action, adventure, animation, kaiju movie, movie, movie review, sci-fi

May 26th, 2019 Movie – Godzilla: The Planet Eater

godzilla the planet eater

A holiday weekend, which is a good thing because I theoretically could catch up on some sleep. Unfortunately, that has never been the case for me as I am usually fairly busy during this particular 3-day weekend. Anyways, today we are finishing up our jaunt through the Netflix Godzilla trilogy. Now I was eagerly awaiting this movie to come out, as they had pretty much set up a fight between Godzilla and his biggest nemesis, Ghidorah. However, before it debuted on Netflix, I started hearing some reviews from people that had seen it in Japan and were disappointed in it. That had me a little nervous about what I was going to be getting, but then I decided to ignore what they said and simply enjoy a brand new Godzilla movie like I always do. So let’s relax this weekend with today’s movie, Godzilla: The Planet Eater.

The plot: As the remainder of Haruo’s team recovers from Godzilla’s assault on Mechagodzilla City, Metphies muses to himself on the Exif’s having observed and influenced humanity for centuries, and how he had been waiting for someone like Haruo in order to fulfill his own plans. Meanwhile, Haruo and Martin are observing Godzilla, who has gone to sleep in order to rest and recharge his own powers. On board the Aratrum, Dolu-Do, the Bilusaludo member of the committee, argues that Haruo should be put to death for his actions in destroying Mechagodzilla but the humans argue about Haruo revealing the Bilusaludo’s real endgame towards humanity and feels that Haruo should be commended for his actions. Back on Earth, Martin tells Haruo that Yuko is completely brain-dead, with only the nanometals in her body keeping her alive. When Metphies arrives and tells him about the discussion going on in the Aratrum, some of the crew believe Haruo was spared from the nanometals by an act of God, saying it is proof that his decisions were right. As other crew members start telling their own stories of how they survived against the nanometal, more of them begin joining Metphies religion. Martin tells Haruo that all of the people that survived the nanometal had been treated for injuries by the Houtua, including Haruo, and that some antibody in the treatment is what saved them, not a miracle. Haruo confronts Metphies about his misleading people, but Metphies says that he needed to as he planned to get Haruo and the others to help him summon his god, Ghidorah, to destroy Godzilla, but he needs Haruo to help him with that. Back on the Aratrum, the Bilusaludo mutiny and take over the engine room, shutting off power to the station unless Haruo is held accountable for the destruction of Mechagodzilla City. Back on Earth, Adam leads some of the other newly converted members of the Exif religion to build a temple where they can worship. Meanwhile, Martin tells Haruo what is going on on board the Aratrum and suggest the best thing for Haruo to do is to disappear for a while until everyone has a chance to calm down. Martin had convinced Miana to hide Haruo and she takes him back to the hut that he had woken up in. The two talk, with Miana telling him that to the Houtua, winning is to survive and losing is to die and Haruo, with their help, will win. Miana then removes her clothes and attempts to sleep with Haruo but he asks that he just be allowed to rest in peace. As he is resting, he realizes that since Miana didn’t know how to remove his suit, she couldn’t have been the one to treat his injuries. He realizes that Maina was the one to save him, just as Maina shows up in the room and the two end up sleeping together. Meanwhile, Metphies communicates with his father, Endurph, on the Aratrum and they say that their plan is almost ready to commence. When he finishes, he telepathically speaks with Miana, who had eavesdropped on his plans, and the two argue over his actions before he grabs her and prepares to use her as part of his ritual. Haruo wakens from a nightmare, just as Maina shudders as she heard her sister call out to her. Metphies and Endurph preach to the humans in their respective locations and convince them to pray out to their god in order to destroy Godzilla. On Earth, a shadowy image of Ghidorah emerges and begins killing all of the worshipers except for Metphies. In space, a singularity opens up near the Aratrum, and one of Ghidorah’s heads emerges on an impossibly long neck, which it wraps around the Aratrum, crushing it out of existence. On Earth, Godzilla begins to awaken just as 3 singularities begin to emerge from the clouds. Haruo and Maina meet up with Martin, who is trying to make sense of what is happening, and when Maina hears a voice from a hilltop on the other side of the valley, Haruo heads there to stop Metphies. Ghidorah’s heads emerge from the singularities and Godzilla fires his heat ray at them but the beams curve, while Martin’s instruments are unable to get a reading on Ghidorah. Ghidorah’s heads bite onto Godzilla, and Martin is amazed to see that Godzilla is losing energy, even though his machines can get no reading on Ghidorah. Haruo confronts Metphies, and learns that Exif’s had willingly sacrificed themselves to Ghidorah, allowing only a few priests to survive to spread the word of Ghidorah and offer him more planets to destroy. Metphies begins telepathically manipulating Haruo into accepting his way of thinking, using the images of those that had died to help influence him. Meanwhile, Martin continues watching what is happening with Godzilla’s fight and realizes that Ghidorah must be coming from a different universe and since his attacks are from a different dimension, Godzilla won’t be able to affect it. Since Ghidorah is able to attack Godzilla, someone from their universe must be guiding it and he realizes it must be Metphies, just as Maina grabs him and tells him they have to help Haruo. Maina takes Martin to the egg chamber, where they use the power of Mothra’s egg to reach out to Haruo and try to tell him what is going on. Metphies blocks them and continues trying to influence Haruo but Haruo is able to see into Metphies memories and realizes he is the one that sabotaged the shuttle his grandfather was on. Remembering a memory of his parents, where he is told that his name means hope, Haruo is able to break Metphies’ hold on him and attacks him, causing the medallion in Metphies eye to break and Ghidorah to suddenly gain form in their universe. Godzilla is now able to attack Ghidorah and quickly defeats him, blowing up the singularities to ensure that he can not return. When the dust settles, Haruo recovers and sees a dying Metphies, who tells him that due to his rage and anger, Ghidorah will be watching him. The surviving humans begin to integrate themselves into the Houtua tribe, with Maina becoming pregnant with Haruo’s child. Later, Martin shows Haruo that he has managed to get the last Vulture working again, using a sample of nanometal from Yuko’s body. As Martin talks about being able to control the nanometal to rebuild past civilizations, Haruo’s eye hurts and he hears Metphies voice in his head, saying that Ghidorah can wait. Haruo takes Yuko’s body with him and enters the Vulture, piloting it towards Godzilla so that Godzilla can destroy all traces of the nanometal, as well as the hatred that Haruo carries with him. In a post credits scene, years have passed and one of the twins watches over a ceremony where Houtua children make effigies, symbolizing the things they are scared of, so that they can burn them in front of a giant effigy of the Vulture, symbolizing Haruo.

I have to admit that I see why some people complained about this movie but I honestly thought it was really good and a great way to end the trilogy. The voice acting was good, with all of the people doing good jobs voicing their respective roles. The story was pretty interesting, as I liked the concept of the Exif’s using people’s belief to bring Ghidorah to Earth. The concept of it being in a different dimension actually added some credibility to why the Exif’s believed it to be a god, and why faith was the only way to bring it about.  The ending of the movie seemed to be cause for a lot of criticism but I actually thought it was rather fitting. Haruo’s anger and hatred for Godzilla was what drove him for so much of his life that it had become a part of him. The Houtua didn’t have any concept of hatred and, aside from not wanting to give Ghidorah a pathway to return to Earth, he didn’t want to allow his hatred to begin to influence the Houtua so he decided to sacrifice himself for their sake. Miana, who only understood part of what Haruo was talking about when he was talking with her before he left, interpreted it as facing his fear so his fear wouldn’t win, even if he himself lost. She then incorporated it into a new ritual with the Houtua by havig their children burn what scares them so they won’t be afraid of it anymore, as a way to honor his sacrifice. The animation was really good in this movie, as it was in the others. I did like how Ghidorah arrived through singularities, but I will admit that I was a bit disappointed in Ghidorah itself, as he didn’t have the usual lightening-like gravity beams that he usually wielded, merely biting down on Godzilla and seemingly electrocuting him (sort of) in doing so. So it was a good way to end the series and a good movie in it’s own way, but all it did was really get me geared up for Godzilla: King Of The Monsters.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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adventure, animation, comedy, movie, movie review

October 21st, 2018 Movie – Ice Age

ice age

The one good thing about being a kid at heart is that you can still enjoy watching an animated movie. I admit, I will still go see animated movies in theaters because there really is something about watching cartoons on a big screen that just makes the day feel better. Well, today’s movie is one such movie that I saw in theaters. When this movie came out, I was a few months away from getting married and the stress of that plus school was getting to my fiance. So when I went down to Savannah for a visit, we went out to a movie and I suggested Ice Age because it would be light hearted and fun so she could just enjoy the movie, which we both did.

