08 October 2010

Super Friends Reborn, Online, Kinda

Fisher Price has gone above and beyond to promote their DC Super Friends line of Imaginext toys by creating an animated short titled The Joker's Playhouse. While Superman and Batman were showcased, Green Lantern, Cyborg, Hawkman, and Flash also did their best to convince kids they were toy worthy. The toys have been around for a couple years, but a new wave looks to be arriving in 2011.

The clip opens with an homage to the old Super Friends show, but Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Robin don't actually appear in the episode- but even Booster Gold got a cameo.

The heroes face off with the Joker in the Hall of Justice along with a couple of other baddies who may end up as toys including Gorilla Grodd, an "ice-sliding" Mr. Freeze, and Solomon Grundy. This is the kind of commercial you just don't mind sitting through.

Up Next: Young Justice

07 October 2010

First Look at Animated Green Lantern Series

2011 will be the year of Green Lantern. In addition to the movie I have waited my whole life for, there will be an animated movie and also at long last, an animated Green Lantern series. Well, TVGuide.com has scored the first look at the series via a poster that will be given away at the New York Comic Con. Make Mine DC!

Apocalyse's Rank in The DC Library

#16 Superman: Brainiac Attacks belongs at the bottom of any list as it is a horrible and horribly disappointing movie. The movie has plenty of punching but remains irritatingly boring. Lex Luthor is given one of the character's worst interpretations and most egregious, the movie used the look of the Superman: The Animated Series to try and sell a subpar and unrelated Superman story. Of all the movies on the list this is the one that really has no significant redeeming qualities.

#15 Batman: Gotham Knight at least has style on its side, but little else. Gotham Knight promised a mature bridge between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and delivered a hodgepodge of freakish Batman designs loosely connected with a story that doesn't deserve to be remembered. It pains me greatly that I didn't fall in love with this Batmanime, but try as I might, even on attempted repeat viewing I haven't been able to invest in this stylish mess.

#14 Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo is a serviceable outing that falls short of the series best episodes. The movie really doesn't stand on its own either, offering fans one last dose of Titans rather than delivering a solid story to general audiences. A stronger villain would have gone a long way to saving this movie, but as it is, the final product is a fair amount of blah.

#13 Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman comes in as one of the less memorable Batman films. The actual mystery is somewhat interesting but the movie doesn't escape the feeling that it was stuck with leftover villains Penguin and Bane, two of Batman: The Animated Series weakest foes.

#12 Batman vs Dracula just may be the best thing that came out of The Batman. The movie has a surprisingly darker tone than the series and manages to pull off an interesting showdown with "the original Batman." The long capes and animation style also worked well here in a movie that should not just be written off by critics of The Batman.

#11 Superman Batman: Apocalypse was technically the first sequel in the DC animated movie line, but aside from few token bits of background there was really no connection to Public Enemies. The art style was different, which to be fair is a result of the change in art in the source material, but more striking is the shift in tone. I think the lack of connection to Public Enemies was the source of some of my disappointment. Apocalypse dropped the light camaraderie of Public Enemies in favor of serious and intense action. That's not to say the action wasn't good. It was. There were a number of highly enjoyable fights, particularly involving the Furies, but this really wasn't a movie about Superman and/or Batman. It was about Supergirl and Darkseid. Maybe down the road this will move up on the charts above Public Enemies. I would rank them as about the same level of enjoyment, but for different reasons. In any case, this was certainly not a worthy follow up to the last entry, Batman: Under the Red Hood, but hey, they cant all be home runs. Sometimes you have to settle for a solid double.

#10 Superman Batman: Public Enemies though on the low side of the countdown was still an enjoyable romp. While Gotham Knight was just dumb, this is dumb fun. As an adaptation of the comic book, this was very faithful, maintaining many of even the most obscure cameos with designs that were spot on (for better or worse). While the story certainly wasn't deep, the movie delivered with one showdown after another. Actually, the plot points that deviated from the comic were welcome improvements. Consider this the Twinkie (or maybe the Suzy Q) of the DC line. I wouldn't want to eat seven of them in a row, but one now and then hits the spot.

#9 Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero bests the similarly plotted Batman and Robin live action movie hands down. Having said that, the movie although enjoyable, doesn't quite seem to escape feeling like an extended episode of the TV series. Granted, the series was awesome, but this entry failed to raise the stakes to a whole new level.

