REVIEW: CHUCK – SEASON 5

CAST
Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Ryan McPartlin (J.Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (The O.C.)
Vik Sahay (Bones)
NOTABLE GUEST/RECURRING CAST
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)
Mekenna Melvin (Lie To Me)
Carrie-Anne Moss (Jessica Jones)
Angus Macfadyen (Alias)
Richard Burgi (Starship Troopers 2)
Brandon Routh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
Bo Derek (Sharknado 3)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Ethan Phillips (Star Trek: Voyager)
Justin Hartley (Smallville)
Jeff Fahey (Lost)
Danny Pudi (Powerless)
Stan Lee (Spider-Man)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Cheryl Ladd (Poison Ivy)
Ben Browder (Arrow)
Erin Cahill (Power Rangers Time Force)
Robert Duncan McNeill (Masters of The Universe)
Mark Pellegrino (The Number 23)

Chuck Bartowski no longer possesses the Intersect, but has matured into a confident and capable secret agent. As he mentors the new Intersect, he also has to deal with the fact he and his team are now independent contractors with bills to pay and rival companies to compete with. When a dangerous agent comes after the Intersect, Chuck has to call upon his resources and training to stop them.

Chuck has always been a curious show, a geek comedy with dramatic and romantic overtones whose tone has often spun on a dime. The show has always done a good job of managing these different tones and styles, keeping everything grounded though Zachary Levi’s earnest-but-sympathetic performance as the title character. In the fifth season, the show experiences several additional such tonal shifts, as Chuck is betrayed by his best friend (but it turns out not to be his fault) and, most surprisingly, has his life almost ruined in the final few episodes of the series. For a show that’s always been quite warm-hearted and entertainingly cheesy, the surprisingly bleak tone of the final few episodes comes as a bit of a shock.

The season  only consists of thirteen episodes. Given the tone of the show, I was confidently expecting some last-minute solution or cure would be found. Instead, we get a highly inconclusive ending. It’s not quite The Sopranos, but the series ending without ever answering the central question poised by the last couple of episodes is an unexpected and possibly even brave choice. Whether it’s the right choice is one that fans will be arguing about for years to come. For myself, Chuck has always been first and foremost an escapist and fun show, not a gritty drama like the new BSG or something from HBO. Ending the show in this manner feels out of character for the series, and a little bit of pointless torture for our main characters who really deserved more of a happy ending.

That aside, the final season of Chuck is entertaining, well-acted and often quite funny.  the ending will be divisive, but certainly the season is worth watching for established fans. In particular, the way Chuck’s character develops across the five seasons, going from nerd to an intelligent, resourceful agent  does pay off very well here.

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31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: GOOSEBUMPS (2015)

CAST
Jack Black (School of Rock)
Dylan Minnette (Lost)
Odeya Rush (The Giver)
Ryan Lee (Super 8)
Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)
Jillian Bell (22 Jump Street)
Halston Sage (Bad neighbours)
Steven Krueger (The originals)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Zach Cooper and his mother Gale move to the town of Madison, Delaware. While settling in, Zach meets his new neighbor Hannah and her father, known as “Mr. Shivers”. Zach and Hannah become quick friends, but Mr. Shivers frequently warns Zach to avoid contact with them. At Madison High School where Gale works as the vice-principal, Zach befriends Champ, a socially awkward student. The next night, Zach hears Mr. Shivers and Hannah arguing, followed by Hannah screaming. He calls the police, but Mr. Shivers assures the officers that the noise came from his television. Fearing Hannah is in danger, Zach tricks Mr. Shivers into going to the police station for further questioning and breaks into his house with Champ’s help. The two find a shelf containing many Goosebumps manuscripts, all of which are locked. Zach unlocks one of the books, but when Hannah discovers them, Zach drops the book, releasing the titular character of The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena that breaks out of the house. They pursue the monster to an ice skating rink, where Mr. Shivers appears and imprisons it back into the book.
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On the way home, Mr. Shivers reveals that he is Goosebumps author R.L. Stine. He created the stories as a child to terrorize the people that made fun of him, but the monsters came to life and became uncontrollable, so he had to trap them inside their manuscripts. Returning to the house, they find Slappy from the Night of the Living Dummy, which was accidentally unlocked before, waiting for them. Angry at being imprisoned, Slappy burns his own manuscript and flees in The Haunted Car. They are attacked by the lawn gnomes from Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes, but when Stine and the kids try to smash them, each of the gnomes reform, making them realize that they can only run away.
Slappy releases several monsters, letting them rampage under his command. Zach suggests Stine to write a new book that will trap every monster, but he can only do it with his special typewriter which is at the high school. On the way there, Brent Green from My Best Friend Is Invisible and the giant praying mantis from A Shocker on Shock Street attack Stine’s car, so they are forced into hiding. The titular Werewolf of Fever Swamp pursues them into an abandoned supermarket, only to be run over by Zach’s aunt Lorraine.
As they cut through the cemetery, Zach notices that Hannah glows blue in the moonlight. After evading the Graveyard Ghouls from Attack of the Graveyard Ghouls, they manage to make it to the high school. There, Zach privately questions Stine about Hannah, and Stine reveals that she is a Goosebumps character (from The Ghost Next Door) he created to cope with his loneliness, of which she is seemingly unaware. Stine finds the typewriter and starts writing a new story based on the events around them, while Zach leads the students in fending off all the released monsters that are storming the building. Slappy confronts Stine and breaks his fingers with the typewriter case before the story is finished.
Stine, Zach, Champ and Hannah board a school bus and go to an abandoned amusement park. There, Slappy lets out the blob from The Blob that Ate Everyone. Stine then hands the book and typewriter to Zach, and distracts the blob by allowing it to devour him alive. Zach finishes the story, but is reluctant to open the book because Hannah will also be sucked inside it. Revealing she knew the truth about herself all along, Hannah opens the book, sucking Slappy and all the other monsters into it; she bids farewell to Zach with a kiss before she is also sucked in.
Sometime later, Stine has started working as Zach’s English teacher. After class, Zach is surprised and delighted to see that Hannah is there and Stine reveals to Zach that he wrote her back into existence with another book. She and Zach kiss and leave school together while Stine burns Hannah’s manuscript, making her permanently real. As he prepares to leave the school, he sees the typewriter typing by itself inside its display case. To Stine’s horror, Brent Green has evaded imprisonment and begins writing a story titled The Invisible Boy’s Revenge.
It’s a fun story even if you are not aware of Goosebumps, but I’m sure if you are a huge fan, you’ll get a real kick out of seeing some of the monsters from your favorite books/TV epoisodes make an appearance on the big screen.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE VS TEEN TITAN

