REVIEW: GOTHAM – SEASON 3

 

MAIN CAST

Ben McKenzie (Batman: Year One)
Donal Logue (Ghost Rider)
David Mazouz (New Girl)
Morena Baccarin (Homeland)
Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers)
Robin Lord Taylor (Cold Comes The Night)
Erin Richards (The Quiet Ones)
Camren Bicondova (Girl House)
Cory Michael Smith (Wonderstruck)
Jessica Lucas (Cloverfield)
Chris Chalk (12 Years A Slave)
Drew Powell (Straw Dogs)
Maggie Geha (Ted 2)
Benedict Samuel (The Walk)
Michael Chiklis (Fantastic Four)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Leslie Hendrix (Arthur)
James Carpinello (Gangster Squad)
Jamie Chung (The Gifted)
John Doman (Blue Valentine)
Jada Pinkett Smith (Magic Mike XXL)
B.D. Wong (Jurassic World)
Chelsea Spack (Blue Bloods)
Raymond J. Barry (Training Day)
Richard Kind (Stargate)
Naian Gonzalez Norvind (The Devil You Know)
Anthony Carrigan (The Flash)
Ivana Milicevic (Vanilla Sky)
Cameron Monaghan (Amityville: The Awakening)
James Remar (Black Lightning)
Nathan Darrow (Preacher)
Camila Perez (Star)
Tonya Pinkins (The Book of Henry)
Paul Reubens (Batman Returns)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)
Clare Foley (Sinister)

Maggie Geha in Gotham (2014)Gotham is the crime drama series based on DC Comics’ Batman universe. Having premiered on Fox in the autumn of 2014, the show initially focused on young versions of James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz). Over time, though, the series introduced younger iterations of well-known villains in the Batman franchise, as well as lesser-known characters to provide a wider representation of the Dark Knight’s universe. Additionally, with Season Two, the episodes were grouped into “Rise of the Villains” (Episodes 1-11) and “Wraith of the Villains” (Episode 12-22), and that concept was continued in Season Three, with Episodes 1-14 grouped into “Mad Love” and Episodes 15-22, under the subtitle of “Heroes Rise.”Benedict Samuel in Gotham (2014)Concepts deriving from the overarching themes were weaved throughout the various storylines. Betrayal is often associated with love, and this theme was well represented throughout the season. Between lovers, siblings, work colleagues, and enemies, betrayal was a symptom of the deterioration of Gotham. Gordon tried to take the high road with his ex-fiancé Lee (Morena Baccarin) who moved on to a relationship with Dr. Mario Falcone (James Carpinello) and fell into an uneasy sexual relationship with Valerie Vale (Jamie Chung) that included a number of lies and betrayals due to their goals arising from their respective jobs – bounty hunter and reporter. But, the downfall between Gordon and Vale came when he is forced by Jervis Tetch (Benedict Samuel) to choose between Vale or Lee in “Follow the White Rabbit” (Episode 6). Although he chooses Vale, all parties easily infer that Gordon is still in love with Lee. Later in the season, Bruce commits a deadly betrayal against Alfred (Sean Pertwee) in “Destiny Calling” (Episode 21) after being kidnapped by the Court of Owls to spend time with The Shaman (Raymond J. Barry) and meeting Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig). Surprisingly, one ray of light occurred between Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor). Desperate to know why she didn’t kill him, Penguin was surprised and humbled that Fish saw in him her greatest creation (“Burn the Witch” Episode 2).Robin Lord Taylor and Cory Michael Smith in Gotham (2014)

As often that a character was turning on another individual, sometimes the betrayal came from within. Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) seemed to be one of the most conflicted characters through the season, trying to answer the question, “Who am I?” His identity, publicly as Penguin’s Chief of Staff, and privately as Penguin’s mastermind, resulted in a vacuum of questions after Nygma shot Penguin, believing he had killed his best friend who overshadowed and defined him. As a result, Nygma tested a number of the city’s intelligent people for assistance in determining his own identity separate from Penguin. The Tetch virus enhanced and brought out certain traits of characters and finding themselves at odds with themselves. Captain Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis) received a drop of blood from Alice Tetch (Naian Gonzalez Norvind) which heightened his commitment to the concept of justice, becoming judge, jury, and executioner as well as embodying the law (“New Day Rising” Episode 4). Marios jealousy was amplified, and Lee became a bad girl looking for the bad boy in Gordon, who was forced to self-infect the virus on himself in “Pretty Hate Machine” (Episode 20). As one of the heroes, Gordon was the only one who could control his magnified emotional state.

