Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

iZombie, based on the comic series iZombie, created by DC Comics: a Television Review

Synopsis:

Olivia “Liv” Moore is a promising Seattle medical resident.  She is excelling at work.  She has an incredible fiancé that she loves.  A great family.  Is planning her dream wedding.  Life is great.

Until she ends up one of the few survivors of a boat party gone wrong.  So wrong in fact that she ends up as a Zombie.

When her life is turned upside down, she decides to break up with her fiancé, change jobs, and cut herself off from society as much as possible in an effort to keep from killing innocent people in her pursuit for brains! 

Her new boss, Ravi, head of the morgue she is working at, guesses her secret he ends up as one of her best friends and confidant…and completely fascinated with her condition.  As Liv continues to eat brains, she realizes that she can see and learn the things of the person whose brain she consumes. 

Suddenly a Jane Doe ends up in the morgue and Liv is confronted with the fact that she may be able to help police solve the poor girl’s murder.  What is a Zombie to do?

General Information:

-Genre: Supernatural Procedural Crime Drama

-Creator: based on the comic series iZombie, created by DC Comics

-Length: 5 Seasons, 71 Episodes, 42 minutes per episode

-Rating: TV-14 (mild sexual jokes and implied sexual situations, moderate violence and gore particularly supernatural violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol, drugs and smoking, mild frightening and intense scenes particularly with the consumption of brains)

-Where to Watch: Netflix (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Rose McIver, Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley, David Anders, Aly Michalka, Robert Knepper, Bryce Hodgson

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

Season 1:

This is a very promising start to a show.  Funny, snarky, kind of gory.  And the actors are just fantastic.

I have a feeling that this show is going to follow the issues that I have with DC Comics… their shows are amazing…and their movies are just mediocre with a few exceptions.

The little bits of the comic book that they work into the show is really a great concept.  It adds to that fantastical feel of the whole show.   

Solid first season.  The show held its own the whole time with very few downs.  The humor and cases were consistent which doesn’t often happen across a whole season of a show. The character development was there, as were the character relationships.

This was an incredible first season.  Between the idea that Zombies exist, Major hunting them down. The mental health issues.  The gaslighting and the lying.  Finding a cure.

So many different things happening. The storyline and the writing are spectacular.  The characters are deep and meaningful.  The twists and turns are well written.

And the ending is just a bit shocking.  What I don’t understand is why Liv doesn’t just say that she was diagnosed with a disease (like and immunodeficiency) which is why she can’t give blood.  It could be why she changed paths…quit being a doctor.  All of it.  Then again…we wouldn’t really have a show if that was the case.

Season 2:

Season 3:

Season 4:

Season 5:

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

Smallville, created by Alfred Gough and Miles Miller based on the comics by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster: a Television Series Review

Synopsis:

Smallville, Kansas seems like your regular, every day, small, Midwest American town.  The city center is quaint and full of mom-and-pop shops.  Cornfields and farms line the edges as far as the eye can see.  And football is the local religion.

Until one day when a series of meteors strike down around the town.  Little does the town know how much of a ripple effect this event will have.

Twelve years later, Clark Kent is going to high school.  The all American boy.  Corn fed and farm raised.  Except he as a secret.  A deep dark secret that may be exposed.  Hes super fast, super strong…and apparently impervious to the sports car that hit him going 60 miles per hour hurtling him and the driver into the river below.

When they emerge from the water something seems to have changed in the small town.  Weird occurrences start to happen more frequently around town…and always seem to be tied to the strange green meteor rocks.  Lex Luthor has moved in and is trying to investigate the crash that nearly took his life. Clark’s friend Chloe is trying to tie all the strange things in town to the meteor strike and write about them in the school paper…

But all Clark wants to do is figure out how to ask out cheerleader Lana Lang…if only he could stop being so clumsy around her. 

Who knew high school could be so tough?

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Action/Adventure, Drama, Teen Drama

-Creator: Alfred Gough and Miles Miller based on the comics by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

-Length: 10 Seasons, 21 Episodes each (44-52 minutes per episode)

-Rating: TV-14 (for superhero violence, mild sex and nudity including implied sexual relationships and discussions, moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of drugs, alcohol and smoking, mild frightening and intense scenes)  

-Where to Watch: Hulu (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Tom Welling, Kristen Kreuk, Michael Rosenbaum, Eric Johnson, Sam Jones III, Allison Mack, Annette O’Toole, John Schneider, John Clover, Jensen Ackles, Erica Durance, Aaron Ashmore, Laura Vandervoort, Cassidy Freeman, Sam Witwer, Justin Hartley, Callum Blue

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

General Overview:

I am going to preface this by saying that I did watch this show when it was running so some of my review may be colored by the fact that I really loved the show when it was on.