#8 Justice League: The New Frontier was a bit of a letdown on first viewing. There was something noble and nostalgic about the setup but the climax involving a dinosaur spewing flying island was a bit much to swallow. Since then, the movie has grown on me. I realized that the final villain wasn't really the point (though a better foe would have bumped this one up)., the movie was about the dawn of a new age of heroism. I really appreciate that even though this is a Justice League film, it was Green Lantern, Flash, and the Martian Manhunter that really drove the story. Those three have never seemed so heroic.

#7 Superman: Doomsday
was awfully ambitious in trying to tell the whole death and return of Superman story in a single outing. While the death part was done well, the retelling of Rise of the Supermen arc felt like a cheat. Instead we were basically given a retooled Identity Crisis episode from Superman: The Animated Series. Having said that, without comparison to the original comic or comparison to the animated series tale, this story is enjoyable enough. I probably like this one more than most, maybe I just like mullet Superman. Or maybe it is just the epic way that the opening fight with Doomsday introduced DCs new line movies making me forget just how bad was Brainiac Attacks.

#6 Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is the only one of these movie to have received a theatrical release and although it is a great movie, I am just not as won over as some. I really enjoy the first half of the movie, in particular I enjoy the flashback sequences which show Batman beginning as well as any scene in Batman Begins. The movie's last act just doesn't do it for me as the inclusion of the usually welcome Joker seems too shoehorned in. Don't take my criticism too harshly; this is a solid movie, but for my money, there are a few better.

#5 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker can make a believer out of those who say Batman Beyond is a lame concept. What would Batman be without The Joker? This movie shows how the Joker legacy haunted Bruce Wayne even after his apparent death and gave the new hero a chance to prove his worthiness of the title of Batman. Plus, there were plenty of flashbacks to the good ol' Batman and Robin days as well.

#4 Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths offered a a briskly paced alternate reality adventure. Highlights of the film were pretty much everything to do with Owlman including his diabolical scheme, his jet, and his main squeeze. Also enjoyable were the evil versions of heroes, particularly notoriously unpopular members of the Justice League Detroit.

#3 Wonder Woman was a real surprise. Unfortunately a lot of people think Wonder Woman is outdated and lame but this movie proved that a big budget Wonder Woman movie could be pretty great. Wondy offered the most violent outing of the bunch (well maybe second to Gotham Knight- both had beheadings) but was well balanced with humor. Of all the movies, this one exceeding my expectations the most.

#2 Green Lantern: First Flight finally gave the Green Lantern his own title and proved that GL deserves to be up there front and center. This space based action movie has a setting distinct from the other DC and even Marvel DVDs and in my opinion is begging for a sequel. Nevertheless, this movie felt like more than just a setup for another movie, a trap that many origin stories fall into. I would have liked a few more minutes of setup at the beginning giving Hal Jordan a bit more character, but overall this was a solid and polished movie.

#1 Batman: Under the Red Hood joins this list at the top spot. Perhaps it will settle into a lower position over time, but I was really blown away by the grit and emotion of this movie. It also didn't hurt that it looked fantastic. Even though I was expecting the movie to be hurt because the identity of Red Hood was pretty obvious, I really don't think it was. This was one well crafted and slick tale that stuffed no less than five supervillains into a sleek 75 minutes. Stories like this is why Batman remains DC's most popular.

Check out my ranking of the Marvel movies here.

05 October 2010

Face it Tiger, Spidey's Webbed a New MJ

Her name is Emma Stone, she is the new face of Mary Jane Watson. Hopefully, Spidey will be able to move on from Kirsten Dunst. Word is that MJ and Gwen Stacy are both going to be vying for the heart of the Web-Head in the Spider-Man reboot. I hope this doesn't turn into a CW style teen drama.

UPDATE: I guess she is actually Gwen. Go figure.

04 October 2010

The Blur's New Duds

First he was the Red-Blue Blur, then he dropped the colors opting for Matrix inspired black and became just the Blur. Now, looking ass some color to his wake, Clark Kent has donned a red leather jacket that teases his classic Super Suit. The new look made its appearance in the final scenes of Smallville's episode Shield. Its okay, but I am not sure how he plans on being seen but not identified.

Iron Manime Intro

In all its streaming glory: