FIRST LOOK: Justice League: The Snyder Cut!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

There’ve been few things in recent popular culture that have been more divisive than Zack Snyder‘s foray into the DCEU. Personally, I’m a big Zack Snyder defender. I think, with the exception of Sucker Punch, he’s never truly made a bad movie.

   Man of Steel is easily my favorite live-action Superman movie. Henry Cavill is much better in the role than people give him credit for and the movie is underrated in general. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is a very flawed film, but I love it. Particularly the R-Rated Ultimate Edition. It’s sad that the films reception and his personal issues forced Ben Affleck to walk away from the character because he was arguably our best live action Batman to date. The only thing in that movie that was truly terrible was the decision to cast Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and his god awful subsequent performance. I understand that, as fans we all have our own beliefs about how beloved character should be portrayed on screen, but I was pleasantly surprised by Batman V Superman, especially because the film was getting such mixed reviews at the time. 

I don’t count Justice League because at the end of the day that wasn’t really Snyder’s film. Almost everything with Superman in that movie was shot after he left the film, for personal reasons. Henry Cavill was well into filming Mission: Impossible Fallout, where he sported a thick mustache. You can tell that all of Superman’s scenes were shot after Zack Snyder left the film, because Paramount, the film studio that was making Mission Impossible, wouldn’t let Warner Bros. shave Cavill’s mustache for JL reshoots. So, instead of choosing the much simpler, cheaper, and smarter option of shaving his mustache and having Cavill wear a fake for the remainder of shooting Mission Impossible, Warner Bros. had to remove the mustache digitally. The god awful result is that the whole bottom half of Superman’s face in JL looks like a creepy mannequin come to life. Of course none of that is Zack Snyder‘s fault because he already left the movie at that point, but it’s a funny story if you haven’t already heard it.

Now, Zack Snyder is finally getting a chance to give us his vision of his Justice League film, or at least something pretty close to it. Justice League: The Snyder Cut is premiering on HBOMax next year, sometime in 2021. It might not be much, but HBO released a brief teaser for the project that you can watch below. Of course, you can’t judge a movie after only seeing less than 60 seconds of footage, but I already dig the darker tone. We’re only shown two quick scenes, one involving Diana played by Gal Gadot that was not in the theatrical cut at all and a quick look at a alternate version of the ancient battle sequence that opens the film where Steppenwolf has been replaced by… Well, I won’t spoil it, but it’s someone much scarier and much more interesting. The thing that both of these scenes have in common is that they’re extremely ominous and they both serve to focus on the appearance of a certain iconic DC villain, not featured in the theatrical cut. Take a look below, I’d love to hear what you guys think:

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, 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! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul

Dark Nights: Death Metal #1 Review!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…


Dark Nights: Death Metal #1

Written by Scott Snyder

Art by Greg Capullo 

  The long awaited and much anticipated new miniseries from DC Comics, Dark Nights: Death Metal, is finally here and today I’m reviewing the first issue! About once a year, usually in the summer, both of “The Big Two” comic book publishers, DC and Marvel, will put out an epic miniseries “Event”. These are the no holds barred stories, where seemingly anything can happen! Typically, even though one character or one particular team will be the focus of the story, these Events affect and involve the entire DCU or Marvel Universe. These stories tend to have casts of thousands! With huge, status quo changing moments! Whenever the publishers at Marvel or DC are talking about their latest Event Miniseries, they like to say things like, “After this story nothing will ever be the same!”. When you’ve been reading comics as long as I have, there are certain things that you tend to expect to see when one of these big stories come out. There are usually some major character deaths, surprise resurrections, heroes turning into villains and vice versa, things like that. Classic DC and Marvel stories like Crisis On Infinite Earths, Infinity Gauntlet, and Civil War are some examples of Event Comics. Like many things, some of them suck and other become classics.

One of the best superhero Events of the last decade was Dark Nights: Metal written by Scott Snyder and art by Greg Capullo. That story saw the DCU being invaded by the evil, cosmic forces of the previously unknown Dark Mutiverse. The Dark Multiverse is a nightmare realm where the deep fears of everyone in The DCU are made manifest. These are the worlds where everything that could go wrong, does go wrong. The Dark Multiverse was ruled by an evil god-like entity called Barbatos. When he came to attack and claim the DCU, his generals were all dark, twisted versions of Batman. 

