animation, movie, movie review, sci-fi

April 26th, 2018 Movie – Voltron: Fleet Of Doom

voltron fleet of doom

Ahh, the memories that this brings up. I know that every generation of kids will say that the cartoons from when they grew up were the best but honestly, I loved the 80’s cartoons. One of my favorites of that batch was Voltron, as I remember my dad setting the VCR to record it so my brother and I could watch it on the weekends when we were with him. I remember when this special first aired, I was super excited as it would be a chance to see both Voltrons at the same time. So let’s relive some childhood memories with today’s movie, Voltron: Fleet Of Doom.

The plot: In the far reaches of the galaxy, King Zarkon forms an alliance with Viceroy Throk of the Drule Empire. The two rulers create a massive armada, known as the Fleet of Doom, which they plan to use to conquer the galaxy. When one of Zarkon’s scouting parties locates the secret base that supplies all of the power for the Galaxy Alliance, Zarkon and Throk send out the fleet to destroy the base, though each ruler plans to turn on his ally once the defeat the Galaxy Alliance. The Galaxy Alliance contacts Coran on Planet Arus and Commander James Hawkins of the Exploration Fleet to explain the situation and both men agree to send their respective Voltron’s to assist in defending the base. The Castle of Lions takes off from Planet Arus on it’s way to meet with Commander Hawkins’ ship and as they are flying through space, Keith and the others remember some of the fun times they had with their friends during the academy before Coran suggests they sleep in shifts, telling Keith and Princess Allura to get some rest first. On Planet Doom, Zarkon’s witch Haggar offers her help in dealing with the Voltron Force but when Zarkon refuses, she changes his lead scientist into a monster, then disappears. Haggar heads to a land beyond space and time, which is the source of her magic powers, and calls upon the spirits to increase her magic powers. Haggar then makes her way to the Castle of Lions, and uses her powers to look in on Keith and Allura’s dreams. However, Haggar’s presence is detected by the space mice, who alert Pidge, Hunk, and Lance and they rush off to stop her. They reach Haggar as she enters Allura’s room but Haggar uses her magic to immobolize them, and Keith after he is woken by the commotion and enters the room, then steals Allura’s spirit and disappears. When Coran enters the room, Keith explains what happens and as they try to figure out how to save Allura, the ghost of her father, King Alfor, appears. Keith asks Alfor what they can do to save Allura and when he says it involves a dangerous journey, Keith agrees to undertake it for Allura. Alfor transports Keith to the lad beyond time and space, warning him that in this land dreams become real, and Keith heads out to rescue Allura. Elsewhere, Haggar transfers Allura’s spirit to a spherical prison and Allura tries to plead with her ti turn against Zarkon and stop being evil but Haggar refuses. Back in the real world, Some of Zarkon’s ships attack the castle to try and delay their reaching the secret base and Lance, Hunk, and Pidge take their lions out to stop them, destroying several of the ships before they end up caught in a force field. Back in the dream world, Keith is confronted by creatures from his childhood nightmares and runs from them but when he finds himself surrounded, Alfor speaks to him and reminds him that they are created from his dreams and Keith is able to defeat them. Back in the real world, Commander Cossak attempts to capture the lions but once they are removed from the force field, the lions are able to break free from their bonds and renew their attack, destroying some more ships and damaging Cossak’s flagship, causing him to flee. Lance wants to go after him to finish the job but Coran calls him back, saying that the Fleet of Doom has reached the base and they must stop them from destroying it. Meanwhile, Hawkins pilots his ship through an asteroid field, as it is the only way to reach the base in time, and tells Jeff and the others to get their vehicles ready to launch in case they can’t make it through. Back in the dream world, Keith reaches Haggar, who tries to trick him with multiple copies of Allura but when he is able to pick out the right one, Haggar grabs Allura and flees. Allura continues trying to reach Haggar’s goodness and eventually does so, causing Haggar’s goodness to split from her evil self and fight for control. The fight results in the destruction of the evil world Haggar had created and as Keith rejoins Allura, the two Haggars say that they are free to go. Allura asks Haggar to come with them but she refuses, using her magic to send them back to their bodies. Back in the real world, Lotor and Throk have destroyed most of the base and are preparing to finish it off when the Castle of Lions appears. Coran tries making contact with Hawkins but when he receives no answer, he fears that they have been destroyed by the asteroid field. Lance and the others head out and Lotor decides to send a rhino ro-beast to stop them. Keith and Allura return and head out to help their friends, just as Coran receives word from Hawkins that they made it through the asteroid field. With Keith and Allura joining them, the lions quickly form Voltron and work to beat the ro-beast. Throk sends out two more ro-beasts, a scorpion beast and a beetle beast, and the three ro-beasts are able to knock down Voltron. Lotor launches a 4th ro-beast, the armor beast, but the Vehicle Voltron appears and is able to help free the Lion Voltron. As the two Voltrons prepare to face off against the ro-beasts, Lotor reveals that the ro-beasts are able to combine into a giant robot, with Lotor piloting a special skull ship that forms the head. Lotor begins attacking the two Voltrons, but the Voltrons are able to combine their powers and destroy to robot, while Coran and Hawkins use the Castle of Lions’ defenses and the Exploration Fleets’ forces to defeat the Fleet of Doom. Seeing Zarkon’s defeat, Haggar reabsorbs her good self, using it to change her appearance, then appears before Zarkon as he is yelling at Cossak and Lotor for failing. Meanwhile, the two Voltron Forces, as well as the Castle security and the Exploration Force, congratulate each other on defeating the Fleet of Doom, renewing their vows to defeat Zarkon and the Drule Empire and bring peace to the galaxy.

This is such a dose of nostalgic goodness to watch, you can almost forget about some of the silly plot lines. The voice acting was good, with all of the acotrs doing a good job reprising their various characters, though I think Peter Cullen made Hawkins sound too much like Optimus Prime. The story was a fun way to try and bring the two different shows together, but I felt like it really focused more on the Lion Voltron, which was the more popular of the two shows in the U.S. I would have much rather had it where the various vehicle teams would have partnered with some of the lions to do separate missions, then have them unite at the end for the final battle. I have to admit, the whole side quest bit with Haggar stealing Allura’s spirit was a bit much and really felt stupid. The animation was pretty good, though some scenes were basically just some of the animated cells reused from the show. Some aspects didn’t exactly age well but it is still fun to watch, especially if you are an 80’s kid or a fan of the show.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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action, adventure, animation, movie, movie review

April 1st, 2018 Movie – Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise Of The Panther

ultimate avengers 2

Happy Easter/April Fools everybody. I am curious how many people are pulling some pranks regarding Easter candy today. Anyways, today’s movie is one of Marvel’s early animated features that the released to DVD. Now I know you might be asking why I am starting with the second movie and not the first one. The answer to that is quite simple; I was too lazy to rebuy the first movie when it wound up to scratched up to be playable. Anyways, the one thing I thought was funny regarding the two movies was that they were based on the Marvel Ultimate version of the Avengers, which is also a little bit of the basis for the MCU movies. The timing of me reaching this movie now is pretty amazing, as this introduces the Black Panther to the series, where as Black Panther is winding down it’s takeover of the Hollywood box office and Avengers: Infinity War is coming out later this month. So let’s have fun with today’s movie, Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise Of The Panther.

