Movie Review: Batman Ninja (2018)

I like Batman. I like anime. I like DC animated features (if you didn’t already know that from all the DC animation reviews I’ve done). So hopefully this’ll be something pretty good. Let’s get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Batman Ninja”.

After he tries to stop an experiment by the villainous Gorilla Grodd (Fred Tatasciore), Batman (Roger Craig Smith) finds himself transported to feudal Japan. He soon finds also finds out that multiple of his allies and enemies have been transported there too. So we follow him as he tries to find a way back home, while also having to deal with the villains who infest Japan. So this plot is batshit (pun intended) insane. I’m okay with doing different things with established characters, it can lead to some really cool stuff. And at first I thought the ninja Batman thing sounded kind neat. And at times it is. But the plot has a really weird pace, often feeling very start-stop in it’s approach. When a part of it gains momentum, we cut into the next part, with no natural transition. It’s not a bad plot, as it has some fun ideas to it, but overall it’s kinda messy.

The characters in this I will not rally go into, as they are all just as you know them. There’s established Batman heroes/villains here, and only like one new character. And the already established ones act as you would expect ’em too. Roger Craig Smith plays the caped crusader. It’s his second time in the role after the underrated “Arkham Origins” video game, and I think he’s a great Batman. He does sound a bit like a younger version of Kevin Conroy, and that is just awesome. And the fact that he still makes the role his own is even cooler. So yeah, he’s great. Next up we have Tony Hale as the Joker… yes, really. At first I was unsure about him, as he just sounded like some high-pitched goofball. But as the movie went on something happened. I started enjoying his performance, which starting sounding a bit more sinister and more like the god damn Joker. So yeah… he’s pretty good. Then we have Grey Griffin as Catwoman, doing the same sexy and confident performance she has given the character in other things. And she’s great. Then in other roles we get people like Eric Bauza, Adam Croasdell, Will Friedle, Fred Tatasciore, Tara Strong, Yuri Lowenthal, and Matthew Yang King, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Yugo Kanno and it was good. I like how it blends the typical superhero brass with some more Japanese sounds to create something that gives the movie a more unique feel. Not gonna say that it’s one of the best scores I’ve ever heard, and it’s not one of the most memorable, but it certainly works well for the movie.

The movie was directed by Junpei Mizusaki and I have mixed feelings. The movie takes on a cel-shaded 3D animation style, and I don’t like that style. It looked bad in “Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters”, it looked bad in the trailer for this, and in this finished product it’s a mixed bag. When it’s mostly talking or slow walking or just generally “calm”, it doesn’t look great. It’s a weird style that doesn’t quite work, especially since it is quite jittery. But when we get to the action scenes, it looks kinda cool. Fast-paced fights between characters in this look interesting and they are are fairly enjoyable. Then there’s a scene with a sudden and weird shift in art style that I didn’t like too much. So I’m not sure what to say… Good action, meh everything else? Sure, let’s go with that.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception (based on the limited data I go by). On Rotten Tomatoes it has no critic rating, but the audience score is at 55%. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist at all. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,9/10.

“Batman Ninja” is a fucking weird movie that has a few good things going for it. It has a meh plot, okay characters, really good performances, good music, mixed direction/animation, and good action. Flaws (as previously mentioned) come in the form of a messy plot and the animation being weird. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Batman Ninja” is a 6,45/10. So while very flawed, I’d say that it’s worth renting.

My review of “Batman Ninja” is now completed.

Why do they keep insisting that they should use cel-shaded CGI? Stop it.

Movie Review: Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (2018)

This is exciting. First new DC animated movie of 2018. Even though there have been a few less than stellar ones over the years, I will always be excited for them. Anyway, let’s get on with the review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Batman: Gotham by Gaslight”.

Set in an alternate, Victorian era Gotham city, we follow Bruce Wayne (Bruce Greenwood) as he is stopping crimes in Gotham. And soon he has to find and stop a very dangerous serial killer known simply as… Jack the Ripper. So now we have our steampunk/Victorian era mystery starring Batman. And is this plot any good? Yes and no. On one hand you have this really cool idea of a steampunk Batman chasing after a killer, that’s a really cool idea. The execution here however is kind of average. They never let moments sink in, and I never felt fully invested in what was going on. There is a pretty good twist near the end of the movie that I won’t spoil, but let it be known that aside from that twist and also the overall idea, there isn’t too much about this plot that says “That’s actually really cool”. I wouldn’t call it bad, just kind of… okay.