   The most terrifying and formidable of the evil Bruce Waynes from across The Dark Multiverse was, without a doubt, The Batman Who Laughs. In his home reality, after The Joker killed Jim Gordon and a shit load of other people, Bruce Wayne finally had enough of the atrocities committed by The Joker and killed him by snapping his neck. BUT The Clown Prince of Crime had one last surprise for his longtime nemesis, The Joker created a toxin that would be released from his body at the moment of his death and turn whoever killed him into the next Joker. The insidious toxin burned  away Bruce’s humanity. Batman lost of all his morality, compassion, and empathy. Batman, under normal circumstances, is already as Superman once put it, “The most dangerous man alive.”.  This version Batman, without the moral code that stops him from going too far, is a terrifying and unbeatable cosmic horror. Now he’s the apex predator of The Multiverse. Because a Batman Who Laughs is a Batman who always wins. 

  The Justice League managed to defeat Barbatos and his army of evil Batmen (The Batman Who Laughs managed to stick around The DCU), but it came with huge unforeseen consequences. In defeating one dark god, they unknowingly unleashed another: Perpetua, The Mother and Creator of The Multiverse. However, when Perpetua was freed, it took time for her to regain her full power. She needed help and a certain bald, alien hating, billionaire businessman/scientific genius was just the megalomaniac for the job…

Perpetua: Creator of The Multiverse

   One of the major ongoing stories in DC Comics over the last few years has followed Lex Luthor (with the help of The Legion of Doom) as he attempted to pull off his most ambitious cosmic power grab to date. Luthor set out to unlock the hidden powers of the universe and restore Perpetua to her full strength. Luthor’s endgame was to help Perpetua regain control of The Multiverse and rule over all of creation alongside her as her right hand and most trusted disciple. Everything was going according to Luthor’s plan, that is until The Batman Who Laughs showed up. He managed to make the case to Perpetua that he, not Luthor, was the one worthy of becoming her most valuable acolyte. Luthor had done all the work and The Batman Who Laughs snatched everything right out from under him. Perpetua agreed, and Luthor was cast aside.

    Dark Nights: Death Metal is not only a sequel to Dark Nights: Metal, it also builds upon many of the major stories Scott Snyder and others have been telling in the DCU since the end of the first Dark Nights: Metal. Elements from Snyder‘s Justice League run, Doomsday Clock, Snyder’s Batman Who Laughs miniseries, The Flash, and more are all at play. I think one of the things that the story does really well, is that despite all of the groundwork the story has been built upon, it doesn’t feel like you need to have read all of those other stories to understand this one. It’s a more accessible tale than you might think. The story starts very much in the middle of the action, so even if you have read every single DC Comic Book that’s connected to this story, you’re still going to be playing catch-up. Everything in the story is so insane that, part of the fun is figuring out how the hell our heroes have found themselves in this crazy situation.

Without going into major spoilers, Earth has been pulled into The Dark Multiverse. The planet has become a terrifying nightmare-scape, ruled over by the cruel and sadistic Batman Who Laughs. Countless twisted and evil versions of Batman from throughout The Dark Multiverse act as his lieutenants and help enforce his will. Our heroes have lost so badly that to keep what’s left of humanity alive, heroes like Swamp Thing, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and others are forced work for The Batman Who Laughs and do his bidding. He’s given his version of the Justice League different roles to play in his new kingdom. They know that they can’t beat him. He holds all the cards in such a way that, the only way our heroes can protect the people that are left is to play his sick game and grudgingly work for him. The Batman Who Laughs is essentially holding a gun to the head of what’s left of humanity, to keep the former Justice League in line. It’s sort of reminds me of something out of Game of Thrones where noble characters have to bow down before a despicable ruler in the name of serving a greater good. Of course Batman, the real Batman that is out there somewhere, fighting almost like a guerrilla insurgency, desperately trying to pull off whatever ever he can to save whatever’s left of this broken Multiverse.

