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.

Series Review: Transformers Prime – Season 2 (2012)

There are probably those in the world who would say “You’re 23, stop watching cartoons!”. And to that I say “Be quiet, fool, I’m trying to watch a cartoon”. Oh, and there will be spoilers for the end of season 1, just so you don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Ladies and gents… “Transformers Prime” season 2.

At the end of the previous season, we saw Optimus (Peter Cullen) defeat the mighty Unicron. But that doesn’t mean him and his fellow Autobots get any time to rest, since they find themselves in a race against Megatron (Frank Welker) and his Decepticons to find and gather up mighty Cybertronian artifacts, all scattered across Earth. Yes, most of this season is a MacGuffin hunt, but so are all the “Indiana Jones” movies, and those are great. And “Transformers Prime” does it really well too by throwing in a lot of enjoyable character development, some clever twists, and genuinely fun sci-fi concepts. It also continues the show’s exploration of “Transformers” lore in really nuanced ways. The narrative manages to be a lot more compelling than a lot of contemporary cartoons… and a lot more compelling than the live action movies… what I’m saying is that the story here is great.

The characters here are flawed, layered, colorful, and just in general great. In season 1, they kinda started out one way, kind of being a cliche. But by the end of it, they had developed further. And they kept that going here in season 2. A lot of cartoons return to the status quo every now and then, just to make syndication easier. But none of that’s here. Character development sticks, and even gets furthered throughout the season. And the voice cast is great too. Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Kevin Michael Richardson, Jeffrey Combs, Sumalee Montano, Josh Keaton, Tania Gunadi, Steve Blum, Ernie Hudson, and a few more all return from the previous season, all delivering damn good voice performances. And some of the newer additions, including the likes of Tony Todd, David Kaye, and Nolan North, are also great great.

As with the previous outing, the music for season 2 was composed by Brian Tyler, and he once again did a good job with it. It’s a big, bold, badass, brass-based score that fits the tone of the show really well while adding an extra layer of emotion to certain scenes throughout.

In my review of season 1, I praised the show’s animation for being fluid and dynamic without sacrificing much in terms of detail. Well, I can happily say that it’s still the case here. The animation is beautiful. Sure, the human characters look a bit like putty, but that’s an acceptable compromise for the titular robots. My god, they look amazing. The amount of detail on them, from parts, to shine, to wear and tear in their paint… you can tell that the crew really cared to make them look amazing. And the good animation carries over to the action too, which has plenty of exciting fights, shootouts, and chases. It’s all fluid and super fun, without compromising on any of the detail.

On imdb.com the show has a score of 7,8/10.

The crazy bastards did it. They somehow managed to give “Transformers Prime” another terrific season. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and excellent animation/direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Transformers Prime” season 2 is a 9,82/10. Which does mean that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Transformers Prime” season 2 is now completed.

Roll out…

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?

Movie Review: Candyman (1992)

Time for some more spookums for the Month of Spooks. So let’s stop standing around and get into it.

Ladies and gents… “Candyman”.

Grad student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) is working on a thesis about a local spooky legend known as the Candyman (Tony Todd). And as she investigates this legend, she soon comes face-to-face with the titular myth. So now we have a psychological thriller/procedural. And I’m gonna be frank with you guys, I really liked the story told here. For something that can be technically considered a slasher, there’s a surprising amount of nuance to the story, putting doubt in your mind about certain story elements, making the viewer feel uneasy about the things going on. Despite a relatively short runtime, it took its time to tell this chilling and surprisingly nuanced narrative. That’s not to say that there aren’t thrills, ’cause there are. But the story here isn’t just some thinly veiled excuse for gory slicing and dicing a la Jason Voorhees. The story here has an actual purpose, and I was pleasantly surprised by it.

The characters in this are, like the story, surprisingly nuanced and engaging. Virginia Madsen plays Helen, the grad student investigating the local legend. She’s a bit of a skeptic, so when she starts coming face-to-face with some of the strange things she doesn’t fully believe in, she starts going through a bit of a fascinating arc. And Madsen is fantastic in the role. Next we have Tony Todd as the titular legend. I won’t go into too much detail in case you haven’t seen it but want to. But let’s just say that he’s one of the more intriguing horror antagonists out there. And Todd is great in the role (and what a cool voice he has!). We also get supporting work from people like Xavier Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, DeJuan Guy, Vanessa Williams, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for “Candyman” was composed by Philip Glass, and I think it’s pretty spectacular. Sure, the opening track has some minor things that I’m not a huge fan of. But other than that, this score is wonderful. It’s eerie, yet mournful. Haunting, yet sad. Like with the things we talked about earlier, there’s a surprising amount of nuance to it, and especially with the main theme, which is one of the most stunning that I’ve ever heard.

