REVIEW: FLATLINERS (2017)

Starring

Ellen Page (The Umbrella Academy)
Diego Luna (Rogue One)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
James Norton (Rush)
Kiersey Clemons (Bad Neighbours 2)
Kiefer Sutherland (The Lost Boys)
Beau Mirchoff (I Am Number Four)
Steve Byers (Immortals)

Ellen Page, Martha Girvin, Beau Mirchoff, Nina Dobrev, Emily Piggford, and Jelena Savic in Flatliners (2017)A medical student, Courtney (Ellen Page), is obsessed with the idea of the afterlife, wanting to find out what happens after death. She invites fellow students Jamie (James Norton) and Sophia (Kiersey Clemons) to join her in an experiment, in an unused hospital room: using defibrillation to stop her heart for sixty seconds while recording her brain, and then reviving her. She assures them they would not be held responsible for any accidents. Sophia is against this, but Jamie does it anyway. After sixty seconds, they panic as they are unable to revive her, but eventually manage to with the help of fellow student Ray (Diego Luna). Later, Marlo (Nina Dobrev), a rival of Ray, arrives and learns of the experiment.Ellen Page in Flatliners (2017)Initially Courtney begins to recall memories of past events such as her grandmother’s recipe for bread. Courtney experiences increased intelligence and euphoria, being suddenly able to play the piano after 12 years and answer questions in class perfectly. Envious, Jamie flatlines, but has a disturbing near death experience as he meets his ex-girlfriend. Marlo and Sophia follow suit and flatline, for an increasing number of minutes. During Sophia’s turn they are nearly caught and flee the hospital and arrive at a party. Courtney and Jamie start seeing visions of past mistakes, but do not tell the others.Ellen Page and James Norton in Flatliners (2017)It soon turns into a living horror as those who flatlined find themselves haunted by their visions: Courtney is haunted by her dead sister Tessa from a car crash she caused because she was using her phone. Jamie is haunted by the baby of his ex-girlfriend whom he got pregnant and begged to get an abortion. Marlo is haunted by a man named Cyrus (who was stung by jellyfish) whom she killed when she accidentally mixed up his medication, and Sophia is haunted by a girl named Irina whose life she ruined out of jealousy by hacking her phone and sending out her nudes. This allowed Sophia to become valedictorian. They realize there is a downside to flatlining.Kiefer Sutherland, Ellen Page, and Nina Dobrev in Flatliners (2017)The hauntings get more and more intense. Courtney, traumatised by her visions, records a message apologising for the consequences and admitting that her interest in flatlining was due to the death of her sister, not for scientific discovery. Shortly after, she is chased by visions of her dead sister and falls to her death from the fire escape of her apartment building after her sister’s ghost appears in front of her and pushes her off. The others are devastated when they learn of Courtney’s death and then panic when they realize they may be implicated if anyone discovers their experiments. After attempting to remove all notes and evidence from Courtney’s apartment, Marlo is sent to the morgue to find Courtney’s phone. She is once again haunted by visions. Meanwhile, on his boat, Jamie again hears the cries of a baby and a woman weeping. He falls out of his boat and swims to the dock where a figure stabs him in his hand.Diego Luna, Ellen Page, Nina Dobrev, and James Norton in Flatliners (2017)The group watches Courtney’s recording and find out that she had encountered similar hauntings. They come clean to the mistakes that they made and soon come to the conclusion that the hauntings they’re experiencing are their hallucinations because of guilt from their past sins, not paranormal beings. Ray, the only one who didn’t flatline, initially disbelieves what’s happening. The group takes action to stop the hallucinations by fixing their past mistakes. Sophia visits Irina to apologize, which Irina accepts. Jamie visits his ex-girlfriend and discovers she didn’t get an abortion, but kept the baby; he apologizes and promises to provide for his son. Later, Ray and Marlo get into a fight when Ray finds out Marlo covered up the real reason Cyrus died and she refuses to come clean. Marlo hallucinates being suffocated while driving and crashes her car. Tired of being haunted by her hallucinations, Marlo flatlines on her own in the hope of asking forgiveness of the patient that died due to her mistake.Kiersey Clemons in Flatliners (2017)Ray, Sophia, and Jamie rush to stop her and are successful in resuscitating Marlo after she sees an apparition of Courtney who tells Marlo that she needs to forgive herself. In the end, Marlo, Ray, Sophia, and Jamie reminisce about Courtney and celebrate their friendships in the little restaurant they hang out at, where there is a performance of the piano piece that Courtney played. The movie ends with Jamie proposing a toast, honoring Courtney.Nina Dobrev in Flatliners (2017)Flatliners is never boring, capturing the fun lives of the up and coming professionals of tomorrow, and the horror of when things go terribly wrong. The latter however is not given the depth it deserves, and coupled with its weak conclusion, the richness of the films potential goes largely untouched.