Overall, the show is a really interesting take on the beginnings of Superman and Clark Kent as a teenager.  But because it starts with Clark and his friends in high school there are a lot of plot lines that focus on things that adults really need to remember were the end of the world when they were a teenager.  Between love triangles, the school dances, cheerleading and football, school sports and arts, and even the vote for school president…the first few seasons are kind of cheesy and harder to get through as an adult. 

But as I hold onto the fact that these were life or death situations as a teen (just without the superpowers and the crazy meteor rocks) the show becomes really fun and a cool extension of the Superman world that we have been introduced to over the year.

Season 1:

Oof.  Just as drama ridden and cringy as I remember.  But that is because it all takes place their freshman year of high school.

I appreciate the parallels in the new characters that have been introduced to the characters we know later on in the comics and other films.  Chloe and her school paper as well as Lana Lang both have characteristics of Clark Kent’s later love interest, Lois Lane.  And old favorites have returned but with a more youthful twist such as Lex Luthor.

With the long form seasonal format of a tv series instead of a series of movies we really get to explore the friendship between Lex and Clark, the effects that the Kryptonian meteor rocks have on humans that were in the vicinity of the crashes and even later, the relationships Clark forms with his parents and other friends….even the conflicts that arise from keeping his secret safe. 

It is really enjoyable to watch the stories unfold.  Even if parts of it are still a little more than unbelievable…like a teenager running an entire coffee shop by themselves, or the fact that the Kents keep their son’s spaceship in the basement…without any decent locks.

Season 2:

Season 3:

Season 4:

Season 5:

Season 6:

Season 7:

Season 8:

Season 9:

Season 10:

Additional Notes:

Tom Welling and Erica Durance did reprise their roles as Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane in the DCEU multi-television show crossover mini-series/storyline “Crisis on Infinite Earth”.  This crossover officially tied the early 2000s series into the new DCEU Arrowverse. 

To see the review for the “Crisis on Infinite Earth” crossover mini-series: Crisis on Infinite Earth

To see our article on how the Arrowverse is connected and the shows tied into it: Arrowverse and the new DCEU

Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

Superman The Movie, based on the comic Superman by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster: a Film Review

Synopsis:

It has been discovered that the planet Krypton is going to be destroyed when it shifts further out of orbit.  But none of the Kryptonian high council believe this is the case with the exception of Jor-El.  To save his infant son, Kal-El, he creates a spaceship and sends the child to Earth where he will be able to blend in due to the fact that the Kryptonians and Humans have similar physical looks…though it will not change the fact that he will have other things he is capable of due to his parentage.

Kal-El’s ship lands near the tiny Kansas, USA town of Smallville, where he is found by an elderly Jonathan and Martha Kent.  The couple who was unable to have their own children raise the small boy to adulthood.  When he turns 18, young Kal-El (now Clark Kent) suffers through the death of his father, Jonathan, eventually hearing the psychic “call” from the spaceship hidden on the farm.  A glowing green crystal and his mother’s blessing send him on the hunt for his Fortress of Solitude where he is meant to learn all about his origins.

Over the years Clark learns of everything he is able to do eventually laving the Fortress with a blue and red suit emblazoned with the House of El Crest on his chest.  Traveling to Metropolis he takes up the mantel of Superman, protecting the city from local crimes and disasters.  Particularly anything the Luthor family comes up with.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Origin Story

-Creator: based on the comic Superman by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

-Length: 143 minutes

-Rating: PG (for mild sex and nudity, mild violence and gore, mild profanity, mild smoking, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Ned Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Glenn Ford, Trevor Howard, Margot Kidder, Valerie Perrine, Maria Schell, Terence Stamp, Phyllis Thaxter, Susannah York

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

So, I’m going to try to review this with the perspective that this was a 1978 film and it would have been top of the line for the time period.  We will see if I can do that when I watch it.

Overall, it’s a great introductory film for Superman.  Christopher Reeves is by far my favorite redition of the character.  He has the ability to play the shy, studious and detailed but ultimately forgettable Clark Kent as well as the suave, confident and gorgeous Superman.  The balance he achieves is incredible.