The plot: In the African nation of Wakanda, two warriors are racing back to their city, being chased by two Chitauri soldiers. In the city, King T’Chaka is holding a ceremony welcoming back his son, Prince T’Challa, who had been studying abroad, though some of T’Chaka’s advisors are not happy with T’Challa’s leaving the country to learn other ideas. Suddenly one of the Wakandan warriors appears on the cliff overlooking and shouts out a warning before he is killed. T’Chaka goes to don the garb of the Black Panther and head out to face the inturders, despite T’Challa saying that he is not fit to do battle. T’Chaka finds a group of Chitauri soldiers and kills them but ends up being stabbed by Herr Kleiser, who had survived his encounter with the Avengers. T’Challa, who had followed his father, cries out at seeing his father mortally wounded and Kleiser approaches him, hoping to finish off the royal bloodline. Seeing this, T’Chaka uses the last of his strength to turn more cat like and attack Kleiser, sending them both off a cliff, which finishes off T’Chaka but Kleiser is able to get up and walk away. Some time later, T’Challa oversees the funeral of his father and is escorted by the high priestess to the sacred chamber of the Black Panther, where T’Challa sees articles about Captain America’s own encounter with Kleiser back during WWII and his return. In the U.S., Captain America (Steve Rogers) is foiling a robbery by Hydra soldiers, getting shot in the process. Natalia Romanov (Black Widow) and some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents arrive after he is finished and Black Widow chastises Captain America for going in on his own and asks if he wants to kill himself. When Captain America brushes past her, Black Widow has Nick Fury try to talk to Captain America, and Fury ends up telling Captain America that he is pulled from the mission he plans on going on, threatening to have him arrested like Bruce Banner. Meanwhile, Bruce is being interrogated by Dr. Oiler,  a former colleague, over his assault of the Avengers during the Chitauri invasion and when Bruce gets riled up, asking to see Betty Ross, he is sedated and Oiler tells them to keep the video of the Hulk’s rampage playing on a continuous loop in Banner’s cell. That night, as Captain America is attempting to sleep, he is plagued by dreams involving Kleiser and when he wakes up, finds T’Challa, in the Black Panther costume, in his room. Thinking he is being attacked, Captain America grabs T’Challa and throws him out the window, then follows after him but as he grabs T’Challa and asks him who he is, they find themselves surrounded by S.H.I.E.L.D. soldiers. Fury explains that the intruder is Black Panther but is shocked to see that is is T’Challa behind the mask. T’Challa explains that his father is dead and he needs to speak to Captain America about Kleiser, asking him how to kill him. Captain America says that he can’t be killed, as he had killed Kleiser twice before, and Fury tells T’Challa his only chance against the Chitauri is to open Wakanda’s borders so the Avengers can help. T’Challa refuses, saying he has betrayed his people already just by coming to seek Captain America’s aid and, asking one last time if there is any information Captain America can give him, T’Challa leaves, and Fury decides to bring in the other Avengers. In his lab, Hank Pym (Giant-Man) is working on increasing his maximum size beyond 60 but when the strain on him becomes too dangerous, Janet Pym (the Wasp) orders the experiment stopped and Hank gets angry at her for ruining his work. When Janet suggests him trying to go back to shrinking, he gets even angrier and storms out of the lab. Meanwhile, Tony Stark )Iron-Man) is on a business retreat when he gets the call from Fury while Thor is using rune stones to see the future and gets a vision of the dead bodies of his teammates. Back in New York, Betty Ross is examining the wreckage of a Chitauri ship and discovers sections of it have become incredibly brittle. Deciding to no longer put it off, Betty goes to see Bruce, who is happy to see her, and she mentions the strange phenomenon with the wreckage but when Bruce offers to help, she tells him that nobody wants his help or trusts him. When Janet, Hank, and Tony show up, Fury leads a mission briefing, telling them about Kleiser and what little they know of Wakanda, due to their isolationist tendencies. Fury wants the Avengers to head to Wakanda on an information gathering mission, telling them to try not to be seen as he doesn’t want an international incident, then places Natalia in charge, as Steve is to angry over Kleiser’s involvement to think clearly. When the Avengers arrive in Wakanda, they encounter T’Challa, who angrily tells them to leave, then relents and says that Steve can come with him but the rest must go back to their ship. T’Challa and Steve sneak into the city and T’Challa explains that in 1942, during the reign of his grandfather, the Wakandans were approached by Kleiser, who offered friendship between his country and theirs, but he betrayed them and attempted to steak the Heart of Wakanda. The Wakandans fought back and were able to bring down the Chitauri ship but it left the people untrusting of the outside world, prompting their adaptation of a more isolationist society. Meanwhile, the Avengers continue to look around and are discovered by T’Challa’s soldiers, who begin attacking them. Hank is drugged by multiple arrows while at giant size and Iron-Man is severely damaged when T’Challa shows up and puts an end to the fight. T’Challa says he will provide the antidote for Hank but they must leave immediately and Fury orders the team back to New York. Meanwhile, Kleiser contacts his commander and tells him that they had trouble securing the planet and his commander tells them that nothing must stop their takeover, revealing a Chitauri flagship heading towards Earth. Elsewhere, Thor contacts Odin to ask him about the vision he was shown and Odin reveals the Chitauri flagship on it’s approach towards Earth. Thor says that he must warn the Avengers and Odin says that Midgard has turned it’s back on the gods and he should no longer meddle in the affairs of mortals but Thor refuses to abandon his friends. Back at the Triskelion, Betty Ross is examining a cube of pure vibranium from the downed Chitauri ship and tells Fury she can’t get any readings off of it but knows that it has stored an incredible amount of energy. Meanwhile, Bruce notices something during the constant replays of his attack and asks to see Betty but Oiler has him sedated again, using increased doses to keep him under. As the Avengers are leaving Wakanda, Steve notices a Chitauri wandering in the jungle below and, defying Natalia’s orders, takes the jump ship back to Wakanda. Meanwhile, T’Challa faces the council of elders, who strip him of his authority to rule due to his bringing outsiders into Wakanda and defying Wakandan law. As he leaves the chamber, T’Challa notices the Chitauri and, donning the Black Panther costume, he goes after it. When Steve lands, he hears the sounds of struggling and sees T’Challa defeating with the Chitauri and Steve says to let them find out what it’s plan is and T’Challa agrees provided that he goes with them. They take the Chitauri back to the Avengers ship, where Natalia chastises Steve for risking their lives and T’Challa suddenly reveals himself to be Kleiser. The Chitauri reveals that it was playing possum and it begins attacking, injuring Janet in the process. Kleiser and the Chitauri soldier get into the jump ship and leave, contacting the flagship and telling it to fire on the Avengers’ ship. Meanwhile, Thor returns to the Triskelion and warns Fury of the approaching flagship and they get it on the screen just as the flagship blasts the Avengers’s ship but Thor is able to teleport there and bring his friends back to safety. Hank takes Janet to sick bay, angrily blaming Steve for her injuries, while Stark returns to Stark Tower, where he preps his War Machine armor for battle. In the detention center, Betty goes to see Bruce, who points out the Hulk attacking the Chitauri ship and theorizes that the Hulk’s gamma radiation affected the hull, causing it to become brittle. He tells Betty he has a small gamma generator she can use to test it and begs her to let him help but she says she can’t as Fury won’t allow it. Meanwhile, the Chitauri flagship extends a membrane like barrier across the planet, then proceeds to launch it’s armies onto the surface. In Wakanda, the people retreat into the palace and the palace defenses begin attacking the Chitauri. Inside the control room, the elders point out that they don’t need the help of any outsiders but T’Challa expresses his doubts. T’Challa  contacts S.H.I.E.L.D. and asks for their help and explains that the Chitauri are after the Heart of Wakanda, which is the mountain deposit of vibranium that fuels their technology but his transmission is broken up by the chief elder. Outside the city, Kleiser discovers that the Wakandans are using the wreckage of one of their ships to power their defenses and orders the flagship to blast it, and the resulting explosion powers down the palace defenses. Thor teleports Fury and the Avengers to Wakanda, where they are met by T’Challa and begin to lead a counter attack. Meanwhile, Betty finds test the gamma generator and discovers it does work against the Chitauri, just as the Chitauri begin to attack the Triskelion. Three Chitauri soldiers enter the detention center and attempt to kill Banner but when they can’t penetrate the glass, they order Oiler to give Banner a lethal dose of sedative gas in order to kill him. The Chitauri kill Oiler but are then killed by Betty and Janet, who wants to revive Bruce but he says it is better that he dies in order to ensure the Hulk doesn’t hurt anyone else and Betty cries as he dies. Betty and Janet take the generator to Wakanda and come up with a plan to take out the flagship. While Thor deals with the cannon, Tony will fly into the flagship and take out the core and Hank says he will go with him. Janet tells him no, as the strain of shrinking might be too much for him but Hank says he will be fine and shrinks down to go with Tony. Meanwhile, Steve and T’Challa are fighting with Kleiser and both end up being severely wounded by him but they manage to knock him into the smelting facility and pour molten vibranium on him, and he ends up sinking beneath the molten metal before it quickly hardens and entombs him inside. Meanwhile, the Triskelion is still under attack when suddenly, Banner transforms into the Hulk and breaks free from his containment, then proceeds to start battling the Chitauri. Back at Wakanda, Thor distracts the cannon long enough for Tony and hank to make it inside the flagship but is then blasted by the cannon and falls to the ground. Inside, Hank grows to giant size and holds off the Chitauri so that Tony can reach the core. Tony begins using the generator on the core but when it runs out of power, he throws the generator into the core in frustration. The generator cause a chain reaction that causes the core to explode, destroying the barrier covering the earth and depowering all of the Chitauri troops and vehicles around the world. Hank grabs Tony as they are blasted out of the flagship but some debris knocks him unconscious and Tony is forced to make Hank shrink back to normal size so he can save his carry him. When they land, Janet rushes to Hank who briefly speaks with her before dying from the strain he placed on his body. When they notice the flagship heading towards the city, Tony flies off to try and divert it, using up all of the power in his suit to do so, then he crashes to the ground while the ship safely crashes away from the city. Steve rushes to his friend just as Thor recovers and uses his lightning to serve as a defibrillator to revive Tony, but they are unable to revive Hank. The elders all apologize to T’Challa and restore his authority as king as the Avengers head back to New York. When they reach the Triskelion, they are unaware that they are being observed by the Hulk, who quietly whispers “Betty” before ducking away when she looks towards him, then leaps away and leaves the city. As Betty looks at the empty cell that Banner was in, Janet approaches and tells her that at least she knows he is alive somewhere, then they head off together. The Avengers all gather to hold a wake for Hank and afterwards, Tony goes to comfort Janet and Betty for each of their losses, Steve approaches Natalia and says they should think about their future before kissing her, while Fury and Thor share a drink and Thor tells Fury about how he once saved Midgard from Surtur.

