Reviews

‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ Review

How’s that for a group shot? I’m going deep on everything Zack Snyder and his epic Justice League movie has to offer, so buckle up, going to be a long one.

Zack Snyder’s definitive director’s cut of Justice League. Determined to ensure Superman’s ultimate sacrifice was not in vain, Bruce Wayne aligns forces with Diana Prince with plans to recruit a team of metahumans to protect the world from an approaching threat of catastrophic proportions.

Redemption. If I had to best sum up the movie and the man behind the camera, Zack Snyder with one word, that would be it. This was a long and tiresome battle, that drained not only fans but Zack himself. Zack has been making movies for DC for almost a decade now, since 2013 and the release of Man of Steel. It seems ever since that moment it’s almost been an uphill battle for Zack over at Warner Brothers. His movies dividing fans and critics alike and not being the total box-office success that Warner Brothers was hoping for. Even with the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, people all over the world didn’t quite understand the magnitude of the situation at hand, because unless you follow these things closely, why would you? The events leading up to Justice League and the events that unfolded afterward will go down in Hollywood history. From the biblical-sized fan support and movement that honestly changed the way Hollywood could make movies going forward, to the backlash that the 2017 film endured and the fill-in director Joss Whedon faced. In March of 2017, one of Zack’s adopted daughters Autumn tragically took her own life and Zack like any parent didn’t know how to handle the situation. So when he decided he needed to step back from his work and focus on his family, his Justice League movie was on the brink of being complete. Warner Brothers decided that his vision and everything he had built for that studio since 2013 wasn’t their own ideas and beliefs anymore and wanted to alter, manipulate and downright destroy his beautiful movie. November 2017 rolls around and Justice League is released and to this day he hasn’t seen that product. Fans were unaware of just how mutilated his vision was and felt that “this wasn’t a Zack Snyder” movie and the birth of the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement began. The next 3 and a half years had so many ups and downs for fans, trying and doing whatever they could to get the attention needed to bring about Zack’s cut of his own movie. Until finally on May 20th of last year, that was finally made a reality and now we can all say, we have seen the true vision, the true Justice League movie. When it comes to situations like these, I will always be on the side of the film-maker, and at the end of the day, no matter how you feel about the movie. One thing we can all agree upon is being happy for Zack Snyder and his family that his original vision has come to life and in the end, he got total redemption. This is a win not only for the fans but for him as well, erasing a black mark on his career, which wasn’t even his fault to begin with. The movie being released didn’t just redeem Synder but every single person involved, not only do our actors experience it, but their hero counterparts as well. 

First things first, make sure you empty that bladder before you hit the play button! Now, those four hours just flew by didn’t they? Toss out everything you know about the 2017 version, in my eyes, it’s a parody. Except for the little bit of the original Snyder content left in, we can bury it, it’s dead. This is exactly the type of Justice League movie fans have wanted their whole lives. It’s immense, epic, mythological, and offers so much from every single one of our heroes. Each one gets their own moment to shine, in the grandest of ways, each making sacrifices and realizing that they can only save the world when they work together. All of this was missing 4 years ago, that’s because this new version gives our heroes time to breathe and get a feeling for one another. You understand their motives and why they might be a little coy on joining a team. No matter how big or how small your fandom is for DC Comics, this movie kind of has something for everyone. Each character fleshed out, making them feel more human, most notably Ray Fisher’s Cyborg. His character and Ezra Miller’s Flash are the two characters in my mind that get the biggest overall boost from this cut. Making you realize that they are vital and important members of the league. Everyone else also gets a boost and you see that these are Zack’s characters and aren’t muddled in nonsensical humor or completely defying everything that was built with Man of Steel and Batman v Superman

As for the movie, I’ll be going into a little spoiler territory! Within the first scene, you know this is the continuation of BvS, that this is a Zack Snyder film. Watching Superman scream to the high heavens before he dies, and having the Amazons, the Atlanteans and even Cyborg hear those cries. It lets you know that his death means deep shit for planet Earth. Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) is still trying to find the light again and he is doing his best Danny Ocean while attempting to recruit some warriors. He’s building an alliance and when Jason Momoa’s Aquaman essentially tells him to kick rocks, he goes back to Alfred with his tail between his legs. It was so amazing seeing Affleck back as Batman, and the way he was intended to be seen. I forgot how much I loved him in this role and so much of his anger is gone and this is a Batman just ripped straight out of a Justice League comic. Soon enough the only members he’s able to convince to help him Diana (Gal Gadot) obviously, and they are giving us a little “are these two just going to hook up” vibes a few times. I want it, you want it, we all want to see that go down. Evetually, after stalking Barry Allen they manage to take the League from a dynamic duo to a threesome but it still isn’t enough. Once Cyborg and Aquaman join their ranks after a tough first encounter with Steppenwolf, the team is ready to lay down the law. Speaking of Steppenwolf……

Can we all just take a moment and truly appreciate all the villains. Steppenwolf was a winey Momma’s boy in 2017 and became arguably the best villain in the DCEU. He’s mean, he’s lean and he kicks all sorts of ass. Amazons, dead, Atlanteans, dead, humans, dead. Steppenwolf’s design is just infinitely better this time around and it makes him look menacing and actually a formidable foe. We get a backstory for him this time, so we actually know what his motives are! We realize that he’s been kicked out of the house by dear old Dad, also known as Darkseid (Ray Porter). Everything is just so much more cohesive with the story actually being built. We understand why Steppenwolf has come to Earth and why rightfully so, he’s a little pissed off. As for Darkseid, who is DC’s Thanos, he’s terrifying, the dude straight up steps on Steppenwolf’s head after it’s been cut off like it didn’t even phase him. I wanted him to go to Earth and throw down against the league but we will save that for next time. However, we did get to see him and his little Omega Beams in action. In the Knightmare timeline, he totally alienates and kills Aquaman! They didn’t even bother putting DC’s biggest baddie in the 2017 version, like what on Earth were they thinking? I loved Steppenwolf and Darkseid looked terrific, we need to see more of him and the New Gods. We actually got to see him in action during the history lesson sequence. It was great to see the foreshadowing of the old gods coming together and being able to defeat him, each of them portraying one of our new heroes. One thing is for sure, we need more Darkseid and when we saw him take control of Superman after Lois Lane’s death, I can’t even imagine how much havoc he causes. 

It takes almost 2 hours but Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) comes back. You didn’t think Zack would forget about his crown jewel. He’s resurrected once again, but this time they make it a little clearer about how they will do it and why it might be a terrible idea. When Superman returns he also gets his time to shine. He dons the epic Black Suit and all that was missing was his mullet. The action really ramps up once he is back on screen and for a 4-hour movie, the action is nicely spread out and isn’t overstuffed with unnecessary action sequences. The 3rd act of this film is mind-blowing and the team finally comes together and takes the fight to Steppenwolf. When the biggest moment of the film occurs that involves Barry running back through time to save everyone, that caught me off guard. I didn’t see that coming and it was the most powerful moment in the movie. His time to shine and in the biggest way possible. 

Now for those last 20 minutes…….

Anyone else just want an entire movie set in the Knightmare timeline? Talk about the weirdest party anyone could ever attend. Batman, Joker, Deathstroke, Flash, Cyborg, and Mera all working together, well trying to work together to “make everything right”. Finally, we got some actual dialogue between Ben Affleck’s Batman and Jared Leto’s Joker and boy did it not disappoint. Some of the best dialogue between those two iconic characters ever put to screen. I think it totally redeems Leto’s Joker another character and actor to achieve redemption status. Then the ultimate party pooper shows up and we are left wondering how the hell our heroes got out of that one. Bruce wakes up and thinks Superman is coming to visit only to be visited by none other than Martian Manhunter himself! Bruce went from hating Superman and wanting to kill him to not giving a shit than an alien is flying towards him after waking his ass out of bed, now that’s character development baby! He lets Bruce know that “There’s a war coming” and Darkseid isn’t done with Earth. Bruce says he’ll see him around and that’s it. Until we get the most heartwarming moment of the film when “For Autumn” appears on the screen…..

This is a smorgasbord for DC fans and the accumulation of almost ten years from Zack Snyder. It’s one of the strongest and best comic-book movies I’ve ever seen and definitely cements it in the DC lure forever. Emotional beats, impactful character moments, with glorious and beautiful action set pieces. It met my expectations and rendered everything from 2017 obsolete. Whatever happens in the future regarding Zack Snyder and potential Justice League sequels remains unclear. One thing is clear, the world wants it, but I just don’t know if it will happen. That’s not important, what is important is a man got to undo something and maybe can sleep a little better at night. 

This is and will always be about Zack Snyder and he just gave us one of the best comic book movies ever.

So, thank you, Zack.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League = 94/100

Reviews

Looking Back At ‘Batman v Superman’

We are mere days away from Zack Snyder’s Justice League, so once again take a trip down memory lane with the birth of the expanded DCEU with Batman v Superman.

Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice review (2016) | Sight & Sound | BFIFearing that the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the Man of Steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs.

Remember this little indie flick that came into the zeitgeist back in 2016? Batman v Superman, arguably the most talked-about piece of pop culture this century. One of the most polarizing, divided, and controversial movies I can ever really remember seeing, it finally introduced us to the possibilities of the Justice League.

After the semi-success of Man of Steel, Warner Brothers knew they needed to go big for their next movie. Zack Snyder decided to bring in the big guns, which was Oscar Winner Ben Affleck, coming off winning best picture at the Oscars. He was going to be suiting up and taking on the Son of Krypton. Ben Affleck was at the height of his power, he had more juice than almost anyone in Hollywood at the time and Zack Snyder convinced this guy to come play Batman for him.

Warner Brothers had just wrapped up the monumental Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy, proving that Batman was essentially box-office gold. How could this fail? Once production got underway, Zack Snyder and his team rolled out one of the most impressive marketing campaigns in history. Everything was a homerun, casting, posters, and more importantly the trailers. Fans couldn’t wait to sink their teeth into this movie and the world was waiting to see what Zack Snyder had in store.

When reviews came pouring in, it wasn’t what WB was expecting, arriving at 28% on Rotten Tomatoes and now that isn’t an important marker for every movie, but it can sink a movie in terms of box-office success. Not even eclipsing 1 billion dollars at the box-office, things didn’t seem the same once BvS was released.

Again, the problem with the movie for a lot of fans, they felt it had too many holes and some of the pieces of the puzzle seemed to be missing. Then came along the Ultimate Edition of the movie that proved the intended version that Zack Snyder had for the world was the superior one. It changed how a lot of people viewed the movie and made a stronger case for as to why Zack Snyder should be the one leading the charge on the future of the DCEU.

Personally, I remember being disappointed when I walked out of the theatre after seeing BvS. I waited over 700 days for the movie and it didn’t live up to my expectations. Until I realized I had set the highest of expectations that could never be reached. Like most fans, I didn’t really fall in love with this movie until I watched the Ultimate Edition. Now with every passing viewing, I find myself enjoying this thing just so much more. Mostly due to the fact, that there is just so much more to enjoy, and the movie just feels complete to me.

The movie serves as a launching pad for the future team-up movie, introducing us to Ben Afflecks’ dark and lost Batman. As he tries to find himself again and is eventually inspired by Superman. This is a Batman who has broken free from his golden rule and has lost all sense of what made him such a strong figure for Gotham City. We never quite got to see this kind of Dark Knight, someone who lives inside a world with super-powered beings all while having 20 years of crime-fighting experience. Without a doubt as of right now he is the definitive Batman because he fills out the suit to perfection and his relationship with Alfred is the best part of his entire character. Making his Bruce Wayne just as valuable on the screen as his alter-ego.

We also get introduced to the last piece of the Trinity, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. Obviously not as flushed out as Batman, but we knew she would be getting her own solo flick in the near future. Gal steals the last third of the movie, having one of the best entrances for a superhero ever. She looks fierce and has only gained confidence on-screen as time has gone on. She’s a much better actor today than she was when she was first cast as Diana. Not to mention a quick glimpse at Cyborg, Flash, and Aquaman, Snyder was trying to tell us a much larger threat was on the horizon and these heroes would need to come together in order to save the world.