The plot: A sabre-toothed squirrel named Scrat is trying to find a place to bury the acorn it is carrying but as he tries to force it into the icy ground, he causes a massive crack to appear in the ice, causing part of the mountain to break off and slide towards him. Scrat grabs his acorn and barely manages to avoid getting crushed by the ice, but ends up sliding down the mountain to the ground below. As he recovers from the fall and grabs his acorn, he is stepped on by a herd of animals that is moving south to avoid the snow and ice from the oncoming Ice Age. As the herd is moving south, a surly woolly mammoth named Manny is moving against the herd and heading north, saying it will be quieter with all the other animals gone. Meanwhile, a sloth named Sid wakes up to discover that his friends had all left on the migration without him. As Sid prepares to leave, he steps in the feces of an animal that had passed by and starts wiping it off his feet, ruining the meal of a pair of Brontops named Carl and Frank in the process. When Carl and Frank chase after him, Sid runs into Manny and hides behind him, forcing Manny to deal with the two Brontops. Sid thanks Manny but inadvertently knocks them both off a cliff and with the Brontops still wanting to injure him, Sid decides to follow Manny, despite the fact that he is heading North. As night falls, Manny makes a shelter while Sid tries to make a fire but when he fails, he tries to ask Manny to let him stay in his shelter but Manny turns his back on him and goes to sleep, while Scrat is seen still trying to hide his acorn. Elsewhere, Soto, the leader of a pack of smilodons, is watching a tribe of humans and makes plans with the rest of his pack to attack them at dawn, telling another smilodon named Diego to grab the leader’s baby, as he wants to kill it as revenge for the tribe’s killing half of their pack. At dawn, the smilodon’s attack the camp and while Soto and the others keep the humans busy, Diego sneaks into the tent to grab the baby but the mother grabs the baby and runs for it and ends up jumping over the falls to escape Diego. Diego tells Soto what happened and Soto tells him to find the baby and bring it to Half Peak or else Soto will kill Diego instead. Later, Manny and Sid are walking by the river when they see the mother clinging to a log near the bank. Seeing Manny, the mother pushes the bundle containing the baby towards him and Manny pulls the baby to safety but when he and Sid look up, they find that the mother has disappeared down the river. Manny turns to leave and Sid chastises him for leaving the baby and, seeing smoke at the top of a cliff, says he will take the baby back to it’s tribe. Manny watches as Sid tries to scale the cliff with the baby but when the baby starts to slip out of it’s blanket, Sid yells for Manny to catch it only for Diego to leap up and grab it. Manny grabs the baby from Diego, who tells them that the humans have left already and tries to convince them to let him take the baby back to them but Manny is wary of Diego and decides to go with Sid to take the baby back. When they reach the camp site and find it empty, Diego tells them that he can track the humans to Glacier Pass, where they have a settlement, and get the baby there before it closes up with snow but Manny still doesn’t trust him and hands the baby to Sid while telling Diego to lead the way. As they make their journey, the baby starts crying and after checking to make sure it hadn’t pooped, they realize it is hungry. Seeing a melon nearby, Manny goes to grab it but it is snatched away by a dodo and taken to it’s flock, where they are preparing for the coming Ice Age. The group tries to get the melon back from the dodos and Sid eventually succeeds but then smashes it on the ground, where the baby proceeds to eat it. That night, Manny has the baby wrapped in his trunk and Diego attempts to swipe it but when he hears something in the nearby grass, he goes to attack it and encounters two members of his pack. The other smilodons tell Diego that Soto is growing impatient and Diego tells them that he will bring the baby to Half Peak, along with a mammoth, and to get the whole pack there to take him down. The next morning, Manny and Diego wake up to find Sid and the baby are missing. Manny discovers Sid with the baby in a hot spring, where he is using it to pick up two female sloths. Manny takes the baby from Sid, who pleads with Manny to let him use it, but when Manny refuses, but boosts Sid confidence in himself, Sid returns to the hot spring only to find Carl and Frank in it instead. Sid runs from the Brontops and finds Diego, then gets him to help pretend that Diego has killed Sid in order to get the Brontops to leave. The group continue heading to Glacier Pass, with Diego hiding evidence of Soto and the other smilodons heading there as well, then flicking Scrat away when he tries to warn Manny and Sid about them. As they get close to Half Peak, Diego sees the humans nearby but convinces Manny and Sid to take a shortcut through a mountain pass, accidentally causing an avalanche that seals them in. As they make their way through the icy cavern, passing by several frozen animals (and a UFO), the baby ends up getting knocked off Manny’s back and slides down a ice chute. The animals all chase after it and Manny eventually catches the baby as they all smash through a snow drift. They enter another cave where the humans have painted cave drawings on the walls. As Sid is looking for paintings of sloths, he spots some paintings of a family of mammoths and points them out to Manny. Manny stares at the pictures, thinking of his own family that he had lost and as the baby grabs his trunk and hugs him, Manny places him gently back on his back and walks away, with Sid and Diego understanding his desire to be alone now and sadly following after him. Meanwhile, the human’s leader is attempting to track his baby but his wolves lose the scent and they are forced to turn towards Glacier Pass. Manny and the others exit the cave and spot Half Peak and Glacier pass in the distance but as they keep walking, an eruption occurs, melting the ice around them. Sid and Manny manage to make it across the ice bridge but when Diego leaps for the other side, he doesn’t make it and starts to fall. Manny saves Diego and tosses him to safety but the ice under his feet ends up breaking off and he falls into the magma below, only to be shot up when the ice acts like a geyser upon hitting the lava. As Manny recovers, Diego asks why he saved him and Manny tells him that a herd is supposed to look out for one another. As they reach Half Peak, Diego starts to change his mind about leading them into danger and warns them about the ambush. Manny is angry and tells Sid that they will figure a way out but Diego says that he is their only chance. Diego goes ahead and rejoins the pack and Soto tells them to wait until they see the mammoth before they attack but Diego convinces one of them to attack as soon as he sees Sid. Sid manages to elude the smilodons for a while but when he drops the baby, the smilodons realize that it is a decoy. Three of the smilodons chase after Sid only to be surprised by Manny and are knocked down a ledge. Diego says they should leave now but when Soto shows up and tells Diego to help him attack Manny, Diego stands between them. Soto and Diego fight while two other smilodons keep Manny at bay and Diego ends up being injured. When Soto turns his attention to Manny and tries to kill him, Diego leaps in front os many and takes the killing blow himself. Soto turns his attention back to Manny but when Sid shows up with the baby, Soto gets distracted and Manny knocks him aside, where some falling icicles kill him. The rest of the pack runs off and Manny, Sid, and the baby approach Diego, who says he had to return the favor from when MAnny saved his life before he falls silent. Manny and Sid continue moving forward and finally catch up to the baby’s father, returning the baby to him. The father hugs the baby and Manny and Sid turn to leave but the bay cries out to them. The father sets the baby down and he walks over to hug Sid and Manny and after Manny gives the baby back to his father, the father puts a necklace on Manny’s tusk to thank him. The humans leave and as the baby waves goodbye, he suddenly starts playing peek-a-boo. Manny turns to find that Diego had survived and he waves goodbye to the baby before Sid happily tackles him and the group start heading South. 20,000 years later, Scrat is seen to be frozen in a block of ice while he was chasing his acorn. He ends up on an island and as the ice melts, Scrats acorn is washed. A frustrated Scrat smashes his head into a tree, causing a coconut to fall to the ground and as an excited Scrat tries to bury it, he causes a crack to form in the ground which expands and ends up causing the nearby volcano to erupt.

Ice Age met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 77% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Even though Ice Age is treading over the same grounds as Monsters, Inc. and Shrek, it has enough wit and laughs to stand on its own.” Though Scrat was designed as a fictional animal, in 2009, scientists in Argentina unearthed the remains of a small, extinct mammal resembling a shrew with long fangs. This animal was given the scientific name of “Cronopio Dentiacutus”, in tribute to Scrat. The movie was a box office success, earning $383.3 million off of a $59 million budget and would go on to spawn 4 sequels that would bring in a combined revenue of $3.2 billion for the franchise.

This is a really good, non-Disney animated movie. The voice acting was great, with Ray Romano (Manny), John Leguizamo (Sid) and Denis Leary (Diego) doing great jobs in their roles. The story was honestly not too original, as it really felt a lot like Monsters, Inc., which had come out the year before. However, the idea of the different animals grouping together to care for and return the baby to it’s family was very touching. Personally, I liked the brief segments featuring Scrat the best, as the slapstick antics as he kept trying to get his acorn hidden really had me laughing. The animation was really good and I liked some of the digs at modern society that got thrown into the movie, such as the Stonehenge structure and Sid wanting Global Warming to start happening. All in all, this is a fun movie to watch, whether it is with your kids or just by yourself.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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October 9th, 2018 Movie – Big Hero 6

big hero 6

Another free movie for signing up for a service. Got to love how that works out. Anyways, I don’t care how old I get, I still enjoy watching cartoons, whether it be a TV show or an animated movie. Now with Disney pretty much owning the rights to Marvel, you just knew at some point that there was going to be an animated move based on a Marvel comic book. However, while Disney has done several cartoon shows on Disney and Disney XD based on the more popular characters, their first feature film focused on a lesser known comic. My guess is that since the live action MCU was doing so well, they didn’t want to risk turning people away from those movies. Whatever the reason, there was an animated super hero movie in theaters and I for one couldn’t wait to go see Big Hero 6.