When it comes to animated comic book movies, DC almost always beats out Marvel, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a good movie because it actually is. The voice acting was pretty good, with the various actors returning to voice the characters from the first movie. The story was pretty good, though I don’t know if it necessarily follows an actual comic story line or not. The animation was pretty good and did a great job in helping to sell the action. It’s a fun movie to watch but I will be honest, the only thing it does right now is make me want to see Black Panther again and get me further hyped to see Infinity War.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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animation, movie, movie review, sci-fi

March 5th, 2018 Movie – The Transformers: The Movie

transformers the movie

So today I find myself watching the movie that scarred a generation of kids. But before we get into that, let me give you a brief history of what led to this event. Back in the 80’s President Reagan’s appointment to head the FCC essentially removed every advertising regulation from children’s programming. This essentially meant that children’s cartoons would become nothing more than 30 minute commercials for various toy lines. Transformers was one of the biggest cartoon franchises to come out of this era and their toys were flying off the market. However, when the original first wave of toys were no longer being produced, Sunbow and Hasbro decided that the best way to get kids to lose interest in them was to kill off those characters and introduce new ones. Needless to say, this came as quite a shock to all of the kids that excitedly went to see this movie only to see one of cartoon’s greatest heroes die within the first 20 minutes. So let’s see the tragedy unfold in today’s movie, The Transformers: The Movie.

The plot: In the year 2005, a monstrous planet named Unicron makes it’s way towards the planet Lithone. As tremors shake the planet, one of the inhabitants, Kranix, sees Unicron drawing near and orders an evacuation but he is the only one to get away as Unicron proceeds to devour the planet, using it to fuel his own life. Meanwhile, the Decepticons have finally managed to win total control of Cybertron but Optimus Prime and the other Autobots have staging bases on Cybertron’s two moons and make plans to defeat the Decepticons and regain control of Cybertron. On Moonbase 1, Prime orders Ironhide to make a shuttle run to Earth to gather more Energon from Autobot City, as they don’t have enough on hand to launch a full scale invasion on Cybertron, but unbeknownst to the Autobots, Laserbeak is observing their plans and quickly flies back to Cybertron. When Laserbeak arrives at the Decepticon base, Megatron orders Soundwave to play back what he observedand after seeing the video of Prime ordering the shuttle to head to Earth, Megatron makes his own plans. As the shuttle travels towards Earth, Megatron and his Decepticon army attack the shuttle, killing Ironhide, Brawn, Prowl, and Ratchet in the process. Starscream question’s why they are attacking the shuttle instead of focusing on the Autobot moon bases and Megatron explains that they can use the shuttle to slip by the early defenses on Earth and destroy Autobot City and the Autobots inside. On Earth, Daniel Witwicky, the son of longtime Autobot associate Spike Witwicky, is fishing with his Autobot friend Hot Rod but is feeling depressed as he misses his dad, who is on Moon Base 2. When he sees the shuttle approaching on his handheld sensor, Daniel wants to go watch it so Hot Rod takes him up to Lookout Mountain, blowing past a barricade that Kup and some other Autobots are setting up. On the mountain, Daniel sees the hole in the shuttle and tells Hot Rod, who takes a look and sees the Decepticons hiding inside. Hot Rod begins attacking the shuttle, confusing Kup and the other Autobots, but when he finally damages the shuttle to where it can no longer fly, Megatron and the other Decepticons fly out and begin attacking the Autobots. Kup saves Hot Rod and Daniel from Blitzwing and Shrapnel but as Hot Rod goes to thank him, they are attacked by Starscream and the two Autobots transform and make their way towards Autobot City. Inside the city, Ultra Magnus, the city commander, orders Arcee and Springer to transform the city to battle station mode, Perceptor to tell Blaster to contact Prime for reinforcements, while he and Blurr evacuate the non essential personnel from the city. As Springer moves to transforms the city, Arcee says Kup and Hot Rod are still outside but Springer grabs her and tells her they are on their own. The two Autobots manage to transform the city and avoid being killed by Starscream, who narrowly avoids being trapped inside the transformed city himself. When Megatron orders the Decepticon’s to breach the city’s defenses, Shrapnel and Kickback begin chewing a hole through one of the doors but Hot Rod and Kup run over the two Insecticons and use the hole to get inside the city, just before a new blast door seals the opening. Meanwhile, Perceptor reaches Blaster and tells him to contact Prime but as Blaster is making his transmission, Megatron sees them and orders Soundwave to jam it. Soundwave releases his cassettes (Rumble, Frenzy, Ravage, and Ratbat), who rip off the communication dish and then proceed to attack the two autobots but Blaster releases his own cassettes (Eject, Rewind, Ramhorn, and Steeljaw) to deal with them. As the battle rages through the night, Springer is trying to move a missile launcher into position and asks Arcee, who is mourning over the bodies of Wheeljack and Windcharger, for help. As she helps him, Kup and Hot Rod show up and the 4 Autobots get the launcher into position just as Daniel points out Megatron ordering the Constructicons to merge into Devastator. As Devastator begins to destroy the Autobot’s defenses, Springer begins firing missiles at him but Devastator shrugs them off and throws some debris at them, taking out the launcher. The battle rages throughout the night and in the morning, the Autobot’s defenses are broken and Megatron orders the Decepticons to attack when a second Autobot shuttle arrives with Prime and the reinforcements. Prime orders the Dinobots to take out Devastator and they fly off to confront the massive Decepticon but though they manage to knock him down, Devastator easily beats the Dinobots. Prime heads off to stop Megatron, making his way through the Decepticons until only Megatron is left standing. The two leaders begin fighting, with Megatron injuring Prime but Prime manages to get the upper hand. As Prime moves to finish off Megatron, but Megatron notices a laser pistol hidden underneath some nearby debris and pleads for mercy in an attempt to stall Prime. As Megaton reaches for the pistol, Hot Rod tries to stop him but Megatron grabs him and uses him as a shield while he proceeds to shoot Prime. Tossing Hot Rod aside, Megatron approaches Prime to finish him off but Prime manages to muster up enough strength for one last blow on Megatron, knocking him off the ledge and down several stories to the ground below. As Prime collapses, Hot Rod rushes to him and apologizes while below, Starscream orders a retreat and the Decepticons grab their wounded and fly off in Astrotrain. Inside the damaged city, Perceptor tells everyone that Prime’s wounds are fatal and Prime appoints Ultra Magnus to be the new leader, passing the Matrix of Leadership to him before he dies. Out in space, Unicron has seen what happened on Earth and when he sees the Matrix survived, he roars out in anger. Elsewhere, Astrotrain tells the other Decepticons to jettison some weight or they won’t reach Cybertron so, declaring survival of the fittest, they dump out the injured Decepticons, with Starscream tossing Megatron out himself. Afterwards, Starscream declares himself the new leader but the other Decepticon’s begin arguing that they should lead and a fight breaks out inside Astrotrain. Megatron and the other injured Decpticons float through space and end up being drawn towards Unicron. Unicron speaks with Megatron and offers him a new body and troops in exchange for destroying the Matrix and Megatron initially refuses to be a servant to Unicron but relents when Unicron prepares to devour him. Unicron uses his powers to rebuild Megatron into Galvatron, then turns the other injured Decepticons (Skywarp, Thundercracker, Bombshell, Kickback, and Shrapnel) into Cyclonus, Scourge, and Scourge’s hunters The Sweeps. Flying off in the ship Unicron gave them, Galvatron heads to Cybertron and interrupts Starscream’s coronation ceremony before killing Starscream. Meanwhile, Unicron approaches the two moon bases and begins devouring Moon Base 1. Jazz and Cliffjumper radio a report to Ultra MAgnus before they try to escape but they can’t escape Unicron’s gravity tractor beam and are sucked into his maw. Spike and Bumblebee on Moon Base 2 tell Ultra Magnus what happened and as Unicron heads towards them, they set up explosives and detonate them while the moon is in Unicron’s mouth but the explosion has no effect and they end up sucked in as well. On Cybertron, Galvatron curses Unicron for destroying the moons but falls over in pain, as Scourge reminds him that they belong to Unicron, and after recovers, Galvatron orders the Decepticons back to Earth. On Earth, Ultra Magnus orders everyone to the shuttles so the can help their friends, thinking the Matrix might be able to help, which Hot Rod readily agrees with the idea. Suddenly, they come under attack by the Decepticons and manage to get away only for Galvatron to follow after them. Galvatron sends Cyclonus out, who incapacitates the shuttle carrying Hot Rod, Kup, and the Dinobots and they end up crashing on a nearby planet of Quintessa. As Galvatron goes after the second shuttle, Ultra Magnus orders an emergency separation and they succeed in fooling the Decepticons into thinking they were destroyed. Galvatron praises their success but when Unicron psychically attacks him again, he orders Cyclonus to take him to see Unicron. On Quintessa, Hot Rod is separated form the others and as he searches for them, he sees Kup being attacked by a giant mechanical squid and rescues him, then works on repairing the damage. When he finishes, the two Autobots go looking for the Dinobots but end up being captured by some strange creatures and taken to a citadel. Placed inside a dungeon, Kup and Hot Rod are greeted by Kranix, who starts to tell them about Unicron but he is grabbed by the guards and taken away to a kangaroo court, where the Quintessons, the rulers of the planet, sentence him to death and feed him to the Sharkticons. Elsewhere, Grimlock and the other Dinobots (Slag, Sludge, and Swoop) are searching for Hot Rod and Kup when they meet Wheelie, a small Autobot warrior that speaks in rhymes and helps lead them to where their friends are. Meanwhile, Galvatron asks Unicron why he attacked him and Unicron tells him that Ultra Magnus and the Matrix are still alive and sends him to the Planet of Junk to destroy him. On the Planet of Junk, Ultra Magnus, Arcee, Springer, Perceptor, Blurr, and Daniel (wearing an exo suit) are working to repair the emergency shuttle, unaware that they are being observed by the planet’s inhabitants, the Junkions. When the Decepticons attack, The Autobots run for cover and Ultra Magnus buries them under some junk, then tries to face the Decepticons on his own by using the Matrix but it doesn’t open for him and Galvatron has the Sweeps blow him apart, then grabs the Matrix to use against Unicron himself. Back on Quintessa, Hot Rod and Kup are brought to trial and sentenced to death but they begin fighting back against the Sharkticons. Before they can be overrun, Grimlock and the other Dinobots arrive and after destroying several Sharkticons, Grimlock is able to take control of them and orders them to attack the Quintessons while Wheelie shows the Autobots a nearby ship they can use so long as they take him with them. Back on the Planet of Junk, Arcee and the other Autobots mourn the death of Ultra Magnus when they are suddenly attacked by the Junkions. The Autobots try to fend them off but the fighting stops when Hot Rod and the other’s arrive on the planet. Hot Rod speaks with Wreck Gar, the Junkions’ leader and Wreck Gar declares a truce and as a sign of their new friendship, the Junkions repair Ultra Magnus. Realizing that Galvatron has the Matrix, Hot Rod says they have to go after him and Wreck Gar agrees to help, revealing a ship of their own. Meanwhile, Galvatron is calling out Unicron and says that since he has the Matrix, Unicron should do his bidding now but he is unable to open it. Unicron then transforms into a massive robot and tells Galvatron that he had considered sparing Cybertron but now plans on rending it asunder. As Unicron begins attacking the planet, Shockwave orders the Decepticons on the planet to begin attacking Unicron but he is easily able to fend them off. Galvatron begins attacking Unicron but Unicron simply grabs him and swallows him as Hot Rod and the others show up. As Unicron attacks the approaching ships, he blasts the ship carrying Hot Rod, Springer, Kup, Arcee, and Daniel in half but Hot Rod guides their damaged half straight into Unicron’s eye. Hot Rod is separated for the others, who are attacked by Unicron’s internal defenses, and as he goes looking for them, he encounters Galvatron. Galvatron suggests a truce against their common enemy but Unicron attacks Galvatron and orders him to kill Hot Rod and Galvatron agrees to do so. Meanwhile, Daniel gets separated from the others and discovers a smelting pit, where the captured inhabitants of the planets Unicron destroys are melted down for fuel. Daniel sees Spike, Bumblebee, Jazz, and Cliffjumper about to be dropped into the pit and as Spike yells for Daniel to help them, Daniel manages to shoot down the acid shield and rescues them. Elsewhere, Hot Rod and Galvatron continue fighting and Galvatron gets the upper hand and begins choking Hot Rod but Hot Rod manages to grab the Matrix from Galvatron and transforms into Rodimus Prime. Shocked, Galvatron shoots the Matrix from Rodimus’ hands but Rodimus grapples with Galvatron and manages to throw him out of Unicron. Rodimus then opens the Matrix, and it’s energy begins ripping Unicron apart from the inside. Springer, Kup, and Arcee meet up with Spike, Daniel and the other Autobots and as they try to figure out what is going on, they are met by Rodimus, who tells them they need to get out of there. The Autobots all transform and escape through Unicrons other eye as Unicron explodes from the Matrix’s energy, causing his head to orbit the planet as it’s new moon. On Cybertron, Rodimus and the Autobot’s regain control of the planet and Rodimus declares an end to the Cybertronian War and a new age of peace and tranquility to have started as they all celebrate.

