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.

Movie Review: Batman and Harley Quinn (2017)

I absolutely love DC animation. Whether it is their direct-to-video movies or their shows, the DC animated stuff will always have a place in my heart. But sometimes even great people make mistakes.

Ladies and gents… “Batman and Harley Quinn”.

When plant-based villains Poison Ivy (Paget Brewster) and the Floronic Man (Kevin Michael Richardson) team up to try to turn everything into plants, Batman (Kevin Conroy) and Nightwing (Loren Lester) are forced to team up with Harley Quinn (Melissa Rauch) to try and stop the shrubby scoundrels. And while this could be a fun plot on paper, in execution it is quite bad. It’s awkward and is filled with weird tonal shifts. For the most part it is meant as a screwball comedy (which doesn’t work), but then at times it tries to be a serious and dramatic continuation of “Batman: The Animated Series” (hence the weird tonal shifts). And none of it works. Not on their own, and not together. It’s all awkward, dull, and not fun. It’s a bad plot.

The characters are for the most part portrayed as they should be and on a purely surface level work just fine. But in the long run they feel off. And that has nothing to do with the actors, but more with the writing. Kevin Conroy of course does an excellent job voicing Batman (because he IS Batman). He works for the most part, because he’s portrayed as Batman should, but then there are moments that feel weirdly out of character. Melissa Rauch voices Harley Quinn in this, and her general delivery is good, she makes a fine Harley Quinn. Problem is that the lines she’s given are awful and cringe-worthy. They try to make her funny and charming and relatable, but she just comes off as annoying. Loren Lester does a good job as Nightwing, being the more lighthearted side of the Batfamily coin. But like with Harley (and the other characters in this movie), the writing for him is foten bad and quite off. Paget Brewster as Posion Ivy, she was good, but writing was off. Kevin Michael Richardson was of course great as Floronic Man, but his writing was quite off (you notice a pattern here?). And that’s really the theme here. Good performances, bad writing.

The score for the movie was composed by Michael McCuistion, Lolita Ritmanis, and Kristopher Carter. And it was… okay. While some tracks here were okay and even catchy, they often felt off. They clearly wanted to emulate the old animated “Batman” series with most things here, but the score here never really captured that. It just felt off. Though I have to admit, hearing voice actor Rob Paulsen sing “Don’t Pull Your Love” was quite fun. Weird, but fun.

This movie was directed by DC animation veteran Sam Liu, and meeeeeeh. The animation here looks kind of bad. It looks cheap(er than usual) and often looks stiff and awkward. It also lacks a lot of the detail from the old animated series. If you’re going to emulate that old style, make sure you get a lot of the detail and nuance that was featured in that art style. This looks kind of bad. Action scenes flow okay though, looking fine. And let’s talk about the humor since this is intended in large part as a comedy… it’s so unfunny. I think I chuckled at one point, but other than that I didn’t laugh at all. It was cringey and awkward and bad. Christ…

This movie hasn’t been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 57% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,0/10.

Like I said in the beginning, I love DC animation… But “Batman and Harley Quinn” is bad, and I can’t really justify any aspect of it. It has a bad plot, meh characters, good performances, okay music, meh animation/direction, and unfunny humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Batman and Harley Quinn” is a 4,22/10. So yeah, it’s bad. Skip it.

My review of “Batman and Harley Quinn” is now done.

Having to say bad things about DC animation hurts my soul.

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.

Movie Review: Batman: The Killing Joke (2016)

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I am one of those people that has a soft spot for DC’s animated movies. I’m not saying that I think all of them are great, but when a new one is announced I get a little excited. And this year we officially got one announced that is based on one of the most beloved graphic novels of all time. So… how is this adaptation? Well, I can’t speak for what you think… but we can get into the review and find out what I think. So let’s go!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Batman: The Killing Joke”.

