Posts Tagged ‘DC Comics’

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The first big superhero fight movie of the year has arrived, but is it the movie powerhouse that we all expected it to be, or does it crumble beneath the weight of its own hype? Guess you’ll just have to keep reading to find out.

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice begins eighteen months after the events of Man of Steel. An aging Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) has been practicing his Batman style vigilantism in Gotham City for about twenty years. He also happened to be in Metropolis on the day that Superman (Henry Cavill) and General Zod had their catastrophic fight that leveled many city blocks. Bruce is fully aware of the destruction that these super-powered aliens can cause. Their immense power is also noticed by Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), who views it as a tremendous threat to humanity, and actively searches for a way to keep such power in check.

Ok. Where to start. I guess the story itself. The plot and pacing for this movie are all over the place. Within the first ten minutes, we’ve already been whisked to at least four different settings and time periods. Scenes are obviously short, so there’s no real way to get a grasp of the characters. We only get vague notions of their motivations, mostly because we already know who these characters are from decades of other stories in other media. The movie tries to be a form of Batman origin story, but the attempt comes off half-hearted, mainly because it feels so rushed. The inspiration for Batman’s origin very clearly comes from Frank Miller’s iconic Dark Knight Returns mini-series, as do many other elements in the movie. I feel, if the storyline had been more focused on that work, rather than trying to merge it with another famous DC Comics storyline, and establishing the existence of other heroes in the universe, it may have been served a little better. Which brings me to yet another point, this movie is incredibly overstuffed. We already have the titanic figures that are Batman and Superman, but then Wonder Woman (played by Gal Godot) gets thrown into the mix, plus the introduction of other heroes, plus the plot of the antagonist. It’s just too much. It suffers from the same fate that ultimately doomed Amazing Spider-Man 2, too much going on, not enough substance and characterization. So many elements could have been trimmed down to make a tighter, more personal movie.

On to the acting. This was actually one of the brighter spots in the movie. Ben Affleck is definitely NOT the worst Batman ever, that honor still belongs to George Clooney. Affleck does a pretty good job in the role, to be honest. I just wish there were more of him AS Batman. Cavill reprises his role as the big blue boy scout, and plays the part about as well as he did the first time around, so no real complaints there. Godot as Wonder Woman holds her own, but again, the character felt kind of tacked on. Now to the one blemish, Eisenberg’s Luthor. I’m not really sure what he was going for with this portrayal, it kind of felt like a mash up of Heath Ledger’s psychotic Joker and Kevin Spacey’s own version of Luthor from Superman Returns. There are moments where Eisenberg is trying to play up sinister sarcasm or wit, and it just come off laughable.

There are two things at which director Zack Snyder excels; action and making a movie look good. It definitely has his signature style with its slick visuals and massive action set pieces. And to that end, the movie looks amazing. The fight scenes are spectacular and on a similar scale to the ones seen in 2013’s Man of Steel. Larger than life characters throwing haymakers across a cityscape and hurtling into one another makes for an interesting fifteen to twenty minutes, but over the course of a two and a half hour movie, it can’t really support the whole production on its own.

Overall, it’s not as bad as the other reviews are making it out to be, but it’s certainly not a movie that I would consider good either. For the most part, it’s all style with very little substance, kind of like firing blanks from a gun; you get the flash, you get the bang, but there’s no payoff at the other end.

The Verdict for Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice:
3 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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Through some unknown rift in reality, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Foot Clan have ended up in Gotham City, Batman’s Backyard.  But the Dark Knight isn’t about to take this one lying down.  He’s hot on the trail of the Foot as they steal their way across Gotham.

James Tynion IV writes a pretty interesting story here that brings a lot of elements from both of these monumental franchises into the fold.  My main concern is whether it’s too much.  This issue did a lot of jumping around and had very quick scenes with little dialogue.  If the storytellers tried to cram this much into the first issue, it makes me think the rest of the series might be kind of overstuffed as well.

Freddie Williams II’s artwork is rough and pretty dark, just like the characters in this story should be.  I really enjoyed it, as he seems to be channeling the original Eastman & Laird Turtles artwork just a little bit, without completely alienating Batman.  It’s a wonderful book to look at, and I sincerely hope the quality holds up for the remaining five issues.

Overall, this is one hell of a nostalgia trip.  It’s not every day that you see two entertainment icons from different universes come together like this, and I do get the sense that both publishing companies and the creators treated this team up with the respect that each side deserves.  It might be a little overstuffed, but hopefully once it’s all said and done, it will be one of those match-ups that  no one ever forgets.  If you grew up with these characters in your childhood, you won’t want to miss this mini-series.