The Transformers: The Movie met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A surprisingly dark, emotional, and almost excessively cynical experience for Transformers fans.” The death of Optimus Prime in the movie causes such a backlash among the fans, that Sunbow ended up bringing him back in the third season of the cartoon, while a new figure, Powermaster Optimus Prime, would come out the following year. Despite the popularity of the series, the movie failed to make a profit at the box office, earning $5.8 million off of a $6 million budget.

I have to admit that when I first saw this movie as a kid, I didn’t really think about how dark it was but this really is a dark movie, definitely darker than what a kid should be watching at the time. That being said, I love this movie and find it infinitely better than the recent live action movies. The voice acting was great, with many of the original voice actors reprising their roles from the cartoon while Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Stack, and Lionel Standard were all good in their roles of Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime, Galvatron, Ultra Magnus and  Kup respectively. I loved Monty Python alum Eric Idle as the TV talking Wreck-Gar and thought Orson Welles was great as Unicron, though he apparently hated the role. The story was good, but incredibly dark. I mean, with the cartoon, you had plenty of laser blasts and explosions but nobody was seriously injured. In this movie though, you have an entire planet destroyed and all it’s inhabitants eaten, Transformers being shot and killed, and some being melted by acid. I honestly have to wonder how they thought this was something to be shown to kids. The animation was pretty good and definitely a step up from the cartoon, while they did do a decent job of introducing new characters to the series. It probably isn’t something that little kids should watch but definitely something that fans who grew up watching the show, and modern fans, will enjoy watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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January 26th, 2018 Movie – Teen Titans: The Judas Contract

teen titans the judas contract

Another day, another superhero movie. One of the main reasons that the DC animated films have done so well is that there is so much history to use for the stories. Take today’s movie for instance. “The Judas Contract” is probably one of the best stories involving the Teen Titans to ever be written and is notable for Dick Grayson dropping the Robin identity and becoming Nightwing. The funny thing is that this isn’t the first time that this story received an animated telling, as almost the entire second season of the Teen Titans cartoon was loosely based on this story. However, that telling was more of a kid friendly version, so let’s see how they do with a little more adult version as I watch today’s movie, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract.

