Movie Review: Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (2020)

If you’ve followed my blog for an extended amount of time, then you’re probably aware that I have a certain fondness for animated movies based on DC superhero comics. I tend to watch them all, and review a lot of them. And today we’re doing just that. So here we go!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Justice League Dark: Apokolips War”!

After the Justice League fails to defeat the alien despot Darkseid (Tony Todd), the world turns into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. And with the League basically gone at this point, it’s up to a ragtag gang of remaining heroes and villains to team up to make one final attempt at stopping the alien dictator. So this is basically the big, “everything looks dire” finale to this specific universe of animated films. And you can really feel that the crew of this movie are taking a big swing at giving us an emotionally satisfying finale to this universe that they’ve kept going since 2014. And I think they succeeded quite well. For only having a 90 minute runtime, they manage to get a lot of stuff in there without making any of it feel forced. As the title implies, we get to see a little more of the Dark League, especially since John Constantine (Matt Ryan) more or less acts as the main character here. We get the Suicide Squad involved, we get payoffs from the Teen Titans stuff from other movies. They somehow manage to involve payoffs from pretty much all branches of this movie universe, and it all works marvelously… for me as a fan who’s followed these films for years, at least. I felt satisfied with this wrap-up. It’s dark, it’s exciting, it’s fun, and it even got me a little emotional. It’s just a solid narrative.

The characters in this are colorful, fun, and surprisingly nuanced. We both get to see the personalities we’ve come to know (and mostly love) over the years as they are, but we also get to see a surprising amount of nuance and character development throughout that really made me care for them all much more. And since this is the big finale, they bring in the big guns on the cast. A lot of recognizable names, and all giving top notch voice performances. Matt Ryan, Jason O’Mara, Roger Cross, Tony Todd, Camilla Luddington, Jerry O’Connell, Taissa Farmiga, Stuart Allan, Ray Chase,Liam McIntyre, Rainn Wilson, and more all deliver their talents wonderfully.

As with a lot of the previous DC animated movies, the score for this one was composed by Frederik Wiedmann. And as per usual he knocked it out of the park. Of course he gives us the familiar superhero brass, but he also gives us a fair bit of somber pieces as well to really show how desperate the entire situation is for our heroes. And really, Wiedmann has never failed before, but this is still somehow his best work for this series.

Based on various comics from DC, “Justice League Dark: Apokolips War” was directed by Matt Peters and Christina Sotta. And I think they did a terrific job. As with the story, you can tell that they were going all out on the directiong/animation on this one. Because out of all the movies in this animated universe, this is the best looking one. The animation is crisp, and everything flows beautifully. And this makes action scenes an absolute blast to watch. They also went all out on violence in this. People die… and not in nice ways. And that helps add some extra impact to fights. So yeah, the crew killed it.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7.8/10.

I know some of you don’t care for these movies, but for me “Justice League Dark: Apokolips War” was a satisfying and exciting finale to this specific run of DC animated features. It has a really good story, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/animation. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Justice League Dark: Apokolips War” is a 9.78/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Justice League Dark: Apokolips War” is now completed.

I’m really gonna miss looking forward to new movies in this series.

Movie Review: Reign of the Supermen (2019)

As has been made clear many times on this here blog, I like watching animated adaptations of DC Comics properties. Yes, there’s been a few less than stellar ones through the years, but I always root for them, because of my nearly lifelong love of these characters. So with this said, let’s talk about one.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Reign of the Supermen”.

Set six months after “The Death of Superman“, the world is still trying to recover after one of its biggest heroes died at the hands of the monster known as Doomsday. And in the wake of the Man of Steel’s demise, several new and mysterious Supermen start revealing themselves, all trying to be the new hero of Metropolis. While the movie at times suffers from trying to cram a lot of plot into 80 minutes, I still found myself enjoying the hell out of proceedings. The creative team really know how to squeeze genuine emotion and clever storytelling out of this admittedly silly premise. There were times where I really felt something more than just “Yay, superheroes!”. Again, it’s not perfect as it has a lot of plot to dish out in a very short runtime, but for the most part the story holds up, even providing a surprising amount of nuance.