REVIEW: XXX: THE RETURN XANDER CAGE

CAST

Vin Diesel (Riddick)
Donnie Yen (Rogue One)
Deepika Padukone (Chennal Express)
Kris Wu (So Young 2)
Ice Cube (21 Jump Street)
Ruby Rose (Resident Evil: The Final Chapter)
Tony Jaa (Ong Bak)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
Toni Collette (Krampus)
Rory McCann (Game of Thrones)
Daniel Kash (Bitten)
Shawn Roberts (Land of The Dead)

NSA Agent Augustus Gibbons attempts to recruit footballer Neymar Jr. for the xXx program when a satellite crashes in Brazil, killing them both. Shortly afterwards, a team of four skilled individuals led by Xiang infiltrates a highly guarded CIA office in New York City and retrieve “Pandora’s Box”, a device which is capable of controlling satellites to crash at specific locations as warheads. CIA Agent Jane Marke tracks down former xXx operative Xander Cage, who faked his death and has been living in self-imposed exile in the Dominican Republic, and convinces him to return to active service to retrieve the device.After enlisting an old friend, Ainsley, for help, Cage tracks down the attackers to the Philippines. A unit of Special Forces operatives led by Paul Donovan is assigned to help Xander, but he rejects them in favour of his own team, composed of sharpshooter Adele Wolff, DJ Harvard “Nicks” Zhou, and getaway driver Tennyson “The Torch.” They are also aided by introverted weapons specialist Becky Clearidge. The team locates Xiang and his teammates Serena, Talon and Hawk, and Cage meets Xiang in an underground nightclub on a remote island, where Xiang reveals that his team are all part of the xXx program, recruited by Gibbons. He claims to have stolen Pandora’s Box to prevent its misuse, although Serena believes they should destroy it.Shortly after, Russian soldiers raid the island. The group manages to fend off the attackers, while Xiang manages to escape with Pandora’s Box. Xander intercepts Xiang and chases him to a nearby beach. Serena betrays him, destroys the Box and joins Xander’s team, while Xiang escapes and regroups with Talon and Hawk. After another satellite crash in Russia, Marke determines that the device that Serena destroyed was only a prototype, and that both teams have been wasting time, while Cage determines that CIA Director Anderson is involved in the conspiracy and that the actual Pandora’s Box is in his hands.Cage’s and Xiang’s teams race to reach Anderson first in Detroit, tracking the unique signal of Pandora’s Box, with Xander and Xiang fighting and later protecting each other from Anderson’s men. Xander confronts Anderson, who admits to causing the satellite crash that killed Gibbons. Anderson is then shot dead by Wolff. The CIA arrests Xiang in an attempt to frame him for the attack in Russia, and secures the box. En route back to headquarters, Marke announces that the xXx Program has been shut down and shoots Xander in order to keep it for herself. She then sends a group of assassins to eliminate the others, who are awaiting extraction at a local NSA warehouse. They join forces to fend off their attackers and receive assistance from another former xXx operative, Darius Stone.Xander survives due to a bulletproof vest Becky had given him earlier and joins forces with Xiang to fight Donovan and his men, while Marke uses the box to send a satellite plummeting towards the warehouse where the teams are fighting. Xander ejects Donovan from the plane, while Xiang sends Marke falling to her death and then parachutes out with the box in hand. Despite Becky’s attempts to halt the signal, they cannot stop the satellite from crashing. In a last attempt to protect them, Xander crashes the plane into the approaching satellite before it reaches the warehouse and jumps out, using the cargo load to safely reach the ground. Xiang gives Cage the device, and Xander decides to destroy it. The team attends Gibbons’ funeral, where Xander is approached by Gibbons himself, who faked his death and is now rebuilding the xXx Program on his own, starting with Neymar as the newest recruit. Gibbons compliments Xander on a job well done and Xander decides to continue in service, ready for a new mission to watch the watchers and preserve liberty.This is a great action packed trilogy of movies that has no end, this third instalment is the best yet with plenty of badass over the top action and thrills to keep any action junkie happy!

