Clint: 4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 6.5/10 IMDB.

Did I mention this was written by Joss Whedon?

Very interesting animation… It looks like it’s going to be motion-comic-style with hardly any real movement and no lip-moving, but then it turns out to be almost fully animated. Still more “comic-book-y” than any “real” animation… But I think this really meets the halfway point between the two, in a way that I’ve never seen done better in my life. However, the strange warping they did to simulate 3D-ness kind of wigged me out. But I get it: This is a motion comic, they take shortcuts, lower budget means higher ability for more releases. Works for me. You just gotta accept it.

My one problem with this was that there was no steadfast conclusion to all the various stories spinning up (and down). In that respect, yes, it was very comic-book-y. Almost too much! Though… If something like this came out once a month for the rest of my life, it’d be frickin’ awesome.

Also, the voices weren’t top-notch… Beast’s voice especially threw me off as being so different from what I’m accustomed to that it was actually distracting. But again, that’s kind of something you have to accept when doing with motion-comic type releases (Even though this is the most motion-y motion comic I’ve ever seen.)

But other than that? That was pretty fucking awesome. It took place in the current chronology: The Legacy Virus is long gone… Beast had his secondary cat mutation… Colossus is dead…Jean is long dead [again, but this time for real]… Cyclops is dating Emma Frost The White Queen now….  [Which, if you read the wiki on Jean… Her spirit actually basically rose from her grave to tell Scott it was okay to hook up with Emma…]

WAIT WAIT WAIT.. THIS IS ONLY THE FIRST OF FOUR “MOVIES” (some call them seasons, but they are analagous to Whedon’s graphic novels)?!?! WTF!!! WELP.. I’M OFF TO GET THE REST! CYA!


VIDEO: MOVIES: CARTOONS: REVIEW: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (both parts) (2012, 2013)

Clint/Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10 (part 1), 10/10 (part 2/both parts together).
Native ratings: 3.9/5 stars Netflix (only part 1 available), 7.9/10 and 8.1/10 IMDB.

Frank Miller’s Batman adaptation is concluded with this, which really should be the 4th movie in the current live-action Batman movies, but whatever.

The live-action Batman movies have been frickin’ amazing, but they have been less true to the comics than almost every other Batman adaptation out there. (They do kill people in the live-action movies a lot more, though.)

Set in the future, Batman had been retired for 10 years, and Commissioner Gordon is set to retire in a few days. (A cop should never say he is 3 days from retirement because bad things happen!)

This ties together Twoface, The Joker, Batman being old, Superman, and futuristic mutant gangs (that part definitely reminded us of Batman Beyond at times–except without the new Batman. But we get a new Robin). There is a lot going on, and it really takes both movies to conclude it all. (Though the total runtime is only about 2.5 hours for both movies combined, we watched one-per-night.)

This was really, really, really good.  Bruce Timm’s Batman productions have been top-tier for well over 20 years now. Nobody has such a consistent longstanding record of producing quality superhero animation.

Peter Weller (Robocop) as Batman was pretty interesting too. He sounded older (which he was, he has grey hair in this).
And this Batman is more hardcore. There is blood, beatings, murder. It’s rated PG-13 but it would probably be R back in the 80’s. THIS IS THE SHIT. This is maybe my favorite Batman animation ever.



4/5 stars, 8/10 from both of us.
Native rating: 3.9/5 stars, 7.3/10.

This was quite action-heavy, as expected. Since that was our expectation, we were satisfied.

The quirk of a drug called “Slo-Mo” that slows down time to 1% was amazing with the way they represented it on film. Wow.

At a couple points, they had shitty cgi blood, the worst since Star Trek 5…but fortunately that was only a 1-2 time thing and it looked good the rest of the movie.

Overall, this was visually superior to the previous version…. And the previous version’s visuals were a lot of what it had going for it.
But now things are modern, and sssso deliciously crisssssssp.  The old movie couldn’t offer that.  And I think Stallone is kind of cheesy anyway.

So file this under: Yet another remake I liked better than the original, just like with Total Recall.

Of course one can always say this is not a remake, but another, different adaptation of the source material.