The plot: In the futuristic city of San Fransokyo, 14 year old Hiro Hamada participates in an illegal robot fight, hustling the champion Yama out of his money. When Yama grabs Hiro’s bot and tells his men to teach him a lesson, Hiro is rescued by his older brother Tadashi, who chastises him about participating in illegal fights, just before they get arrested by the police. The boy’s aunt Cass bails them out, the chastises both of them, as she had to close her cafe down early to bail them out. When Hiro plans on going to another bot fight, Tadashi says he will take him there but instead, takes him to the science lab at his university. At the lab, Tadashi introduces Hiro to his friends and classmates (Go-Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred) then shows Hiro the project he is working on, a robotic nurse named Baymax. Hiro is impressed with Tadashi’s project and when he learns that Professor Robert Callaghan, who is one of Hiro’s idols in robotics, is Tadashi’s teacher, Hiro begs Tadashi to let him know how he can get in to the university. Tadashi tells Hiro that Callaghan has a contest every year and the kid who impresses him the most gets in but when Hiro sits down to come up with an idea, he draws a blank. Tadashi tells Hiro to not give up and Hiro eventually comes up with an idea for the expo. When they get there, Tadashi and all his friends wish Hiro luck and he presents his invention, microbots. Hiro amazes the crowd when he shows everything the microbots can be used for and after his presentation is done, he is approached by Alistair Krei, the CEO of Krei Tech. Krei wants to buy the microbots from Hiro but when Callaghan tells him that he doesn’t trust Krei, Hiro tells Krei that they aren’t for sale. Callaghan tells Hiro he has been accepted to the school and Aunt Cass says she will treat everyone to dinner at the cafe. Tadashi tells her he and Hiro will join them in a bit, then he pulls Hiro aside to talk with him. Suddenly, they hear alarms going off and people screaming and they turn to find the expo is on fire. When he learns that Callaghan is still in there, Tadashi goes in to help him and Hiro decides to go as well but he is knocked back when the building explodes, killing both Callaghan and Tadashi. Several weeks later, Hiro has fallen into a state of depression over Tadashi’s death, refusing to register for his classes. As he is moping in his room, he stubs his toe and accidentally activates Baymax, who tries to assist Hiro. Hiro tries to get Baymax back in his case but during the process, discovers one of his microbots in his hoodie he was wearing at the expo. The microbot seems to be trying to go somewhere but Hiro says that it must be broken as the other microbots were destroyed. Baymax takes the microbot and decides to see where it is trying to go and Hiro chases after him, eventually reaching an abandoned warehouse. Deciding to head inside, Hiro discovers that someone is mass producing his microbots when the microbots suddenly activate and attempt to attack them. Hiro and Baymax try to run away and see a man in a kabuki mask controlling the microbots, just before they are shoved out a window. Baymax saves Hiro and they go to the police to report what happened but Baymax begins running out of power and Hiro leaves, as he doesn’t want Aunt Cass to know he didn’t sign up for college. When he gets home, Hiro realizes that the man in the kabuki mask had set the fire at the expo to cover up his stealing Hiro’s microbots. Wanting to bring the guy to justice in order to avenge Tadashi, Hiro decides to use Baymax to accomplish the task, downloading karate onto a memory chip and inserting it into Baymax, then fashioning him a suit of armor. Hiro and BAymax use the microbot to track the killer, finding him at the docks but before they can attack him, they are confronted by Go-Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred, who had been contacted by Baymax earlier. When the man in the kabuki mask attacks them,  Hiro tells the others to let him and Baymax handle him but Baymax is overpowered and the others grab Hiro and force him to leave with them. They kids attempt to escape but end up crashing into the ocean, only for Baymax to save them all. Trying to figure out where they should go, Fred takes them to his home, which is a mansion, and he reveals that his parents are rich. Hiro tries to figure out what the symbol on the item the kabuki man was carrying means and Fred says that it is probably Krei, as he had attempted to buy the microbots at the expo. Hiro decides to go after the kabuki man again and the others agree to help so Hiro works on designing them all super hero outfits and weapons. After testing everyones’ super suits, Hiro takes off with Baymax and tests his new armor, then scans the city to locate the kabuki man, finding him on an isolated island. The group heads out to the island and as they look around, they discover that the island was once a test lab for Krei Tech. The find video showing that Krei was testing a teleportation device but an accident occurred and the test pilot disappeared through the portal. Suddenly, the kabuki man attacks them and they attempt to get the mask away from him, as Hiro says that it is what is controlling the microbots. Hiro manages to knock the kabuki mask off the man only to discover that it is Callaghan, not Krei. A shocked Hiro asks Callaghan how he survived and Callaghan tells him he used to microbots to survive the explosion, telling Hiro that Tadashi’s death was his own fault. Enraged at the betrayal, Hiro tells Baymax to destroy Callaghan, taking out his healthcare chip in order to allow Baymax to attack without mercy. Go-Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred try to stop Baymax and succeed when Honey Lemon puts the healthcare chip back in Baymax but doing so allows Callaghan to escape. Hiro is upset at the others and leaves with Baymax, hoping to repair his scanner so they can find Callaghan. When Hiro attempts to remove the healthcare chip again, Baymax refuses to let him, asking if this is what Tadashi would want and showing Hiro video of Tadashi as he was building Baymax. Go-Go and the others show up at Hiro’s garage and Hiro apologizes to them. Honey Lemon tells Hiro they found something on the island and pulls out a flash drive, which shows that Callaghan was at the teleportation testing. When they scan through some of the other video files, they realize that the test pilot was Callghan’s daughter Abigail and that he blames Krei for her death. At Krei Tech, Callaghan attacks Krei and then reveals that he has grabbed the portal and puts it back together, causing it to begin sucking Krei Tech into it. Hiro and the others show up and try to get Callaghan to stop but when he refuses, they go on the offensive. Callaghan is able to capture them but Hiro comes up with a new plan, getting the microbots sucked into the portal so that Callaghan no longer has a weapon to use. The plan works and they are able to stop Callaghan but the portal is still active and Krei says there is no way to stop it. Hiro says that they should run but Baymax says he detects life coming from within the portal and Hiro realizes that Abigail is still alive so he jumps onto Baymax and they head in to save her. Making their way through the portal, they eventually find Abigail’s ship and head back to the portal but when some debris is heading towards them, Baymax shield Hiro and Abigail’s ship with his own body. Baymax’s armor is damaged and when he notices the portal is closing, he tells Hiro that there is another way to save him, placing his rocket fist into the ship’s engine. Hiro doesn’t want him to do this, as he doesn’t want to lose Baymax, but Baymax says he will always be with him so Hiro reluctantly deactivates Baymax, just as he launches his rocket fist. Hiro makes it through with Abigail, just before the portal explodes, and when the others ask about Baymax, Hiro shakes his head no. Callaghan is arrested as Abigail is sent to a hospital for treatment while Hiro and the others leave the scene. Some time later, Hiro has taken over Tadashi’s lab at the university and as he places Baymax’s rocket fist on a shelf, he sees the healthcare chip in the fist. Realizing what this means, Hiro rebuilds Baymax and when he is activated, the two hug. Hiro and Baymax continue to act as superheroes to the city, with the others joining them and calling themselves Big Hero 6. Some time later, Fred is talking at a picture of his dad when he discovers a hidden room full of superhero equipment and when his dad shows up in the doorway, Fred hugs him as his dad says they have a lot to talk about.

Big Hero 6 met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Agreeably entertaining and brilliantly animated, Big Hero 6 is briskly-paced, action-packed, and often touching.” According to Scott Watanabe, the movie is set in an alternate future where after the 1906 earthquake, San Francisco was rebuilt by Japanese immigrants using techniques that allow movement and flexibility in a seismic event. After the city was finished being rebuilt, it was renamed San Fransokyo due to it being a city with Japanese and American architecture combined. Big Hero 6 was the highest grossing animated movie of 2014, earning $657.8 million off of a $165 million budget and would win the Academy Award for Best Animated Film.

This is such a great movie to watch. The voice acting was great, with Ryan Potter and Scott Adsit doing great jobs as Hiro and Baymax respectively. All of the other characters were equally good but I loved the cameo of Stan Lee being Fred’s dad, and the fact that they made him look like Stan Lee was even better. The story was really good, showing a lot more depth than I honestly would have given Disney credit for in a super hero movie. I loved the character development they showed with Hiro, going from reckless teenager to responsible kid, from wanna-be superhero to an angry, revenge seeking kid and back again. Hiro’s development drove the movie almost as much as the main story itself. The animation was great and some of the background animation and scenery was incredibly vivid and colorful. A great Disney movie that is well worth watching and definitely one that will end up being one of their all time greats.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: May 17th, 2014 Movie – Blood: The Last Vampire (2000)

blood the last vampire

Ahh, it has been a while since I have watched an anime movie so I am kind of glad to be rewatching one today. Now when it comes to this movie, I honestly don’t remember exactly why I got it. My best guess is that I was in a mood after getting Vampire Hunter D on DVD and decided that why stop at one vampire anime when I can have two. Now it was released by Manga Entertainment and I had enjoyed several of their other releases so I figured that Blood: The Last Vampire would be just as enjoyable. Now let’s see if it still is.

