REVIEW: 13 REASONS WHY – SEASON 2

Dylan Minnette in 13 Reasons Why (2017)

MAIN CAST

Dylan Minnette (Don’t Breathe)
Katherine Langford (The Misguided)
Christian Navarro (Bushwick)
Alisha Boe (Paranormal Activity 4)
Brandon Flynn (BrainDead)
Justin Prentice (Izombie)
Miles Heizer (Rails & Ties)
Ross Butler (Riverdale)
Devin Druid (Louder Than Bombs)
Amy Hargreaves (Wonderstruck)
Derek Luke (Biker Boyz)
Kate Walsh (After The Sunset)
Michele Selene Ang

2

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Brian d’Arcy James (Smash)
Steven Weber (Izombie)
Wilson Cruz (Star Trek Discovery)
Sosie Bacon (Scream: The Series)
Tommy Dorfman (Fludity)
Allison Miller (17 Again)
Tom Everett Scott (Race To Witch Mountain)
Ben Lawson (No Strings Attached)
Robert Gant (Supergirl)
Chelsea Alden (Facd 2 Face)
Bryce Cass (Battle Los Angeles)
Brandon Butler (Ring of Silence)
Anne Winters (Mom and Dad)
Jackie Geary (NCIS)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Anthony Raoo (Star Trek: Discovery)

“I know some people don’t want us to talk about what happened,” Tyler (Devin Druid) says in voiceover at the start of “13 Reasons Why’s” second season. “But if we don’t talk about it, it’s never going to change. So it’s important for everyone to understand how it all happened. The whole story.”  This is the very first thing viewers of the new season will hear — well, second, if you include the new trigger warning video featuring members of the cast that plays ahead of the premiere. But the warning and monologue are intertwined, because they’re ultimately about the same thing. The warning acknowledges that, while Netflix’s mega-hit series was well-received in its first season, it also drew plenty of controversy over how it treated its sensitive subject material: suicide, sexual assault, drug abuse, and so on.MV5BMThiMjMyMmUtMjcwMC00NjAxLWI0MDMtMmEwN2UzYTExNjIzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzUwMTgwMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,733,1000_AL_But Tyler’s monologue, which we soon learn is delivered from the witness stand, is a defense of season two’s very existence. Yes, the creators (including showrunners Brian Yorkey and Diana son) know of the criticisms. Yes, they know there are questions as to why a season two even needed to happen. But their argument is that the season is necessary — “important,” even. And considering how successful the show has been, the story we see in season two may not even be the end. The trial in question, which has compelled troubled gun aficionado Tyler’s testimony, is a lawsuit against Liberty High School by the parents of late student Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford). Hannah’s tapes explaining why she committed suicide provided the narrative arc of season one, with each tape focused on a different person in Hannah’s life. The trial serves the same function this season, with each episode centering on a particular witness’ testimony.13-reasons-why-season2The result is something of an inverse of the first season: instead of Hannah’s voice on the tapes, we hear the other students, teachers, and her parents. They open up parts of the story we didn’t hear in season one, though we’re left to to decide on our own if we trust them as our narrators. Reversing the narrative doesn’t do much to change the core of the series. Clay is the rock of “13 Reasons Why,” the anchor who keeps us chained to Hannah’s story. No matter whether we disagree with Hannah’s actions, get frustrated with the treatment of rapist baseball player Bryce Walker (Justin Prentice), or would perhaps rather follow the complex, challenging story of survivor Jessica Davis (Alisha Boe), Clay keeps us on track. This is about Hannah, the girl he loved but never got up the guts to tell. This is about his journey to make sure her suicide is avenged — whatever that personally means to him. And this is about his relationship to her and her memory, no matter how many forces of doubt come to challenge that.https _blueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com_uploads_card_image_771242_269f95fd-56f8-4925-86ec-20d889c7690dMinnette is a marvel, turning in one of the most committed, insular, intense performances you’ll see anywhere on television. The 21-year-old actor reads as a blank slate when he’s still — maybe a hint of a perpetual grimace on his face, but ultimately inoffensive. As a result, Clay is often seen looking pensive, quiet, and expressionless. When he breaks, however, Minnette shines. Clay screams, cries, and generally loses his cool this season, and Minnette captures it all without missing a beat. Every bit of pain seems to leave an extra wrinkle or crag on Clay’s face. Minnette himself makes Clay feel heavier as the season goes on, like having to do any small thing would cause the young man to explode. Minnette plays Clay as a teen on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and you can’t take your eyes off him. A good deal of the cast is good this season — particularly Kate Walsh as Hannah’s grieving-but-furious mother Olivia — but Minnette stands above the pack. His is a tour-de-force performance that goes a long way to making “13 Reasons Why’s” second season feel worth the drama.