The plot: 5 years ago, the Teen Titans (Robin (Dick Grayson), Beast Boy, Bumblebee, Kid Flash, and Speedy) are patrolling their city when they see a portal in the sky, and Starfire being attacked by some flying lizard men. When the lizard men capture Starfire, Robin leads the Titans into rescuing her, then has Speedy fire an explosive arrow into the portal, causing it to turn into a vortex that sucks the lizard men back into it. Robin manages to save Starfire from being sucked into the vortex and she thanks him in her native language before kissing him, then thanks him again in English, explaining that she can learn languages through kissing. Starfire tells him that her sister, Blackfire, staged a coup and she was forced to flee her homeworld but she vows to return and free it. As she has no place to call home, Robin offers to let her stay with the Titans and when she accepts, he introduces her to the rest of the team. In the present, Nightwing rejoins the Titans (now led by Starfire and consisting of Beast Boy, Raven, Robin (Damien Wayne), Blue Beetle, and Terra) to take down a hive base. Inside the base, Mother Mayhem is warned of the Titan’s approach by Deathstroke but, seeing no signs of them, dismisses his warning at first but when the Titans attack, she orders the base abandoned, taking the equipment with her. During the battle, Nightwing heads to the computer room to download the data, with Starfire covering him, and the two discuss their relationship. With the battle over, Nightwing asks Starfire to move in with him and she accepts. Returning to Titans Tower, the group unwinds, with Beast Boy trying to get Terra to open up to him, while Beetle has a video call with his family, which doesn’t end as well as he wished. Nightwing is going over the data recovered from the mission, adding it to the data they collected from other raids. As he lets the computer work, he watches an interview on Brother Blood, a cult leader who also leads Hive, before he is interrupted by Robin, Starfire, and Terra. When they notice Beetle acting upset on the monitors, Starfire has Beast Boy and Terra go talk to him. The three end up walking around the city and when they come to a homeless shelter, Beetle decides to volunteer, as it reminds him of helping out at one in his hometown and it will help the scarab get better acclimated to being around humans. While she is there, Terra has a flashback to her own past, causing her to get uncomfortable and she leaves. That night, Terra has a nightmare which causes her powers to act up and when the others go to check on her, she gets defensive and tells them to leave her alone. Meanwhile, Mayhem approaches Brother Blood, who is bathing in the blood of the reporter that had interviewed him earlier, and expresses her concerns about the Titans but he says not to worry, as Deathstroke will take care of them when the time is right. They then head down to the lab, where an experiment takes place that infuses the life force of some volunteers into their test subject, a man named Jericho, making him stronger. Seeing the test is a success, Blood says it is time to move their plan to the next phase, while Mayhem shoots Jericho in the head. Blood then meets up with Deathstroke and tells him to move things up a week, which Deathstroke doesn’t like but Blood tells him he will double his pay and to make sure to capture all of the Titans. The next day, the Titans are doing some training exercises and when Beast Boy and Terra spar against each other, Beast Boy, as a snake, wraps her up but this triggers another flashback from Terra, who loses control and lashes out at Beast Boy. The Titans quickly rescue Beast Boy and stop Terra, who apologizes and is uncomfortable with the Titans showing such concern over her. Later, Robin and Raven express some suspicions about Terra to Nightwing and Starfire but Nightwing says Starfire thinks she is worth giving a chance and shoots there concerns down. That night, Terra secretly leaves the Tower and Robin follows her but she confronts him about tailing her. Suddenly Deathstroke shows up and starts attacking Robin but just when Robin starts to get the upper hand, Terra attacks Robin and captures him, revealing herself to be a double agent. Later, Terra visits Slade and attempts to seduce him but he tells her now is not the time and that they have to finish the mission, as the money Blood is paying them will allow them to start their own League of Assassins, with the two of them at the head. The next day, the Titans throw a surprise party for Terra’s one year anniversary with the team, catching Terra off guard with their kindness, and as the celebrate, the computer finishes it’s analysis of the data and points them to a hive scientist. The Titans head out to the scientist’s lab and find him deleting all his files so they try to stop him but he sends out some robot drones to attack them. The Titans manage to destroy the drones and Raven captures the scientist but before they can question him, Deathstroke, who takes control of a drone remotely, kills him. Seeing that the scientist had photos and files on all of the Titans, Starfire warns them to be careful as they go about their daily routines. Later, Terra is sitting on the edge of the island staring at the water when she is joined by Beast Boy, who talks to her and tries to explain that all of the Titans have faced hardships and she isn’t the only one that has had it rough. The two end up kissing, causing Beast Boy to get excited, and while he celebrates, Deathstroke contacts Terra and tells her that they will take the Titans down tomorrow. The next day, Nightwing goes to check on Beetle and Beast Boy only to find evidence of them being kidnapped. When he returns to his apartment to check on Starfire, he finds her missing just as Deathstroke bursts in and attacks him. The two begin fighting, with Deathstoke overpowering Nightwing, and as the fight carries them outside and onto the docks, Deathstroke ends up shooting Nightwing, who falls into the water. Deathstroke contacts Terra, who has captured Raven, and after he leaves, Nightwing emerges from the water, having used a block of wood as a makeshift kevlar to stop the bullet. After returning to the Tower, Nightwing figures out that Terra had double crossed them and tracks her phone so he can rescue the others. At the Hive base, the Titans find themselves strapped into Blood’s machine when Deathstroke appears and starts taunting them, then reveals that Terra is working with him. When Blood and Mayhem appear, Blood tells Deathstroke that their contract isn’t complete, as he failed to bring Nightwing’s body to him. When Blood suggests that he substitute Terra for Nightwing, Deathstroke agrees and Mayhem shoots Terra with a tranquilizer as she stares in shock at being betrayed. Terra is hooked up to the machine and as Blood gives a speech to his followers, he activates the machine and begins to absorb their powers and abilities. Nightwing shows up and disables the machine, saving the Titan’s lives but Blood begins attacking them with their own powers. Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy, and Beetle begin attacking Blood, while Nightwing and Robin attack Deathstroke, who is easily able to beat them. Terra regains consciousness and her anger at being betrayed causes her to lash out, striking Blood as she heads towards Deathstroke and begins attacking him. While they are fighting, the Titans get the upper hand on Blood and Raven, using her demon powers, rids Blood of all their powers and Mayhem kills him to avoid having him captured. Meanwhile, Terra’s fight with Deathstroke continues and she eventually manages to bury him in rocks, then cries out in anguish. She sees Beast Boy staring at her and apologizes to him, then uses her powers to push him to safety as she starts to bring the temple down around her. Afterwards, Beast Boy digs Terra from the rubble and holds her as she looks up at him and smiles briefly before she dies. Some time later, Beast Boy is on Kevin Smith’s podcast and is discussing the Titans and how they deal with the pressure of being heroes and after Kevin brings it up, he talks about Terra’s circumstances. Beetle is shown to still work at the shelter and receives a visit from his family and he happily hugs them. Robin is on the roof of Titans Tower staring at Deathstroke’s mask when he is joined by Raven, who shows him a puppy she got while the Titan’s newest member, Wonder Girl, flies overhead, and Nightwing and Starfire are shown to be relaxing on their couch watching TV.

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract met with positive reviews from the critics, holding an 80% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics felt that it was one of the best movies from DC’s animated line to date. An adaptation of “The Judas Contract” had originally been planned to be the third movie in DC’s animated universe, coming out after Superman: Doomsday and Justice League: The New Frontier but the project ended up being shelved. The movie had a bit of tragedy to it as on the same day Miguel Ferrer was announced as providing the voice for Deathstroke, he ended up dying of throat cancer.

This is a great movie and honestly makes me want to go get my trade and reread it. The acting was good, with Christina Ricci doing a great job as Terra, showcasing all of the various emotions she goes through during the movie. Just from what I remember, the movie seemed to follow the original comic fairly closely but there were some obvious differences, one of them being that Cyborg, who was a member of the Titans in the comic, was not in the movie, as he is a member of the Justice League in the current animated universe. I will say that the whole aspect of Terra trying to seduce Deathstroke, and his playing upon her feelings for his own benefit, was a little creepy. I mean, they never really say how old Terra is, or any of the other Titans for that matter, but it could be safe to say that it she is a teenager and she could be on the older side of that group but the scene where she is in lingerie and trying to get Slade to sleep with her was a little uncomfortable to watch. The animation was pretty good and I liked the design of Brother Blood after he had absorbed the Titans’ powers. A great movie that is definitely worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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December 17th, 2017 Movie – Superman/Batman: Apokalypse

superman batman apocalypse

You can’t keep a good idea down, especially when it comes to comic books, and with the ongoing run of the Batman/Superman comic, it only made sense that another movie would be made. When I heard about this movie, I was curious about it because it’s focus is on a character with an interesting history; Supergirl. There have been several heroes to use this moniker, from the original one, who died saving Superman from the Anti-Monitor during “Crisis On Infinite Earths”, to the artifical lifeform Matrix, who assumed the name in her role of guardian of a pocket universe before she joined the normal universe. And let’s not even get started with Power Girl. Anyways, a new Supergirl was introduced during the recent Batman/Superman comics and DC made an animated movie based on those comics. So let’s see how they did with today’s movie, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.