This is just so different from anything that was going on in the comic-book world at that time. It was serious and dealt with our heroes in a very thematic and layered way. In the MCU it was mostly ordinary people trying to be Gods, where Snyder was displaying our DC heroes as Gods that just wanted to be like everyone else. Superman is a flawed character, for good reasons and his story arc through the first two DCEU movies was a unique take.

Fron the beautiful score, that hits right from the very get-go as we watch the Waynes get gunned down once again in Crime Alley. Leading all the way until the very last moments of our film. The action isn’t what propels this movie forward. When it hits, of course, it’s great, that’s one thing you never really have to worry about with Snyder (warehouse scene anyone), and his visuals are always on the highest of peaks. These characters have never looked better in a movie. Jesse Eisenberg who gives a more Mark Zuckerberg rather than Jeff Bezos kind of Lex Luthor portrayal was met with such criticism, but for me, it’s one of the things that works so well. It’s interesting that as the movie goes forward we see Batman and Lex go on opposite paths, Batman gliding towards the light, while Lex slips deeper into the dark. His rooftop sequence with both Superman and Lois Lane is his crowning achievement.

Over time I think more people have come around to this movie, but it’s still highly discussed and has polarized a fanbase. It will leave a mark on the comic-book industry no doubt, even more so with the events that played out after its release.

Batman v Superman may be flawed in some areas but overall, I truly believe it is one of the best comic-book movies ever made. It’s rich in context and in texture and it is more than just heroes punching one another. Zack looks at our heroes through a certain lens that leaves you wondering what he had in store for the future. In less than a week, we will finally get to see that vision and I don’t think the world is ready.

Batman v Superman – 92/100

News

Epic ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ Trailer Drops

Spread the love on this Valentine’s Day by sharing and streaming this epic trailer that just arrived. 

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 Well, this is certainly the best Valentine’s Day in many years. Thank you, Zack Snyder, for delivering on this most joyous of days. We get another look at what’s to come in his 4 hour cut of Justice League that promises to be something special. Now a quick refresher, this isn’t the Justice League movie that came out in 2017 with a few extra minutes latched on, no, this is something completely new, something darker. 

Let’s break down the trailer a little bit. We get our first real glimpse at all the baddies of the movie. They’re all hanging out on Apokolips where it appears that the ultimate baddie, Darkseid is giving orders to Steppenwolf to head to Earth and stir up some trouble. Everyone fell in love with Thanos and now it’s Darkseid’s turn to get some of that love because he and his Omega Beams deserve it. From there we get a few incredible voice-overs by Alfred (Jeremy Irons) who is essentially telling Bruce Wayne not to poke the bear unless he is sure that he can win. Followed up by the Pa Kent speech from Man of Steel. Snyder really pieced this trailer together perfectly. 

The whole team gets their moment to shine, really showcasing how the world needs a bunch of new gods to step up and defend Earth or we are doomed. Black Suit Superman is learning how to possibly fly again, with his own rendition of the first flight sequence again from Man of Steel. Bruce Wayne has seen the future and it’s bleak and he knows that the world needs warriors to conquer the threats that are about to arrive. 

Now for the motherload. A new look at the Knightmare timeline where we have Batman and the return of Jared Leto’s Joker, working together! That’s right, the Clown Prince of Crime and the Bat of Gotham will be working together. Like Joker says in the trailer, “honor is a distant memory,” meaning it’s time to put the past behind you and let’s save this planet together. I’m so happy Leto gets another chance to play this part and having him and Affleck on screen together is something fans have wanted for 5 years now. 

Zack is bringing it all and this was just a small peek inside the curtain we have so much to look forward to. This will be epic. 

Reviews

Ranking The 22 Best Batman: The Animated Series Episodes

It’s been 2 years, time to put the cherry on the sundae.

22 – Harley’s Holiday. Season 3, Episode 25. Director: Kevin Altieri. Story: Paul Dini

What a power couple. Move over Mr. J. Imagine Batman and Harley Quinn an item? Harley is free and she wants to enjoy her life. The simple things in life you know? What do most girls love to do? Go shopping! So when she decides to have a nice holiday and go on a shopping spree, well you guessed it. Things go horribly wrong and she ends up on the wrong side of the law. Not hard to do when you’re expected to turn to a life of crime in no time, but this was a mere misunderstanding and now Harley is running for her life over a simple security tag. She’s taken a hostage and everyone from a crazy father, Batman and Detective Bullock is on the hunt for Harley. Any episode that features Harley is top-notch, we owe it to Paul Dini for creating her, and she simply doesn’t have enough time to shine in this show. That’s why we can’t take her solo episodes like this for granted. Besides, it’s just an all-around fun episode, and that’s what’s most important. We get to see the more human side of Harley and realize how damaged she is, and that her love for a crime only runs so deep. She’s a complex and complicated character and I wish it was explored more throughout this show. The low key awesome moment is when Harley’s hyenas are barking at Bruce Wayne and Harley is trying to figure out who he is. Just a cute little moment. Also, Robin uses fish has nunchucks, that is worth a ton of credit where I come from. Grade. B+

“I had a bad day too once” – Batman

21 – The Man Who Killed Batman. Season 2, Episode 23. Director: Bruce W. Timm. Story: Paul Dini

Not The Joker, Two-Face or The Penguin. It’s someone no one knew existed until this very show. Sidney or Sid The Squid. Imagine that, some random low-level thug is the guy who offs the bat. Well, that’s at least what he wants you to think. After a botched robbery attempt, up and newcomer Sid wants a part of Rupert Thorns gang. So they give him the “easy” job, the lookout. All is going according to plan until Batman shows up and when the fellow gang members look on as it appears he’s going toe-to-toe with old Batsy, he’s actually tripping and falling all over the place. When Batman falls over a building and into a massive explosion it appears that Sid had killed the Batman. Now the toughest guy in Gotham, Sidney quickly gains a reputation that he can not uphold. Every thug in Gotham wants a piece of him and even the Joker wants him. He can’t believe that Batman is really gone. He’s upset because he wasn’t the one who did it and that crime no longer has any meaning. We get a hilarious funeral scene that encompasses Joker and Harley crying, they soon turn their frustrations onto Sidney. So when Sidney finally ends up at the feet of his boss Rupert Thorn, he can’t help feel a little lucky. He killed Batman and made a fool out of The Joker, no easy task mind you. So of course, it’s no surprise that Thorn doesn’t believe Sidney and thinks he is some criminal mastermind, well he’s not and when Thorn is moments away from putting a bullet in him, Batman shows up to save the day! I don’t know why I love this episode so much, maybe seeing how The Joker would react to the death of Batman, makes you wonder. Without Batman, crime has no punchline, as The Joker likes to say, it’s almost disheartening to see that side of Mr. J. Grade B+

“You really know how to put the “fun” in funeral” – Harley Quinn

20 – Harley & Ivy. Season 2, Episode 28. Director: Boyd Kirkland. Story: Paul Dini

The new queens of Gotham crime are among us. Even if it’s for a short-lived period of time, Harley and Ivy make a spectacular team. After her puddin’ tosses her out of the gang for not contributing, Harley is set on showing Mr. J that she can, in fact, pull off a worthy heist. On that said heist she bumps into Ivy who is pulling a job of her own and it doesn’t take long for the pair of them to realize they make a killer team. They are the perfect mesh of brains and brawn and soon start pulling jobs and realizing that maybe they don’t need men in their lives to be successful. This episode does such a wonderful job exploring Harley’s obsession with The Joker and why she needs and relies so much on him. Ivy also asks her why he loves him so much, and Harley always has the hardest time describing her feelings and giving a straightforward answer. It’s a sickness really, where mere moments after she leaves him, she says “I miss him already.” Turns out that Harley was an important piece in Jokers life, as his hideout and life have turned upside down. Throw in a showdown with Harley, Ivy, The Joker and Batman all on a toxic waste dump, that’s my kind of fun. The dynamic between Ivy and Harley is something I wish was expanded on a little bit more, we do get to see them reunited in “Holiday Knights” but it’s for a brief stint and it doesn’t come across as the same bond or chemistry. This is a duo I really hope to see kick some ass in live-action someday. Grade B+

“Aren’t you that plant lady? Poison Oaky?” – Harley Quinn

19- Nothing To Fear. Season 1, Episode 3. Director: Boyd Kirkland. Story: Henry T. Gilroy.

Remember this classic episode? The introduction to The Scarecrow? It might look familiar because good old Christopher Nolan ripped the incredible ending from this episode and put it in Batman Begins. See even the great Nolan respects his elders, because not only was this a fantastic scene in BTAS, but also one of the most comic book-ie scenes in all of his Batman trilogy. Giving professor Crane a taste of his own medicine only to see Batman appear as large Bat-like gargoyle creature. Batman, unfamiliar with Scarecrows tactics is affected by his fear toxin and soon starts to hallucinate. Mostly about his parents and how they now view him as a failure, and how he has let them down with how he has turned out. We all know that isn’t true, but it’s his worst fears coming to life, letting down the people he loved most, doing the thing that makes it possible for a tragic night like he had to never happen again. Pretty deep stuff, and in the first season Scarecrow is featured 3 times and each episode is so good. Why they stopped having him appear is beyond me because he really sticks out as one of the more memorable baddies from the show. This episode also gives us one of the most iconic scenes in the entire shows run. Batman seeing a giant skull, flames coming out its eyes, his father’s voice telling him he’s a failure. But no, Batman overcomes his fears and shouts – ” I AM VENGEANCE, I AM THE NIGHT, I AM BATMAN!” Grade A-

” I AM VENGEANCE, I AM THE NIGHT, I AM BATMAN!” – how could I not put this as the quote?

18 – Shadow of The Bat. Season 3, Episode 1 & 2. Director. Frank Paur. Story: Brynne Stephens.

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The introduction to Batgirl! Took the show long enough to finally feature Barbara as the new trusty side-kick. They teased her skills in earlier episodes, showcasing her talents at getting into places and her all-around toughness, but it wasn’t until dear old Dad gets locked up she decides to take matters into her own hands. With mob bosses being caught and prosecuted left and right, the man responsible is the new right-hand man to Commissioner Gordon, Gil. When Batman decides to go undercover himself as Matches Malone and finds out that Two-Face is partially responsible for these events, it’s up to Robin and Batgirl to get him out of a pinch. Whenever Two-Face is involved with an episode it’s always a doozy. Batgirl is a worthy addition to the Batfamily, where we see that it takes more than just a costume to be a hero in Gotham city. You can see the instant chemistry between Dick and Barbara when they are under their respected masks. Another reason why I like this show so much, it’s a cartoon but yet they touched on mature matters and it just didn’t feel like this was for children. We only ever get to see Batgirl once more before the animation change and it’s a real shame. She never gets to share the screen with this Batman ever again and I think that’s a major flaw in the show. Grade B+

“Funny, I don’t remember a girl being invited to this little club” Robin

17 – Jokers Favor. Season 1, Episode 22. Director: Boyd Kirkland. Story: Paul Dini

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Imagine having a terrible day, one of the worst days of your life and you take all that frustration and anger out on The Joker? Well, for Charlie Collins that exactly what happens. After being cut off in traffic, he’s had enough and finally for once in his life decides to stick up for himself. Little does he know, driving that car is Mr. J himself. So instead of you know doing the usual killing thing, Joker tells Charlie that he owes him a favor and leaves. Years pass and Charlie has moved away and even changed his name, but Joker knows him all too well. The real reason why this episode is so great and honestly so memorable? The creation and the very first appearance of none other than Harley Quinn! That’s right the man who wrote this episode along with so many others Paul Dini is the creator of this iconic character. Now, creating a character in a cartoon show that goes on to get her own comic, show, and be the star of a live-action movie is one incredible feat. Throw in the fact that in the end Charlie pulls one over on Joker and that is such a rare sight to see. Seeing him scared that perhaps he had managed to create a monster more deranged than him. Charlie, of course, is just joking and this is just one of the more all-around polished episodes. There’s also a very clever make-shift bat-signal that Charlie cooks up, another reminder of how ingenious this show was. Grade B+

“Jumping Jiminy Christmas! Charlie Collins. It’s been forever. How are you man” – The Joker

16 – Mad Love. Season 4, Episode 21. Director: Butch Lukic. Story: Paul Dini & Bruce Timm

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The last episode that ever aired, and what a beauty she was. A true romance story. Joker and Harley, destined to be at each others throats and destined to be together forever. Still can’t believe how far she has come from being created in this show, to where she is now. Mad Love shows the nasty side of this relationship and how twisted Harley is. Her mind has been mutilated by Joker and she doesn’t even know it. It explores the origin of their relationship and how in moments these two can be completely different. Once a respected psychiatrist turned one of Gotham’s most notorious criminals. It’s sad to see someone take as much abuse as Harley does, but her sickness is the Joker. Her love and affection for the man are what keeps her both sane and insane. The thing is, she can’t tell the difference between the two. It’s their most personal story told within the series and feels the most authentic and rich. Something that fans have wanted to be adapted into live-action for a long time. Grade A-

15 – Beware The Gray Ghost. Season 1, Episode 18. Director: Boyd Kirkland. Story: Dennis O’Flaherty.

