REVIEW: THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

CAST

Will Arnett (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Zach Galifanakis (The Hangover)
Michael Cera (Juno)
Rosario Dawson (Sin City)
Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter)
Jenny Slate (The Lorax)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Billy Dee Williams (BAtman)
Mariah Carey (Glitter)
Eddie Izzard (Hannibal)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Jemaine Clement (Men In Black 3)
Ellie Kemper (21 Jump Street)
Jason Mantzoukas (Bad Neigbours)
Doug Benson (Super High Me)
Zoe Kravitz (Divergent)
Kate Micucci (The Big Bang Theory)
Riki Lindhome (Much Ado About Nothing)
Channing Tatum (Dear John)
Jonah Hill (Cyrus)
Laura Kightlinger (Lucky Louie)
Ralph Garman (Ted)
Chris Hardwick (Terminator 3)

Three years after saving the Lego Universe with Emmet and Wyldstyle, Batman continues fighting crime in Gotham City. During a mission to prevent The Joker from destroying the city, Batman hurts his arch-rival’s feelings by telling him he is not as important in his life as he thinks he is, leading to the Joker to desire seeking the ultimate revenge on him.
The following day, Batman attends the city’s winter gala as his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, to celebrate the retirement of Commissioner Gordon and the ascension of his daughter Barbara as Gotham’s new police commissioner, but is infuriated when she announces her plans to restructure the city’s police to function without the need of Batman. The Joker crashes the party with the rest of Gotham City’s villains, but has all of them surrender to the police. Despite realizing that this makes him no longer relevant to the city’s safety, Batman suspects his arch-rival is up to something and decides to stop him by banishing him into the Phantom Zone, a prison for some of the most dangerous villains in the Lego Universe.
Before he can make plans to acquire the Phantom Zone Projector that Superman uses, Alfred intervenes and advises him to take charge of Dick Grayson, whom Bruce had unwittingly adopted as his ward during the gala to which he eventually agrees and fosters Dick as Robin. The pair manage to recover the Projector from the Fortress of Solitude, before breaking into Arkham Asylum and using it on the Joker. Annoyed at his reckless actions and suspecting that the Joker wanted this to happen, Barbara locks up Batman and Robin. While the Projector is being seized as evidence, Harley Quinn steals it back and uses it to free the Joker, who unleashes the villains trapped within the Phantom Zone to cause havoc upon Gotham, including Lord Voldemort, King Kong, Sauron, the Wicked Witch of the West, Medusa, Agent Smith and his clones, the Daleks, and the Kraken.
Realizing that the city does still need him, Barbara releases Batman and Robin and reluctantly teams up with them as “Batgirl” to stop the Joker, with the team joined by Alfred. Batman soon finds himself able to trust and rely on the others, allowing them to defeat Sauron, but upon reaching Wayne Island, he ditches the team out of fear of losing them like his parents, before confronting Joker alone. Upon seeing that the Batman will never change, Joker zaps him to the Phantom Zone, before stealing the Batcave’s stash of confiscated bombs and heading for the city’s Energy Facility. Arriving in the Phantom Zone, Batman witnesses the harm he has caused to everyone because of his selfishness and slowly accepts his greatest fear when Robin, Barbara and Alfred decide to come to his aid. Making a deal with the Phantom Zone’s gatekeeper, Phyllis, to bring back all the villains in exchange for returning to Gotham City, Batman arrives to save the trio and admits to them his mistakes, requesting their help to save the day.
Seeking to stop Joker from setting off the bombs beneath the Energy Facility, thus causing the plates beneath Gotham to come apart and send the city into the infinite abyss, Batman and his allies team up with the city’s regular list of villains, after they had felt neglected by Joker, with the group successfully sending back the escaped villains to the Phantom Zone. However, Batman fails to reach the bombs in time, the detonation causing the city to split apart. Realizing how to stop the city from being destroyed, Batman reluctantly convinces Joker that he is the reason for being the hero he is, and working together alongside Batman’s friends, the villains, and the city’s inhabitants, chain link themselves together, reconnecting the city’s plates and saving Gotham City.
With the city saved, Batman prepares to be taken back into the Phantom Zone to fulfill his bargain with Phyllis, only to be rejected by the gatekeeper who chooses to let him remain after she saw how much he had changed in order to save everyone. Batman allows the Joker and the rest of his rogues gallery to escape with the confidence that whenever they return, then they’ll be no match for the combined team of himself, Robin, Batgirl, and Alfred.Overall, this is a very enjoyable movie with a gripping story, fantastic animation that tops its predecessor and clever humor. I definitely recommend giving this a watch if you’re a fan of The Lego Movie.

