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

Flashback Review: April 7th, 2014 Movie – Batman: Mystery Of The Batwoman

batman mystery of the batwoman

In 2003, DC still had a pretty strong presence on television. Batman: The Animated Series, Superman and Batman Beyond had all concluded their runs, while Teen Titans, Static Shock, Justice League, and a new Batman cartoon were going strong. Around this time, a new movie would come about, showing that DC wasn’t just content to have their characters on TV. I remember seeing the commercials for the movie and thought it was interesting so I rented it and watched it. I thought it was entertaining but didn’t consider buying it at the time. A couple of years ago, when I started buying some of the DC animated movies, I remembered this movie and made sure to pick up a copy of today’s movie, Batman: Mystery Of The Batwoman.

The plot: Some crooks are attempting to smuggle some guns through Gotham when they see shadow of a bat overhead but instead of Batman, it is a woman dressed as Batman and flying on a bat-shaped glider. Batwoman lands on the truck carrying the guns and begins destroying the crates, taking out the crooks escort car in the process. The crook riding shotgun climbs back onto the trailer and begins fighting with Batwoman, but she manages to toss him off the truck and into the water below. Batman and Robin (Tim Drake) are alerted to the commotion and as they fly there in the Batwing, they see Batwoman grab one of the guns and get back on her glider, then fires at the truck, separating the trailer from the cab and sending the cab plunging off the overpass to the city below. Batman is able to use the Batwing to stop the cab from crashing and Batwoman flies towards him and stares at him through the cockpit before flying off. The next day, Rupert Thorne and Carlton Duquesne (pronounced Du-Kane) meet with Penguin, who is the third party in their arms consortium. Penguin wants to know how Batwoman found out about the shipment, saying that their international buyers will want their money back if they don’t deliver the guns. He tasks Duquesne, who was brought on as their “muscle”, to deal with Batwoman. Later that day, Duquesne is on the phone with his men telling them to find out who Batwoman is and deal with her when his daughter Kathy comes home from shopping and he chastises her for leaving without telling him where she was going, then continues his phone call. Meanwhile, Bruce is also trying to figure out who Batwoman could be and as the news reports discuss the new vigilante, Barbara Gordon calls Bruce and jealously asks if he had replaced her but Bruce quickly makes an excuse to leave before hanging up the phone. Later, Bruce is attending a meeting where one of his researchers, Roxanne “Rocky” Ballantine, is showing a programmable and adaptable metal that she invented. Bruce takes Rocky out to dinner to discuss the metal and it’s applications further when they see the Batsignal in the sky and Bruce cuts the dinner short. On top of police headquarters, Batman finds Gordon, Detective Harvey Bullock, and his new partner Sonia Alcana waiting for him with some of the remains from the destroyed arms shipment. As they discuss the weapons, Bullock says the driver isn’t talking but Batman grabs the keys that he is tossing in the air and stares at them, then hands them back and tells Gordon he will be in touch before leaving. Later, Batman and Robin head to the shop that Penguin, Thorne, and Duquesne own and as they approach the building, they hear a muffled explosion coming from within. Inside the building, Batwoman is dealing with some of the crooks guarding the place when Batman and Robin drop in and help her. As they are fighting, Batwoman warns them about the charge she placed in the lower level where the arms are being made and they quickly leave before the building explodes. Batwoman explains about the weapons being made and goes to leave when Batman tries to stop her but she quickly attacks him in order to get away on her glider. Batman uses a grapple to snag the glider and follow after her but she uses a batarang to cut the line. Batman uses another grapple to keep from falling and, using some binoculars, sees Batwoman heading towards Duquesne’s penthouse. When Batman gets there, he hears Duquesne yelling on the phone after hearing about what happened at the plant and when Batman has a confrontation with his bodyguards, he yells at him to get away from his home and family, as Kathy looks down from her window. Bruce, suspecting Kathy of being Batwoman, decides to follow her as she goes shopping and then decides to get a closer look. As he is keeping tabs on her, Kathy manages to slip away form her bodyguards, then asks Bruce to help her get out of the store. Bruce does so and they manage to drive off in her car and Kathy takes her to her favorite spot; a place on the cliffs that she used to go to with her mom before she was killed. Bruce ends up getting close to Kathy and they start to kiss when her bodyguards