Tag Archives: DC comics

Cinema Dispatch: Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

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Teen Titans Go! To the Movies and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Peter Rida Michail and Aaron Horvath

I’ll admit that I, like many fans of the first show (i.e. OLD PEOPLE), tended to be rather dismissive of Go for amping up the comedy and more or less abandoning the action and drama in doing so; but that said I also didn’t outright hate it or ever have the urge to complain loudly and publicly about it.  Still, now that the Titans trailer has given me a bit of perspective, I feel kind of bad about not really giving it the time of day and plan on rectifying that soon.  Before that though, we’ve got a movie to see which couldn’t be further in terms of tone and style than its TV-MA counterpart and frankly that’s about all I need to more or less give this movie a pass.  Hopefully it’s good movie as well, but considering I didn’t see Robin snapping necks and covered in blood in the trailers for this, I think it clearly has the upper hand.  Will the jump to from television to feature films silence the haters once and for all who complained that this interpretation of the characters wasn’t just like the one they had when THEY were kids, or is this yet another show that didn’t need the big screen treatment and will be yet another cudgel to be wielded by rather obnoxious fanboys?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with the Teen Titans, made up of Robin, Cyborg, Starfire, Raven, and Beast Boy (Scott Menville, Khary Payton, Hynden Walch, Tara Strong, and Greg Cipes), putting bad guys on the run and not stopping until the job gets done… at least until they find an excuse to dance at which point the Justice League has to come in and clean up after them.  Well that’s not TOO bad!  They got a few hits in before getting distracted by their own theme song, and it means they get a chance to chat it up with Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and even Superman (Lil Yachty, Ashley “Halsey” Frangipane, and Nicolas Cage)!  Not Batman though (Jimmy Kimmel) as he’s attending the premier of his latest movie which is NOT directed by Matt Reeves; rather by an up and coming star director named Jade Wilson (Kristen Bell).  Wait a minute, movie premiere!?  Why didn’t anyone tell the Teen Titans!?  Furthermore, why haven’t THEY gotten their own movie!?  These are questions that Robin in particular doesn’t like being raised, and so he vows to get his own movie by any means necessary!  Up to and including finding an arch villain for the Teen Titans to face which will surely get Jade Wilson’s attention and convince her to give them a shot at the silver screen!  Good thing it just so happens that a villain known simply as SLADE (Will Arnett) who is most assuredly NOT Deathstroke (that name is FAR too scary!) is cooking up some scheme and can only be stopped by this group of teenagers with attitude!  Can the Titans find a way to stop Slade AND get their own movie in the process?  Just how far will Robin go to get his chance, and will his friends be the ones to suffer in the process?   Can I just say that SLADE is a better bad guy name than Deathstroke?  SLADE!!  SLLAAAAAADDDDEEE!!

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This guy gets it!

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Jumping the Soapbox: Let’s Look At the Trailers from Comic Con 2018!

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The images in this editorial are the property of their respective owners

For ninety-nine percent of people out there who don’t get to go to Comic Con in person, our experience is basically a giant pile of news being dumped about upcoming movies and television shows, and while the coverage this year was overshadowed by the senseless firing of James Gunn (#RehireJamesGunn), there was still quite a bit of news worth paying attention to; especially some of the trailers that got released, and I’m not just talking about that crappy Titans one!  So let’s go ahead and take a look at some (certainly not all) of the trailers that we saw for the first time this weekend!

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SHAZAM!

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Directed by David F Sandberg; Owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is your typical moody teenager who’s been placed in yet another foster home, but everything changes when the mystical space wizard SHAZAM (Djimon Hounsou) chooses him to inherit his spectacular powers.

I like what I see here, but what I’m seeing isn’t much.  Granted this is the first trailer and we’ll surely see more as we get closer to the release date, but the UNIQUE SELLING POINT of this movie needs to be more than it NOT being like the last few DCCU movies.  It’s brighter, it has genuine humor, and it focuses on the HERO part of being a Superhero.  That’s all great, but it still feels REALLY lacking.  The film looks VERY small in scale which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but a lack of spectacle needs to be compensated in other areas and I’m not really seeing much beyond DECENT in this trailer.  I like Zachary Levi in the role and he seems very natural playing a boy in a super hero’s form, but his dialogue is far from sterling, and the cinematography seems kind of flat for the most part.  I’m sure I’ll like this more than the overly ambitious Batman v Superman or the bloated but safe Justice League, but being light and family friendly doesn’t mean it has to be trivial and yet that’s a lot of what I’m getting out of this trailer.  If nothing else though, they’ve got a GREAT director behind it as the guy made two of the better horror films of the last few years (Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation), so hopefully he’ll bring some of that creativity to this film even if this first trailer doesn’t quite get it across.

