18 September 2009

Superman: Brainiac Attacks (2006) - Film Capsule

Hero: Superman

Villains: Brainiac / Lex Luthor

Diabolical Schemes: Lex Luthor rebuilds Brainiac to help him gain control of Earth after defeating Superman.

Coolest Moment(s): The two seconds when I thought Superman was actually going to share his secret with Lois, but I was wrong and there were no cool moments.

Worst Moment: Lex Luthor was a buffoon (sadly, not too big of a departure from other Superman films).

Review in 50 Words or Less: Stealing designs and voices from a good show is not enough to salvage a turd. 70 minutes of consequenceless, stakeless, and seemingly endless fighting brought on by two nincompoops was not enough to compensate for this movie lacking even one ounce of heart. At least there wasn't a superkid. (Expanded Review)

17 September 2009

Evolution of the Batman (and Robin) - Batman '66 T.V.

Holy cultural impact!
-Robin, 1966

The 1966 Batman series was one of the most influential shows in comic book history. It introduced Batman and Robin to a very broad audience, but did so in a way that associated camp with superheroes - a stereotype that would take years to be overcome.

The world of the 1960's Batman was bright, colorful, silly and full of onomatopoeias, and it was a world were the villains got a chance to shine and where the hero played the straight man.

The series started off a huge hit, even spawning a feature film in 1966, but by season 3,the formula had run stale and ratings were down. Batman and Robin were not enough to keep audiences attention, enter Batgirl.

Although the series was always over the top, the surfing Batman in season 3 demonstrated just how zany the show got by the end. After 120 episodes (a decent run) the series was canceled, although a 4th season would have been ordered had the sets not already been dismantled. Had season 4 happened, it most likely would have saved costs by axing Robin and Commissioner Gordon.

Rumors of a Batgirl pilot spin-off are likely untrue in spite of unaired Batgirl footage. The Batgirl footage is more likely just a screen test made when adding the Batgirl character to the existing show's third season.

The characters would return to TV a few years later in 1972 to promote equal pay for women in the workplace.

"Tune in next week— same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!"

Up Next: Batman '66 Movie

16 September 2009

Retrospective 1982

Though new entries in the superhero genre were sparse in 1982, green was definitely in. in the form of two green monster-heroes.

Swamp Thing

Wes Craven's Swamp Thing, based on the DC character was made for a mere $3 million giving us a swamp full of "government agents, scientists, soldiers, master criminals, secret formulas, monsters and midgets."

The Incredible Hulk (Animated)

Later in the year, a more familiar green face would arrive on TVs across the country.

The Incredible Hulk animated series, beginning just as the live action series wrapped, ended up being just a 13 episode blip in the Jade Giant's career. The series was a bit truer to the comic book and also provided the onscreen debut of She-Hulk.

In all, 1982 just wasn't a very good year for fans of superheroes. Fortunately, the decade would end much stronger than it started.

15 September 2009

Owlman Returns in the Next DC Animated Movie (WHO WHO!?)

Lex Luthor is good? Batman is evil? and an owl!? It can only mean one thing, a crisis is coming. DC's next animated film (after this months Superman Batman: Public Enemies) titles Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is being described as:

...a “good” Lex Luthor arrives from an alternate universe to recruit the Justice League to help save his Earth from the Crime Syndicate, a gang of villainous characters with virtually identical super powers to the Justice League. What ensues is the ultimate battle of good versus evil in a war that threatens both planets and, through a diabolical plan launched by Owlman, puts the balance of all existence in peril.

At first blush, this sounds a lot like the first season finale of Batman: The Brave and the Bold which involved Batman teaming up with a good Joker, and then taking on Owlman. But Owlman is just one member of the syndicate which also includes Ultraman, Superwoman, Johnny Quick, and Power Ring. From the cast list, it looks like at least Superwoman will have a decent role (voiced by Gina Torres of Firefly fame).

More news to come...