News

‘Second Wonder Woman Trailer Drops’

It’s a big day for movies. DC FanDome has kicked off and it started with a bang. The newest trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 is out and we finally got our first look at Kristen Wiig’s Cheetah!

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What a start to a terrific day! It’s been a while since we have gotten any sort of DC movie news. But this past week has been chock-full of goodies. Yes, Wonder Woman was already supposed to come out, but things change so instead we get this brand new trailer and everything seems right in the world!

We pick up in 1984, and the world is drastically different from the last time we saw Diana Prince. It’s the 80’s and everything is much more colorful, but that doesn’t mean that all the bad is gone in the world. This time around she will be taking down both Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) and none other than her arch-nemesis The Cheetah (Kristen Wiig). I was excited about this trailer, mainly due to the fact that I knew we would be getting our first look at Cheetah in all of her glory and she didn’t disappoint. They are going toe-to-toe at the end of the trailer and it looks great! Chris Pine is back as the love interest Steve Trevor and he appears very confused and excited about the 80’s lifestyle. He’s brought back into her life under some weird circumstances and I’m sure that will come to a not so happy ending, but only time will tell. It’s bright, it’s funny and everyone seems like they are having fun. Wonder Woman is the heart and the soul of the Justice League and Gal does such a great job encompassing both of those traits.

Director Patty Jenkins is still unsure when we will see this enter theatres with everything going on with Covid-19, but expect news soon and in the meantime enjoy the trailer below!

MOVIES ARE BACK!

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.

Reviews

‘Birds of Prey’ Review

The first trip to the movies in 2020 was not ideal. Turns out the Birds of Prey doesn’t have much wind beneath their wings, as DC continues to find their footing.

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After splitting with the Joker, Harley Quinn joins superheroes Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya to save a young girl from an evil crime lord.


People will do drastic things to fit in with the popular crowd. Change their hair, wear different clothes, even adapt to a new speech. The same can be said for the movie industry. Dating all the way back to the beginning of the DCEU, and even at that time, WB didn’t really know what they were doing. It wasn’t until they decided to go ahead with BvS and I truly believe that was never their original plan before the release of Man of Steel. Since then it’s been a rollercoaster, to say the least. Sure, they’ve made plenty of money, but the reception from not only critics but fans has been divided. There were a few standouts, mostly surrounding the casting of key characters in this rich and diverse universe. One, in particular, was none other than Harley Quinn herself, with the casting of Margot Robbie. So after Suicide Squad came and went it was only a matter of time before she got her own solo flick, and I’m going to be perfectly honest, WB once again dropped the ball.

Birds of Prey. Say that to any random moviegoer, and they will shake their head with curiosity and slight confusion. Unless you are a major DC fan or know the deep lure of the comics, it’s hard to put people in seats, when the average ticket buyer doesn’t know who the Birds of Prey really are. Sure they were marketing the shit out of Harley Quinn, but the movie was about so much more, and I thought they did a poor job at executing a well-put-together game plan on how to market this film. Harley Quinn has big as she is, well, she’s not Batman, or Superman or even Wonder Woman, DC’s biggest star at the moment. So if you’re going to center a film around a team of female super-heroes, why not let us all know who exactly we will be rooting for when we go purchase our tickets.

I’ll admit, BOP can be a ton of fun in moments, and the chemistry between all of the ladies is terrific. Quinn (Margot Robbie) Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) Black Canary (Jurnee Smollet-Bell) Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez). When they are all finally teaming up and kicking some butt, it’s entertaining, but it’s certainly not enough to save the entire film. One of the big issues I had with this film, is the lack of backstory we get for any of our characters. Mostly Black Mask (Ewen McGregor) and Black Canary. This movie just expects you to know who these people are and give us very little insight into how they arrived at their place in Gotham. For instance, Black Mask is a pretty great Batman villain, and McGregor is a terrific actor, but they give us no explanation to his name, or why he likes to wear masks, and most importantly, why he dawns his iconic “black mask.” That is a little scene they needed to shuffle into the film. Much like Black Canary, who does, in fact, have a superpower, and when she finally uses it, they don’t explain how or why she is able to do that. fans that know the character, sure, but for the people meeting her for the first time, might be a little confused. It’s just things like that, for me, that bogged down the film.