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The man who started it all really. Adam West, the first actor to portray Batman in live-action. An icon, one of the all-time greats. So when Batman The Animated Series decided to do an episode about The Gray Ghost, Bruce Waynes hero growing up as a kid, it was a no brainer to hire Adam West to do the voice. Perhaps the best voice works from someone outside the main cast. He nails the role perfectly, and it’s such a heartwarming episode. When someone calling themselves the Mad Bomber is blowing up half of Gotham City, Batman is having a hard time solving the case. Until he realizes that this has happened before, not in his past life, but in his favorite television program, The Gray Ghost. There he hunts down Simon Trent, the man who portrayed The Gray Ghost in the show, only to find out, he’s now a has-been actor, who can’t find any work. When he needs to find a copy of the episode, Trent is the only person left with a copy, and soon enough the pair team-up. Batman is dark, he broods and keeps to himself. He keeps his emotions in check and doesn’t let anyone get close. Tables turn in this episode, where we see the kid come alive in Batman, as he gets to work alongside his hero, a side that is rarely seen. Grade A

“Thanks, Mr. Trent. You know, as a kid I used to watch you with my father. The Gray Ghost was my hero.” – Bruce Wayne 

14 – The Laughing Fish. Season 2, Episode 6. Director: Bruce W. Timm. Story: Paul Dini

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Okay, first things first here people. Batman fights a shark. That’s right, Batman fights a shark. Obviously, that should be enough to be the best episode ever, but not in my books. The darkest episode ever produced perhaps. It’s almost like a mini horror movie, the way people are attacked by The Joker. It can most certainly be scary and quite shocking for the younger viewers. I always wanted to see this adapted in live-action, I think we’ve never really seen The Joker use his laughing gas, and other means of making people go insane with some sort of chemical and I think that would be awesome. The interaction where Batman and the man swap places always throw me for a loop, such great writing throughout this episode. The best Joker story? There’s a fun side story with Bullock as well, a conflicted character to say the least, but he’s such a good cop, but believes in his way and his way only. Another character I would love to see come to life in the upcoming Matt Reeves Batman movies. James Gordon needs that cop that he can lean on and someone for Batman to butt heads with. The commercials for Joker Fish are downright hilarious. Making Harley eat this disgusting fish after she sings the jingle. This is an episode that I feel Hitchcock would be proud of. They simply just don’t make ’em like they used to, you would never see an episode like this for a Superhero cartoon anymore. Grade A- 

“See Batsy, I think of everything!” – Joker 

13. Old Wounds. Season 4, Episode 17. Director: Curt Geda. Story: Rich Fogel

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The episode where we finally get to see Dick Grayson snap! He even punches Batman in the face. One of the many things that change when the new animation rolls out for the Animated Series, is the time jump. Where we see Dick Grayson don his new persona as Nightwing. How did we get here? How did this friendship come to such a chaotic ending? When Dick sees the new Robin Tim Drake and decides to tell him the story of what happened between him and his new mentor, it becomes clear that the old Robin and Batman always had a hard time seeing eye-to-eye when it came to crime-fighting. I can’t preach this enough, but this is another classic episode that would have best been suited in the old animation format, but that just wasn’t possible. One of the most mature episodes in the show’s history, where things finally come to literal blows between former crime-fighting partners. This ultimately leads to one of the best and more memorable scenes the show has ever produced. Grade A-

“I’m nothing like him” Nightwing 

12- Over The Edge. Season 4, Episode 11. Director: Yuichiro Yano. Story: Paul Dini

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This episode hits heavy. The big “what-if” of the Animated Series. What if someone close to Batman were to die? What if that person was none other than Barbara Gordon, also known as Batgirl and the daughter of Commissioner Gordon. When a typical night trying to deal with Scarecrow turns into a nightmare, that ends with Batgirl falling off a rooftop and dying in her father’s arms. All hell breaks loose on the Batfamily, where we see Batman and Robin running for their lives inside the Batcave and a swat team setting a trap for Nightwing. This episode is the real deal because we’ve always wondered what would happen if someone close to Batman were to die. Especially on his watch, where he feels responsible. It’s the only episode in the entire series that deals with death, where throughout the shows run, they would go out of their way to depict that death really wasn’t on the table in this show. So to open an episode up with the death of Batgirl, really makes your head turn. This is just the first half of it! How far would you go if your own child died in your arms? Gordon felt that Batman was someone he could trust, someone he relied on for so many years, and not only did he keep this secret from him, but he didn’t do the one thing he should have done, protect his daughter at all costs. So when a man breaks, when his spirit is ripped in two, he will go to unspeakable lengths to try to seek revenge. So Gordon turns to one man who could take down the Bat, Bane. Seeing how this episode deals with such mature content, it’s a shame that it’s not in the old animation style because it feels less mature than it should because the new animation makes everything seem more childlike. Another classic episode that would benefit from the old animation style in my opinion. Bane’s design was flawless, it was walking perfection and they turned him into a dominatrix. Way to much leather and spikes if you ask me. After an epic battle on a rooftop that leaves Bane dead after using his last bit of energy to catapult Gordon and Batman from the roof. Thank god this was all a dream and Barbara was another victim of some classic Scarecrow fear toxin. You know that this is the case pretty much the second the episode begins but you can’t help but go along on this incredible journey. Grade A

“You would fight to the death?” – Bane   

11 – Riddler’s Reform. Season 3, Episode 23. Director: Dan Riba. Story: Paul Dini, Alan Burnett.

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Riddler’s Reform really explores the genius of The Riddler and how like every villain of Batman, their greatest strength usually is their greatest downfall. Pretending to go straight but the whole time is actually still committing crimes. It’s a fantastic end to The Riddler’s arc, truly standing out as one of Batman’s greatest foes in the shows run. The last little bit of this episode, The Riddler not being able to understand and solve the riddle of how Batman escaped his “perfect” trap, just sums up how unique and smart this show was. One of the things I loved about this version was how they made him kind of a bigger guy like if he had to come to blows with Batman he would be okay with it. He’s just not some scrawny guy hiding behind a computer screen. He is the embodiment of what I want to see for Paul Dano in the upcoming live-action Batman movie. Without a doubt the smartest villain amongst the rogue’s gallery always trying to be one step ahead. His biggest flaw, he almost wants to be caught, he’s always leaving cookie crumbs for Batman follow. He loves the thrill of the chase, even with making millions of dollars by going straight, he loves trying to be the smartest man in Gotham. He no longer needs crime, but can’t help himself, that’s the problem, these villains can’t truly be happy unless they are dealing with Batman. He’s addicted at trying to stump Batman, at trying to one-up him. The show also explores Batman’s genius, how he always finds a way to figure out whatever The Riddler is scheming. He really is the world’s greatest detective in this show. For once in this episode, The Riddler does get the best out of Batman and flexes on him at a party, which was odd to see. But in the end, it’s The Riddler’s own creation that is what Batman uses to finally put an end to him. Grade A+

“Those were things of the past Batman, ancient history that’s gone now. I’m a new man” – The Riddler

10 – HarleQuinade. Season 3, Episode 16. Director: Kevin Altieri. Story: Paul Dini

btas-season-2-header The defining Harley Quinn episode in my opinion. It sums up her character to a tee and perfectly depicts not only her relationship with the Joker but with herself as well. Incredible writing, tons of action, and it even as a great Cruel Intentions moment in the car. I guess this would have inspired that classic moment in that movie, where Harley is making funny faces at Batman while he drives the Batmobile, just a beautiful moment. Again, this show could have provided inspiration to another movie, you may have heard of it, The Dark Knight. The Joker entering the gang meeting at the beginning of the episode, strap with a bomb, turns out it’s fake, but it reminds me so much of that memorable scene, where Heath Ledgers Joker walks in on Gotham’s most dangerous criminals and puts them all to shame. Harley and Batman do make a unique but effective team, you get the sense that deep down maybe Harley is an anti-hero, she’s just always so internally conflicted about who she is because of her relationship with the Joker. Because on the opposite side of the coin sits Joker and this episode demonstrates truly just how evil that man is. He is willing to blow up the entire city of Gotham, with no remorse. He was willing to leave everyone behind including Harley, all of their friends and even Harley’s babies, her hyenas. She might be sick and twisted but she still has a heart and it really shows, and it’s a sweet and heartwarming moment. You finally understand what makes her tick and what exactly makes her so attracted to Mr. J. He was the first person to stop telling her their problems and start listening to hers, and that was the turning point in her life. Again for a kid’s show, they can go deep with the lessons and themes of an episode and explore things best they can. Lastly, this episode has a fantastic casino sequence that is freaking hilarious. Grade – A+

“We’re blowing town, literally” – The Joker 

9 – Dreams In Darkness. Season 1, Episode 28. Director: Dick Sebast. Story: Garfield Reeves

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A complete acid trip. The only way to describe one of the best overall episodes of this show. Batman Begins, where the Nolan trilogy all started. Well, we can thank this very episode for being one of the building blocks to its foundation. The plot of this episode poisoning Gotham’s water supply with a fear toxin by the Scarecrow, well Nolan clearly liked what he saw and improved on it just a little bit. But when Batman himself is exposed he wanders down a rabbit hole at almost lands him in Arkham forever. Scarecrow really is the MVP of villains for the first season of the show. 3 for 3 on his episodes, all classic stories being told, all executed to perfection. That’s why it’s such a let down that he’s never really seen again, not until they transform him into the Grim Reaper and change his entire design. Watching Batman trickle down slowly but surely into darkness, into madness is so bizarre to watch. Slowly watching him become what he fights every night, a crazed lunatic that can’t tell reality from fiction. The strongest minded superhero that DC has to offer, can’t grab a couple of power cords, it’s crazy to see Batman so weak-minded, afraid of anything that moves. One of my all-time favorite sequences in the show’s history occurs in this very episode. Batman descends further into madness literally and figuratively, as he ventures into the caves beneath Arkham Asylum. His mind racing as giant, larger than life versions of his most formidable foes, Poison Ivy, Penguin, Two-Face and the Joker come looking for a fight. The animation is just so beautifully crafted as each villain morphs into the next. Grade A+

“The great Batman scared out of his mind. How does it feel?” – The Scarecrow 

8 – The Demon’s Quest. Season 3, Episodes 4 & 5. Director: Kevin Altieri. Story: Dennis O’Neil

the-demons-questHas Batman finally met his match? It only took 3 seasons, but the world’s greatest detective finally meets his greatest foe, Ra’s al Ghul. When his trusty side-kick and Ra’s daughter are both apprehended on the same night, the two must work together in order to track them down. Ra’s has honestly one of the better introductions of any character in the show, surprising Batman in the Batcave alongside his own trusty side-kick Ubu. Batman can’t believe what he is seeing, someone not within his inner circle knowing the truth about his secret identity. Suspicious from the beginning, Batman agrees to tag along and join them on their journey as they try to locate the people that mean the most to them. Turns out, Ra’s daughter is none other than Talia al Ghul who Batman had once previously met, and the two took a liking to one another. This episode just has so much to offer, from Batman going outside Gotham city, and seeing him do Batman things all over the world. Being the great detective that he is and always knowing that Ra’s was full of shit, but playing his cards right. It sets up this vast world, where Batman realizes that he will face threats just no within Gotham City, that he will be needed all over the globe. Perfect voice casting again, by David Warner, it really makes the character of Ra’s come to life. The epic showdown in part two, both men shirtless sword fighting above a Lazarus Pit sticks out as one of the best scenes the show has to offer. Batman knows that Ra’s is his greatest enemy, yet his love interest for his daughter stands in the way of truly defeating him. This interpretation is something I would love to see in live-action and hope we maybe get to see someday down the line. Even the opening scene of Part 1, where Robin is entering his dorm building, climbing the side of the building in the pouring rain, really sticks out to me as just some top-notch beautiful animation. Grade A+

“The Demon’s Head, I thought you were only a legend” – Batman

7 – Feat of Clay. Season 1, Episodes 20 & 21. Director: Dick Sebast & Kevin Altieri. Story: Marv Wolfman.

