REVIEW: BATMAN NINJA

CAST

Roger Craig Smith (Batman Unlimited)
Tony Hale (American Ultra)
Grey DeLisle (Bolt)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Adam Croasdell (Reign)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Yuri Lowenthal (Batman: Gotham By Gaslight)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Eric Bauza (Ultimate Spider-Man)
Tom Kenny (Super Hero Squad)

Batman Ninja (2018)Batman Ninja is an impressive anime spectacle that sends some of DC Comics most iconic characters back in time to feudal Japan. Far from the technical comforts of his Batcave, this take on the Caped Crusader sees Batman trying to find a way to defeat the Joker (Tony Hale), Harley Quinn (Tara Strong), and other rogues gallery members without the use of his gadgets after Gorilla Grodd’s time displacement machine goes haywire in Arkham Asylum.Batman Ninja (2018)The first thing about Batman Ninja that stands out is the quality of the animation. The movie is simply gorgeous. All the details from the sky and foliage that covers the landscape, to the facial features and costume designs of the heroes and villains are meticulously crafted. It’s no surprise that Takashi Okazaki, the creator of the Afro Samurai manga series, is the lead character designer.Batman Ninja (2018)That same animated splendor is carried over to the action sequences. Because of the Japanese anime style, Batman and the Joker move in ways never seen before. When Batman confronts the Joker in a wooded area, the two combatants fly through the trees like something out of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. There’s a kind of magic to the fight choreography that’s surreal. Sure, there’s no way Bruce Wayne could ever move like this in the “real world,” but in this animated reality, anything is possible. The fact that Batman Ninja leans into that concept elevates this movie beyond even the best recent DC animated films.magnificent-seven-2016-0a1ea441-c1a9-4f91-8d60-53692cc0db36One of the many aspects about Batman that makes him so compelling is his ability to solve complex problems in stressful situations. Afro Samurai writer Leo Chu’s engaging script provides Batman with the difficult task of trying to defeat Joker and the other Arkham inmates without the gizmos he’s come to rely on over the years. This take on the Dark Knight has to get back to basics and adapt to this brand new environment, and he rises to the occasion. Batman doesn’t dismiss the old ways of combat, but instead embraces them in the hopes that he’ll find a way to save Japan from these 21st century criminals. And let’s face it: it’s just cool to see Batman as a samurai.Batman Ninja (2018)As for the Joker, turns out he’s also pretty good with a sword. Oh, and did we forget to mention that he has a giant mechanized castle? Yeah, Batman is definitely in over his head on this one, but after decades of seeing these two battle each other in different mediums, it’s refreshing and exciting to see something we haven’t witnessed before. Tony Hale (Arrested Development) voices the character for the English language version of Batman Ninja, giving one of the best performances of the crazed clown since Mark Hamill back in the Batman: The Animated Series days. His chilling, maniacal laugh is frightening, giving him a level of menace that makes him a formidable foe.Batman Ninja (2018)The other Arkham inmates that traveled back in time include Poison Ivy, Deathstroke, Penguin, Two-Face, and of course, Gorilla Grodd. Along with the Joker, their goal is to gain enough power to rule over the feuding Japanese states and change history for their own benefit. While it’s cool to see all of them wearing their new Samurai-inspired costumes, this lineup of Batman rogues serves mostly as a backdrop to the main attraction. Batman Ninja is a Batman and Joker movie through and through, and Chu’s script rightly keeps the focus on them. Even Harley Quinn feels like an afterthought, though Strong’s voice over work is always top-notch.Batman Ninja (2018)As for the way everything comes together, the final act of the film is breathtaking, making me wish I could pause every frame to take in all of the detail. We won’t go into spoilers here, but let’s just say that my inner 9-year-old self was blown away by what was happening on screen as the final battle took place.
Batman Ninja takes everything great about the masked vigilante and twists it in a way we’ve never seen, creating a visual marvel unlike any other Batman animated movie before it. DC tried something new by bringing in visionary Japanese animators to offer a refreshing take on one of the company’s most beloved characters, and the finished product not only built upon the great adaptations that have come before, but surpassed them.

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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.