Like with the story, the crew managed to give a surprising amount of nuance to the characters in here, giving them interesting motivations and entertaining arcs. I won’t go too much into details about them, as it would risk spoiling stuff, so I’ll just leave it on all characters having something interesting to them. Also, holy crap this cast. Rebecca Romijn, Cameron Monaghan, Cress Williams, Jerry O’Connell, Rainn Wilson, Charles Halford, Rosario Dawson, and so many more… it’s an incredible cast, with everyone giving their A-game.

As with a lot of these DC animations, the score for “Reign of the Supermen” was composed by Frederik Wiedmann, and as per usual, it is terrific. This man brings us terrific tunes every time he composes the score for one of these movies. It’s big and epic, but also low-key and intimate. My man brought his A-game once again.

Based on the 90s comic storyline of the same name, “Reign of the Supermen” was directed by DC animation regular Sam Liu. And if you’re somewhat unfamiliar with that name, let’s just say that he’s one of the most reliable hands in the DC/WB animation department. The man knows how to infuse properties with a certain energy that is quite engaging to experience. When scenes need to slow down and be more emotional, his direction is great. And when action happens, his direction is great. The man knows how to deliver on animated comic book goodness. Speaking of which, the animation here is great. It has a decent amount of detail, and it has a nice fluidity to it that really shines during action scenes.

This has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

“Reign of the Supermen” may buckle slightly under the weight of too much plot in too little time, but it still manages to be a damn fine animated feature. It has engaging plot, it has really good characters, great performances, great music, and really good animation/direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Reign of the Supermen” is an 8,87/10. So while flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Reign of the Supermen” is now completed.

Fun fact: As I was writing this, I put on some music. And one of the songs that came on was “Land of Confusion” by Genesis, which has the oddly fitting lyric “Oh Superman, where are you now?

Series Review: S.W.A.T – Season 1 (2017 – 2018)

Fuck, there’s a lot of reboots these days. I mean, rebooting stuff is nothing new, but it’s almost gone overboard in the last ten years. Oh well, nothing we can do about it. So let’s talk about one of them.

Ladies and gentlemen… “S.W.A.T” season 1.

When his former sergeant is involved in a scandalous shooting, Daniel “Hondo” Harrelson (Shemar Moore) gets promoted to leader for his own S.W.A.T team. So we follow him as he tries to lead this team, stop crimes in Los Angeles, and at times also deal with personal problems. So now we have our cop procedural. And that’s all I can say really. It’s another case of the week cop drama. But I still liked it a fair bit. Partly because I have a soft spot for these cop procedurals, and partly because they put just enough effort into the writing to actually make me kinda care. Not so much about the A-plot (the case), as those are fairly standard cop-action stuff (which I enjoy), but the B-plots are often what hooks me, as they help develop the characters a bit. So yeah, the plot here is alright.

The characters here sometimes fall into archetypes, but then they’re pulled out of that pit and actually given enough development and personality to feel like proper characters. Shemar Moore plays Hondo (which is a nickname, but I can’t be bothered with the quotations all the time), newly appointed team leader of the main S.W.A.T team. He’s a kid from the hood who grew up to try to help his community, to be a good cop. And while he can be portrayed as perfect action man at times (damn his handsome face, damn it), he does get some decent development throughout that makes him an interesting lead. And Moore is great in the role. Next we have Stephanie Sigman as Jessica Cortez, captain of S.W.A.T and secret love interest of Hondo. She’s a tough and determined lady who’s trying to be taken seriously, as a high ranking woman in law enforcement. She’s an okay character. And Sigman is really good in the role. Next we have Alex Russell as Jim Street (actual name), a cocky kid and recent S.W.A.T graduate who is a bit of a punk at the start. But a we go on he gets more development and turns to one of the better characters on the show. And Russell is really good in the role. We also get performances from people like Lina Esco, Kenny Johnson, Jay Harrington, David Lim, Patrick St. Esprit, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the show was composed by Robert Duncan, and it was fine. It’s kinda bland and forgettable, but it never detracts from a scene, while also rarely ever adding anything. It’s fine, it works decently well. Though I do have to admit, the updated version of that old theme is awesome.