show up and she reluctantly heads off with them. Later that night, Batman meets with Gordon, Bullock, and Sonia and tells them he suspects Kathy Duquesne of being the Batwoman, and Gordon says that he will put a tail on her. Meanwhile, Penguin and Thorne are discussing Duquesne’s inability to protect the shipment and Penguin decides to bring in someone else to stop Batwoman. When they discover Batwoman in Penguin’s office, she is able to get away and Thorne agrees to Penguin’s plan. Later the next day, Bruce is at the office talking with Rocky when Kathy shows up, inviting him to dinner and Bruce accepts, knowing that the police will be watching them. They end up heading to Penguin’s lounge and Bruce asks her what she is playing at, causing Kathy to walk off. Meanwhile, Batwoman confronts Penguin in his office but his bodyguards show up and begin fighting with her. As Penguin joins the fight, Batman shows up to save her but as Batwoman gets away, Batman notices Kathy watching from the crowd. As Bruce takes Kathy home that night, she apologizes for the evening and he apologizes for misjudging her but the bodyguards interrupt them before they can kiss. Later, Batman meets with Sonia and hands her a fragment of the alloy Batwoman used to restrain Penguin and as he goes to leave, she comments that he had saved her life once when her parent’s building caught fire and Batman says he remembers the men being linked to Thorne but nobody could prove it. Penguin, Thorne, and Duquesne meet with Bane, who Penguin had brought in to deal with Batwoman and Bane tells them he wants complete control to deal with Batwoman as he sees fit, unaware that Batwoman had snuck in and was listening to their plan. Back at the Batcave, Batman is trying to figure out who really is Batwoman, as both Kathy and Rocky have alibis for when she had appeared. Having Robin try to find any connection between the two, Batman heads to Duquesne’s place to see if he can find some information and finds the connection in Kathy’s sketchbook. Meanwhile, Batwoman returns to her lair and it is revealed that Kathy and Rocky were both Batwoman, as well as Sonia, as all three had reasons to take down the three crime bosses. Sonia explains what the criminals are planning and Kathy goes to blow up the ship smuggling the weapons but ends up getting caught by Bane. As Sonia watches from the police HQ roof, Batman confronts her about the connection between her, Kathy, and Rocky, and asks where Kathy is, just as Rocky contacts her and says she can’t reach Kathy. On the ship, Bane had contacted Penguin and when he, Thorne, and Duquesne arrive on the ship, Bane reveals Batwoman to be Kathy, which shocks her father. Penguin says he knows that she isn’t working alone and moves to torture her and when Duquesne tries to stop him, Bane grabs him and threatens to break his neck. Batman shows up and stops Bane, then rescues Kathy but as they are making their way off the ship, she sets the bomb, intending on making sure things end there. Bane captures Duquesne and uses him as bait to trap Batman and Kathy so he can kill them. Meanwhile, Penguin and Thorne attempt to escape but Sonia and Rocky show up to try and stop them just as the bomb goes off. Sonia and Rocky are knocked from the gliders and Sonia is knocked out but Rocky manages to keep her afloat only to see Penguin and Thorne bearing down on them. Robin, in the Batboat, saves them and as he helps Sonia onto the boat, Rocky goes after Penguin and Thorne and manages to stop them. Back on the ship, Kathy was thrown off the top decks of the ship and as she is suspended over the burning lower decks, Duquesne saves her and they make their way off the ship. Meanwhile, Bane and Batman continue fighting, with Bane using his Venom supplies to increase his strength. Batman uses Rocky’s restraining alloy to try and stop him and succeeds in severing the tubes for the venom. Bane is able to break free from the alloy but Batman, seeing the ship about to crash into the bridge, uses his grapple to climb up the underside of the bridge away from the ship as the ship hits the bridge, destroying the top portions of the ship and sending Bane falling into the fires below. Sonia, having recovered, uses her glider to fly up and rescue Batman, then drops him off on the police boat, revealing to Gordon and Bullock that she is Batwoman. Some time later, Sonia is shown to have been fired from the police force, as Gordon can condone vigilantism but can’t employ one. Batman stops by as she is cleaning out her desk and gives her the evidence that Rocky needs to free her fiance Kevin, who was framed by the Penguin for a crime. Later, Rocky and Kathy are talking outside the prison, as Kathy was there to visit her father while Rocky is waiting for Kevin to be released. As Rocky hugs Kevin, Kathy leaves them only to find Bruce waiting for outside. When she asks why he is there, Bruce, who had grown to have feelings for her, says that he missed her and the excitement her life provided and the two drive off together.

