Movie Review: The Death of Superman (2018)

One of the most recurring things on this here blog (except for lame jokes and personal opinions) is my constant support of animated movies based on DC Comics. And while it’s been a while since my last post on one, my adoration for the franchise hasn’t faded in the slightest. So seeing as this will be my last review of the year, we might as well make it one about this recurring theme.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Death of Superman”.

When a mysterious new threat arrives on earth, Superman (Jerry O’Connell), as well as the other Justice League members), as to step up to stop it before it can destroy us all. I thought the plot was good here. It’s straightforward, yet somewhat nuanced. I wouldn’t call it the deepest plot in this franchise, but there’s enough little details to keep it from just being another “Let’s beat up the bad guy plot”. It’s about Supes coming to terms with his relationship with Lois (Rebecca Romijn) and if he should come out of the closet, in regards to his dual identity. And the stuff around this new threat (who we all know is Doomsday, but I digress) has a natural sense of escalation that also works well enough for the plot.

The characters in this are fine, they are all enjoyable and work pretty well in the story. Jerry O’Connell reprises his role as Clark Kent/Superman. He’s charming, he’s likable, and he’s just generally a good guy (as Superman should be), while still struggling with some minor conflicts while also having to deal with the bigger conflict of a giant murder-alien from who knows where. And it made me care about him a bit more. And O’Connell does a really good job voicing him. Rebecca Romijn plays Lois Lane, the tough, but believable reporter who seems to have some relationship issues with Clark. And I think she’s a pretty interesting character here. And Romijn does a really good job voicing her. Next we have Rainn Wilson (yes, really) as Lex Luthor (I’m serious), the brilliant businessman with a great intellect, but a bit of an arrogance problem. Not saying much more there, you know who Lex is. But what I will say is that Wilson is really good in the role. Then we get supporting performances from people like Rosario Dawson, Nathan Fillion, Jason O’Mara, Christopher Gorham, Shemar Moore, Matt Lanter, Nyambi Nyambi, Rocky Carroll, Patrick Fabian, Paul Eiding, Jennifer Hale, Charles Halford, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As with the majority of these DC animated features, the score was composed by Frederik Wiedmann, and as per usual, it is pretty great. It is grandiose, it is epic, but it is also emotional and intimate, creating a sound that perfectly complements the life of Clark Kent. This guy never disappoints.

The movie was directed by Jake Castorena and DC animation veteran Sam Liu. And the direction here is fine, there is a decent flow to the scenes, nothing feels too rushed or too slow. And the animation here is pretty good. In quiet dialog-driven scenes, it looks fine, not much to write home about. But it’s in the action scenes where the animation comes to life and shows just how talented the people working on these movies are. These are fast, brutal, and at one point even kinda breathtaking. So yeah, the animation here is good.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

While not my favorite movie in this current line of DC animated movies, “The Death of Superman” is still a highly enjoyable and somewhat touching superhero romp. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing/animation. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Death of Superman” is an 8,80/10. So it’s definitely worth buying.

My review of “The Death of Superman” is now completed.

And that’s that for 2018. See ya next year.

Movie Review: Justice League vs. Teen Titans (2016)

It feels good to be back. Sure, it wasn’t long ago since my last post, but I haven’t done a normal review since like Wednesday last week. And what do you know, this review is of another DC animated movie… one of those things I always talk about here. So let’s get into it!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Justice League vs. Teen Titans”.

After Robin (Stuart Allan) does something really dangerous during a mission with the Justice League, he gets sent to train with the Teen Titans to learn how to be part of a team. And soon the Titans have to truly prove themselves when the dangerous demon Trigon (Jon Bernthal) emerges to destroy the world. So now we have our plot. And I have to start out with mentioning that the title is quite misleading. Yes, there is a part of this movie that features the Justice League and the Teen Titans being at odds, but it’s quite a brief sequence. Misleading title aside, I thought this was a good plot. The main focus on this plot lies in Robin trying to be part of the team and also Raven (Taissa Farmiga) struggling with her own demons. And it’s actually pretty engaging. Now, there is a scene that doesn’t have much purpose here and actually feels both out of place and like it slows the pacing down a bit. But it doesn’t ruin the overall experience for me, and I do still think this is a really good plot.