Amongst chaos, the heroes rise; however, the idea of heroes is a double-edged sword, so the viewer’s traditional definition of hero will be challenged in Season Three. Executive Producer John Stephens said, “Everyone goes through a major character metamorphosis throughout the course of the yea,r” in an interview with Comicbook.com. What is the most dramatic event that a character could go through? Well, it seemed that death (or near-death) and rebirth was a common event for most of the characters. For instance, Ivy Pepper (Maggie Geha) was touched by one of Dr. Strange’s (B. E. Wong) monsters and not only did she age about 10 or so years, but it was the belief of Selina (Camren Bicondova) that Ivy had died. Fish Mooney, Victor Fries (Nathan Darrow), who became Mr. Freeze, and Bridgit Pike (Camila Perez), who became Firefly, actually died and were reborn. It should be noted that while some characters died, they did not embody their familiar mantle: Ivy isn’t known as Poison Ivy, Selena hasn’t become Catwoman, and Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan) may have the iconic creepy wide smile, but nary a whisper of “Joker” has been heard – yet.David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova in Gotham (2014)The parallels amongst pairs of characters did deliver intriguing comparisons. For example, viewers witness the very public destruction of Penguin, each layer of his personae being taken away from him. The betrayal is deliberate, a conscious effort on the part of Nygma, Barbara Keen (Erin Richards), Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas), and Butch Gilzean (Drew Powell). Eventually, even Penguin’s life is taken from him; however, there is also a private betrayal occurring in Lee. She has internalized her loss and although she argues for justice and grabs for the preverbal straws, she finally realizes that she is the root cause of her own betrayal. She hits rock bottom and as a result, injects herself with the Tetch virus, embracing her ruin.Robin Lord Taylor in Gotham (2014)Due to the large ensemble cast of regular cast members, plus the recurring and special guests through the 22 episodes, one of the inherent issues is affording enough screen time to each character so that their origin story is fully explored, resulting in a well-developed character. While Gordon and Wayne/514A (David Mazouz, in a dual role) are central characters and will typically appear in each episode, some of the other regular characters, such as Selina Kyle, Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk), or Butch, seem to disappear from the storyline. For example, in the closing minutes of “How the Riddler Got His Name” (Episode 15), Edward Nygma/The Riddler reveals to Lucius that he is struggling with defining his identity separate and outside of the shadow of Penguin. After announcing to Lucius that he is the Riddler, Nygma knocks Lucius out in his car. Viewers next see Lucius in “Light the Wick” (Episode 18). Fish Mooney is another character that is missing for most of the season after appearing in the season’s opening episode, “Better to Reign in Hell…” Their disappearances do cause some gaps, such as where was Lucius for two episodes, 16 and 17 – one would assume that someone from the GCPD would notice Lucius sleeping off Nygma’s attack in the front seat of his car, parked across the street from the precinct.Drew Powell, Jessica Lucas, and Cory Michael Smith in Gotham (2014)The third season of Gotham provides intriguing complexities to the overarching denigration of the city into chaos and the telling of individual character origin stories. While the origin stories are fascinating, the fact that there is foreknowledge that most of the characters cannot die because they will one day face Bruce Wayne as Batman does cause a wrinkle with the audience’s engagement with the storylines. To compensate, spending more time on character development would alleviate some of the indifference inherent to the nature of prequel narratives. That said, Gotham is a binge-worthy show. The city is visually stunning, and the Steampunk feel captivating. Audiences unfamiliar with the origin stories will likely enjoy the show just as much or more so than those that come to the show with familiarity from reading the comics.