This was a pretty good movie and of the three early standalone Batman movies, I would probably place this in the middle as far as which one I liked best. The voice acting was pretty good and the cast from the show that returned to reprise their characters did a good job. The story was pretty interesting and I loved the somewhat Hitchcock motif involved with the identity of the Batwoman. The misdirection involved really felt inspired by Strangers On A Train, where each woman had their own reason for working together on taking out the crime bosses, and were constantly switching which one was wearing the costume so that it would throw suspicion off of the others. The animation mirrored that found in the later episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, which was ok but I felt wasn’t as good as the original animation style and design. It’s a solid animated movie and one that is well worth giving a watch if you get the chance.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

August 16th, 2017 Movie – Sharknado 2: The Second One

sharknado 2

When word of mouth causes a made for TV movie to get more viewers each time it aired, the idea for a sequel made perfect sense. After the success of Sharknado, I could hardly wait for it to occur. Then they announced the title and tag line for the movie, and it honestly felt like they were going to do a good job of keeping the advertising simple and letting word of mouth generate the buzz, which worked because I knew a lot of people were going to be tuning in to watch it. As for me, I did what has since become a tradition and went to my friend Emily and Mark’s house to watch this movie when it debuted and I was not disappointed in the least and quickly went online and pre-ordered it as soon as it became available to do so. So let’s get down to business with today’s movie, Sharknado 2: The Second One.

The plot: Fin Shepard and April Wexler, who are attempting to work things out after the events of the previous movie, are flying to New York for a book signing of April’s book that she wrote about the sharknado. As the plane starts to hit some rough weather, Fin sees some sharks flying through the sky and thinks he is seeing things at first. After a shark takes out one of the engines, the pilots start descending to a lower altitude only to have more sharks attack the plane. Several passengers are killed as sharks make it inside the plane and both of the pilots are sucked out of the cockpit when a shark breaks through and attacks one of them. Fin heads to the cockpit to try and land the plane and April follows after him but when the plane door is blown off it’s hinges, she is forced to grab onto to a nearby strap to keep from being blown out of the plane. The sky marshal goes to help her but ends up trapped by a food cart and, seeing a shark approaching April, throws her his gun to defend herself but the shark bites off her hand. The sky marshal is eventually able to pull April back in the plane while Fin manages to land the plane in New York. Downtown, Fin’s sister Ellen Brody and her husband Martin are there with their kids and arrange to meet at April and Fin’s hotel that night before they split up; with Ellen going to Liberty Island with their daughter Mora while Martin is going to a Mets game with their son Vaughn. Meanwhile, Fin is interviewed after the plane lands and he tries to warn the city about the coming storm but the police don’t seem to believe him. After accompanying April to the hospital, Fin is told by her doctor that she is stable and should make a full recovery. Fin heads to her room and they talk for a while before seeing a news report about the storm approaching New York. At Liberty Island, Ellen and Mora meet up with Ellen’s friends Polly and Chrissie, who ask Ellen about Fin and tell her about the plane crash. Ellen calls Fin and he tells her that she has to get off the island and when Mora can’t reach Martin, Ellen asks Fin to go get him and Vaughn, saying she had sent April a ticket for him. Fin agrees to go and kisses April before he leaves and hails a cab, where the driver, Ben, recognizes Fin and asks him some questions about being swallowed by a shark. Back at Liberty Island, Ellen, Mora, Polly, and Chrissie notice hundreds of sharks swimming in the waters around the island and when the ferry gets there, they quickly board it. Fin arrives at the ball park, with Ben giving him his card in case he needs another ride, and he heads up to find Martin and Vaughn when he runs into Skye, his old girlfriend who was at the game with Martin, Vaughn, and their friend Brian. Skye kisses Fin but he pulls back and tells her he is back with April and she apologizes. Fin heads to their seats and tells Martin and the others that they need to leave before the storm hits but Brian refuses to leave, believing that this is a simple rain delay. When an announcement comes over the loudspeaker that the game is cancelled, the crowd boos in disappointment but when a sharknado appears heading towards the stadium, they all quickly flee the stadium and head to the subway station. AS the train leaves the station, two subway workers are heading into the sewer tunnels to shut off the valves so the tunnels don’t flood but one is killed by an alligator and the second is killed when the tunnel floods, with a shark killing the alligator. The flood hits the subway and sharks begin attacking the cars, with one killing Brian, but Vaughn hits the emergency brake and they are able to get everyone off the train before the flood waters push it down the tunnel. Heading back to the surface, they manage to get a ride from Ben, and Fin asks him to take him to a hardware store but the one Ben knew was closed so he takes them to Times Square, where they split up to find weapons and supplies for Fin to make bombs. Meanwhile, Chrissie is killed by a shark on the ferry and as Ellen, Mora, and Polly disembark and start heading to the hotel to meet the others, they are forced to run as the head of the Statue of Liberty is broken off by the storm and comes rolling down after them. After managing to avoid the rolling head, they keep making their way to the hotel, eventually grabbing some bikes so they can move faster. Back at the hospital, the patients are being evacuated to the basement as a sharknado heads towards them but April, after helping a scared girl to the basement, leaves the hospital to go find Fin and the others. Back at Times Square, the group meet back at Ben’s cab and head for the hotel but before they get there, the streets end up flooded. Using Ben’s tow rope, they throw it over a traffic light so they can use it to swing across to the hotel. Martin, Vaughn, and Sky make it safely across but Ben is killed as he tries to swing across, dragging the rope into the water with him. Martin says he will try to find some more rope but Fin says there is no time, and proceeds to jump on the sharks’ backs to make it across (prompting Martin to joke about him jumping the shark). Heading inside the hotel, Fin tells Martin and Vaughn to wait in the lobby for Ellen and the others while he and Skye head up to the roof and try to destroy the sharknadoes. Ellen and Mora reach the hotel but Polly, who had lagged behind them, is killed when a whale shark falls on her. Fin and Skye reach the roof and use a slingshot to try and destroy the sharknadoes before they merge but the sharknadoes are too cold. He decides to make a bigger bomb but all that does is cause the sharks to catch fire and he and Skye are forced to leave the roof and head back downstairs. Meanwhile, the lobby becomes flooded and Martin, Ellen, Vaughn, and Mora head up the stairs to escape the rising water. They meet Fin and Skye partway up and are forced to use the fire escape to get away from the danger on both fronts. They leave the hotel, where they are surprised to see April in a fire truck there to pick them up. The group heads to the empire state building, where the Mayor and Fire Chief have a command center made ready and hand him a chainsaw to use. Seeing that the merged sharknado is about to converge with a third sharknado, Fin decides to blow the Freon tanks atop the Empire State building to try and freeze out the sharknados and Skye goes with him to help. When they reach the observation deck, Skye goes to make the connection as Fin prepares to use the lightning to trigger the explosion. As a shark starts to fall towards him, Fin can’t get the chainsaw started but he is saved by April, who had Vaughn make her a make-shift handsaw gauntlet for her injured arm. When Skye is finished, Fin tells her to get April out of there while he triggers the explosion but the cable becomes disconnected and Skye is forced to hold the cable in place. The explosion occurs and Fin and Skye are thrown into the air, with Skye being killed by sharks, but the massive Sharknado is broken up, with the crowd below grabbing any weapons they can find to deal with the falling sharks. Fin uses his chainsaw to kill some of the sharks near him as he falls but when it is knocked from his hand, he grabs a chain and usesit to snare aThe popularity  shark and ride it down to the observation deck. As more sharks fall towards him and April, he looks for a weapon and notices the dead shark by April is the same one that bit off her hand. Reaching inside it’s mouth, he grabs her severed hand and uses the gun it is still holding to kill the falling sharks. Afterwards, he takes the ring off the severed hand and asks April to marry him again, which she happily accepts as the crowd below celebrates their victory.