REVIEW: THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

CAST

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

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

REVIEW: BATMAN: GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT

CAST (VOICES)

Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek)
Jennifer Carpenter (Limitless TV)
Anthony Head (Buffy)
Chrtis Coz (American Dad)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Grey DeLisle (Bolt)
Bob Joles (Puss In Boots)
Yuri Lowenthal (Legion of Super Heroes)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Jokes)
Kari Wuhrer (Eight Legged Freaks)

Bruce Greenwood in Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (2018)In Victorian era Gotham City, Bruce Wayne is operating as the bat-garbed vigilante, the Batman, who is feared by the guilty and the innocent alike. One night, Batman saves a wealthy couple from being robbed by three orphans (Dickie, Jason and Timmy) and defeats their handler, Big Bill Dust. At the same time, Ivy, an orphan turned exotic dancer and street worker becomes the latest victim of Jack the Ripper. The murders keep happening night after night; citizens of Gotham believe the Batman and Jack to be the same man. Stage actress Selina Kyle, a protector of the women from “Skinner’s End”, verbally attacks Gotham policemen James Gordon and Chief Bullock for their inaction in stopping Jack. Later that night, Selina acts as bait for Jack. It works, but Jack gets the upper hand during their fight until the arrival of Batman. After escaping, Batman asks Gordon to help him bring the Ripper down.Jennifer Carpenter in Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (2018)At the Monarch Theatre with his friend Harvey Dent, Bruce meets Selina and the two bond at the Dionysus Club. Bruce realizes that not only were the two of them taken in by Sister Leslie, but that some of the murdered girls were orphans formerly under Leslie’s care. Bruce rushes out to save Leslie from the Ripper but is too late, as Jack has already murdered her. At the crime scene, Bruce finds a bloody Dionysus Club pen, meaning Jack has to be one of Gotham’s wealthy. At Sister Leslie’s funeral, Bruce is met by Hugo Strange, claiming he knows the killer and wants to meet with Batman. Bruce also is met by Marlene, an old woman who claims she saw him sneaking around when Sister Leslie was killed. Alfred stops the three orphans from pick-pocketing him and decides to help them. At Arkham Asylum, Hugo is attacked by Jack and is killed by his own patients. Batman chases Jack on top of an airship in a fight that leaves Batman wounded as the airship explodes and Jack escapes. Batman is chased by police, only to be saved by Selina when he is nearly cornered. After seeing Batman is Bruce Wayne, she takes him to her home where they spend the night. The next morning, after the death of Marlene is discovered, Bruce is arrested by Gordon and Dent, who believe him to be the Ripper.Kari Wuhrer and Scott Patterson in Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (2018)Sent to Blackgate Penitentiary, Bruce is met by Selina, urging him to reveal he’s Batman to clear his name and help save the girls from Jack. When he refuses, she decides to tell Gordon herself, revealing she has one of his batarangs. Bribing a guard to deliver a coded message to his manor, Bruce escapes after staging a prison fight. Bruce meets with the orphans, who deliver him his suit and a steampunk motorcycle. Selina meets with Gordon at the Gotham City World’s Fair and discovers to her horror that Gordon is Jack the Ripper. Batman discovers this too when he is at Gordon’s home and discovers his secret room exposing his gruesome hobbies and past as a butcher. Batman also sees Gordon’s wife, Barbara-Eileen Gordon, with scars on the left side of her face that has made her into a lunatic praising her husband for treating her sins as a woman. Selina is injected with a drug but manages to use the Fair’s searchlight to create a Bat-Signal. Batman arrives and fights Gordon into a Ferris wheel, where Gordon reveals his holy work is to rid Gotham from what he sees as filth, from the poor to the criminals but also immigrants and anarchists. The Ferris wheel lights on fire and begins to collapse. Selina escapes, while Batman watches as Gordon burns himself alive. Luckily, Batman and Selina are saved by Alfred and the orphans. As they escape, they watch as the World’s Fair burns down, hoping it will be replaced with something better.Scott Patterson and Jennifer Carpenter in Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (2018)While I will say I’m not familiar with the source material, I did enjoy the movie a lot. I liked the setting, the references to the time period, the characters, the action, pretty much all of it. I also give them props for making Jim Gordon the villain, I was thinking it would just be Dent or some variation of Victor Zsasz or Joker, but they took a chance and I think it worked. Another great adition to The Dc Original Animated Movie.