 

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CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: DEADPOOL

CAST
Ryan Reynolds (Buried)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
T.J. Miller (Cloverfield)
Ed Skrein (Game of Thrones)
Karin Soni (Goosebumps)
Stefan Kapicic (tears for Sale)
Michael Benyaer (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra)
Brianna Hildebrand (First Girl I Loved)
Kyle Cassie (Andromeda)
Gina Carano (Fast & Furious 6)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Wade Wilson is a former special forces operative who works as a mercenary in New York City. He meets escort Vanessa Carlysle at a local bar and they become romantically attached. One year later, Wade proposes to marry her and she accepts, but he suddenly collapses. Wade is diagnosed with terminal cancer, and though Vanessa remains by his side, he does not want her to watch him die.
A mysterious recruiter from a secret program approaches Wade, offering an experimental cure for his cancer. He reluctantly decides to leave Vanessa and undergo the procedure. At a laboratory, Wade meets Ajax and Angel Dust, whom he instantly resents. Ajax injects Wade with a serum designed to awaken latent mutant genes, and then subjects him to days of torture to induce stress and trigger the mutation, but without success. Ajax straps Wade into an airtight chamber which raises and lowers the oxygen level to keep Wade constantly on the verge of asphyxiation. Before leaving him over the weekend, Ajax reveals to Wade that their true purpose is to make super-powered slaves to be sold to wealthy customers. While inside the chamber, Wade develops a mutant healing factor that cures his cancer but leaves him severely disfigured with burn-like scars over his entire body as a side effect. He escapes from the chamber and attacks Ajax, but relents when told that his disfigurement can be cured. Ajax subdues Wade, impales him with a piece of rebar and leaves him for dead in the burning laboratory.
Wade survives the ordeal and attempts to return to Vanessa, but is afraid of her suffering because of his appearance, and stays away from her. After consulting his best friend Weasel, Wade decides to hunt down Ajax and cure his disfigurement. He becomes a masked vigilante, takes the alias “Deadpool”, and moves into the home of an elderly blind woman named Blind Al. Following a string of leads, Wade tracks down Ajax to a convoy of cars on an expressway. He kills everyone but Ajax, and demands a cure to his disfigurement. The confrontation is interrupted by the two X-Men members Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, who have been trying to recruit Wade to join the team. Taking advantage of the distraction, Ajax escapes. Colossus handcuffs his and Wade’s wrists together and drags him away, planning to take him to Professor Xavier back at the X-Mansion. Wade cuts off his hand to escape, and his hand slowly regenerates overnight.
Ajax goes to Weasel’s bar and learns about Vanessa. Weasel calls Wade and tells him Vanessa is in danger. Wade goes to the strip club where she works, but he hesitates before he can face her, allowing Ajax to kidnap her. He and Angel Dust tell Wade to meet them on a decommissioned helicarrier in a scrapyard.
Wade convinces Colossus and Negasonic to help him, and the trio take a cab to the scrapyard. While Colossus and Negasonic battle Angel and several soldiers, Wade fights his way through Ajax’s henchmen, and eventually engages him in a lengthy and violent fight. After Angel defeats Colossus, Negasonic attacks her and accidentally destroys the equipment holding the helicarrier upright. As the helicarrier tips over, Colossus carries Negasonic and Angel to safety, while Wade saves Vanessa. Ajax survives and attacks Wade, but is subdued and reveals there is no cure for Wade’s disfigurement. Wade kills Ajax in response. Vanessa is angered that Wade left her, but still loves him. The two reconcile and kiss.
In a post-credits scene, Wade tells the audience that the film is over and announces a sequel featuring Cable.
Deadpool is great. Ryan Reynolds is mouthy, but never annoying and totally owns the role.  The supporting cast all do their bit, but it’s Deadpool himself all the way. With a sequel already announced this is only the beginning.

REVIEW: HOMELAND – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Claire Danes (Brokedown Palace)
Damian Lewis (Wolf Hall)
Morena Baccarin (Firefly)
David Harewood (Supergirl)
Diego Klattenhoff (The Blacklist)
Jackson Pace (The Gray Man)
Morgan Saylor (Being Charlie)
Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Bride)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Hrach Titizian (The Kingdom)
Navid Negahban (Dead Air)
David Marciano (The Shield)
Chris Chalk (Gotham)
Jamey Sheridan (The Ice Storm)
Maury Sterling (Imposter)
Amy Hargreaves (13 Reasons Why)
Marin Ireland (Hope Springs)
Afton Williamson (The Following)
Omid Abtahi (Eli Stone)
James Rebhorn (White Collar)
Sarita Choudhury (Lady In The Water)
Linda Purl (Mighty Joe Young)
Scott Bryce (Lethal Weapon 3)
Amir Arison (The Blacklist)
Brianna Brown (Devious Minds)
Sammy Sheik (Transformers: Dark of The Moon)
Charles Borland (Jonny Zero)
Nestor Serrano (Empire)
Melissa Benoist (Supergirl)
Michael McKean (Coneheads)
Sherman Howard (Radioactive)
Elizabeth Franz (Take Me To The River)
Josh Segarra (Arrow)

