Howard Lovecraft and the Kingdom of Madness 2018
This is the third movie in a trilogy from comic studio slash low budget animation studio Arcana. The first movie felt a little overly kiddish, the second was a little darker and a little better. The third movie finishes out the trilogy and ends up falling somewhere inbetween the two. This has always been a lower budget animated series, but somehow the lower budget is felt a lot more in this final chapter. And I’m still not overly familiar with the mythology behind HP Lovecraft but of the three, I think I’ve either just started to get the hang of it after watching it over the course of three movies, or it was less dense this time around. It’s still an odd choice for what appears to be a children’s film but it’s not a bad ending to the trilogy. And even though this is a less popular film, it’s still a fairly recent release which I will be going into full spoilers so here’s your warning.
Even though I watched this for the first time last year after I heard about the final twist that connected it to Unbreakable I never got around to writing about it until now. And honestly, I’m glad I did as I was able to watch a video showcasing some of the extra good parts that I missed the first time around and I also saw more things that I hadn’t quite noticed on a first watch. This was a great return to form for Shyamalan after a series of disappointments and even though Glass didn’t quite resonate with many of his fans, I think that this is a great trilogy with a very similar style. Where Unbreakable was the first act of the origin story, this is the second act where it showcases the origin of the villain. It also has a similar slow pace and real world explanations for the powers. Not only that, but it also holds its own as a stand-alone horror suspense movie.
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part 2019
It’s been an interesting year so far for me, and while it’s only February, I’ve actually been doing quite well at keeping up with the new releases that I cover here on the site. And while LEGO Movie may have been a bit of a stretch to consider as a superhero movie at all, the sequel is even slightly moreso. But it still has LEGO Batman as a main character and the heroic characters are busy saving their world, so I’m rolling with it. As far as how it stacks up to the previous two movies, the humor is still the same but this one builds on the live action reveal of the first movie in a way that’s predictable but still enjoyable. And as I tend to mention with any new release reviews, I discuss the movie in full so if you’re worried about spoilers, here’s your warning.
Incredibles 2 2018
I’ve almost finished catching up with all the 2017 releases but I still have a ways to go with the 2018 releases. I actually watched this film with my daughter in theaters back when it first came out. I remember quite enjoying the film overall and hearing mostly positive praise for the film with a handful of complaints about how it was overly obvious and more or less mirrored the first film. Watching it again, I do see some flaws in logic, but for the most part it was great to see the family back together again and it felt just as good as it did the first time around. There’s a similar aspect of family difficulties right alongside some fantastic superhero action. There were a few questionable actions, but in general I was having too much fun just watching the movie that I didn’t really care.
So far I’m 2 for 2 in the new release camp, let’s see how long I last as this is one of the biggest years for major superhero movie releases. Even so, I imagine that the combined total between big releases, indies, and non-superhero comic book movies that the total number will be roughly the same as the past few years. And while I never got around to reviewing Split last year, I did watch it. Glass is the third film in an oddly connected movie series that started with Unbreakable. It does a good job of tying the two films together though it feels slightly more in line with Unbreakable as the horror element is much more muted. Overall, it was quite enjoyable but didn’t quite reach the same quality as either of the two previous movies and the twist was lacking and came out of nowhere. And since the twist is a big part of the movie, it will be discussed in this review so be warned.
Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom 2017
Last year I decided to take a chance on the first Howard Lovecraft movie. At the time, I thought it was just a low budget knock off film that somehow was trying to trade in on the HP Lovecraft lore and was also based on an indie comic. This year I did a little bit more digging and discovered Arcana Studio spun off of Arcana Comics. They do seem to be a low budget animation studio, but the majority of their films are adaptations of their comics which I think is a great concept. I wasn’t a huge fan of the first Howard Lovecraft film, it seemed like a fascinating world, but there wasn’t much of a character arc and the tone seemed like a weird childish goth with mediocre voice actors except a couple token cameos. The sequel works much better with an overall darker tone with less kid-centric humor, bigger roles for the notable voice actors, and more of a character arc for Howard himself. I actually quite enjoyed this one and am curious to see where things end up in the third movie coming out in a couple weeks.
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.
Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel 2018
An interesting thing happened the other day, I had a Facebook memory reminding me that a year ago I was contacted by an indie filmmaker who discovered my site and reached out to me to request a review for their movie. And that actually happened yet again this year. Justin Cook sent me a screener of his superhero spoof sequel, though I originally thought that the whole “Revenge of the Sequel” was part of the whole spoof concept. It also boasts being the first out gay superhero. On top of that, it’s filled with literally dozens of cameoes from superhero and sci-fi history including plenty of Star Trek actors. Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but even though most of the cameoes felt like they were pulled from various convention circuits, it was still a treat for someone like me who recognized plenty of stars from films like the 70’s motorcycle riding Captain America or the unreleased Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four. It felt like a cheesy road trip movie with a gay superhero twist that had some fun moments here and there.
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Robocop Prime Directives: Dark Justice 2001
While the two Robocop sequels aren’t that well known at this point, they did at least get a theatrical release. What’s even lesser known is this Canadian miniseries that takes place ten years after the events of the first movie and moves things away from Detroit to Delta City, and yet continues to have multiple flashbacks from Murphy’s time as a police officer in Detroit. This is the first of those movies and while it’s not quite the TV series or cartoon which made Robocop much more family friendly, this returns to the violent and satiric tone of the first film, although with much less talent behind the writing, acting, and special effects. It’s an interesting concept, but very little was done with it to make things more interesting than a low budget, TV movie.
Darkman 3: Die Darkman Die 1996
After watching the second Darkman movie, I didn’t exactly have high hopes for the third entry in the franchise and while most of it faced the same mediocrity as the second movie, it went a few places in the second half that I didn’t quite expect and surprisingly enjoyed. What helped the most was that this film didn’t try and just re-do what the first film did with a slightly different premise, but it actually took the character in a new-but-believable direction. There are still plenty of mistakes along the way, but it was a worthy attempt.
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