ORBzine - Superheroes Movie Reviews

TITLE & REVIEW

Green Hornet

Green Hornet Playboy Seth Rogan takes over the family business when his father, Newspaper magnate Tom Wilkinson, dies in unlikely circumstances. With the help of kung-fu super-genius chauffeur Kato, and the unwitting advice of criminologist Cameron Diaz , our hero poses as a super-villain in order to take on local crime boss Chemnofsky (Christopher Waltz - Spectre).

This works both as a tongue-in-cheek camped-up superhero story, in the light-hearted manner of the 1960s Batman stories, and as a Hollywood 3-D Action blockbuster. Kato does not steal the show so much as have it handed to him. But in the wake of Bruce Lee biopic Dragon , what else could we expect? To reduce him to the role of mere chauffeur would be unthinkable.

  • Search This Site
  • Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008)

    Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008) The heroic young FBI Agent who was the audience proxy in the first movie has been written out. Hellboy (Ron Perlman - Alien Resurrection ), apparently jealous of his relationship with Liz ( Selma Blair ), had him reassigned to a remote facility in Alaska or wherever. This means that Hellboy himself, as the title character, gets more screen time. There is also a new team leader, a bossy German who provides even more comic relief.

    Prince Nuada has returned, and takes his place as ruler of the Elven kingdom. His plan is into conquer the Earth and enslave or destroy humanity. Luckily the heroes have another claimant to the throne - in this case it is Nuada's twin sister. Well, if this general plot sounds familiar that is because it has been recently re-used by Marvel ( Black Panther (2018) ) and DC ( Aquaman (2019) ).

    The superhero team go undercover in the Troll market, a gathering place of non-human creatures that live unnoticed by the human population. This sets the story in a different setup than the original movie - instead of fighting human cultists, the heroes now police a non-human subculture. Abe Sapien (Doug Jones - Shape of Water ) falls for the Elven Princess, and it is mutual.

    The Golden Army is concealed under the Giant's Causeway in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Although some long shots with stand-ins were filmed on location, the main shots with the featured cast members were done on studio sets elsewhere.

  • Hellboy (2005)
  • Search This Site
  • Jumper (2008)

    Jumper (2008) Hayden Christiansen ( Attack of the Clones ) has superpowers - not Jedi powers, but good old teleportation. Naturally, he has no idea of how to use his powers to the best of his ability. He does not help people, he merely leads a shallow and vain existence. Robbing banks, for example - the kind of thing that classic supervillains get up to. And his clumsiness brings him to the attention of people in authority.

    Samuel L Jackson ( Deep Blue Sea ) confronts people with superpowers, like in the Avengers Assemble series. However, this time he is not hiring - he is firing! This Jedi battle (Anakin vs Mace Windu) gives Hayden an excuse to go back to his school-yard crush ( Rachel Bilson ). However, he stupidly puts her at risk as well.

    Billy Elliot ( Fantastic Four (2015) ) is a fellow jumper, living off the grid since Sam Jack killed his parents. He wants revenge, but realises that Hayden is a liability. Can our heroes team up long enough to save the girl and defeat the villain?

    The most unrealistic thing in the film? The idea that working-class alkie Michael Rooker ( Guardians of the Galaxy ) could have married middle-class skirt-suit wearing Diane Lane . But watch out for a brief appearance by Kristen Stewart at the end, as the story is set up for a sequel.

  • Search This Site
  • Non-MCU Marvel Movies

    Captain America (1979)

    Captain America (1979) This is a made-for-TV movie from the late 1970s, and it certainly looks it. Remember, it is from the era in which Nicholas Hammond played The Amazing Spider-Man (1978) .

    Steve Rogers (Reb Brown - Space Mutiny ) is a US Army veteran. Not a super-soldier from World War Two, just an average grunt who was in Vietnam. He gets dosed with a super-soldier formula, and goes hunting for some commie spies. Well, it is the Cold War. Rather than fight super-villains, he only fights normal humans.

    Possibly the best bit about this is the fact that Captain America has a motorbike. Well, it certainly justifies the fact that he dresses like Evel Keneval. Best of all, his bulletproof shield slots onto the front of the bike so it can protect him while he is riding.

  • Search This Site
  • Captain America (1990)

    Captain America (1990) This is quite different from the 2010 version. The lack of CGI technology and the relatively limited budget are only part of the problem. Whereas the newer version of the film allowed the title character to act as a soldier (wearing camouflage and using a gun) in this version they were extremely limited in what they could do. As a result the so-called hero comes across as very weak.

    The origin story is the same, with a few changes. The Red Skull is Italian, which makes the Dubrovnik locations less incongruous. The first conflict between the two super-soldiers is a one-all draw: Captain America ends up being knocked out of the war, but the Red Skull's super-rocket (V2 at launch, V1 when it reaches the USA) fails too. They will not meet again until the 1990s -

    By 1993, Ronny Cox ( Robocop, Total Recall ) is POTUS and his best buddy (Ned Beatty) is a top journalist. They try to bring Captain America back into the fold, but he would rather hang out with his 1940s GF and her identical daughter.

    POTUS wants to pass an eco-friendly law. Rebel General Darren McGavin ( Night Stalker ) secretly joins forces with the Red Skull to subvert the US Government. But first they must get rid of Captain America. The Red Skull sends his daughter ( Francesca Neri ) and her euro-trash catalogue model friends to do his dirty work. For some reason, Asian-American stuntman Jeff Imada is one of her Euro-goons.

  • Search This Site
  • Blade: Trinity

    Blade: Trinity The Vampires (led by Parker Posey and Callum Keith Rennie - BSG 2003 ) have a cunning plan. They revive the oldest vamp in the world (a very badly miscast Dominic Purcell - John Doe ). Then they set Blade (Wesley Snipes - Gallow Walkers ) up, to be wanted by FBI Agent James Remar ( Shannara Chronicles ).