 

REVIEW: BARELY LETHAL

CAST

Hailee Steinfeld (Ender’s Game)
Sophie Turner (Game of thrones)
Jessica Alba (Machete)
Samuel L. Jackson (Snakes on a Plane)
Dove Cameron (Descendants)
Thomas Mann (Project X)
Rob Huebel (Life As We Know It)
Toby Sebastian (The Hollow Crown)
Gabriel Basso (Super 8)
Jaime King (Bulletproof Monk)
Rachael Harris (The Hangover)
Alexandra Krosney (Last Man Standing)
Dan Fogler (Fantastic Beasts)
Steve-O (Jackass)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Emma Holzer (Spring Breakers)
Demetrius Bridges (The Duff)

TUJHTJTYJTYJTYJYTJThe young female orphans in the government-run Prescott Academy are trained to become assassins. Their number one rule, taught by trainer Hardman (Samuel L. Jackson), is “no attachments”. Agent 83 has top skills, which have made her rivals with Agent 84. 83 has always been curious about the world outside the Academy, brushing up on teen culture through popular magazines and watching movies and TV shows like Mean Girls and Beverly Hills, 90210.  Hardman assigns the agents to capture arms dealer Victoria Knox (Jessica Alba). Undercover in Chechnya, 83 poses as one of those captured and brought before Knox. She manages to latch herself and Knox onto Hardman’s passing jet but Knox pulls a knife and cuts the rope and 83 drops (into a river) as Knox is apprehended. 83 ignores comms calls causing Hardman to declare her MIA.barely-lethal-2-xlarge83 starts life as a regular teenager, adopting the name Megan Walsh and going through an exchange program to live with the Larson family. Mrs. Larson is kind, son Parker instantly likes Megan, but daughter Liz is cold and distant. Megan picks a ridiculous outfit for her first day of school and is laughed at and mocked at her first assembly, leaving both Megan and Liz embarrassed. Megan soon makes friends with a geeky kid named Roger, who has an interest in her. Megan is attracted to Cash, hacking the school’s system to make him her biology lab partner, to the ire of two mean girls. As retaliation, the girls convince Megan that Cash loves girls with school spirit and convince her to try out as the school mascot, for which she is the only contender. When kids from a rival school follow tradition and try to kidnap mascot Megan from a game she fights them off, with a video of her actions going viral. It earns her some popularity, while annoying Liz.barely-lethalMegan is apprehended by a Prescott agent and brought to Hardman. He assumes she is working with their enemies and tells his minion, Pedro, to torture Megan. He injects her with a truth serum and realizes she is honest when she says she only wanted to enjoy a normal life outside the Academy. Hardman lets her go, but warns her that if she gets into trouble, they won’t be there to bail her out. Megan and Liz both attend a big party at the home of the school’s class clown, Gooch. Megan hangs out with Cash, while Liz gets drunk with Gooch, learning that his real name is Bernard. To Megan’s surprise, 84 is there, calling herself Heather. Megan thinks Hardman sent Heather to shadow her, but Heather has her own plans, going after Cash to annoy Megan. Megan eventually wins Cash’s attention and gets asked by him to the homecoming dance.MV5BNTE0NjA4YmItMzFmNy00Zjc0LTllMmQtZDA4NDkyMDJiYTYwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzU5NjU1MDA@__V1_Megan is waiting for the school bus the next morning, and is surprised to see that Hardman is driving, only passing through to warn Megan that Knox has escaped from the Academy. Liz drives Megan to school, but they are pursued by a masked assassin. Megan steers them away from danger while telling Liz her secret. Megan crashes their car, crashing out the assassin as well. The assassin escapes, but Megan recognizes the smell of Ke$ha perfume, deducing that Heather was their attacker.Barely-Lethal-Trailer-TwoAt the homecoming dance, Megan realizes that Cash is a boring person and dumps him. She goes to apologize to Roger, but finds out that his date is Heather, who provokes a fight with Megan. Their fight rambles through the hallways and into the school’s kitchen. Heather reveals she joined Knox’s operation in order to get a chance to kill Megan. Liz sneaks up on Heather and stabs her in the leg with a skewer from a corndog. Megan then uses a frying pan and hits Heather in the head knocking her unconscious and she falls to the floor. The girls return home to find that Knox and some models have taken Parker and Mrs. Larson. Megan fights the goons but Liz gets captured as well. Knox reveals that she was Prescott Agent 1, but she left and turned against them. Hardman shows up with reinforcements and defeats Knox and her goons. Megan uses a Prescott helicopter to stop Roger, who is driving home with his father. She tells Roger her true feelings for him and they kiss. In a mid-credits scene, Heather is in a car with one of Knox’s former minions. She stares at a photo of Megan on a tablet and orders him to find out where she is going to college.v1Believe it or not, this movie is really fun. You gotta give it a chance to truly appreciate it. I went in not expecting anything and I honestly enjoyed it.