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 UNLIMITED: MECHS VS MUTANTS

CAST (VOICES)

Roger Craig Smith (Avengers Assemble)
Chris Diamantopoulos (About A Boy TV)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Charlie Schlatter (Diagnosis Murder)
Dana Snyder (Open Season 3)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Richard Epcar (Power Rangers)
Oded Fehr (V)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Dave B. Mitchell (The Lorax)
Troy Baker (Marvel Anime)

Image result for batman unlimited mechs vs mutantsBatman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants is half Batman and Batfamily adventure. This time around for Batman, Robin (Damian Wayne), Flash, and Green Arrow vs. Penguin, Bane, Chemo, Mr. Freeze and Clayface. This is the third in the Batman Unlimited direct to video animated films.The latest in the toy-centric Batman Unlimited storyline transforms from a commercial to current Dynamic Duo adventure in a frozen Gotham City. Roger Craig Smith (Batman: Arkham Origins) returns as Batman and introducing Boy Wonder Damian Wayne voiced by Lucien Dodge (Fate/Zero). The Damian/Batman relationship is explored a bit here, in a surprising move that wholly embraces the current DC Rebirth status quo.Image result for batman unlimited mechs vs mutantsThere is no mention of Batman being Damian’s father, but it is hinted that he is the grandchild of Ra’s al Ghul when Robin awakens from a bad dream screaming, “Grandfather, NO!”. Pennyworth encourages Robin not to stay up too late studying to become Robin, as The Dark Knight has enrolled him into a “Robin Training Program”.Image result for batman unlimited mechs vs mutantsWill Friedle (Batman Beyond) appears as Nightwing and a simpatico brother to young Master Wayne. When faced with the threats lobbied by a team-up of the exiled Penguin (Dana Snyder) and Mr. Freeze (Oded Fehr) who recruits Killer Croc, Chemo, Clayface and Bane, Batman and Robin enlist the aide of Leaguesters Flash (Charlie Schlatter) and Green Arrow (Chris Diamantopoulos). Good guys round out their team with Commissioner Gordon and Dr. Kirk Langstrom.Genius scientist Victor Fries comes up with a formula to mix the compositional makeup of Bane, Chemo and Clayface to develop monsters capable of crushing cars and stomping through Gotham. Croc is the first to get juiced up, growing ten times his size and making the citizens of Gotham run for their lives. Of course, this is the Godzilla movie part, that frankly works pretty well.Image result for batman unlimited mech vs. mutantsWhat makes this Godzilla-type movie trope work really well is the cartooning and archetypes of these villains filling the Kaiju role. Batman has no choice but  to fight size with size. Batman and Green Arrow are able to pilot their own Mech suits to punish the bad guys before they have a chance to destroy Gotham’s Police Department and the rest of the city. Green Arrow is even conscious of which buildings to destroy in the process (by asking the computer which ones he owns). By placing a seed of doubt in Damian’s character early in the movie, he is able to redeem himself by playing detective himself and helping Batman problem solve. Green Arrow/Ollie Queen serves as a good uncle figure to Robin, who uses his years of experience dealing with Batman to assure Robin that he is important to the Batcave operations. Flash fulfills his normal role as comedian and lab scientist.Image result for batman unlimited mechs vs mutantsWhile not the grim and gritty, this Batman Unlimited release turns out a decent story. Of course, the allied bad guys find a way to stop getting along all together when the heroes’ strength lies in unity. While I was at first skeptical of the gigantic yellow Batsymbol on Bruce’s chest, it is growing on me, ever so slowly. Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants is fun for most ages, riding the fine line between serving the fans and serving the general audience, and selling toys.