The characters here are fun, cool, interesting, and entertaining. Stuart Allan reprises his role as Damien Wayne/Robin from the previous DC animated movies, and Damien is still a bit of a brat, but not to an annoying length. He is actually decently compelling. And Allan is great in the role. Taissa Farmiga plays Raven, the closed-off and mysterious young woman with dark magical powers. And while Farmiga seems like she might be a bit bored at first, you can quickly gather that she’s just pulling off the quiet, closed-off style of Raven quite well. So yeah, she’s good. Then we have Kari Wahlgren as Starfire, the leader of the Titans. She’s tough, slightly naive, brave, and kind. And Wahlgren is great in the role. Then we have Jake T. Austin as Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle, a young man with some strange alien tech fused to his spine. He’s funny, he’s tough, and he’s just really interesting. And Austin does a really good job in the role. Then we have Brandon Soo Hoo as Garfield Logan/Beast Boy, a young man with the ability to transform into a whole bunch of animals. He’s used mainly for funny moments and cool action beats throughout, but I think that also works well for the character. And Brandon Soo Hoo is good in the role. Then we have Jon Bernthal as Trigon, the demonic antagonist of the movie. He doesn’t talk too much in the movie, and he does have some modifications to his voice. But you can still hear that it is Bernthal, and he is intimidating in the role. Then we have Jason O’Mara, Rosario Dawson, Jerry O’Connell, Shemar Moore, Christopher Gorham, and Sean Maher reprising their roles from previous animated movies (to a more supporting capacity), and they all do very well in their roles. Overall, this is a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by DC animation regular Frederik Wiedmann. And once again he has composed a score that is fun, dramatic, interesting, and just generally exciting. It works quite well for the movie, often elevating certain scenes. There are also a couple of licensed tracks used in a couple scenes in the movie, and they work fine I guess.

This movie was directed by Sam Liu, and he did a really good job here. His direction here is fast and energized without sacrificing any of the smaller, more quiet moments. And the animation in general here looks great (for such a small budget), with it being very fluent and just overall good looking. And the action scenes are a lot of fun. They’re fast, badass, fun, cool, and quit epic. There’s also a decent amount of humor in this movie, and for the most part it landed.

There’s barely any data on the sites I usually use for this. On Rotten Tomatoes it exists but has no rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist at all. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

Misleading title aside, “Justice League vs. Teen Titans” is a damn good DC animated movie. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing/animation/humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Justice League vs. Teen Titans” is a 9,64/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Justice League vs. Teen Titans” is now completed.

Why not just call it “Teen Titans: Terror of Trigon”? Would’ve made more sense.

Series Review: Harper’s Island (2009)

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So now we are taking the next step in the Month of Spooks. And by next step I of course mean “yeah, here’s a new post for you or whatever”. And before we get into it, I just wanna mention something. I remember that there was a lot of hype when this show came out/was airing, at least here in Sweden, so that’s kind of why I decided to do it here. Anyhow, backstory over… time to review.

Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to… “Harper’s Island”.

Harper’s Island, a small island located not too far from Seattle. The island was the location where a series of gruesome murders happened seven years prior to the start of the series. Henry (Christopher Gorham) and Trish (Katie Cassidy), two attractive, young people, in love and about now about to get married on this island, feeling that it’s safe. However, weird stuff starts happening on the island. People start disappearing and even dying. And I’m not gonna say more than that, because I want my reviews to be as spoiler-free as possible. But yeah, now we have a bit of an Agatha Christie style mystery that also takes influence from various horror flicks. The way I’d describe the story is as a combination of “And Then There Were None” and “Friday the 13th”. Which actually is a pretty cool idea for a show. However, the plot doesn’t feel as engaging as that… at least not at first. The first 4-5 episodes are a bit meh, not bad just… meh. Then from episode 6 and forward we get a pretty suspenseful and surprisingly engaging show. I mean, there are still some dumb moments every now and then throughout the good episodes, but they are at least much more interesting in terms of plot. We get some decent twists through those episodes as well which add to the mystery, which I actually enjoyed. And I actually didn’t see a good amount of them coming, which I applaud. Yeah, interesting idea that takes a while to become truly good/engaging.

The characters in the show are pretty much walking clichés. Or at least they are at first. But as the show goes on and more and more shit starts going down, they really begin developing as characters. I really started caring about the people I had no real interest in at the start. And the acting in the show was really good as well. I mean, with people like Christopher Gorham, Katie Cassidy, Elaine Cassidy (no relation to Katie), Harry Hamlin, and Jim Beaver, the acting would of course be really good. Not the best ever, but definitely good.

The music for the show was composed by David Lawrence, and while some bits take cues from typcial horror sounds, the overall score helps build tension in the show and actually sounds really good overall. There are also a decent amount of licensed tracks in the show as well, most of them being modern pop-rock stuff that I never cared much for. The tracks never detracted from the show, but I wasn’t a huge fan of them either. And I swear, during a scene in a bar very early on in the show I swear I could hear a cheap knock-off of AC/DC’s “Back in Black”. I promise, there were several cues in that background music that were so close to “Back in Black” without being “Back in Black”. I don’t know, it’s just weird.