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REVIEW: BATMAN: RETURN OF THE CAPED CRUSADERS

CAST (VOICES)

Adam West (Family Guy)
Burt Ward (Return To The Batcave)
Julie Newmar (Star Trek)
Jeff Bergman (Gremlins 2)
Wally Wingert (American Dad)
William Salyers (Judging Amy)
Steven Weber (2 Broke Girls)
Jim Ward (Ben 10)
Thomas Lennon (balls of Fury)

The official plot synopsis reads as follows, “It’s back to the 1960s as Batman and Robin spring into action when Gotham City is threatened by a quartet of Batman’s most fiendish foes – Penguin, The Joker, Riddler and Catwoman. This time, the four super-villains have combined their wicked talents to hatch a plot so nefarious that the Dynamic Duo will need to go to outer space (and back) to foil their arch enemies and restore order in Gotham City.

What a dose of Nostalgia. The opening credits incorporated many classic comic book covers with some fantastic animation. I could not stop watching. Fascinating, funny, festive, friendly, and very alliterative, the actors, writers, and animators knocked this out of the park.

I was thoroughly amused throughout. None of the dozens of punchlines are particularly surprising, but they are all fun, and many of them require the set-up, animation, and acting to be meaningful.

The movie does get a bit dark. In one particular scene, Robin is horrified by a punch that doesn’t follow Marquess of Queensberry rules. Robin’s reaction to that punch and subsequent actions keep the movie grounded and friendly. I have to give special acclaim for Burt Ward, here — his exuberance and delivery hasn’t changed an iota.

Does the movie get some things wrong? Like the Joker’s hidden mustache? Yes and perhaps. There are dozens of things that are not quite like the 60’s show, and hundreds of things that are spot-on perfect. I don’t recall hearing the Riddler’s music cue, but the Batman theme is incorporated well in many places. The producers have already mention that some of the “mistakes” are intentional, such as the colors of Robin’s logo being flipped in a throwaway shot, an homage to mistakes in previous animations. I will be watching this many times.

The sequel has already been announced, with William Shatner as Two- Face.This is the most enjoyable movie I’ve seen in years. Highly recommended.

REVIEW: GOTHAM – SEASON 2

CAST

Ben McKenzie (Batman: Year One)
Donal Logue (Ghost Rider)
David Mazouz (Mike & Molly)
Morena Baccarin (Firefly)
Zabryna Guevara (All Good Things)
Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers)
Robin Lord Taylor (Another Earth)
Erin Richards (The Quiet Ones)
Camren Bicondova (Girl House)
Corey Michael Smith (Carol)
James Frain (The Cape)
Jessica Lucas (Cult)
Chris Chalk (12 Years a Slave)
Nicholas D’Agasto (Final Destination 5)
Michael Chikilis (Fantastic Four)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Richard Kind (Stargate)
Clare Foley (Win Win)
Carol Kane (The Princess Bride)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Peter Scolari (The Polar Express)
Anthony Carrigan (The Flash)
Cameron Monaghan (The Giver)
Dustin Ybarra (Hop)
Drew Powell (Straw Dogs)
Maria Thayer (Hitch)
Natalie Alyn Lind (The Goldbergs)
Michelle Veintimilla (Limitless TV)
Ron Rifkin (Alias)
Michelle Gomez (Highlander: The Raven)
Tommy Flanagan (Sin City)
Lori Petty (Tank Girl)
BD Wong (Jurassic World)
Tonya Pinkins (Enchanted)
Nathan Darrow (House of Cards)
Michael Bowen (Lost)
Melinda Clarke (Spawn)
Paul Reubens (Batman Returns)
Ned Bellamy (Termiantor: TSCC)
Jada Pinkett Smith (Collateral)