REVIEW: BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE

CAST

Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Mark Hamill (The Flash)
Tara Strong (Sabrina Goes Top Rome)
Ray Wise (Agent Carter)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
JP Karliak (Skylanders)
Andrew Kishino (SUperman Vs The Elite)
Nolan North (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Maury Sterling (The A-Team)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Bruce Timm (Batman: Year One)
Anna Vocino (Free Radio)
Kari Wahlgren (Justice League vs Teen Titans)

On patrol, Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) fails to stop a robbery, but manages to stop one fleeing criminal with help from Batman. Unknown to Batgirl, the robbers’ leader and the nephew of crime lord Francesco named Paris Franz develops a dangerous obsession with her. As she starts receiving messages from Franz, Batman shares his concerns that she is not taking the situation seriously. After Franz tricks her into finding his uncle’s dead body, Batman becomes even more concerned about her safety and takes her off the case. Outraged, Batgirl starts attacking Batman both verbally and physically. She eventually subdues him, shares a kiss with him, and they have sex. The next night, Batgirl tries to apologize to Batman, but he is ambushed by Franz and his men prompting her to go to his aid. When she arrives, she fights Franz and beats him, but relents from killing him. Realizing Batman was right, she retires from crime-fighting.

Sometime later, Batman investigates a murder scene with Detective Harvey Bullock and concludes that Joker, currently held at Arkham Asylum, might be behind the crime. He goes to Arkham to talk to him, only to discover that he had escaped and put Franz as a decoy in his place. He then learns that Joker attacked Barbara and her father Commissioner James Gordon, shooting and permanently paralyzing her in front of Gordon before kidnapping the latter. Joker takes Gordon to an amusement park where he strips the Commissioner naked and subjects him to torture, showing him photos he took of Barbara after shooting her and stripping her as well.

While the present-day story progresses, flashbacks are used to explain Joker’s origins. It is revealed that he was an engineer who quit his job at a chemical company to become a stand-up comedian, only to fail miserably. Desperately trying to support his pregnant wife Jeannie, he agrees to guide two criminals through his former workplace at the chemical plant in order to rob a card company next door. In turn, the criminals tell him that he has to use the Red Hood’s mask and caped costume, intending to frame him. During the planning, the police inform him that Jeannie and her baby both died in a household accident. Grief-stricken, he tries to withdraw from the plan, but the criminals talk him into keeping his commitment to them.

At the plant, the criminals have him don the red mask and cape. Once inside, they run into security personnel, and a shootout occurs. The criminals are gunned down and the engineer is confronted by Batman, who is investigating the disturbance. Terrified, the engineer trips and falls into the chemical plant’s waste pound, managing to escape Batman in the process, and is swept through a pipe leading to the outside. Once outside, he realizes that the chemicals have permanently bleached his skin chalk-white, stained his lips ruby-red, and dyed his hair bright green. The entire ordeal, combined with Jeannie’s death, drives him into madness and leads him to become the Joker.

Back in the present day and after many unsuccessful attempts, Batman manages to find Gordon after Joker sends him a clue that leads him to the amusement park. He saves Gordon while the Joker retreats into the funhouse. Despite his ordeals, Gordon remains sane and he demands Batman to capture Joker “by the book”. Batman follows Joker through the funhouse as Joker tries to persuade him that the world is just one big joke and thus not worth fighting for. He also states that just one bad day is enough to drive an ordinary man insane, and mocks Batman by correctly guessing that it was one bad day that drove Batman into becoming a vigilante.

Batman eventually subdues the Joker, tells him that Gordon remained stable despite everything he suffered, and concludes that Joker is alone in his madness. He then attempts to reach out to Joker, offering his help in rehabilitation in order to put an end to their everlasting fight, which Batman fears may one day result in their deaths. Joker declines, commenting it is too late for Batman to help him. He then says that the situation reminds him of a joke which he proceeds to tell. Batman starts laughing at the punch line accompanying Joker’s maniacal laughter as the screen cuts to black.

In a mid-credits scene, Barbara is in her wheelchair entering a secret room in her apartment. As she turns on the computers, Oracle’s logo appears on the screen.

A Good adaption. I enjoyed the added scenes to the story. The animation and voice acting is good. The movie has been criticized because people nowadays don’t seem to understand that men will behave like men such as the sex scene with batgirl and batman or the sexual implications in some joker scenes. Overall I found it to be very good but watch it yourself and make up your own mind about it.