The plot: In 1966, a young girl named Saya is carrying a large cylindrical case on a subway train, with the only other passenger being a man in a suit. As the train moves through a tunnel and the lights start going out, Says rushes towards the man, pulling out a katana from the case, and killing the man as he tries to escape into another car. When the train stops at the next station, two men, David and Louis, meet with Saya and ask her where the chiropteran is, which the man she killed is supposed to be. David begins briefing Saya on her next mission, while Louis checks on the body but he rushes out to say that it looks like she killed a regular human. David ignores Louis and continues briefing Saya, who is shocked to learn that her assignment is on an American Air Force base. When Louis keeps going on about Saya’s possibly killing a normal person, muttering “Jesus” when they keep ignoring him, Saya gets enraged and grabs him by the mouth, lifting him up into the air but David convinces her to let him go. As she leaves, David decks Louis and tells him not to piss her off, as she is the last of the original ones. Meanwhile, outside Yokota Air Force Base, a young woman is found dead from apparent suicide and the townsfolk believe she was dating one of the soldiers. The next day, Saya is walking by an antique shop and notices a pair of katanas inside that are marked not for sale but she continues on her way towards the high school on the base grounds. At the same time, Nurse Makiho Amano arrives at the school and as she heads to her office, she notices Saya and questions her before taking her to the principal’s office at Saya’s request. Inside, they find David waiting for her with the principal and the principal dismisses her to her class but warns that not a lot of work will be done as they are preparing for the Halloween party. After Saya and David leave, Makiho starts to question the principal about the Saya, as well as the party, but the principal says he is tired of hearing her arguments and to get back to work. Meanwhile, David is talking with Saya and tells her that another body was discovered and they need to find the chiropteran before it goes into hibernation, where it won’t be able to be traced. In class, Sharon, the girl next to Saya, tries talking to her but when Saya tells her to leave her alone, she leaves with her friend Linda. As the school day ends, Saya is looking around the school when she senses something and heads to the nurse’s office, where she finds evidence that the chiropterans are feeding there. When Makiho walks in, she is startled by Saya’s being there and drops the papers she was carrying but Saya leaves before she can say anything. The next day, the students are getting ready for the party but Sharon tells their teacher that Linda isn’t feeling well and asks to help take her to the nurse’s office, unaware that Saya is listening to them outside the door. Makiho goes to get Linda some medicine for anemia but when she turns around, she finds Linda sitting up in bed and both her and Sharon’s mouths are moving but no sound is being made. Suddenly, Saya bursts into the room and kills Linda with her sword but when she goes to kill Sharon, Sharon manages to deflect the blade with a cabinet, snapping the blade’s tip off but injuring herself in the process. As she escapes, Saya turns to Makiho, who is screaming in shock, and slaps her in order to calm her down, then warns her to forget what she saw there. The wounded Saya grabs a banner to wrap around her wounded arm and screams out into the night and elsewhere in the city, a bartender hears her and leaves the bar and heads into an alley, where she starts a fire before transforming into a chiropteran and heading off into the night. Driving around in their car, David is shocked to learn that there are three chiropteran in the area and tells Louis that they have to step on it and make sure they don’t lose any of them. Back at the school, Makiho follows the blood trail from Sharon’s arm to where the dance is being held and discovers the changed Sharon pretending to be in costume. Saya suddenly appears, having broken into the store to grab one of the swords, but when she attacks Sharon, she discovers the sword is a fake. Sharon knocks Saya away and grabs Makiho before exiting the party but Saya attacks her again and causes her to release Makiho, whom Saya yells at to run. As David and Louis track the other one heading towards the base, Makiho runs from the school and ends up encountering a guard and trying to explain what is happening. The guard doesn’t believe her, as it is Halloween, but as he follows Makiho back towards the school, he is attacked and killed by the other chiropteran. Saya manages to wound it by throwing the remains of her sword into it’s eye and then grabs the guards gun before leaving with Makiho. Heading towards the base, another guard tries to stop them but Saya knocks him out and then drags Makiho into the motorpool to hide. Saya heands Makiho the gun, then tries to explain their situation while searching for a weapon. When Makiho tries giving her the gun back, Saya tells her that it won’t kill a chiropteran but she might need it to kill herself. Suddenly, the chiropteran break into the building and move to attack them. Makiho, reaching the breaking point with what’s happening, begins firing randomly at Sharon, hitting some gas cans and causing an explosion that knocks Sharon unconscious and sets the building on fire. As the other chiropteran heads to the roof of the building, David shows up and tries to get inside only to find that the chiropteran have used the guard’s body to lock the door. A recovered Sharon attacks Saya and Makiho goes to shoot herself but Saya yells at her to get in the jeep and drive through the doors. Makiho does so, knocking herself unconscious in the process, and David manages to make it inside and throw Saya a new sword, which she uses to finally kill Sharon. The other chiropteran cries out and begins changing again, growing wings, then flies off towards a cargo plane that is about to take off. Saya and David chase after it in the jeep, radioing Louis and telling him to grab Makiho before the authorities do, and Saya manages to wound it before it can grab onto the plane and escape. When David stops the car, Saya heads back to the dying chiropteran and after staring at it for a while, she allows some of her blood to drip into it’s mouth, which finally kills it, then leaves with David as more guards arrive. The next day, Makiho is being questioned about what happened but as all of the bodies have vanished, along with Saya and David, she has no proof to back up her story. As she is dismissed, she is showed a picture and asked if the girl in the picture looked like Saya and Makiho is shocked to notice that the picture is from 1892, and the word Vampire is written on it. As Makiho watches the motor pool being demolished, she thinks to herself that she did learn the truth about Saya and the chiropterans and wonders if she is still fighting them. As she drives away, she listens to the radio, where the news caster is reading the cover story that David and Louis’ team created to explain what happened, with the Viet Cong being blamed for the destruction, resulting in more American forces being sent to Vietnam in retaliation.

Ok, the first time I watched this movie, I will admit that I was a little confused about the plot. Watching it again now, almost 20 years later, I actually understood it a lot better and enjoyed it even more, but it is still not close to one of my favorites. The voice acting was pretty good though the mixture between Japanese and English among some of the people was a little weird to get used to. The story was interesting, as they don’t quite come out and say that Saya is the last vampire, referring to her as the last original. They also don’t really explain how the chiropteran came to be or why Saya is the one to hunt them but by all appearances, they are simply an offshoot of vampires and Saya feels like it is her job to eliminate them. The other thing I thought was interesting, and I didn’t catch this when I first watched it, was the setting for the movie and how it tied into the Vietnam War, making you wonder if the people that David, Louis, and Saya work for intended to blame the Viet Cong for the attack in order to start the war. The animation was honestly a little duller than I expected, not dull in a lack of excitement to it but dull as far as the color scheme. This was actually a good thing as the muted color scheme helped make the movie a little more dramatic in it’s telling. It’s a good anime and worth giving a watch.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: April 10th, 2014 Movie – Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker

batman beyond return of the joker

At the beginning of 1999, as everyone was talking about the new century/millennium that was fast approaching, a new Batman appeared to give us a glimpse of what the future might bring. When Batman Beyond first debuted, I was curious about it as the initial concept sounded pretty interesting. So I watched the pilot movie and thought it was incredibly well done and couldn’t wait to watch the cartoon when it started up on a weekly basis. Now some time after the show started, there were some rumors that started up saying that the 5th Batman movie might possibly be based on this new cartoon. If there is one thing that I will never forgive Batman & Robin for, it is the fact that they deprived us of the chance for a live action version. However, they made up for it by making an animated film involving the Joker and bringing Mark Hamill in to reprise the character. As soon as I first saw the ad for this movie I knew I had to watch it so I bought the DVD as soon as it came out, then upgraded it to Blu-Ray a few years ago. So let’s sit back and enjoy today’s movie, Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker.