The Joker (Mark Hamill) has once again escaped from Arkham Asylum, this time with a plan to terrorize the Gordon family to prove a certain point. So it’s up to Batman (Kevin Conroy) to find him and bring him to justice. And the stuff we get here is really solid. It is a dramatic, tense, and almsot disturbing plot where we get to see Joker do these horrible things, while also giving us a glimpse into his past. And all that stuff is great. However, the plot-based stuff isn’t 100% perfect. There’s a 30 minute period at the beginning of the film that has nothing to do with the actual “Killing Joke” stuff, instead having some plot focusing on Batman and Batgirl (Tara Strong) chasing some criminals. I understand what they tried to do here, adding some runtime to the movie while also trying to give us more of a reason to care about Batgirl. But I never felt that it really added anything worthwhile to the plot, instead just adding 30 minutes of average(ish) entertainment. Seriously, you can skip the first 30 minutes of the movie and not miss a single important thing. So the “Killing Joke” stuff is great, but it takes a while to get there.

The characters featured in this movie are ones that all know and love… except for like several in that opening 30 minutes. But the ones we came to see, they are very well represented. Kevin Conroy once again did the voice of Batman (I don’t think he will ever quit, #SteadyPaycheck). And really, I don’t have to say anything. He is as phenomenal as ever, he really is the Batman. Mark Hamill as the Joker… Yeah, he’s fuckin’ masterful. Let me put it like this: Nicholson and Ledger were both really great as the character, but Mark Hamill really is THE JOKER. His voice is iconic and simply perfect for the character (#HesMyJoker). We also got Tara Strong, returning to her role as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl. And she was really good. We also got Ray Wise (not a returning Bat-cast member) as Commissioner Jim Gordon. And he was really good in the role. Not as good as Gary Oldman or even Jonathan Banks, but still really good. Then the rest of the supporting cast was rounded out by a lot of other voice actors. All of them are very talented, but I don’t want to sit here and write all of them down here. But let it be known that they did a great job!

The score for the movie was composed by Lolita Ritmanis, Michael McCuistion, and Kristopher Carter. And it is a very exciting and very well composed score, perfectly fitting this type of action movie. I will also mention that there is an actual song in there too (as in a song with lyrics) and it is pretty amazing. And the scene where it’s featured is nothing short of a masterpiece.

DC animation regular Sam Liu stands as director of this movie, and I’d say it is for the most part a well directed movie. Scenes play out at a decent pace. However… the animation leaves a little bit to be desired. And I know that can be the thing with these DC animated movies, but you’d think they’d up the ante a bit with such an iconic story combined with the fact that this played in theaters. But here’s also the thing: Some scenes look great, with a decent amount of detail in them and overall really good flow of animation. But then some bits look kind of bad. Some movements look stiff and kind of jittery.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 48% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even have a score. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

Guys, in the end, “Batman: The Killing Joke” disappointed me a bit. Is it as bad as some say? No. But it’s also not among the best DC animated features. It as a good plot, good characters, great voice acting, really good music, and some decent animation. howeer it is bogged down a bit by those first 30 minutes and the animation being as inconsistent as I mentioned. Time for my final score. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! My final score for “Batman: The Killing Joke” is an 8,51/10. So it is flawed, but I think that it can still be worth buying.
Worth buying

My review of “Batman: The Killing Joke” is now completed.

And for those asking: No, I have not read the graphic novel. I know, shame on me!

Cartoon/Movie Review: Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014)

Batman Assault On Arkham Wallpapers

 

You may not know this, but I am a big fan of Batman (rhyming is fun). Whether it is the animated series, Christopher Nolan’s movies, the “Arkham” games or any of the original animated movies (Under the Red Hood, Year One, etc.). Sure, “Batman & Robin” was a big fucking miss and I am not a fan of “Batman: The Brave and the Bold”…but there are a lot of great Batman things. And you’re probably asking about my thoughts on the comics. Well the thing is, comics aren’t that big in Sweden and therefore they are incredibly difficult to get. But enough about that! Today we are taking a look at an animated Batman movie that is set within the “Arkham” timeline/universe.