Despite the fact that the whole story is wrapped in Batman iconography and there are evil Batmen everywhere, Wonder Woman is the central character in this story. Themyscira, Wonder Woman’s former home, has literally become Hell, a jail for people that The Batman Who Laughs wants to keep out of the way and imprisoned. With Swamp Thing (who’s seen better days to say the least) as her right hand man and confidant, Wonder Woman has become Hell’s Jailer, The Warden of her desecrated homeland. Despite her dark circumstances, Wonder Woman is pretty fucking cool in this story and I love the choice to make her one of the central characters. She’s really the main character, at least in this issue.  but considering what goes down in the first issue alone, I think it’s fair to say she’ll probably be taking center stage for the whole story. If this issue is any indication, that’s a fantastic idea. As cool as Batman is, as smart as he is, and is tough as he is, no one will fight to their last breath like Wonder Woman. She is not content to play her fucked up role in The Batman Who Laugh’s wasteland. Bruce thinks the fight is already lost and all they can hope to do is save whatever good is left. Wonder woman is not having that shit, she knows there must be a way to make things right, to put the universe back together again. And when a very important prisoner is sent to her by The Batman Who Laughs, Diana thinks she may have found her last chance to save the world.

To say anymore would spoil the fun. I will say this, they are not fucking around with this story. Snyder and Capullo have pulled out all of the fucking stops. This is only the first issue and there were at least three or four jaw-dropping moments in this comic book. I was fucking blown away. It’s impressive that while so much of what is going on in the story is dark and bleak, the story never loses it’s thrilling sense of fun. The heroes of the DCU are in rough shape, but it looks like watching them try to set things right is going to be a blast!

   I think it’s safe to say at this point that Snyder and Capullo have established themselves as one of the best writer/artist teams in the history of comics. These are two guys operating at the absolute top of their game and it shows in the story. When Greg Capullo’s name is on a comic book, it’s a given that the art inside will be fantastic, but he really knocked it out of the park on this one. It would be easy to take Capullo’s incredible art for granted, because his work has produced so many phenomenal stories over the years. In Dark Nights: Death Metal, literally everything on each page is something totally new, even all of the classic DC heroes in this story are sporting completely new looks. There are so few artists that could pull off a story like this, with the level of excellence that Capullo delivers. Then there’s the coloring by FCO Plascencia (another long time collaborator of Snyder and Capullo’s) which is gorgeous in this issue. The way the bright, vivid colors of Wonder Woman contrast with the dark, more muted tones of the desolate wasteland that surrounds her, is beautiful to behold.

I’ll definitely say this I loved Dark Nights: Metal and this is a much better first issue than that story. I’m sure Snyder and Capullo would be happy to hear, that the comic book is definitely “Metal”. It rocks the fucking doors off, blows out the windows, and leaves you desperately wanting more. I cannot wait for the next issue, because Dark Nights: Death Metal fucking rules! 🤘

Dark Nights: Death Metal #19/10

Note: DC has put out a prelude story that takes place right before issue #1 begins. You can read it for free on instagram! It’s pretty cool, so I definitely recommend checking it out. Read for free right here: https://t.co/vIJ8HkiZ23

Check out this art from issue #2 hitting stands in July…

POCAST: Birds Of Prey Review! With Co-Host Tim Cuff!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

On this very special episode of “The World’s Best Podcast”, Tim Cuff makes his triumphant return to the show! Tim was one of the original co-hosts of “The World’s Best Podcast” and helped make the podcast the success that it is today! What better occasion to have Tim return to the show, than to join up with me to review “Birds of Prey”? The film focuses on Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, who’s trying to survive the brutal Gotham underworld after her break up with The Joker. Harley allies herself with other classic DC characters like Black Canary, Huntress, and Det. Rene Montoya to take on the vicious Gotham crime boss, Black Mask. Tim and I are both DC mega-fans, so it’s been great to see the DCEU (or The Worlds of DC) get back on track with movies like Aquaman, SHAZAM!, and of course, JOKER. Does “Birds of Prey” continue DC’s winning streak or do we have another Suicide Squad on our hands? Check out the episode to find out! Enjoy! FULL SPOILERS!