REVIEW: ARENA

CAST
Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules)
Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction)
Katia Winter (Sleepy Hollow)
Johnny Messner (Bottoms Up)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)
James Remar (Horns)
Derek Mears (Dragon Wars)
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The Deathgames is a popular, controversial, and illegal web-show featuring a modern day gladiator arena where combatants fight to the death for the entertainment of online viewers, including a group of college students, and a group of Chinese office workers. Government authorities have been searching to shut down the operation, but to no avail. David Lord (Kellan Lutz), a fireman and paramedic gets into a terrible car accident with his pregnant wife, Lori (Nina Dobrev), who does not survive the crash. Grief-stricken, David considers suicide, but decides against it. Later he drowns his sorrows at a local bar, while a mysterious woman, Milla (Katia Winter), watches him from afar. After witnessing him easily subdue the bar’s bouncer, Milla seduces David before incapacitating him and allowing him to be kidnapped.
Milla, it turns out, is a recruiter for The Deathgames, which is run by the confident Logan (Samuel L. Jackson) and his two sexy assistants Kaneko (Irene Choi) and Kawaii (Lauren Shiohama). Kaden (Johnny Messner), the executioner is doubtful of the fighting ability of a mere “doctor.” David is locked in a small cell and befriends a fellow fighter in the cell next to his, Taiga (Daniel Dae Kim), who tells him that he was coerced into participating due to a threat on his wife’s life. David reluctantly wins his first fight, and Milla becomes more invested in his success (as she gets paid when he wins). Logan tells David that he will set him free if he wins ten fights in a row.
In order to persuade David to fight again, Kaden reveals that Taiga’s wife is in their hands and will be killed if he fails to win his next fight. After David wins, it is revealed that his opponent was Taiga, who was given the same task for his wife. Remorsefully, David kills Taiga, but not before incurring serious wounds of his own. It is then, that David officially accepts Logan’s offer, on one the condition: the tenth and final opponent must be Kaden himself.
Milla begins to feel bad for David after seeing how badly he is hurt and personally attends to his wounds. She becomes closer to him as he fights his next few fights and has him moved to a more comfortable room with more space and a bed. She brings him food and women. After each fight she personally addresses his wounds. Eventually she realizes her attraction to him, dyes her hair black(as was David’s wife) and Milla and David have sex. For the penultimate fight, Kaden arranges for the release of an international serial killer named Brutus Jackson, which leads Logan to believe that Kaden is afraid of David. Before the fight, David tells Milla to contact his brother Sam, who he has not seen since the car accident. She does so, but Sam does not seem to want to hear from David. David defeats Brutus in brutal fight, and Logan is distressed. Logan has a doctor create a serum to inject into David, which will slow him down and make him an easy victim for Kaden in their fight.
Large crowds watch online as Kaden initially pummels David, but much to Logan’s surprise, David begins to gain the heavy advantage. As they fight, it is revealed through flash backs that “David Lord” is the assumed named of a secret government agent who was specifically sent to infiltrate The Deathgames. The phone call to “Sam” was in order to alert his superior, Agent McCarty (James Remar) about his location via phone tracing. It is also revealed that Milla secretly switched Logan’s serum with a simple saline solution prior to the fight. A group of soldiers invade the facility and arrest Milla, Kaneko, and Kawaii. Filled with rage after defeating Kaden, David hunts down Logan and corners him in a stockroom. As David is about to strike the deadly blow, soldiers arrive, snapping David out of his murderous fury. Logan escapes.
Agent McCarty consoles David as he deals with the fact that he had to kill so many people and assures him that Logan will be caught. Milla apologizes to David as she is escorted away, and McCarty assures David that she is in good hands.
If you like good old fashioned fight movies where people bloodily beat each other up then this film is for you, the story has been done before but this does add a few new elements to the story and even has a little twist believe it or not, the fights are gritty and realistic with plenty of brutal bloody action and some gory scenes too, its slightly on the cheesy side but thats what makes it utterly entertaining and fun to watch.