The origin story continues on Gotham and the stakes are higher than ever, as Super Villains more ambitious and depraved are introduced, and a shift of alliances shakes up the fight for power in Gotham City. In season two, Detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and the ethically questionable veteran Detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) remain at the forefront of the fight against crime in this dangerously corrupt city. While confronting Gotham’s most notorious criminals, however, Gordon’s moral compass begins to waver, but he is taken under the wing of Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis), a law-and-order zealot who is unafraid of making enemies. At the same time, Gordon continues his quest to gain the trust of the young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), who is on a clear path towards the man he is destined to become, after discovering his father’s deepest secrets, with the help of his trusted butler and mentor, Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee), and newfound ally at Wayne Enterprises, Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk).

In the epic turf war that occurred at the conclusion of season one, Oswald Cobblepot aka The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) battled his way into power over Gotham’s underworld. Heading into season two, Gotham will continue to follow the evolving stories of the city’s most malevolent villains: Edward Nygma/The Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), whose transformation from Gotham PD’s forensic expert to psychologically unhinged villain continues; Selina Kyle/the future Catwoman (Camren Bicondova), whose hard-knock existence propels her into a life of crime; and the increasingly unstable Barbara Kean (Erin Richards), who is out for Gordon and his girlfriend, Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin). Also hoping to leave his mark on the city is Theo Galavan (James Frain), the billionaire industrialist, who appears to be the savior for whom Gotham has been waiting. Theo, along with his sister and lead enforcer, Tabitha Galavan aka Tigress (Jessica Lucas), keep their centuries-old vendetta hidden, as they manipulate their way to power.

Here in Season Two, there is far less dependence on self-contained episodes and more emphasis on the development of long running and serialised story arcs. In my opinion, this is better than Season One.
This remains a highly entertaining show.

REVIEW: DC SHOWCASE: CATWOMAN

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CAST

Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Lilana Mumy (Batman: Year One)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Tara Strong (Sabrina Goes To Rome)
Cree Summer (Animaniacs)

The film starts with two men pursuing a grey cat in an attempt to shoot it dead. The cat supposedly jumps into the river and is presumed dead. As the two men leave in a car with a crime boss called Rough Cut, Catwoman is shown under the bridge with the grey cat, which has a yellow wristband round its neck, grabbing Catwoman’s interest.

Later on, Rough Cut and two other men go to a strip club. As a woman dances and strips, he gives her a small chunk of diamond. Catwoman enters the strip club and covers for the other stripping women, but this only proves to be a way for her to confront Rough Cut. As every single person has already fled the strip club, Catwoman and Rough Cut are left alone. After a short fight, he escapes before she can get him. Some while later, Catwoman attacks Rough Cut whilst he is driving a craned truck. Catwoman slips the crane hook under the truck and escapes before it crashes, the hook flying over and slicing a ship full of goods in half. The truck overturns and Rough Cut is killed.

When Catwoman goes to the ship, she finds a group of trafficked girls, which is revealed to be the mysterious cargo shipment. Catwoman notices Holly Robinson to be one of the girls. As the police arrive, Selina Kyle comforts Holly, giving her the yellow wristband that belonged Holly before she was trafficked. Selina also gives Holly a handful of diamonds because she is in need. The film ends with Catwoman jumping from one building to another as Holly watches her disappear into the night.

This DC showcase Catwoman short is dark, gritty and absolutely fantastic. Thank you Paul Dini once again, you are a master at your craft. I personally love this short and was totally impressed. A great addition to Batman: Year One.

REVIEW: CHASE ME

The piece begins with the view of the Wayne Enterprises building to which Bruce Wayne is gazing out the window during a party. He’s pulled to the dance floor by three lovely young ladies. Each has their turn before Alfred rescues Bruce, who dives into a nearby elevator. When he reaches his office, he sees none other than Catwoman at the safe, looting it. Catwoman pins Bruce to the wall while she finishes robbing the safe, and makes her escape. Bruce breaks free, and heads after her as Batman.  He finds her on the rooftops, and the chase begins. She dives several dozens stories below into busy traffic, breaking her fall with a banner and swinging onto a tour bus. She poses for some pictures until Batman arrives, taking most of the publicity away from her. They jump on a milk truck tanker and Catwoman blows the tires out. The truck spins off, and Batman pursues after her, ignoring the truck dumping gallons of milk on a couple of stray cats, as well as onto Harvey Bullock.

