Paul’s Pick’s: New Years Eve Edition!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

  Another year has come to an end, but before we ring in the New Year, I wanted to leave you all with one more entry in my recommendation series: Paul’s Picks! Let’s dive in…

House of X/Powers of X by Jonathan Hickman 

This is by far the best superhero graphic novel of the year, if not the last several years. Jonathan Hickman has delivered one of the most wildly unique superhero comics I’ve read in a long time. Something about the X-Men allows for new creators to come into that world and wildly shake things up. They put their unique brand on the characters and the story, all the while always feeling like an X-Men tale. Chris Claremont did it with Giant Size X-Men #1, Grant Morrison did it with New X-Men, Joss Whedon did it with Astonishing X-Men, and now Jonathan Hickman has done it again with House of X/Powers of X.

The best part is you don’t have to be familiar with recent X-Men comics understand the story, you just need a basic knowledge of who the X-Men are. The hardcover volume I have is a special edition that actually came with a lithograph signed by Jonathan Hickman, which is pretty cool, but don’t expect it to be come with every edition (this was a special order).

Lithograph signed by Jonathan Hickman

Most other editions of this hardcore graphic novel have a different, but still beautiful wrap around cover. If you’ve ever been interested in superhero comics or if you wanted to get back into comic books, this is a must read.

Get it here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/House-X-Powers-Jonathan-Hickman/dp/1302915703/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3VUY2NZLQC7NW&keywords=house+of+x+powers+of+x+hardcover&qid=1578004057&sprefix=House+of+x%2Caps%2C144&sr=8-1

The Death and Return of Superman Blu-Ray/4K

    As I’ve talked about on this website many times, I love the DC animated movies that come out every year. One of the better ones in recent memory has been The Death of Superman storyline which was broken into two different films. The first, The Death of Superman focuses on Clark Kent’s growing romantic relationship with Lois Lane and ultimately Superman’s fight to the death with the vicious monster, Doomsday. While Reign of The Supermen is about how the World, The Justice League, Lois Lane, and even Lex Luthor all deal with the loss of Earth’s greatest hero. Now this excellent story can be watched seamlessly as one beautiful animated film: The Death and Return of Superman. Much like their adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, which was split into two separate film releases and then eventually released as one film under The Dark Knight Returns Deluxe Edition, The Death and Return of Superman is best enjoyed as one movie.

Get it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Death-Return-Superman-Complete-Collection/dp/B07RVHGJBX/ref=sr_1_2?crid=22A49P5SASHTS&keywords=the+death+and+return+of+superman&qid=1578004170&sprefix=the+Death+and+ret%2Caps%2C147&sr=8-2

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Steelbook Blu-ray 

 My last pick is Quentin Tarantino’s latest film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. I’m a huge Tarantino fan, but to be honest I was disappointed with his most recent directorial effort. Don’t get me wrong, DiCaprio and Pitt are great and there’s a lot to like in this movie, but it just didn’t wow me like Tarantino’s movies usually do. I know I’m in the minority on this one, the film was a huge critical success and most of my friends loved it as well, including World’s Best Media’s own Ryan McDonald. However, just because I wasn’t blown away doesn’t mean I didn’t want to add the film to my Blu-Ray collection. My personal selection was the Best Buy Exclusive Steelbook Blu-Ray/4K edition. I love me some steelbook Blu-rays!

Get at Best Buy right here: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/once-upon-a-time-in-hollywood-steelbookdig-copy4k-ultra-hd-blu-ray-blu-ray-only–best-buy-4k-ultra-hd-blu-ray-blu-ray-2019/6383000.p?skuId=6383000

So that’s it for my picks in 2019! Look for me to continue this article series more frequently in the coming year. Have a safe and Happy New Year! See you in 2020!

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, which go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again!