The plot: In the year 2040, a gang of Jokerz (Bonk, Chucko, Ghoul, the Dee Dee twins (Deidre and Delia Dennis), and Woof (who has been spliced with hyena genes)) are stealing some high tech equipment when Batman (Terry McGinnis) shows up to stop them. Batman works on taking them out but gets briefly distracted by the Dee Dees when he sees them cowering in fear only to have one of them hit him with a taser when he turns his back and they both attack him. He manages to get away from them but Woof bites him and as Ghoul goes to help Woof, Bonk, Chucko, and the Dee Dees manage to get away with the equipment. Batman knocks out Woof and Ghoul and gives chase and when he attacks Bonk, he disengages from the device and flies off after him, leaving the other two unable to continue carrying the device. The Dee Dee that is with Bonk tries to attack Batman but ends up falling off the lifter. Batman manages to snag her with a grapple but Bonk attacks him. The other Dee Dee uses her lifter to save her sister as the device crashes to the ground and Chucko grabs the memory board from it before Dee Dee picks him up and they fly away before it explodes. Bonk continues attacking Batman but is struck by a flag pole and hangs onto it. Batman manages to jump from the lifter before it crashes but when he recovers, he sees that the Jokerz have gotten away. Returning to the Batcave, Terry tells Bruce about the Jokerz when he notices the news broadcast talking about Bruce returning to take control of Wayne Enterprises. Terry comments about some disparaging remarks from Jordan Price, who had been in line to run the company before Bruce’s return, and Bruce says he will keep him around so long as he is able to work by his rules. Despite Bruce telling him he should get some sleep, Terry heads out to meet his girlfriend Dana at a club but he ends up falling asleep on his feet there. Meanwhile, the Jokerz return to their hideout at an abandoned Jolly Jack candy factory, where Chucko hands the memory card to their new boss, who says it is worthless. As their boss calls them losers, Bonk loses his temper and yells at him, saying he wants out. The boss, revealing himself to be the Joker, pulls out a gun and threatens to shoot Bonk, who quickly apologizes. When Joker pulls the trigger, a flag with the word “Bang” printed on it pops out and Bonk breathes a sigh of relief, until the Joker pulls the trigger again and the flag is propelled into Bonk’s chest, killing him. Joker then addresses the other Jokerz and after getting a renewed pledge of devotion to him, has Ghoul find another facility that has the equipment they need. When he picks one, Ghoul worries about the security there but Joker says that it will make things more fun. The next night, Bruce and Terry attend a function welcoming Bruce back to the company when the Joker’s laughter is suddenly heard through the speakers just before Woof appears and rushes the stage, avoiding Terry’s attack. Security is called in but they are taken out by Chucko and Ghoul, who then proceed to steal the scanner they were after. Bruce manages to knock Woof aside with his cane, then tells Terry to get to work while he tries to leave but the Dee Dees grab him and knock him back onto the stage, just as Joker appears. Bruce reacts in shock at seeing Joker, who tells Bruce that he is the real deal and he should know, inferring that Joker knows Bruce was Batman. Batman shows up but Joker has Woof deal with him and once he hears from Chucko and Ghoul that they are almost done, he calls for a retreat, detonating some explosives and sending some of the guest falling to the ground, forcing Batman to save them and allowing him to get away. As they are leaving, Terry tries to get some information from Bruce on the Joker, who refuses to tell him anything. The next day, Terry goes to see Barbara Gordon, the police commissioner, who refuses to go into details but tells him that the Joker was like nothing he had ever faced before and to let it drop, then dismisses him as she has an appointment coming in to speak with her. Back at the Batcave, Bruce is analyzing the Joker’s voice from last night with a previous recording from an old crime and the computer says that they match. Terry returns to the Batcave and asks Bruce why he never talked about the Joker, even though he mentioned all of his other criminals. When Bruce says it can’t be the real Joker because he saw him die, Terry asks if he killed him. Bruce doesn’t respond and instead, asks Terry to return the Batsuit, saying he had honored his father’s killers and gone above and beyond to protect the city but he no longer needs to do that. Terry argues that before becoming Batman he was the type of punk that Bruce wouldn’t have wasted a second punch on and this was his way of making amends for his past. When Bruce chastises him, Terry tosses his backpack with the suit inside at his feet and leaves. Later that night, Bruce is working on making some Joker antivenom when Ace hears something and, growling, heads upstairs only to quickly yelp in pain. As Bruce calls out to him, some gas pellets drop down the stairs and Joker appears and confronts Bruce. Meanwhile, Terry heads to a dance club, where Dana is out with some of her friends, and tells her that he no longer has a job so he can focus on her more, which she is happy to hear. Suddenly, the Dee Dees, without their make-up, approach Terry and Dana and separate Terry from Dana, allowing Ghoul to grab her. As Terry tries to find her, the Dee Dees attack him, with Chucko and Woof showing up as well. Dana tries to get away from Ghoul, who ends up shoving her off the raised platform they are on and Terry saves her from getting seriously hurt but she still falls unconscious. As the Jokerz continue trying to attack him, Terry leaves Dana with thier friend Chelsea and tells her to hide, then leads them away before knocking over a giant lava lamp, catching the Jokerz in the rush of falling liquid, then knocks out Chucko when he tries to shoot him. Heading back outside to check on Dana, who is being loaded into an ambulance, Terry tells Chelsea to stay with her, then he gets on his motorcycle and heads to Wayne Manor. As he is driving, Terry calls Bruce and starts to leave a message when he realizes Bruce should have picked up and quickens his pace. When he gets there, he sees the wounded Ace and the entrance to the Batcave broken open and heads down to find the Joker has covered the cave in graffiti. Seeing Bruce lying on the floor, he discovers that he has been infected with the Joker’s toxin but Bruce is able to tell Terry about the antivenom and he quickly grabs it and administers it to Bruce. Terry calls Barbara to help tend to Bruce, then forces her to tell him what happened to the Joker. Barbara tells him that their last encounter with the Joker happened after Dick Grayson had left to become Nightwing; leaving Bruce, herself, and Tim Drake, the new Robin, to patrol Gotham. One day, Robin was captured by Joker and Harley Quinn and for three weeks, Batman and Batgirl searched for him with no sign of him. When they received a package from Joker, they head to the old Arkham Asylum grounds and find Joker and Harley there. Batman approaches them, having Batgirl sneak up to a higher vantage point. Batman asks them about Robin but the feign ignorance, then comment about their “Little J”, and when Batman heads in the direction the indicated, Harley uses her bazooka to trap him. Joker then explains that they have been doing this game for years and he decided it was time to start a family but Harley didn’t want to deal with pregnancy so they simply borrowed one of his kids, then molded him in their own image. Joker then reveals that Tim has been turned into a mirror image of Joker and an enraged Batman breaks free from his bonds and goes after Joker. Batgirl swoops down and knocks Harley back, then tries to talk with Tim to see if he remembers her but Harley attacks her, then tells Tim to get her bazooka. Batgirl renews her attack on Harley, chasing her outside where the building is falling apart. As they argue over what they did to Tim, Tim shows up with the Bazooka and tosses it to Harley, who begins firing at Batgirl but she is able to knock it aside and a stray round causes both of them to fall. Batgirl manages to stop her fall and tries to pull Harley to safety but Harley’s costume rips and she ends up falling to the water below. Meanwhile, Batman continues chasing after Joker, who leads him to the theater room and shows him the video of how he tortured and changed Robin, revealing that in the process Robin told him all of his secrets. Batman smashes through the projection room and assaults Joker, and prepares to kill him but stops when he sees Tim watching them. Joker takes advantage of the distraction to slash Batman with his knife before stabbing him in the leg, then knocking him to the ground. Joker then tosses a gun to Tim and tells him to finish off Batman and, laughing maniacally, Tim pulls the trigger, making the flag come out, but as Joker yells at him to finish it, Tim points the gun at Joker before pulling the trigger again, sending the flag into Joker’s chest. Tim continues laughing before the laughter turns into sobs of pain and Batgirl rushes in and consoles him. Barbara then says that they buried Joker in Arkham, while there was no sign of Harley, and her father helped them hide the truth from everyone but after Tim was restored to sanity, Bruce forbade him from wearing the Robin costume again and Tim eventually left. He became a communications specialist and is now married and has children, which Barbara feels he deserves after what he went through. Terry decides to question Tim, who tells him that he had nothing to do with the Joker and he was just as surprised as anyone when he returned. Leaving Tim, Batman heads off to investigate Jordan Price, as he would also have reason for wanting Bruce out of the way. On his private yacht, Jordan is surprised to find the Jokerz waiting for him and he asks what they want, as he already gave them the codes they needed to rob Wayne Enterprises, and the Jokerz say that their boss wants them to tie up loose ends. Jordan tries to get away but Woof knocks him down and they handcuff him to a table, then contact the Joker. Joker tells them to get out of there and Batman, who had been recording their conversation, tries to stop them but they slip out and Batman moves to follow but notices the light suddenly shining onto the yacht. Freeing Jordan, he gets off the boat with him and heads to shore, just as a laser beam shoots out of the sky and destroys the yacht. Batman gets caught in the wave that formed from the explosion but is able to rescue Jordan and heads to shore, where he turns Jordan, as well as the audio recording of his working with the Jokerz, over to the police. Returning to the Batcave, Terry chastises himself for not being able to figure out where the Joker is when Bruce comes down to the cave. As they discuss Bruce’s reason for not wanting Terry to face off against the Joker, Terry notices that despite all of the cases being smashed, Robin’s costume is the only one that was destroyed. Telling Bruce that Tim might be somehow involved this, he shows him all of the equipment that the Jokerz stole and how someone with Tim’s knowledge can turn it into a satellite jamming system. Bruce accepts Terry’s logic and tells him to suit up and Terry says he needs to bring something with him, staring at Ace. Batman goes to see Tim at his lab but finds it is a hologram, just as the lab is sealed off. Joker appears on the monitor and says that Tim is working for him and explains what he has planned, then invites Batman to try and stop him. Terry manages to get out of the lab and contacts Bruce but Joker interrupts their conversation and uses the satellite to attack the Batmobile, first by firing single shots and then turning the laser into a solid beam of light. As he is laughing at Batman’s plight, Joker suddenly gets woozy and cuts off the transmission, and as the satellite stops firing, Batman heads towards Joker’s hideout. As he nears the Jolly Jack factory, Chucko shoots the Batmobile down but Batman steers it right at him and takes out the tower he was on, knocking him out. Woof appears ready to fight but Terry sends Ace out to deal with him, leaving him free to deal with Ghoul and the Dee Dees. Batman heads inside to find an unconscious Tim on the floor and when Batman questions him, Tim says he doesn’t know anything about the Joker but then suddenly recalls seeing him. Tim seems out of it at first but then tells Terry that he is ok and when Batman asks how he knew his name, Tim says he knows everything about him, then throws a trap at him that incapacitates his suit. Tim then addresses Bruce, as he is watching through the suits video feed, and begins laughing and suddenly transforms into the Joker, shocking Batman and Bruce. Joker explains that he had placed his consciousness onto a microchip and placed it on Tim’s body when he was his captive, intended as a back-up plan. At first, he had to limit the time he was able to take control of Tim’s body, who would always chalk it up to nightmares about the Joker, but over time he was able to take control at will. He then plans on using the satellite to take out Wayne Manor, as well as Terry’s home and the hospital that Dana is in, then taunts Terry and asks if he has any last words for Bruce. Batman says “Yeh, sic ’em”, and Ace leaps out from behind Joker and knocks him into some cables. Batman calls Ace to him, who is able to bite the clamp off of his suit, then rushes at the Joker but Joker uses his joy buzzer to stun Ace. Before Joker can finish him off, Batman tackles him and the joy buzzer slips off his hand and short circuits the satellite controls, sending the beam straight towards them. Saying his plan is ruined now, Joker plans on leaving and when Batman tries to stop him, Joker easily pummels him, saying that he knew everything about Batman and Robin in their prime and that Terry was out of his league. Batman asks Bruce for advise but realizing the difference in their styles, Terry starts fighting dirty and then begins mocking Joker, causing him to get enraged. Joker eventually starts throwing explosives at Batman and traps him under a table before starting to choke him but as he taunts Batman, Batman reveals that he had grabbed the joy buzzer and uses it to short out and destroy the microchip, ridding Tim of the Joker once and for all. Able to free himself, Batman helps Tim and Ace out of there just before the laser destroys the factory before shutting down. Some time later, the Dee Dees are released from jail into the custody of their grandmother, who is revealed to be Harley Quinn. Meanwhile, Terry stops by to check in on Tim, who thanks him for what he did and says Bruce couldn’t have chosen anyone better to wear the suit. As he is leaving, Terry encounters Bruce, who stops Terry and tells him that he was wrong about what he said earlier; the Batsuit doesn’t make him a better person, but rather he makes the Batman a better person. Bruce then heads inside Tim’s hospital room to reconcile with his former sidekick while Terry heads out and puts on the Batsuit to patrol the streets of Gotham.