The plot: Weeks after the destruction of the Kryptonite meteor, debris and small meteorites are still falling through the skies on Earth. In Gotham, a large object falls from the sky into the harbor and Batman heads out to investigate. Diving underwater, Batman finds several chunks of Kryptonite and a small Kryptonian craft but as he investigates the ship, a strange woman has swam up to his boat and starts climbing inside. The woman accidentally activates the boat, which takes off, and Batman, alerted to what is happening, fires a grapple at the boat and is drug along but lets go when the boat crashes into a nearby pier. Nearby, the woman, who is naked, approaches some dock workers, who start to harass her but she shoves one of them into some crates prompting another man to quickly offer her his coat before running away. The woman dons the coat and continues running, eventually being pursued by the police when she causes an accident. During the course of the chase, the woman reveals that she has powers, including super strength, invulnerability, heat vision, and flight. When Batman confronts her, she shoves him and takes off again but can’t control her flight and ends up taking out one of Gotham’s automated police blimps. Superman shows up and stops the blimp from crashing in the city while Batman subdues the frightened woman with a chunk of Kryptonite. Later, Batman is scanning the woman in the Batcave when she regains consciousness and destroys the computer. As she starts to fly off, Superman stops her and speaks to her in Kryptonian, learning that she is his cousin Kara. Superman takes her to the Fortress of Solitude in order to better learn how to act like a human but his dog Krypto doesn’t like Kara, constantly growling and attacking her, while Batman also has his suspicions, as Kara has no memories of what happened to her after Krypton exploded and very few memories of her life before that. Meanwhile, on Apokolips, Granny Goodness is testing a warrior named Treasure to see if she will be able to lead the Female Furies but when Treasure battles against the Furies (Gilotina, Mad Harriet, Lashina, and Stompa), they end up killing her. Darkseid informs Granny of the new arrival on Earth and orders her to bring Kara back to Apokolips, threatening to sic the Furies on her if she fails. Back on Earth, Clark takes Kara out to Metropolis so she can get used to being an Earth girl. As they walk through the park that night, she sees the statue of him and tells him she her powers scare her and she doesn’t want to be a hero like he is. Suddenly, Superman is attacked by a group of figures while another figure ensnares Kara with a rope and drags her away. Kara tries to use her heat vision to attack the figure, who easily blocks it while Kara loses control of her heat vision and destroys parts of the park. Superman subdues his attacker and goes to help Kara only to discover that her attacker is Wonder Woman, while Lyla (Harbinger) was the one attacking him. Wonder Woman tells Superman that she is taking Kara with her to train, pointing out the damage she caused in the park and asking what would have happened if it had been daytime when the park was full. Superman starts to object but Batman appears and tells him to trust them, as there are other reasons for them doing this. Kara is taken to Themyscira, where Diana works on training her to fight while controlling her powers but Superman, who was invited to watch a training seminar with Batman, feels it is a waste of time. As Superman and Wonder Woman argue over how best to proceed with Kara, Kara gets upset with them and leaves with Lyla, who has become her friend. Alone with Lyla, Kara vents about how controlling Superman and Wonder Woman are, even though she knows they both mean well, then suggest they go for a swim to cool off but Lyla hesitates, as she has been having continuous visions of a blonde woman lying dead in the water and worries it might be Kara. Meanwhile, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are discussing Lyla’s visions and the implications of them when a boom tube opens and an army of cloned Doomsdays appears through it. Wonder Woman summons her army of Amazons and, along with Superman and Batman, they proceed to fight the army of monsters. As the fight rages on, Batman realizes something isn’t right and runs off while Superman, seeing several Amazons dying during the fight, tells Wonder Woman to call them back as he uses his heat vision to disintegrate the army of Doomsdays. After catching his breath, Superman and Wonder Woman head off to look for Batman and finding him standing at the water’s edge on another side of the island. He tells them the army was a distraction and that a second boom tube opened there and as Superman approaches the body in front of Batman, he sees it is Lyla, not Kara, who had died. A glowing orb appears, showing Lyla’s last vision and they realize that Darkseid took Kara with him so Superman vows to avenge Lyla’s death and get Kara back. The three heroes go to see Big Barda, the former leader of the Furies who had defected to Earth, and enlist her help to rescue Kara and she agrees under the condition that she goes along as well. The four heroes arrive on Apokolips and after dispatching with a pair of tanks that attack them, they split up to go on their specific assignments. Barda and Wonder Woman make their way to the fight arena, where they confront Granny and the Furies and the two heroes are forced to fight with the Furies. Meanwhile, Batman heads towards Darkseid’s armory but he encounters some guard riding on giant hell hounds and is forced to deal with them first. He manages to bury them in some debris but when he reaches the armory, one of the hounds breaks through the wall and swallows him. As the guards go to check on the hound, it collapses and Batman pries open it’s jaws, then orders the guards to remove their armor. Back in the arena, Barda kills Stompa to save Wonder Woman, who moves to kill Mad Harriet but Granny orders her to surrender, as Gilotina and Lashina have captured Barda. Wonder Woman refuses, rescuing Barda, who knocks out Lashina, while Wonder Woman deals with Mad Harriet and Gilotina, then the two heroes turn their attention to Granny. Elsewhere, Superman approaches Darkseid’s throne room and demands that he release Kara and Darkseid says she is free to go if she chooses. Kara appears and when Superman tries to get her to leave, she refuses, then begins to attack him. Superman is hesitant to fight his cousin but when she continues to attack and try to kill him, he is forced to defend himself. As Darkseid watches the battle, Batman arrives and informs Darkseid that he armed all of his Hellspore bombs and threatens to blow up Apokolips unless Darkseid releases his hold on Kara. When Batman refuses to give up his demand after Darkseid beats him, Darkseids reluctantly concedes defeat, though acknowledges his respect for Batman, just as Superman defeats Kara. Returning to Earth, Kara apologizes for what happens, saying it was like being in a bad dream, and Superman says he will take her somewhere where she can just be herself. Kara pays her respects to Lyla, then thanks Diana for what she has taught her and approaches Batman and tells him her mother’s name, which she had finally remembered. Superman takes Kara to Smallville to stay with his parents but as they approach the door, Darkseid attacks them. Darkseid prepares to blast Superman with his omega beams but Kara pushes him out of the way and takes the hit. Superman then attacks Darkseid but Darkseid easily overpowers him, then blasts him into orbit with his omega beams. Believing Darkseid killed Superman, Kara begins to fight him, using what she learned on Themyscira and Apokolips to hold her own but Darkseid eventually overpowers her and knocks her unconscious. As he prepares to leave, Superman returns to face him but is distracted on seeing Kara’s motionless form. When Darkseid grabs his cape to turn him around, Superman punches him, then proceed to renew their battle. Superman injures Darkseid but Darkseid gets the upper hand and starts blasting him with his omega beams. Kara recovers and, grabbing Darkseid’s discarded Mother Box, opens a boom tube behind him and Superman uses his heat vision to blast him through it. As the two Kryptonians embrace, Kara tells him she had reprogrammed the Mother Box, sending Darkseid to freeze as he drifts aimlessly in space. Kara then tells him she knows what she wants to be but before she can tell him, the Kents arrive at the farm and look at the damage as Superman hastily introduces them to Kara and then says he will fix the damage done to the farm and home. Some time later, Superman is on Themyscira and introduces Batman, Barda, Wonder Woman, and the other Amazons to Kara, who has chosen to call herself Supergirl. She tells the assembled group that she doesn’t know if she is worthy of wearing the outfit but she will work hard to earn it. The Amazons all cheer and Supergirl smiles when she sees Batman grin in approval as he claps along with Wonder Woman and Barda as the two Kryptonians leave the island and fly back to Metropolis.

This was a bit dark but a pretty good movie none-the-less. The voice acting was really good, with Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, and Susan Eisenberg doing a great job reprising their voice roles of DC’s famed Trinity (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman respectively). The one actor that surprised me was Ed Asner, as I honestly didn’t realize he voiced the character of Granny Goodness in the 90’s Superman cartoons and Justice League cartoons. The story was good, doing a decent job in showcasing the confusion that Kara faced as she was forced to deal with being on a strange new world and trying to find her own place in it. The animation was pretty good and lost a lot of the more angular designs that were in the previous movie. A good movie that is definitely entertaining to watch.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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December 16th, 2017 Movie – Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

superman batman public enemies

While I have always been more of a Marvel Comics guy as opposed to DC, I have read some DC comics over the years. I remember reading several comics as a kid featuring 2/3 of DC’s famed trinity, Batman and Superman. The two have teamed up in the comics numerous times and had their own series once or twice, with a recent one starting up in 2003. Today’s movie is actually based on that series, taking the first 6 issues and turning them into a new animated movie. While it takes place during DC’s new animated universe of movies, it is technically not a part of the DCAU but that isn’t going to stop me from enjoying today’s movie, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. 