CAST (VOICES)
Rosario Dawson (Sin City)
Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty)
Shemar Moore (Birds of Prey)
Jerry O’Connell (Jerry Maguire)
Jon Bernthal (Daredevil)
Jason O’Mara (Resident Evil: Extinction)
Stuart Allan (Batman vs Robin)
Jake T. Austin (Rio)
Taissa Farmiga (The Final Girls)
Sean Maher (Firefly)
Brandon Soo Hoo (Tropic Thunder)
Kari Wahlgren (Bolt)
Laura Bailey (Marvel’s Avengers Assemble)
Steven Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
T.C. Carson (Final Destination 2)
Rick D. Wasserman (Planet Hulk)
The Justice League battle the Legion of Doom (consisting of Lex Luthor, Solomon Grundy, Cheetah, Weather Wizard, and Toymaster). After the Legion is defeated and captured, Weather Wizard runs away, but is possessed by a shadow-like creature that teleports through darkness, revealed to be the demon Trigon, whose supernatural nature allows him to physically harm Superman. Robin disobeys his father’s orders to get civilians to safety, thinking he can help the Justice League fight Trigon. Robin sets the Batwing to crash into Trigon and explode, forcing Trigon’s shade to leave Weather Wizard. Upset that there’s no answer to this occurrence, and in order for his son to learn teamwork, Batman sends Robin to join the Teen Titans. Meanwhile, Trigon’s shade possesses Superman, plaguing him with visions of demonic shadows.
Robin meets the Titans’ leader Starfire and members Raven, Beast Boy, and Blue Beetle, but his lack of respect for the others causes friction. Blue Beetle and Robin fight until Blue Beetle’s suit instinctively uses an energy blast to severely burn Robin. Raven heals him, but during the process her empathic powers link their minds, tapping into each other’s memories. Later, Robin thanks Raven for saving him, but confronts her about an entity he saw in her mind. With Raven unwilling to answer, Damian tries to search up Raven’s background, but no information is kept about her in the Titans’ files. When he confronts Starfire about this, she replies the team isn’t just for fighting crime, but also a surrogate family, as they are all lost souls in a world with no place for them.
Superman finds and brutally beats down Atomic Skull, alerting Wonder Woman and Batman. The latter uses kryptonite to drive Superman back, revealing his possession before Superman flies off. Cyborg tries to locate Superman and a “female with supernatural powers”, whom Trigon is searching for. He and Batman analyse footage of both a transformed Superman and the shadow demon that possessed Weather Wizard, concluding that if the host is damaged or overwhelmed, they will be freed from it. In the meantime, in order to loosen Damian up, Starfire takes the group to a carnival, where Raven encounters demon emissaries and Trigon, in a spirit form, who wants to find her so they can be together. With the help of the other Titans, Raven resists and fights the emissaries until they cannot maintain their presence on the Earthly plane and dissipate.
Afterward, the Titans demand answers from Raven. She reveals that her mother was a member of a cult who married her off to Trigon, who took a human form. Her mother fled after discovering his true nature and was saved by the Azarathians, a people from another dimension, where Raven grew up. After unwittingly summoning her father and thus causing the obliteration of Azarath and her mother, Raven was taken by him so he could conquer Earth, but she trapped him inside a crystal. The Titans offer their support to Raven in defeating Trigon, but the Justice League arrives in order to take Raven away. However, before they can act, Flash, Cyborg, and Wonder Woman are taken over by Trigon’s shadow and turned into demon emissaries. Batman prevents his own possession by injecting himself with a nerve toxin designed for Bane, putting himself in a comatose state and thus causing the shade to abandon him.
The Titans battle the League without success, causing Raven to surrender herself. Just before the League and Raven use a portal to leave, Blue Beetle brings back Cyborg from Trigon’s control. Robin locates Raven in the Middle East, revealing he put a tracer on the Titans after meeting them. Cyborg and the Titans portal to the Middle East, to discover that Superman had unearthed a mystical shrine that Raven uses her powers on so that Trigon can pass though the shrine as a gate. Robin stabs Superman with kryptonite to free him from Trigon, and back to his own self, Superman defeats Flash and Wonder Woman, which frees them both. The Titans save Raven, but not before Trigon returns to his physical form.
Following Raven’s plan, the Titans and Cyborg portal to Hell to retrieve the crystal to lock away her father, while the Justice League attempt to prevent Trigon from reaching innocent civilians. Beast Boy’s biology reacts oddly to the dimension, initially forcing him to take the form of demonic beasts. The Titans battle hordes of guardian demons while Raven gets the crystal, but an undead Ra’s al Ghul shatters it; he was made Trigon’s vassal following his death, since the Lazarus pits were created by him. Ra’s tries to persuade Robin to join him and Trigon so that he may return to life, but Robin, deciding that he is no longer an ‘al Ghul’ but a Titan, refuses, engages his grandfather in combat, and ultimately defeats and kills him. Overcoming her inner doubts and Trigon’s telepathic attempts to dissuade her, Raven uses her powers and her link to Trigon to re-imprison him in a shard of the broken crystal.
Raven informs the Titans that the shard must stay in Hell and be watched always, in case Trigon tries once again to break free. She puts herself forward as Trigon’s keeper, but the Titans assure that her home is with them. Back at Titans Tower, the group – now joined by Robin and Cyborg – are lauded by the Justice League for saving Earth, and Raven wears her father’s crystal prison on her forehead, even as he is angrily demanding his release. In a post-credits scene, Terra is seen approaching Titans Tower, riding a boulder across the sea.
I’m not really a fan of Damian in a leading role, but in a team the character plays out much better. Sort of like how Batman integrates nicely with the Justice League – both characters can add a bit of spice to the mix once they’re able to clearly contrast with other characters. In my opinion this is the first movie in this line that manages to do this, so that is good to see.  There are some parallels between a few appearances in here and in Young Justice – some designs are related without a doubt, some characters share close or relatively close resemblances, but they are different personalities (and have different voice-actors). Wasn’t sure how to take this at first, but they’re likable.  Overall another great animated outing.

