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 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 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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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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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.
Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroes 2013
Wonder Women is more or less a documentary about the history of Wonder Woman and her effect on feminism in America. It’s interesting how closely Wonder Woman has been connected to the feminist movement throughout the years. The documentary is presented as a series of interviews with both figures connected with the Wonder Woman character, like comic writer Gail Simone and actress Lynda Carter, as well as figures prominent in the feminist movement like Gloria Steinem and the lead singer of Bikini Kill. All of the people represented in this doc are interesting to listen to and presented a lot of information I never knew about. And all of it is connected with plenty of artwork from Wonder Woman comics animated in a somewhat motion comic-esque way.
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.
Wonder Woman 2009
I was originally going to start reviewing the Spider-Man movies today, but I decided that I wanted to give myself a couple extra days of leeway to watch the new flick, and since I’ve watched the animated movies for Green Lantern, Superman, and Batman, I thought it was only fair to add the only other DC solo hero to get their own animated movie: Wonder Woman. It was especially a no-brainer because I already own the DVD. As a quick side-note, I should make a list of all the superhero movies I actually own and haven’t reviewed yet at some point, but that’s another day. Wonder Woman is an Amazonian princess with ties to Greek mythology similar to Thor’s connection to Norse mythology, although Wonder Woman is more of an original creation that’s rooted in Greek mythology where Thor is a repurposing of Norse mythology. For my part, I enjoyed it enough to buy it on DVD at some point, though rewatching it now I don’t think it’s as strong as some of the other DC animation. It’s still quite good, but it could easily be better.
Last week I talked about Black Superheroes in movies and there’s not very many of them, and there’s only a couple good ones in there. And I’m getting close to finishing up the movies for February so I thought I should make a plan for what to watch in March. There aren’t any new movies coming out until The Avengers in early May so there’s no help there. I looked it up online and like February is Black History month, I saw that March is Women’s history month. Then I went to my list of movies to look for movies that have a woman in the lead superhero role. I only found 6. Two of them I had already reviewed and they were awful, Supergirl and Catwoman. The next four didn’t seem to be much better, My Super Ex Girlfriend, Elektra, Barb Wire, and Tank Girl. I think I’ve heard mixed reviews on Tank Girl, but the rest are really bad.