The characters here do get some moments that make them a bit more interesting, but overall they don’t do too much to make us care too much about them. First up we of course have Bruce Wayne, rich playboy/philanthropist who at night dresses up like  grumpy bat-person and beats up criminals. He’s the same here as in most mediums, they do nothing new aside from the change of era. But I still enjoyed following him as he is decently likable. And Bruce Greenwood (Sidenote: His third time voicing the character) is great in the role. Then we have Selina Kyle, a sexy and charming yet tough woman. In this she’s an actress/entertainer rather than a cat burglar, and the stuff that she gets to do in this movie is pretty interesting. And Jennifer Carpenter does a really good job voicing her. Then we have James Gordon, still the commissioner of Gotham PD, still a very respectable man. They do some interesting stuff with him throughout the plot. Scott Patterson does a good job voicing him. As for the rest of the characters, they do nothing too noteworthy with them, but they work in this I guess. The cast, consisting of people like Anthony Stewart Head, Yuri Lowenthal, Grey DeLisle, John DiMaggio, William Slayers, and more, all do quite well in their roles.

As with most DC animated movies these days, the score was composed by Frederik Wiedmann. And once again he has composed a score that is exciting, tense, emotional, and just overall very fun to listen to throughout the movie. There was a scene in the movie that I only was somewhat invested in because of Wiedmann’s score. Dude’s really talented.

DC animation regular Sam Liu directed this, and I think he did a pretty good job. The animation looks pretty good, the action is pretty well handled and quite fun to watch at times. What I have a problem with most about the animation/direction are the designs of the characters. I haven’t read the comic that this is based on, but looking up panels and pages from this on google makes me think that they kind of missed something here. The characters stand out quite a bit here as they are quite cartoony, compared to some of the darker and more grimy backgrounds. Also, this of course doesn’t hold a candle to Mike Mignola’s art, but they could’ve at least tried a bit more in recreating the comic’s style. Oh well, I guess the animation/direction still works.

This has been decently received (I guess, data’s pretty limited). On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 80% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

“Batman: Gotham by Gaslight” isn’t one of DC animation’s strongest outings, but it’s still an entertaining little adventure. It has an okay plot, okay characters, great performances, great music, and good direction/animation. It is of course dragged down a little bit by a not very engaging plot and some characters not being the most interesting. Time for my final score. *I’m Batman!*. My final score for “Batman: Gotham by Gaslight” is a 7,34/10. So while very flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Batman: Gotham by Gaslight” is now completed.

Nananananananana Steampunk!

Movie Review: Batman vs. Robin (2015)

Hi. I’m Markus. I like DC animated movies. And now I’m gonna talk about one. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Batman vs. Robin”.

It’s been a while since Batman (Jason O’Mara) found out that he has a mildly homicidal son (Stuart Allan), and he’s having some trouble trying to raise him while also trying to save Gotham. And not only does he have trouble with his son, but his life is made even more difficult when a mysterious organization called The Court of Owls comes to town to cause trouble. So now we have our Batman story. And I’m not gonna lie, I thought that the story was really good. For the most part it’s a drama focusing on the struggling relationship between Bruce and Damien, and I found myself quite engaged in that stuff as the plot went along. I was a bit afraid that the Court of Owls part of the plot would make it all feel overstuffed or unfocused, but it was integrated into the plot really well, even being woven into the family drama part quite well. Yeah, this is a really solid plot.