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REVIEW: MOM – SEASON 1-5

MAIN CAST

Anan Faris (Just Friends)
Allison Janney (I, Tonya)
Sadia Calvano (Melissa & Joey)
Nate Corddry (Yogi Bear)
Matt Jones (Mojave)
French Stewart (3rd rock From The Sun)
Spencer Daniels (Star Trek)
Mimi Kennedy (Due Date)
Blake Garrett Rosenthal (New Girl)
Jaime Pressly (My Name Is Earl)
Beth Hall (Mad Men)
William Fichtner (The Dark Knight)

Mom (2013)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Courtney Henggeler (The Big Bang Theory)
David de Lautour (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Justin Long (Tusk)
Reggie De Leon (Young & Hungry)
Octavia Spencer (Insurgent)
Nick Searcy (Justified)
Lauren Bowles (Ghost World)
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
Kevin Pollak (Willow)
Nick Zano (Legends of Tomorrow)
Ron Rogge (Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue)
Jim Jansen (Gilmore Girls)
Brian Stepanek (Young Sheldon)
Alex Desert (The Flash)
Ryan Cartwright (Bones)
Melissa Tang (A Good Day To Die Hard)
James Earl (Scream Queens)
Crista Flanagan (Epic Movie)
Richard Riehle (Casino)
Mary Pat Gleason (Crucible)
Alison La Placa (Duet)
Jim Piddock (Family Tree)
Sara Rue (Popular)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Rick Fox (Oz)
Ian Reed Kesler (The Finder)
Colin Hanks (King Kong)
Beverly D’Angelo (The Simpsons)
Alan Rachins (Showgirls)
Don McManus (The Mazed Runner)
Clarke Duke (Kick-Ass)
April Bowlby (How I Met Your Mother)
Amy Hill (50 First Dates)
David Krumhotlz (Serenity)
Victor Webster (Mutant X)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Tom Amandes (Arrow)
Kelly Stables (The Ring 2)
Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist)
June Squibb (Shameless)
Lauri Johnson (Waitress)
Emily Osment (Cyberbully)
Lamont Thompson (Evan Almighty)
Linda Lavin (The Back-Up Plan)
Harry Hamlin (Clash of The Titans)
Rosie O’Donnell (The Flinstones)
Joe Mangiello (Magic Mike)
Jim Pirri (Suicide Squad: Hell To pay)
Jesse Luken (Star Crossed)
Richard Schiff (Man of Steel)
Stacey Travis (Easy A)
Diane Delano (Jeepers Creepers II)
Jack McGee (The Fighter)
Christina Moore (That 70s Show0
Nicole Sullivan (Disjointed)
Bradley Whitford (Get Out)
Chris Pratt (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Wendie Malick (American Housewife)
Leonard Roberts (Heroes)
Bret Harrison (V)
Yeardley Smith (The Simpsons)
Missi Pyle (Gone GIrl)
David Anthony Higgins (Mike & Molly)
Michael Angarano (Empire State)
Danielle Bisutti (Curse of Chucky)
Steven Weber (13 Reasons Why)
Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies)
Kristen Johnston (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Yvette Nicole Brown (Community)
Patti LuPone (Parker)
Bill Fagerbakke (How I Met Your Mother)