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Without question, the best piece of animation this show has ever produced. Some of the best animation I can ever remember seeing in a cartoon. Considering how old this show is and how well this stands the test of time, really encompasses how much effort and heart went into making this show. Clay-Face a man who can become anything he wants, imagine trying to draw all these different designs and shapes and forms, must have been hours of work. Not only that, to produce such ingenious animation but also give us a beautiful story? Now they are just spoiling us! Clay-Face is such a Shakespearean character. He’s a tragic figure, one who you can’t help but feel sorry for. A lost cause who had to turn to crime because of a freak accident. A man of a thousand faces,  one of the few foes that Batman feels sorry for. He always tries to help his enemies, make them see the proper way, to believe that they can be saved, but Clay-Face hits a soft spot for our hero. There’s something poetic about him, the way he speaks, remember before his transformation, he was Matt Hagan, the once-great actor. He knows a thing or two about the dramatic side of things. That’s why he’s so appealing and such a worthy foe for Batman. The episodes are a ton of fun, introducing Roland Dagget, giving us numerous Batman vs. Clay-Face showdowns. One thing I love about this episode, Clay-Face might be grotesque and gross, but it’s Roland Dagget who is the true monster. Grade A+

“Hmm, Crimson Fever. Lousy way to go. No cure, you know.” Batman 

6 – I Am The Night. Season 2, Episode 21. Director: Boyd Kirkland. Story: Michael Reaves.

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This episode hits hard. Batman learns how important the people in his life are, and how valuable a single life can be. Batman is a lone wolf, he keeps his inner circle close, so when one of those people who are closest to him James Gordon is shot on the job, Batman can’t help but feel responsible. He respects and admires everything he stands for, he’s one of the few good cops left in Gotham, and he is the same age his own father would have been if his life wasn’t tragically taken. Batman asks himself one of the most important questions he will ever ask. “How much good has he really done in Gotham?” Because no matter how many times he stops the Joker, or Two-Face or Poison Ivy, he can’t help but see them back on the street. There is so much bad within Gotham, and he is just one man. Does being Batman creates a vortex for those closest to him down a darker path. Batman is just one man, he can’t be everywhere at once, and when he sees Gordon lying on the ground, it shatters his entire existence. Never give up, that’s something that Batman teaches Robin, and a phrase uttered back to him by Jim Gordon. Gordon looks up to Batman so much, what he stands for. The mutual respect between the two is palpable. The most mature episode ever made and gets better with each new viewing. This is summed up in a heartfelt and tear-jerking moment between the two men, in one of the best-written scenes in the show’s history.  The cherry on top of the sundae is the kid at the end of the episode telling Batman that he saved his life. Reminding Batman once again that he is doing good in this crazy world, and that he is, in fact, doing good in Gotham. Grade A+ 

5 – Second Chance. Season 3, Episode 24. Director: Boyd Kirkland. Story: Paul Dini. 

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Two-Face flipping his coin and having it land on edge sums up his character arc to perfection. He can’t decide what to do, his whole life is through chance and only does what the coin says, so it works out beautifully. Not only is this the crown jewel between Batman and Two-Face, everything that the show has built comes down to this. Two-Face has decided that he wants a clean slate. He’s going under the knife for surgery to fix his split personality disorder. The first step in his rehabilitation, first he fixes his body, then his mind. Unlike all other villains, Two-Face has a close personal connection with Batman. Before his accident, Harvey Dent and Bruce Wayne used to be the best of pals. So Batman has to come to grips with the fact, the person he once knew is no longer inside the mind of his friend. It’s an emotional dynamic between them, that is encapsulated so well in this episode. There is another relationship at play here. Batman and Robin, where Batman is trying too hard to help Dent, that he is blinded by how he treats Robin. One of the best interactions between them happens when Robin fails to stop a car and Batman says “he tried his best.” Robin says “yeah, I’m just the kid in tights.” One of the last few potential straws that break the relationship between these two. This is just a vital scene for what’s to come. It shows that no matter what happens Batman will always be there for Harvey and Robin will always be there for Batman. Even Penguin has a nice cameo, that shows that one rogue will never ever hurt another, it’s just not practiced in Gotham crime. Grade A+

“Good old Bruce, he’s never given up on me. He’s always been my best friend” Two-Face

4 – Robin’s Reckoning. Season 2, Episode 2 & 3. Director: Dick Sebast. Story: Randy Rogel

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By far my favorite “two-part” episode in the whole series. Robin was taken so seriously in this show, I loved how they made him a young adult who had problems. He wasn’t just some goofy kid like later on in the series. He had issues with how Batman conducted himself some times and would often struggle to navigate his decision making. When Tony Zucco, the man responsible for the deaths of Dick’s parents returns to Gotham, it’s a race against time in to see who tracks him down first, Batman or Robin. Another episode that dives deep into the mythos of Robin and it’s basically his origin story, not to mention it encompasses everything we know about their relationship. Just having Robin being older makes for better story-telling, it can be used to tell more mature stories and really hit home some meaningful messages. Robin has been waiting his entire life to get the revenge he thinks he deserves. So when Zucco arrives back in Gotham he can’t help but feel betrayed by Batman when he lies about it and asks him to sit this one out. When everything unfolds and Robin realizes that Batman in-fact does not have a stone-cold heart, but rather he was protecting him, is an emotional moment. Robin never realized that Zucco took so much from him that Bruce couldn’t fathom what it would be like if Zucco someone managed to take him as well. This whole time Robin thinks Batman is treating him like a little kid still, while he is protecting him from doing something he will ultimately regret, and something that might cause him to go down a dark and dangerous path. Robin gains even more respect for his crime-fighting partner and finally realizes that it’s not about revenge but doing what’s best. This is the Robin story I would like to see adapted in live-action. Grade A++

“He shuts me out, man, treats me like a kid!” – Robin

3 – Almost Got Im.’ Season 2, Episode 18. Director: Eric Radomski. Story: Paul Dini.

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There aren’t many more iconic shots in the show then the one right here. Five of Gotham’s most notorious baddies all sitting around playing cards. Just this interaction alone has to be enough to slot this episode into the top 3. For a short instance, these rogues seem normal, it’s poker night in Gotham, and besides trying to rip one another off, they have all decided to tell war stories about Batman. Like any card game, stories are shared and tempers are flared and each one of these people believe that they have come to closest to nabbing the Batman. Another episode that would surely pop as live-action, because seeing all these characters share the same screen together is simply a treat each time I watch it. Personally, I love how for once the bad guys aren’t doing bad guy things, just gathered around having a stick measuring competition. It makes them feel more human if you ask me. That’s the beautiful thing about this particular cartoon, the realism. Why wouldn’t Gotham’s most sought after criminals get together every once in a while? Here’s the thing, the greatest minds that Gotham has to offer, all sitting around, and not a single one of them realizes that this whole thing is a trap. Batman, much like his counter-parts is always pretty good at setting traps himself. Even the Joker, someone who thinks he knows Batman better than anyone is sitting across the table from him and doesn’t even realize it. Between that, and introducing the origin of the giant penny and how Two-Face used it to almost kill Batman, and how it now sits in the Batcave is one of my favorite Easter Eggs from the show. Finally, this episode delivers the most comedic sequence in the show’s history. Joker and Harley pump laughing gas into a room full of people and Batman is hooked up to a device that generates electricity when there’s laughter. So Harley starts reading the phone book and once they begin to laugh, the device starts to shock Batman, so Joker does the only logical thing, takes a hot dog and starts to roast it over his body. Jeeze, this show was perfect. Grade A++

“I threw a rock at him!” Killer Croc

2 – Heart of Ice. Season 1, Episode 14. Director: Bruce W Timm. Story: Paul Dini

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The episode that literally changed the game. The way we see a villain and the way cartoons could be actually taken seriously. Heart of Ice remains the most famous episode ever produced and some believe it’s one of the best pieces of Batman literature ever created. The way this show was able to transform villains who were often seen as joke and turned them into some of the best versions of bad guys this world has ever seen, is beyond me. Take Mr. Freeze, before this episode the world didn’t think twice really about him, but there approach to him. To make him cold as ice, as cheesy as that sounds, was such a unique spin that it changed how we viewed him forever. Lost of all emotion, he is unable to quantify not only his own but those around him. After the tragic accident, like most of Gotham’s villains, he had to turn to a life of crime. Another classic example of a person who was created by someone who Gotham believes is a well-respected member of their society. I love how throughout countless episodes, the true villain was always the person being rewarded or someone the city thought was a hero. As episodes go, they just don’t get much better than this, the only short-coming of Mr. Freeze was the lack of appearances from him. He’s in two episodes before they decided to totally destroy his character and that my friends is the biggest tragedy of the entire show. Grade A++

“That’s Mr. Freeze to you” Mr. Freeze 

1 – Two-Face. Season 1, Episodes 10 & 11. Director: Kevin Altieri. Story: Alan Burnett

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From the very get-go, you know this episode is special. How they deal with Harvey’s personality disorder, that really hadn’t been seen before when tackling his alter ego. Much like Mr. Freeze, this show decided to take a realistic approach to these characters and in my humble opinion, besides Batman, Two-Face is the crowning achievement of this series. The flipping of his iconic coin, the way he is slowly slipping further into the darkness, and his character design. The voice work, the design, his origin, it’s all so damn flawless. The way they explore the relationship between Bruce and Harvey, how their past friendship is clouding Batman’s judgment on how to handle the situation. It all leads to the greatest two episodes the show has ever produced. It breaks Batman that for the first time in his life he failed at protecting someone, not only as Batman but Bruce Wayne as well. The scream that Harvey lets out the moment he sees his reflection for the first time is the most haunting moment of the show, then Grace seeing him, her disgust and fear is what finally drives him away. It’s one of the best endings to any episode. When the show picks up for part two, it opens with a robbery, and the address is 222, clever. How the only muscle Two-Face uses are a set of identical twins, the show was just so ahead of its time, it just fit so well together. He is now Two-Face but can snap out of it whenever Grace’s name is mentioned, it’s always an inner battle going on inside his mind. Even the sound effects of the coin flipping through the air is perfect. All the little tidbits, when Thorne throws the newspaper in the fire, it burns the bad side of Harvey’s face first, when he cries at the end, it’s Graces face and his good side, making it seem like maybe he isn’t lost completely. Even Batman Forever stealing the coin-tossing trick, that Batman uses in order to stop Two-Face in the end. How without it, he doesn’t have control. His entire life is now based on chance, and the man and the friend that both Batman and Bruce Wayne knew, is gone. Grade A++

“This is my world now. A dichotomy of order and chaos, just like me” – Two-Face

The show was beyond anything we had ever seen before, and with every rewatch, which is two times a year, reminds me how lucky we are to have it in our lives.

News

Some DCEU News

Matt Reeves The Batman will drop June 25th, 2021. Only problem is, he’s going to have to find another Caped Crusader

Well this is the definition of bittersweet. It was just announced that after what feels like a lifetime, we will he getting another Batman solo flick. Here’s the catch, it will be without the greatest person to ever dawn the cape and cowl…..

That’s right. Ben Affleck after about 8 months of speculation is finally stepping away from the DCEU and that role will be going to a much younger man. After all the hype and the great moments we got with Bat-fleck, it’s a crying shame that we will never get to see him in his very own movie. It’s preposterous if you ask me. I’m not saying it was a waste, but what a major misstep by the people over at WB. I’m sad to see him go, I even made “Team Bat-fleck” shirts.