I fid the fact that he tells Lois Lane about all of his super powers as Superman so quickly a little odd…but I also haven’t followed the Superman comics from the beginning…though I am trying to start to catch up on everything bit by bit.

There is some bizarre costuming choices (the glowing suits of Krypton), some set ups that didn’t come back in this movie (Zod and his cronies being stuck in the Phantom Zone)… and just the overall age of a film that was created in 1978 but being watched in 2021.  Don’t get me wrong.  Its CLASSIC Superman.  Honestly, Superman at its finest. 

Most of the effects and stunts hold up even after all these years, the same way the ones in the Original Star Wars Trilogy do.  There is something about practical effects and stunts (as much as possible) that hold up well over the years.

In general I found this movie entertaining and a great entry into the world of Superman…and most superheroes in general

Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, OR Birds of Prey, created by Christina Hodson, based on characters from DC Comics: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Joker has (finally) broken up with Harley Quinn for good…four years after the defeat of Enchantress.  He tossed her out on the streets of Gotham and didn’t look back.  As Harley begins to rebuild her life without her beloved Puddin’ she starts to see that she doesn’t need him anymore.

After getting drunk at a club owned by one of Gotham’s crime lords, things kind of take a downhill turn for Harley.  She is almost abducted at the club, narrowly being saved by the burlesque singer from the club, Dinah Lance.  Deciding that she is completely done with the Joker, Harley drives a tanker into Ace Chemicals to officially announce their breakup.

Meanwhile, Dinah is recruited by Roman Sionjs, the club owner, to retrieve a diamond embedded with the account numbers to another crime family after seeing her break up Harley Quinn’s abduction.  When she and Roman’s right-hand man get the diamond in hand they never expect it to get stolen by a local pick-pocket.

As a group of mercenaries and other people Harley has wronged are after her including Sionjs’ men, Harley realizes she is about to end up in the middle of a territorial feud… and its not just the people who hate her who are going to be an issue.  When the police, a new “crossbow killer”, the criminal underground, and Sionjs’ men all show up to come after the little pickpocket things are going to get pretty messy.  And Harley (as well as her new “team”) better figure out what to do and FAST.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero/Supervillains, Girl Power, Origin Story

-Creator: Christina Hodson, based on characters from DC Comics

-Length: 109 minutes

-Rating: R (for mild sex and nudity, severe violence and gore, severe profanity, moderate drug and alcohol use, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rozie Perez, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong, Ewan McGregor

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

I absolutely love this film for so many reasons.  Between the fact that the movie focuses so much on Harley Quinn coming into her own and the storyline not focusing on her ass (I’m looking at you Suicide Squad), this is an incredible movie..

The film is such a beautiful piece of cinematography.  The director did an incredible job with so many things.  From the egg sandwich being filmed like a love interest to the fact that she helps out a punk kid (even if its just to save herself at first) this really shows a big difference to the sexed-up version of Harley we see in Suicide Squad.

The women in this movie are strong.  They speak their mind, fight for themselves, and aren’t always the quiet flowers that we see in a lot of other films. They are loud and at times obnoxious, slightly vulgar and don’t shy away from their trauma.  And that is very appealing.  Women being themselves.  Not being overly sexualized and made up to be some sort of fantasy caricature of what women actually are.

However, as wonderful as all of these things are this movie should NOT have had its name changed to Birds of Prey.  While the movie is the origin story for the newest redition of the Birds it is not about them.  It is not a Birds of Prey story or film.  They just happen to be in it. 

It truly is the fantabulous emancipation of one Harley Quinn.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

Catwoman, based on characters from DC Comics: a Film Review

Synopsis:

A brand-new product is about to hit the market.  Hedare Beauty has developed a skin cream that is toted to reverse the effects of aging.  However, there is a dangerous side effect that the company is hiding.  When designer Patience Phillips discovers that they intend to ship the product regardless of the issues she finds herself on the wrong end of an assassination attempt.

Waking up from nearly drowning, Patience realized that she was revived from death by a cat name Midnight who was bestowed certain powers due to his lineage.  She is now the Catwoman, reborn with certain powers granted by Midnight and the goddess Bast for whom he serves.