    Blade has to team up with new sidekicks, the Nightstalkers:

    This is the weakest of the Blade trilogy. It does not offer anything new, and is considered an abortive backdoor pilot for a Nightstalkers spin-off series.

  • Search This Site
  • Elektra (2005)

    Elektra (2005) Instead of making Sin City , Rodriguez and Miller should have adapted Elektra: Assassin. Unfortunately they did not, which is why we are left with this effort. The best thing about it is that Ben Affleck's cameo (as Daredevil ) has been cut. Presumably the film-makers wanted to distance this film from the original, where Garner's character first appeared. Unfortunately they failed - this is just as bad as the original.

    Elektra is no longer a vigilante. She was raised from the dead, trained as a Ninja by Terence Stamp ( Superman 2, Star Wars: TPM ), then went freelance as an assassin. Now she is hired to kill the father of a girl she befriends. The girl's dad is a guy from E.R., basically set up as a love interest. That particular plot cliche is worked in for no apparent reason, and makes no sense.

    The villains come after Elektra and her new friends. Not only are there evil Ninjas, but even minor-league supervillains like Natassia Malthe . This guarantees that there will be lots of people for Elektra to fight, in a series of action sequences meant to make up for the lousy plot.

  • Search This Site
  • Fantastic Four (2015)

    Fantastic Four (2015) Yet another reboot of a Marvel comics-inspired story. It is not part of the MCU (Marvel Comics Universe), so there is no Stan Lee cameo and no after-credits sequence. In fact, if you were to change the names then there is nothing that really marks this as a Marvel storyline at all.

    The story is about Reed Richards (Miles Teller - Divergent ), a High School pupil in the USA who wants to build a teleporter in his garage. He borrows parts from his classmate, Ben Grimm (Billy Elliott - Jumper (2008) ) whose dad owns a scrap-yard. Yes, this is basically a kids’ show like Explorers . However, the kids have limited success until the school science faire a few years later …

    A super-scientist named Doctor Storm (Reg Querns Cathay - Outcast ) and his adopted daughter Sue ( Kate Mara , playing ten years younger than her real age) attend the science faire to locate and recruit the next generation of super-geniuses. In a movie about pre-teen children who build teleportation machines, this is not the most improbable part of the story. Reed signs up, enticed by Querns’ science and Kate’s charms. Ben gets left behind …

    Reed teams up with Sue’s brother (the token black guy) and a Eurotrash slacker named Viktor Von Doom (who the TBG racially slurs by calling him Adolf). They build the teleporter machine, and travel to another universe. Reed even invites his old buddy Ben Grimm along for the ride. However, the alien world’s energies are unleashed on them …

    The four survivors have strange powers. Ben gets hit with rocks, so he gets the power of rocks. Johnny Storm gets hit with flames, so he gets flame-power … and he can fly. Reed gets elastic power, somehow … And Sue Storm gets invisibility power - and force-field power, for some reason.

    Ben gets co-opted by the US Military-Industrial complex. Johnny Storm is keen to follow his example, and do not-so-secret missions for the USA. Sue and her father play along so they can repair the teleporter and find a cure to Johnny’s super-powers. And Reed Richards mistrusts the US Military-Industrial complex so much that he goes on the run.

    Eventually, in the third act, our heroes unite to stop Viktor Von Doom from destroying the Earth.

  • Search This Site
  • Animations

    Big Hero 6

    Big Hero 6 This is a Manga-type effort from John Lassiter’s animation studio. The protagonist is a teenage boy who builds miniature robots that he uses to compete in robot-fighting games. His big brother persuades the kid to help in his University project - a human-sized robot that provides a full range of medical treatments. The kid’s own application to attend the University is his new invention - self-assembling lego bricks. Basically, they are like the Replicator cells from Stargate SG-1 . Unfortunately, tragedy strikes.

    The kid and his new friend the medical robot discover that a supervillain is mass-producing the replicator cells. The supervillain wants to use them to repair an actual Stargate !

  • Search This Site
  • Incredibles, The

    Incredibles, The This is a big-budget CGI animation taking a humourous (and cynical) look at the superhero genre. Superheros Mr Incredible and token black guy (Samuel L Jackson - Deep Blue Sea ) get sued, just like the Ghostbusters were after their first film. They end up being forced into retirement. Mr Incredible gets a day job working for Insurance company bureaucrat Wallace Shawn ( Princess Bride ). Naturally, this cannot end well.

    Luckily, Mr Incredible is headhunted by an anonymous employer (Jason Lee - Dogma ) who hires him to sort out an enormous killer robot that is running on the loose on a remote island. Naturally, this cannot end well either. Luckily, his wife and bickering offspring also have superpowers, so they come to save him.

  • Search This Site
  • Incredibles 2, The

    Incredibles 2, The Superheroes are still outlawed. The Incredible family are in Witness Protection, and despite trying to save the city from a rampaging super-villain they still get a raw deal from the authorities. The police would rather just sit back and collect the insurance money.

    A billionaire wants to persuade the government to decriminalise superheroes. He needs a superhero as a figurehead. Elastigirl gets the job, while her husband stays at home to look after the super-kids.

    Elastigirl gets a new arch-enemy, a hooded figure named Screen-Slaver. He hijacks television signals, and brainwashes the viewers by hypnotising them. This seems like a terrible waste of a world-changing technology, as Elastigirl later points out. However, the super-villain has a secret agenda.

    The government is impressed with Elastigirl's heroism, and intends to create a world-wide treaty decriminalising the use of superpowers. A hundred VIPs from countries all over the world will gather in one place at the same time to sign the treaty. Hmm, we can only wonder what the villain's target in the third act will be.