Make sure to check out Tim’s podcast, Cuff’s Basement, available on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/cuffs-basement/id1315442078

Listen here: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/22616693  Or subscribe on Stitcher, Spreaker, iHeartRadio, Deezer, Podchaser, Castbox, Podcast Addict, Google Podcasts, & Apple Podcasts/ITunes…

iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-worlds-best-podcast/id1246038441#episodeGuid=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.spreaker.com%2Fepisode%2F22616693

Thanks for reading and listening! 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, 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

FIRST LOOK: Wonder Woman 1984 Trailer & Posters!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

I love the 80’s retro design in the marketing

It’s a great day to be a DC fan! DC and Warner Brothers just dropped the first trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 and it looks pretty damn cool! The first film was excellent and Gal Gadot crushed it in the role. Now that the origin is out of the way and audiences have become familiar with the character, the filmmakers are free to take the Wonder Woman story in any direction they want. Gal Gadot beautifully embodied Diana and everything she stands for in the first Wonder Woman. A film that solidified her status as the perfect person for the role, especially after being a highlight in movies like Batman V Superman and Justice League.

I’m a big Batman V Superman apologist, I actually love the film despite its many flaws and Wonder Woman is one of the big things the movie has going for it. Justice League on the other hand is arguably the worst film in the DCEU (or The Worlds of DC or whatever the fuck they’re calling it now), yet she shines as Wonder Woman in an otherwise poorly conceived and executed movie. With this much success as the character already under her belt, Wonder Woman 1984 has the potential to push Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman into icon status. I hope they’re able to do something exciting that isn’t a retread of the original movie, but still captures the spirit of what makes Wonder Woman great.

Of course Chris Pine returns as Steve Trevor. It will be interesting to see exactly how they choose to resurrect the character or bring him to 1984. This isn’t supposed to be a different person who looks exactly like Steve Trevor, like his grandson or something. This is the same man that Diana knew during WWI. To be honest, I don’t particularly care about the details, I like the character and I’m happy to see him return in this movie.

    I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see Cheetah in this trailer. That’s the character played Kristen Wiig. There are several different versions of Cheetah, but the one I’m most familiar with and the one I hope they use is Dr. Barbara Minerva.

Dr. Barbara Minerva was an archaeologist who became friends with Diana. Her specialty was mythology and ancient cultures that existed around the time Themyscira was created. Through a bizarre series of events that I won’t get into here, she’s cursed by some ancient god into becoming a cheetah-like monster. The transformation made her overly violent and bloodthirsty, but for the most part she retains her human mind. In some versions she directly blames Diana for her condition. I’m really excited to see if they do this character design justice. In my opinion, CGI motion capture would be the best way to go, I’d like to see them lean more into the monstrous cheetah side than the more human look we’ve seen in other iterations. I’ve included some images from a recent Wonder Woman story by written Greg Rucka with art by Liam Sharp. They’re good examples of the direction I hope the filmmakers go with for Cheetah’s design…

   On the flip side, I was very pleasantly surprised to see the inclusion of another classic DC anti-hero/villain: Maxwell Lord. Played by Pedro Pascal who’s currently wowing audiences in The Mandalorian, will be playing Maxwell Lord, who I had no idea was even in the movie.

Maxwell Lord is a wealthy businessman who has a long and dark history with the Justice League and Wonder Woman in particular. At one point he fully funded the Justice League a classic JL run in the 80’s called Justice League International. It was later revealed that he was a meta-human with telepathic powers and this long time ally to the Justice League was actually a much more sinister figure than anyone knew. So that’s a really fun character to throw into the mix because they could play him in a lot of different ways.  In addition to the trailer also got some really cool character posters (featured throughout the article) The posters for the first Wonder Woman movie were fucking works of art and these posters are certainly unique. I especially love that golden wing armor that we see Diana wear in the trailer, if they make a poster with that costume I will most certainly be buying a copy. Anyway, this is definitely high on my list of most anticipated films of 2020, take a look at 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

FIRST LOOK – Wonder Woman: Bloodlines TRAILER!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

After the surprisingly solid Batman: Hush, it looks like we’ll be getting one more DC Animated Movie before the end of 2019: Wonder Woman: Bloodlines. You can check out the first trailer posted below. I am more excited for this one than I thought I would be. I really like seeing how the film is using many of the classic Wonder Woman villains that we don’t often get to see in projects like this. DC has been putting out some strong animated films lately after a few years of some mediocre entries, hopefully Wonder Woman: Bloodlines continues the trend of increasingly good DC Animated Movies. The movie will be released digitally on 10/5 and on Blu-Ray and 4K on 10/22. One of the bonus features included with the movie will be a short film about the character Death, one of The Endless from Neil Gaiman‘s The Sandman comic book series. Watch the trailer here:

Thanks for reading!