Donning a disguise and taking on the mantle of a vigilante, Patience is determined to discover who tried to kill her and why.  When all clues lead back to her former employer, she must make a vital decision: expose Hedare Beauty to the world…or take things into her own hands.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero

-Creator: based on characters from DC Comics

-Length: 104 minutes

-Rating:

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Halle Berry, Benjamin Bratt, Lambert Wilson, Alex Borstein, Frances Conroy, Sharon Stone

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the film

Review (contains spoilers):

Yeah….i remember why I kind of blocked this one out of my mind.

First off whoever designed the costume…and approved it…was crazy.  It just looks so haphazard.  And not in the cute way that say Spider-man as a teen who had no real resources or abilities to make something was.

All I can say is this character was underutilized and underestimated.

But that aside…its just…yeah.

If you watch it I’m sorry…but you’ll get what I mean.

Rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

Wonder Woman 1984, based on characters from DC Comics: a Film Review

Synopsis:

While competing in a competition against much older Amazonian warriors, young Diana falls from her horse and in an attempt to regain her footing takes a shortcut, missing a crucial checkpoint.  As she makes it to the end of the competition, ahead of her fellow Amazonians, Antiope grabs her out of the contest…explaining that anything worthwhile including winning the competition should be obtained honestly and with the truth.

Now in 1984, Diana is working as a curator at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.  Between her work and her heroic moments as Wonder Woman, she has carved out a satisfying life for herself as the years went on.  When new museum employee Barbara Ann Minerva, shy and unnoticed, becomes jealous of Diana wishing to be like her while holding an old artifact…one that is inscribed with the ability to grant someone’s greatest and deepest desires…if they only wish it.

Failing business tycoon Maxwell “Max Lord” Lorenzano tricks Barbara to get his hands on the stone.  When he wishes to “become” the stone itself all of its powers are transferred into his body. 

But what are the consequences of our wishes?  And will Diana be able to set aside her own deepest desires in order to live her truth and save the world?

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Cautionary Tale/Fable, Action/Adventure

-Creator: based on characters from DC Comics

-Length: 151 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (for mild sex and nudity, mild violence and gore, mild profanity, very mild use of alcohol, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

Once again I am absolutely floored by the work that Patty Jenkins and her crew are doing for the film world.  She is truly showing that the combination of excellent writing, great casting, stories that have morals and teach real (and often difficult to swallow) truths, and costumes/hair/makeup designed for the female gaze are creating a world that is more immersive than so many before them.

This film was incredible from the first set of action sequences featuring a 9–10-year-old Diana competing against full grown Amazonians to the ending cameo of Linda Carter.  The world that was built up in the first film was just continued in this one…even though it took place nearly 40 years after.

The lesson in this one is absolutely needed, particularly in this time.  The things we wish for will always have consequences…and if we all got exactly what we wanted the world would be chaos

Having Chris Pine reprise his role in the way he did was surprising and a wonderful insight to Diana and what drives her.  I also loved all the little nods to the Wonder Woman comics that came up in this film from the Invisible Jet to several of her flying positions.  It so nice to see little things like that in the movie versions of the comics.

Action packed with a great story to back it up this film did a spectacular job taking a really big villain from Wonder Woman and turning both his fate and his story on their head. 

The cast did an incredible job.  It was wonderful to see Pedro Pascal without a mask on in a role (though his performance in The Mandalorian was incredible).  The introduction of Kristen Wiig to the story was a great idea…her Cheetah was so great. Gal Gadot was wonderful, as usual…and Chris Pine’s reprisal role was perfection.

I highly recommend watching this film.  One of my new favorites and one of the few shining stars in the DCEU.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

Wonder Woman, based on characters from DC Comics: a Film Review

Synopsis:

In present day Paris, Diana Prince reminisces on her past after receiving a gift from Wayne Enterprises.

The daughter of Queen Hippolyta, Diana was raised on Themyscria.  The island of the Amazonians, female warriors created to protect mankind, had been hidden away from the world.  There Diana was trained as a warrior.

At 18 Diana does the unthinkable and saves a pilot who has crashed just off the island.  Her good will and kind heart cause an issue with the barrier around her world allowing for the German Nazi’s to invade Themyscria.  Though the Amazonians win the fight it is not without great losses.  When it is discovered that a Great War is happening outside of the world of the Amazonians Diana decides that she will go into battle with the pilot to try and save the world.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Origin Story, War Story

-Creator: based on characters from DC Comics

-Length: 141 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (for mild sex and nudity, moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, very mild use of alcohol and drugs, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

This is just such a good film for so many reasons.  Above all it is just a beautiful film from start to finish.  The crew that worked on it made sure that every location was absolute perfection…I mean, I don’t even like the beach, but I want to live on Themyscria.  It’s that stunning.