    The main storyline is well-done but predictable. In contrast, Mr Incredible's sub-plot of looking after the kids is less thrilling but actually turns out to be important. The kids have powers, including the baby.

  • Search This Site
  • Wreck-It Ralph

    Wreck-It Ralph This is the story of a supervillain who wants to be a hero for a change. He goes on a hero's journey, complete with character development and redemption. If this all sounds familiar, the concept is not unlike other cartoons ( Despicable Me, MegaMind ). This time the animation is provided by Pixar, the studio that did Toy Story ), and the characters are computer game AIs instead of toys.

    Our anti-hero is Ralph (John C Reilly - Gangs of New York ), the villain in a 1980s arcade game. He is sick of his rival Fix-It Felix (Kenneth from 30 Rock) getting all the glory. Instead, he sneaks into another game, a violent 1st-Person Shooter named Hero's Duty. His plan is to win a medal so he can impress everyone with his bravery. Naturally, it all goes terribly wrong.

    Ralph gets trapped in Candyland, where he befriends a Glitch ( Sarah Silverman ) who wants to win the Sugar Rush go-cart race. Felix and a lady Space Marine ( Jane Lynch ) try to clean up Ralph's mess, by preventing xenomorph Bugs from taking over Candyland.

  • Search This Site
  • Ralph Breaks The Internet (2018)

    Ralph Breaks The Internet (2018) Our anti-hero Wreck-It Ralph (John C Reilly - Gangs of New York ) is back. He and Vanelope ( Sarah Silverman ) are still hanging out in her racing game, until someone breaks the handle on the arcade machine. The machine will be junked unless someone can buy a second-hand handle on Ebay.

    Ralph and Vanelope take advantage of the arcade's Wi-Fi. The Internet is portrayed as a city. For exampls, Websites are skyscrapers. Ralph and Vanelope, as AIs, interact with users' avatars and website software alike.

    Vanelope goes out to get publicity, and discovers what happens when all entertainment is owned by Disney. Some stormtroopers chase her so she hides in the dressing room of the Disney Princesses. Yes, this is the scene from the trailers. The Princesses complain about being rescued by a big strong man. Well, in the more recent films that was certainly not the case. Also, Ralph is Vanelope's friend - not her love interest. He was the protagonist of the original film, so by definition he was central to the outcome.

    The final act is about Ralph trying to overcome his own insecurities.

  • Search This Site
  • Batman Franchise

    Batman (1966)

    Batman (1966) This is the feature-length big-budget version of the camp 1960s TV show. Batman and Commissioner Gordon do not know which super-criminals are at large, so they have a minion check the records. Hence the existence of Police Chief O'Hara, a negative racial stereotype of Oirish-Americans. A decade later and this role would become standard for African-American men, thanks to Starsky and Hutch. As a result of the expostionary records check we learn that the Penguin (Burgess Meredith - Santa Claus: The Movie ) is a master of Fowl play. Organised crime must pay well, because he can afford to have purchased a World War Two-era submersible and modified it into a penguin-shaped Polaris submarine!

    The Penguin has recruited the other super-crooks to join his scheme. The Joker and the Riddler are unimpressive. Selina Kyle ( Lee Meriwether ) tells a henchman not to call her Catwoman in public because it is her real name. She also disguises herself by putting on a Russian accent and wearing a leopard-skin coat. One hopes that it is fake fur, or that the leopard died of natural causes. Still, her normal costume comes with six-inch heels so she can hardly be called a practical dresser. Catwoman's mission is to seduce Bruce Wayne, so he can be kidnapped. He is probably a forty-year-old virgin, so it is not a difficult chore.

    Batman and Robin are not masked vigilantes like in the Western movies. They have been deputised as members of the Gotham City Police, so they can afford to take a dim view of the unnamed Zorro and Lone Ranger. Robin has blind faith in the City police force. However, Batman learns that The Powers That Be are not above reproach. For example, the Pentagon sold Penguin the submarine without even checking for his home address or his full name. Where he got the giant flying umbrella-bikes from is never explained.

    The Security Council of the United Nations is meeting in Gotham, as opposed to Metropolis. All delegates are wearing their national costumes. They are too stupid to notice that they are being kidnapped by force. The technology the villains use is dehydration, which turns people into transportable dust. However, there are unforseen complications involving dust spillage and heavy water.

  • Batman (1988)
  • Batman Begins
  • Search This Site
  • Batman Forever (1995)

    Batman Forever (1995) This is the third part in a series started by Tim Burton . However, it marks a serious down-turn in the series' quality. Burton is reduced to a Producer's credit, and Joel Schumacher is in the Director's chair.

    Two-Face AKA Harvey Dent (Tommy Lee Jones - Captain America ) has gone on a crimewave, assisted by some stuntmen and a couple of hot girls - Sugar ( Drew Barrymore ) and Spice ( Debi Mazar ). He uses a helicopter to lift a massive bank vault as easily as if it were a movie prop made of plywood.

    Commissioner Gordon (Pat Hingle - ) cannot simply arrest the criminals. Instead he calls in a couple of consultants - Batman AKA Bruce Wayne (Val Kilmer - Willow ) and top psychological profiler Dr Chase Meridian ( Nicole Kidman ). Pretty soon they forget about catching the crooks too, and start dating. Yes, this gritty revenge thriller is now an action comedy about a man who dates his shrink.

    Wayne disrespects his top scientist, Ed Nygma (Jim Carey - Earth Girls Are Easy ). Unfortunately, this just inspires Nygma to take his research and start a rival company. Presumably this world has no intellectual property laws, because the research should legally be WayneCorp property. Nygma has made a device that can project images into the user's head. Soon he mass-produces them, and sells enough to have one in every home in Gotham. This fits well into the 1950s-style setting, and mirrors the growing popularity of Television in the post-WW2 era. However, Nygma's system allows him to read the user's mind - and his ultimate target is Bruce Wayne himself.