I have to admit that this was a bit darker than I expected but still a fantastic movie to watch. The voice acting was great, with Kevin Conroy and Will Friedle doing great jobs reprising their roles of Bruce and Terry respectively. Mark Hammill was fantastic coming back as the Joker, while Dean Stockwell did a good job as the older Tim Drake. The story was good but surprisingly dark considering it was essentially a kids movie. I liked how they were able to tie in the past events with the future, while the reveal that Harley was the grandmother of the Dee Dees, who were essentially a new generation of Harley, was pretty funny. The initial DVD that I bought had some scenes changed from the uncut version that is on the Blu-Ray, mainly how Joker killed Bonk and Tim killed Joker. The scenes showing Robin being tortured were definitely a little hard to watch and definitely not something that would be suitable for kids. The animation was great and felt like a step up from the animation from the TV show, which was pretty good to begin with. I wouldn’t necessarily let young kids watch it but it is definitely worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Flashback Review: April 9th, 2014 Movie – Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

batman the dark knight returns

When it comes to comics in the modern era (80’s to present), Frank Miller’s name has to be up there with one of the greats. I mean, you have a pretty great run of issues in “Daredevil”, not to mention his original works of “Sin City” and “300”. However, my first introduction to Miller was brought on by a 4 part miniseries that he did way back in 1986; “The Dark Knight Returns”. While on vacation with my family, I had stopped in a bookstore (I know that my friends are shocked by this) and happened to see the trade collection on the shelf. Well I picked it up and started reading it, and kept reading it, and damn near walked out the store with it before my mom stopped me and paid for the book. Anyways, Several years ago, I saw that they were making this movie but were releasing it in two parts. Now I was definitely interested in watching this movie but I decided to wait and be patient, as I had a feeling that they would release a special edition that had both parts on one disk. Sure enough, they did and I immediately picked it up and then sat back to watch. So let’s enjoy some of Frank Miller’s best work with today’s movie, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