But when god closes a door, he opens a window. Or something like that. We are still getting a Batman solo flick in a little over 2 years. Now THIS NEXT PART IS VERY IMPORTANT. Get a man who is committed to the role. Who can take the criticism, who wants to be the Batman we all deserve. I have no clue who they want, who they are eyeing. We just know that they want someone younger. Some many choices, I’m not even going to name any people, because who knows which direction they will go in. Okay, I will. Oscar Isaac, would be a terrific Batman. He wouldn’t be as buff, but Batman doesn’t need to be that big, just look at the comics. He’s a fantastic actor who is used to be part of a large franchise and universe. I’m excited, Reeves wants to pull out the Rogues Gallery for this one, so expect to see many Batman foes. I pray we get to see, The Riddler, Two-Face and maybe Clayface. It’s just a depressing ass day. The DCEU, after trending upwards for so long, falters big time here.


In other news. James Gunn, the man behind Guardians of The Galaxy is making The Suicide Squad, also slated for 2021. A reboot of sorts, I dunno. I don’t care.

Reviews

‘The Dark Knight’ Ten Years Later

It’s been 10 years since Christopher Nolan’s comic book masterpiece. His finest work to date and still arguably the greatest comic book movie ever made.

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Christopher Nolan –  “You’ve changed things. Forever.”


Funny world we live in, can’t believe its been 10 years since I waited outside a packed theatre. The lineup was legitimately wrapped around the entire building. The hype was real, it was like nothing I had ever seen at this point in my life, and well Christopher Nolan and company didn’t disappoint. I saw The Dark Knight 9 times in the theatre, I couldn’t get enough of this experience. I was like LeBron James when he went to Miami – “Not one, not two, not three, not four.” It has everything you want in a movie, and I don’t mean just a comic book movie, this is such an enjoyable movie experience, it simply meets all your needs. One of the biggest takeaways all these years later, is that people forget that this just isn’t a comic book movie. It’s so much more. This movie simply changed the game, it changed everything. It took the world by notice, that comic book movies should be and can be taken seriously. Everyone saw this movie, even your Mom. People couldn’t stop talking about it, everyone wanted to be the Joker, everyone had their own Batman voice. Ever since this movie, other film makers have been trying to replicate this formula, without that much success (Power Rangers, Fantastic Four). Since the turn of the century this sticks out as one of the very best films we have set our eyes on, and remember you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.

Where does one even begin with this movie? The incredible opening scene, the best of any comic book movie to date. The way they introduce the Joker at the beginning of this film is so brilliant, and unique. Watching the bank heist in IMAX was such a treat. The whole premise of this bank job taking place with the Joker, yet the rest of the crew has no idea he’s sitting right in front of them, all while they are picking each other off one by one. I could rewatch this scene again and again and it would never get old. I think from the opening moments you knew that this would be something truly special. The way it was shot, the dialogue, everything about that opening scene was so different and transformative. It’s not like this is the only rewatchable scene in the movie, jesus the whole thing is rewatchable. Christopher Nolan was showing us moments that I will just never forget. The “sky-hook” scene and the 18-wheeler being flipped over are things that just blew me and the audience away. Speaking of the 18-wheeler, that entire sequence is one of my favourite in all of cinema. I remember seeing the trailers and knowing that the Batpod was going to make an appearance in the movie, and I kept waiting and waiting for it to show up, and when it finally does, and how they introduce it. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so hard during a movie. Gotta be one of the most “Batman” moments ever. Then the showdown between Batman and the Joker on the street – you know the one, HIT ME!!! Which ends with the reveal that Commissioner Gordon isn’t dead after all. Just next level movie making stuff. Dark, gritty, grounded are three words that surrounded this movie, it’s what Nolan built this franchise on. He took a character and moulded him the way he saw fit, and he didn’t rely on heavy CGI, insane action sequences to do so. When you think back to The Dark Knight, there isn’t much action to be had, in fact, for a summer blockbuster that just so happens to be a comic book movie, there is very little. His take on the Caped Crusader was so radical, that at first people didn’t know how to react. Since this trilogy, we have gotten another depiction of this character, which is more comic book like than Nolan’s approach. In Batman v. Superman and Justice League we see Batman fighting aliens from other worlds and teaming up with the worlds strongest heroes, that was not the reality in which Nolan’s universe took place. At the end of the day, I can never decide which version I like best. Scorn by critics alike, Ben Affleck’s Batman or “Batfleck” is incredible. People tend to forget that comic book characters are malleable. They can be shaped and formed however someone sees fit. Dark and gritty or fun and light. They can be part of a shared universe or not at all. These aren’t the things that make these movies special, it’s the vision, and having an idea about these characters that will, in the end, make them memorable. I say this because what followed Nolan’s Batman franchise was Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel movie, where you could tell from the trailers that it had a definite Nolan influence. Man of Steel turned out to be the greatest Superman movie ever made, and one of the best comic book movies made to date. People were thrown off about his interpretation of this beloved hero, but it was his take, just like Nolan’s take on Batman. The new Superman is just so different from Richard Donner’s 70’s hero, that people believed it was totally wrong. They can’t see that these characters can be whatever we want them to be, and if you can’t see where the artist is coming from, doesn’t  mean the artist is wrong.

It all started with the legendary Batman Begins, at the end of the movie where they tease the Clown Prince of Crime. Batman tells Commissioner Gordon that “he’ll look into it,” and that was our first mention of the Joker. When that happened fans everywhere were on pins and needles to find out who would be playing Batman’s greatest foe. So when Heath Ledger was pinned as the Joker, the world didn’t really know what to think. He was a heartthrob, known for Brokeback Mountain and 10 Things I Hate About You. People were on the fence about the whole thing, they wanted this to be right, and some people didn’t think it was a great fit. Well we all know how that turned out, not only did Heath give us the greatest comic book performance we have ever seen, he even won an Oscar for his role. We all know the tragedy that comes with this movie, sadly Heath died shortly before the films premiere.


Some men just want to watch the world burn. Words can’t really describe how I feel about the Heath situation, for so many reasons. His performance is hauntingly beautiful, where it’s almost put a curse on this character because I just don’t see anyone ever topping it. There will be other interpretations no doubt, there’s already been one, but something about his is just magical. Here’s the other thing, if Heath doesn’t die, I don’t really know what happens over at WB. I know Nolan always had his vision for his Batman trilogy, but if he’s alive, there’s no way he’s not part of the final installment of the franchise. Maybe it keeps going. There’s no way we don’t get to see him in this iconic role again. It’s saddens me to say that, because it sounds selfish, but the way we leave his character, just hanging and laughing hysterically because he believes he has beaten the Batman. I just have always wanted more from this Joker, I want to know what happens to him, why he’s never mentioned again. I know these are all unanswerable questions, it’s just every time I watch The Dark Knight, this is always something that crosses my mind. One of films biggest “what-ifs” because I personally think the DCEU might not be where it is today if he were still alive. There was just to much story to flesh out with his character. I always dreamed of WB releasing never before footage or a scene of the Joker, maybe we will get something this week, it’s a pipe dream, but a man can dream.

The movie flows pretty flawlessly, I’ll admit though, the ending does get a little cloudy and messy. I just don’t believe everything that happens, from the ferry scene and the cell phone stuff. Something just seems off about that bit of the movie, but that is a serious nit-pick. Everyone is sitting atop apex mountain. Nolan, Bale, Caine, Eckhart, Ledger, everyone is firing on all cylinders. Comic book movies just aren’t written like this, the screenplay is just brilliant. Comic book movies didn’t tackle things like politics and and philosophical discussion that comes with being a hero and a villain. The interrogation scene, is one of the best Batman/Joker confrontations just not in the movies, but in all of history as well. Joker knows that Batman has one rule, and the way he manipulates and deceives Batman is incredible.

Harvey, Harvey, Harvey Dent. I’m so bittersweet about how they handled this amazing villain. The way he is introduced. I remember my first viewing and when Batman walks into his warehouse, and realizing that Rachel is about to die, it really made you think. It’s such a powerful moment, and happens with the voice over of Rachel telling Bruce that she is going to marry Harvey Dent. Within Nolan’s trilogy it’s by far the most vulnerable we see Bruce Wayne, he is crushed that she is gone, because he believes she was going to wait for him. Two-Face is one of many iconic Batman rogues, and I know when they were making this film they didn’t know what was going to happen to Heath, but again it’s a real shame that they killed off Two-Face at the end, because I think there was so much more to explore with him. They could have adapted The Long Halloween or another great Two-Face story.

What more can I say about this masterpiece of cinema. From Hans Zimmer epic score, to the cinematography, the acting, and everything in-between. It not only helped shape the landscape for movies but how the audience and Academy perceive them as well . The backlash that followed when The Dark Knight wasn’t nominated for best picture, ultimately led to the Academy expanding the best picture nominee category. It’s hard to imagine another comic book movie taking up the mantle of greatest of all time. Because this is more than just a comic book movie, it feels so real. There aren’t any super powers or even super heroes involved. That’s why it’s so special, Nolan was able to tap into something unique and make this so grounded, that it was just about a man in a mask and terrorist clown. It’s everything around that, that makes this a truly special piece of film. The Dark Knight didn’t just set the standard for comic book movies today, but it set a standard for movie making itself. It will never grow old and will be a timeless classic. It’s easy to forget why this movie is so special, because so many comic book movies have been made since. But for me, this is always looked at as a crime thriller-drama, that just so happens to have a man in a batsuit chasing a man dressed up like a clown throughout a city. These two are truly destined to do this forever.

News

Where Does WB and DC Go From Here?

Who did it better? Answer is pretty simple.

94 million dollars. That’s what Justice League made its opening weekend at the domestic box-office. Avengers on the other hand made 208 million all the way back in 2008. It’s one of the most successful movies ever made, and highly regarded as one of the best CBM ever made. Fans alike are in an uproar over Justice League as word has been spreading about WB studios completely and utterly destroying Zack Snyder’s original cut and vision. So all in all, not a good weekend for WB and the DCEU. Now is it time for them to seriously consider hitting the panic button and rebooting all of this? Personally, I don’t think so, that would be a terrible move on their part because if you take fragments from Justice League and other DCEU you definitely have something there. Yes, it’s not as concrete as the MCU, but that is WB’s problem. It’s time for them to stop trying to “catch up” with Marvel and just do their own thing. That’s how we got into this whole mess in the first place…..

The Success of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy

Remember back in 1997 when Batman & Robin was released and people said it ruined comic book movies (for the time being) it was a simpler time then, no shared universes, no big summer blockbusters, in 1997 comic book movies just weren’t all the rage they are today. Superman was still dormant after the successful run of the Christopher Reeves movies and Tim Burton’s Batman’s were the talk of the town in the early 90s. When Nolan decided it was time to bring back the Bat in 2005 with Batman Begins, people didn’t really know what to think. I included, but I was young and stupid back then and it wowed critics and audiences alike. The new grittier, darker, grounded take on the Caped Crusader really resonated with people and the start of a trilogy was born. At this time there were no big Superhero franchises really occurring other than the Spider-Man trilogy which fell flat towards the end, and the X-Men trilogy that met the same fate. People didn’t think too much of comic book movies during this time. Teasing us with the Joker at the end of Batman Begins well three years later we got him in what I regard as the greatest sequel ever made, The Dark Knight. It made over a billion dollars at the box-office and Heath Ledger even won an Oscar for his portrayal as the Clown Prince of Crime. This trilogy finally finished in 2012 with The Dark Knight Rises which was another smash hit, these movies were met with the highest praise from fans and critics. So WB decided it was time to cash in on other DC Superheroes. They attached Zack Snyder to bring to life a Superman story in Man of Steel. They thought it would be reasonable to build their own universe and bring the same tone and themes from The Dark Knight trilogy and cast it upon these other DC heroes. Questions loomed whether Christian Bale would come back to play Batman for this universe and when he was out, they decided that Man of Steel would be their jumping-off point for the DCEU, and that’s where it all began…..