The most impressive thing about Homeland is pretty self-evident — it’s a damn good thriller. By the time you see season 1’s 90-minute finale, you realize how cleverly all of its threads weaved together to created an immensely satisfying arc. But what you may not have realized is how fantastic the show is at character. Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), and co. aren’t mere pawns in Homeland’s grand plot. They’re characters first and foremost. Each and every individual in Homeland is given a palpable sense of agency; they control the plot, not the other way around.It’s an amazing accomplishment when a drama can create compelling conflict where you can understand a wide variety of sides. Most people would say Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban) is a bad dude, but you can understand precisely why he thinks he’s doing the right thing. You understand why Brody is so intensely conflicted. You can emphasize with Jessica (Morena Baccarin) because of how confusing and unexpected her husband’s return was. You get that Vice President Walden (Jamey Sheridan) was trying to preserve order in his own country when he dropped the bomb. Furthermore, you get why David Estes (David Harewood) kept quiet. Most of all, of course, you understand the “good guys” at homeland security — Carrie Mathison and Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) — but there’s enough there that you can see the other side of things as well.I love the way the climax (or anti-climax?) unfolded though. It looks trite on paper  However, the way it was handled was stellar. Brody was fully prepared to die, to the point of him  flipping the switch. It’s not as if the sudden malfunction saved him either; he goes through many hoops to fix the thing. The whole scene keeps us on our toes, and Lewis’ sweaty, edgy, and intense performance gives this scene an enormous bump. In fact, Lewis’ acting was something to write home about every episode. I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen two leads as fantastic as they are in Homeland. Danes has, arguably, the more challenging acting task as the mentally unstable Carrie, but she nails it. Nonetheless, both are willing to give extremely intimate performances, and their characters are all the more likeable for it.It’s great to appreciate one spectacular season of TV.

REVIEW: THE FLASH – SEASON 2

CAST

Grant Gustin (Glee)
Candice Patton (Heroes)
Danielle Panabaker (Sky High)
Carlos Valdes (Arrow)
Tom Cavanagh (Scrubs)
Jesse L. MArtin (Injustice)
Keiynan Lonsdale (Insurgent)


RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Rick Cosnett (The Vampire Diaries)
Robbie Amell (Scooby Doo 3 & 4)
Dominic Purcell (Ice Soldiers)
Wentworth Miller (Underworld)
Teddy Sears (ugly Betty)
Vito D’Ambrosio (The Flash 90s)
Isabella Hofmann (The Promise)
Patrick Sabongui (Stargate: Atlantis)
Adam Copeland (Highlander: Endgame)
John Wesley Shipp (The Flash 90s)
Victor Garber (Alias)
Kett Turton (Saved)
Shantel VanSanten (The FInal Destination)
Vanessa Williams (Candyman)
Tony Todd (Chuck)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Malese Jow (The Vampire Diaries)
Peyton List (Flashforward)
Amanda Pays (The Flash 90s)
Franz Drameh (Edge of Tomorrow)
Ciara Renee (Legends of Tomorrow)
Violett Beane (The Leftovers)
Stephen Amell (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2)
Willa Holland (Legion)
John Barrowman (Reign)
David Ramsey (Con Air)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Neal McDonough (Paul Blart Mall Cop 2)
Casper Crump (The Legend of Tarzan)
Falk Hentschel (Knight and Day)
Anna Hopkins (Defiance)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Liam McIntyre (Spartacus)
Michael Rowe (Arrow)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)
Matt Letscher (Her)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Audrey Marie Anderson (Lie To Me)
Michelle Harrison (Tru Calling)
Nicholas Gonzalez (Sleepy Hollow)
Greg Finley (Izombie)
Jason Mewes (Dogma)
Katie Cassidy (Black Xmas)