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Clint: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Native: Netflix 4.4/5 stars, IMDB 8.8/10 (31st highest rated movie of all time).

The sound mix suffered!
That messed with the viewing enjoyment!
Hard to understand dialog compared to most movies!
Maybe it was the way we played our bluray, but goddamn, it really messed up the experience for me.
I was distracted by wanting to futz with the settings.
Don’t have this problem with most movies.

Carolyn says: “I enjoyed it.  The sound mix detracted some, but other than that, i thought it was a solid batman movie.”

Anyway… I liked the 2nd Batman movie the best, even though that one irked me with the creation of the Maggie Gyllenhaal character.

Minor spoiler: They really threw me for a loop with Talia. What a tweest!

Alright… This movie was pretty epic, but…. I just didn’t get into it as much as I could have. I may revise my rating later.


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

4.6/5 stars from Clint, 4/5 stars from Carolyn.
8/10 from both of us.
Native rating of 4/5 stars (Netflix) and 7.3/10 (IMDB).

So ridiculously soon for a reboot, yet…. This had aspects no other Spider-Man interpretation has ever had, like a backstory Peter Parker’s parents. And Gwen Stacy instead of Mary-Jane. The Lizard instead of Doc Ock and the Green Goblin.

This movie broke the typical cliches of every Spider-Man first being the exact same story. And that’s something comic books do, y’know? Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men, etc. – Things get rebooted, re-done, re-interpreted, so that good franchises can live forever without getting stale.

But if you do it in a movie people will get mad. Apparently there should be exactly one movie for all things, and whatever is first will be best and should never be redone.

Anyway, this was more emo and awkward than most Spider-Mans, but then, Spider-Man is supposed to be an awkward nerd.  While we could argue Toby MacGuire was satisfactorily nerdy — there’s definitely room to go derper, and the new guy came off as even more awkward and more nerdy.
So that aspect felt truer to the comic. Enough hate already.


VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Superman vs. The Elite (2012) (animated)

5/5 stars, 9/10 from both of us.
Native rating is 4.0/5 stars, 7.2/10.

Pragmatism clashes with idealism in a battle that is as much about current-world 2012 politics as it is about superheroes.

When the hell did Superman become politically relevant in a post-911 world?

Among other things, Bialya == Libya, and The Elite are pretty much a direct metahpor to the post-911 way of thinking and handling criminals, while Superman represents the pre-911 way of handling criminals.

The so-called Bruce Timm-verse of animated DC comics has been an amazing thing to experience over the past 20 years, but he is only one of 4 executive producers. He didn’t get directly involved with this one, and it has a very different (incongruous to Timm’s direct productions) feel because of that. THIS IS A GOOD THING. Variety is nice.

Seeing a whole new team of superpowered individuals that I’d never heard of was pretty cool too. The character design for Managerie was awesome!

It’s hard to fail us with these animated comic movies. They are a good substitute for the three superhero cartoons we miss the most: Batman:TAS (1990s), Superman:TAS (1990s), and Justice League (2000s).


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)

3.6/5 stars, 7/10 from both of us.
5/5 stars,   8.4/10 was what we gave the first movie:
So this one’s worse.
Native rating: 3.7/5 stars, 4.6/10 (ouch) on IMDB:
So the public agrees.
Netflix’s guess for us was 3.8 which is pretty damn close.

It wasn’t as good as the first one, but it was still entertaining.

It was a very over-the-top with the comedy/Nic Cage acting. I wonder if he was still using Brian Bates’ Way Of The Wyrd (basis for Sabbat’s Dreamweaver concept album, which I wrote a 5900 word post about) as the basis of his acting. Maybe not. These are the Crank / Gamer directors now, and maybe they directed him to be more Nic-Cage-over-the-top.

Outlaw Vern, who I usually agree with, liked this better than the original:
His review includes a big quote from Nic Cage about Brian Bates’s book, as well as some mentions of Vampire’s Kiss. Outlaw Vern is right about the CGI being worse. What used to be a cool transformation is now kind of comical at times.

So yeah… This was worth seeing because we love the superhero genre, but it wasn’t good as the original.
Though apparently, some liked it better!