-Paul

TRAILER: Superman: Red Son

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

I love DC’s Animated Movies. I always look forward to what stories they choose to tell in their animated films every year. I’ll even go so far as to say that some of them are among the best superhero movies ever made. There’s one story in particular that fans have wanted to see for years: an adaptation of Superman: Red Son, a miniseries by Mark Millar and Dave Johnson. Red Son is a classic DC “Elseworlds”story. Elseworlds stories are essentially alternate takes on classic DC stories or characters. It’s almost like a “what if?” tale. Like, what if Batman existed in the Victorian era Gotham City and hunted Jack The Ripper? Or what if, years in the future, the original members of the Justice League must come out of retirement to deal with a new generation of violent and destructive “heroes“ that have risen up in their absence? (These are all real Elseworlds stories by the way).

The story of Superman: Red Son is brilliant in its simplicity. What if instead of crashing his spaceship in Smallville, Kansas where he was raised by the Kent’s, little baby Kal-El’s ship landed in Soviet Union era Russia? How would that change the history of the world? Would Superman’s inherent goodness shine through despite being raised in a culture like The Soviet Union, during the height of The Cold War? Red Son takes this premise and runs with it brilliantly. We even get to see different versions of characters like Batman, Lex Luthor, Wonder Woman, The Green Lantern Corps, and many more.


Over the past couple of years, the DC Animated Movies have dipped a little in quality compared to some of their truly phenomenal earlier films, like their adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, or Batman: Under The Red Hood. I have noticed a little bit of an uptick in quality over there last few movies, so hopefully Superman: Red Son will be the film that gives us another DC Animated Movie classic. You can watch the trailer right here:

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, which go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again!

-Paul

MOVIE REVIEW – Batman: Hush

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love the direct to Blu-Ray and Digital DC Animated Movies. There’ve been some real classics to come out of these projects. Movies like Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns: The Deluxe Edition, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, and Batman: Under The Red Hood, just to name a few. While there have been some enjoyable standouts, there hasn’t been a real homerun from these films in a while. Though Batman: Hush may not knock it out of the park, it comes damn near close. Based on the classic Batman run by writer Jeph Loeb (Batman: The Long Halloween) with art by the legendary Jim Lee (Justice League, X-Men), Batman: Hush does a great job of adapting this seminal Batman tale while still fitting the movie into the animated continuity (or DCAU) that DC created beginning with Justice League: War. The result is a pretty damn good movie that is less of a mystery and more of a tragic romance. Which may irk some fans, but I’ll get into more of that in a moment.

  I’ve heard some people complain about the animation in these films lately. Critics say that copying the general aesthetic of The New 52 and attempting to adhere to a visual continuity, makes each of these movies feel overly similar and blocky. Well, that issue isn’t completely absent from this film, but there are some notable efforts to step up to quality of the animation. Some shots feature fantastic little details that immediately draw your eyes. How someone’s eyes and face move before something dramatic is about to happen, the way a fight move is pulled off, small moments scattered throughout the film that make it feel as if the animators were going the extra mile and it shows.

   The real highlight of the movie is the relationship between Batman and Catwoman. It’s so rare to see Batman in a successful and a functioning relationship. I should mention that Selina doesn’t know that Bruce is Batman at the beginning of the story.

It’s only when things begin to get serious that he reveals himself to be Bruce Wayne. In fact, there is a funny scene when he brings her to the Batcave for the first time and she’s enthusiastically greeted by Dick in the Nightwing uniform without his mask and Alfred attempting to serve her tea. When she‘s surprised to realize that Dick and Alfred know that she’s Selina Kyle. She even half jokingly asks “Does everyone know who I am?“ Dick blurts out “No, just us and Damian.” Selena asks “Who’s Damian?”, “Oh he’s Bruce’s son… He’s Robin.” Replies Dick with an awkward look on his face. It’s easy to see how being an intimate part of Bruce’s life isn’t so simple, which is why he and Selena are so perfect for one another. He is drawn to Selina as both Batman and Bruce Wayne and that’s where the key to their success of the relationship lies. 

     If Bruce and Selina are out on a date and The Bat Signal appears in the sky, Bruce doesn’t have to make up some bullshit excuse. She’s more than capable of coming along with him to stop whatever threat he’s facing and it even feels like a natural part of their “date night” that they both seem to get off on. Catwoman may have been staying on the straight and narrow, but she loves this world, she loves being part of a good fight. In fact, I think if she was dating Bruce and he didn’t have the Batman aspect to his life, the relationship wouldn’t work. Selina needs those kind of thrills.The film is mature enough to acknowledge that this relationship wouldn’t have worked if it began when they were younger. Maybe there would’ve been an intense fling, but nothing more. They’ve both matured, changed, and they both want different things than they did years before. It’s at this point in their lives that they’re ready to be together as both Bruce Wayne/Batman and Selina Kyle/Catwoman.