Image result for the flash FLASH OF TWO WORLDSThe Flash’s first season has become the benchmark by which all other DC Comics-based shows on The CW are judged. It offered a truly winning blend of humor, heart, and romance, and superhero action, culminating in a terrific season finale that showed just how much emotional depth there is to the story of the fastest man alive. The cast and crew faced a real uphill battle in living up to the standard with Season 2. And more often than not, they succeeded. This season met and occasionally even exceeded the heights of its predecessor.Season 2 got off to a solid start as the writers explored the fallout of Season 1’s big cliffhanger. But rather than pick up right where “Fast Enough” left off – with a giant temporal vortex threatening to swallow up Central City – “The Man Who Saved Central City” jumped ahead several months to the somber aftermath. The question wasn’t whether Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) could save his city once again, it was what kind of life Barry would return to when he got back. As we saw, it was a pretty lonely existence. The premiere opened on a surprisingly somber note, but one that offered an effective look at Barry’s fragile emotional state and the current status quo of Team Flash, including Cisco, (Carlos Valdes), Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) Iris (Candice Patton) and Joe (Jesse L. Martin). That darkness was a way to bring the gang back together while reminding viewers that many challenges awaited Barry even after defeating Reverse-Flash (Tom Cavanagh).Image result for the flash versus zoomEven as those early episodes touched base with some familiar faces from Season 1 (including Wentworth Miller’s Captain Cold and Peyton List’s Golden Glider), they also spent a great deal of time setting the stage for the next major villain in Barry’s life, Zoom. Rather than continue to rely on the familiar Season 1 formula, where Barry and his friends battled various metahuman villains spawned by the particle accelerator accident – this year they confronted foes like Atom-Smasher (Adam Copeland) and Sand Demon (Kett Turton) who crossed over from Earth-2 to Earth-1. The addition of parallel worlds this season wasn’t just the latest example of Greg Berlanti and friends delving into all corners of DC’s mythology, it was a fun shake-up that resulted in a wealth of both comedy and drama. Seeing characters like Cisco, Caitlin and Linda Park (Malese Jow) face off with their alternate universe doppelgangers never got old.No character benefited more from the doppelganger concept than Harrison Wells. Wells might have died at the end of Season 1, but thankfully the writers found a way to bring the character back in a very different role. Earth-2’s Dr. Wells made the trip to Earth-1 and began assisting Team Flash in their ongoing fight against Zoom. Cavanagh excelled in his rejiggered role. He consistently played this new Wells as a much different character than the cold, calculating villain of Season 1. This Wells was all nervous, agitated energy, driven by nothing but a desire to stop Zoom and rescue his daughter, Jesse (Violett Beane). His character arc was among the strongest of the season, as Wells formed close bonds with his new friends and worked to counteract some of the destruction his counterpart wreaked on Barry’s life. Most of the cast benefited from the ongoing Earth-1/Earth-2 status quo this year. Grant Gustin was frequently a highlight of the show as he explored Barry’s lingering guilt and heartache after briefly reuniting with his mother and tried to disprove the parting message from earth-1 Wells – the idea that he’d never allow himself to be truly happy. Wells’ words proved distressingly accurate and on-point over the course of the season. Barry went through a lot of emotional highs and lows this season, including a second tear-jerking, phone call reunion with his mother in “Welcome to Earth-2” and multiple traumatic clashes with Zoom. To their credit, the writers didn’t try to force a happy ending out of Barry’s arc, either. By the end of the finale, Barry was at an even lower point than he was a year before, which fuelled his decision to make another ill-advised trip back in time. He’ll no doubt be dealing with the consequences of that act for some time to come.Image result for the flash welcome to earth-2Both Cisco and Caitlin frequently stood out this year, as well. Cisco always served