    A night at the circus turns bad, and circus acrobat Dick Grayson (Chris O'Donnell - ) gets orphaned. Wayne takes the kid in, and sets Alfred (Michael Gough - Satan's Slave ) as a babysitter. Grayson works out that Alfred is hiding something, because of the mysterious locked closet that attracts attention. It turns out that the locked door just draws notice to the secret sliding shelves in the closet, so Alfred would have been better off not locking it in the first place. Anyway, Grayson takes the batmobile for a joy-ride and tries to get freebies off some streetwalkers.

    This movie had a lot of potential. Batman and Robin are both motivated by revenge for the deaths of their parents. Two-Face and Riddler are obsessed with revenge over imagined slights at the hands of Bruce Wayne/Batman. However, this powerful theme is lost amid the cheesy sets and toy-orientated vehicle designs.

  • Batman (1988)
  • Batman Begins
  • Search This Site
  • Batman: Mystery Of The Batwoman (2003)

    Batman: Mystery Of The Batwoman (2003) Gotham has a new vigilante in town - the mysterious and murderous Batwoman ( Kyra Sedgewick ). Like Harley Quinn, she is a cartoon character who later went mainstream in the comics.

    Batman needs to find out who the new vigilante is before she kills someone. Batgirl AKA Barbara Gordon ( Tara Strong ) is away at college, so she has an alibi. However, there are three new female characters. Bruce Wayne has lunch with the blonde scientist ( Kelly Ripa ) and dinner with the brunette rich girl. Batman meets with the third female, Police Detective Bullock's new partner.

    Penguin (David Ogden Stiers - Dead Zone ) has teamed up with some more mainstream gangsters - a loan shark and an enforcer. They actually add some depth to the usual two-dimensional villains. Unfortunately the Batwoman is targeting them.

    Penguin calls in some backup - Bane, the only one who can match Batman. Unlike the silent version from Batman and Robin (1997) or the strange-voiced one in The Dark Knight Rises (2015) , this version of Bane is a Mexican wrestler!

  • Search This Site
  • Batman: Gotham Knight (2008)

    Batman: Gotham Knight (2008) This is a collection of short stories, animated in manga style. The result is a bit more mature than the average child-friendly cartoon.

    Gotham's underworld, traditionally ruled by an Italian-American family, is now being moved in on by the Russian mob. The Russians even hire Deadshot to take out Gotham's top law enforcer.

  • Search This Site
  • Son of Batman (2014)

    Son of Batman (2014) Ras Al Ghul (Giancarlo Esposito - Revolution ) and his family are hanging out in his remote fortress. Despite it being filled with sword-wielding ninja assassins, it is attacked by an army of masked intruders. The attackers have assault rifles with high-end telescopic sights. However, their tactics involve getting close enough so the enemy can attack them with swords, then fire from the hip while missing most of the time. Luckily the defenders are equally incompetent. Talia ( Morena Baccarin ) is the only one who can actually put up a fight. She uses a hand-cranked gattling-gun that shoots arrows instead of bullets. There is also a battery of trebuchets that would make the Ewoks in Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi turn green with envy. These are effective anti-aircraft artillery, and take down at least one of the attackers' blackhawk helicopters.

    Meanwhile, Talia's ten-year-old son Damien is such a skilled warrior he can actually fight Slade Wilson (Thomas Gibson - Dharma And Greg) to a draw. Seriously, talk about overpowered characters. This is the only redeeming thing about Damien's insufferable arrogance - the fact that he is really as skilled as he thinks he is. Which is useful, when his mother drops him off with his father.

    Batman (Jason O'Mara - ) is busy investigating break-ins at pharmaceutical labs. This would not be a problem if he paid his taxes and let the Police do their job, or just hired enough security guards to protect his businesses. The burglar is Killer Croc ( Suicide Squad ), an unfortunate man who has been mutated by chemicals and needs medication in order to survive. Batman claims to be against killing, but he tortures and mutilates Killer Croc. Later on he blows up a group of mutated man-bats, so he does not regard mutant life as highly as that of regular humans. He would have made a great Purifier in The Gifted .

    Batman accuses Talia of drugging and raping him. However, he accepts responsibility for his new offspring. What this really means is that Alfred (David McCallum - ) and Nightwing (Sean Maher - Serenity ) are pressed into duty as reluctant babysitters.

    Deathstroke's plans involve a Gotham-based scientist named Langstrom (Xander Berkley - Barb Wire ), who is an expert in mutagenic chemicals. The idea is to turn Slade's ninja army into Man-Bats, which would give them super-powers like flying and sonar for night-vision.

    The villain's lair turns out to be an abandoned oil rig fifty miles off the coast of Scotland. Not in the North Sea, with all the other oil rigs, but in the Outer Hebrides on the wrong coast of Scotland.

  • Search This Site
  • Batman Vs Robin (2015)

    Batman Vs Robin (2015) Batman (Jason O'Mara - ) has a new sidekick - his own pre-teen son, Damien, who was trained as a merciless assassin by his grandfather Ras Al Ghul. Unfortunately the boy will not take orders from his father.

    Bruce Wayne is dating a hot blonde socialite, Samantha Vanderberg ( ). Unfortunately he gets expertly cock-blocked by his offspring. Bruce Wayne is not exactly parent material, since he was an only child who got orphaned at a young age and raised by Alfred the butler (David McCallum - ). Luckily Nightwing, AKA Dick Grayson, is available as a baby-sitter.

