REVIEW: SUICIDE SQUAD: HELL TO PAY

 CAST

Christian Slater (True Romance)
Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty)
Billy Brown (Star Trek)
Liam McIntyre (Spartacus)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood)
Gideon Emery (TeencWolf)
C.Thomas Howell (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Jim Pirri (The Fault of The Stars)
Dania Ramirez (Heroes)
Dave Fennoy (The Walking Dead)
Greg Grunberg (The Flash)
David Boat (Ultimate Avengers)
Trevor Devall (Transformers Cybertron)
Cissy Jones (Life is Strange)
Julie Nathanson (The Zeta Project)
James Urbaniak (Agent Carter)
Natalie Lander (The Middle)
Matthew Mercer (Mythica)

Suicide-Squad-Hell-To-Pay-2Following Ocean Master’s defeat at the hands of the Justice League, Amanda Waller dispatches the Task Force X, consisting of Deadshot, Count Vertigo, Black Manta, and criminal couple Punch and Jewelee, to recover a flash drive containing leaked intelligence from Tobias Whale. The mission succeeds, but Vertigo and Jewelee betray the team and kill Punch. Having become lovers in jail, they plan to copy the flash drive and sell it. But Waller overhears everything through Deadshot’s communicator. Waller detonates Vertigo’s head bomb and Deadshot mercy-kills Jewelee.933046-1280aThree years later, Professor Pyg is kidnapped by Scandal Savage and Knockout for a “patient in need of medical attention”. Waller discovers that she is diagnosed with a terminal illness and reassembles Task Force X with a new roster: Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Killer Frost, Copperhead, and Bronze Tiger. Their mission: to find a man named Steel Maxum and retrieve a mystical black card emblazoned “Get Out of Hell Free.” Finding Maxum in a male strip club, Task Force X battles Professor Zoom, Silver Banshee, and Blockbuster. The squad escape with Maxum and learn he was Doctor Fate. He explains that the card allows the user to bypass Hell and gain access to Heaven, but it can only be used once. Scandal and Knockout stole the card from the Tower of Fate, which resulted in Maxum being stripped of his title by Nabu.Suicide-Squad-Hell-to-Pay-3-658x370Upon finding Scandal and Knockout’s apartment, the team acquires the card, but they are intercepted by Vandal Savage and his men. Savage retrieves the card but leaves the wounded Knockout to die despite Scandal’s pleas. As Savage escapes, Zoom places a tracer on his ship. Deadshot visits his estranged daughter Zoe but is forcibly retrieved by Tiger. Next day, Zoom’s henchmen kidnap Frost at a gas station. Zoom removes Frost’s bomb and convinces her to join him. Zoom lures the Squad into a trap and detonates the bomb. They manage to escape, but Tiger is heavily injured in the blast.MV5BMTAzZGRlZjItYWU1YS00MzgwLWFjMWYtYzhkZDQwZjg4YTJlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTkxNjUyNQ@@._V1_UX477_CR0,0,477,268_AL_Scandal covertly informs Deadshot of Vandal’s location, and the Squad infiltrates his lair but are captured. Savage reveals that he had Pyg surgically implant the card into his chest cavity. Zoom and his henchmen attack and remove the card from Savage’s body, killing him. Zoom explains that he was killed by Batman in another timeline, but managed to stay alive by calling on the Speed Force. Frost double-crosses Zoom, killing Silver Banshee and Blockbuster and stealing the card for ransom. Copperhead fights Frost until Waller detonates his bomb and kills them both. Captain Boomerang attempts to steal the card but is incapacitated by Zoom.suicidesquad-998x654Tiger battles Zoom, but Zoom performs lingchi on him. Tiger, dying from blood loss, uses the last of his strength to cut the card from Zoom’s fingers. Deadshot kills Zoom and gives the card to Tiger, who dies and ascends to Heaven. Deadshot gives the now-useless card to the unsuspecting Waller. Having served his time, Deadshot visits Zoe as a free man.suicide-squad-hellt-o-payThe movie was quite violent and graphic for a DC movie, and the comedy is well placed to lighten the mood, but it was refreshing to see anime style violence in an animated “superhero” movie. It was also very interesting that the entire story revolved around a chance of true salvation, and served as a continuation of a previous DC film. Suicide Squad lives up to the name, and though I am not one of the haters of the live action film, I feel this one was much better and leaves me wondering what could have been with the live action movie.