REVIEW: BATMAN: BAD BLOOD

CAST

Jason O’Mara (Resident Evil: Extinction)
Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck)
Stuart Allan (Son of Batman)
Sean Maher (Firefly)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Steven Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
Gaius Charles(Salt)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
James Garrett (Titanic)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)
Vanessa Marshall (Star Wars: Rebels)
Bruce Thomas(Legally Blonde)

Batwoman intercepts a group of criminals in Gotham that include Electrocutioner, Blockbuster, Firefly, Killer Moth, and others. When a fight ensues, Batman soon arrives. They are confronted by the apparent leader of the criminals, a man called the Heretic, who reminds Batman of his vision of Damian Wayne as Batman. Heretic detonates explosives planted within the facility. Batman flings Batwoman to safety and apparently perishes in the explosion.

Weeks pass. Both Batman and Bruce Wayne’s disappearances have not gone unnoticed – Alfred Pennyworth takes up the guise of Wayne in electronic communications using gadgets in the Batcave to maintain appearances, while sending out a distress signal to Dick Grayson. Meanwhile, Damian Wayne watches a news report of Batman’s disappearance and sets out to return to Gotham. Katherine Kane meets with her father Colonel Jacob Kane revealing she feels responsible for Batman’s apparent death and asks his help to track down Heretic. It is revealed that she was traumatized when she, her sister Elizabeth and her mother Gabrielle were abducted and held for ransom, although she was the only one not killed by her captors before her father rescued her. After her time in the military, she became a drunkard who was saved by Batman, the appearance of whom motivated her to never need to be saved again, resulting in her becoming Batwoman.