Sharknado 2: The Second One met with mixed to positive review from the critics, holding a 61% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The schlock factor for Sharknado 2: The Second One is not as entertaining as its predecessor’s, though fans of the brand will likely enjoy it.” There were numerous nods to other movies throughout the film, primarily Jaws, Airplane, and Star Wars, while the original film’s popularity allowed The Asylum to use numerous people in cameo appearances as well. In it’s initial airing, it garnered 3.9 million viewers and prompted Syfy and The Asylum to almost immediately make plans for another sequel.

All the craziness from the first movie was amped up in the sequel and it paid off in a fun way. The acting was great, with Ian Ziering doing a great job as Fin, while Mark McGrath (Martin), Vivica A. Fox (Skye), and Kari Wuhrer (Ellen) doing good jobs in their roles as well. Tara Reid (April) didn’t seem as bad in this one as she was in the first movie but I have to admit that her screaming was just awful. The story was great, basically using the same concept from the first movie but doing a good job of trying to show how the tornadoes were forming with the different weather and pressure systems converging on New York City, while doing nothing to explain all the sharks (because where would the fun be in that). I also liked all the nods to the various movies that were used, as well as the cameos, but some of the funniest cameos were the ones that hinted at the actor’s previous roles; such as Robert Hays being the pilot (a nod to Airplane) and Judd Hirsch driving a cab (a nod to his character in Taxi). Even the short bit with Jared Fogle sitting underneath a sign for Subway while eating a Subway sandwich was pretty funny. The special effects were a little better than the original movie in regards to the sharknadoes, though I didn’t honestly see much improvement in the sharks themselves. Still, this movie was a lot of laughs and definitely something worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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