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“I know we’re taking this, but we stopped the bad guys in the process so let’s just call it a wash, alright?”

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Jumping the Soapbox: Teen Titans NO! – The Titans Trailer and Toxic Fandom

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Titans and Teen Titans Go are owned by Warner Bros Television Distribution and DC Entertainment

All other copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

It’s that time of year again where Hollywood sprinkles a dash of hype here and a pinch of news there right in the middle of San Diego for the yearly celebration of fandom known as Comic Con!  What does this mean for everyone who CAN’T book a ticket for California and drop ridiculous amounts of money on hotel rooms and cab rides?  Why trailers of course!  And this year we start the event off with something BIG!  DC and Warner Bros have been teasing us with a new Teen Titans live action show for some time now, and they’ve finally released the first trailer for it!  Let’s see how far we can get into this before I find something to criticize!

*ONE SECOND IN*

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Explicit language, adult themes, and violence.  Well those are certainly the first three things I associate with these characters!!

NOPE!  Sorry, DC and Warner Bros!  You couldn’t have missed the point harder if you actually FOUND the point and then threw it into the Mariana Trench so that no one could ever find for all eternity!  Now look, I don’t want this to be a rant about COMIC BOOK ACCURACY (mostly because I’ve never read a Teen Titans book) or about how it doesn’t match my nostalgia for that original Teen Titans cartoon (something we’ll talk about soon enough).  No, my problem is that this trailer is cynical garbage.  It’s a list of bad ideas that you could only make if you were TRYING to be this awful, and maybe in a cynical way that’s what they’re going for here.  It’s no accident that the trailer takes great pains to show you Robin straight up murdering dudes (he stomps that dudes’ neck, shoots a gun, and gushes someone like a sprinkler; I don’t care if they explain in the show that they were “just injured”) and to also have him shout FUCK BATMAN while covered in blood.  This is what a very immature person sees as COOL and MATURE (never mind that maturity is not the ability to withstand and consume dark material but to learn to empathize with your fellow people and take responsibility for yourself and those you care about) and it hews far too closely to the toxic nightmare that comic fandom has become in recent years (or at least has revealed itself to be now that its victims have platforms available to them).  Who would want to see Robin snap someone’s neck or Starfire set criminals on fire?  Probably the same “upstanding folks” who wanted Batman to kill people and are yelling at everyone about a Snyder Cut.

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Damn you, Frank Miller!  Will your awful influence on the Super Hero genre ever come to an end!?

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Cinema Dispatch: Justice League

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Justice League and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Zack Snyder

So… it’s not like anyone is looking forward to this movie and is willing to yell at critics over it, right!?  Sigh… now my opinions on Batman v Superman have been made quite clear on multiple occasions, but you know… with Wonder Woman and to a very VERY lesser extent Suicide Squad, I don’t think these films aren’t worth seeing.  Heck, even Batman v Superman is worth seeing in the sense that there’s so much to learn about NOT making a good movie from it!  I am absolutely not looking forward to this movie and I don’t expect it to be all that good, but I’m going to sit in my seat, watch all the crappy local car commercials, and then hope that I’m not just completely wasting my time and money being there.  I The fact that I’m expecting this to be bad is not the same as WANTING it to be bad or HOPING for it to be bad just to get some “outrage clickbait” out of it, because I don’t need any MORE things in my life to piss me off even if I get a hilarious and insightful review out of it.  I’d rather write hilarious and insightful review of GOOD movies!  So then… does Warner Bros and DC have what it takes to keep this franchise afloat after Wonder Woman became an critical and box office smash, or are we stuck with more of the same crap until these DCCU films stop making money for them?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins sometime after the events of Batman v Superman where (SPOILER ALERT!) the world is still reeling over the DEATH OF SUPERMAN!  Everyone’s moody, crime is on the rise, and to top things off, aliens have started invading Earth!  Yeah, that whole dream sequence with the Parademons in the last movie?  Well it’s not a full scale invasion just yet, but Batman’s swinging around Gotham City finding these space bugs all over the place and needs to figure out what the heck is going on!  Well it doesn’t take long for the TRUE threat to reveal himself as Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) who, now that Superman is deader than disco, feels confident enough to stage an all-out attack on Earth… for some reason.  I mean I GUESS he tried to take over the planet back when it was Middle Earth and Amazons, Green Lanterns, and I THINK Shazzam were able to stop him, so maybe he’s after this planet for revenge or something.  IT DOESN’T MATTER THOUGH!  What matters is that he’s gonna tear shit up and the world needs its most powerful champions to fight against him which includes the aforementioned Batman, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jasson Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher).  Will the Justice League be able to put aside their differences and come together (right now!) in order to stop the greatest threat humanity has ever faced?  Just what is Steppenwolf’s master plan, and what other forces are in play that these mere mortals are only seeing the briefest glimpse of?  How much more leeway will we have to give WB just to make sure we keep getting Wonder Woman movies!?