REVIEW: THE AMERICAN MALL

CAST

Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Rob Mayles (Mistresses)
Autumn Reeser (The O.C.)
Yasmin Alers (Across The Universe)
Brooke Lyons (Izombie)
Bresha Webb (Ride Along 2)

The American Mall is High School Musical taking place at – you guessed it – the mall, where part-time, teenaged employees sing their way through life while trying to remain one step ahead of a bratty nemesis. The film is brought to you by the same producers behind HSM, so the similarities are both obvious and expected. But, The American Mall lacks a lot the sparkle.
 The American Mall sifts through Ally’s (Nina Dobrev) dreams of rock stardom and her anxious anticipation about choosing between the practical college her mother wants her to attend and the music conservatory she prefers. What’s more, she must navigate the cliques that make adolescence and high school social misery for most of the population. There’s a whole series of high school archetypes at play and the characters are familiar clichés: the spoiled princess, the uber-talented girl-next-door, and the sensitive, good looking young chap who sings while he serves as the mall janitor. The theme of music as a unifier and a common language is woven throughout each scene, while Ally and Joey the Janitor (Rob Mayes) speak more effectively through shared tunes than they do with words. There’s no satire of teen life; this isn’t Clueless or even Mean Girls, poking fun at stereotypes while using au courant colloquialisms to update and authenticate the material. Rather, with its candy-colored, ultra-bright hues, its slick musical numbers and its tidy ending, The American Mall prefers not to always represent real life.
 If the dance numbers were a little snappier and the songs a bit edgier, The American Mall might appeal to a vast audience, like adults with a nostalgic appetite, but it prefers to pitch its tent in the pre-teen population’s orbit and is content to sleep there. It’s a romp that’s an audio-visual spectacle but not satiating for the soul, perhaps best evidenced by the sequence when temptress Madison (Autumn Reeser) attempts to seduce Joey. The number is sexified and the screen is split, music video style, but it exists merely to set up a dramatic story arc that needs a neat climax. The movie unfolds like a super-sized episode from a kid-friendly TV series about the instantly solvable rigors of adolescent existence. The only reason to watch this if for Nina Dobrev

REVIEW: THE ROOMMATE

 

CAST

Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl)
Minka Kelly (500 Days of Summer)
Cam Gigandet (Easy A)
Aly Michalka (Izombie)
Danneel Ackles (Fired Up!)
Frances Fisher (Titanic)
Tomas Arana (Gladiator)
Billy Zane (Zoolander)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Matt Lanter (90210)
Kat Graham (Honey 2)
Nathan Parsons (The Originals)