The film takes a while to get going. Slowly introducing our new female heroes. Huntress really steals the show, and she’s barely even in the thing, which shocked me, to be honest. It just feels all over the place, where random circumstances are leading all these ladies to finally meet up. This wanted to be Deadpool so badly, they decided to go with an R-Rating, which was a massive mistake in my mind. This is a film that wants to be hardcore but doesn’t need to be. That wants to drop ‘F-Bombs’ throughout and they didn’t have to. Harley is breaking the 4th wall, and that’s fine, but the cursing was so forced and just felt awkward at times. It could have benefited more with a lesser rating and kept the action pretty much the same. There is one sequence inside of Gotham Police Headquarters that was the highlight of the film, featuring a really cool fight in one of the cell blocks with Harley.

This just wasn’t the proper next movie for this important character and not having Joker involved was weird. I know Jared Leto might be done, but you got to slip him in for one scene. Because if he doesn’t exist anymore in the DCEU, then I’m not sure why this movie needed to be made? The whole concept and idea behind the film are based on the fact that she and Mr. J just broke up.

I’ll leave it with this. It’s fantastic that a movie like this gets to be made in 2020. An all-female lead comic book movie. Directed by a woman (Cathy Yan) who crafted a pretty unique experience and written by a woman (Christina Hodson). That doesn’t mean it gets a free pass and shouldn’t be criticized. I just didn’t really like the direction that they took Harley in. This for me isn’t the Harley I want to see in live-action. There’s no reason for her to be foul-mouthed the way she’s portrayed here. Again, I think WB thought the R-Rating would benefit this character, wherein all reality, I think it just dumbed her down. For me, go back and watch Batman The Animated Series, where it all began with this character. That’s the true Harley Quinn and the one we deserve on the big screen. Can we get her in the traditional Jester outfit already?

Birds of Prey = 60/100

 

Reviews

‘Shazam’ Review

The thing about Shazam is, DC once again proves that their solo flicks are all stellar and I could see this becoming one of the most rewatchable comic book movies ever made . Zachary Levi is perfect in this homage to movies like Elf and BIG.

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We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s case, by shouting out one word – SHAZAM! – this streetwise fourteen-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult superhero Shazam.


Nowadays it feels too cliche to sit here and write the word “fun” when it comes to a movie review for a DC Comics property. But here’s the thing, Shazam is a ton of fun, and it’s fun in all the right ways. People shake their heads, but this sudden drastic change in tone from the dark and gloomy days of Zack Snyder, which I will admit, at times I find myself missing. It’s this change of pace that makes this feel so refreshing, another word that gets tossed around like a Juul at a college party these days. These are the elements that make this movie so damn loveable, and something I feel like fans that want that change will instantly appreciate.