    Batman investigates the fabled Court of Owls, who he once suspected of ordering the murder of his parents. It turns out that they are real, and have an army of zombie ninjas to do their bidding.

    The Court's assassin is a super-soldier codenamed Talon. He tries to recruit Damien. On the face of it, the Court merely wants to help Batman fight crime. In reality, they want to control the city by killing poor people. These are the rich villains who benefit from tax cuts instead of investing in the city's public services.

  • Search This Site
  • Batman: Bad Blood (2016)

    Batman: Bad Blood (2016) Batman (Jason O'Mara - ) gets abducted by Talia Al Ghul ( Morenna Baccarin ). Their son Damien, the new Robin, is also targeted for kidnapping.

    Dick Grayson, now Nightwing but formerly the first Robin, puts on the bat-cowl so the city of Gotham does not go without its symbol of hope. He has some backup, in the form of new members of the Bat family. Batwoman ( Yvonne Strahovski ), formerly a joke character, is now a serious one. There is also a token black guy in an Iron Man suit, Lucius Fox's son who goes by the imaginative name of Batwing.

    The heroes do not stop to consider the age-old trope of mind-control. Nor do they get suspicious when a group of VIPs are gathered together in one place, making them a prime target for super-villainy.

    This movie actually kills off a few minor members of Batman's rogue's gallery. The good news is that the climax features a great cat-fight between Talia and Batwoman, which takes us back to the days when women heroes fought women villains almost exclusively. After all, if two fighters are of equal skill then the stronger and heavier one will win.

  • Search This Site
  • Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016)

    Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016) This is a cartoon version of the camp 1960s TV show, voiced by the surviving original performers! It does not even attempt to take itself seriously, and there are many in-jokes and references to the original show's deficiencies.

    Catwoman teams up with the other supervillains in the rogue's gallery. Batman and Robin have to follow the clues, including some riddles that are convoluted almost beyond belief. Catwoman's interplay with Batman is something to watch out for. Although she is voiced by Julie Newmar , at one stage Batman is knocked on the head and sees all THREE cat-women from the original series. Later, catwoman offers to give up her life of crime if Batman agrees to run away with her to Europe where they can sip wine in cafes all day (like in Dark Knight Rises ). Holy unsatisfying ending, Batman!

    The villains want to steal something called the replica ray. It is an item the size of a submachinegun, but it can scan and then 3-D print an exact copy of any item. Basically a super-powerful replicator that the residents of the Star Trek universe can only dream of.

    The Cold War gets a mention. The Soviet bloc, in the form of a country named Belgravia, launches a rocket on a supply run to a massive space station they built in orbit. Somehow the villains stow away.

    Bruce Wayne begins to act very out of character. He becomes very selfish and cynical, which is an entertaining change from his usual patronising self. Eventually he cracks, throwing the freeloaders out of his home and degrading the incompetent public officials who do such a terrible job of running the city. After all, they are responsible to the tax-payers, and Bruce Wayne probably pays most of the city's tax bill. Or at least, he ought to.

    The corrupt Batman uses the replicator ray to copy himself, and soon controls the city with an army of copies. Robin and Cat-woman must team up to save Gotham.

  • Batman (1988)
  • Batman Begins
  • Search This Site
  • Batman: The Killing Joke (2017)

    Batman: The Killing Joke (2017) This is adapted from an infamous graphic novel by Alan Moore , the creative mind behind such unorthodox comic-book stories as Watchmen . In order to pad this out to feature length, a second storyline has been added. It contextualises the consequences of the

    The first half of the movie is narrated by Batgirl herself, and concerns a gangster who became romantically obsessed with her. He combines a violent takeover of the Gotham mob with attempts to flirt with her. Meanwhile, Batgirl obsesses over (and has sex with) her mentor - Batman himself!

    The second half is the real storyline. The Joker (Mark Hamill - Star Wars: ANH ) escapes from Arkham Asylum, and goes after Commissioner Gordon (Ray Wise - Twin Peaks ). Batgirl's role is less damsel in distress, more woman in refrigerator.

    The Joker wants to illustrate to Gordon and Batman that all it takes for a sane person to become insane is one bad day. His plan is to drive Gordon insane. Meanwhile, Batman has come to realise that sooner or later he must either kill the Joker or be killed by him.

  • Search This Site
  • Justice League Vs Teen Titans

    Justice League Vs Teen Titans This is part of a series of Justice League animated movies. It does not follow the chronology of the DC movies series.

    The JLA defeat the Legion of Doom in a battle outside the newly-opened Hall of Justice. However, a demon named Trigan is somehow released. He starts to possess people, and make them do his evil bidding.

    Robin is removed from the JLA and re-assigned to a team his own age - the Teen Titans. He is an arrogant little git who pushes everyone's limits. Of course, he must learn to work with his new team-mates.

    The JLA get possessed by the demons. In order to save the world, the Teen Titans must face them. Of course, as the junior team they are not in the same league, and get their asses handed to them with ease. All this means that the story works, as the characters have to develop their skills and abilities in order to complete their quest.

  • Search This Site
  • Justice League Dark

    Justice League Dark This is part of a series of Justice League animated movies. It does not follow the chronology of the DC movies series. Both the content and subject matter are for mature viewers, since there is a lot of swearing and topics such as suicide and child endangerment.

    The Justice League investigate a series of incidents which involve people going crazy and seeing demonic entities. Since there is no apparent scientific explanation, the obvious assumption is a magical one. Batman rejects this at first, stating that it is merely making excuses for the criminally insane.

    Batman recruits a team of magic-users to hunt down the wizard responsible. The first recruit is Constantine , the Garth Ennis creation who is so popular he got his own movie and TV show. Zatanna, a much longer-lived character who is usually restricted to guest appearances in other shows, is also included as the token woman. Swamp Thing also makes an appearance.