The Success of The MCU

“Tony Stark, I’m here to talk to you about the Avengers initiative…..” Are words that I and countless others will never forget. Those words were uttered back in 2008, a time when audiences weren’t too sure what a “post-credits scene” meant. We were unfamiliar with comic book universes, hell most of us were unfamiliar with Iron Man himself. But still, this started the MCU, and well the rest is as you know is history. Billions of dollars and 17 movies later the MCU is stronger than ever and is still going full steam ahead. In the first four years, they released five movies, all leading up to the highly anticipated Avengers. They had built a solid foundation for their shared cinematic universe, something we fans were not accustomed to. Meanwhile, over at DC, they were still going strong with the Batman Nolan trilogy, but they had ZERO plans of following suit and starting a cinematic universe for their heroes. The Nolan Batman trilogy ended the same year the Avengers came out, and once the Avengers dropped, people realized, that all their movie-going experience over the last 4 years had finally paid off! They got to see a real Superhero team-up movie, and not only that, it was quite the spectacle. At that moment, WB knew they needed to follow suit and even other Hollywood studios knew that a “shared universe” was the way of the future. This is where things get messy for DC and Warner Brothers. because well Marvel was already six movies deep, built this incredible vast shared universe, and well DC was at ground zero. Even today, as I’m writing this, the DCEU has only put out FIVE movies, and most of those movies have been met with mixed reactions. The biggest problem with DC is they kind of want to be like Marvel, well here’s the thing, don’t be. Do it your own way, you have so many incredible characters and stories to tell, that you don’t need to follow Marvel’s plan. Just put out great movies, with great directors and tell us those amazing stories we have been reading our entire lives. DC feels the need to play “catch up” well you can’t. When the Avengers came out, WB had no plans for a Justice League movie, that was not on anyone’s mind, no Batman was planned, no Green Lantern, and not even Wonder Woman. The only movie they had coming out of the DC pipeline was Man of Steel. That being said they were so far behind from the get-go that attempting to even do that was so nonsensical and studio heads should have known better. This leads me into my next segment.

The Reaction To The DCEU Movies So Far

The year is 2013, Nolan’s TDK trilogy is no longer with us, and DC is using Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel as the launching point for the new DC world. I remember at the time, I wasn’t the biggest Superman fan, I really didn’t know a whole lot about the character except for what I had read in some comics. The trailers started pouring in and I was hooked instantly. I was intrigued with the new outlook and take on the classic character. Don’t get me wrong, Superman is a very difficult character to bring to life on the big screen. He’s essentially unstoppable so anyone you pin against him, is no match, his powers are unlimited. Henry Cahill was tapped to play the Man of Steel and he looked like he was literally ripped from the comic books. The rest of the cast was incredible with Michael Shannon, Amy Adams Diane Lane, and Kevin Costner. They were trying a new take, and it wasn’t met with the best reactions. They went with the TDK template, and they changed his mythos and overall character and it was met with some serious backlash. They wanted to ground his character as philosophy and Snyder certainly had a vision for him. Man of Steel just kind of fell short of expectations and more importantly didn’t do what Iron Man did all the way back in 2008, which was beginning a “shared universe.” Personally, I loved Man of Steel, from the cinematography to Hans Simmer’s epic score, I fell in love with this Superman, just it wasn’t the start to the new DC universe WB wanted. After the slow start with Man of Steel, WB decided to kick things into high gear and announced Batman v. Superman and everyone lost their goddamn minds. I remember it was at Comic-Con and they gave the Batman speech to Superman at the end of The Dark Knight Returns, and I thought to myself, “if they pull this thing off in live-action, it will be the greatest thing ever made.” Shortly after, they pinned Ben Affleck to play the Caped Crusader, and the internet was very torn. From the get-go, I have always believed Affleck would kill it as Batman, and he has honestly been the best thing in the DCEU so far. Later they grabbed Gal Gadot to play Wonder Woman, and no one was on board with that decision. Only being in a few Fast and Furious movies, people didn’t know if she had the acting chops to play this role. That’s all in the past now, because Gal was born to play the warrior princess. Everything behind Batman v Superman, from the trailers, the ads, posters, seemed like this was going to be a home run. Then it was released………..

Shortly after the release of Batman v Superman fans were divided, critics were firmly set in place and executives over at WB were dumbfounded about their situation. They just released a movie with both Batman and Superman and even Wonder Woman, and boy it was not met with a positive reaction. I think this was the start of the downfall for the DCEU. Now we had another DCEU movie coming out in 2016, Suicide Squad, which was put together with duck tape and glue. Script was written in 6 weeks, and this movie ended up being a complete and utter disaster. The trailers for this movie were incredible, I couldn’t wait and I haven’t watched Suicide Squad since opening night. The biggest takeaway was obviously reintroducing The Joker, making Jared Leto a soccer hooligan. Stick to what you know, don’t drastically change this iconic character, especially after what Heath Ledger did in TDK. Leto was just okay, there wasn’t enough of him, and now his future in the DCEU is up in the air. Harley Quinn was the best part of the movie, Margot Robbie was born to play her, and I really hope she comes back because I think in a better movie, under better direction, she could probably give a Ledger-type performance in a future DCEU movie. So 3 movies in a row for WB and the DCEU and three strikes. You’re out right? Well, thank the lord for Patty Jenkins and Wonder Woman, because they were up next. We waited almost a year for the next DCEU movie to hit theatres and it was worth the wait. Wonder Woman, the most successful film of the year (so far), 92 percent of Rotten Tomatoes, the highest prior to that was 55% for Man of Steel. People thought this could be the turnaround WB needed, Wonder Woman felt fresh, felt like Patty Jenkins had passion behind this project, that it wasn’t rushed and it was just a simple origin story movie. It’s exactly what the doctor ordered. The DCEU was saved! Or so we thought. Well then the marketing campaign started for Justice League and well we all know how this turned out. I already wrote a ton of Justice League, I’ll say this, it’s a bummer what happened to Zack’s movie, that isn’t right, I hope we see his cut of the movie because it does sound amazing.

What I think WB Needs To Do Going Forward

Batfleck is out, it sucks, but I have come to terms with it. The worst part is, I think Matt Reeves is going to make a special Batman solo movie and only Ben Affleck should star in it. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe he will stick this thing out for one last movie, his solo movie, and if that day comes and he’s in the Matt Reeves solo Batman movie. MY GOD.

Warner Brothers. here’s the thing. STOP, stop trying to be like Marvel. Stop trying to play catch up, just go out at your own pace. Stop trying to force these things on us. Great stories take time to tell, just like in the comics. The best comic writers didn’t pile so much shit into each issue, they took their time and flushed great stories out over many issues. It’s time to shift focus not on team-ups but solo movies. We have Aquaman coming out next December. Let James Wan do his thing with this movie. Don’t mettle, don’t interfere, you don’t bring on a brilliant filmmaker like Wan and then make him follow a strict guideline. Maybe sprinkle in a cameo of some sort. Cyborg? Here’s my thing with Cyborg, he was great, I wanted to see more. Does he need his own solo movie? No! But he can be the League member who pops up in everyone else’s solo flicks. Ray Fisher is the least famous cast member and probably the least expensive, so use that to your advantage. Cyborg is the jack of all trades, he can do so much, so why not have him come help everyone out. That makes so much sense to me. If he sticks with fans and the audiences after a few cameos then yes, green light that solo movie. Find directors and people that are super passionate about these characters and want to tell their stories, that want to bring these characters to life in a grand fashion. You have one year to figure all this out because you are back at square one. There are so many great stories out there about these characters, more stories than you could imagine, pick one and adapt it, it’s not rocket science. Personally base most of these solo movies of the New 52 comic book run.  Don’t make a Joker origin story movie, we don’t need that. We don’t need a Suicide Squad 2, or Batgirl film. Stick to the basics, stick to the basics, stick to the basics. Also, call in the big guns, and I mean Dwayne Johnson. Get that man in the Shazam movie, make him badass, and make him a big part of Justice League 2. He doesn’t need a solo movie. Black Adam and  Shazam are like peas and carrots, they belong together. The Rock saves franchise, use him while you can and before he bails. I would rather wait a little longer and get great stories, incredible movies, and successful ones, than have WB rush all of this out and make the DCEU as forgettable as it’s slowly becoming. DC fans deserve much better than what has transpired thus far, I know and I think deep down WB knows it.

Check ya later.

Reviews

‘Justice League’ Final Trailer

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Ben Affleck was born to play Batman.

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Warner Brothers. really saved the best for last didn’t they? Has any comic book movie been under more pressure, and had more going on behind the scenes than any that have come before it. There is a TON of pressure on Justice League, from fans, critics, box-office success, and just over-all people being happy and this finally leading the DCEU in the right direction. All I want is for this movie to be successful, I love all of these characters, we deserve a great Justice League movie, and I think this was a really fantastic last trailer. Things are finally taking shape and really coming together for this movie, and this trailer showed us that, and I think the die hard fans will be pleased, but I also think those that were on the fence about this movie will come back around and be intrigued enough to be in the theatre opening weekend.

There is a ton of new footage here and plenty of stuff we have already seen. I feel like we got the Joss Whedon effect in the trailer, in terms of everyone seems to be happy and smiling and even The Dark Knight himself was cracking jokes. It feels a little lighter in tone, but it does remain to have that dark presence, and this still feels like a Zack Snyder movie and that is totally okay with me. This will still be his movie, but Joss came on just to like decorate the cake. Zack baked it, but now it just needs its finishing touches. 40 more days until we all finally get to sit down and experience this for ourselves, and I’m just pretty nervous for everyone involved, like I said above, there is just a lot riding on the success of this movie.

Once again I think Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller were the highlights, they seem to really stand out from everyone else in the league. Aquaman might already be the coolest superhero we have ever seen in a comic book movie. The man is a rock star and everything we have seen so far of him has just blown me away. Ezra Miller will truly be the comic relief for this film, and he’s just got some great comedic timing. The visuals are simply stunning, the shot of Batman standing in front of the Batwing was so badass. We all knew the visuals would be top notch, it is a Zack Snyder movie after all, but now with 3 trailers, I think they just got this right. The trailer proved to us, and it was Warner Brothers. telling us that, it’s okay fans, we got this. I couldn’t be happier we didn’t get to see Superman, and the dream sequence was the perfect way to tease him. We don’t need that big reveal in the trailers, that was really well done by the marketing team.

So buckle up because this movie is going to be a roller coasting and November 17th needs to just get here already, because this wait has been killing me.

Check ya later.

Reviews

‘Justice League’ Looks Promising 

Christmas in July, is the best kind of Christmas.

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You know a trailer is pretty dope, when you have to watch it on your phone a few times and it still tickles your fancy. Been waiting a long time for the newest Justice League trailer to drop, and it didn’t disappoint. Pretty much perfect if you ask me. a

First things first, the past few days, it’s been rumored that my boy the Batfleck is leaving the cape and cowl. He’s got some serious personal problems, so at the end of the day, it’s just a movie and fans should understand if he wanted to step away. But today at San Diego Comic-Con, he nipped those claims in the butt himself and promised fans that he isn’t going anyway. That’s a huge sigh of relief for me anyways. He’s the best part of the DCEU, and it really needs him to stick around.

Back to the trailer, everything about it was really well done. I’m glad they didn’t show too much or ruin any big surprises. Still no Superman, and they haven’t really shown off the villain Steppenwolf either. The less we know going into this movie the better. The Flash is hilarious, the little gag at the end of the trailer about everyone just vanishing was fantastic and it’s so true. He’s got a great sense of comedic timing and will give the DCEU a much-needed comedic boost. Aquaman continues to be a rock-star, he actually came on stage today at SDCC playing his trident like a guitar, so Jason Mamoa remains to be a beauty. Like he surfed on a Parademon, what more do you want from the man.  Even Cyborg looked way better than he did in the first trailer. So hopefully that will shut some people up that were complaining about the CGI months ago.

Happy we got to see Alfred in this. He seems to be playing a vital role in the movie and well I’m going to come out and say this, he’s the best Alfred we’ve ever had. He didn’t nearly have enough screen time in BvS. His Penguin reference was also interesting, that’s two Batman villains the DCEU has teased now, with The Riddler and now The Penguin. Commissioner Gordon appears again, in what seems like his only scene of the movie, but it’s shaping up to be one hell of a scene.