When the DCEU started and we got our first glimpse at the new Superman and Batman, it would’ve been hard to imagine Shazam getting his first solo flick before The Dark Knight got us, and we got a sequel to the fantastic Man of Steel. But here we are, and Billy Batson is now a household name, and I really couldn’t be happier. He’s such an interesting and unique character with a great story to tell. We all wonder what it would be like to gain superpowers, but what happens when that wish is granted and we’re merely 14 years old? Toss in the fact, your body transforms into a 30 something god-like figure, it could become really complicated for our young hero. How would someone who is not even old enough to drive a car or purchase alcohol handle becoming one of the most powerful superheroes in all of DC comic book lure? Billy Batson (Asher Angel) has been trying to find his mother all of his life. It’s his driving force and what motivates him the most. Bouncing around group homes, he has a hard time letting anyone get close, let alone consider anyone to be family. At the heart of Shazam, and one of the main reasons why the movie works so well is the theme of what it means to be a family. What family means to different people, and how to ultimately let go of the past. When Billy enters his new group home he quickly meets Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) his new foster brother and his new foster parents Rosa (Marta Milans) and Victor (Cooper Andrews). Now Jack Dylan Grazer is becoming one of the best all-around young actors today. His quick-nipped comedy and chemistry with both Zach Levi and Asher Angel is truly a bright spot for the film. Billy has problems staying in group homes and letting people get attached to him, but deep down he has a pure heart and knows what it means to do right by people. So when the old Wizard Shazam (Djimon Hounsou) picks him to be his next champion, it’s up to Billy and his newfound powers to help track down the 7 deadly sins. Billy alongside Freddy and the rest of their foster home siblings, Mary, Darla, Eugene, and Pedro help him discover what it means to be the hero the world deserves and what it means to act and be a superhero. The way director David F. Sandberg was able to pace the movie, and blend all these different genres together was quite impressive. Known for his horror movies, Shazam was darker than I thought it would be, and in some parts, you could get a sense of David’s horror background. Transitioning from comedy to horror and mixing in action is a tall task to ask of a director who hasn’t done something like that before, but David really proved his worth to WB here, and I hope they get a sequel out with him attached real soon.

Not all are pure of heart and when Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) was hand-picked when he was a young boy to become the champion, he was turned away due to his evil heart. When he grows into an adult he makes it his purpose to find this wizard again and take the power that he believes is rightfully his. Mark Strong plays a solid villain, it’s very much in his wheelhouse, this is now comic book villain number 3 for him. Another strong outing, no pun intended. One of the things I really liked about Shazam was how grounded it felt. There was no giant laser in the sky, or some wormhole opening up, it was a small story, about a group of people coming together to find out what it means to be a family and what it takes to be a hero. They borrow a ton from movies like Elf and BIG, and there’s even a moment where Shazam and Dr. Sivana are fighting on a giant piano. They weren’t afraid to steer in the direction of the movies they took inspiration from. All the scenes of Shazam and Freddy goofing around, figuring out what sort of powers Shazam possesses was so cute and heartfelt to watch. Zachary Levi captures the spirit and essence of a child to a tee. He was so well cast, I can’t wait to watch him interact with other DC heroes, he certainly will be a worthy addition to the Justice League.

Speaking of other Justice League members, I don’t want to spoil anything about this movie, because there is a lot of fun stuff within this movie, that I forgot was going to happen when I was watching. The final scene of Shazam is so much fun and it really is one of the coolest comic book scenes ever, but it could have been pushed over the threshold if DC didn’t wimp out. If you are going to do what they did, you have to go all-in on it. You can’t hold back and you can’t go half-assed with it. That’s just my opinion, you’ll understand what I’m talking about once you see the film. Overall, Shazam is so much fun and the best DC movie since Wonder Woman. At times I even liked it more than Wonder Woman because of how much fun I was having. It was a nice new origin story take, and I just wanted more when I left. Unlike Aquaman, I have seen him interact with other heroes, I just really need to see that with Shazam, sooner rather than later. But the motherload for this franchise is the fact that Dwayne Johnson will be showing up as Black Adam. His arch-nemesis and that will be the best thing to happen for the DCEU in a long time. They need to push this sequel ahead real fast because the world is ready for that showdown now, not 3 or 4 years from now.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Shazam = 87/100

 

News

‘JOKER’ Trailer Drops!

And here we go…..

Funny world we live in. Finally after what feels like an insane amount of time waiting for something, anything really for the much anticipated Todd Phillips Joker movie, we have a trailer. I’ve fully been in the camp of, how can there be a Joker movie without Batman? How on Earth can that possibly work? How can you have one without the other, it just doesn’t make any sense. So I was so curious to see some sort of footage.