Based on the 1975 series by Robert Hamner and Rick Husky, this new version was developed by Aaron Rahsaan Thomas and Shawn Ryan, and while I can’t compare this to that old one (as I haven’t seen it), I can at least say that the craft behind this new one is fine, slightly above average. There’s enough grit to keep it from being completely dull. In terms of action, it can be a mixed bag. At times it’s quite enjoyable, and a few times it’s bad because of bad editing and shot composition (guess it all depends on who’s behind the camera). But when it’s at it’s best, it can be quite enjoyable. It may be another CBS police procedural, but there’s enough talent and brains in here to make it stand out a little bit.

This show has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 48% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 45/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

While it often falls back on police procedural clichés, I still find season 1 of “S.W.A.T” to be a really enjoyable little series that gives me some decent entertainment. It has an okay plot, good characters, great performances, okay music, and really good directing. Though as previously mentioned, the plot is rarely anything special, the music is a bit forgettable, and the directing at a few points wasn’t great. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 1 of “S.W.A.T” is a 7,13/10. So while quite flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth watching.

My review of “S.W.A.T” season 1 is now completed.

At least the theme song is pretty awesome…

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.

Movie Review: Justice League: Throne of Atlantis (2015)

Bla bla bla, Markus likes DC animation, bla bla bla, moving on.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Justice League: Throne of Atlantis”.

After the death of their king, the Atlantean troops get coaxed by Ocean Master (Sam Witwer) into attacking the surface. This brings queen Atlanna (Sirena Irwin) to try to get help from the Justice League to find her son Arthur (Matt Lanter) and stop Ocean Master’s crusade. So now we have our Aquaman origin/Justice League sequel story. And is it any good? For the most part, sure. It tries to do a lot of things at the same time. On one hand it is a sequel to “Justice League: War”, showing the team still having some mild struggles to come together and help each other. And on the other hand you have Aquaman having to become Aquaman because the DC universe needs Aquaman… Aquaman. And while I’m used to the relatively short runtime of these animated features, I feel like they could’ve added a couple minutes to it, because a couple of the more dramatic/important moments feel a bit rushed through. I’d like to see those moments be held for just a little bit longer. But I was never bored and I wouldn’t call any of it bad, just slightly lacking. The plot is fine.

The characters returning from “Justice League: War” are the fun and colorful characters that we know and love. But since this is mainly an Aquaman movie, let’s talk about the titular fishman. He’s portrayed in this as a broken man, not yet aware of who/what he is and what legacy he has to follow, and it’s interesting seeing him having to come to terms with all this craziness. He’s voiced by Matt Lanter who does a really good job in the role. He gives a very likable performance. Next we have Orm/Ocean Master, the entitled asshole half-brother of Aquaman. He’s kind of a brat and maniacal dick, but that also makes him an interesting foe for Aquaman. He’s voiced by Sam Witwer who gives a pretty hammy performance… but you can tell that he’s having a blast with it, which made me enjoy it. We also got Sumalee Montano as Mera, protector of Atlantis and love interest of Aquaman. She’s a fun character and Montano does a good job in the role. We also got Harry Lennix as Black Manta, the shady Atlantean wearing a weird helmet. He’s clearly up to no good, but he’s still decently interesting. And Lennix does a good job voicing him. And we see the returns of of Jason O’Mara as Batman, Jerry O’Connell as Superman, Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman, Christopher Gorman as Flash, Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern, Shemar Moore as Cyborg, and Sean Astin as Shazam, all doing really frickin’ well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Frederik Wiedmann, a man who has composed the scores of multiple modern DC animated movies. And once again he has created something pretty damn good. His score here is exciting, emotional, dramatic, and even manages to be awe-inspiring at times. So yeah, it was quite good.

This movie was directed by Ethan Spaulding and it is fairly well directed. And since it’s an animated feature, we should talk about the animation. It is pretty damn good (for a low budget direct-to-video movie). The animation here flows very well and there’s a decent amount of detail in it. The action scenes are especially well animated. You can really see it all coming more alive in those times, with plenty of fluency in the animation making for a lot of entertaining moments.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 40% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“Justice League: Throne of Atlantis” is not one of the greatest DC animated movies ever, but it’s a really enjoyable movie. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing/animation. My main flaw of course being that several moments throughout the plot felt a bit rushed. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Justice League: Throne of Atlantis” is an 8,78/10. While flawed, I’d say that it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Justice League: Throne of Atlantis” is now completed.

This was fun.

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!