What I like about (most of) the characters here is that the plot made them interesting and worth caring about. Jason O’Mara of course returns as Batman and he still kills it as the voice of our favorite Nocturnal Rodent Person. Just like in “Son of Batman”, Stuart Allan voices Damien Wayne, the dangerous son of Bruce Wayne. And while Damien could be a bit of mixed bag in the other movie, I really liked him in this. He’s still a bit of a brat, but they’ve done enough to make him feel a bit more layered. And Stuart Allan is really good as Damien. Then we have Sean Maher who returns as Nightwing, and he’s still a lot of fun compared to the moody Bruce. But he’s not just there for laughs as he plays a vital part in it. And Maher is great as Nightwing. David McCallum returns as Alfred, and he’s still the butler that we all know and love. But seriously, this Alfred is great and McCallum is great as the voice. Then we have Jeremy Sisto (who once voice Batman) as Talon, the Court of Owls member get to know the most throughout the movie. He’s a fairly interesting character that we get to learn some interesting stuff about. And Sisto is really good in the role. And the final one I want to mention is that we get Kevin Conroy (motherfucking Batman) in a flashback as Thomas Wayne. If that isn’t an awesome casting, then I don’t know what is. Anyway, I just wanted to mention that. Oh, and Weird Al Yankovic voices The Dollmaker, and I didn’t recognize his voice at all (yeah, he’s great). Overall, this is a great cast.

The score for the movie was composed by DC animation regular Frederik Wiedmann who once again gave us a really solid score. Sure, some tracks are your typical bombastic, heroic, action-y tunes that just sort of pass through. But then we have a couple of other tracks that take a more dramatic approach to make an attempt at elevating the emotion of certain scenes, and for the most part he succeeds pretty well. There’s also one track (can’t find it) heard early on that sounds like something right out of a horror movie, and it’s awesome. So yeah, the score is great.

The movie was directed by Jay Oliva and his directing here has a lot of energy to it, but he still let’s the quieter moments sink in a bit too. Which is probably why this is 80 minutes, compared to the usual 75. As for the animation, it’s good. Not the best that DC has pumped out, but it still looks pretty good. It especially comes alive during the action scenes where movement is fast, fluid, and just looks really cool. And the action here is overall a lot of fun.

This movie barely has any data on my usual sites. But on Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating (based on only 5 reviews). On Metacritic it doesn’t exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

My expectation weren’t the highest for “Batman vs. Robin”, but I can happily say that it is a really good entry in the DC animated movie universe. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing/animation. Time for my final score. *I’m Batman*. My final score for “Batman vs. Robin” is a 9,55/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Batman vs. Robin” is now completed.

Batman as Batman’s dad… clever.

Series Review: Samurai Jack – Season 5 (2017)

I know, I know, it’s a bit weird that I’m giving you a review of the fifth season of a show without having given you reviews of the other seasons. Well, truth be told, I just didn’t feel like going back and reviewing each and every season of this show, mainly because I’m sure that all of them would look almost identical. But long story short, “Samurai Jack” season 1 – 4, they’re great and you should watch them. Sounds good? Awesome, let’s get into the review.

Ladies and gentlemen, he’s got to get back, back to the past… “Samurai Jack”!

I guess I should at least give some backstory for the overall series so anyone that hasn’t watched it has some idea what this is all about. Long ago in a distant land, a shapeshifting master of darkness named Aku unleashed an unspeakable evil, but then a Samurai warrior wielding a magic sword stepped forth to oppose him. However, before the final blow could be struck, Aku tore open a portal in time and flung the Samurai into the future, where Aku’s evil is law. So now the Samurai seeks to return to the past and undo the future that is Aku. Or to simplify, evil demon fucks shit up, Samurai fights demon, demon throws Samurai into the future, Samurai tries to find a way to go back in time. We good? Good. Now onto season 5.
Set 50 years after the original run, we follow the Samurai (Phil LaMarr) who wanders around helping various people/creatures out. However, it’s not as easy as it used to be. For one, he has lost his magic sword which is the only thing that could destroy Aku (Greg Baldwin). He also feels a lot of guilt because he hasn’t been able to travel back in time to save his family/land, which weighs heavy on his mind. And a new threat has arrived in the form of the seven daughters of Aku, a group of young women who have only goal in mind… KILL THE SAMURAI! there are a lot of moving parts here, which can turn out poorly. So how does this fifth and final season of “Samurai Jack” handle it? Pretty fucking well to be honest. The other seasons were very episodic, never really having any seasonal arc, instead just focusing on individual adventures in each episode. So this season having an overarching plot feels quite refreshing. The plot here brings us not only a fun sci-fi/fantasy adventure, but also an interesting and dramatic story about mortality and hope. There’s a good amount of really solid drama, and I’d say that it wraps the series up in a satisfactory way.

