will be discussing it in full so here is your spoiler warning.

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The Death of Superman

The Death of Superman 2018

This was actually my first theater visit of 2019, second Fathom Events superhero film as I watched this in a double feature with the sequel The Reign of the Supermen. This is the second two-part animated movie in the DC Animated Universe after the Dark Knight Returns. This is also the third adaptation of the Death of Superman after what’s generally considered the first DC Animated Universe film release Superman/Doomsday and the much looser adaptation in the live action Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It was one of the few major comic books that I actually read when it was released as my friend had a couple copies and I remember skimming through the Doomsday fight but only vaguely remember the latter half of the story. Where this film really shines is not just the fight with Doomsday, but it really gets to the human heart of the story and is one of the most touching versions of Superman’s death that I’ve seen.

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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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Justice League Dark

Justice League Dark 2017

While this isn’t the first comic book movie to be released in 2017, this is the first 2017 comic book movie that I’ve gotten around to watching. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of DC’s animated movies and especially those directed by Jay Oliva. There’s just something about his action and style that gets to me every time. This is also the next in the continuing series of movies loosely connected continuity surrounding the expanding Justice League. And this had the right amount of action, humor, and drama to keep me hooked from beginning to end. Even though I was only vaguely familiar with many of the characters in this film, I connected with them and enjoyed this from beginning to end. Especially with its connection to the unfairly cancelled NBC series Constantine. My only real gripe with this film is that once again it pushed Batman front and center when he had no real reason to be included in this story other than the fact that he is DC’s cash cow and has to be included in every possible thing they do.
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Justice League vs. Teen Titans

It’s time for another entry in the DC Animated canon and they are continuing their fairly recent connected universe of films that tie together Batman and Robin with the Justice League movies aside from Gods and Monsters. This film follows the recent trend of naming superhero films based on having the heroes fight each other. At least this time there’s an element of mind control rather than a difference in ideology. As for my own experience with the Teen Titans themselves, I’ve seen a few episodes of Teen Titans, plenty of Teen Titans Go, but I’ve only seen the Blue Beetle in a single episode of Batman: Brave and the Bold. It felt like an odd fit considering that in the universe of this story, the Justice League is still quite young but the Teen Titans is already established. Though it does seem to be even newer than the Justice League. But aside from the specifics, this is a much better tone than the live action DC Universe and aside from a few minor nitpicks, I enjoyed the hell out of this one.
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Lego Justice League: Cosmic Clash

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Cosmic Clash 2016

It’s the second month of the year and that means the second DC movie that includes Batman in it. Not only that, but it’s the second film that includes Batman fighting another hero and the first this year where he is fighting Superman. Aside from that, it’s also the fourth Lego DC movie to be released on home video after the success of DC Heroes Unite, Attack of the Legion of Doom, and Justice League vs. Bizarro League. It actually continues where Bizarro League left off where Cyborg is now a full fledged member of the team and Batman is on board with everyone but is still somewhat on the outskirts of the team. Like all the others, there’s plenty of humor and while most of it is childish, there’s enough referential humor to make things fun for adults as well.
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Lego Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom 2015

I’ve been a big fan of the Lego brand for ages, along with their video games since the Lego Star Wars games and their movies from last year and this year. They came out with their Lego Batman straight to home video movie last year which essentially followed the plot of video game Lego Batman 2. There was another one that came out earlier this year which had the Justice League fighting Bizarro characters and Darkseid, and this continues that story where Darkseid is using Lex Luthor for revenge while Cyborg is the new member of the team. It’s a little bit funny that two animated films released within a week or so of each other both feature Cyborg as the new member of the team, with this film and Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem which I watched and reviewed a few days ago. Doing a brief comparison of the two, even though they are both essentially used to help sell toys, this Lego movie uses humor much better and doesn’t feel quite so shameless or formulaic. Instead, it brings the humor that the brand has become known for and is generally hilarious from start to finish.
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Justice League: Gods and Monsters

Justice League: Gods and Monsters 2015

It’s time for me to catch up on some more slightly under the radar new releases that have slipped past me in the past couple months or so. The first one that I checked out is the latest in the neverending releases from DC Animation, this brings about the return of Bruce Timm as writer who was the head of animation during the days of Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League, and is more or less credited with making DC Animation the respected studio that it has become today. He has overseen much of the DC Animated universe as executive producer, but the last movie that was written by him goes all the way back to the first with Superman/Doomsday. Gods and Monsters takes an alternate universe look at what the Justice League could have been if things had turned out very differently for a lot of people. Here, the Justice League is a small group of superhumans who are respected to a certain extent, but mostly feared by the general public as a potential menace who destroys any enemies they come across. I’ve always enjoyed alternate universe stories, and while this one was fascinating, I often felt like I was missing something with my limited knowledge of the extended DC Universe.
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Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts

Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts 2015

While I had initially only planned to do animation through April, May is almost over and I’m still sticking to the animated fare. And while I’ve just gone though catching up on a few Marvel animated films I hadn’t gotten around to yet, DC is still cranking them out on a regular basis. I hadn’t heard much lead up to this title so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect at all. I’m not familiar with any sort of Batman Unlimited universe whether in the comics or on TV. From what I can tell from this film it’s set in the future, kind of like Batman Beyond, but instead of it being a future generation, it’s just Batman and several of the less extraterrestrial Justice League set in the future. It also reminded me a little bit of last year’s JLA Adventures where this was a very kid friendly adventure as opposed to the increasingly darker PG-13 stories typical of recent DC Animated films. It’s also worth noting that this film is intended to help launch a new toy line of DC Unlimited characters which will also continue in shorts and future home video films which actually makes me think of the Monster High style of marketing. As an actual film it was a fun little adventure without too much real depth to it, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
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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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