At the same time, Batman, wearing a different Bat emblem, apparently resurfaces and is quickly noticed by Robin and Katherine Kane. Both of them intercept Batman and quickly deduce that it is Grayson wearing an old version of the Batsuit. They begin their own investigations into the Heretic, unconvinced that Bruce is truly dead. Soon the Heretic and his henchmen attack Wayne Enterprises, forcing Lucius Fox to open the way into the vault by threatening his son Luke Fox, a soldier recently returned from Afghanistan. Though Grayson and Damian quickly arrive, they are unable to prevent the Heretic from escaping with Wayne technology, and Lucius Fox is non-fatally stabbed. Before they leave, Heretic kills Electrocutioner when he is about to kill Robin.

Heretic returns to his headquarters where it is revealed that he is working for Talia al Ghul. They have Bruce Wayne captured and Mad Hatter is slowly brainwashing him with a machine projecting laser like beams into his eyes and brain causing him to experience nightmarish visions of his parents and friends as well as several bats attacking him. Mad Hatter claims Bruce’s memories and experience, as well as his mental and emotional trauma, is causing the mind-controlling process to take longer on him than normal. The Heretic, apparently obsessed with Damian Wayne, then breaks into the Batcave and kidnaps Damian. Heretic explains that he is a clone of Damian, created by a genetics program created by Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins, using Damian’s DNA to genetically engineer a perfect soldier with accelerated growth and development, but he was the only subject of the program to survive with Mad Hatter giving him an actual mind and consciousness. Due to his feeling of not being a real person, he wishes to have Damian’s memories and personality implanted within his own brain with the mind programming machine being used on Bruce, but Talia arrives and then shoots Heretic dead for his disobeying her orders to leave Damian out of the conflict. Grayson and Batwoman then arrive, having located Damian through a tracker in his costume. They are quickly joined by Luke Fox, clad in an advanced combat exosuit and styling himself as Batwing. The three rescue Bruce and Damian, but Talia and her henchmen escape.

Weeks pass and Bruce seems to have recovered from the ordeal, though he remains adamant that Katherine and Luke not be involved, insisting that their heroics remain within the “family”. Meanwhile, Katherine is suddenly attacked by her father. After disabling him, she discovers he had been brainwashed. She brings this to the attention of Grayson, Damian, and Luke. Dick immediately concludes that Bruce is still under the effects of Mad Hatter’s mind control, though Damian is unconvinced. Luke reveals that the League of Assassins are planning to brainwash a number of world leaders at a tech summit held by Bruce Wayne with the use of advanced earpieces being distributed to the attendees. As the brainwashing is taking place, Nightwing, Robin, Batwoman, Alfred, and Batwing arrive and fight Talia and her henchmen. During the fight, Mad Hatter is killed, thus stopping the mind control from undergoing to completion. Bruce, under the effects of the brainwashing, is made to fight Nightwing and defeats him. Talia then orders him to shoot Grayson and Damian dead, but Bruce, with the help of Grayson’s pleas, resists the effects of the mind control and disobeys her. Incensed, Talia escapes into her auto pilot vessel only to be met by Onyx, a member of Heretic’s team who attempts to murder her in revenge for the ruthless death of Heretic, causing the vessel to crash, resulting in both her and the latter’s death. The “Bat family” then returns to the Batcave to plan their next move. Nightwing explains that none of the Mad Hatter’s programming can function without his being around to activate it.The Bat skylight shines in Gotham City where Batwoman, Nightwing, and Batwing assemble to meet Batman and Robin on top of the police station where they see Penguin escaping cops by car. Batwoman and Batwing fly down, as Batman, Robin and Nightwing fire their grappling guns. On a nearby building, Batgirl observes the group launch their chase and fires her own grappling gun to join the pursuit.

This film has it all, really solid writing and voice acting. Nice to see Batwoman make it into these animated movies.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE: GODS AND MONSTERS

CAST (VOICES)

Benjamin Bratt (Catwoman)
Michael C. Hall (Dexter)
Tamara Taylor (Bones)
Paget Brewster (Community)
C. Thoms Howell (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Eric bauza (Batman: Assault on Arkham)
Larry Cedar (Constantine)
Richard Chamberlain (Chuck)

In an alternate universe, the Justice League is a brutal force that maintains order on Earth. This universe has its own versions of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman:Superman is Hernan Guerra,[citation needed] the son of General Zod, who was rocketed to Earth as a child and raised by a family of honorable and hardworking Mexican migrant farmers. Having gone through the troubles that illegal immigrants face in the United States, he has become short tempered and withdrawn from humanity. Batman is Dr. Kirk Langstrom, a scientist who, after graduating college, has inadvertently transformed himself into a form of pseudo-vampire in an attempt to cure his cancer, feeding on criminals to satisfy his hunger after it begins to eat away at his humanity.
Wonder Woman is Bekka, a New God and the widow of Darkseid’s son Orion, who fled Apokolips for Earth using a mother box-sword after the New God Highfather killed her husband in a massacre of the Apokolips royal family.