The characters here are fun, colorful, unique, and very interesting. Jack (the Samurai) has always been an interesting character, showing that he’s a good-hearted and heroic man who has shown great determination, not only in his quest to find a portal back home, but also in the situations when he’s helped characters out. And adding the guilt he feels in this season over his “failure” makes him even more compelling, and Phil LaMarr is great in the role. Aku is one of the most interesting villains from any show ever. Not only is her a big and scary master of darkness, but he’s also funny. They give the villain an actual personality that I find entertaining, compared to a lot of generically evil baddies out there. In the original run he was voiced by Mako (R.I.P.) but he unfortunately passed away about 10 years ago. So instead we have Greg Baldwin filling in for him, and I think he does a great job. Then we also get a lot of great supporting characters/performances in here from people like Tara Strong, John DiMaggio, Grey DeLisle, Tom Kenny, and even Keegan-Michael Key in one episode.

The score for the season was composed by Tyler Bates and it was pretty damn good. You can tell that he’s taken inspiration from a lot of different styles when creating the various pieces heard throughout the show. And the score is tense, exciting, dramatic, emotional, fun, and just overall fit the show very well.

The show was created by Genndy Tartakovsky and what he created here is fantastic. An animated series taking influences from all kinds of places. From the cinematic style seen in movies, to minimalist art pieces, this show takes a lot of elements from various things and creates a very unique style. And since this is an animated series, let’s talk about the animation. It is absolutely gorgeous. The lack of outlines on characters gives the show a very fluid look despite having a lot of sharp edges. But there are some truly stunning images in this season, my jaw was dropped several times throughout. One thing I also want to mention is that there’s blood in this season. In the first four, there was some violence, but no real blood (damn you, PG!). But here, since it aired on Adult Swim, there’s blood… a good amount of it. It worked in this series, I just thought it would be worth mentioning considering it’s… family-friendly origins. Also, this show is really funny, plenty of funny comedy here, and none of it feels out of place.

This show/season has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating (wow!). On Metacritic it has a score of 94/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,5/10 and is ranked #207 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

“Samurai Jack” season 5 is a great return for this beloved cartoon and it’s a perfect way to properly wrap up the show. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and fantastic animation. Time for my final score. *Sheaths sword*. My final score for “Samurai Jack” season 5 is a 9,88/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Samurai Jack” season 5 is now completed.

As someone that grew up with the series, it makes me happy that it finally got a proper ending… though it’s also a little sad.

Movie Review: Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013)

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I’ve made my love for DC’s animated movies very clear several times on my blog, so I’m not gonna ramble on anymore about that on this post. So let’s just get into the review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox”.

Barry Allen (Justin Chambers) wakes up one day to find that everything is different from what he’s used to. His mother’s alive and he no longer has his powers. So he then teams up with a very different Batman (Kevin McKidd) to try to get everything back to normal. And with that said, I do think that the plot here is surprisingly good. Sure, parts can feel a little bit rushed at times because of the 75 minute runtime, but it’s still a really interesting premise that was kept me interested and entertained for all of those minutes.

The characters here are all interesting and entertaining in some way. Justin Chambers does a good job as Barry Allen/Flash. I thought C. Thomas Howell was great as Professor Zoom, he really was the perfect mix of menacing and cocky. Kevin McKidd was great as the flashpoint version of Batman, perfectly playing this very angry individual who also happens to be a little bit of a dick. Then we get a bunch of other really good vocal performances from people like Michael B. Jordan, Steve Blum, Cary Elwes, Nathan Fillion, Danny Huston, and a bunch of others.

The score for the movie was composed by Frederik Weidmann and it was pretty damn good. It’s a really exciting and even at times dramatic score that perfectly works to the movie’s advantage. Yeah, it’s kind of awesome.

So how is the animation in this animated movie? Well, since this was a direct-to-DVD animation I have to judge it a little differently than any big Disney animations we seee in theaters. But I do overall think the animation was really good. Especially during the action scenes, they looked really good and were loads of fun to watch.

Since this is a DC animated movie, it barely exists on the sites I tend to use here. But on Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10.

“Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox” is another great animated movie from DC. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great animation/action (for this kind of movie). Time for my final score. *ZOOM*. My final score for “Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox” is a 9,88/10. So it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox” is now completed.

Makes you wonder what certain characters that we didn’t see would be up to in the flashpoint timeline.