The plot: As the country finds itself in the grips of a crippling economic depression, Lex Luthor runs for president under a 3rd party bid and ends up winning the election. During his inauguration speech, Luthor comments on the aliens and superheroes who act above the law and says he has formed his own official task force, consisting of Captain Atom, Power Girl, Black Lightning, Katana, and Major Force, to deal with any problems and if the other superheroes don’t fall in line, they will be punished. Some time later, Superman is dealing with a high speed car chase when he is confronted by Captain Atom, Power Girl, and Major Force. Captain Atom wants Superman to admit that he was wrong about Luthor but Superman says Luthor is up to something and refuses to trust him. Meanwhile, Luthor is in the war room with his Chief of Staff, Amanda Waller, watching telemetry on an approaching Kyptonite meteor, which is the size of a small continent and heading straight towards Earth. Luthor plans to blow the meteor up with missiles before it reaches Earth but Amanda suggests using some of the Superheroes to deal with it. Luthor admits that he only created the task force so that the heroes wouldn’t be working against him but Amanda persists, saying he only wants to do it himself to get all the credit. Luthor holds a press conference about the approaching meteor and asks Superman to meet with him so they can discuss the situation. Batman and Superman are watching the press conference in the Batcave and Batman tells Superman that Luthor isn’t lying about the meteor but he is working on his own way to deal with it along with an associate. Superman decides to meet with Luthor in Gotham but as they talk, Superman starts to feel weak and he grabs Luthor, only to discover that one of Luthor’s Secret Service Agents is Metallo, whose Kryptonite power source is the reason Superman is feeling weak. Luthor leaves as Superman and Metallo begin fighting, with the fight taking them to the local cemetery. When Metallo appears to have the upper hand, Batman shows up to rescue Superman but Metallo takes a shard of the Kryptonite that Batman had broken off of him and uses it as a bullet to shoot Superman. Superman falls into an open grave and as Batman jumps in to help him, Metallo buries them both alive. Batman uses an explosive charge to blow a hole underneath them into the sewers and when Metallo, who heard the blast, goes to investigate only to find the empty grave, then turns when he sees someone standing behind him. In the sewers, the wounded Superman and Batman make their way through the sewers to the Batcave, where they are met by Alfred and Alfred proceeds to tend to their injuries, including removing the Kryptonite from Superman. Superman and Batman watch a news report where Luthor says Metallo is dead and blames Superman for the murder. Showing edited footage from his meeting with Superman to serve as proof about his claim, Luthor places a $1 billion bounty on Superman’s head before ending his speech. As the press leave, Luthor starts to open his drawer to reveal a hypodermic gun filled with Kryptonite but before he can use it, he is interrupted by Power Girl, who pleads Superman’s innocence. Batman and Superman head to Star Labs so Batman can access their data on the meteor when Superman smells something and discovers Metallo’s body in the morgue. Batman discovers that the Metallo was killed by a radioactive blast but before they can inspect any further, they are confronted by some guards. Superman flies them out of there but they are attacked by Silver Banshee. As Superman deals with her, Batman is confronted by Killer Frost, Mr. Freeze, Captain Cold, and Icicle but he is saved by Superman. The two heroes then contend with Mongul, Solomon Grundy, Lady Shiva, Nightshade, and Gorilla Grodd before they find themselves surrounded by more villains out to collect on the bounty. They are eventually saved by Captain Atom but as Superman goes to thank him, Captain Atom, accompanied by Power Girl, Major Force, Katana, Black Lightning, and Starfire, says he has a warrant for Superman’s arrest. Meanwhile, Luthor flies out to a military base to oversee the launch of the missiles but along the way, he starts getting a headache and Waller starts to get worried about him. Back at Star Labs, Superman and Batman fend off the attacks of Captain Atom and his team, with Power Girl, whose loyalties are divided, shouting out a warning to Superman when Captain Atom is about to blast him. Superman eventually flies around at super speed to create a whirlwind to disorient the heroes while he grabs Power Girl and makes his escape with Batman. Arriving at the Daily Planet, Superman asks Power Girl why she helped them and she says it felt right and she doesn’t believe he killed Metallo. Batman asks her about Luthor and she admits her unease around him but before the can talk anymore, they are confronted by Captain Atom and his task force again. During the fight, Batman realizes that Major Force was the one who killed Metallo and goads him into admitting it. Power Girl, angry over being used, attacks Major Force and punches him hard enough to rupture his containment suit. Black Lightning creates a force field around him to contain the energy and Captain Atom, having heard everything, absorbs it, with the resulting explosion rendering Captain Atom injured, but alive, while Major Force is no more. Back at the military base, Luthor, Waller, and the generals watch as the missiles head towards the meteor only for the meteor’s high radiation levels to destroy the missiles before they impact with it. Batman, Superman, and Power Girl reach the base and then they have Power Girl head off to another location while Batman and Superman make their way to the base, only to be attacked by Captain Marvel and Hawkman. Meanwhile, Luthor gives  a speech to try and calm the people, claiming the missiles were a research mission and the true rescue effort will be commencing shortly. When Waller goes into his office to confront him, she discovers Luthor injecting himself with a mixture of steroids and Kryptonite, which has affected his mind. Luthor plans to let the meteor hit the Earth, then rule over the surviving people, with Waller playing a role in that new society. Luthor is called away to meet with Captain Marvel and Hawkman, only to discover it is Batman and Sueprman in disguise, as they were able to beat the two heroes with Power Girl’s help. The confront Luthor about the data on the meteor but Luthor wipes his computer hard drives, preventing them from getting the needed data. Waller shows up and hands Batman a flash drive with the data, begging him to save them, and Superman and Batman quickly leave and head for Tokyo. Waller orders the general to arrest Luthor but he quickly runs back into his office, where he injects himself with more Kryptonite before donning a power suit and fighting his way out of the base and taking off after the two heroes. Superman and Batman arrive at the factory/home of Hiro Okamura, the Japanese Toyman, and find Power Girl waiting for them in an outer chamber, as Toyman’s teenage hormones had gotten on her nerves. Batman and Superman head inside and give Toyman the data, who starts to load it into his computer so he can program his giant rocket, which is fashioned as a combination of Batman and Superman, to take out the meteor. Luthor arrives at Toyman’s base and quickly takes out Power Girl, then begins fighting Superman, knocking Batman away when he tries to help. Luthor then confronts Toyman and destroys the computer, stopping Toyman from programming his rocket. Batman heads to the rocket and prepares to fly it himself to destroy the meteor, saying goodbye to Superman as he prepares the rocket to launch. Luthor tries to stop Batman but Superman stops him, then attacks him in a rage due to Luthor’s part in Batman’s suicide mission. The two take to the skies in their fight, eventually making it back to the US before Superman is finally able to bring Luthor down. Out in space, Batman pilots the rocket towards the meteor and it detonates, with the explosion being seen back on Earth. As the people all cheer the meteor’s destruction, Superman punches Luthor into a building as Captain Atom and Power Girl arrive at the scene. Power Girl tells Superman that Toyman says there might be a chance Batman survived and he Quickly flies off, while Captain Atom grabs Luthor and has him locked up for his crimes. Flying up to the rocket’s debris, Superman finds Batman within the rocket’s escape pod, which is shaped like a combination of both their logos. Superman flies the escape pod back to Earth and lands in Metropolis, and as the two heroes see a helicopter carrying Lois Lane flying towards them, Superman invites Batman to come eat with him and Lois but Batman heads back to Gotham and disappears as the helicopter lands and Lois heads towards Superman and the two embrace.

This is a really fun movie to watch. The voice acting was great, especially since they had Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, and Clancy Brown all reprising their roles from as Superman, Batman, and Luthor from the original Batman/Superman/Justice League cartoons from the 90’s/2000’s. I also liked that they brought back CCH Pounder to reprise her role of Amanda Waller, while Xander Berkley and Allison Mack did good jobs in their roles of Captain Atom and Power Girl. The story was pretty good, though I can’t say for certain how closely it matches with the comics as I haven’t read them yet. I liked that they kept the friendly, semi-combative banter between Superman and Batman, showcasing the mutual respect they have for each other. I also liked how Luthor accuses Superman of being driven mad by the Kryptonite while he himself is actually the one going mad. The animation was really good, though some of the characters, like Power Girl, looked a little too angular in their design. Minor flaws aside, this is a good movie and definitely worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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

December 15th, 2017 Movie – Superman: Doomsday

superman doomsday

In 1992, an announcement was made that rocked the comic book industry, and the world itself; DC comics was going to kill Superman. The event would become one of the most talked about events worldwide, with Superman (vol. 2) #75

superman 75(the actual comic where he died) becoming the highest selling comic of all time. As popular as the story was, it only makes sense that they would make a movie based on it. So to jump start their new line of animated films, DC decided to do just that. So let’s see how the animated version lives up to the hype from the comics as I watch today’s movie, Superman: Doomsday.