    The regular JLA fall victims to the halucinogenic curse. This is a convenient excuse for the new team to face off against them in the old team.

  • Search This Site
  • LEGO DC Franchise

    Lego Batman

    Lego Batman Batman once again fights the Joker. However, it seems that the Joker values their antagonistic relationship far more than does Batman himself, an arch loner. This leads on to the main storyline, a parody of relationship movies (what real people call Rom-Coms).

    Jim Gordon retires as Police Commissioner, and his daughter Barbara Gordon ( Rosario Dawson ) is appointed as his replacement. No nepotism or corruption there. At least she sees that the city's reliance on Batman is a bad idea, and publicly slams him as a man in a halloween costume who beats up poor people.

    Joker plans revenge on Batman by releasing the inmates in the Phantom Zone They are an eclectic bunch of villains from other stories. Yes, much like The Lego Movie this has a lot of cross-over with other franchises. There are two main classes of villains. The first is those who are antagonists in stories about (and usually titled after) the protagonists:

  • Daleks from Doctor Who
  • Voldemort from Harry Potter
    The other villains are the title characters in stories about them, where the protagonist is a reactive character - monster movies, which overlaps with the horror movie genre.
  • Dracula
  • Godzilla
  • Gremlins
  • Jaws

    Batman ends up having to work as part of a team. Of course, this is a compromise because he is still an elitist vigilante who works outside the law. Instead of working with the police he builds a replacement family - Batgirl, Robin and Alfred. Yes, the Lord of Wayne Manor still uses his personal retainers to enforce his laws rather than use the tax-funded police department that is accountable to the general public.

  • Batman (1988)
  • Batman Begins
  • Search This Site
  • LEGO Batman: The Movie - DC Superheroes Unite! (2013)

    LEGO Batman: The Movie - DC Superheroes Unite! (2013) Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown - Highlander (1985) ) is running for President. When he loses the man-of-the-year award to Bruce Wayne, he realises he cannot do it the democratic way. Instead, he breaks the Joker out of Arkham Asylum.

    Batman reluctantly accepts help from Superman to bring the super-villains to justice.

  • Batman (1988)
  • Batman Begins
  • Search This Site
  • LEGO DC Super Heroes: Attack of the Legion of Doom! (2015)

    LEGO DC Super Heroes: Attack of the Legion of Doom! (2015) This is a CGI animation based on the LEGO toys which are based on the DC comic-book characters. As a result it is not tied into the continuity, so there is a lot of parody evident in this story.

    The DC supervillains have a problem. They can stand up against their opposite numbers in a fair fight, but as usual thety always lose. Lex Luthor, secretly working for Darkseid, has a plan. He recruits the best supervillains into his new group, the Legion of Doom.

    The Justice League also get fleshed out a bit. Green Lantern and The Flash have an on-going rivalry, which makes things interesting. Cyborg (Khary Payton - The Walking Dead ) is the rookie, trying to prove himself.

    Luthor's plan starts with raiding Area 52, a secret prison run by General Sam Lane. Lane is the DC Universe's equivalent of Thunderbolt Ross, the military fascist from the Incredible Hulk stories. He uses Area 52 to secretly imprison aliens, something which is similar to the Supergirl TV show.

  • Search This Site
  • DC (Justice League of America) Franchise

    Green Lantern

    Green Lantern If the hero, Ryan Reynolds, looks familiar it is because he played a wise-cracking superhero in Blade: Trinity and a different wise-cracking superhero in Wolverine . Those movies were set in the same universe (!!!), so it is actually a GOOD thing that his third wise-cracking superhero is in the DC universe.

    Wise-ass is gifted a magic ring by a dying alien. Our hero is then trained in the skills of the Green Lantern by creepy-looking Sinestro (Mark Strong, rent-a-villain from Stardust ). This has got to be the least subtle name for a villain since Traitor-o in Meet the Spartans .

    Hal's geeky sidekick is a Polynesian version of Moss from The I.T. Crowd. Senator Tim Robbins ( Shawshank Redemption, City of Ember ) lurks in the background.

  • Search This Site
  • Man of Steel

    Man of Steel The story starts on Planet Krypton, which is falling apart due to excessive mining endorsed by the idiotic Supreme Council. General Zod (Michael Shannon) takes the opportunity to stage a coup. Jor-El (Russell Crowe - Gladiator ) chooses to defy Zod, who seems to be a racist and a space-Afrikaner. Instead, Jor-El single-handedly out-fights both sides in the civil war, and sends his infant son to Earth. The Council do not bother to evacuate themselves, dooming Krypton - but they vengefully (and stupidly) imprison Zod's followers in the Forbidden Zone.

    Decades later, and Henry Cavill wanders the USA. He takes a variety of low-paid jobs, always leaving when he has to transform to save someone's life. He ends up as a muscle-bound git in tattered trousers - like Eric Bana in Hulk .

    Lois Lane ( Amy Adams ) investigates a US military cover-up at a remote site. Colonel Christopher Meloni (Oz) and General Harry Lennix ( Dollhouse ) are in charge, and it seems they have uncovered a UFO buried for thousands of years. Clark is in search of his Kryptonian heritage, and reveals his upbringing at the hands of Kevin Costner ( Waterworld ) and Diane Lane .

    The climax is an alien invasion of Earth, with superhuman monsters socking it out. Lots of skyscrapers get smashed up, 9-11 style, but because this is PG-13 nobody actually gets hurt. Yes, unlike the relatively realistic Independence Day there are ZERO actual casualties on the ground side!

    Coming from the director of Watchmen , this should have been so much better. The cast is incredible, and the actors cannot be faulted. But this is just not a superman film. It is too grim - despite the success of the Batman Begins franchise, the tone of a Superman film should be a lot more optimistic than this. The result is a depressing version of Hulk vs. Independence Day. All in all, about as pointless as Transformers 3 .