Allison Janney and Anna Faris in Mom (2013)Chuck Lorre’s already-sizable CBS footprint continues to grow with “Mom,” joining “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mike & Molly” to bring to four his one-man renaissance of the multicamera comedy. While the show breaks little ground, it’s a fairly polished and inordinately well-cast pilot, with a central duo and underlying theme — mother-daughter relationships, and repeating destructive patterns — that should resonate with a chunk of its target audience. At this point, the principal danger is whether in success Lorre might run out of cranky things to say on all those show-ending vanity cards.Allison Janney, Jaime Pressly, Anna Faris, and Mimi Kennedy in Mom (2013)Anna Faris stars as Christy, a woman for whom life hasn’t panned out as intended. She got knocked up early and is so distraught over working as a waitress in a high-end restaurant that a casual compliment about her service unleashes a torrent of tears. Christy isn’t faring much better in raising her teenage daughter (Sadie Calvano), who is already exhibiting a rambunctious, sleep-around streak, prompting mom to tell her, “Don’t lie to the woman who washes your sheets.” Seeking consolation at an AA meeting, Christy runs into her mother, Bonnie (Allison Janney). When Christy recalls seeing her mom snort cocaine out of shag carpeting, Bonnie cheerfully dismisses the maneuver as simply being “thrifty.” If Christy considers her mom with about as much enthusiasm as the title character in “Ray Donovan” reserves for his dad, the new and improved Bonnie is a sprightly sort and eager to help out, setting the foundation for the series in motion.Allison Janney and Ivan Hernandez in Mom (2013)If that sounds like little more than “2 Rehabbing Gals” to follow “2 Broke Girls,” Lorre and co-creators Eddie Gorodetsky and Gemma Baker also have given “Mom” a fairly solid B-plot environment, with Nate Corddry as Christy’s manager and French Stewart as the restaurant’s imperious chef.  Janney seems like a natural for this sort of comedic turn, and her character’s zen-like attitude, not over-thinking things and living in the moment, hits home. By that measure, “Mom” has the bones of a pretty durable TV show. with 5 Seasons under it’s belt and a 6th on the way  it looks like this show may well be around for a while.

REVIEW: SLEEPY HOLLOW – SEASON 2

 

MAIN CAST

Tom Mison (Venus)
Nicole Beharie (Shame)
Orlando Jones (Evolution)
Katia Winter (Legends of Tomorrow)
Lyndie Greenwood (Nikita)
John Noble (Lord of The Rings)

Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

John Cho (Total Recall)
Neil Jackson (Blade: The Series)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Jill Marie Jones (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Matt Barr (Hellcats)
Laura Spencer (Bones)
Derek Mears (Friday The 13th)
Sakina Jaffrey (The Guru)
Timothy Busfield (Strays)
Aunjanue Ellis (The Help)
Onira Tares (Project Almanac)
Sharif Atkins (Light it Up)
Johnathon Schaech (Legends of Tomorrow)
Zach Appelman (Beauty and The Beast)
Heather Lind (Boardwalk Empire)
Francie Swift (Cop Out)
Max Brown (Agent Carter)
Jaime Murray (The Originals)
Steven Weber (Izombie)
Michelle Trachtenberg (Buffy)
Eddie Spears (Longmire)
Cynthia Stevenson (Dead Like Me)
Ron Rogge (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)

 

Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Making the balance between humor, horror and action look easy, season 1 of Sleepy Hollow set the bar high. An expanded season 2 (jumping to 18 episodes from 13) more than met that standard in the first half, throttling though the high-stakes plot of Moloch trying to escape Purgatory and the Witnesses gaining more allies. And while the series struggled to find itself after that story came to end—likely due to the network-mandated order to become less serialized—the show always remained worthwhile and very enjoyable due to the solid characters and relationships that had been established. Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)This season felt inspired from the start, with the terrific premiere episode “This is War” displaying sly storytelling as Abbie and Ichabod struggled to escape Purgatory. The later introduction of Benjamin Franklin (in flashbacks), more revelations about the Mills family history and the remarkable episodes leading up to the midseason finale all made for a rollicking first half. Despite meandering with the back half standalone episodes, the finale more than made up for any aimlessness by giving us what we watch for in the first place: Abbie and Ichabod, BFFs.Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)With Abbie and Ichabod already firmly entrenched as partners in the war against evil, the show was able to widen its focus to other characters. The best results were with Jenny, who became better-rounded and an integral part of the team. But Abraham/Headless benefitted from more attention as well, as we got to know his motivations. Even the risky addition of Hawley paid off better than expected, and by the time he got his send-off episode his connection to Jenny and the Witnesses felt earned and real. Less successful was the addition of Captain Reyes. Introduced as an intriguing possible foil or ally, she was relegated to popping up occasionally to praise or scold and was essentially forgotten by the end of the season. There were some tantalizing hints that she might have known more than she was letting on, but that could have been yet another casualty of the shift to more standalone episodes.Neil Jackson and Katia Winter in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Irving also wound up being a bit shortchanged, as the show had written him into the corner of the psych ward for murdering cops. When he was tricked into signing over his soul to Henry it looked like a rich storyline in the making but nothing much ever came of it and everything involving him seemed made up on the fly, almost as an afterthought. Despite this I was glad to see him get some terrific moments, both big and small—his sacrifice (which wound up being temporary) in the midseason finale and his intimate scenes with Jenny towards the end.John Noble and Neil Jackson in Sleepy Hollow (2013)John Noble continued to be a tremendous presence whenever he appeared. The reveal at the end of season 1 that he was the Crane’s son gave him plenty to dig into this year and Noble made Henry’s bitterness and hurt come through with intensity. Once he dispatched Moloch, though, the show didn’t seem to know what to do with him and his death wound up being pretty anticlimactic, even it did serve to set off the season endgame for the marvelous “Tempus Fugit”.Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)More problematic was the character of Katrina. She simply never worked. Not as a damsel in distress, not as the third wheel and not as an abruptly-turned villain. It certainly wasn’t for lack of trying, as the writers tried to integrate her into Team Witness several times with lukewarm results. I didn’t buy her sudden shift from ally to enemy, but it was a quick and painless way to give her character a good exit in service of the story. The trouble was that Beharie and Mison had established such rare buddy chemistry that Ichabod finally getting his lost love out of Purgatory threw a wrench into it. Even at her best, as in “Pittura Infamante”, it wasn’t enough to match any given scene between Abbie and Ichabod. That pretty much left the show with few options; either relegate her to the sidelines or kill her off.Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)But the biggest stumbling block this season came down from on high: FOX wanted to series to become less serialized, and Sleepy Hollow tried hard to accommodate the order. The result was an awkward stop-and-start second half, with several scenes of Abbie and Ichabod wondering out loud what their purpose was now that Moloch had been defeated. I had no problem with the death of Moloch, since he wasn’t much of a bad guy, but the absence of a Big Bad was immediately felt. Knowing full well that this might have been it for the series, the show rallied and came up with a very satisfying ending that conclusively wrapped up loose ends while leaving the door wide open for a return. Sleepy Hollow’s best hours have been the ones dealing with ongoing stories while the self-contained episodes were much more hit-and-miss, but this is a creative team that’s proven it knows how to put together a great show I’m hopeful that they get a chance to find that balance because when this series is in a groove it’s a joy to watch.Tom Mison in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Despite any problems Sleepy Hollow ran into, though, Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison were the rocks at the center the show. Their extraordinary chemistry has been the single greatest asset of an awfully good series from the start, able to shift gracefully from easygoing humor to partners in lockstep to dear friends dealing with life and death stakes in a single hour. They’re a microcosm of the show itself, one that at its best could deliver laughs and thrills side by side with terrific characters we cared about throughout. Despite difficulty adjusting to less-serialized storytelling in the back half, season 2 of Sleepy Hollow started and ended strong enough to measure up well with its stellar first year.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: IZOMBIE – METHOD HEAD

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MAIN CAST

Rose McIver (Power Rangers RPM)
Malcolm Goodwin (American Gangster)
Robert Buckley (Killer Movie)
David Anders (Alias)
Rahul Kohli (Holby City)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Steven Weber (2 Broke Girls)
Zack Peladeau (The Blackburn Asylum)
Skyler Day  (Sweet/Vicious)
Ryan Lane (Switched at Birth)
Jessica Harmon (Black Xmas)
Leanne Lapp  (Grave Encounters 2)
Bryce Hodgson  (X-Men 2)
Anna Galvin (Warcraft)