The Justice League’s unaccountability is ultimately challenged by the world’s governments following the suspicious deaths of three renowned scientists: Victor Fries, who was drained of blood in the Arctic, Ray Palmer, who was sliced into two with a sharp weapon, with his car having traces of a high heel shoe, and Silas Stone, who was burned alive by an explosion of heat vision energy along with his young son Victor Stone. The true killers are dark, robotic creatures with appearances and attributes mirroring the Justice League’s, along with ‘Boom Tube’ teleportation abilities. As all suspicion falls on the Justice League, President Amanda Waller asks that they co-operate with the government’s investigation. Wonder Woman speaks to Steve Trevor to learn what the government knows while Superman invites Lois Lane to the Justice League’s HQ, where he tells her of his goals to help humanity, and reveals how little he knows about Krypton or his heritage.

Batman investigates himself and discovers an email on Silas’ computer that was sent to a number of scientists including Dr. Will Magnus, Kirk’s best friend and college roommate who helped his transformation. Having remained close friends with Magnus and his wife, Tina, Batman asks the doctor about “Project Fair Play,” which involved all the scientists under Lex Luthor’s employ, but Magnus tells him nothing. Later, Batman locates all the remaining scientists (consisting of Magnus, John Henry Irons, Michael Holt, Karen Beecher, Pat Dugan, Kimiyo Hoshi, Emil Hamilton, T. O. Morrow, and Stephen Shin) discussing the possible threat over their heads, when they are attacked by the robotic assassins, who travel via Boom Tube. Despite Batman and later, the other League Members intervening, the assassins slaughter the remaining scientists and Tina before ‘Booming’ out, with Magnus being severely burned, and the sole survivor of the attack.

The Justice League take Magnus to their HQ, the Tower of Justice, to recover, while Superman flies into orbit to a satellite, where Luthor now resides. Luthor reveals that Project Fair Play is a weapons program to destroy the League if necessary, while also revealing that he retained all the remaining information on Krypton from Superman’s shuttle, and tells him the truth about Zod, who Superman had envisioned as a hero trying to save his world. Luthor tells Superman that Waller has the original files, and as Superman leaves, a robotic assassin booms in and the satellite explodes. As Superman looks on in shock, Trevor shows satellite footage of the explosion and Superman’s presence to Waller, and she retaliates with Project Fair Play, which consists of troops and vehicles armed with energy weapons powered by red sunlight radiation.

Superman and Wonder Woman face the army at their door as Batman stays inside the Tower, where he activates the Tower’s forcefield, with the idea being that once Magnus recovers, he can clear the League. Suddenly, Tina arrives, confusing Batman, who saw her dead body, but before he can ask the obvious question, she subdues him and shapeshifts into a liquid metal robot. With Batman restrained by Tin, Magnus’ house robot, Tina revives Magnus, who is revealed to have orchestrated the framing of the League, with Nanites that enhance his physical strength to mildly superhuman levels. The assassins, and Tina, are in fact the Metal Men, and the assassins appear with a weapon. Magnus tells Batman that he intends to use a Nanite Bomb to forcefully link humanity together into a hive mind. He reveals to Batman that he accidentally killed the real Tina in a fit of rage one night early in their marriage. Overwhelmed with irrational jealousy, Will believed that she secretly loved Kirk, and was tired of her constantly begging him to find a cure for Kirk’s vampiric condition. After covering up her death, Magnus replaced her with a robotic duplicate named Platinum, and joined Fair Play soon after, intending to use its resources to fund his secret Nanite Bomb project, as he feels that his actions prove that humanity does not deserve to continue if even a brilliant, rational man like himself could do that to his own wife.

As Magnus prepares his weapon, Lex Luthor suddenly teleports into the middle of the battle outside and tells everyone that he has discovered Magnus’ plan. Inside, Batman destroys Tin and frees himself, then seizes an opportunity to drop the forcefield. The Justice League then do battle, with Batman fighting Magnus, Wonder Woman facing Platinum, and Superman fighting the other Metal Men, who quickly merge into a single, more powerful form. Eventually, they all succeed, the bomb is destroyed (at the cost of Superman’s Kryptonian escape craft) and a regretful Magnus commits suicide by disintegrating himself with nanites. week later, the Justice League has been cleared of all wrongdoing, and the world, along with Lois Lane, views them differently. Bekka decides to leave the Justice League to face her past along with Lex Luthor, who wants to explore other worlds after growing bored with this one. Before leaving through a Boom Tube, Lex Luthor gives Superman all the data on Krypton and tells him to be a “real hero”. The film ends with Superman and Batman deciding to sort through the data immediately to help humanity.Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett have really crafted a masterpiece here with ‘God’s and Monsters.’ Each of the 3 main Justice Leaguers or the trinity if you prefer, have been reimagined for this universe in very unique and imaginative ways, we enabled the writers to go further with our heroes than might be possible in the main DC continuity.