I already know, we will have the DC fan boys raving that, well since this is Joaquin Phoenix that this is already better than Nicholson and Leto. Some might even say it’s better than Ledger, I’m serious there will be people that think this will be the second coming of Jesus. I’m sure this can be a great film, but I don’t think a Joker movie without Batman can surpass any Joker performance that has had that, that’s just my opinion. The biggest concern I have going into Joker is the director. Phillips really isn’t known for any sort of visual style really, he’s made a few great comedies but that’s it. So it will be interesting to say the least

So, what are my thoughts on the trailer. I get a Taxi Driver meets The King of Comedy vibe. Interesting, that was interesting to say the least. It’s more of a character study then trailer. This looks dark, twisted and pretty creepy. Phoenix is going full tilt here, he’s all in and it he looks great. Again it’s weird he won’t be battling The Dark Knight, but this is a good first trailer. With Aquaman and the upcoming Shazam, DC seems to be going back in the darker direction, which is fine with me. As long as it’s handled right, that’s how I would want a Joker film. Hope this turns out great. If you’re going to follow up Heath, you need to find your own spin on this character. Phoenix has done just that. An interesting psychological, gritty thriller. Who knew we needed this.

News

‘Aquaman’ Looks Stunning

The world will finally now see Aquaman can more than just talk to fish. Also Black Manta for the win.

Everyone. Say hello to Black Manta. The coolest villain not named Joker in the DC universe. Get use to him because he’s going to be around for a long time to come. Just so we are clear. You will learn to love him as much as I do, and you’ll soon understand why he’s one of the biggest badasses in all of comics.

Just needed to get that out of the way first. HOLY SHIT!!! James Wan, just when you thought the DCEU was down and out. Boom Shazam trailer than this breathtaking, underwater spectacle gets dropped in our laps. The world has been waiting for this, it’s finally here and I have water in my eyes. Aquaman truly doesn’t deserve us. Years of insults, and thinking he’s weak. Now the world will know.

Again Geoff Johns reinvented this character in the New 52. Currently rereading his masterpiece and boy this movie looks like his story ripped from the comics. Aquaman, Mera, Orm, Black Manta. All the big players are here and it’s time for Aquaman to take back his throne. Orm played by Patrick Wilson is Aquaman’s half brother and he wants to take the surface by storm. It will be up to Aquaman and Mera to take back Atlantis and make sure all is right in the seven seas.

Star Wars under water? Something along those lines right? It’s just incredible. So happy for everyone involved and more importantly us fans. We never gave up on you DC!

News

Michael Bay In Talks To Direct Lobo

This is something I didn’t think I needed in my life, but something I totally need in my life.

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People HATE Michael Bay movies. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really love his work, but he’s made some pretty damn entraining movies in his life. Now, I go to his movies because they are a guilty pleasure. The last few Transformers have almost been unbearable to sit through in the theatres. Incoherent, and mass destruction everywhere, Michael Bay loves his explosions.

News broke today that Warner Brothers. is eyeing him to direct a Lobo movie. Well fans everywhere were losing their minds, and not in a good way. They don’t want to see him anywhere near a DC property and I guess there’s some merit to their complaints. He really hasn’t made a good movie in a long time, and the DCEU is already on thin ice as it is. Why bring in a guy to direct that most movie goers already despise and loath? Here’s the thing, Michael Bay is a ridiculous and bonkers director, and guess what? Lobo is a ridiculously crazy and bonkers character that this could actually be a match made in heaven. If there’s one person that could tap into Lobo, it could be Michael Bay. He knows how to make a big blockbuster, and if WB cracks down on him just a little bit, this could turn out okay. Another thing, this needs to be rated R. If this movie happens, Lobo is a rated R kind of guy. He swears, and kills and enjoys his pleasure. So again Michael Bay is perfect for the job.