Sara Matthews (Kelly) is starting her freshman year of college. She meets Tracy (Michalka), Stephen (Gigandet) – her love interest, and Rebecca (Meester) – her college roommate, the girls begin to bond and Rebecca learns that Sara had an older sister, Emily, who died when Sara was 9, and an ex-boyfriend, Jason (Lanter), who keeps calling her in attempts to reconcile. As time goes on, Rebecca’s obsession with Sara grows, which causes her to drive away anyone who could come between them.Rebecca attacks Tracy in the shower, pinning her down and ripping out her belly-button ring, and threatens to kill her unless she stays away from Sara. Tracy moves to another dorm, fearful of Rebecca. An old friend of Sara’s named Irene (Harris), who is a lesbian, invites Sara to move in with her when Sara’s cat Cuddles is discovered. Rebecca then kills Cuddles by putting her in the dryer. She then lies to Sara that the cat ran away. Rebecca then inflicts injuries upon herself and says she was assaulted by a thug. Sara feels bad for her and decides to spend the Thanksgiving with Rebecca. When Sara’s philandering fashion design professor, Roberts (Zane), kisses her, Rebecca plans to get the professor out of the picture by seducing him while recording their dialogue on a tape recorder to make it sound like he was trying to rape her.During her stay, Sara overhears a conversation between Rebecca and her father (Arana), hinting Rebecca has had trouble making friends in the past. Rebecca’s mother (Fisher) mentions that Rebecca is supposed to be taking medication. She and Stephen later find a bottle of Zyprexa pills, used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. But the bottle is full, implying that Rebecca hasn’t been taking the pills. Sara, worried about what would happen, decides to move in with Irene. Irene goes to a club where she sees Rebecca. They make out in the club’s bathroom and Irene, not knowing that Rebecca is Sara’s roommate, takes Rebecca back to her place. The following morning, Sara goes to Irene’s apartment but she’s not there.Rebecca gets Sara’s sister’s name tattooed in the same place on her breast as Sara, saying that Sara can now think of Rebecca as her sister. A shocked Sara realizes that Rebecca is obsessed with her and packs all her things, except her sister’s necklace, which she can’t find (being later revealed that the necklace had been stolen from her by Rebecca). Jason arrives at Sara’s dorm and slips a note under her door, saying that he wants to see her. Rebecca reads the note, impersonates Sara with her sister’s necklace and tattoo, and dyes her hair to look like Sara. She then goes to Jason’s hotel room and stabs him to death.Later, Sara gets a text from Irene, saying she needs her right away. Sara informs Stephen she will be at Irene’s place. When she gets there, she finds Irene held hostage by Rebecca with a revolver. Rebecca reveals that she was responsible for what happened to Tracy, Cuddles, Professor Roberts, and Jason and that she did it all to win Sara’s friendship. Rebecca wants to kill Irene in order to finally have Sara all to herself. Stephen arrives just in time to help stop Rebecca from pulling the trigger on Irene. Sara reaches for the revolver to shoot Rebecca, however, the cartridge is empty. Enraged at this, Rebecca picks up Sara and tries to strangle her to death, but Sara stabs Rebecca in the back with a boxcutter, which kills her.Sara moves back into her dorm and moves the extra bed out of her room with the help of her boyfriend Stephen, proclaiming that she does not want a roommate for a while.This is a fairly enjoyable, though predictable, thriller, very much in the style of Single White Female (Bridget Fonda. It’s an average thriller that will pass the time.

REVIEW: THE SUPER HERO SQUAD SHOW – SEASON 1-2

CAST (VOICES)

Charlie Adler (Wall-e)
Alimi Ballard (Sabrina: TTW)
Steven Blum (Wolverine and the X-Men)
Dave Boat (Ultimate Spider-Man)
Jim Cummings (Darkwing Duck)
Grey DeLisle (The Fairly Oddparents)
Mikey Kelley (Gravity Falls)
Tom Kenny (The Batman)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Travis Willingham (Dragon Ball Z)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Shawn Ashmore (X-Men)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
John Barrowman (Arrow)
A.J. Buckley (Disturbing Behavior)
Ty Burrell (Muppets Most Wanted)
LeVar Burton (Star Trek: TNG)
Taye Diggs (Private Practice)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Suisan Eisenberg (Justice League)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: TNG)
Greg Grunberg (Heroes)
Nika Futterman (Futurama)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Tricia Helfer (Powers)
Cheryl Hines (The Ugly Truth)
Josh Keaton (Justice League: Gods and Monsters)
Wayne Knight (3rd rock from The Sun)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Phil LaMar (Free Enterprise)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Jason Marsden (Full House)
James Marsters (Smallville)
Jennifer Morrison (Urban Legends 2)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica)
Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: TLJ)
Ray Stevenson (Divergent)
Fred Stoller (Little Man)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Cree Summer (Batman Beyond)
Michelle Trachtenberg (17 again)
Hynden Walch (The Batman)
Jim Ward (Danny Phantom)
Adam West (Batman 60s)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)

