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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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Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman 1974

Continuing my month of the more obscure and cult superhero films I’m taking a look at probably the least well known version of a popular superhero going back to the first TV pilot of the Wonder Woman TV show. Most people are familiar with the popular Lynda Carter show from the 70’s, but before they cast Carter they actually shot, filmed, and aired a very different version of the show with actress Cathy Lee Crosby as Diana Prince. And while I haven’t really seen any full episodes of the Carter version aside from a few clips, this felt very different than what I would imagine the later show went on to be. It had much more of a serious tone to it and felt more like a detective show rather than a superhero show. She barely wore the costume, there were no special effects to show off any super powers to speak of, and there was actually quite a bit of death and danger. It was quite fascinating to look back at this version of the character even though it barely resembled anything I knew about Wonder Woman aside from her name and the name of Steve Trevor.
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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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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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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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Justice League: Throne of Atlantis

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis 2015

And right onto the first new release of the year. This seems like it’s one of the first follow ups in the DC Animation home video releases as it almost directly follows last year’s Justice League: War. Even though Son of Batman was also part of DC’s New 52 continuity, that movie felt much more self-contained where this really felt like a sequel, especially when I did revisit War shortly before watching Throne of Atlantis. While Aquaman is often the butt of many jokes, he is actually a popular and powerful member of the Justice League and long since deserving of his own movie. There are a few jokes tossed at the king of the sea’s expense, but for the most part it’s a typical origin story with a very similar tone and feel to War, with a few of the same voice cast returning along with some new and familiar voices like Rosario Dawson who got upgraded from Artemis in the Wonder Woman movie to Wonder Woman herself, and Nathan Fillion returning to voice Green Lantern. I thought it was a decent sequel to War, but if there’s one aspect of superhero movies I have had my fill of, it’s origin stories and this didn’t really do anything different or interesting to set it apart from any of the dozens of other origin stories I’ve seen already.
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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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Superhero Shorts: Wonder Woman

Welcome to another edition of Superhero Shorts, where I feature a superhero themed short film and ask a few questions of its creator. It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long ago since I featured Jesse V. Johnson’s version of Wonder Woman, but this time around Rainfall films with co-owner and director Sam Balcomb shows us his action packed take on Wonder Woman. As usual, you can watch the short below, or you can visit Rainfall film’s official site where it is currently featured on their main page, or you can visit their YouTube channel.
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Superhero Shorts: Wonder Woman trailer

Welcome to another edition of Superhero Shorts, where I feature a superhero themed short film and ask a few questions of its creator. This time I’m talking with Jesse V. Johnson and his Wonder Woman concept trailer. It’s been a long time since Wonder Woman has really made a good live action presence, and he made it look like it could work in a high action concept with actress/singer Nina Bergman. You can watch it below as usual, or you can check out the short at Jesse V. Johnson’s Vimeo page, Nina Bergman’s official website or YouTube channel.

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