Then, they jump on a train, where, while going into a tunnel, Batman loses Catwoman, only to see her trail leading into a zoo. Expectedly, she had detoured through the Large Cats exhibit and leaves Batman. He escapes through the sunroof while Catwoman runs into an aviary to be chased out by a colony of bats. She is then cornered by Batman against the gates of the zoo. She notices he was scratched earlier, and leans to kiss him. Batman pushes her away, and she appears hurt. Batman then sweeps her into his arms and kisses her.

The police arrive, and Catwoman looks around, concerned. She pushes at Batman to leave. Batman then slowly smiles at her. He takes the bag of money and leaves. Catwoman smiles, thinking she’s been let off the hook, only to find herself handcuffed to the fence. She falls to the ground, despondent, then looks up in quiet rage. A remorseful Bruce Wayne looks through the window at the party, again, watching police cars fly past below. Then, a lady who bears a striking resemblance to Catwoman’s alter ego Selina Kyle grabs his arm and pulls him back to the party.

A great musical short, bonus feature on “Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman” DVD. The animation is in the style of the classic Batman animated series from the 90s. I watched this show more than a decade ago when I was in primary school and it still remains unsurpassed! The atmosphere of “Chase Me” is exquisite and stylish. The colors are bright and eye-pleasing.The music combines some classic soundtrack motifs with jazzy saxophones and creates a theme that fits perfectly to the concept of the film.This is definitely one of my favorite music videos! Pure delight, not only for Batman fans. Strongly recommended.

 

 

REVIEW: BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE

 

CAST (VOICES)

Michael Dobson (Dreamcatcher)
Janyse Jaud (Hulk vs)
John Fitzgerald (Mon Ami)
Adam Fulton (Broken Saints)

Motion comics aren’t an itch many casual superhero buffs would take the time to scratch, but Batman: Black and White is an enticing collection that might sway some leery minds. I can understand the logic behind it: with one of the chief complaints about comic-to-film adaptations being a lack of faith to the source material, why not put those printed pages front and center? With a minimum of animation, motion comics can show classic heroes and their exploits in an interesting perspective, which Black and White does for the Caped Crusader with all the pitch-dark atmosphere you’d expect.

Twenty brief adventures set in the thick of Gotham’s seedy underworld are presented in Black and White. Bringing the work of writers like Bruce Timm and Alex Garland to life is striking art as provided by Dave Gibbons, Alex Ross, and others. There’s no shortage of the Dark Knight’s dynasty to cover, as we bear witness to stories ranging from macabre fantasy (“Monsters in the Closet”) to heartwarming and thoughtful (“Sunrise”). Batman combats street thugs, Nazis, mad scientists, and the most notorious members of his lengthy rogues gallery. A few of these villains even get their own turn in the spotlight, showing more than mere greed gnawing at their psyches. Fleeting as their lengths may be, these tales each do their part in shining a light on what’s made Batman’s crimefighting legacy endure for so long.

The DC Animated Universe has given fans some of the best superhero media in recent years — Wonder Woman and Justice League: Doom can stand toe to toe with Captain America or The Avengers, if you ask me. But what sets Batman: Black and White apart is that it’s not a linear narrative (or a single, connected story whatsoever). Every vignette is self-contained and lasts a few minutes at most, leaving next to no elbow room for grand, epic plotlines. This doesn’t always play out well, with some stories (“Hands,” especially) suffering abrupt anticlimaxes after a marathon of build-up. Black and White is staunchly economical and only so effective when its entirety is viewed in succession, but on their own, the bulk of the stories stand as distinct, eye-catching, and emotionally fulfilling. The wide range of art styles and environments each short incorporates (from a futuristic police state to a WWII-era Gotham) is impressive, as are the tones they adopt. We get some light-hearted escapades (as when Batman gets the jump on a trouble-making Harley Quinn), although most delve into its protagonist’s psychology to intriguing effect. It says a lot when a three-minute hostage crisis or quick encounter with a certain man of steel lingers in your mind as much as a grandiose Christopher Nolan opus.