This thing could also turn out to be one of the worst comic book movies ever made, but again this is just “in talks” so even if it happens we are looking at a 2021 release date, at the earliest. I’m all for it, because like I said, I go to every single Michael Bay movie, I loved Pain and Gain, and I’m not afraid to say it. This will most likely end up being a complete and utter disaster but I stand by my guilty pleasures and so should you. The biggest make or break for the movie, who they cast as the titled character. Maybe Mark Wahlberg? Probably not because Lobo is 6’4, so that wouldn’t exactly work out. Who on Earth could play Lobo?

Check ya later.

 

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. Myself 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 hear 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 the the highly anticipated Avengers. They had built a solid foundation for their shared cinematic universe, something us fans were not accustomed too. 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 payed off! They got too see a real Superhero team up movie, and not only that, it was quite the spectacle. In 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 Marvels 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 anyones 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. Which 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 has the launching point for the new DC world. I remember at the time, I wasn’t the biggest of 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 i n 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. His 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 TDK template, and they changed his mythos and overall character and it was met with some serious backlash. They wanted to ground his character is 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 begin 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 has 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, they had this “masterpiece” and they just really blew it. They tried to cram 10 pounds of shit into a 5 pound bag. Essentially they tried to tell, “The Dark Knight Returns” “Introduction to Wonder Woman” and “The Death of Superman” all in one movie. The last 40 minutes of BvS is just a straight up cluster you know what. The movie needed to be Batman vs. Superman, you have so much source material for this epic showdown and I think they really blew it. It wasn’t a great fight, nor lived up to the hype. That could have honestly been 15 of the greatest minutes in cinematic history. I personally think they let us fans down with this movie, I know there are a ton of people out there that love this movie, that love Zack Snyder’s vision. There’s nothing wrong with that, I just think we deserved a much better showdown between Batman and Superman. Not to mention they shoehorned Wonder Woman into this movie, because again WB was trying to play “catch up.”

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. Biggest take away, 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 turn around WB needed, Wonder Woman felt fresh, felt like Patty Jenkins had passion behind this project, that is 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. But other than that, it’s honestly just water under the bridge at this point, nothing us fans can do, except bicker and complain on the internet.

What I think WB Needs To Do Going Forward

Batfleck is out, it sucks, but I have come to terms with it. 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 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 film maker like Wan and then make him follow a strict guideline. Maybe sprinkle in a cameo of some sorts. 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 off the New 52 comic book run. Geoff Johns wrote a ton of it and he’s the man over looking the DCEU, this isn’t hard to figure out. 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 dines’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, then 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’ Review/Thoughts

Something I’ve learned recently, don’t listen to anyone, if you want to see a movie go see it and form your own opinion about it, but clearly still read my review.

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(WARNER BROS.)

This is something I need to say before I get into the review!

