Justice League vs Teen Titans Review


By William Shelton

Director: Sam Liu

Screenplay By: Bryan Q. Miller, Alan Burnett

Release Date: March 29, 2016 (digitally)

Run Time: 79 minuets

Rating: PG-13

Score: 3.5/5

The first review I ever did on this blog was the DC Animated film “Justice League: War”, an animated retelling of the New 52 origin story for DC’s flagship title. I didn’t care for it. So much so that I haven’t watched any other DC animated films after that. However, with this coming out at almost the exact time I’m planing on starting a new blog and wanting my last review here to be a special one some how, I thought I’d return to where this all started and take a look at the new DC Animated film: Justice League vs Teen Titans.

The film opens with the Justice League engaged in a fight with a few supervillains. Everyone goes down rather easily but one villain, Weather Wizard, tried to run for it. While running he steps in what looks to be a shadow that ends up possessing him. When the Flash catches him, the now possessed Wizard announces “Azarath calls, the child must answer”. Superman goes to attack, but even he is no match for the demon. The Justice League figure they are going to have a much harder fight on their hands than the one they Just got done with, so Batman calls Robin (this being his son, Damian) and tells him to keep the civilians safe.

This doesn’t go over well with Damian, who’s trained all his life to be an assassin and now feels he’s being forced to the side lines. So instead of doing what he was told, Damian hijacks the…batplane…batjet….not sure what that should be called…..and fly’s it directly into Wizards chest, forcing the demon out of him. This has the side effect of forcing the last of Batman’s patience out of him. Batman sends Damian over to the Teen Titans to learn how to be a better team member. And as always, this doesn’t please Damian.

The young Robin is instantly stand-offish towards his fellow titans Beast Boy, Raven and Blue Beetle. This climaxes in a fight between Robin and Blue Beetle, where Beetle loses control of the alien tech connected to him and he nearly kills Damian. Raven uses her magic to heal him, but in doing so the two of them get a look into each others minds. Raven is terrorized of Damian and asks for him to leave her alone while Damian finds himself more intrigued than scared.

Starfire, now the groups leader and mentor rather than an acting member, takes the group to the fair hoping that some some, non-training related activities would help the group bond a little, and as it turns out she was right. Everyone has a great time…until a group of demos come for Raven, saying that her father, Azarath is coming for her. The team fight off the demons and return to the tower to come up with their next move, but when they get there they learn that the Justice League has also learned that Raven is who Azarath is looking for and try to take her. The titans resist, saying that this is their team mate thus their problem to deal with. But as the two groups are arguing Azarath possesses the Justice League and use their powers to take down the teen age super heroes. In order to save her friends Raven agrees to go to her father. Now it’s up to a weakened group of teens to save their friend, the Justice League and the world.

One of the complaints i’ve heard about the movie was that Damian came off as “whiny”. I understand this complaint, but I don’t agree with it. I personal see Damian as being incredibly depressed and just not knowing how to deal with it. He was raised as an assassin and is very good at killing, but upon becoming Robin feels he’s constantly being held back by Batman’s rules and ideals. I saw a lot of my younger self in Damian, so seeing that character learn to get over these same kind of feels I had at his age endeared me to the character more than it might have otherwise. But also like me at that age, Damian was a little prick and I totally understand why some would be put off by him.

My main issue with the film is that it felt rushed. At under 80 minuets it would have been hard not to have been, but I feel like a lot of the scenes could have used some expanding, rather than constantly moving from one plot point to the next. The creative team did pretty well with what they had, but if a 90 minuet “directors cut” ever came out I think it would help the over all film immensely. I would have liked to see more bonding and more fighting as a team rather than separately. Another thing I didn’t like: the stupid T tower. Yeah, I remember this from what little of the show I watched, and I didn’t like it then either. Sorry, it just looks dumb. But that’s nit picky.

However, in a year when we’re getting two big budget movies from both the major comic book companies where their hero’s are fighting each other, I’m kind of surprised how well this handled that same topic. I went into this thinking it would be another edgelord made grimdark film about hero’s fighting, but what I got was actually a pretty sweet film about a group of teens learning to get along andd trying to help their friends. Even when the team has to take on Superman it’s never even considered to try and hurt him too much, just do whats needed to push the demon out of him. There is once scene where superman hurts someone a little more than necessary to force out the demon in them, but it’s a minor slip up in my opinion.