The plot: In Gotham, 55 year old Bruce Wayne is competing in a race when his crew chief feels he is being too reckless and activates the computer autopilot, only for Bruce to deactivate it. Bruce continues racing but his car malfunctions and ends up crashing and catching fire, but Bruce was able to get out at the last minute and only received some minor burns. Later that night, Bruce meets with James Gordon, who is celebrating his 70th birthday. As the two friends share a drink, they talk about how it has been 10 years since Bruce retired and Bruce seems to be considering what would happen if he came back but Gordon tells him it is a different time now, both with the government oversight as well as the criminals, such as the Mutants. Gordon asks if Bruce has talked to Harvey Dent yet, saying he could have been a shoulder to lean on after Jason died but Bruce decides to call it a night an leaves. As he walks home, he stops at the alley where his parents were killed and as he thinks back to them, he is confronted by two members of the Mutants that consider mugging him but when they notice Bruce actually looking forward to it, they change their mind and leave. That night, after failing to get any sleep, Bruce heads down to the Batcave and stares at Jason’s Robin costume in it’s shrine before Alfred comes down to check on him. At Arkham Asylum, Joker is shown to be in a catatonic state ever since Batman disappeared. Meanwhile, Harvey Dent has undergone successful plastic surgery to repair his damaged face, while his psychologist Dr. Wolper has worked on making him sane again but after giving a press conference where he announces he is fine, he suddenly disappears. That night, Bruce is watching television and as he sees the reports of crime on the rise, a voice in his head calls him weak and says the time has come. Later that night, Batman returns to Gotham and stops various crimes from occurring. When Gotham Bank is robbed, the police chase after a car filled with gunmen, ignoring a second car that drives off in the other direction. As the lead police car chases after the gunmen, they see Batman swinging across the sky and the elder cop slows down and allows Batman to handle the gunmen. Batman lands on the car and causes it to crash into an abandoned building, where he proceeds to take them down, though his age makes him slower than he used to be. The rookie cop attempts to arrest Batman but his partner tells him to go to the car while Batman searches one of the criminals, then tells the officer to have Gordon contact him. As the news reports talk about Batman’s reemergence, one of the gunmen’s lawyer argues that his client should be released and Gordon agrees and has him released that day. Gordon contacts Bruce to tell him and as the crook heads back to the gang’s hideout to see if Two-Face is there, he finds Batman waiting for him. The crook attempts to get away from Batman and ends up falling through the window and out onto the fire escape, and Batman points out that he is bleeding to death and he is the only one who can get him to a hospital in time so he had better start talking. Meanwhile, Gordon gets some information and he heads to the roof and turns on the Batsignal, both to contact Batman and to let people know he has returned. When Batman shows up, Gordon tells him that two military helicopters were stolen and they both figure Two-Face is behind it and try to figure out what he is up to. Batman figures out where Two-Face will strike and heads to the buildings the next night. When the two helicopters land, one on two separate buildings, Dent emerges from his helicopter, his face completely wrapped in bandages, and after hacking the television signal, threatens to detonate two bombs unless he is paid a ransom. Batman, who is on the roof where the other helicopter landed, takes out the men guarding it only to discover that the bombs are already activated, and he realizes that Dent wants to kill himself and take as many people with him. Batman disarms the first bomb, then uses a grapple gun to head to the other roof  but Dent gets back in the helicopter with the bomb and shoots at him, knocking him off the line. Batman fires another grapple at the helicopter, knocking Dent out of the helicopter and Batman catches him as they crash into the building, leaving the helicopter to fly off with the bomb, where it explodes harmlessly. Dent and Batman briefly struggle before Batman is able to unmask him and sees that Dent has not reinjured his face, but rather his mind is unable to deal with having his face whole and he feels that both sides are now scarred. As public opinion continues to vary on Batman’s return, Gordon is heading home when a member of the Mutants tries to shoot him at the liquor store, only for Gordon to shoot him instead. Meanwhile, a young girl named Carrie Kelley, whom Batman had rescued during his first night back, buys a Robin costume and heads out into the city, attempting to do her own part to stopping crime. Batman confronts an Army General for selling weapons to the mutants and then decides to head out there in a heavily armored version of the Batmobile. In the city junkyard, the Mutant’s leader is rallying the Mutants to attack the police and take control of the city when Batman shows up and orders them to surrender. The Mutants attack the Batmobile but Batman is able to take them out, with Carrie helping him out unbeknownst to him. When the last of the Mutants is dealt with, the leader challenges Batman to face him man to man and, despite Alfred warning against it, Batman accepts. Batman and the Mutant leader start fighting and Batman gets the early advantage but the Mutant leader is able to take advantage of Batman’s slower movements and easily defeats him. As he goes to kill him, Carrie attacks him, distracting him long enough for Batman to use his a resin to choke the Mutant leader into unconsciousness. Carrie races to make sure that Batman is still alive, then helps him get into the Batmobile. As Alfred remotely steers the Batmobile, Carrie works on putting a splint on Batman’s injured arm, and Batman asks what her name is, then tells Alfred to take him to the cave and that Robin is coming with them. When they get there, Batman walks off into the cave, discarding his suit as he does, and Alfred tells Carrie that he is going to find his strength. As Batman recovers, the public is still mixed on Batman’s return. The mayor has announced that Ellen Yindel will replace Gordon as Police Commissioner when Gordon retires. The mayor also plans to meet with the Mutant leader, who has been captured along with many other members of the Mutants after Batman’s assault, but when he meets with the Mutant leader in his cell, the Mutant leader kills him. Back at the Batcave, Batman places a brace on his injured arm and as he gears up to fight the Mutant leader again, Alfred argues with him about bringing Carrie on as the new Robin but Batman says she is perfect. Batman then has Carrie disguise herself as a Mutant and takes her into the city, where she spreads the word among the other Mutants to meet at “The Pipe”. Meanwhile, Yindel meets with Gordon and the two discuss why he allowed Batman to run free as long as he did. As the Mutants gather there, Batman speaks with Gordon and tells him he needs one last favor from him. Gordon heads down to the cells and relieves the guards, then leaves the room. The Mutant leader’s cell suddenly opens and as he steps outside, his attention is drawn to the open sewer grate on the floor. The Mutant leader heads through the sewers to escape the jail, eventually coming to the exit pipe where Batman has had all of the Mutants gathered, and where Batman is waiting for him. Batman tackles the leader from behind and knocks him out of the pipe and into the mud pool below them, where he faces off against him. The Mutant leader fights back, but this time Batman doesn’t try to match strength with the younger and stronger fighter, but uses his martial art’s skills to incapacitate him, eventually breaking the bones in his limbs and completely beating him. The Mutants, seeing their leader completely broken, end up falling apart, with half of them being captured by the police while the other half breaking up into smaller gangs, the most prominent of them being a gang called the Sons of Batman, who have taken to wearing Batman’s symbol on their face. Gordon calls Bruce and tells him his plan worked in dealing with the Mutants but he is on his own from now on and after he hangs up, he finishes packing up his things from his office and leaves police headquarters. Meanwhile, the constant news reports about television have registered in the catatonic Joker, and he snaps out of his coma excited to find his old playmate has returned. 3 months later, Dr. Wolper has been working with the Joker since he came out of his catatonic state and as Joker comments about seeing Wolper on TV and how it must be nice to tell his side of things, Wolper says he might be able to get Joker on TV to share his story. As news breaks about Joker’s televised interview, the story switches to the White House and their lack of a clear response regarding Batman’s activities. Inside the White House, the President speaks with Superman and asks him to try and deal with Batman and get him to settle down and Superman says he will try. That night, a disguised Batman tangles with Bruno, a former lover of Joker, and tries to get information from her about Joker’s plans but they are interrupted by the appearance of Superman, who quickly traps Bruno and tells Batman he wants to talk but Batman says they can talk in the morning but for now stay out of Gotham. As the news talks about the growing tensions between America and the Soviet Union over the situation about control over the island of Corto Maltese, Yindel is officially made the new commissioner and her first order of business is to issue an arrest warrant for Batman. Meanwhile, Bruce and Clark are talking about Batman’s return upsetting the wrong people and Clark warns him that if he doesn’t go back into retirement, he might be ordered to take him down. Bruce says if that happens then may the best man win when Clark suddenly says he has to go and rushes off. Breaking news says that U.S. and Soviet forces have begun fighting in Corto Maltese and Superman has gone there to aid the American soldiers and prevent innocent people from being hurt in the crossfire. Meanwhile, one of Joker’s minions visits him at Arkham and hands him some special lipstick that he asked for as well as some nose plugs. As the show is about to go on, Yindel has the police outside the studio building, waiting to capture Batman if he shows up as well as Joker if he tries anything. As the show starts, Batman notices the police presence and has Robin wait in the Batcopter while he heads down there, getting in a fight with the cops when Yindel orders them to arrest him. Meanwhile, Joker’s henchman sends two robotic dolls to go help Joker and as Joker kills Dr. Wolper, the dolls enter the studio and begin releasing Joker’s smile gas into the air, killing everyone else. On the roof, Batman is starting to get overwhelmed and Robin brings the Batcopter in close to help Batman escape, telling him that Joker is gone after killing everyone. Meanwhile, the battle continues raging in Corto Maltese and Superman continues using his powers to destroy the Soviet forces. In Gotham, Joker pays a visit to Selina Kyle, who runs an escort service, and uses his mind control lipstick on her to summon one of her girls who has a congressman as a regular customer. The escort uses Joker’s lipstick to brainwash the congressman and have him go out on the ledge ranting about firing nukes at the Soviet Union but when the police try to get him inside, he ends up falling to his death. Yindel and her men show up and Batman, disguised as a cop, asks her if he can help. She tells him about the escort and tells the disguised Batman to bring Selina in but as he leaves, the real police officer shows up and Yindel, realizing she was fooled, tries to have Batman arrested. Batman and Robin head to Selina’s business and find Selina tied up and gagged and when he frees her, she warns Batman that Joker is worse than ever now. Robin notices some cotton candy on the floor and Batman realizes that Joker is going after the fairgrounds, causing Robin to get scared as many of her friends will be there. The police show up but Batman and Robin jump out the window and grab onto the Batwing glider. Yindel and her men fire on the glider and manage to break Robin’s harness as she is putting it on, causing her to fall but she manages to grab onto Batman’s cape and he pulls her back up and holds her to keep her safe. At the fair, Joker and his henchman are passing out cotton candy to some kids when they see Batman approaching. Joker sends one of the robot dolls to blow up the Batwing glider, then tells his henchman and the other doll to deal with Robin while he handles Batman. Batman faces off against Joker, who attempts to shoot him and has no qualms hitting innocent bystanders in the process. When he takes one of Robin’s friends hostage, Batman throws some batarangs at him, with one of them lodging in his eye, then chases Joker inside the Hall of Mirrors. Joker grabs another kid to use as a hostage but Batman is able to save the kid but gets shot in the process. As Joker goes to finish Batman off, he finds himself out of bullets and leaves the Hall of Mirrors. Meanwhile, the second doll arms it’s explosives and sits on the roller coaster tracks to blow up the oncoming train. Robin uses her slingshot to knock it off the tracks, causing it to explode harmlessly in the sky, but she is attacked by Joker’s henchman. As the henchman tries to strangle her, she lashes out and manages to kick him off of her, and he ends up getting caught in the chain for the roller coaster and killed when his head gets caught up in the gears. Elsewhere, Joker kills a security guard and grabs his gun, then makes his way into the Tunnel of Love, killing anyone he comes across. Batman chases after him and continues fighting him, with and Joker manages to repeatedly stab Batman before he twists Joker’s neck; not killing him but effectively paralyzing him. As Joker taunts him for crossing the line, he says that he wins for finally breaking him and the police will hunt him down for it, then starts laughing maniacally as he twists his neck sharply, breaking his own neck and killing him. Batman blacks out from loss of blood but comes to as the police enter the cave and begin looking for Batman and Joker. When they find Joker’s body, one of the police touches it, igniting a booby trap the Joker had on him and igniting his body on fire with napalm. Batman uses the distraction to try and deal with the police, then grabs Yindel’s gun after knocking her out and tries to shoot some plastique he had set up to make an escape route. He eventually succeeds, and Robin brings the Batcopter in to pick him up, firing on the police cars to discourage their shooting at them before using some rope to snag Batman and fly off with him. As Alfred works on tending to Bruce’s injuries, the new mayor says he asked the governor to bring in the state police to help find and capture Batman. Meanwhile, the news reports go to a live announcement from the President, where he tells America that the Soviets have been driven out of Corto Maltese but in an act of retaliation, they fired a nuclear missile at the island country. Superman intercepts the missile and manages to divert it’s course away from the island and up into the upper atmosphere, where it and explodes and unleashes an EMP that knocks out the power in Gotham, while leaving Superman extremely weak. As the people in Gotham react to the blackout, Batman regains consciousness and figures out what happened, then heads out with Robin on horseback to help reign in the chaos that is sure to hit Gotham. Batman and Robin head to where the Sons of Batman have gathered, and convince them to follow his lead in restoring order to Gotham. As the police find themselves helpless due to the blackout, the Mutants break out of their cells and hit the streets, where they encounter a mob of people who were looting a store. As the two groups begin fighting, Batman and his new army show up and quickly incapacitate all of the people involved. Batman then speaks to everyone, telling them that they can either help restore order to Gotham or stay tied up and most of them choose to follow his lead and help out. Looking down from police headquarters, one of the cops asks Yindel what they should do about him and Yindel says nothing, as he has grown too big for them to deal with. Meanwhile, Gordon had been out shopping when the blackout occurred and he convinces the people in his neighborhood to stop fighting with each other and help out or else their homes will be destroyed by fire. They manage to put out some fires just as the fire department shows up to help but when Gordon notices some more fires over by his home, he rushes there thinking his wife Sara will be dead but she had managed to get out in time and the two embrace. As the U.S. continues dealing with the nuclear winter and lack of power from the explosion, many major cities along the Eastern Seaboard have descended into chaos and the President orders martial law enacted but with little success. Gotham however is the only major city that has not descended into chaos, due to Batman’s efforts in keeping the peace, and it has become a publicity nightmare for the government. Superman is talking with the President, who asks how he is feeling, and Superman admits he hasn’t fully recovered but the President says he knows he will get better and asks that he take care of the problem they discussed and Superman says that Batman won’t let himself be taken and the President says to do what he must. Meanwhile, Oliver Queen pays a visit to Bruce and says that he always knew that things would come to a head between him and Superman and he wants to be a part of the action, wanting a little bit of payback on Superman for the loss of his arm. The next day, as Bruce is helping Carrie with her horseback lessons, a beam of energy burns down from the sky, spelling out “Where?” in the ground. Bruce looks up and says “Crime Alley”, then heads inside to begin making preparations. With Alfred helping him with a armored suit to help keep him alive while also increasing his strength and durability, Batman takes a pill, then gives himself a one hour countdown. The military evacuate Crime Alley and initiate a media blackout of the area. Batman heads to Crime Alley, as the military try to keep tabs on him and when Superman shows up and uses his x-ray vision to search for him, a series of missiles programmed to target sources of x-rays fire and strike him. As the weakened Superman drops to the ground, Robin attacks him in the Batmobile but Superman is able to knock it away. Batman reveals himself and as Superman approaches him, he uses a sonic gun, then the city’s power grid to attack him. Meanwhile, Alfred activates the self destruct in the Batcave, and as he looks over the photobooks of Bruce as a baby, he has some mild chest pains but places the book back on the shelf, then leaves the house. Back in the city, Batman and Superman continue fighting while the soldiers approach the downed Batmobile, but Robin is able to get it started and drives off, with the military chasing after her. As she drives, a pre-recorded message from Bruce starts playing, telling her that Clark should be too busy to hear this and explains the plan to her. Meanwhile, Oliver shows up and at Batman’s signal, fires a kryptonite-laced arrow at Superman, then escapes with Robin in the Batmobile. As Superman collapses from the kryptonite dust covering him, Batman approaches him and tells him that he will live, as the Kryptonite will be clear of his system in a few minutes, but he wanted him to know that he was the man that beat him. As he finishes speaking, Bruce collapses dead from a heart attack while Alfred also dies of a stroke as Wayne Manor burns down. Later, the news reports about Bruce Wayne being Batman and how all of his secrets, as well as his financial holdings and accounts, seemed to have disappeared with him. At Bruce’s funeral, Clark attends and is yelled at by Selina, who knows who he is and blames him for Bruce’s death, but Gordon leads her away. As Clark walks away, he suddenly stops as he hears a faint heartbeat coming from the casket and as he turns and stares at the lone mourner still there, a second heartbeat is heard. Clark, realizing what had happened, smiles and winks at Robin, who it the mourner, and leaves. Some time later, Oliver leads a band of former Mutants and Sons of Batman into some caves and as they get things situated, Bruce and Robin join them. Bruce, having faked his death in order to get the government off of his back, explains to the assembled gang that he will be teaching them all of his secrets and methods and they will be his army in order to keep Gotham safe. As the gang goes to carry out his orders, Oliver approaches him and asks about Superman figuring things out but Bruce tells him that as long as they keep quiet, Superman won’t bother them, then goes to oversee his new army’s progress.