Ever since Nick Fury was waiting inside Tony Starks condo at the end credits of Iron Man, all the way back in 2008, I knew I wanted nothing more than a Justice League movie in my life. Weird starting a Justice League review with an insight at Marvel, but well they certainly had a game plan all the way back in 2008 and here we are 9 years later, and their plan is still in motion. The DCEU on the other hand, hasn’t had the same luck, the financial success or the critics appraise as we have come accustomed to in the MCU. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy the MCU movies as much as the next person, but when it comes to the heroes over at DC, well I know more about those characters and who they are and what they stand for, then most people on planet Earth. I love each and everyone of the heroes for DC and do so in a unique way for each one. So when it was announced a few years ago that we would FINALLY be seeing all these people come together one the big screen I was a little more than excited. Even with the mixed reviews with BvS, which I have come to grips with. Overall I just don’t like it, not the manner in which the movie was made, I think Zack Snyder has a very creative and stylish way of doing his movies, but they just tried way to hard to keep up with Marvel, it ended up diluting the product. I put that all behind me, because I knew the people over at WB heard what the complaints from both the fans and the critics were and tried a little bit of “course correction.” Which is something that was needed, I’m all for a bare knuckle boxer Batman, but he doesn’t need to hate the entire world, because that isn’t who Batman is as character, and they certainly needed to adjust Superman’s character arc, because he is suppose to stand for hope and kind of be the ultimate good guy/good person, and they haven’t really shown that to date. They hit a grand slam this summer with Wonder Woman, and it appeared that DC was once again King of the castle, even if only for a short period of time. Going into Justice League, I knew a few things; first, I knew this movie would get ripped apart by critics and it would divide fans alike. There are “DC Fanboys” and there are “Marvel Fanboys” who love to prick and pry on every little detail about each others movies. Critics just kind of don’t like Zack Snyder, his style, the way he shoots movies. The fact he kind of likes grittiness and brooding and things to be maybe a little more complex then they have to be. That being said, for the most part, everyone knew that half way through production, he had to leave Justice League because of the tragic events, that was his daughters suicide. It happened before the movie began production, and he thought he could work through it, but he couldn’t. So now hearing people shitting on this guy, who went through the hardest thing a parent can go through, just isn’t right. The guy is a genius and brilliant film maker, and if you don’t happen to like his style, then so be it, but don’t ostracize the man. Clearly from the get go, his heart was never fully on board with Justice League, even though Zack himself is such a fan boy and loves this stuff probably more than the majority of people sitting in the theatres this weekend to watch his movie. I don’t always agree with his work, and I would have taken Batman v. Superman in a million other directions but that’s all in the past, and from everything that I saw up to his departure looked so promising for this movie. Not to mention after BvS came out and the script and pre-production was already in full force for Justice League, the execs at Warner Bros realized that something needed to be done, and things needed to change. Imagine this big of a blockbuster weeks before shooting, that the script needs to be lighter, the movie needs to be shorter, and pretty much whatever you had done so far, may or may not be thrown out. At one point this movie was rumoured to be almost 3 hours, it’s actually 1 hour 59 minutes, so where the fuck is the other 40 minutes of this movie? In steps in Joss Whedon to finish off the movie, do a little rewriting and could they have picked a guy who is pretty much the polar opposite of Zack Snyder? Like come on WB, that was not going to mesh well at all. Pretty much like vinegar and oil at this point, it’s pretty apparent in the movie as well, if you know these kinds of things, and of course geeks like me do. I’m not going to say Joss ruined the movie, because he didn’t, I’ll get more into that in my actual review, but that was never going to work. I thought it could, I think I even wrote a blog post about it. I was wrong and when I think about it, I should have known back then, but I guess I had Avengers on my mind, because Joss is responsible for directing the first two Avengers movies. I just honestly feel bad for Zack Snyder at this point, he’s gone through enough, and I would have loved to see his full version and vision for this thing, maybe we will on the directors cut. The next big sore thumb going on during production. The Batfleck saga. Imagine your star just wanted nothing to do with the franchise and wants out more than anything. I love the Batfleck, Ben is the definitive Batman, I know people love Christian Bale, but if you read enough Batman comics like I have, you’ll realized that he is the Batman. The Nolan movies are so incredible and The Dark Knight is truly a wonder that will forever stand the test of time, but Ben Affleck is Batman. So it breaks my heart to know we will never see him wear the cape and cowl ever again, because it’s just not happening, and I understand why he wants out, he has a lot of outside stuff going on in his life. He is battling demons and I think when he signed on, Zack Snyder might have pitched “The Dark Knight Returns” to him and who wouldn’t want to be the Batman for that movie, and the final product certainly was not it. Then came the backlash and the awful reviews for BvS, the Sadfleck meme and everything else in between. His own movie ‘Live By Night’ completely bombed and I think that really broke him. He puts so much into his work, especially when it’s his own work, and I just know in my heart, he ain’t coming back. Which sucks because I can’t wait to see what Matt Reeves brings to the table for the Batman franchise, so that must have been awkward and just over putting on the set. Ben is a professional and he’s really good in Justice League, he certainly didn’t mail it in or take a back seat, but still at the same time, there as just constant bad press and bad behind the scenes things going on mainly because of Affleck over the past year. It’s warranted but that would never happen over at Marvel, I’ll just say that. So like I said going in, I knew this movie would have problems, because it’s been having problems since the very beginning, and if you didn’t realize that, you just don’t pay attention to this stuff so it won’t even affect your judgement on the film, or you did and you can’t allow to affect your judgement. I’ve never seen another film this grande in scale switch directors half way through, the amount of re-shoots was record breaking, and not to mention moustache gate involving Henry Cavill. Justice League was simply doomed from the get go, no matter what, everyone has a bad taste in their mouth still from BvS, it’s like a bad fart that just won’t go away. I have no idea what WB is going to do next, I know I’m excited to see more of these characters and now I want to share my thoughts on Justice League!