The Verdict for Batman – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1:
out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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Frank Miller is back with Brian Azzarello to tell the conclusion to Miller’s super-famous Dark Knight Trilogy.  Batman has come out of the shadows once more, but this time it looks like he’s taking on cops instead of the criminals they’re chasing.  There are some whispers of police corruption tossed around, which give us hope that Batman hasn’t completely lost it and started attacking police for no reason.  However, as per usual in Gotham, not all is quite as it seems.

Miller and Azzarello’s story in this chapter’s debut issue is quite interesting.  The parts of the story following Batman are non-stop action as the police are trying to apprehend the masked vigilante before he can injure any more of their fellow members.  There are some whispers of police corruption tossed around, which give us hope that Batman hasn’t completely lost it and started attacking police for no reason.  There are also some undercurrents of a larger story involving heroes with powers here, which I haven’t quite figured out yet, but it certainly seems like it could be play a pivotal role later in the story.  The writers tell this story at a break neck pace.  This being an oversized issue, I was certain it would seem long to get through, but once I started reading it was over before I knew it, and I wanted more, which is a great feeling.

Kubert’s artwork is a little slicker and more polished than I was expecting from a Dark Knight book, but I am by no means complaining.  There’s still a slight, edgy quality to it all, but not quite what I was used to from the original story.  The art does, however, match the speed and pacing of the story, which is always a good thing.

Overall, I enjoyed this first issue and it leaves me eagerly waiting for issue #2, which is some of the highest praise I can offer. If you’re a Batman fan, read this story.

The Verdict for Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1:
5 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s Batman & Robin series provides perhaps the most interesting premise in all four of DC’s “New 52” Batman centered books; however, it doesn’t seem to actually pull off that premise very well.

The story starts off in Moscow, where someone claiming to be an “ally of the Bat” apprehends a criminal, only to be brutally beaten a few moments later by an invisible force who calls himself “Nobody.”   From there we’re sent back to the familiar confines of Wayne Manor, in Gotham City.  Here we find Bruce Wayne sulking alone, as he has been known to do, staring at a picture of his parents and declaring that it is time for a change.  He wakes up his son, Damian, to go out a little early for their nightly patrol.  Yes, in case you were wondering, Bruce and Damian Wayne are Batman and Robin, respectively.  They’re starting a little early tonight, because Bruce wants to take Damian to the place where everything started, where Batman began, in Crime Alley, so that he can remember what happened there one last time before it is torn down and revitalized.  He also claims that from here on out, he will no longer remember the day his parents died, but rather celebrate the date of their wedding anniversary.  Damian does not seem to appreciate the Wayne legacy as much as his father does, which leads to some light bickering between the two.  When they arrive in the alley via the sewer system, Bruce has a mini memorial where he remembers how everything occurred all those years ago that made him who he is today.  This however, is cut short by a report of a disturbance at Gotham University.  Batman and Robin rush out of the sewer system to investigate, and find a very dangerous robbery going on.

For the most part, Peter Tomasi’s writing here is good, and as I mentioned, the idea of Batman and Robin being a father-son team is probably the most interesting part of this book because it adds a whole new dynamic to the relationship between the characters that we’ve never seen before.  To add to this, Damian/Robin is written as very sarcastic, often talking back to his father in a very harsh and disrespectful manner.  While this makes for an interesting story, it also seems as though it causes Batman to speak in some uncharacteristic and even childish ways.  It almost seems like Bruce is being brought down to Damian’s level, which doesn’t seem like something a character as strong as Batman would do.  On the positive side, Nobody seems like he’s going to make a very intriguing villain in the Bat-universe.

Gleason’s artwork is pretty good, although it doesn’t seem to be anything spectacular.  I would have liked to have seen a little bit more detail on some of the character drawings, but other than that I have no real complaints about the art.  It works well enough for this story.  The two page splash of Batman and Robin in the middle of the story is definitely the highlight of the artwork in this issue.

Overall, this is a pretty good book, but with the greatness that has already been put out there with the Detective Comics and Batman first issues, this one just doesn’t seem to compare to either of those.  On the other hand, I am looking forward to seeing how Tomasi fleshes out the villain, Nobody, and how he continues to write the relationship between Bruce and Damian but it would have to be a great story in order to make up for such an awkward and uncharacteristic depiction of Batman.