as a reliable source of comic relief, particularly as his bond with Wells deepened and the two bickered with one another. But on a deeper level, this season allowed Cisco to come into his own as a hero. He grew more familiar with his powers, even finally adopting the name and trademark glasses of Vibe. He caught a glimpse of what he could become when he met his doppelganger, Reverb, and began testing the limits of his courage and his abilities. Similarly, Caitlin was shown a glimpse of the villain she could become when she met Killer Frost. But even after her failed romance with Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) and subsequent ordeal at the hands of Zoom, Caitlin never lost her heroic streak. If the writers ever decide to morph her into Killer Frost for real, that’s going to be one devastating emotional gut punch.The Flash also deserves credit for the way the writers are able to weave romantic drama into the narrative without it coming across as forced. The ongoing romance between Barry and Patty Spivot (Shantel Van Santen) was always entertaining, thanks in large part to the stellar chemistry between Gustin and Van Santen. And if Iris was never the most compelling character in any given episode, she definitely improved this year thanks to her more proactive behaviour and her deepening bond with Barry.Image result for the flash invincibleThen there was the debut of Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) to the Team Flash lineup. Looking back, I’m not entirely convinced Wally needed to be introduced this year. With everything else going on this season it didn’t always feel as though the character received the attention he deserved. But Lonsdale proved to be a solid addition to the cast nonetheless. And despite all the foreshadowing, at least the writers weren’t overzealous in terms of rushing Wally into becoming a speedster. There’s plenty of time for that in a later season.Image result for the flash the race of his lifeThere was a lot to love about Season 2. At its best, this season was easily a rival to its predecessor. “Welcome to Earth-2” stands as probably the best single episode the show has delivered to date, with episodes like “Flash Back,” “Rupture” and “The Runaway Dinosaur” also ranking among the best.Image result for the flash the race of his lifeThe Villain of the year was Zoom. This villain was tricky in that he was simultaneously one of the best  aspects of the season.  Zoom left a pretty strong impression during his first clash with Barry in “Enter Zoom.” Between the demonic costume and the gravely rasp of voice actor Tony Todd, Zoom was by far the scariest and most physically imposing villain Team Flash had yet encountered. That certainly counted for something.  Zoom’s characterization was even more intriguing in the second half of the season unfolded. We learned much more about the villain’s past and motivations, including the big twist that Zoom was actually Hunter Zolomon/Jay Garrick and that Team Flash’s newest ally was no ally at all. With all the emphasis on doppelgangers this season, it was fitting that Zoom himself was really Barry’s dark mirror. Both men had childhood’s defined by similar tragedies and grew up to become speedsters. But whereas Barry had a close circle of friends and family to help guide him along his way, Hunter had no one. He was utterly alone on his world and all others, and that gave the villain the humanity and pathos he needed. And it was nice to see the writers acknowledge just how crucial characters like Joe, Cisco and Caitlin are to the show. Without them, Barry would be as empty as Zoom.Image result for the flash the race of his lifeThe season finale, “The Race of His Life,” was a great way to wrap up Season  Zoom’s defeat was satisfying and his metamorphosis at the end was intriguing, it will be intresting if we will ever see him come back in season 3. Also in the finale  there was the reveal of the real Jay Garrick, an act which allowed Shipp to don a Flash costume for the first time in decades, then there was the final cliffhanger, with Barry traveling back in time and almost certainly sparking the beginning of a Flashpoint-inspired status quo for the series. That alone is cause to be excited for Season 3.Image result for the flash the race of his lifeThe Flash season 2 was firing on all cylinders and continued through too the end top form an awesome season and leaves you hanging waiting for season 3.