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When I saw a preview of The Super Hero Squad Show back in February of 2009, I thought it looked pretty interesting, but certainly aimed at the kiddies, and as it aired on Cartoon Network, I never saw an episode. In fact, I forgot all about it, and when I got my hands on this disc, I thought it was an animated take on the old Fisher-Price Marvel kiddie figures. So I had no expectations coming in. Well, my only expectation being that it would be bad. So it was with a good deal of shock that I found it to be a pretty entertaining action-comedy series, if you don’t mind the cheese-level of many of the jokes.MV5BMTY4MzMzMzM2OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTE2OTc3MjE@._V1_The Super Hero Squad (sort of a loose version of the Avengers) is made up of an assortment of Marvel heroes, including Iron Man (as the leader), Captain America (who provides aid on a regular basis), Wolverine (adding the X-Men’s popularity,) The Hulk, Thor, a spacey surfer-dude version of the Silver Surfer, and Falcon (obviously added to bring some diversity.) Joining them is the mostly unknown Reptil (a dinosaur-powered bit player from the Avengers comics) who is both a young guy and Hispanic, helping fill out the P.C. scorecard a bit more and give younger viewers a stand-in.  They go up against Doctor Doom and his legion of bad guys (and ineffective henchmen), as he searches for the Infinity fractals, shards of the Infinity Sword (which seems connected to the Infinity Gems of the Infinity Gauntlet. Infinity.)MV5BMTUwMzc1OTEzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjU3MDg3MjE@._V1_Though the storylines are pretty solid and offer big action-packed battles, the bulk of the show is comedy, with the character’s out-sized personalities carrying the jokes, be it Thor’s overwhelming concern about his appearance or Captain America being stuck in the ’40s. Maybe I don’t give kids a lot of credit, but I can see a large portion of these gags flying over their heads, which will make the show far more enjoyable for adults than one would have expected. There was more than one joke that got a genuine laugh out of me, though many of them rely on bodily functions or pratfalls for the punchline. The wordplay and character-generated jokes are much more entertaining and fun, especially Thor’s Asgardian versions of modern language, the Silver Surfer’s alien view of Earth life, and anything involving the always-ridiculous floating head known as M.O.D.O.K. (voiced hilariously by Tom Kenny.) One joke about the Hulk swallowing a yo-yo is technically genius. The only thing about the show that doesn’t really work is Reptil, who feels like the Poochie of the show, coming off as a bone tossed to kids, with his dino-focused power, youthful role and extreme behavior.MV5BNzQ1MjI0NzUzOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzk1OTc3MjE@._V1_This version of the Marvel Universe smartly keeps the same look for its characters, giving long-time Marvel fans an in for the series, but presents them in a super-deformed style (squat bodies, large heads and feet, four fingers) that’s kid-cartoon friendly and which easily separates it from any other version of the Universe you’ve ever seen. That way, there are no issues with continuity or previous incarnations, and the show can be enjoyed on its own merits (allowing them to do something like make Dr. Strange a complete lunatic.) That’s a good thing, because the show is loaded to the gills with fan-service goodies, like the episode titles (which reference famous comic titles) and title cards which replicate memorable cover art. The show also pulls characters from the depths of the Marvel roster, like Screaming Mimi and the Melter, and having silly cartoon fun with them. Taken simply as a silly, almost What The–?! treatment of the characters, it’s well worth a look for comic-book fans out of grade school.MV5BMjM1ODQ2NDUxNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjk1OTc3MjE@._V1_On a non-story note, the theme song, provided by Parry Gripp of Nerf Herder, is an energetic blast, while the voice cast for this series has to be one of the best for a non-prime time animated series, with tons of veterans of the cartoon industry, like Kenny, Tara Strong, Jess Harnell, Grey DeLisle, Cree Summer and Charlie Adler, along with plenty of genre stars, including Robert Englund, Tricia Helfer, Jennifer Morrison and Adrian Pasdar. It’s rare to see a show like this pull this kind of voice cast.MV5BNzQ1MjI0NzUzOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzk1OTc3MjE@._V1_The overall plot of the cycle will feature the villain Thanos seeking the six stones of the Infinity Gauntlet, a powerful cosmic weapon. Opposing him will be the titular Super Hero Squad, which is made up of goofball takes on Iron Man, Thor, Falcon, Wolverine, Hulk, Ms. Marvel, original character Reptil, Scarlet Witch, and sometimes Captain America. While the first two shows focus specifically on the Thanos plot, other episodes detour into one-off excursions. For instance, “World War Witch!” takes the heroes back in time to when Cap was fighting the Red Skull alongside the Invaders in WWII, while “Support Your Local Sky-Father!” pits Olympus vs. Asgard, and it features the Marvel Universe rendition of Hercules.