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“For Justice!  For the Greater Good!  FOR BOX OFFICE VIABILITY!!”     “MY MAN!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

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Professor Marston and the Wonder Women and all the images you see in this review are owned by Annapurna Pictures

Directed by Angela Robinson

You know, if we’re gonna get biopics like that upcoming one about Charles Dickens that looks like a Monty Python sketch, we might as well start doing them about comic book creators too!  The early years of Marvel with Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, watching Batman evolve from comic book hero to Hollywood star through the eyes of Bob Kane, heck The Alan Moore story could be a freaking twelve hour Netflix series considering how much comic book controversy he’s managed to find himself in over his career!  What we’ve got NOW though is probably the most interesting story of them all which is about Wonder Woman creator Professor William Marston and his unorthodox relationship with his wife Elizabeth Holloway and a former student of his Olive Byrne.  Heck, it’s not only a great story to tell about queer women (though there is some contention of that) in a time where that wasn’t even legal, it also has incorporates radical feminism, BDSM, and comic book scare mongering that eventually led to the Comics Code Authority in the 1950s.  With such fascinating material to work with, can it be turned into an engaging and interesting biopic, or is this a whole lot of scintillating window dressing for yet another rote history lesson?  Let’s find out!!

Our story begins in Radcliffe University (a women’s only branch of Harvard) where the brilliant psychology professor William Marston (Luke Evans) and his much more brilliant wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) are teaching psychology while working together on some other projects such as a lie detecting machine which is actually true.  They did invent the polygraph which is a significant event in this film.  Anyway, William is teaching a course on DISC theory (Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance) when one of the students catches his eye.  Her name is Olive Byrne and soon becomes a TA for the Marstons; helping them with their legitimate experiments and some that may just be for fun.  Eventually, this precarious situation between the three of them has to come to a head at some point and… well that’s where things get kind of awesome but also REALLY stressful.  Oh, and at some point the dude creates Wonder Woman off based on the experiences and he has with the two women in his life as well as his own theories on feminism and even some of his sexual hang-ups which are REALLY noticeable if you read the earliest issues of the book.  Will this trio of likeminded misfits find a place in the world that is openly hostile to them and their way of life?  What will happen when puritanical busy bodies get start to understand the radical subtext within the pages of the comic book that are becoming more and more popular with children across the country?  Wait, is THAT why Wonder Woman has a lasso!?

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“The safe word is Themyscira.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Wonder Woman

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Wonder Woman and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Patty Jenkins