Listen WB has a ton riding on this movie. But it feels and looks so much different than anything that has come before it. I mean that in the best way possible. I think Zack Synder and company really listened to fans and changed up not only the tone of the movie but added in some colour as well. I’m sure we will get one last trailer in the upcoming months, but I’m sold on this movie and I’m sure everyone else is too. Let’s just hope Ben Affleck isn’t pulling a fast one on us because I need the Batfleck in my life.

Check ya later.

Reviews

Ranking Every ‘Batman The Animated Series’ Episode Part 4/5

“Well that was fun, who’s for Chinese?”

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You know the drill by now, here are episodes 42-23!!

42 – Trial. Season 3, Episode 12. Director: Dan Riba, Story: Paul Dini

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So many of Batman’s villains, all in one place! Batman is on trial people, after the new district attorney feels that he is actually a burden on Gotham. He promotes more crime and ends up doing more harm than good. It’s really awesome seeing his entire rogues gallery interacting with one another, and almost working together. They all want one thing, to see Batman go down, but not before finding out his true identity. One thing about this episode is, it sort of feels rushed. Having all these great charters together, you could have maybe stretched this out to be a two-parter. A few episodes in this section suffer from that same fate. Joker playing the judge is actually hilarious, and it turns out that Batman is responsible for a lot of the villains in Gotham. I hope that the writers of The Batman live-action take a few notes from this episode, seeing how they want a lot of his rouges gallery to appear in the up-coming live-action movie! Grade B

“I just wanna say, if there was no Batman, there’d be no Joker, and I’d have never met my Puddin’. Thank you, Batman.” – Harley Quinn 

41 – Catwalk. Season 3, Episode 18. Director: Boyd Kirkland, Story: Paul Dini

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Selina Kyle is bored, she’s got nothing going on in her life. No longer dressing up like a cat and robbing people, Catwoman is no longer a part of her life. Until the Ventriloquist wonders if she still had an itch to suit up. Well guess, she does. So when he asks her to steal something from Gotham socialite Veronica Vreeland, Scarface ends up double crossing her. When she’s stealing one thing, they are doing another job. I just love the interaction between these two villains, and I enjoy watching a vulnerable Catwoman, as she is trying to decide what’s the best life for her. It’s always interesting with the Ventriloquist, because when Scarface usually goes bye bye, it’s a weird and emotional bit. He’s just a puppet, but he’s more than that to his creator. Always found that intriguing. Grade B 

“Now we’re gonna found out if there really is more than one way to skin a cat.” – Scarface 

40 – What Is Reality? Season 2, Episode 20. Director: Dick Sebast, Story: Marty Isenberg

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Another great Riddler story! This time he sends Gotham PD a nice little present. A virtual reality video game, and when the commish gets stuck inside, it’s up to Batman to save him. This is a fantastic episode and one that really showcases Riddler’s intellectual side and his passion for riddles. Watching Batman battle wits with The Riddler is always a pleasure to watch, people can forget just how smart Batman is, he’s more than just a brawler. I always thought this episode would make for a great live action bit, and would be a great way to showcase The Riddler on the big screen. With the Riddler Easter egg we got in BvS, he might show up sooner rather than later! Grade B

“Careful, vigilante, you know what they say. Curiosity killed the Bat”. – The Riddler 

39 – The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne. Season 2, Episode 9. Director: Frank Paur, Story: David Wise

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Man, they really screwed the pooch on this one. This would have made the best two part episode, but instead, sadly they crammed it all into one. Dr. Hugo Strange has built a machine that sees people’s thoughts. When Bruce Wayne goes to visit, well the good doctor finds out his secret identity. I love Hugo Strange, he was so incredible in Batman: Arkham City, and he’s only ever in this one episode, which is another failure on its own. When he ransoms off the video tape to The Joker, Two-Face and the Penguin, they are licking their chops to get their hands on this tape. That’s right, these three villains are in this episode, together, sharing scenes and it’s great. Another reason why I felt that this episode was rushed. You can’t have these three guys come together for only 5 minutes, it’s just a tease. At one point Two-Face and Penguin pull out guns and the Joker pulls out flowers and it’s so funny. In the end, Batman is able to pull one over on Strange, in a really clever way. It’s just a shame we really only get one episode like this, honestly it’s one of my favourites. Grade B+ 

“That’s absurd! I know Bruce Wayne. If he’s Batman, I’m the King of England.” – Two-Face

38 – Sideshow. Season 3, Episode 10. Director: Boyd Kirkland, Story: Michael Reaves

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The start of this episode!!! Croc on a train, chained up and the guards are laughing at him. Well until he tells them, that crocodiles have the strongest jaw and boom he’s free! Batman shows up and it’s pretty awesome how he hunts and tracks Croc through the woods, and well almost gets smashed by a giant rock (hopefully you get that reference). Croc stumbles across a band of misfit circus freaks, and they welcome him in with open arms. Obviously he lies about who he is and what he is doing in their neck of the woods. When Batman shows up, they think he’s the bad guy, until Croc shows his true colours. I remember this episode clear as day from my childhood, the fight on the water wheel at the end is something I’ll always remember from this show. It’s one of the very few episodes I actually remember watching as a child, so it holds a special place in my heart. Doesn’t hurt that it’s also a great episode. Grade B

“You said you could be yourself out here, remember? I guess that’s what I was doing. Being myself.” – Killer Croc

37 – Growing Pains. Season 4, Episode 8. Director: Atsuko Tanaka, Story: Paul Dini

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The final appearance of Clay Face, is also his saddest episode. Such a troubled soul, and has some of the most emotional episodes this show has to offer. This is also a incredible character building episode for Tim Drake’s Robin. The run down is this, Robin meets a girl, who can’t seem to really remember to much about herself. Robin begins to develop feelings for her. But something is off with her, and he can’t seem to figure out what it is. She’s looking for someone, and her “father” is looking for her. Turns out it’s Clayface, and she’s just a part of him. When we last saw Clayface he fell into the water, but managed to create this girl to go off and find a cure. Robin is devastated when he finds out, that not only is she not real, that he can’t save her. It’s just really sad and emotional to see him find out that sometimes in life, things just don’t work out. The quote I attached to his episode sums it up perfectly. Batman knows all too well about being broken, and he can see the pain that Robin is going through, but he can’t do anything to ease his pain. One of the episodes I wish took place during the first three seasons. It’s a shame really.

“Sometimes there are no happy endings.” – Batman

36 – Sins of The Father. Season 4, Episode 2. Director: Curt Geda, Story: Rich Fogel

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Tim Drake’s origin story. As we find ourselves without Dick Grayson being Batman’s sidekick. For the new Robin, they blended both Tim Drake and Jason Todd, both having unique characteristics, and compelling backstories. So the writers decided to go with the name Tim Drake, but he has parts of Jason Todd inside of him. When Tim’s dad goes missing and Two-Face is looking for him, Batman gets tangled up in this mess as well. I loved how they took a Batman villain and made him be a part of Robin’s origin. Am I fan of Robin being a little kid, absouletly not. It just made the show feel more childish, something I didn’t like about the revamp. But this is a great episode none the less, and one of the better episodes from the final season. Grade B

“Yeah, my dad used to work for old puke-face” Tim Drake 

35 – On Leather Wings. Season 1, Episode 1. Director: Kevin Altieri, Story: Mitch Brian

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There’s no better feeling, than when I put in season 1, disc 1, and the theme for ‘On Leather Wings’ starts playing. The start of the journey, and it’s a kick ass start. This is an all around fantastic episode. It certainly feels like the first episode also, with everyone out to get Batman, even Commissioner Gordon is unsure of the Cape Crusader at this point in the show. Harvey Dent is just the DA, and shows no signs of his alter ego, and even Batman feels like the new guy in town. I’ve always been a huge fan of the Man-Bat and they do him serious justice in his first episode. This is a rare episode that almost feels like it could be adaptive to live-action quite easily, just the way it looks and feels. It feels like such a classic Batman story, and there’s honestly no better way to start the show off. From Harvey and his S.W.A.T team attempting to take down Batman, from even the interactions between Batman and Alfred, I just love this episode so much. It’s honestly one of the Batman stories I’ll never forget. Grade B+

“I gather you’ve been reading, How to Make Friends and Influence People”. – Alfred 

34 – Pretty Poison. Season 1, Episode 5. Director: Boyd Kirkland, Story: Paul Dini

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Harvey, Harvey, Harvey Dent. Was totally getting it on with Poison Ivy!!! What a dirty dog. These are the little things I love about this show. Poison Ivy’s first appearance in the show and I just really love this episode. She’s pissed because well Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent destroyed a ecosystem to make room for well a prison. A little ironic if you ask me. But when they did this, they destroyed a very rare plant. So rare that Poison Ivy now holds the remaining one and she’s used it to create a deadly toxin. When she kisses Harvey after a date, he slips into a coma, and it’s up to his pal Bruce/Batman to save him! A few things I love. It shows just how close Bruce and Harvey were before his “accident” and just how good of a person he truly was. The whole Poison Ivy kiss thing too, well that craptastic Batman & Robin movie totally stole that move! I always get a kick out of Bullock interrogating the chef and asking him what he put in the chocolate mousse. Batman also fights a giant Venus Fly Trap, and that’s totally badass! I was always a huge fan of Poison Ivy in this show, they portrayed her so well and this just happens to be her best episode. Grade B+

“Batman. A late night rendezvous? To what do I owe the honour?” – Poison Ivy 

33 – Legends of The Dark Knight. Season 4, Episode 19. Director: Dan Riba, Story: Robert Goodman

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Three different Batman stories in one episode! Different animation styles and voices! This is a very special and unique episode to say the least. It takes all sorts of different elelments from the 80s and the 50s, as we see kids telling their take on the Dark Knight. We they are confronted by Firefly, it’s up to Batman to stop him. My favourite part is by far the Dark Knight Returns part. Seeing how that’s one of the greatest Batman stories of all time. I love his fight with the Mutant Leader. And love the actual animated two part movie that came out a few years ago. They tried hard to make that happen in BvS, but that didn’t turn out too well. Grade B

“Batman! I call you coward! Come out and face your death like a man! I kill you! I eat your heart! I show you who rules Gotham City!” Mutant Leader 

32 – Vendetta. Season 1, Episode 23. Director: Frank Paur, Story: Michael Reaves

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Killer Croc’s first episode! And let me tell you, it’s a real doozy. I can never say enough good things about this character, especially when he’s done right. His appearances in the first three seasons are nothing short of spectacular, and well, they straight up RUINED him in the revamp. So Bullock has been framed for doing a lot of shady things, and no one seems to believe him. Until Batman gets on the case, and starts putting together the pieces to this puzzle. One thing I’ll never forget with this episode, will be the actual introduction to Croc. When Batman finds his underwater cave lair, which is so badass by the way, and hell of scary. When he appears from the water, it was actually really frightening as a child. He wasn’t always the brightest crayon in the box, but physically, he was always a lot for Batman to handle. This is another great Bullock episode, that deals with his past and how he just has so many enemies. That mixed with a great Croc story, makes for one hell of an episode. The fight in the sewer at the end, is one of the best action/fights, this show has to offer. This is the incarnation of Killer Croc I would love to see in live action, because I think it is simply perfect. Grade B+

“Terrific. Just what I need now. The freak job in the cape.” – Killer Croc

31 – Read My Lips. Season 3, Episode 8. Director: Boyd Kirkland, Story: Alan Burnett

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Honestly, this show really waited a long time to introduce this awesome villain. I know, it’s a doll, I know the concept seems so stupid. But this show did this character right. This is such a fascinating and complex episode, and it’s such a shame it takes so long to introduce this guy. The Ventriloquist is actually quite the badass, and honestly one of the more impressive villains the show has to offer. He’s smart, has the best muscle, Rhino is the biggest goon this show has to offer. When Batman finally understands what is going on, it’s so cool for him to be kind of impressed with a bad guy, and Arnold’s ventriloquism skills. He’s the best he’s ever seen, and he was once trained by one of the greatest. It’s just such an interesting concept, the audience never really knows who is fully in control, is it Arnold Wesker or is it Scarface? When Batman uses some ventriloquism of his own, Scarface points a gun at Arnold’s head, when he thinks he is the rat among their group. It’s one of the most intense scenes, that ends with one of the more violent acts the show ever produces. Scarface gets riddled with bullets, and I know it’s just a doll, but it’s very violent and it symbolizes a ton. The back and forth between Scarface and his creator is incredible, and the vote acting is so perfect. It also has a very dark ending, with Arnold supposedly healed in prison, but when he is crafting another doll head, and stabs a knife into its wooden face, and starts dragging the knife down its face, makes for a very haunting moment. This episode really has everything I want in a Batman animated cartoon, it’s damn near perfect. Grade B+