REVIEW: BATMAN VS ROBIN

CAST
Jason O’Mara (Resident Evil: Extinction)
Stuart Allan (Bad Teacher TV)
Jeremy Sisto (Wrong Turn)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Trevor Devall (Justice League: Gods and Monsters)
Robin Atkins Downes (Babylon 5)
Grey Griffin (Adventure Time)
Sean Maher (Firefly)
David McCallum (NCIS)
Weird Al Yankovic (Spy Hard)
Peter Onorati (Goodfellas)

During an investigation of missing children, Damian Wayne, AKA Robin, Batman’s son with Talia al Ghul, has taken the Batmobile out to an abandoned toy factory without Batman’s consent. He finds the perpetrator, Anton Schott, who has mutated some of the victims into dolls. Batman arrives, and in the resulting battle, Robin chases Schott while Batman knocks out the dolls with gas and frees the remaining children. Upon defeating Schott, Robin chooses to spare him, but an owl-masked assassin named Talon suddenly kills Schott and frames Robin for the murder. Batman is eventually convinced of Robin’s innocence after finding an owl feather at the crime scene.The next night, Bruce has dinner at Wayne Manor with fellow wealthy socialite Samantha Vanaver, who meets Damian. Later, he tries to connect with Damian, but he voices his frustration towards Bruce for never trusting him. Bruce goes out, leaving Damian with Nightwing to look after him (and calling off his date with Starfire in the process) and starts to investigate the owl feather, which leads him to the Gotham Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Owls. He is reminded of a childhood story about the Court of Owls, a secret society of wealthy men who ruled Gotham from the shadows and killed any who opposed them by sending agents called talons. On the night his parents were murdered, Bruce had seen an owl clutching a bat flying away from the crime scene. He became convinced that the Court of Owls was to blame, but after finding no evidence of their existence, Bruce dismissed the legend.While continuing to investigate, Batman is attacked by three undead, owl-masked assailants. After killing one, Batman witnesses the other two suddenly liquefying into black ooze. Meanwhile, Damian, having escaped Nightwing and fled the mansion, is approached by Talon, who encourages Robin’s choice of punishing criminals and offers Robin a chance to join him. Unsure of the decision, Robin returns home, where Bruce discovers him and warns him that he will be sent away to a school in Switzerland unless he learns to discipline himself.While driving to a date with Samantha, Bruce is kidnapped by white owl-masked people and he is brought before the Court of Owls, who offer Bruce a chance to join them. After Bruce leaves, given time to consider the offer, Talon reveals himself to be working for the Court of Owls, who are secretly raising an army of inhuman, undead talons to destroy Gotham City and allow the Court to rebuild it in their own image. However, their current talons are imperfect and dissolve after a period of time. It’s also revealed that Talon’s in a romantic relationship with Samantha, who’s secretly the Grandmaster of the Court of Owls. While the Court is planning for Talon to become one of their undead soldiers, with Robin serving as Talon’s replacement, Samantha’s secretly planning to save Talon from this procedure and have him become a member of the Court, so he can rule Gotham by her side.Damian, having contacted Talon, starts accompanying him to take out criminals, though he hesitates to kill them, which frustrates Talon. Sensing how Robin looks up to Batman as a father, Talon explains that after he gave his abusive thief father up to the police, who shot him, Talon was recruited by the Court of Owls. Batman shows up, having tracked Robin’s activity, but is blocked by Robin from capturing Talon. Batman tries to convince Robin that Talon and the Court of Owls are using him, but Robin is unconvinced, believing Batman is trying to hold him back from his potential. A confrontation breaks out between them, with Robin nearly getting the chance to kill Batman before leaving.Batman sneaks into the Court of Owls’s headquarters through the sewers, but is exposed to psychotropic gas by the Court, causing Batman to hallucinate. He is rescued by Nightwing and Alfred Pennyworth. Meanwhile, Talon introduces Robin to the Court and the Grandmaster. When Damian reveals himself to her, Samantha deduces that Batman is Bruce. When ordered to kill Damian, Talon instead turns against and overthrows the Court and kills every single member, including Samantha. Now in control of the Court’s army of talons, Talon leaves Damian behind, offering him another chance to join him once he has killed Batman.Talon and his soldiers attack Wayne Manor, breaking into the Batcave as Batman, Nightwing, and Alfred fight them off. Batman and Talon battle each other. Talon gains the upper hand until Robin, who escaped from the Court’s headquarters, intervenes and fights in Batman’s place. He eventually defeats Talon and holds a sai to his throat. However, Talon commits suicide by forcing Robin’s sai through his own neck, leaving Robin stunned and confused. Batman tries to welcome Robin back home, but Robin refuses, claiming he needs to sort out who he is. He leaves for a monastery in the Himalayas that Batman suggested to him.file_204535_4_Black_Moon_Rising_Tommy_Lee_JonesConsidering he began as the spawn of what was first considered one of DC’s non-canonical “Elseworlds” stories, Damian Wayne’s perseverance throughout the Batman narrative comes as a bit of a surprise, largely on the steam of Grant Morrison’s fondness for the character. Damian’s lineage and ruthless perspective add a dose of ideological conflict to the Batman formula that works towards justifying those misgivings. The key aspect of Batman vs. Robin comes, obviously, in that conflict between this volatile assassin-trained Robin and the life-preserving Batman, feeding into the rocky father-son relationship between the Waynes.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE: THRONE OF ATLANTIS