Going into an episode about a TV show called Zombie High, it was safe to expect things would get pretty meta and “Method Head” did not disappoint. From Clive calling the idea of a zombie show where the zombie’s the star “dumb” to learning Zombie High, despite being set in Portland, films in Seattle (the Seattle-set iZombie films in Vancouver) for tax breaks, the iZombie team clearly had a ball winking at themselves and their fans. And we can only guess there were plenty of private in-jokes too, such as when Liv said things like, “I love the cute little names the crew have for the actors!”The only thing that felt notably off was the first few minutes, with the Christmas setting and Liv eating the Santa brain. The idea of showing a bit of a passage of time was interesting, as we went into the new year, but it still left that opening feeling disconnected – and even Major finding out that, in theory, he will eventually become a zombie again, was somewhat put to the side for the remainder of the episode (though obviously that’s going to be a continuing issue).However, once the episode really got going, all of the Zombie High material was extremely funny, and I loved that the show sort of got every in-joke they could out of the way, by also bringing up the new Power Rangers movie multiple times, as a nod to Rose McIver’s Ranger past – and Ravi’s line, “If I’m hearing you right, there’s going to be another Power Rangers movie!” was so great. But what was gratifying was the episode didn’t only rest on the meta jokes, and in fact, one of the funniest moments, when Liv had to help an actor who claimed to have a photographic memory remember the term photographic memory, had nothing to do with this being a zombie show doing an episode about a zombie show.5616cde899678The first iZombie of 2016 was a highly entertaining one, as the show managed to have fun with itself in a big way. Meanwhile, Major is going in even deeper with Max Rager, even as we learn he’s being sought as the “Chaos Killer”, adding yet another obstacle to overcome.

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REVIEW: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN

Image result for ultimate spider-man
MAIN CAST (VOICES)
Drake Bell (Sueprhero Movie)
Ogie Banks (Superman vs The Elite)
Greg Cipes (Teen Titans)
Clark Gregg (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Tom Kenny (Spongebob Squarepants)
Matt Lanter (Heroes)
Chi McBride (Human Target)
Caitlyn Taylor Love (I’m With The Band)
Logan Miller (Deep Powder)
J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man)
Steven Weber (Izombie)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST
Misty Lee (Killer Kids)
Jonathan Adams (Bones)
Tara Strong (The New Batman Adventures)
Eric Bauza (Batman: Assault on Arkam)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Kevin Michael richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Stan Lee (Spider-Man)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Troy Baker (Lego Batman: The Movie)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Rob Paulsen (Teenae Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterpise)
Travis Willingham (Shelf Life)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Roger Craig Smith (Wreck-it Ralph)
Diedrich Bader (Batman: The Brave and The Bold)
Christopher Daniel Barnes (The Little Mermaid)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Jack Coleman (Heroes)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)
Rose McGowan (Planet Terror)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Stan Lee (Avengers Aseesmble)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Oded Fehr (The Mummy)
Freddy Rodriguez (Ugly Betty)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes)
Cameron Boyce (The Descendants)
Maria Canals-Barrera (Justice League)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Greg Grunberg (Heroes)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Finder)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Iain De Caestecker (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Elizabeth Henstridge (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
James Marsters (Caprica)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Billy West (Futurama)

I recently watched  Ultimate Spider-Man and I can honestly say that I have never wanted to stop watching a Spider-Man cartoon before in my life… until now. I have been a big fan of the Spider-Man comic series for many years and have liked almost all of the cartoon iterations of him, but this one just hurts to watch. I understand that Spider-Man is supposed to be a smart-mouthed teen who likes to make jokes while fighting crime, which is my favorite part about the character, but this show just takes it to an extreme.


I think one of the biggest problems for me was how much the stories are broken up by all of the “cut away” scenes.  I understand that Spider-Man is a show made for children and I get that the characters aren’t going to be nearly as serious as they are in the comics, but I feel like this was just too far from the source material for me to enjoy it. Another thing that bothered me was how just a few years ago we had, in my opinion, one of the best Spider-Man shows to date, Spectacular Spider-Man, and it was canceled in only it’s second season. I had really high hopes for Ultimate Spider-Man to fill the void that Spectacular Spider-Man left, but it just didn’t deliver at all.