-Paul

NEW TRAILER: Young Justice: Outsiders!

The long awaited 3rd Season of Young Justice premieres on 1/4/19 on the DC UNIVERSE streaming service. Check out the new trailer for Young Justice: Outsiders right here!

What I Want to See: DCEU

It was announced today, that Henry Cavill is no longer going to be the live action Superman in the DCEU.  It was recently confirmed (and long rumored) that Ben Affleck was not going to be Batman in the DCEU.  So, the DCEU is down 2 of their three most iconic characters, and many people are speculating a ‘soft reboot’ of the DCEU in general.  Of their 5 films so far, the only success across the board (critics/fans/box office) has been Wonder Woman, and so this might make sense to do.  Especially since Wonder Woman and the upcoming sequel take place before the events of the other 4 films released so far.

MV5BMTA1NDM2ODUxOTNeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDgxOTEyMDYz._V1_Has Aquaman ever looked cooler?

Now, I personally think this reboot idea will likely take some of its cues from what happens with December’s Aquaman film.  We already saw Jason Mamoa as the character in Justice League, and I’ve heard virtually no complaints about him, but an Aquaman stand-alone will be a completely different thing, and so we really won’t know until it comes out.

There is also the forthcoming Shazam, scheduled for next April.  Now, Shazam hasn’t appeared in the DCEU previously, so if Aquaman tanks and they go full steam ahead on the reboot, Shazam could be part of the ‘new’ universe, or if Aquaman is a success, it could be tailored into the ‘newish/soft reboot/whatever they’re going to call it.’

maxresdefaultI knew nothing about this character, and the trailer sold me.

So let’s make the assumption that some kind of reboot is going to happen, and I will tell you what I want to see with that.  Ok?

I want to see this reboot build characters individually.  I’m not saying not to put Easter eggs, or slight references to each other, but let’s not get to the second movie before we have a full blown cross over.  If in Wonder Woman ’84 we see some story about a ‘meteorological event’ which implies Kal El’s (Superman) arrival, that’s fine, but I don’t want Jason Mamoa or Shazam or anyone else to show up.  Get several stand alone films under your belts, like you should have done the first time around.

ntgk14lkrtl11Thanos’ snap was more powerful than we all realized.

The second thing that I want to see happen, is I don’t want Superman and Batman to show up for a while.  It might sound dumb, and I’m sure people hate hearing about the MCU as a model, but Marvel didn’t have access to their A listers when they started, and it forced them to build characters and not assume we knew who they were, it forced them to get creative and be better story tellers.  I think Batman and Superman are too iconic to start.  Let’s deal with Shazam, and Cyborg, and other characters that the general film going audience that aren’t comic book readers aren’t familiar with, and start world building through them.  There is some brand recognition with characters like Flash and Green Lantern, but use those characters to bridge the gap between the audience who know nothing, and the audience who totally get it.  Then once you’re several successes deep, you can start introducing Superman and Batman.  This exercise, will also help you to understand how to create those characters more memorably, to not be coming at them as the icons they are to the general public, but to fill in and establish all of the layers that have comic book fans hooked.

A Look At The Upcoming DC Animated Movie Lineup!

Hey Everybody,

Paul here…

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This week DC and Warner Bros. Animation released The Death of Superman on Blu-Ray, DVD, 4K, and Digital. I had a chance to watch the movie a few weeks ago when it was released on iTunes and I really enjoyed the movie. You can read my full review here:

https://best-media-world.com/2018/07/29/movie-review-the-death-of-superman/

Normally DC releases 3 of these animated films a year, but next year they’ll be bumping it up to 4. 2019 will see the release of Reign of The Supermen, Batman: Hush, Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, and Justice League Vs. The Fatal Five. Below is some of the early promo art DC has released announcing each of the films.

The Death of Superman is the first film in a 2-Part story, with Part 2, Reign of The Supermen coming out in early 2019. While the first film deals with the brutal final battle of The Man of Steel, Reign of The Supermen deals with the fallout of a world without Superman. How will Superman’s death affect the people in his life that he left behind? And what heroes (or villains) will step up to take his place?