Review

First things first, I saw this movie 3 times in a 36-hour span. Does that tell you anything about how I feel about this movie? I’ll start the review by saying I totally understand where the critics and some fans are coming from with this film. Justice League is a flawed one, but all in all I think the good (which there is a lot of) totally outweighs the bad of the movie. Like I mentioned above, if you bothered reading it, some critics and a lot of fans were skeptical going in Justice League, because of the track record of the DCEU this far, especially those films made by Zack Snyder. I waited till the end of the weekend to write the review, because I wanted to see box-office numbers, and it’s being reported that Justice League is going to make less than 100 million dollars at the box-office this weekend. Pulling in 96 million, is a total and complete disaster for the studio, and we are about to see a major shake up. The next DC movie is slated to be released in 13 months when Aquaman comes to theatres next December. I have no idea what kind of changes are coming, but I know for certain Justice League will be Affleck’s final time wearing the cape and cowl. I just wanted to get that off my chest before I dive into the movie.

So after the events of Batman v. Superman, everyone knows Superman is dead and Batman is trying to come to grips with his guilt and try to turn a new leaf. When it appears that a threat from far away is on the horizon, he takes it on himself to recruit a group of “warriors” to defend the human race from extinction. We got our first taste of Wonder Woman in BvS and we got our full dose this summer with her solo flick. One thing this movie does really well is the characters, their introductions, the banter and chemistry between the team is really special. I knew that would be the case the entire cast of the League is great, Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Mamoa), Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). People give DC a hard time, because unlike the Avengers who all had their own solo flicks before teaming up to save the world, we got a good taste of who these characters were, and became very familiar with them. I didn’t mind the whole no solo flicks before the team up, as long as they did a good enough job introducing the three new members of the league in this movie. I would say they did a pretty good job, and now rumblings are coming out of all the scenes that were cut from the film, including a bunch of Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg stuff, which is super disheartening. They all get their own “hero” moment, which was incredible to see, there’s one scene involving Aquaman, it’s kind of like his true introduction, when we get to see Atlantis, which just makes me laugh and smile overtime it comes on the screen. James Wan is going to direct the hell out of his solo movie. I want to see more from all of these characters, and that should have been one of the big goals going into production. Jason Mamoa kind of looks like he isn’t from this world to begin with, so I thought it made sense for him to play Aquaman. This kind of reminded me of a little Oceans 11, you know going around recruiting a team, different characters, witty banter, it all work really well. Whenever all of these characters were on screen together, I couldn’t take my eyes off it. What they do next is beyond me at this point, I expect in the next few weeks a lot of information will be coming out about future plans and future movies, even maybe new cast members. Everyone kills it in their roles, they did such a great job casting the League. Ray Fisher was my favourite I think, he really had a great character arc from start to finish in this, and I really love the character of Cyborg. Flash and Aquaman are also so cool, and they need solo movies like now.