Batman: Black and White might appeal most to those fans who’ve pledged complete allegiance to the cape and cowl, but there’s no reason outsiders shouldn’t find something to rile them up. With each scenario possessing a unique presentation and its own brand of derring-do, this omnibus has no trouble packing a collective punch.  Batman: Black and White does just right by Bob Kane’s legendary guardian of the night.

REVIEW: BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS – PART 2

CAST (VOICES)

Peter Weller (Robocop)
Mark Valley (Human Target)
Ariel Winter (Superman/Shazam)
David Selby (Dark Shadows)
Wade Williams (Beware The Batman)
Carlos Alazraqui (Happy Feet)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Paget Brewster (Criminal Minds)
Maria Canals-Barrera (Justice League)
Cathy Cavadini (The Powerpuff Girls)
Michael Emerson (Lost)
Michael McKean (Smallville)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Yuri Lowenthal (Legion of Super Heroes)

Feigning remorse for his past, Joker convinces Wolper to take him on a talk show to tell his story; he makes plans for his escape with an old henchman, who supplies him with mind-controlling lipstick. Meanwhile, Superman, who works as a government operative in exchange for being allowed to covertly help people, is asked by the President to end Batman’s vigilante activities. Framing these events is a growing hostility between the USA and the Soviet Union over possession of the island of Corto Maltese. As Batman’s continued presence humiliates the national authorities, Yindel becomes commissioner and orders Batman’s arrest, and Superman warns Batman that the government will not tolerate him much longer. Joker makes his talk show appearance on David Endochrine’s show as Batman fights with the GCPD on the studio roof; while they fight, Joker kills Wolper, gasses everyone in the studio to death and escapes. He finds Selina Kyle and uses one of her escorts and his lipstick to take control of a congressional representative, who calls for a nuclear strike on the Soviets before falling to his death. Batman’s investigation leads him to Selina, whom he finds bound and dressed like Wonder Woman. Kelley notices cotton candy on the floor, and Batman deduces that Joker is at the fairgrounds. There Kelley accidentally kills Joker’s henchman while Batman pursues the Joker, who indiscriminately guns down dozens of people. As Batman corners a wounded and partially blinded Joker, he admits to feeling responsible for every murder Joker has committed and intends to stop him permanently. In the ensuing fight, Joker stabs Batman repeatedly, and Batman breaks Joker’s neck in front of witnesses.
Content that he made Batman lose control and that he will be branded a murderer, the Joker finishes twisting his neck, killing himself. The GCPD arrive and Batman, bleeding profusely, fights his way to Kelley and escapes. After Superman deflects a Soviet nuclear missile, he is hit with the blast and badly injured; the detonation creates an electromagnetic pulse that wipes out all electrical equipment in the United States and causes a nuclear winter. As the city descends into chaos, Batman, Kelley and Gordon rally the Sons of Batman and the citizens of Gotham to restore order, and Yindel accepts that Batman has become too powerful to take down. While the rest of the powerless U.S. is overrun with crime, Gotham becomes the safest city in America, embarrassing the President’s administration and prompting them to send Superman to finally stop Batman. Batman and Superman agree to meet in Crime Alley.Wearing a powerful exoframe and supported by Kelley and former superhero Oliver Queen (Green Arrow), Batman fights Superman, using various tactics to make the fight even. When Superman gains the advantage, Queen hits him with an arrow made with synthetic Kryptonite, severely weakening him. Batman defeats Superman, and claims that he intentionally made the Kryptonite weak, to defeat Superman without killing him. Batman then apparently dies of a heart attack, while Wayne Manor self-destructs, and Alfred dies of a stroke. In the aftermath, the world learns that Bruce was Batman; all of his secrets are destroyed with the manor and his finances disappear. As Superman leaves Wayne’s funeral, he gives Kelley a knowing wink after hearing a faint heartbeat coming from Bruce’s coffin. In underground caves, Bruce is revealed to have faked his death and makes preparations to continue his mission more discreetly, allied with Kelley, Queen, and his followers.

A rip roaring and excellent animated movie with wonderful visuals,three stunning fights and real emotional moments especially at the end and nice to see Batman face off against both his rival and his arch nemesis.