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REVIEW: BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD – SEASON 1-3

Image result for batman the brave and the bold logo

MAIN CAST

Diedrich Bader (Vampires Suck)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Jason Marsden (Full House)
James Arnold Taylor (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Marc Worden (Ultimate Avengers)
Grey DeLisle (The Replacements)
John Dimaggio (Futurama)
Tom Kenny (Super hero Squad)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Corey Burton (Critters)
R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Vyvan Pham (Generator Rex)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Mikey Kelley (TMNT)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Will Wheaton (Powers)
Xander Berkeley (Kick-Ass)
Loren Lester (Batman: TAS)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Jeff Bennett (James Bond Jr.)
Oded Fehr (The Mummy)
Ellen Greene (Pushing Daisies)
Armin Shimmerman (Star Trek: DS9)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Tom Everett Scott (Scream: The Series)
Billy West (Futurama)
Jeffrey Tambor (The Hangover)
Paul Reubens (Gotham)
Diane Delano (Jeepers Creepers II)
Peter Woodward (Crusade)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
James Remar (Flashforward)
Jeffrey Combs (Gothman)
Ioan Grufford (Ringer)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
William Katt (Carrie)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Hynden Walch (The Batman)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Mark Hamill (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Adam West (BAtman 60s)
Julie Newmar (Batman 60s)
Dana Delany (Body of Proof)
Tony Todd (Chuck)
Peter Scolari (Gotham)
Cree Summer (Batman Beyond)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and Thje X-Men)
John Wesley Shipp (The Flash)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Olivia D’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Mae Whitman (Independence Day)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Vanessa Marshall (Star Wars: Revels)
John Michael Higgins (Still Waiting)
Michael Jai White (Arrow)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Tippi Hedren (The Birds)
Gary Owens (That 70s Show)
Ted McGinley (Highlander 2)
Henry Winkler (Happy Days)

There’s a gloriously meta moment in the back half of this season of Batman: The Brave and the Bold where the show’s producers are raked over the coals at Comic-Con. One of the twentysomethings in the crowd grouses and groans about how the Caped Crusader in the cartoon isn’t his Batman, and…well, he’s not wrong. DC’s comics anymore are joylessly grim and gritty…22 monthly pages of misery and scowling and torture and dismemberment and death and high collars and way too much crosshatching. Batman: The Brave and the Bold, meanwhile, is defined by its vivid colors and clean, thick linework. It’s a series whose boundless imagination and thirst for high adventure make you feel like a six year old again, all wide-eyed and grinning ear to ear.


You know all about The Dark Knight’s war on crime, and in The Brave and the Bold , he’ll duke it out against any badnik, anywhere. He doesn’t go it alone, either, with every episode pairing Batman up with at least one other DC superhero. Heck, to keep it interesting, The Brave and the Bold shies away from the obvious choices like Superman and Wonder Woman. Instead, you get more interesting team-ups like Blue Beetle (more than one, even!), Elongated Man, Wildcat, Mister Miracle, Kamandi, and B’wana Beast.
Other animated incarnations of Batman have been rooted in something close enough to reality. Sure, you might have androids and the occasional Man-Bat, but they tried to veer away from anything too fantastic. The Brave and tbe Bold has free reign to do just about whatever it wants. One week, maybe you’ll get an adventure in the far-flung reaches of space with a bunch of blobby alien amoebas who mistake Batman for Blue Beetle’s sidekick. The next might offer up Tolkien-esque high fantasy with dragons and dark sorcery. Later on, Aquaman and The Atom could play Fantastic Voyage inside Batman’s bloodstream, all while the Caped Crusader is swimming around in a thirty-story walking pile of toxic waste. He could be in a Western or a post-apocalyptic wasteland or a capes-and-cowls musical or even investigate a series of grisly something-or-anothers alongside Sherlock Holmes in Victorian England.