Now lets start with some of the mess that is Justice League. This movie certainly has its problems, but several re-writes, two directors, changing the landscape and the tone of the DCEU as a whole. The CGI in this movie is not great, especially in certain places and certain characters. The big baddie of Justice League, Steppenwolf, is 100 percent CGI. They did not have anyone do motion capture for his character, which I thought was a massive mistake. So essentially he’s never in the movie, he is rendered in afterwards, and in some parts of the movie, he just looks awful. Like this is the Justice League movie, you can’t have your villain not even appear physically on the screen at least once. Ciara Hinds who voices him does an excellent job, like his voice is menacing and he has some pretty badass moments. This was just another serviceable bad guy, for our heroes to punch and he only talks in depositions, and this just wasn’t who I wanted our heroes to take on, especially in the Justice League movie. This is suppose to be big, and grande in size and scale, like this is the kind of movie some people have been waiting their whole lives for, and it just didn’t feel like the Avengers. This feels like the movie before the “movie” you know. The build up, we didn’t even get to see the big-baddie Darkseid, who I wanted to see so badly. Overall, they really dropped the ball for the villain in this movie, you can’t have him be 100 CGI, especially with how far motion-capture has come recently. I just have a problem, with looking at a scene and just know NOTHING is there, just like Steppenwolf, he’s not actually in the scene, the actors are looking at nothing. There’s a few shots of our heroes, and you just know its a green screen behind them, and it was just bothering me a lot. Because it was so noticeable. All movies, especially comic book movies have CGI, so it’s difficult to talk about it, because they all the do the same thing, but the CGI in Justice League in certain moments was just really bad. And that upsets me because this is your most important movie, and it felt like they just said “fuck it” in certain scenes, and that isn’t right. This is your baby and should have been cared for, like this was the end of the world. There was so much riding on this movie and it came up short.

I’m not going to go into any spoilers or easter eggs because that’s not fair, but there are quite a few, and some are pretty wicked. The two post credit scenes are two of the best ever, but after the third time I walked out of the theatre I realized, they might not even matter. Because I have no idea what is in store for the DCEU and all of these characters. I don’t think they will hit the panic button the be exact, but my god someones hand is hovering over it. I had a lot of fun with this movie, regardless of what I have written above, I think it’s just more frustration at this point. Part of me doesn’t believe it deserves a 40 percent on Rotten Tomatoes but another part of me does. I’m very conflicted, but I love all of these characters so much that seeing them together on screen, I think outweighs the bad. I want too see them team up again, and I want the Justice League movie we the fans deserve, we deserve the big, grande spectacle that is the Justice League, this was suppose to be a really big deal, and this movie should have made 150 million dollars this past weekend, but it didn’t. WB needs to take a long look in the mirror and ask themselves, if they want to continue with this. If so, they need to find the right people to anchor this ship, because it looks like Zack Snyder is out the door, and thats a shame, because I wanted to see his vision for this movie. He may be a flawed film-maker, but he’s a great visionary film-maker. One of the best to be working today, I have no clue who can step in and right this ship, but something needs to be done quickly, before even the die hard fans like myself, finally just give up. Avengers Infinity War comes out in May, if I’m WB I’m taking a long hard look at that movie and telling myself, this is how you do a team up movie, and you need to start doing what they are doing. DC has all the best characters, their heroes and villains are vastly superior to that over at Marvel, we need to start getting the movies and the stories told that we deserve. It’s that simple. I’m just exhausted at this point, but in conclusion, I’m standing behind this movie, I hope and pray we get Zack Snyder’s cut, and we see the 40 minutes that was essentially cut from the movie. Ben Affleck it was fun my man, you did your best and I hope you had fun, you will always be my Batman, it’s a shame we will never get a solo Batfleck movie. Justice League isn’t as bad as some are making it out to be, but at the same time, this movie is not for everyone, plain and simple.

Check ya later,

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Justice League = 80/100 – That hurts me

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 BROS.)

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.