And unlike in “Justice League: War”, I didn’t end up hating the characters this time. I’ve never been a fan of the Superman/Wonder Woman paring, and I still wasn’t here, but the relation ship felt real, like two people who actually care about each other. And the characterizations in War that I hated so much are no where to be seen. Wonder Woman isn’t a war hungery idiot; she even gives a feminist critique of a film she a Clark watch together, which is just so much more fitting for her character than “i’m bored waiting to meet with a world leader, lets go kill some stuff”. And Superman isn’t this snobbish ass whole who knows he can win any fight and desperate to prove that fact. While the Justice League weren’t the main focus of the film, it was nice to see the characters behaving like themselves instead of the abominations they were turned into. And as for the Teen Titans themselves go, they were all portrayed rather well. While most of the screen time was reserved for Robin and Raven, the other Titans all had their moments and came off as a likable group of teenage hero’s. They got on each others nerves, they weren’t always sure hat too do, they were quike to lose their temper and act rashly: they were kids with powers they weren’t quite ready for and the film sold me on that idea.

I’d be willing to watch more Teen Titans movies from these creators and am really considering tracking down the old cartoon. This was so much better that I thought it would be, and I am so happy to be able to say that. I’m glad that I can actually say I liked a DC project again, because it’s been a lot time since I’ve been able too.

Batman v Superman Final Trailer and Impressions


Every decision Warner Bros has made with this film has been, in my opinion, the wrong move. Continuing on from “Man of Steel”? Bad idea. Taking inspiration from Frank Millers “The Dark Knight”? Even worse. Not establishing Batman in this universe before pitting him against Superman? Probably their worse idea yet. Naming the film “Dawn of Justice”? Yup, that annoys me too. But i will give credit where credit is due: this trailer at lest makes the film look fun, if not good.

That opening fight scene was pretty cool and probibly the best hand to hand fighting Batman has done in live action (something EVERY other batman film has failed to deliver on). And that bit where wonder woman is jumping at an unseen foe, yea, that looked good too. It looks like a Zack Snyder movie, but i never had an issue with him, just his take on main-line DC heroes (I’ll defend Watchmen till my death). I still can’t say i’m happy this is the direction DC has chosen to go in trying to compete with Marvel, but at lest it seems like they are putting in an effort.

However, i’m really hoping they don’t make Batman a killer in this version. In an interview with “Birth, Movies, Death” one of the….producers, i believe it was, said that this Batman was “Judge, jury and executioner” which has lead some to speculate that this Batman is going to be killing people, something i’m not okay with. And in that first fight it’s easy to see how some of those hits could end up killing people. Then at the 1:44 he looks to be shooting at the rest of the henchmen with sparks flying out of the shots. This could just be one o his gadgets, but with the above context, it worries me a bit.

In the end, i don’t know how this will turn out, but i’m not to thrilled. I’ll see it eventually and i’m sure i’ll enjoy it when i do, but i can’t see myself getting hyped for more DC films the way i get for Marvel movies. I don’t see myself considering buying the $100+ collectors additions with uses movie trinkets the way i do with Marvel movies. I’m just hoping this will kill 2 hours with out making me want to kill the film makers. If Batman v Superman can handle that, then i’ll be okay.

 

Batman Arkham Knight: Batgirl DLC Trailer and Impressions


The first bit of DLC for Arkham Knight is a Batgirl centric prequel to the main game. Now, i haven’t played Arkham Knight yet, but i do know that miss Barbara Gordon here plays the role of Oracle in the main game and i know why she takes on that title (no spoilers for non comic readers) so my biggest question is: Will this be used to explain what happened to newer fans? While i’m okay with this in theory i also have to wonder if it’s a sign of the dev. team running out of ideas. I mean, one of the things i was most excited about for Arkham Knight was the idea of a Joker-less Batman universe yet here we are, doing another prequel story in order to jam in more Joker. I can’t be too harsh as the DLC does look pretty good and it’s always nice to see some female characters getting some love, but i do wish we could have focused on another villain.