CAST (VOICES)

Sean Astin (Cabin Fever 3)
Rosario Dawson (Daredevil)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty)
Matt Lanter (Disaster Movie)
Sumalee Montano (Beware The Batman)
Shermar Moore (Birds of Prey)
Jerry O’Connell (Mockingbird Lane)
Jason O’Mara (Resident Evil: Retribution)
Sam Witwer (Smallville)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)

In the Atlantic Ocean, the USS California submarine picks up incoming human-like threats approaching the sub by sonar. The sub is attacked, leaving the entire crew dead by the invading hostiles. At S.T.A.R. Labs’ Justice League headquarters, Cyborg, who has recently received environmental upgrades in an operation that replacing his remaining lung, is given news by Colonel Steve Trevor, the liaison for the Justice League, over the sunken sub. Cyborg decides to check it himself, deciding against Trevor’s idea of calling the other superheroes, as he puts it “there is no Justice League”, feeling there is truly no unity to them as they have never come to help each other since Darkseid’s invasion. At Mercy Reef in Maine, Arthur Curry, drunk over the recent death of his father, picks a fight with a group of tough guys over them wanting to eat the lobster Arthur was talking to. He defeats them using inhuman strength and when the last man tries to stab him, his knife breaks into pieces against Arthur’s chest. After throwing him into the ocean, Arthur leaves, unaware that he is being watched by Mera and Dr. Shin. Cyborg uses a Boom Tube to teleport down to the sunken sub and discovers hand prints on the hull and that several nuclear missiles are missing from the launch bays. He is then attacked by the same hostiles that attacked the sub and suffers damage to his servos through his escape, though manages to take a knife-like weapon off one of his attackers when they stab him with it.

Back at their HQ, Cyborg gets help from Flash and Shazam to get Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern, leaving Batman the last one remaining. Green Lantern decides to head to Gotham City to get Batman, who is currently chasing henchmen of the Scarecrow. Green Lantern captures them for Batman, but Batman is angry as he needed them to head to where Scarecrow was and about his plot against Gotham’s City Hall. With the entire team together, they check the raised sub and Cyborg’s assault. They realize the enemy is not related to Darkseid but warriors from Earth’s origin. Thanks to Diana’s knowledge, she reveals these warriors are from Atlantis, beings saved from death after their land sunk into the ocean after being turned into underwater creatures by their king’s mystical trident, after seeing the weapon Cyborg was stabbed with, with the theory of war related to the missing missiles. Using Shazam’s suggestion, Superman and Batman decide to meet Atlantis-expert Dr. Shin, while the others are tasked in finding Atlantis.