As far as the voice acting on the show goes, they all seem to have done a really good job… with what they were given to read. So much of the writing in this show just seems so forced.why was Spectacular Spider-Man so much better and the most honest answer that I can give you is that it seems as though Marvel actually put a lot of work into Spectacular Spider-Man. I’m not saying that they didn’t put a lot of work into Ultimate Spider-Man, but it’s much harder to see in this one. The character designs in Spectacular Spider-Man may not have hit all of the right points for some people, but I really enjoyed it. The action in the show looked really good and it was easy to follow exactly what was happening, because you didn’t have a bunch of blur that you had to try and see everything through. The story for Spectacular Spider-Man was your standard Spider-Man fare, but while it was a show essentially for kids, it also appealed to many adults as well.


I really wanted to like Ultimate Spider-Man, but I just didn’t. I feel like if this show was about just another teen superhero other than Spider-Man it would have been much more forgivable, but for it to take such a dump on such a beloved character, it is just really sad to see. Now all that I can do is hope that the new Spider-Man movie can really bring something good to the table.

REVIEW: BATMAN VS. TWO-FACE

CAST (VOICES)

Adam West (Family Guy)
Burt Ward (Futurama)
William Shatner (Star Trek: TOS)
Julie Newmar (Return To The Batcave)
Steven Weber (2 Broke Girls)
Jim Ward (Ultimate Avengers)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Lynne Marie Stewart (Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure)
Jeff Bergman (The Cleveland Show)
Wally Wingert (The Ant Bully)
William Salyers (Pandora’s Clock)
Sirena Irwin (Justice League: Throne of Atlantis)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Lee Meriwether (The Munsters Today)