  • Search This Site
  • Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice

    Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice This starts with a flashback to the climax of Man of Steel . In the movie it was glamourised to look like no humans got hurt. However, when we see it from Bruce Wayne's perspective we see the true human cost.

    In the modern day, Clark Kent has decided that the Metropolis newspaper he works for should also cover eVents in nearby Gotham City. This is not surprising, because Lois Lane spends her time interviewing warlords in Africa. Her journalistic neutrality is negated by the fact that Jimmy Olsen is actually a goon working for the CIA. Worse, when Lois gets herself in trouble Superman decides to perform some instant Regime Change. Of course, he is not one for Nation Building so he leaves the local peasants unprotected so they can all get killed by genocidal enemies.

    Back in Gotham, Batty Man (Ben Affleck - Daredevil ) is a murderous spree-killer, and it is shocking that Clark Kent (Henry Cavill - Man From UNCLE ) wastes time on a couple of cases where the suspect was only branded because there must have been a lot of fatalities too. The Batmobile has a gatling gun, it is military-grade hardware - does he use it against pickpockets and burglars? If Gotham uses the Bat-signal it implies that Batman works for Commissioner Gordon, so he is an officially deputised Law Enforcement Officer, not a vigilante. So why are street cops shooting at him?

    It is ironic that Clark Kent thinks Batman is an out-of-control vigilante, while he himself is not above killing someone who gets in his way. He smashes one guy through two brick walls, presumably a fatal injury - instead of disarming him in a non-fatal way. When the Warlord and his men were killed, there was nobody to protect the villagers. The local dictator sent his military in and killed all the civilians. If Superman had left the situation alone, those people would still be alive.

    Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg - Zombieland ) is the only one who sees that these two heroes are kill-crazy lunatics. He invites both Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent to a party. Also in attendance is mysterious femme fatale Diana Prince ( Gal Godot ). He seems to know the secret identities of these characters, although serving them wine and nibbles is hardly a master-plan to defeat them all.

    Eventually, Superman goes looking for his rival and starts a fight. Luthor has a backup plan. If the battle between Batfink and lycra-man proves anti-climactic, they can always team up against his super-soldier.

  • Search This Site
  • Suicide Squad

    Suicide Squad This is set in the post- Batman Vs Superman universe. Amanda Waller, a high-ranking US Government official, creates a Dirty Dozen style unit of expendable low-ranking supervillains. Ironically it is Waller, with her ends-justify-the-means approach, who comes across as the biggest villain in the whole movie.

    The team include the likes of the Enchantress ( Cara Delevingne ), Deadshot (Will Smith - Collateral Beauty ) and Harley Quinn ( Margot Robbie ). Unfortunately, they seem to be more trouble than they are worth. In fact, all the problems in the movie are caused by Waller's supposedly tame goons. The main plot is a quest to defeat the Enchantress before she can destroy the world. There is a subplot involving the Joker (Jared Leto - Fight Club ), as he turns the country upside down in order to find his girlfriend.

    This was directed by David Ayers , and was originally one of his grim police dramas. Unfortunately the studio had it re-edited, watering down the darker scenes and adding extra exposition. The result is not a comedy thriller, but rather a hard-edged thriller with some comedy inserted.

  • Search This Site
  • Wonder Woman (2017)

    Wonder Woman (2017) The movie starts with a post- Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice bookend sequence. Diana Prince ( Gal Godot ) visits the Louvre museum in Paris, where Bruce Wayne has arranged some First World War memorabilia to be delivered. These items are memoirs of her first mission, so we get the main story as an extended flashback.

    We learn Diana's backstory, her childhood on the island of Amazons. Her mother ( Robin Wright ) tells her a fairy tale about the Greek Gods, which creates a flashback within a flashback that gives extra exposition. The Amazons were spawned by the Gods, but eventually warred against them. In a storyline that is more than a little reminiscent of Xena: Warrior Princess , because Diana's personal mission is to destroy the final Olympian god - Ares, god of War.

    One day, when Diana has grown up and looks like Gal Godot, she sees a World War One era plane crash in the ocean. She rescues the pilot, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine - Star Trek (2009) ), and brings him to shore. Unfortunately the German navy has sent a warship and a lot of naval infantry after him. The Amazon General ( Connie Nielsen ), who commands a company-strength unit rather than a brigade, leads a brutal attack on the poor Germans. We get a lot of the archer-versus-gunman heroics regularly shown on the Arrow television show, and the Germans are quickly wiped out. Seriously, none of the Germans is left alive. Even the one that Steve beat unconscious with his bare hands is somehow dead. The Amazons want to murder Steve as well, but they need to keep him alive in order to get information out of him.

    Diana assumes that Steve is a good guy, and that the unfortunate Germans have ceen corrupted by Ares. She intends to assassinate the German General, in the hope that his death will cause everyone to instantly stop fighting. Of course, since they are in November 1918 and the Artistice is about to be signed, it seems that the war will end anyway. However, the German General is an evil comic-book villain who plans to use a newly-invented super-weapon. Strangely the villain is called Ludendorf, named after a famous figure who was involved in post-war politics. The writer ( Zack Snyder ) should have named him after Erich Von Falkenheyn instead.

    Diana joins Steve on his trip home so he can report to his bosses in London. He is on loan to British Military Intelligence, if only because the film-makers would never dare to portray American servicemen in such a poor light. They refuse to attack the Germans, because the Armistice is about to be signed. However, he recruits his own team of Howling Commandos. They include Sickboy from Trainspotting, a PTSD-ridden alcoholic sniper. Of course, they are just comic relief so that Diana can do all the heroics.