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: 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: SON OF BATMAN

CAST (VOICES)

Jason O’Mara (The Good Wife)
Stuart Allan )Batman vs Robin)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Giancarlo Esposito (Twilight)
Xander Berkeley (The SPectacular Spider-Man)
Thomas Gibson (Far and Away)
David MCcallum (The Great Escape)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Sean Maher (Firefly)
Diane Michelle (The Simpsons)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk vs)
Bruce Thomas (Legally Blonde)
Kari Wahlgren (Wolverine and The X-Men)

At the headquarters of the League of Assassins, Ra’s al Ghul grooms Damian Wayne (son of his daughter, Talia, and Batman) to succeed him as head of the league. The league is attacked by a group of assassins led by Slade Wilson, Ra’s al Ghul’s initial choice for successor before Ra’s met Batman. Feeling betrayed, Slade decided to seize power. During the battle, Ra’s is fatally burned in a missile strike explosion, dying inches away from reaching the Lazarus Pit. Although Damian stabs Slade in the eye, Slade escapes, vowing vengeance. Talia takes Damian to Gotham City to protect him with his father’s help. In Gotham City, Batman confronts Killer Croc, who is stealing mutagenic chemicals and steroids to enhance himself, to the point where he grew a reptilian tail. Before Batman can be eaten by Croc, Talia electrocutes Croc from behind. She tells Batman about her father’s death and leaves their son in his care, though Damian believes that he can take care of himself and does not need Batman. Although Damian wants to avenge Ra’s al Ghul by killing Slade, Batman objects to this. Slade, now calling himself Deathstroke, captures Dr. Kirk Langstrom, who was working with Croc to enhance him in return for the mutagenics he stole and also had worked with Ra’s, promising a formula for his soldiers. Slade threatens Langstrom’s family to force him to recreate the Man-Bat formula for him and his soldiers. Damian bypasses Wayne Towers security to speak to Bruce, telling him about Slade’s contact, Ubu, who was part of the raid on the League’s headquarters and is stationed in Gotham. Although Damian wants to avenge Ra’s al Ghul by killing Slade, Bruce objects to Damian wanting to kill. Talia is captured by Deathstroke when she and some remaining League members attack his compound.Against Batman’s orders, Damian leaves the Batcave and, after a chase and a long fight, defeats Ubu, who he located by accessing the Bat-Computer. Before Damian can kill him, Nightwing arrives, mistakes him for a criminal and subdues him before bringing him back to the Batcave. Batman berates Damian for his recklessness, willingness to kill and exposing their operation. Batman then has Damian don the mantle of Robin to teach him discipline. Searching for a lead on Langstrom’s location, Batman goes to Arkham to interrogate a rabid Killer Croc, who supplied the mutagens to Langstrom in exchange for his enhancements and is currently going through drastic, agonizing withdrawal symptoms that cause him to shed his scales and tail. Since others are too afraid of him to medicate him without being harmed, Batman promises Croc help in exchange for information. Batman follows Croc’s lead about the formula’s mutagen to Langstrom’s apartment, where he finds a throwing star that he takes evidence of Deathstroke’s involvement. Before he leaves, he goes throughout the building and finds a storage room filled with caged bats, with one larger cage being empty and broken open from inside. Batman then finds a rabid gorilla with bat like mutations, one of Langstrom’s unstable subjects, and it attacks him until it dies from its mutations. A drone aircraft sent by Deathstroke then flies past and crashes on the building, destroying it, though Batman evades the explosion. Commissioner Gordon warns them about an abandoned stadium believed to house Deathstroke’s men.

At the stadium, Batman and Damian question Langstrom but are attacked when Langstrom becomes violent. Before they successfully escape, they fight off a swarm of Man-Bats. In the cave, Langstrom reveals Deathstroke’s plan to create superhuman, flight-capable assassins. While Nightwing works with Langstrom on an antidote, Batman and Damian rescue his family. Batman guesses that Talia has been abducted when he finds evidence of torture in an empty cell, which he keeps from Damian to not set him off. They find and rescue Langstrom’s family, but Batman is unaware that Deathstroke challenged Damian to a fight in exchange for Talia’s life through a video device he gave Langstrom’s daughter in exchange for sparing them. Both Langstrom’s daughter and Deathstroke’s video tell him not involve Batman in the their fight.file_204535_4_Black_Moon_Rising_Tommy_Lee_Jones

Nightwing learns that Deathstroke is operating in an oil rig off the Scottish coast, and when Batman is distracted, Damian goes to the rig. He finds Deathstroke and Talia in an underwater base with a swarm of Man-Bats and another Lazarus Pit, whose fluid Deathstroke intends to sell. Damian pulls a gun on Deathstroke, who holds one against Talia’s head until Damian drops his gun. Deathstroke fires at him, but Talia is hit instead after she jumps in the path of Deathstroke’s gunfire. As Deathstroke corners Damian, Batman appears and the Man-Bats attack. Batman wards them off with sonar-emitting batarangs, and Deathstroke flees after losing to Batman in a brief fistfight.

Batman heals Talia in Lazarus Pit, while Nightwing and Langstrom reach the oil rig and cure the Man-Bats. Damian defeats Deathstroke, refusing to kill him because he is his father’s son. The elevator from the rig to the underwater base is destroyed when the Man Bats, overwhelmed by the sonar devices, overcrowd the glass elevator shaft, flooding the base. Batman, Talia and Damian escape, but Deathstroke is left behind. Batman believes that Damian should stay with him and remain Robin, while Talia still wishes to recreate the League with Batman, who would rather disband the League, and Damian at her side. She decides to let him care for their son, and leaves with the League of Assassins though she still says she will return for him.

Son of Batman is an excellently animated adventure, credit to Warner Animation who have done a sterling job. The action is constant with some excellent characters making an appearance; Nightwing, Killer Croc, Manbats and a prominent performance from Alfred. Whilst Damian is an impetuous Child. He is skilled and earns Batman’s respect. The story is solid this is a great addition to the DC animated universe.