Batman Arkham Knight Batwoman Reveal Poster and Impressions


Bat girl

My Thoughts:

I hate the look Rocksteady went with for Nightwing and Robin. Everything about them angers me to an unreasonable degree. Thankfully they decided to put in some actual work in creating this version of Batwoman. The only issue i have with this is that it’s a part of Arkham Knights Season Pass, and Season Passes are freaking stupid. But as far as the look goes, yeah, i can deal with this.

And just in case you haven;t seen the abominations They made of the other two, i’ll add them for your viewing displeasure. image18

nightwingarkham_610

Batman: Arkham Knight “All who Fallow you” Trailer and Impressions


My Thoughts:

Have you ever thought you wanted something, only to get it a find you didn’t really want it too begin with? Well, that’s what this trailer left me feeling. A while back i did a “What I Want In…” for “Batman: Arkham Knight” and one of the first things i said i wanted was the Batfamily. Now that i’ve seen the new look for Robin and Nightwing i kind of wish they weren’t there. The sad thing is that, other than how badly those two characters look, there’s a lot i like in this trailer. The two man take downs are a cool new idea, and i loved seeing Oracle, but then i see the stupid character designs and i just…i have to ask why? why do they look the way they do? who made these chooses?

nightwingarkham_610Why is Nightwings mask connected to his armor? Who decided that he needed to have a the same hair cut as Fallout Boy fans? Who did this?

image18Why does Robin look like he’s trying to be Phil Anselmo of Pantera? Just….whhhyyyy?

How could they get the look of Batman so right and then these two just so, so wrong? I still think this will be a good game, but these character designs just don’t sit well with me. What about you? What do you think about Robin and Nightwings new looks? Do you love them, hate them, don;t care? Leave a comment and tell me what you think.

Frank Miller to return to “The Dark Knight Returns”


CDYYTFBWEAAPoHN

You read that right. For the angry 13 year olds out there, you’ll be happy to hear that Frank Miller is returning to “The Dark Knight Returns” for the third time to give you more retrograde and ultraviolent stupidity that you can’t get enough of, most likly filled with Millers trade mark Racism, Sexism and Homophobia! Hooray, Warner Bros has made this Jackass relevant again! What more could you ask for? Other than…you know….good comics…

I’ll do a full write up on my fillings over this after i get past my disappointment that we let this happen.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Tearer Trailer and Impressions


My Thoughts:

Other than the fact that this looks more like a Zack Snyder film than “Man of Steel” did, this is exactly what i was expecting from this trailer. Dark, joyless, and completely missing the point of Superman as a character. Where Marvel has constantly made its decisions based on what’s fun or exciting, Warner Bros./DC has been looking at comic archs that sold well, meaning way too much inspiration has been coming from mid-90’s comics and the comics that lead up to that creative dead-zone in comic book history. But as much as i can (and most likely, will) complain about this trailer, there are bits and pieces i like. Most notably the opening voice over leading too the statue of Superman with “False God” painted on its chest.

If you have to go the “dark and gritty” rout for Superman, that is an interesting enough set up. While Superman himself is always supposed to be idealization of what mankind can be, the idea of centering his main conflict on people saying to themselves “are we really okay with this being of nearly god-like power just hanging around unsupervised”? It also doesn’t hurt the film that Awesomeness Personified, Neil Degrasse Tyson himself added to the voice over.

So where does the trailer go wrong? Well, mostly it all goes back to Warner Bros/DC saying that these are all going to be super-serious films, and too me, darkness doesn’t work without light and levity. To me, dark characters (especially superheros) when that are effectively taking on sin to save innocence from doing so.

For example: in Garth Ennis’s run on “The Punisher” (one of the darkest and most violent comics i’ve read) there is a scene where Frank Castle kills the Pimp of an informant of his because the Pimp had a 14 year old as one of his girls. In an other scene Nick Furry beats a military general senseless for ordering a hit on a little girl. No Matter how bad these two men are, we are reminded that they are trying to do right for those who can’t. They become monsters so others don’t have too. That is what this trailer lacks, that is what “Man of Steel” lacked and, form all given context, that is what all of DC’s movies are going to lack: any indication that our heroes think there is something worth saving.