Gal Gadot was the perfect choice for Diana.  She had that air about her of belonging no where and everywhere all at once.  She is beautiful and exotic in a way that catches everyone’s attention…and the dress with the sword just put it all over the top.

This is what happens when you get a female director for a female led superhero film.

You get costumes that look like proper armor (more on that in the Justice League review…), a handsome leading man, a stunning female lead, a script that is a real story from start to finish….it is just an overall excellent piece of art.

This is one of my most rewatched superhero film.  I cannot get enough of this or its sequel. 

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, MARVEL

Women in Comics: A Little Girl Power for you Weekend!

With the weekend release of the Black Widow film (finally…stupid Covid…) I thought we would spend the weekend celebrating women in comics!

Female superheroes have existed since the concept of a person with superhuman powers was created.  In fact, the first most widely recognized female superhero was none other than Wonder Woman.

While there were quite a few other female superheroes that came before Diana’s debut in 1941 with the release of an issue of All-Star Comics, she is by far the most iconic of the early women appearing in comics.  She was beautiful and dressed in a leotard, knee high boots and a golden tiara…and had come to America to fight fascism, the enemy of democracy.

Many saw her as a shining light in the comic book world.  Her ideals were in line with the feminism of the day (and even more so now).  She fought for equality for people, celebrating their differences and defining moments.  She brought hope to people when they may not have had much…for 1941 was the year that the US entered WW2 and the next few years would be grim indeed.

But not everyone was taken with the beautiful brunette and her male counterparts.  Comics were often called a “national disgrace” and Wonder Woman herself has come under much scrutiny for everything from her beliefs to the way she dressed.

Yet this was just the start of women in comics.  From her brash and beautiful origins to the modern films she is in today… this was just the start.

Now we have women all over the comic book world…

From the X-Men and their diverse cast (most notably characters like Jean Grey, Rogue, Kitty Pryde and Jubulee) to Jessica Jones, The Scarlet Witch and Black Widow it is nearly impossible to open a comic book and not see some incredible female character staring back out at you.  Most even have their own series now. 

You can read about Supergirl, Batwoman, The Gotham City Sirens, Harley Quinn, She-Hulk, Vixen, Gwen Stacey (aka Spider-Gwen), the new Iron Man who is now a 16-year-old black girl, Kamala Kahn, Black Canary, The Birds of Prey, Echo…name them and you can find them.

Their stories are being told and we really do need them, from the rebellious to the criminal, the dark to the bright…the original takes.  The celebrations and downfalls.

We have seen some of them throughout the reviews so far this month: Sue Storm, Black Widow, The Wasp, Pepper Potts (who becomes Rescue in the comics), Wanda Maximoff, Gamora and Nebula, Jane Foster (also Thor in the newer comics), Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau….and so many more.

The comics are so much more in depth than what we see on screen.  Their stories are expanded, full of hopes and desires….their drives to make the world a better place in their own ways.  And they are some of the most popular characters in the comic book world.

So this weekend we are going to celebrate women in comics….the good, the bad and even the villains…some turned anti-villain. Because as always, representation matters and seeing ourselves in the pages of a comic is no exception.

The next few days we will be focusing reviews on film, tv and comics that are primarily about female characters in comics.

Starting with the fantastic new Wonder Woman films.  And stay tuned for a review of the new Black Widow film…but if you don’t wants spoilers stay away from it until you have seen the movie!

Resources:

Smithsonian Magazine: The Surprising Origin Story of Wonder Woman

Cbr.com: 10 Female Superheroes Who Were Created Before Wonder Woman

Gamesradar.com: The Best Female Superheroes of All Time

Wikipedia

My own experience as a life long nerd!

Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

Shazam!, based on characters from the DC Universe: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Young Thaddeus Sivana, his brother, and his father are on their way to visit his grandfather for Christmas when he is suddenly pulled from the back seat to a strange world – a cave full of status and a strange wizard offering him untold amounts of power.  When he fails the test to gain the wizards powers he is returned to the car.