Not gonna lie, this show has a surprising amount of graphic/brutal imagery for a show that ran on CBS. Seriously, you get to see some decently gnarly stuff in this show. Also, when the show finally decides to give us some legitimately tense sequences, it does. There are scenes from episodes 6 and forward (the good episodes) that really gives us some pretty tense moments. I was really feeling the suspense in those scenes and I was really surprised at that because the first few episodes are pretty soapy and mediocre, with the occasional bit of gnarly imagery. Speaking of imagery, one fun thing I noticed was that in an episode we get a good look at a bottle of scotch, labeled “Robert McLachlan”. If you¨pay attention when the credits roll early on in the episodes, you will see that Robert McLachlan is the show’s cinematographer… so that’s a pretty fun easter egg. There are also plenty of scenes that pay homage to classic horror movies, so keep an eye out for those. I’ll also warn you, the dialog in the show is pretty amateurish… so prepare to not be impressed by that.

This show has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 65% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 63/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Harper’s Island” is by no means a perfect show. But it is definitely very entertaining. IT has a pretty good plot, pretty good characters, really good acting, good music, good directing, and some really tense sequences. However it is dragged down a bit by those mediocre first few episodes and from some mediocre dialog. Time for my final score. BOO! My final score for “Harper’s Island” is an 8,45/10. So while quite a bit from perfect, it’s still worth watching.
worth-a-watch

My review of “Harper’s Island” is now completed.

A neat little package if you want some chills a cold fall evening.

 

Cartoon/Movie Review: Justice League: War (2014)

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I love superhero movies. Both live action and animation. I mean, one of my favorite superhero movies is the animated movie “Batman: Under the Red Hood”. So when a new animated superhero movie gets released I immediately get a little excited. Especially if it’s DC… because they have a good track record when it comes to animated movies. So now I finally got to watch one of their latest animated movies. Plus, I needed a small break in the whole “F&F” thing.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Justice League: War”.

So this is basically a reboot of the entire franchise. The Justice League hasn’t been founded yet. But in the movie we see Batman (Jason O’Mara), Superman (Alan Tudyk), The Flash (Christopher Gorham), Green Lantern (Justin Kirk), Wonder Woman (Michelle Monaghan), Cyborg (Shemar Moore) and Shazam (Sean Astin) teaming up to take out the evil Darkseid (Steve Blum) who is invading planet earth with his army of whatever the hell they are. And seeing that was really entertaining. I just like seeing all these characters come together and kick ass. One of the biggest flaws however is that the movie is only 80 minutes long and therefore couldn’t evolve a great narrative. Believe me when I say that the story was fun, but it felt really rushed when they tried to cram it into an 80 minute movie.

The characters were all pretty fun. They were all pretty well-written and got decent time split between them. Except for Flash, I wish he had gotten a bit more time (Sidenote: That is mostly because I love the character of The Flash). There isn’t much more I can say here when it comes to the characters in general. They were enjoyable, that’s it.

The score for the movie by composer Kevin Kliesch was really good. It really helped sell the action scenes and it helped set the fast-paced and exhilarating mood. It was fast, big and cool. Not much more to say here. And the voice cast of the movie was pretty stellar as usual. Every time a new DC animated movie comes out I’m always curious to hear how different actors portray different characters. And the cast was pretty great in this movie. Jason O’Mara has voiced Batman in other projects before and he nails it. Alan Tudyk as Superman is also great. You know to be fair, every cast member was great in the movie. No one was weak. Sure, it wasn’t exactly as great as maybe some earlier animated DC movies, but it was still really good.

The animation in the movie was really good, but that is something I have come to expect from these movies. They all look good when it comes to the animation. The only problem I had with it was a few facial animations/details on Flash and occasionally on Shazam. Sometimes it looked kinda like a not very good drawing. But most times the animation was as great as other previous movies.

I was surprsied at how much humor there was in this movie and also how good it actually was. Not that it was like the best humor ever, but it was still really funny and really well-written. I got nothing else here.

I couldn’t find much about reception for this movie on my usual sites. I could only really find on imdb.com  where it has a 7,2/10.

“Justice League: War” is a pretty enjoyable action movie and a welcome addition to the DC animated movie library. Even though the story feels rushed because of the short runtime, it still had a decent story, really good animation, a really score, great action, really good humor and a great voice cast. Time for my final score. SHAZAM! My final score for “Justice League: War” is an 8,84/10. It is definitely worth buying.
Worth buying

Review of “Justice League: War” is completed.

SHAZAM!