Loosely based on a short story by Clive Barker, the movie was written and directed by Bernard Rose. And I think he did a great job with it. Yes, there are jump scares, and yes there is gore. But he still has a direction that generally relies more on a subtle creep-factor rather than constant thrills, which adds to the overall experience. There’s even a lot of fun camerawork throughout, which helps add a bit of extra energy to proceedings, and not just have it be a slightly boring, static shot of something happening.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 74% positive rating. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

I was pleasantly surprised by “Candyman”, it’s a surprisingly nuanced little horror movie. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Candyman” is a 9,78/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Candyman” is now completed.

Wait, how many times did I say his name in this review? 1, 2, 3, 4, fuck.

Movie Review: The Crow (1994)

crtqmkfuaaainvn

With it being October 30th, AKA mischief night it was more or less mandatory that I would have to watch/review this movie. So here we go… a movie that isn’t horror but still kind of fits into the Month of Spooks!

Ladies and gents… “The Crow”.

Eric Draven (Brandon Lee, R.I.P) is a rock musician. He’s also been dead for one year. But a crow has resurrected him so he can get revenge on the gang that killed both him and his fiancée (Sofia Shinas). And that’s the basic premise for the movie, a revenge story. But it’s not necessarily executed in such a simple way, because it is in fact a surprisingly layered tale of love and justice. It’s a tightly told story  that presents an interesting world while also having some genuinely good emotion behind it.

The characters in the movie are all colorful, interesting, and entertaining. Eric Draven as a character, you understand his thought process, it’s easy to get behind him. He wants justice for what happened to him and his loved one. And Brandon Lee was great in the role, perfectly playing this character in way that’s neither too serious nor silly. He’s genuinely great. Ernie Hudson is also in this movie, playing a cop who was part of the investigation of Eric Draven and his fiancée’s murder, but now serves as a normal street cop. And he is so fun in the role, playing this cool cop who is a bit of a comic relief without ruining the tone of the movie. We also get Rochelle Davis as a young girl named Sarah, who is a friend of Draven. And she was a really entertaining and interesting character that really added something to the movie. Then we also get some really good supporting performances from people like Michael Wincott, David Patrick Kelly, and Tony Todd.

The score for the movie was composed by Graeme Revell and it is some truly haunting stuff. I’m not saying that it’s scary, but it’s definitely giving me the chills. And it perfectly fits the dark and seedy tone of the movie. There are also a lot of songs in the soundtrack by bands like Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against the Machine, The Cure, and Stone Temple Pilots. And those tracks work pretty well for the movie too.

This movie is based on the comic series by James O’Barr, and I haven’t read the comic so I can’t really tell you if this movie is accurate to it or not… sorry. What I can tell you however is that Alex Proyas did a great job directing this movie, perfectly bringing life to this dark world. What I also really enjoyed about it is that it really looks like a comic book most of the time. Not in the shit way that Ang Lee’s “Hulk” did, but in a way that made me go “This really feels like something from a comic book”. And of course, we can’t get through this review without mentioning how Brandon Lee tragically died on the set of the movie due to a faulty prop gun. Yeah… that happened. And he had very little stuff left to film for the movie, so they apparently had to do some ground-breaking CGI compositing where they took Lee’s face and added it onto his stunt double. Now, if this is true then holy motherfucking shit… I was looking for that stuff (because I had heard about it prior to seeing the film) and I honestly couldn’t tell what was the CG compositing. That’s some impressive shit for 1993/1994. Speaking of cool stuff, the action scenes are pretty badass… just sayin’.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has n 82% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“The Crow” is a very impressive movie, with a great plot, interesting characters, great acting, great music, great directing, and some awesome effects stuff. Time for my final score. *Crow sound*. My final score for “The Crow” is a 9,85/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “The Crow” is now completed.

I got nothing clever to put here…