Over 40 years later, Billy Batson runs away (once again) from his foster family in his quest to find his biological mom.  When he is taken back to Child Services by police he is transferred to a new family…one full of kids and parents who have and are in the system.  After fending off some bullies picking on one of his new foster brothers Billy takes off for the subway where he is transported to the Rock of Eternity.  This time the wizard chooses him to become the new keeper of his powers.  The one and only Shazam!

When Billy returns to Earth he seeks out the help of his foster brother to learn about his new powers.  It isn’t until he is attacked by a demon wielding bad guy that he realizes maybe being on his own isn’t the best way to do things.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Coming of Age, Family

-Creator: based on characters from the DC Universe

-Length: 132 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, very mild alcohol use, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

This was a genuinely fun and heartfelt movie.  With this and the Birds of Prey film I finally think that DC is taking a note from MARVEL for its full-length movies – they should be something else first (like a coming of age story) and a superhero film second.

Shazam! Covered this with no problems.  From the heartfelt story of a foster kid learning that not all families are going to betray his trust to the upfront villain’s backstory dealing with a disfunctional family, to the insanely over the top comic book style this film was truly a coming-of-age story for a new generation.

The mythos of Shazam was presented in a way that had the audience laughing along with two teenagers trying to find their place in the world.  It wasn’t overly expositional or pretentious as has happened many times over in the DC Comics film and television universe. 

The fight scenes are fun and have incredibly effective use of cinematic effects like slow motion that are seen throughout superhero films.

The characters and the costumes are age appropriate and fully developed to tell the story, not just of the people and their roles with each other but with glimpses of their pasts. And the actors do an incredible job acting like their younger counterparts even when they are the adult versions of their superhero personas.

And most of all the story of a foster family who wants to build a life with another foster kid…who won’t quit on them…who won’t leave them behind…is something that is so needed today when so many people have felt left out or downtrodden.

This is really a comic book come to life and I cannot wait to see the second movie.  It can’t come out fast enough.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

Green Lantern, based off the comic Green Lantern released by DC Comics: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Unbeknownst to those on Earth a great evil has been lurking the far reaches of the galaxy.  The Green Lantern Corps has been imprisoning the malevolent Parallax before he is able to continue his journey of causing fear and feeding upon it throughout the galaxy.

When a ship crashes Parallax is able to gain enough strength to escape his prison, mortally wounding a Green Lantern in the process.

When he crashes to Earth his ring finds a human, a cocky test pilot, who is chosen to take his place as a member of the Green Lantern Corps.  The only issue is that no human has ever been able to harness the power of the ring.  Will Hal Jordan be able to? Or will Earth fall to the evil of Parallax?

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Science-fiction, Action/Adventure

-Creator: based off the comic Green Lantern released by DC Comics

-Length: 114 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (for very mild nudity, moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angel Bassett, Tim Robbins

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

This is just a horrible film.  The only good thing to come out of this was the real-life relationship between Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively.  And no, I’m not joking.

The storyline is scattered and nearly incoherent at best and is a fanboy’s hard-on at worst.  There is little to no structure, the characters haven’t been written in a way to where you care about them and the whole movie has the attitude that the audience OBVIOUSLY knows JUST enough about the mythology and world of Green Lantern…but not SO much that they don’t need some of it explained (in an often condescending manner).

And don’t get me started on the CGI.  By the time this movie released Avatar had officially set the standard for what CGI in film should be. To say this film falls flat is an understatement.  I know that we were in the throws of the CGI revolution that the early 2000s created…but this was just lazy.  The places where they could have used practical effects and costumes looked horrible and like an afterthought…which was even more apparent when paired up against other pieced of CGI that were actually decent.  The backgrounds and cityscapes of Oa felt incomplete.  The lighting pairs for the in-person lighting and the CGI lighting were sloppy.  And that suit and mask were HORRID.  An actual costume would have been infinitely better.

While the moments between Reynolds and Lively are the only small and redeeming moments in the film they are often ruined by rushing them causing an overall discordant feeling in the movie especially when it bounces so rapidly between the Green Lantern Corps and what is happening on Earth.

In fact, this movie is everything that Guardians of the Galaxy would have been had Disney and the MARVEL Cinematic Universe decided to not just jump in headfirst with characters that were not in the original comic line and a killer soundtrack.

Honestly…if I keep talking about this I’m just going to get irritated all over again.

0/10 would not recommend.

Rating:

Rating: 1 out of 5.