Batman has markedly different relationships with every one of those masked heroes. There’s the gadget geekery with an earlier incarnation of the Blue Beetle. With the younger, greener-but-still-blue Beetle, Batman takes on more of a mentor role.

More of a stern paternal figure for Plastic Man, and a rival for Green Arrow. Sometime it might not even be the most pleasant dynamic, such as a decidedly adult Robin who doesn’t feel like he can fully step outside the long shadow that Batman casts.

There are some really unique takes on iconic (and not so iconic!) DC superheroes here, and far and away the standout is Aquaman. This barrel-chested, adventure-loving braggart is my favorite incarnation of the king of the seven seas, and if Aquaman ever scores a cartoon of his own, I hope he looks and acts a lot like this. Oh, and The Brave and the Bold does a spectacular job mining DC’s longboxes for villains too, and along with some of the familiar favorites, you get a chance to boo and hiss at the likes of Kanjar Ro, The Sportsmaster, Kite Man, Gentleman Ghost, Chemo, Calendar ManKing, Crazy Quilt, and Shrapnel. The Brave and the Bold delivers its own versions of Toyman, Vandal Savage, and Libra while it’s at it, the latter of whom has the closest thing to a season arc that the series inches towards.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold is every bit as fun and thrilling as you’d expect from a series where every episode’s title ends with an exclamation point. Each installment is fat-packed with action, and the series has a knack for piling it on in ways I never saw coming. Even with as imaginative and off-the-walls as The Brave and the Bold can get, it still sticks to its own internal logic, so the numerous twists, turns, and surprises are all very much earned.

The majority of the episodes have a cold open not related to the remainder of the episode. Despite its episodic nature, if you’re expecting a big storyline in these 26 episodes, you’re going to be pretty disappointed as the extent of an overarching story in the season is the occasional villain that appears more than once, like Starro, but that’s really the only connecting bridge between episodes.

Season 2 contains one of my favorite episodes of not only this particular season, but probably in the entire series, “Chill of the Night!”, which goes back to Batman’s origins as Bruce Wayne learns more about the man who murdered his parents, turning him into the crime-fighter he would become, it’s one of the most well known origin stories in media, ever, but it’s done so well here. Another reason I love this episode is my blinding nostalgia for the voice cast.

The original 1960’s Batman, Adam West, guest stars as Batman’s father, Thomas Wayne, while Julie Newmar, who starred opposite of West as Catwoman from the original Batman TV show, plays Batman’s mother, Martha Wayne. My favorite Batman of all time, theatrical or not, Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman from Batman: The Animated Series and various other series/movies/games, voices the Phantom Stranger. Lastly, the baddie of the episode, The Spectre, is voiced by none other than Mark Hamill, the definitive voice of the Joker.

The Episodes in season 3 are wildly imaginative; so much so that purists will probably be put off, at least initially. They range from “Night of the Batmen”, where batman is incapacitated and it is up to Aquaman, Green Arrow, Captain Marvel, and Plastic Man to don the cowl, and keep gotham safe. As weird as that may sound, this episode is pure fun, and a joy to watch. Other stand outs are the never before seen in the states “The Mask of Matches Malone”, “Shadow of the Bat”, “Scorn of the Star Sapphire”, and “Powerless”.

Special mention has to be made of the final episode of the series however, “Mitefall”. In this meta episode, Batmite does a fantastic job breaking down why the series is ending, and the disconnect of the so-called “purists”, whose baseless, closed minded, ignorance eventually doomed this excellent series.

When all is said and done, we received three outstanding, and criminally underrated, seasons and it is a joy to see.