   When comparing the graphic novel to the film, it’s important to remember that the  Batman: Hush graphic novel is a mystery at it’s heart. Who is Hush? Why are they doing this? Well the movie managed to do a great job with staying relatively faithful to the source material, while still managing to surprising fans of the graphic novel. Love it or hate it. Many of the iconic moments from the comic book are present in the film. Some are even slightly improved upon. However, there is one classic scene from Batman: Hush that was adapted to the film, but (without going into SPOILERS) the scene felt like it needed to be a little bit longer. I was impressed how Hush managed to both surprise those of us who’ve read the comic book, while still being faithful to the source material in a unique way. To say much more would be a SPOILER, but you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it. You may think you know where the story is going, you may think you know the identity of Hush (and maybe you’re right), but things play out just different enough to make things fun, interesting, and surprising.

   The final fight between Batman and Hush is particularly well animated, well choreographed, and thrilling. The animation of the fight has a very dynamic quality. Batman employs one of my favorite tactics of his, that we’ve seen in animation and comics many times, but almost never in live-action: He gets in the villains head to gain the upper hand. He plays mind games with his opponents and that’s used here to great effect. Batman use his genius, his ability to manipulate the psychosis of the villain he’s facing, to exploit their fears, insecurities, and weaknesses to give him that extra edge for the win. Batman’s greatest weapon is his intellect. 

       The combination of the surprising reveal of Hush’s identity, the fantastic animation, and Batman using his intellect to exploit the mental and emotional weaknesses of his opponent, make this for a pretty memorable final battle.

   It should be noted that Selina Kyle/Catwoman is a notorious criminal and accomplished superhero in her own right. However, Batman can be such a larger than life figure, that it would be easy to make even the strongest of women look like a damsel in distress in one of his stories. The film does a great job of avoiding problems like this. Selina is her own woman. Her choices are not defined by Bruce’s choices. She doesn’t necessarily need his help to get out of some of the most serious jams she finds herself in throughout the movie. Particularly in the climax of the film, Selina finds herself in a very precarious life and death situation. I’m fairly certain she would’ve been fine, whether Batman showed up or not. The storytellers did a phenomenal job making her an interesting capable character.

    At the end of the day this is still a love story between Batman and Catwoman. The sad realization of how, at least in this point in their lives, that love story is also a tragedy. Bruce lets Selina in, in a way we rarely see from this character. There comes a point in the story, when Bruce makes a decision that looks like madness to Selina. In fact, it would look like madness too many of us in the audience. Once the threat has been neutralized and the villain dealt with, Selina has an epiphany. She realizes that no matter how much she loves Bruce, no matter how much she changes for him, no matter how much more she’s willingto change for him, he won’t change himself.

     There are things he will not become. There are lines he cannot cross. Because of that Selina will always come in second place to Bruce. She willing to let herself evolve with this relationship, but she realizes that in the end, Bruce is an immovable object she’ll break herself against. It’s profound, it’s sad, and it’s veryBatman.

  Batman: Hush is a flawed, but solid Batman mystery/adventure with a fantastic romance story, great fight scenes, some stand out bits of animation, and some surprisingly thought-provoking character and story elements. Some things land better than others and I think the film may have benefited from another 20 minutes or so of storytelling to help flesh out some of it’s more interesting ideas. The climax in particular feels like it comes out of nowhere, when there should’ve been a bit more tension and build up to Batman‘s final confrontation with Hush. Whether you’ve read the original graphic novel or not, this movie will still keep you guessing. 

      While not the complete return to form I was hoping for from Warner Bros/DC Animation after the strong combination of The Death of Superman/Reign of the Supermen, I’d say this is still a MUST WATCH for any Batman fan!

Thanks for reading!

Batman: Hush – 8/10

Reviewed by Paul J. Wright