At Atlantis, Prince Orm and Black Manta, the latter of whom secretly accompanied Dr. Shin when he was watching Arthur disguised as a man named David, meet with Orm’s mother, Queen Atlanna. They argue over declaring war on the surface world because of the damage during the events of Darkseid’s attack, with Atlanna saying that the volcano that killed Orm’s father the king, was due to Darkseid’s forces while Orm says it was the Justice League’s fight with Darkseid that killed him. Orm also says that the humans polluting the Earth will eventually destroy it and Atlantis in the process, which he believes is a reason to attack them first. Atlanna silences Orm with the Trident of Neptune, the king’s trident of the Atlantean legend with immeasurable powers, which seem electrically based, that can only be accessed by Atlantean royalty and asks Mera to bring Arthur, her other son, to Atlantis.Black Manta uses a craft holographically disguised as a submarine to attack Atlantis using the same stolen missiles, framing the surface for their “unprovoked” attack. Arthur answers the door to Dr. Shin, who tries to tell him that his father contacted him before his death to help Arthur. Moments later, Dr. Shin is killed by Atlantean soldiers sent by Black Manta. Arthur is overwhelmed by the attack, being knocked out and blasted out of his collapsing house, until he is saved by Mera, who dispatches the soldiers by using her control over water and its density, and taken underwater. Batman and Superman enter Dr. Shin’s home discovering that his work is destroyed. Superman recreates a photograph of Arthur Curry and a letter from his father revealing that his son is half-Atlantean.Batman decides they must find him. The attack on Atlantis leads the citizens and Orm to demand for war and to break the seal on war plans created by the former king in the event of conflict with the surface. Queen Atlanna decides that they might need to reveal themselves after centuries of being hidden and contact the Justice League. Arthur wakes up with gills on his neck in underwater Atlantean ruins with Mera, who explains his situation. Atlanna met Arthur’s father and gave birth to him. Due to her being royal, she could not be with him nor Arthur, so she had to leave to be with her king and Orm, though she still loved Arthur greatly and had even been watching Arthur when he was a child. Arthur had once encountered Atlanna when he was swimming by the shore. Now, Atlanna believes Arthur can help Atlantis be the bridge between the two worlds. Mera then dresses him with the kings royal garb, hidden by Atlanna inside the ruins. Arthur, having difficulty process the situation, removes the armor and crown from his garb, leaving only the orange and green Atlantean bodysuit underneath, and heads to surface with Mera following him. Soon, they are attacked by the Trench. The creatures overwhelm Arthur, one of them even biting his hand, making him bleed. The Justice League arrives in time to defeat the Trench. Orm hears from Black Manta that the Trench failed to kill Arthur. Orm and Queen Atlanna argue because Orm wants to start a war as per his late father’s wishes and reveals his knowledge of Arthur Curry. Queen Atlanna reveals to him that she knows he attacked Atlantis. With this news, Black Manta confronts the queen, but is overpowered due to her trident. Orm then stabs her from behind, killing her and taking over Atlantis as the new king.Arthur, Mera, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Cyborg arrive at Atlantis and learn of Queen Atlanna’s death, the Atlantean people being under the impression that a surface dweller killed her. The heroes are then defeated by Orm, who has assumed the mantle of “Ocean Master” and uses the trident to incapacitate and restrain them inside cacoon like pods. Superman even sheds blood when attacked with the trident. The group is sent to be consumed by the monstrous Dark Trench, while Ocean Master leads Atlantis’ army to the surface. Arthur destroys his pod by tapping into the power of the trident and with Superman’s help, as well as his telepathic control over sea creatures, they save the rest and defeat the monster. In Metropolis, a massive tidal wave created by Ocean Master’s trident is used to conceal Ocean Master’s army, which reaches the shores and begins their attack. The military fights back but are powerless until the League arrive. During the fight, Superman saves John Henry Irons, and Wonder Woman saves Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. Arthur is attacked by Black Manta, who reveals that he manipulated Ocean Master and plans to kill him when the time is right and take Atlantis for himself. While Black Manta is revealing his plan, Arthur calls a megalodon to attack him, dragging Black Manta underwater.Mera and the League attack Ocean Master but are once again defeated and unable to gain an advantage over him due to his Trident’s power, as Shazam turned to his normal form, Billy Batson, and Cyborg is electricuted and disabled. Wonder Woman successfully disarms him of the Trident, though she is nearly incapacitated by its energy when she holds it. Superman is further wounded with the trident, being pierced in the chest with it. Arthur becomes the last to face Ocean Master, who has an upper hand during the fight until the end due to Orm being unable to use the trident’s true power on Arthur due to his own status as Atlantean royalty. Despite this, Ocean Master manages to defeat Arthur with the trident’s power by not using it directly on it and causing a massive blast of power to incapacitate him. Batman saves Cyborg from dying by electrocuting him with a taser device, and Cyborg reveals that he has video of Ocean Master confessing to killing his mother when they were captured. As Ocean Master is killing Arthur, nearly impaling him on his trident, Cyborg broadcasts Ocean Master’s confession all over Metropolis for Atlantis’ soldiers to see. Stunned by his treachery, the soldiers do not obey Ocean Master’s commands and Arthur uses the distraction to defeat him. He then convinces the soldiers to stand down and declares his desire to bring Atlantis and the surface world together in peace.

Later in Atlantis, Arthur is crowned as king, with the Justice League among the audience celebrating. Batman suggests that, with new threats appearing, they need to solidify the team and Cyborg reveals plans for a watchtower. Arthur joins as Aquaman (which is a nickname everyone on the Internet gave him and he hates), and soon heads with now-love interest Mera against the Trenchers outside Atlantis.  In the post-credits, Ocean Master is incarcerated at Belle Reve, yelling at the guards to release him. He is approached by Lex Luthor who has a proposition for him to consider.maxresdefaultThis was enjoyable, it is nice to see a story about other characters in the DC universe.