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

Standard
comedy, drama, movie, movie review, romance

September 13th, 2017 Movie – Singles

singles

Sometimes when I think back to the movies I loved as a teenager, I find it hard to decide on if I loved it because of the movie itself, or the soundtrack. With regards to today’s movie, I think it was pretty equal in regards to how much I enjoyed them. This movie and soundtrack came out right when I was in high school, having just moved to another state, and starting to figure out who I was going to be and both of them just appealed to me on various levels. So let’s head back and get a glimpse of the Seattle scene during the blossoming “Grunge” era as I watch today’s movie, Singles.

The plot: Linda Powell is an environmentalist living in Seattle and happy to have her own place. One day she meets Luiz, a tourist from Spain who is only in the country for a few more days. After talking with her friend Ruth about Luiz, Linda decides to make the most of her time with Luiz and starts a brief relationship with him. The night before he is supposed to leave, Luiz gives Linda a ring to remember him by and she gives him her garage door opener, her most prized possession. The next night, Linda and Ruth go out dancing and as they stop to get a drink at the bar, she sees Luiz there with another girl and when he notices her, he just shrugs his shoulders. Linda and Ruth quickly leave the club, with Linda crying once she gets outside, and the next day, Linda buys herself a new garage door opener. Steve Dunne lives in an apartment complex which caters to mostly single bedroom apartments with his friends Janet Livermore and Cliff Poncier. While Steve is contemplating his love life and decides to focus on work, Janet is seeing Cliff, who is a musician as well as doing odd jobs to help pay the bills, but Cliff is not as serious about the relationship as Janet is. One night, Steve is at a club with his friend David Bailey and he sees Linda and Ruth there. Steve approaches Linda and tries talking to her but she dismisses him and as she is leaving , he tries asking her if she would like to go somewhere else but she refuses. Steve and David leave and stop at a newsstand, where David brags about getting 20 girls’ phone numbers, when they happen to see Linda and Ruth stop at the stand and Steve and Linda end up talking. Steve calls up Linda a few days later and they meet for lunch and end up talking the entire time. That night, Linda is doing laundry at Steve’s place since her machine is broken and she asks him about his neighbors at the complex and he tells her about Cliff, Janet, David, and Debbie. As her clothes are drying, Steve invites her in to his apartment and the connect even more and almost kiss but Linda pulls back and goes to get her clothes. As she is leaving, Linda freaks out when Steve offers her a garage door opener so she can use the underground garage the next time she comes over and quickly leaves. When she gets home, she thinks back on Steve and starts to smile when Steve shows up at her place, and she kisses him and brings him inside, where they have sex. The next day, Steve is talking with David, Janet, Cliff, and Debbie about how he should handle things with Linda and they convince him not to call right away and he ends up not calling for 4 days, which upsets Linda and she breaks things off with him. Meanwhile, Janet is feeling insecure in her relationship with Cliff and decides to get a boob job. However as she is about to be prepped for the procedure, she changes her mind and decides she want Cliff to love her for who she is so she cancels the surgery, helping the doctor get more confidence in himself at the same time, and breaks things off with Cliff. Debbie decides to use a video dating service to meet someone and has Steve, Janet, Cliff, and David choose the guy she should meet. When she arranges the date, there is confusion over the location to meet and she learns that her date left a message saying he will meet her at her apartment. When she gets there, she finds her date flirting with her roommate Pam, and learns that the two have a history, and she argues with Pam about this but Pam lets Pam have the guy in exchange for $80 and her doing the dishes for a month. Meanwhile, Linda calls Steve and tells him that she is late and after they do a home pregnancy test, she confirms that she is pregnant. Steve says they should get married and after they discuss things, Linda agrees to it but when they get in a car wreck, she ends up losing the baby. When she recovers, she tells Steve that she needs to get away for a while and collect her thoughts so she heads out on an oceanic environmental trip for a month. When she returns, things are uncomfortable between them and Steve says they don’t have to go back to how they were and can start over and Linda agrees. However, Steve knows he made a mistake and tries calling her to explain that he asked her to marry him because he loved her and he wants to be with her but her answering machine eats the tape and so she doesn’t hear it. Debbie flies to Cabo and ends up sitting next to an annoying kid but when she lands, she meets the kid’s father, who compliments her on her favorite earrings and they end up falling in love. The man wants her to move to Mexico and until she is able to get a job there, he sends her flowers every day. Steve ends up losing his job at the Department of Transportation when the Mayor rejects his plans for building a super train to help relieve the city’s traffic problem. Falling into a depression over everything that happened, he starts to turn into a shut in and Janet pays him a visit and tries to convince him that things will get better. Cliff realizes that he misses Janet and tries to win her back but she tells him that she is finally over him. Linda has moved back in with her ex-boyfriend Andy but when she breaks a plate, she thinks back to her time with Steve and goes to see him. The two end up getting back together and finding a place of their own while Cliff and Janet also end up back together after they end up on an elevator together and Cliff says “Bless You” when she sneezes, which is something that Janet had wanted him to do in the past.

Singles met with positive reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Smart, funny, and engagingly scruffy, Singles is a clear-eyed look at modern romance that doubles as a credible grunge-era time capsule.” The movie’s soundtrack, featuring several bands that were prominent in the upcoming Seattle music scene, came out 3 months before the movie was released and became a best selling CD. Singles was a modest hit at the box office, earning $18.5 million off of a $9 million budget.

Watching it now, I think I would have to give my appreciation to the soundtrack an edge over the movie but this is still a great movie to watch. The acting was great, with Kyra Sedgwick (Linda), Bridget Fonda (Janet), Campbell Scott (Steve), and Matt Dillon (Cliff) all doing great jobs in their roles. I will admit that it is a little sad to see Alice In Chains and Soundgarden performing in this movie, as both Chris Cornell and Layne Staley both died. The story was interesting as it kept jumping back and forth between the different people, with several times the characters would break the 4th wall and address the audience at times. I did like the relationship struggles that they presented in the movie and how they showed each characters way of dealing with their problems and resolutions. The soundtrack was amazing and is still something I listen to on a semi-regular basis, with almost all of the songs being from bands that were from Seattle or coming up in the Seattle scene. A great movie and a great soundtrack, both of which are worth watching and listening too.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

Standard