“Now, Mr. Scarface, remember your blood pressure!” – Ventriloquist 

30 – Time Out of Joint. Season 3, Episode 17. Director: Dan Riba, Story: Alan Burnett

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Temple Fugate, what a name. Actually in Latin it means ‘time flies’ now that’s pretty neat.  This should be a stupid, terrible, hilariously bad Batman villain, but guess what? He’s actually a smart, sophisticated and worthy opponent. Again, I can’t say this enough about certain characters, that just never got enough screen time in this show, and the Clock King is one of them. This is his second and last appearance in the show, and it’s a really fun and interesting episode. Time obsessed, Clock King is back on the scene, but this time, he literally has the power of time on his side. Stealing a device from a scientist, he is now able to manipulate time itself, and he is committing crimes using this very device. He’s full of hatred for Mayor Hill, but I’ll save that for his other episode! He wants to kill the Mayor this time around, and well, lets just say he wants him to go out with a bang. There’s an awesome part in this episode, where Clock King attaches one of these time devices to the bat-mobile, and Batman and Robin get stuck in time for a brief moment, and when they are able to break free a few days have past, and I just always thought that was really cool. Batman gets to show off his brains in this episode too, because well the show always did a great job, showing us that he’s more than just a brawler. I just never would have expected to enjoy this villain as much as I do, so I give tons of credit to the writing staff of this show, for making this guy interesting and giving us great stories, for who is honestly, a C level bad guy. Grade B+

“A trial run, and it went like clockwork!” – The Clock King 

29 – Mudslide. Season 2, Episode 24. Director: Eric Radomski, Story: Alan Burnett

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Its a shame he wasn’t in more episodes, but before the revamp apparently Clayface was super expensive to animate and thats why he wasn’t in more episodes. Sad episode, about love and wanting to be loved. Stella, who once worked with Hagen on set, is misguided and loves Matt Hagan, not Clayface. She knew him before the accident and even still watches his movies (creepy, right!) she wants him to return to normal so they can be together once more. A lot of movie and popular culture references in this one. Batman wants to help Clayface, but he’s deranged and insane, so he assumes the worst of him, but he wants to give him the same treatment the Stella is using. Always loved when Clayface absorbed Batman and tried to suffocate him to death, and when Batman bursts out of his body, it makes for an awesome moment. The ending is really sad, when Clayface falls to his apparent death, he was such a tortured character. It’s just a poetic episode, with a  lot of meaning behind it, I’ve always had a soft spot for Clayface, he’s a fantastic character, I really loved his appearance in Arkham City, again he was used to perfection. He’s one of those villains that deep down you are somewhat rooting for. He never asked to be Clayface, and now he just wants to go back to his normal ways, he just has a misguided way of going about it.  Grade B+

“Too late, curtains going down” – Clayface 

28 – Perchance To Dream. Season 2, Episode 2. Director: Boyd Kirkland, Story: Laren Bright

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Bruce Wayne vs. Batman! Honestly what more can a Batman fan ask for? This episode is a rollercoaster of emotion, with so much going on. Batman is in pursuit of a few petty criminals, and all of a sudden he sees a bright light. When he wakes up, well lets just say there are a few changes to his life. The biggest one being that well his parents are alive, and oh yeah, he’s no longer Batman. Shocked by this revelation, Bruce Wayne can’t really explain what is going on. He is thrilled to have his parents back in his life, but he is confused. When he goes to see Leslie Thompkins, she tells them that he has created an alternate reality, one in which he is Batman and his parents were murdered that fateful night. He’s even set to marry Selina Kyle, who is no longer Catwoman. Bruce couldn’t be happier with his new life, and he believes that his nightmare is finally over. Until he tries to read the newspaper and well can’t make out a single word. When he realizes he is in a fantasy world, and this is not real, he is full of rage and anger. When he discovers that Mad Hatter is behind all of this, because of how he ruined his chance with Alice, Bruce Wayne is so full of rage and anger he does the only thing he can do. He kills himself inside this dream world so he can awake in real time. This episode for me asks so many questions. What if his parents never died, would he still become Batman? What does he truly want out of his life? What makes him happiest, having his parents or being Batman and protecting people. But Batman decides he would rather have his parents be dead, then live in a world that is a lie, no matter how attractive that lie or dream may be. It’s a really powerful episode, that leaves Batman and Bruce Wayne searching for answers, and you realize just how much being Batman means to Bruce Wayne. Grade A-

“Oh, but it is! It’s a beautiful story! You have love, wealth, a family, all you ever wanted! Your own private Wonderland!” – Mad Hatter

27 – Bane. Season 3, Episode 19. Director: Kevin Altieri, Story: Mitch Brian

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BANE!!!! Remember when they tried to make Bane cool in Batman & Robin? Remember how they failed miserably, but at the same time, they kind of had the right idea? Then The Dark Knight Rises came around, and they grounded the shit out of the character? Both time, they just couldn’t find a common medium for Bane, one of my all time favourite Batman villains. But you know who did? The creators and writers of this show, because in my personal opinion, Bane from BTAS is the best representation of the character outside the comic books. Sadly, like usual, he really only appears in one episode. Until the revamp and they change his look so much, that he kind of looks like a dominatrix. Bane shows up to Gotham, after Rupert Thorn pays him to kill the Bat. He wants to get his attention first, and there’s a great scene when he crosses paths with Killer Croc in the sewer, you don’t see anything go down, just the shadow of Bane becoming bigger after his venom injection. It’s a really great scene, but I would have loved to see, Batman’s two biggest physical foes go toe-to-toe. The way he looks, the way he talks, his accent is perfect, and for me, they made Bane the perfect size. He’s not so big, that it looks fake, and he’s not so small, that he doesn’t tower over Batman. They have a great fight scene, and there’s actually a pretty scary part when Bane chases down Robin. Can’t say enough good things about how they represented Bane in this show! Grade B+

“You can’t do this to me, I am invincible, I am Bane!” – Bane 

26 – The Clock King. Season 1, Episode 25. Director: Kevin Altieri, Story: David Wise

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The Clock King is back! This time around, it’s his origin story. See Temple Fugate was a simple man, and he kept a very strict schedule. One day he just so happens to be sitting beside the soon to be Mayor Hill. When Hill tells him to change up his schedule and not be so tight, Fugate listens. When that backfires on him, and he loses everything, he goes into hiding. Resurfacing as the Clock King, out for revenge on the Mayor. He’s such a simple villain, but like I said during his previous episode, he actually is a challenge for Batman. Time obsessed can really come in handy, and he just always knows what he is doing, and always seems to be one step ahead. The battle at the end between him and Batman, in Gothams clock tower is pretty awesome, and actually Kevin Conroy gives one of his best Batman war-cries during this encounter. I also really enjoy Batman having a great MacGyver moment, when he’s stuck inside the bank vault and somehow is able to escape using only a cassette tape, pretty awesome Batman moment. It seems like Fugate goes out like a boss, and crumbles with the tower itself, but we all know that’s not the case. One of the best origin episodes for any villain in this show, big fan of the Clock King! Grade B+ 

“The 9:15, is always 6 minutes early” – The Clock King 

25 – His Silicon Soul. Season 3, Episode 7. Director: Boyd Kirkland, Story: Marty Isenberg

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Imagine Batman mixed with The Terminator. Because that’s pretty much what this episode is about. Remember H.A.R.D.A.C? The giant computer that made robot copies of the important people of Gotham? Well right before it got blown sky-high, it made one last copy, of Batman. The start of this episode is pretty awesome, as we see some petty thugs inside a warehouse, where they are trying to steal some goods. When they come across a box and open it, it appears Batman has come to save the day. You don’t really know what’s going on because they make such good use of shadows and the lightning that’s occurring outside. But when Batman is shot, well turns out he’s a robot. There’s a pretty deep emotional message with this episode, see this robot Batman as programmed so well, that it thinks its real. It has memories, and feelings and knows people, but when Rossum tells him it’s only data, well he flips the hell out. It’s also been programmed so well, that just like the real Batman, it cannot take a life. It has a soul, so when Batman is fighting the robot Batman, and it appears the real Batman falls to his death, the robot is so disgusted with itself, it blows itself up essentially. All the robot wanted was to be human, but that was an impossible task, but it also couldn’t tell the difference between certain human emotions. Here’s a great interaction between Batman and the robot Batman. Grade A-

BD: Why do you resist? HARDAC’s goals are identical to your own.
Batman: How do you figure that?
BD: Picture a world completely free of crime, free of suffering, free of frailty.
Batman: You mean free of choice, compassion, free of humanity?
BD: Yes.

“Could it be it had a soul, Alfred? A soul of silicon, but a soul nonetheless.” Bruce Wayne

24 – The Cape and The Cowl Conspiracy. Season 2, Episode 3. Director: Frank Paur, Story: Elliot S. Maggin

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For those of you, who are still reading, did I rank this episode way to high? I feel like people dislike this episode a lot, but I think it’s genius, and one that continues to grow on me. It’s got no great villain, none from his famous rogues gallery, but it just has a really great story, and Batman just being a straight up boss. So Wormwood is a guy who is pretty much Jigsaw from the Saw movies, except like not so extreme. He uses death traps to get information out of people, so when Batman is on his trail, Batman sets out on a mission to take this guy down. Wormwood has also been hired to get Batman’s cape and cowl from him. So there is a ton of back and forth between the two, and Wormwood actually ends up getting his cape and cowl. In a really awesome trap I might add. But here’s the kicker, the guy who hires Wormwood to get it, WAS FREAKING BATMAN HIMSELF. Talk about a mindfuck, am I right? Batman was playing him for a fool the entire time, and it’s just such a great reveal at the end, and then they even have a awesome fight involving workout equipment, which is cool. The cherry on top of the sundae is Batman mails Wormwood his cape and cowl when he’s locked up in Arkham, with a little riddle attached to it, freaking awesome stuff! Grade A

This is an episode I feel like people hate, but i think its genius and one of the greats.

Kind of like a toned down Jigsaw, less blood and death, more just fear of dying

“Alright. I’ll get you the Batman’s cape and cowl. That won’t be difficult. He is only human, after all.” – Wormwood

23 – Day of The Samurai. Season 2, Episode 16. Director: Bruce W. Timm, Story: Steve Perry

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Without doubt, this episode has the most intense moment in the show. Bruce Wayne’s and Batman’s enemy Kyodai Ken is back and this time he means serious business. He’s pissed at what transpired the first time they had an encounter, so he sets off to find some legendary scroll, that teaches you “the death touch”. He kidnaps a student at the dojo that they once trained at, so Batman must travel overseas to help. The ending to this episode is just so incredible and that moment I talked about, well actually now that I think about it, it really has two of these moments. The first is when Ken successfully applies the death touch to Batman, and it appears that he has died, but then you realize that, well he’s Batman so that’s not going to happen. But as a kid, you are more than likely freaking out. Secondly, and I just love this moment so much, after Ken realizes Batman is okay, they fight some more, and well they are fighting on an active volcano, I know, so badass! When Ken is corner and standing on a rock with no where to go, Batman throws him a rope so he can jump across to safety, and this fucking guy just kicks the rope away like a boss and goes down with the ship. There’s no way he survives this, not a chance and it’s just so a real moment for a cartoon, and something that really sticks with me as a Batman fan. Batman could not save him, and that really crushes him, but Ken did not want to be saved, and it’s just the look on his face before he literally goes up in smoke, that makes you realize just how incredible this show truly way. Grade A

Ken goes out like a champ, but Batman feels like its another death that must rest on his shoulders. He feels the burden of his actions.

“Kyodai, the rope!” – Batman.