Men and women, prepare yourselves…for this is “Batman: Assault on Arkham”!

The fun thing is, this Batman movie doesn’t use Batman (Kevin Conroy) as the main character really. He is only put in a sort of side story about him trying to find a bomb planted somewhere in Gotham by the Joker (Troy Baker). Instead this movie focuses more on a special group of criminals put together by the established Batman character Amanda Waller (CCH Pounder). This group is only consisting of big and dangerous criminals who are so called “expendable” (call Sylvester Stallone). This group is “The Suicide Squad”. Consisting of Deadshot (Neal McDonough), Harley Quinn (Hynden Walch), King Shark (John DiMaggio), Black Spider (Giancarlo Esposito), Killer Frost (Jennifer Hale) and Captain Boomerang (Christian Lanz, also fucking seriously?). What is their mission exactly? To break into Arkham Asylum to find a sort computer-chip-thing that is in the Riddler’s (Matthew Gray Gubler) cane. Also, they are gonna kill Riddler. And then twist and turns and action and Batman coming in to do shit. While the premise is kind of interesting, we know there are a bunch of things we can’t ignore that are kind of obvious. Especially since this movie is set between “Batman: Arkham Origins” and “Batman: Arkham Asylum”. But even though a few elements of the story were fairly predictable, I still had a hell of a great time with the storyline of “Assault on Arkham”. This movie had a plot that was really well executed…and within only 75 minutes. That’s right, this movie is THAT short. So yeah, really good story.

The characters are very fleshed out for being confined to a 75 minute time space. But still, if you are not familiar with the Batman mythos, you might get confused with who some of these are. For example, I had no fucking clue who “King Shark” or “Captain Boomerang” (Again, fucking seriously?) were before I watched this. But I still enjoyed watching them on screen, they had good chemistry and their writing was excellent as well.

The music was what you’d expect…epic and awesome. It was something you’d expect from a Batman movie. I found it to be perfect for the action scenes and othe scenes in this movie. So music was kinda easy to explain, but how is the rest of the sound design. I know I usually address this in my movie reviews, but since this is an animated feature, it might be good to cover. The use of sound effects and placement of said effects (how the sound travels and changes depending on where on the screen it is) was honestly really well done. The use of the sound was used in such a way where it did sound pretty realistic (as realistic as you can get an animated Batman film). And of course…the voice acting. The voice acting was no surprise to me. I expected greatness…and I got greatness. That is never really a problem in DC animated films. And it was fun hearing a few of the actors from the “Arkham” games return as their respective characters (Kevin Conroy, Troy Baker and Nolan North who I forgot to address earlier even though he voiced Penguin). But in general, the voice acting was excellent. I was especially pleased with Neal McDonough as Deadshot, he really brought life to the character. I was also happily surprised with Matthew Gray Gubler as Riddler…who knew he could do justice to the classic character. In general, everything involving sound was great.

Next up is animation, and boy is it good. Not saying it is as great as in maybe “Attack on Titan”, but it is still good. Again, something that is never a problem with DC animated features. It is nice to look at, the animators really gave this movie life…especially during the fight scenes.

I have nothing more to say here. And I usually have something to say in my “General stuff” area. This comes as a shock to me.

Since this movie just came out, it has barely gotten any reception. But there is a little in fact. As of the time of this review the movie has 7,4/10 based on 315 votes on imdb.com. And that’s about it. If you want more reviews, look up some yourself.

I have given this movie some positive feedback. And now for my score! My final score for “Batman: Assault on Arkham” that Batman beat out of me is a 9,54/10. It is worth picking up when it comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray. It just had a digital release. The physical release of the movie is set for 11th of august 2014. I suggest you pick it up. Oh yeah, almost forgot the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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“Batman: Assault on Arkham” is now reviewed.

Thank god the assault was only on Arkham Asylum and not…OH GOD! DEADSHOT! NOOOO!