Batman and Robin are invited to a top-secret demonstration hosted by Professor Hugo Strange and his assistant Dr. Harleen Quinzel, that may eventually change the future of Gotham forever. Along the way, Batman takes a stop at Gotham State Penitentiary to visit Catwoman (whose suicide attempt from the first movie somehow failed) to give her a book on poetry by Elizabeth Barret Browning; something to keep her occupied for the next 36 months of her life until she is let out of prison for good. At the laboratory, they meet district attorney and Bruce Wayne’s ally in the war against crime, Harvey Dent, who is famous for having stopped a coin counterfeit, keeping a two faced quarter as a souvenir from the case.Batman-vs-Two-Face-previewHugo Strange believes that good and evil are all but one-sided and has created an “Evil Extractor” to which the volunteering criminals, Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Egghead and Mr. Freeze, will be purified of their corruption. Batman bluffs it off, saying that there are no easy fixes to the straight and narrow path, but Strange conducts his experiment anyway, despite the fact that it will make the jobs of Batman, Robin and Harvey obsolete. All goes well until the Joker entices his compadres to overload the machine. Noticing this, Professor Strange orders Dr. Quinzel to shut it down…but is too late, and Harvey (as opposed to acid from the comic book mythos) is horribly scarred by the explosion of the containment vat, with Batman being successful in saving the right side of his face.2Harvey, now re-christened Two Face, goes on a crime spree as seen in the opening credits, all of which his attempts are foiled by the Dynamic Duo. He is eventually whisked to a hospital where his face has been given reconstructive surgery. His sanity has apparently been restored as well. Now returning to his old job (as the assistant to the assistant district attorney), Harvey spends the next six months in charge of his own fate, but at the same time, King Tut and his henchmen have been robbing an biplane while at Wayne Manor, Aunt Harriet is getting ready for a soiree in Bruce and Dick’s place while they investigate the crime as Batman and Robin. After implying comparisons between King Tut and Two Face, Batman and Robin return to the Batcave where they realize that a double decker bus company are planning to hold the millionaires, including Alfred and Aunt Harriet, hostage. They arrive on the bus via Batmobile and fight Tut and the Tutlings while Alfred escorts the patrons to safety. Unfortunately, the Dynamic Duo are subdued by a pair of twin snakes with knockout venom.4In an urn trap as seen in King Tut’s debut episode, Batman and Robin are to be entombed in the foundations of the Pyramid Towers that are soon to be erected above the digging spot where they are trapped. Cement pours over them and when it appears as though they are doomed, they press the back of their soles against the sides of the jars, triggering the Batjets. They fly to confront King Tut in one final battle and a brick restores his memory. As they take him away, a pair of twins seize the jewels that were stolen by the Tutlings. Batman, Robin, Commissioner Gordon and Chief O’Hara interrogate King Tut as Harvey waits in the shadows, with O’Hara constantly hitting Tut on the head with his baton. Lucille Diamond, the king’s defendant, intervenes and ushers them out of the room so that she can speak to him. At Tut’s trial, she implicates that the concussion is nothing more than a threat to a mild-mannered man. Chief O’Hara tearfully confesses to hitting Tut and Harvey calls Batman as his next witness, but Professor Mackel Roy himself admits his guilt, ready to suffer the minimum penalty of being rehabilitated in prison. After the sentencing, Harvey shares a highball with Bruce Wayne, much to Dick’s annoyance at bearing the hardships of a third wheel.3Harvey is then due to a attend a charity for underprivileged twins at the Winning Pair casino just as Bruce and Dick resume their identities as Batman and Robin once more. A package has arrived at Commissioner Gordon’s office, a World Atlas book marked for Batman…with its pages eaten away in three holes. Robin surmises the culprit to be Bookworm and the duo race off in the Batmobile to find him at the Gotham City Library where a fight ensues and the three priceless books that Bookworm had his eyes on have disappeared. Batman and Robin deduce that the stolen books were all about duality, but Two Face has already been reformed and try to find another way behind it. Regardless, they head to an abandoned sign factory with Two Face and the twins waiting for them. After defeating the twins, Two Face pins them with a large number two and the flip of his coin landing on the right side spares their lives. Once they have left, Batman believes that Harvey has made a lot of enemies in his career and they are all out to destroy it. Harvey, meanwhile is having some problems of his own after he makes a phone call to… Two Face, who kidnaps Professor Strange as part of their scheme.004a2326Robin is punished to his room by Batman after nearly getting into a row about Harvey’s involvement in Two Face’s plans and Catwoman, who by now has been stood up, escapes the pen by switching places with Lucilee Diamond. Following Harvey to the laboratory, Robin is ambushed by Two Face and Professor Strange corrupts him with the same gas of the extractor that mutates the left side of his body. Batman is forced to fight his beloved sidekick and cures him back at the Batcave, following Two Face to the casino where he is in fact revealed to be Dent, having suppressed his bad side (á la Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde). Once the Dynamic Duo are strapped to a large silver dollar, he unmasks Batman and deduces Robin’s true identity, then Two Face invites the Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Mr. Freeze, Egghead, Shame, Clock King and Catwoman to an auction for the highest bidder of Batman’s true identity. With Catwoman’s help, Batman and Robin defeat the villains, but Two Face gets away on the biplane stolen by King Tut, intending to use the evil gas to remake Gotham City in his image. The Dynamic Duo manage to shoot him down towards a flaming factory where Batman goes one on one with Two Face having completely taking over Harvey’s body. In a battle of wits, Batman urges Harvey to regain self control and he does, defeating Two Face for good as they escape the factory.batman-vs-two-face-trailerThe next morning, Batman and Robin use the Batwing to cure the infected Gothamites and return that night to Wayne Manor where Harvey holds an auction for a bachelor party. Batman appears before everyone, and to his delight, ends up having the first person to bid for him being none other than Catwoman. In the post credits there is a memoriam for Adam West, who portrayed Batman. It also stated “Rest Well, Bright Knight”.1In the hearts of some, maybe even all, Batman fans, Adam West will always hold a cherished place. Batman Vs. Two-Face doesn’t satirize like its predecessor, but fully embraces the original series’ campiness, with one concession: the inclusion of a villain considered too dark and gritty for the series at the time. According to legend, Clint Eastwood was all set to take on the role of Two-Face before studio execs thought he’d scare off young viewers and put the kibosh on it. Always leave ’em wanting more. It’s sad for me to think of what might have been. If only someone had the brilliant idea of bringing Adam West and Burt Ward in to revisit the classic series in animated form earlier, we may have been able to witness the two squaring off against Poison Ivy or Scarecrow or Harley Quinn. But, as it is, this is as good of a send off as our Bright Knight could ever have asked for.

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.