The plot: At the Daily Planet, Lois Lane and Perry White are arguing about her article on a LexCorp charity being a front, with Perry refusing to print it to avoid being sued for libel. As Lois storms out of his office, Perry says goodbye to Clark Kent, who is getting ready to travel to Afghanistan as a foreign correspondent, and Clark says goodbye to Lois before he leaves. Elsewhere, a secret LexCorp project is digging deep underground to tap into the Earth’s core as a new power source when the uncover an alien spaceship. As Lex Luthor watches from a video uplink, the workers accidentally pierce the spaceship, causing an inert gas to escape as a hologram of an alien being warns them about what is inside. When the gas is dispersed, a massive figure inside the ship suddenly breaks free and proceeds to kill everyone in the tunnel, as well as back up on the surface. Elsewhere, Superman and Lois are having a romantic getaway at the Fortress of Solitude but Lois’ thoughts drift back to Clark. She comments to Superman about how Clark seems to become more distant, physically and emotionally, the closer she gets to him and, getting suspicious, starts trying to find out more about Superman and gets upset that he won’t admit who he really is. Meanwhile, Doomsday continues making his way through the woods, killing everyone and everything he encounters, until he finally reaches Metropolis. At the same time, Luthor tells his assistant to make sure there is no sign his company was ever at the dig site, as he doesn’t want to be held responsible for unleashing Doomsday on the city. Back at the Fortress, Superman apologizes to Lois and starts to tell her who he really is when his robot servant informs him of the events in Metropolis. As Superman prepares to leave, the robot says it found mention of Doomsday in his father’s records and that it was created to be the perfect killing machine while being practically unkillable itself. Superman carries Lois back to Metropolis with him, setting her down on the roof of the Daily Planet while he flies off to face Doomsday. When he arrives at where the military is trying to stop Doomsday, Superman attempts to freeze the creature but it breaks free from the ice and begins to attack Superman. Lois and Jimmy use the Daily Planet’s helicopter to report on the story but Doomsday spots them and attacks the helicopter. Superman rescues them, knocking Doomsday into a building, then sets the helicopter down and tells Lois and Jimmy to run while he continues to battle Doomsday. Doomsday appears to get the upper hand, battering Superman to the point he is coughing up blood, but when Doomsday turns his attention onto a little girl who is crying nearby, Superman grabs Doomsday and flies up into space, then turns around and speeds back to Earth, pummeling Doomsday as they fall. The two crash into the street and Doomsday is finally killed while Superman staggers out of the crater they left before collapsing on the ground as Lois rushes to him. Superman asks if everyone is ok and when Lois tells him he saved everyone, Superman dies, with Lois and Jimmy both crying over him while in Smallville, Martha Kent breaks into tears as she watches the footage on TV. A funeral is held for Superman and as Perry walks Lois away, she notices Martha leaving as well. Meanwhile, Jimmy is approached by the head of a tabloid, who offers Jimmy a job which Jimmy accepts. As Perry tells Lois to take some time off and go be with family, Lois decides to travel to Smallville to see Martha. Unsure of how much she might know about her, Lois stammers her way through an introduction but Martha, suspicious at first, takes pity on her and invites her in to talk. Meanwhile, Mercy tells Luthor that everything was taken care of so there is no sign of their involvement at the dig site and Luthor kills her so she won’t become a loose end. When the Toyman kidnaps a bus full of kids, Lois heads to the rooftop he is holding them on and tries to get them to safety. She is spotted as she is saving the last girl and Toyman throws the bus off the roof but Lois, and the rest of the onlookers, are surprised when she is rescued by Superman. Superman sets the bus down and goes after Toyman, defeating his giant mechanical spider and dropping him in front of the police before flying off with Lois. Lois asks how he is back and he says he isn’t sure, just that he woke up in darkness. When he drops her off at her apartment, Lois kisses Superman but he doesn’t kiss her back and Lois gets concerned. Meanwhile, Superman heads LexCorp to confront Luthor, who tricks him into entering a room lit by red sunlight and proceeds to beat him up with Kryptonite laced gauntlets. After rendering Superman unconscious, Luthor tells him that he is doing a good job in pretending to be Superman. Luthor then heads to another room, where he has the Superman’s body kept in a stasis chamber, and reveals that he cloned Superman so that he can take the glory for his accomplishments. As time passes, Lois and Martha both get suspicious about Superman as there has been no sign or contact from Clark to either of them. At LexCorp, Luthor goes to mock Superman’s body again only to discover that it is missing. At the Fortress of Solitude, Superman awakens and finds the robot tending to him, explaining that his biology had slowed his metabolism to a crawl in order to heal. He then explains about the clone but says it is best to leave it be for now, as it is helping the people of Metropolis, and instead he should focus on healing. Back in Metropolis, the clone sees a news broadcast of the Toyman having escaped custody and killing a kid before he is recaptured. Superman heads to the police station and grabs the captured Toyman, then flies him up into the air before letting him go, where he falls to his death. As the clone starts behaving more totalitarian in his dispensing of justice, Luthor hands him a list of people that might have stolen Superman’s body and tells him to find it discreetly, warning the clone he can kill him if he gets out of line. The clone leaves LexCorp and heads to a beauty salon, where he uses a mirror to examine himself and discovers a small, lead sphere in his brain. Realizing that it must contain Kryptonite inside, the clone uses his heat vision to burn a hole in his head, then removes the sphere. Back at the Fortress, Superman is in a chamber that is accelerating his solar absorbtion as he continues to heal and regain his strength. Lois heads to LexCorp to ask Luthor how he got Superman to be his puppet and when Luthor attempts to seduce her and kisses her, she drugs him and knocks him unconscious. Lois and Jimmy then find the files and secret room, where Luthor has created dozens of clones. Luthor regains consciousness and admits he is making the clones as his own personal police force, then prepares to kill them when the clone arrives. Luthor attempts to kill the clone but when the detonator doesn’t work, he notices the scar on the clone’s forehead and realizes that he removed the safeguard. The clone proceeds to destroy all of the other clones and computers in the room, then tells Lois and Jimmy to evacuate while he goes after Luthor. Luthor heads into his red sun room and challenges the clone but the clone simply seals Luthor into the room, then pulls it free from the building before throwing it down to the ground, seemingly killing Luthor. Back at the Fortress, the robot informs Superman about what is happening and Superman says he has to go back. The robot warns that he is not at full strength and the clone could kill him again, then hands him Luthor’s Kryptonite gun to use as a way to even the playing field. Back in Metropolis, the military is called in to deal with the clone but he easily destroys all of their vehicles. Superman arrives, wearing a black solar suit to help him recharge, and he speaks with the clone first before they start fighting. Superman tries to shoot the clone with the Kryptonite gun but the clone quickly knocks it away and they begin fighting. Lois and Jimmy start to cover the action but when it seems like the clone is getting the upper hand, Lois heads off to get the Kryptonite gun. As the clone goes to kill Superman, Lois shoots the clone with the gun but before she can fire another shot, the clone destroys the gun, sending the Kryptonite cell falling into some tar. Superman renews his fight with the clone but the clone overpowers him. As the clone grabs the Superman memorial to crush Superman with, Superman sees the Kryptonite cell stuck to the clone’s chest and uses his heat vision to cause it to explode, sending a cloud of Kryptonite smoke to surround the clone. The clone falls to the ground with the memorial falling on top of him and as the clone staggers away from the smoke, he collapses in front of Superman, begging him to protect the people. Lois approaches Superman, wanting to know if he is the real Superman, and when Superman kisses her, she accepts he is the real Superman. Superman is worried that the people of Metropolis won’t be so accepting of him but when a kid approaches him and asks if he will go back to wearing his normal uniform, Lois says she isn’t worried as more people approach Superman. Back at Lois’s apartment, Superman emerges from her shower as she is writing an article. When he corrects a spelling mistake in her article, he comments about being the Smallville Elementary spelling bee champ and when she turns to face him, she sees he has put on his glasses to reveal to her that he is Clark. Lois kisses him, then tells him to call his mother as they embrace while back at LexCorp, Luthor is shown to have survived and is recuperating from his injuries while thinking of his next plan to destroy Superman.

I am of mixed opinions about this movie. I mean, the death, and return, of Superman was a months long affair in the comics and to condense it down to 77 minutes definitely means a lot of stuff out. That being said, this wasn’t that bad of a movie. The voice acting was good, with Adam Baldwin (Superman), Anne Heche (Lois) and James Marsters (Luthor) doing good jobs voicing their characters. Obviously, the story is not going to be like the comics but it wasn’t too bad. I did like that they included a brief scene of the tattered cape hanging from a pole (as seen in the cover above). I also liked that they included the clone aspect from the comics, though in this case it was a full grown copy while in the comics, it was a half Superman, half Luthor hybrid that became Superboy. My favorite part was the brief voice cameo that Kevin Smith had, where he commented about the giant mechanical spider as this was a nod to when he was working on a Superman movie in the late 90’s and the producer kept insisting that he add a giant spider to it. The animation in this was pretty good and the lighting kept the movie pretty dark and gritty, which helped keep with the rather somber tone of the movie. It is not as good as the comics, but it is a decent movie and worth watching.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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