    Diana leads a bayonet charge against the German machine-gun nests. Of course, she is bullet-proof but the men on both sides are not. Later she reveals that her super-human strength allows her to lift a four-ton armoured fighting vehicle over her head. She slaughters vast numbers of conscripts without any conscience. For something in the guise of an anti-war film, this certainly does a lot to glamourise violence.

  • Wonder Woman TV show
  • Search This Site
  • Justice League

    Justice League This is yet another effort in the DC Universe by Zach Snyder . It lacks the feel of Watchmen , it is more like a standard superhero movie. This leads on to poor comparisons with the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.

    Superman ( ) is dead, and the world mourns for him. All except the criminals, who are having a wild time of it. And some aliens, who feel free to invade Earth now that its protector is gone.

    Bruce Wayne has been going through Lex Luthor's files. He discovers that Luthor actually had a good reason for collecting files on super-humans. Luthor knew that the power void caused by Superman's demise would inevitably result in an alien invasion. Therefore he was planning to create an army of heroes to protect Earth. Not unlike Nick Fury and the Avengers Initiative. Of course, nobody even considers letting Luthor out so he can save the world. They probably learned the lesson about recruiting super-villains after the events of Suicide Squad . As a result, Wayne takes it upon himself to start his own team.

    Diana Prince ( Gal Godot ) still has her hobby of being Wonder Woman. She stands around on top of statues, and beats up reactionary terrorists. With a combination of superhuman strength, reflexes faster than a speeding bullet, and a pair of armoured bracelets she is pretty much bulletproof. It is not revealed if she slaughters the other team, or allows them to be taken alive by the cops.

    The male counterpart to Diana, Princess of Themyskira, is Arthur Currie, Crown Prince of Atlantis. He is also known as Aquaman (Jason Momoa - Game Of Thrones ), who instead of hanging out with his Polynesian relatives in Hawaii decides to spend every winter on the freezing coast of Iceland. Unfortunately he does not seem interested in defending the Earth.

    The next two potential members of the team are both accidental heroes. One was injured by his father (Joe Morton - Brother From Another Planet ), best known as Miles Dyson from Terminator 2 , who rebuilt him as a Cyborg. Finally the last hero is Barry Allen. He is not the same confident mature young man from The Flash , but a younger and nerdier version. If he had to be compared to any character from the show, it is actually Cisco Ramone.

    The villain finally makes his appearance. His name is Steppenwolf (a CGI character voiced by Ciaran Hinds - Ghost Rider 2 ), and his agenda is simple. He is an alien with a horned helmet who poses as an ancient god, and leads an alien army to recover a magic artefact lost on Earth so he can conquer the planet. So basically, he is a crappy copy of Loki in Marvel Avengers Assemble .

    The villain's first stop is on Themyskira, the secret island ruled by the Amazons. How they have managed to survive there is unknown. There are no fields of crops or fishing boats. However, they do have a massive grassy plain that they use to graze their horses. It seems that the only meat the Amazons could eat would be from a cull of the horses. Plus any human males who end up on the island, of course.

    The heroes get their hands on one of the plot-device boxes. It is like the Genesis Device in Star Trek: Wrath of Khan , the plot-device which made possible the return of Spock in Star Trek: Search for Spock . They try to revive Superman, which leads on to a classic hero-on-hero battle. In all fairness, this is the best fight sequence of the entire film.

    The climax and conclusion are all quite predictable. There is a mid-credits sequence, with a couple of heroes competing to see who is the fastest. Unfortunately one of them flies, which should count as cheating.

    In the final after-credits sequence, a couple of super-villains get together to discuss setting up their own League. After all, that is the next logical step in the eventual escalation. Perhaps the next movie in the series might be impressive.

  • Search This Site
  • Aquaman (2018)

    Aquaman (2018) The story starts in Amnesty Bay, Maine, in 1985. A young-looking Nicole Kidman is rescued by a light-house keeper who resembles a young Temuera Morrison ( Star Wars: AOTC ). They have both been de-aged with CGI, which implies they will spend more time on-screen in their real-life middle-aged status. Strangely, they are both antipodeans but this is set in the USA.

    They have a son, but the Atlanteans come to get their woman back. She is their Queen, Atalanta, and she has legal responsibilities. Unfortunately she has no regard for the lives of her subjects, and is more than happy to use lethal force against her own people. Then she returns to Atlantis anyway.

    When the boy grows up he becomes Aquaman (Jason Momoa - Game Of Thrones ), and spends his time fighting pirates as a hobby. On one such excursion he discovers an arch-rival that he was previously unaware of - Manta, a surface-dwelling pirate. If the rivalry is not sufficient motivation, Aquaman delivers a cruel fate to Manta's father ( The 100 ). Later, Manta gets upgraded with Atlantean technology so he can actually pose a threat to the invulnerable superhero.

    The main storyline takes off. It is about a struggle for power in a secret kingdom with extremely powerful technology. The next King will conquer the rest of the world, unless the hero steps up and takes the crown for himself. If this storyline seems familiar, that is because it was used in Black Panther (2018) . In fact, it seems taken from Hellboy 2: The Golden Army .

    The King (Patrick Watchmen (2009) ) and his advisor (Dolph Lundgren - Masters of the Universe (1987) ) want to conquer the surface world in revenge for the damage the surface-dwellers have done to the planet. The advisor's daughter, Meera ( Amber Heard ), teams up with Aquaman's mentor (Willem Dafoe - Shadow of the Vampire ) and summons the hero to help them. After all, Aquaman has a rightful claim to the Throne of Atlantis.

    There are a few hidden jokes. Aquaman's dad has a copy of The Dunwich Horror , which features a race of fish-men similar to ones that attack our heroes.

  • Search This Site