Movie Review: Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2019)

Yes. This is a real movie. And I watched it. And now I’m gonna talk about it.

Dudes and chicks… “Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”.

When Ra’s Al Ghul (Cas Anvar) teams up with the Shredder (Andrew Kishino), the Turtles (Eric Bauza, Darren Criss, Kyle Mooney, Baron Vaughn) find themselves following the villains to Gotham City, where they run into Batman (Troy Baker). Aaaand cue the crossover craziness. Is this a masterpiece of storytelling? No. Is this high art? No. But is it a well written and fun crossover that never takes itself too seriously? Yes. For the most part, the plot here is lighthearted comic book action. But there are also moments where it actually dares to go a little darker, but it never feels like it clashes with the more fun and ridiculous scenes. It balances its tone perfectly, giving us one of the most unique and enjoyable plots in recent DC animations.

The characters are colorful, fun, charming, memorable, and pretty interesting. Troy Baker plays Batman, and he’s the ever serious Batman… you know who Batman is, there’s nothing new done to him as a character. But Baker’s voice work is solid here. Then we have Eric Bauza, Darren Criss, Kyle Mooney, and Baron Vaughn as the four Ninja Turtles Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello. And they are exactly as one expects the frickin’ Turtles to be (if you’re familiar with them). And the four actors voicing them are great in their respective roles. While there isn’t much in terms of actual development here, what makes the characters stand out here is how well they play off of each other. It’s their chemistry that makes them so enjoyable to follow… good stuff. We also get supporting work from people like Cas Anvar, Carlos Alazraqui, Rachel Bloom, Andrew Kishino, Tara Strong, Ben Giroux, Brian George, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Kevin Riepl, and it was good. Some orchestrations, some synthesizers, some guitar, a lot of fun percussion, it’s the right kind of score to add an extra bit of fun to the insanity of the movie. I really enjoyed hearing it throughout the movie, and it worked well in the various scenes.

Based on a comic by James Tynion IV & Freddie Williams II (fancy lads and their numbered names), this movie was directed by Jake Castorena, and I think it is a well directed movie. The animation flows nicely and has a really good sense of energy to it. Some of the character designs could maybe be a little hit or miss (mainly Donatello for me), there was nothing I’d call bad here. Especially not the action scenes, which I found to be great. Brutal, fluent, and well directed, the various fight scenes throughout are an absolute joy to behold. There’s also a really fun chase here that was a blast to watch. So yeah, there’s a ton of well animated, absolutely ridiculous action scenes throughout the movie… which makes me very happy. There are also a lot of jokes in this movie, and they made me laugh very hard. Some really clever, some incredibly dumb, all funny.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

So “Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is absolutely insane, and I loved every minute of it. It has a really fun plot, really good characters, great performances, good music, really good animation/direction/action, and hilarious humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is a 9,84/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is now completed.

That was… BATshit insane.

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: Wonder Woman (2009)

With WB/DC very recently having released their new DCEU movie “Wonder Woman”, and with my often proclaimed love for DC animation I thought it was a good time to go back a few years and review the last movie that had “Wonder Woman” in the title. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen, she is… “Wonder Woman”!

After having crashed on the mysterious island of Themyscira, U.S. army pilot Steve Trevor (Nathan Fillion) finds himself at the mercy of the island’s inhabitants, the Amazons. And when they deem him a non-hostile, they aim to bring him back to modern civilization. The one who gets tasked with this is none other than the island’s princess, Diana (Keri Russell). But it quickly becomes more than just a delivery mission as Ares (Alfred Molina), the god of war escapes from Themyscira’s prison. Which means that Diana and Steve have to team up to stop Ares from creating neverending chaos and destruction. And yeah, this plot is really good. While not the deepest, as a matter of fact it’s quite shallow, it still gives us a good insight into Diana’s origin and into the mythology of her world. There are also a few okay twists throughout the plot, giving it a little extra meat on the bone so to speak. Yeah, it’s a good plot.

The characters here are all entertaining and get a surprising amount of depth. Diana is portrayed as this young and brave woman that wants to see the world and see what’s beyond Themyscira, to learn what is out there. And Keri Russell does a really good job voicing her. Steve Trevor, as he’s presented here, is a bit of a pig. He’s not necessarily a bad person, he’s just kind of a womanizer. But he does get a decent amount of character development throughout the movie as he works with Diana, and Nathan Fillion is just great in the role. Ares is portrayed as a kind of mad but still intelligent warrior who wants nothing but war and hate, and Alfred Molina is great in the role. Hyppolita, Queen of the Amazons. A badass woman who wants the best for her daughter, while also trying to be a good leader. She’s voiced by Virginia Madesen who does a great job in the role. Next up we have Artemis, the right hand woman of the queen, and she’s just a badass. She’s voiced by Rosario Dawson who’s Rosario Awesome in the role. Really, this is just an overall well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Christopher Drake and it was pretty great. It was big, dramatic, epic, exciting, and just overall fit the movie very well. Definitely one of the best scores I’ve heard from one of these direct-to-video DC movies.

This movie was directed by Lauren Montgomery and she did a great job here. The scenes flow very well and none of them feel out of place or like they overstay their welcome. And since this is an animated movie, how is the animation? It’s quite good. Remember, we’re judging this based on direct-to-video animations, since they (this included) don’t get the same budget big animated features do. But yeah, overall the animation here is quite good. Everything flows nicely and just looks overall good. Especially the action scenes which are just fun and exciting and badass.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“Wonder Woman” is another great DC animated movie. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and really good animation. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Wonder Woman” is a 9,78/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Wonder Woman” (the animated one) is now completed.

If you’re wondering if I will review the new live action movie, I might. Not sure exactly when, but it will probably happen in the near-ish future.

 

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: 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!