You know what they say!  FOURTH TIME’S THE CHARM!!  After three rather disappointing attempts by Warner Bros to turn the DC Universe into a viable competitor to the MCU, we’re at the last one before the big team up movie that could make or break this franchise going forward.  Don’t forget, the post Justice League movies are still in pre-production at this point with a lot of them either losing directors or still trying to find one.  If this movie AND Justice League turn out to be duds, it wouldn’t be the most out there idea for Warner Bros to finally pull the plug.  On top of that, this is the first Wonder Woman film ever made (outside of a TV movie starring Cathy lee Crosby) despite being very popular since her creation in 1941 and the fact that Superhero movies have been a big market; even before the MCU.  Heck, if someone was willing to make a Steel movie back in 1997, then surely we should have gotten a Wonder Woman film before now!  Needless to say that there is A LOT of pressure on this film to not just be good, but to be GREAT in order to justify its own existence for some people (probably the same people who had a problem with the casting in the latest Ghostbusters movie) and to clean up the mess that the three other movies left for her.  Can Wonder Woman live up to her name and show the world how to do this right, or has DC and Warner Bros managed to give us yet another disappointing slog that  could have been so much more?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins on the magical island of Themyscira; home to the Amazons who have isolated themselves from the rest of the world and are led by Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) who is dead set on keeping these rules in place.  However, her daughter Diana (Gal Gadot) proves to be much more than her mother gives her credit for and they are constantly clashing over her desires to be a true Amazon warrior that protects people over her mother’s insistence on keeping her safe.  Fate manages to bring all this to ahead however when a World War I pilot named Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) somehow manages to crash land in the waters near Themyscira which leads to the regiment of German soldiers chasing him to attack the island.  In the ensuing conflict, her mentor and aunt Antiope (Robin Wright) along with several others are killed but Themyscira is kept safe.  Diana’s eyes have been opened however and now she has no choice but to take Trevor back to where he came from and to fight the evil that has taken over the world.  She believes the war itself to be the work of the God of War Ares and hopes that by destroying him that the war can come to an end, and while Trevor knows a bit too much about humanity to buy this explanation, she IS gonna give him a ride home and she knows her way around a sword, so he agrees to take her to the front lines if she takes him back home.  Is it truly the work of a God that has turned these countries against each other, or will Diana have to learn the hard way just how terrible humans can be?  What plans do the German General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and a master chemist Doctor Isabel Maru (Elena Anaya) have in store to turn this war on its head and to crush The Allied Powers?  Are we gonna get a bunch of losers talking crap about this movie because it stars a woman.  The answer to that is yes, but the IMPORTANT question is… should you care?  No.  The answer to that question is no.

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“Would you look at just how many fucks I give!”

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Cinema Dispatch: The LEGO Batman Movie

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The Lego Batman Movie and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Chris McKay

Let’s see… you take something awesome like The LEGO Movie, and you add more Will Arnett.  How could this POSSIBLY fail!?  I mean granted, adding Will Arnett to ANYTHING is an automatic improvement (unless it’s Bojack Horseman), but considering what we’ve gotten from the DC canon since Nolan’s second movie, how could we NOT be excited when one of those movies isn’t fraught with astounding mismanagement and crushing solemnity!?  Does this offshoot of The LEGO movie prove to be a success while laying the groundwork for other LEGO based offshoots, or has Warner Bros utter mismanagement of the DC licenses somehow managed to spread to this colorful and vibrant take on the characters?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is about Batman being Batman and everyone getting really sick about it, and I can certainly relate to that.  More specifically, Batman (Will Arnett) has just locked away a whole bunch of villains for what has to be the millionth time, but something’s a little bit different.  While The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) managed to escape like he usually does, Batman managed to hurt his feelings by claiming he’s NOT his arch-enemy, so now he’s got a NEW axe to grind with the caped crusader.  On top of that, Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) has just become the new commissioner and is somewhat skeptical about letting some sociopath with silly ears and a cape beating up poor people and other weirdos in the streets of Gotham which makes SENSE but isn’t all that comforting to Batman who’s already having enough trouble finding things to do in what little spare time he has NOW; let alone how much he’d have if the police department started doing their jobs right under Barbara’s new rule.  To cap things off, he JUST SO HAPPENS to adopt a young boy named Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) which you’d THINK would require just a LITTLE bit of paperwork, but I guess the Orphanage could use the extra bed; especially considering how many kids they have to take in considering how many supervillains are blowing shit up around the city.  ANYWAY!  Batman, who’s been avoiding his feelings all this time by punching baddies in the face now has to deal with that one thing we all fear… CHANGE!  Will he be able to keep his cool now that the status quo has been upended?  Just what does The Joker have planned now that he’s even MORE pissed at Batman than usual?  Is it too soon to reboot the DC films and just make them all based on toys?

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“Do you bleed?”     “Probably not.  I mean, I AM made of plastic.”     “YOU WILL!!”     “Again… I’m made out of plastic…”

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