It also doesn’t help that Batman’s “bat-armor” helmet…thing…looked like Batman’s mask from “The Lego Movie”, but that’s a compliant for another day…

On the Topic of Batman Arkham Knight’s “M” Rating


Today we learned that the last chapter in Rocksteady’s “Arkham” franchise will be getting an “M” rating, a first for the franchise. I’ve been going over this in my head for the last few hours and i’e thought of two potentially great things that could come out of this, and one that could make everything go very, very wrong. Now, as seeing that I am such a positive person, let’s start with the good, shall we?
The first good thing is that, as this is the last game, we may be able to see the Villains truly be villainous. Batman has one of the best rouges gallery in comics, but due to a lot of restraints that come with a PG-13 or “T” rating we hardly ever got to see them in a light that truly lets that shine. Sure, good creators have been able to work around this (my favorite incarnation of the dark knight is still the 90’s cartoon witch was aimed at kids and thus couldn’t be all that dark), but this freedom could show us way exactly Batman has to do what he does. The steaks here should be at their highest and an “M” rating could easily make that possible.
Another good thing: as Scarecrow is the main villain, we will most likely get some more sections where he drugs batman like in the first game(something noticeably lacking the “Arkham City”). With the freedom an “M” rating gives the creative team, just think about how much scarier these can be. Think about how SPOILER WARNING the jokers death in “Arkham City effected Bruce Wayne and how Scarecrow could use that to really mess with Batman’s head.
The “M” rating could allow us to see something a lot of comic book writes have issues with: giving us dark stories that do not delve into complete pessimism and nihilism. We can see the villains at there worst, show us exactly what the hero has to face, then show us how our hero is, in fact, the hero. That is, of course, assuming that the creative team are all on the ball.
However, there is one way that this game could have gotten an “M” rating that will turn some comic reading gamers off (myself included), maybe so far as to have them avoid buying the game all together. And that’s if the devs. are taking their ques from comic writers like Frank Miller. You can’t deniers his work has had a lasting impression on both Batman and comics as a whole (for better or…no, no, just for the worse) so it would make sense from a marketing stand point to try and ape his work. But with how poorly his work has stood up over time, and with how unlikable he tends to be in general, taking your lead from him is a surefire way to make a crappy product (in my opinion, of course). Now, there are other bad writers who the team could be fallowing who would also make for a bad game but….lets be honest, it’s fun to make fun of Frank Miller.
So what do you think? What do you see as the potential positives or negatives of an “M” rated Batman? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Does anyone want the writer of this crap being the inspiration for a batman game?

Does anyone want the writer of this crap being the inspiration for a batman game?

Batman Arkham Knight gets “M” rating.


Holy F***ing Sh*t Batman. You read that right, the third and final game in Rocksteady’s “Arkham” franchise is getting an “M” rating. I came cross this from a “comicbook.com” article that lead me to this page from IGN. So, what does this mean for “Arkham Knight”? Well, Lets talk about it. The ESRB website content description says that the game will include “Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, and Violence”.

I’ll be doing a full “poor man rambles” about this when i figure out exactly what i think about this, but for right now i just thought you might want to know.

A Poor Man Rambles: Batman vs Superman-Who Won!


 

With the last review having been published, it’s time to see who won this battle of God. Each hero’s movie scored accordingly:

Superman:

Movie 1: 3/5
Movie 2: 4/5
Movie 3:1.5/5
Movie 4: 0/5
Movie 5: 1/5
Movie 6: 3/5

This give Superman an average score of 2.08/5

Batman scored:

Movie 1: 2/5
Movie 2: 3/5
Movie 3: 2/5
Movie 4: 1/5
Movie 5: 4/5
Movie 6: 4.5/5
Movie 7: 2/5

Giving Batman an average score of 2.6/5
With a lead of .52, Batman wins the day. This victory really comes more due to the fact that we may never see anything as bad as Superman 4 in our lifetime. But it doesn’t hurt that The Dark Knight was just an outstanding film. So what did you think? Who won in your eyes? Leave a comment below and let me know!