The only thing I can really say about this movie is that it is fantastic. This is probably one of the best, if not the best, animated Batman movies to come out. The voice acting was great, with Peter Weller doing a phenomenal job portraying the aged caped crusader. I thought that Ariel Winter was also great as Carrie/Robin, while David Selby (Gordon), Michael Emerson (Joker), Wade Williams (Dent), Mark Valley (Superman) were equally good in their roles. The story was spot on, not deviating from the comic very much except for one or two minor aspects. The fight between Batman and Superman in this movie was the fight comic fans were hoping to get in Batman V Superman, which failed to deliver any of the emotion that was felt in this fight. The animation was great and the more angular and squarish designs of some of the characters really helped showcase the darker look and aspect of the city in this future version. The music was incredible and actually helped carry the emotions that were written into the story, especially towards the end as it started to become apparent that this was going to be Batman’s last battle. A fantastic movie and definitely worth waiting for the deluxe edition so I didn’t have to switch disks in order to watch the whole thing.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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action, animation, comic book, crime, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 8th, 2014 Movie – Batman: Under The Red Hood

batman under the red hood

The 80’s was an interesting time in the Batman universe. Dick Grayson, the original Robin, had grown up and began leading the Teen Titans, eventually changing costumes and becoming Nightwing. Eventually, Batman would find himself a new sidekick, Jason Todd. However, while Dick Grayson was loved by just about everyone, a lot of people didn’t think too fondly of him. In fact, DC gave their fans the opportunity to decide on if he lived or died and though it was close, the fans voted for him to be killed off. This death would have a rather profound effect on Batman for years to come, almost as big an impact as the death of his parents. However, there is one constant when it comes to death in the comics; and that is that Uncle Ben is the only person that can stay dead. Thus, Jason Todd would eventually come back to life in the comics in 2004 and 6 years later, an animated movie was made based off of that story line. I first saw this movie on Netflix several years ago and I immediately decided to grab a copy on DVD so I could enjoy watching Batman: Under The Red Hood whenever I wanted.

The plot: In his hideout, Ra’s al Ghul says he regrets hiring the Joker to distract Batman when he learns that Joker has kidnapped Robin (Jason Todd) and Batman won’t reach him in time. In Sarajevo, Joker has Robin tied up and beats him mercilessly with a crowbar before leaving him to die in an explosion. Batman races through the streets of Sarajevo towards Robin’s location but is too late as he gets there just as the building explodes. 5 years later, 8 crime bosses are gathered for a meeting and as they argue over who set it up, they are confronted by a man wearing a red hooded helmet. The Red Hood, tells them that they will start kicking up 40% of their profits to him in exchange for protection from both Black Mask (the reigning main crime boss in Gotham) and Batman but warns them not to deal any drugs around schoolyards or to kids. When they ask why they should do that, he drops down a duffel bag containing the heads of their lieutenants, claiming to have done that in two hours, then leaves. Elsewhere, Batman is stopping some men from stealing some cargo but as he restrains them, the cargo activates, revealing itself to be Amazo, the super powered android that can copy the powers of other meta-humans. As Batman faces off against him, he is joined by Nightwing and together they are able to destroy Amazo. Afterwards, they go to question the crooks who say they work for the Red Hood but before they can say anything else, they are killed by the Red Hood. Batman chases after him, eventually tracking him to a factory where he confronted a previous criminal called the Red Hood and he had fallen into a vat of chemicals, transforming him into the Joker. As Batman stares at the chemicals, the Red Hood comments about this being the site of his greatest failure but it wasn’t his last, then he shoots at his crashed car, which ignites the chemicals and causes an explosion, covering his escape. Back at the Batcave, Nightwing was able to get a picture of the Red Hood and they comment about the previous criminals who used that name, then Batman decides to head to Arkham Asylum to question Joker. When they get there, Joker taunts both of them and says Nightwing is no more fun since he grew up and stopped being Robin, then taunts Batman some more over Jason’s death. Batman loses his temper and grabs Joker by the throat and he asks if he is really going to kill him this time or just put him in a body cast again and Batman drops him and they eventually leave. Meanwhile, Black Mask is yelling at his men for allowing Amazo to be stolen by the Red Hood and then destroyed by Batman. He then discusses their next arms shipment, unaware that Batman and Nightwing are listening in, as well as Red Hood. That night, Red Hood attempts to steal the helicopter with the next shipment of weapons when Batman and Nightwing show up to stop him. When they disable the helicopter, Red Hood maneuvers it to crash over the city, forcing Batman and Nightwing to stop it from hurting the people below, then they chase after him. Red Hood manages to elude them, even severing Batman’s grapple when he tries to ensnare him, and as they follow him to the train station, he uses a bomb to slow them down, injuring Nightwing in the process. As Batman and Nightwing recover from the blast, the Red Hood makes a comment to Batman but it is drowned out by sound of an oncoming train. Returning to the Batcave, Alfred tends to Nightwing’s injuries while Batman replays video he recorded of their encounter with the Red Hood. After sending Nightwing home to recover, Batman replays the audio and after removing the noise from the train, hears Red Hood call him Bruce, revealing he knows his identity. Shocked, Batman thinks back to Jason’s training as Robin and how he became more violent when he got older and he realizes that the Red Hood might be Jason somehow. Meanwhile, Black Mask is angered over another arms shipment destroyed and he orders his men to shake down the crime bosses working for Red Hood in order to force him out of hiding so he can have him killed. His men succeed and when Red Hood confronts Black Mask’s men, he is attacked by 4 cybernetic ninjas. He fends them off for a while until Batman shows up and helps him defeat them. When Red Hood kills one of the ninjas, Batman argues with him about his methods but Red Hood says he is doing a better job cleaning up the city than he ever did before leaving. Batman takes the sword one of the ninjas had cut Red Hood with and takes it back to the Batcave to analyze the blood, which confirms that Red Hood is Jason and as he stares at the screen, he hears a noise and turns to find a shocked Alfred had dropped the tray he was carrying when he saw the results on the screen. Meanwhile, after hearing of the latest failure to kill Red Hood, Black Mask is forced to break Joker out of Arkham and works out a deal with him to deal with Red Hood. Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce digs up Jason’s grave and discovers the body in his coffin is a fake. Chastising himself for being careless and not checking the body when he brought it back, Batman head out to confront Ra’s al Ghul, knowing he was involved in Jason’s return. When he gets to Ra’s’s home, he confronts him and Ra’s admits that when he hired the Joker to distract Batman while he tried to topple Europe’s financial markets, he underestimated Joker’s madness and never intended for Robin to be killed. He figured Bruce would be too grief stricken to perform an autopsy and was able to replace the body with a fake. He intended to use the Lazarus Pit to restore Jason to life and send him back to Bruce but something went wrong and Jason returned deranged and had escaped his lair. Batman leaves Ra’s’s lair and as he is flying back to Gotham, Alfred alerts him to a situation on the bridge. Joker has the crime bosses that work for Red Hood, as well as Black Mask and his assistant, tied up in a truck and is pouring gasoline on them. As he goes to set them on fire, Red Hood shows up and reveals that he had antagonized Black Mask in the hopes he would break Joker out of Arkham, as he wanted to confront him face to face. Annoyed that the joke was on him, Joker goes ahead and lights the gasoline but Batman appears and douses the flames, then goes to capture the Joker but Red Hood grabs him and severs the cable, sending them both into the water below. As Batman searches for them, he receives a message from the Red Hood saying to meet him in Crime Alley. Red Hood takes Joker to am abandoned building and begins to pummel him with a crowbar, much like Joker did to him before he killed him. When Batman arrives in Crime Alley, he thinks back to his first encounter with Jason, where a young Jason had stolen the tires off of the Batmobile. Red Hood appears and the two begin fighting, with Jason eventually taking off the hood and revealing he is wearing Robin’s mask underneath. The two continue to fight until the reach the house, where Jason says that he forgives Bruce for not saving him but wants to know why he didn’t kill Joker afterwards. Joker, realizing who the Red Hood is, starts laughing and tells Batman that Robin has a point and as Jason and Batman argue over the matter until Jason throws a gun at Batman, telling him that the only way to stop him from killing Joker is to kill him. Batman drops the gun and walks away, and Jason fires at him but Batman dodges the bullet, then throws a Batarang at Jason’s gun, blocking the barrel and causing a misfire when he tries shooting again. Wounded, Jason activates some explosives he planted and Batman goes to disarm them but Joker stops him, wanting them all to blow up together. Batman knocks Joker out, the grabs Jason to try and save them as the bombs go off. When the dust settles, Batman finds Joker trapped underneath some rubble but there is no sign of Jason anywhere. As the news reports talk about the aftermath of the events, Alfred asks if he should remove Jason’s costume from where it is kept but Bruce says no, that the current situation doesn’t change anything. As he leaves to go on patrol, a flashback is shown of Batman and Alfred watching as Jason dons the Robin costume for the first time and how excited he was wearing it.

This was a great movie to watch and probably one of my favorite Batman movies out there. The voice acting was really good, with Bruce Greenwood doing a good job as Batman while Jensen Ackles was great as Red Hood. I also liked John DiMaggio, Jason Isaacs, and Neil Patrick Harris as Joker, Ra’s al Ghul, and Nightwing respectively. The story was good and did a good job of briefly recapping what happened in the past that set up the present events. I liked the brief inclusion of Nightwing in the movie to kind of showcase the differences between Dick and Jason, primarily in their character as they got older. I also liked the way they had the Joker portrayed, as they didn’t make him overly crazed but he simply had that mad unpredictability that made him really interesting. The animation was pretty good and the action scenes were well drawn while not taking away from any of the drama that was written into the scenes. Definitely not for little kids but a very well made movie that is worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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