07 August 2009

X-Men: The Phoenix Saga (1994) - Film Capsule

Heroes: The X-Men and The Phoenix

Villains: Eric the Red and the Gladiator are just henchmen for the unimpressive D'Ken. The Juggernaut also appears.

Diabolical Scheme: D'Ken (amused by the "foolishness of fools") of the Sh'iar wants to use the Emcron crystal to destroy the universe.

Coolest Moment(s): The best part is that this sets up the Dark Phoenix saga.

Worst Moment: The villains are mostly horrible and there are a lot of them.

Comic Book Logic: Why would anyone want to destroy the universe on purpose?

Review in 50 Words or Less: In an attempt to make the story more "epic," the Phoenix prelude was stretched over 5 episodes rather than 2. Lots of strange looking characters and a nonsensical plot remove the team from anything having to do with mutants. At least they saved the universe from a mean pink guy.

06 August 2009

The Justice League: A Super Friendly Tour (Part 14)

Justice League Unlimited

Building on the success of Justice League, the series was rebranded and expanded into Justice League Unlimited. The show continued in this format for 39 episodes which made up two epic story arcs.

Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern John Stewart, and Hawkgirl were joined by a load of new heores, a few of which were spotlighted in each episode. The newbies included guest stars from Superman and Justice League and a host of newbies including: Aquaman, The Atom, Aztek, Big Barda, Black Canary, Blue Devil, Booster Gold, B'wana Beast, Captain Atom, Captain Marvel, Crimson Avenger, Doctor Fate, Doctor Light, Dove, Elongated Man, Etrigan the Demon, Fire, Green Arrow, Hawk, Hawkman, Huntress, Long Shadow, Metamorpho, Mister Miracle, Mister Terrific, Orion, The Question, Red Tornado, Shining Knight, Stargirl, Static, Steel, and S.T.R.I.P.E., Supergirl, Vigilante, Vixen, Wildcat, and Zatanna.

Additionally, Atom Smasher, Creeper, Crimson Fox, Doctor Mid-Nite, Gypsy, Hourman, Ice, Johnny Thunder, Nemesis, Nightwing, Obsidian, Sand, Starman, Ray, Rocket Red, Thunderbolt, Vibe, and Waverider could be spotted in non-speaking roles.

To provide a challenge for the expanded League, villains likewise assembled into formidable forces highlighted by Ares, the return of AMAZO, Doomsday, and the rise of Lexiac (Luthor / Brainiac). Stories even brought heroes into conflict with one another providing knock down drag out encounters between Superman and Captains Atom and Marvel.

During the last season of the show, the Legion of Doom was featured as the villains anted up on the "Unlimited" team approach. Foes included Atomic Skull, Captain Cold, Bizarro, Sonar , Key, Captain Boomerang, Cheetah, Chronos, Copperhead, Deadshot, Doctor Polaris, Devil Ray, Goldface, Gentleman Ghost, Giganta, Killer Frost, Gorilla Grodd, The Trickster, Lex Luthor, Mirror Master, Star Sapphire, Plastique, Tala, The Shade, Silver Banshee, Sinestro, Toyman, and Volcana.

Much of the season showed a struggle for leadership between Lex Luthor and Gorilla Grodd, but in the end, it was the return of Darkseid that nearly overwhelmed the League.

All good things come to an end, and in 2006 the end of this series marked an historic end of an animation age that began with Batman: The Animated Series and spanned Superman, Batman Beyond, Justice League, and JLU. The series shared a continuity known as the DC Animated Universe (DCAU).

Availability: On DVD

Up Next: Justice League on Smallville

04 August 2009

Green Lantern: First Flight (2009) - Film Capsule

Heroes: Green Lantern Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps

Villains: Sinestro (and Kanjar Ro)

Diabolical Scheme: Sinestro wants to wield the power of the yellow element to bring a new order to the galaxy.

Coolest Moment(s): Watching him use moons as weapons. Lets just see Batman do that. Also, a shower of rings following a mass killing of GLs established Sinestro as a real threat.

Worst Moment: The first few minutes could have used some padding. And a picnic basket construct is kinda lame.

Comic Book Logic: How did punching an exhausted green element release more power, and then, only directed at Hal?

Review in 50 Words or Less: Expectations for direct to DVDs must be checked, but GL delivered epic scope and polished animation. In fact, animation just may be the best medium for balancing creative lantern constructs with a semblance of believability. This just may be DCs best animated feature so far. Bring on GL 2!