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Below are some images that tease some of the characters from Reign of The Supermen that emerge in Superman’s absence:

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Out of all of these projects, I’m most intrigued by Batman: Hush, which is scheduled to be released around early summer 2019.

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After already adapting Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, and The Killing Joke, I would have guessed The Long Halloween or Arkham Asylum would be the next iconic Batman story for DC Animation to tackle. Hush is definitely considered a modern classic among many Batman fans. The story, written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by the legendary Jim Lee, was an epic 12 issue Batman mystery, involving all of the most iconic villains and allies in The Dark Knight’s world. I would almost expect DC to go the 2-Part film route with this story considering how sprawling a tale it is, so I’m sure there’ll be some changes in the adaptation. While it’s not one of my favorite Batman stories, I’m sure it’s the film DC fans will be most excited to see. It definitely has enough going for it to make me very curious to see what DC Animation does with this one.

Not much is known about the other 2 movies announced, Justice League Vs. The Fatal Five and Wonder Woman: Bloodlines.

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However, the title of the Justice League film would suggest the story involves the Legion of Superheroes in some way (The Legion Of Superheroes being a team from the distant future of the DC Universe). As for Wonder Woman, this just a guess, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this story is inspired by Brian Azzerello’s New 52 Wonder Woman run.

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Wonder Woman from Brian Azzerello’s run on the book.

Even though these films can be hit or miss, I’m always excited when the new line up is announced. Considering how much I enjoyed The Death of Superman, hopefully the trend of great DC Animated movies continues.

MOVIE REVIEW: The Death of Superman

AA9D987F-BDF8-4B21-B6C4-786ABF25FFD3I’ve always been a big fan of the DC Animated movies that come out each year. For those of you that aren’t familiar, they’re animated adaptations of DC Comics stories that go directly to iTunes and Blu Ray. They usually release three a year, around January, April, and July. They’re PG-13 or R-Rated films marketed to adult and teenage DC superhero fans. They’re hit or miss, in terms of quality. They run the spectrum from “Ok” or “Fine” to “One Of The Best Superhero Movies I’ve Ever seen”.

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Their latest release is “The Death of Superman” and you may be thinking: “Wait, didn’t they do this one already?” The answer is: Kind of. Way back in 2007, the very first DC Animated Movie was Superman: Doomsday, a very loose adaptation of the classic death of Superman story. So, as far as THIS movie is concerned, this current film I’m reviewing is a much more faithful adaptation. The Death of Superman is the first part of a 2 movie story.With Part 2 titled, Reign of The Supermen, premiering in January or February 2019.

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DC Animation’s first direct to Blu-Ray feature length film, 2007’s Superman: Doomsday. This movie basically told a very different (and inferior) version of The Death of Superman story.

Like I said before, they usually release three of these a year. Starting with 2013’s Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox and 2014’s “Justice League: War” (A JL origin film FAR superior to the live action one we got in November 2017), 2 out of the 3 animated movies they released each year were part of an ongoing cinematic universe, like the MCU or whatever the fuck DC is trying to do in live action at the moment. Including Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, 11 movies that take place in this DC Animated Movie Universe have been released. The other stories are cool one offs, like the recent Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, for example. Which is a what if? tale that imagines a steampunk, Victorian era Batman hunting Jack The Ripper in late-19th Century Gotham. Most of these have been pretty solid across the board. It probably doesn’t say much about the overall quality of this Animated Movie Universe that there isn’t a sense that we got to know these characters over an 11 film continuity. Or that the movies had been leading to something like this.

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A stand alone movie, not part of the DC Animated Movie contiuty.

At nearly an hour and half, this movie is slightly longer the most of the recent DC Animated Movies. However, it’s a smart move because the running time allows for a much deeper film that I was expecting. Going into this, I expected the whole thing to one big superhero punch up. Great animation, cool fights, but at the end of the day just a fun piece of entertainment. So, I was delighted when at least half of the film is about Clark and Lois and the issues that arise in their still relatively new romance. The movie is well paced considering all of the characters in play. Because this movie is about his death, everyone in Clark Kent’s life is in this film and they all get their moment to shine. The Justice League, The Daily Planet staff, Ma and Pa Kent, Lex Luthor, and few other local Metropolis citizens with ties to Superman all pop up in the movie. It’s a credit to the film that even with all these characters, it never feels over stuffed or loses it’s focus on Lois and Clark.

You don’t need to have seen any of the other DC Animated Movies to enjoy this wonderful film. All of the great character work and storytelling come straight from THIS movie. Real life husband and wife Jerry O’Connel and Rebecca Romijn are perfect as Clark and Lois. O’Connel has voiced Superman to good effect before in other animated movies and Romijn makes a solid debut as Lois Lane. They’re real life chemistry definitely translates into the film. We have all the usual suspects from the other films back to play their respective roles in the Justice League, as well as other returning supporting characters.

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Before getting into the movie there’s one other bit of voice casting I want to touch on. Rainn Wilson (Dwight from The Office) voices Luthor and is surprisingly effective as the character. Lex is an interesting presence in this film. He’s not that dissimilar to the Lex we’ve seen in the comics over the past few years. He’s undeniably despicable, arrogant, and cold, but there’s a glimmer of something more underneath. Inside him’s the shadow of a man who could be better than he is. He adds a little something special to the overall film.

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I’m going to make a bold statement here. I think this is the best film about Clark Kent that I’ve ever seen. This movie is Clark Kent’s story. Lois is very important, but this is Clark’s tale. This man’s death shows us who he is. This was just one more reason I loved this movie. Outside of the fights with Doomsday, I deliberately refer to the character as Clark, not Superman, throughout this review. This is one of the better onscreen portrayals of Superman I’ve seen and that’s because they understand who Clark Kent is. The kid who grew up on a farm in Kansas, that’s the real character. Not Kal-El, not Christopher Reeves’ mask of Clark Kent as pathetic buffoon, not Superman. He’s Clark Joseph Kent. Jonathan and Martha’s son. Even when he’s in costume at the beginning of the movie, interacting with the League or stopping bad guys with high tech weapons. He seems more man than god. He’s happy to stop and take a picture with a man he’s gotten to know, because he’s saved the guys life so many damn times. In these scenes before the fight with Doomsday, while he’s in costume as Superman, he feels like a citizen of Metropolis. Not a distant god, but more like a cop on his beat that gives you a nod and smile. Superman knows these people and they know him. It’s a brilliant way to humanize the character in a way live action films always struggle with.

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Long time Metropolis crime boss Bruno Mannheim, robbing a bank and taking the Mayor hostage, with some unusually high tech weapons.

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“Bibbo” (his nickname), a man saved by Superman so many times that they’ve become friendly acquaintances. 

At the heart of Clark’s story here is his romance with Lois. Unlike other takes on the Lois and Clark/Superman dynamic, Lois is into Clark, NOT Superman. She wants their relationship to move forward but she knows something’s holding them back. She knows there’s more going on with Clark, but doesn’t quite know what it is. She’s a little taken aback when, while asking Clark to dinner, he tells her he cant because his parents are in town and he’s having dinner with them. Lois is understandably a little insulted when Clark didn’t even mention the possibility of meeting his parents. It’s clear that they’ve been dating for at least several months if not more. But what she perceives as Clark being aloof and having an emotional wall up, is actually Clark wrestling with the idea that he’s falling in love with her and that he should tell her he’s Superman. He’s afraid that his parents will accidentally let something slip before he has a chance to tell Lois the truth about this part of his life. After all, besides a few fun DC Easter Eggs mentioned by Ma and Pa Kent, Clark’s ex- girlfriend knew had superpowers from the jump, this the first time Clark has been in a relationship like this. Not just with a normal person, but someone he’s falling in love with.

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Should Clak “let Lois in” to every part of his life? That’s the central, emotional question Clark struggles with thoughout the movie.

The movie does an excellent job of showing the audience exactly what an unstoppable, terrifying force Doomsday is. We’ve seen Doomsday in live action and animation before, but the threat he represents is much more impactful here. This is a creature that kills every single living thing it sees.

3FEC383A-3F59-4D16-9342-06DC4E0DB651         The Justice League faces Doomsday before Superman gets into the fight and they have some pretty heavy hitters. We see Doomsday go up against Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Martian Manhunter, The Flash, Cyborg, and Batman all before the Monster’s fateful Confrontations with The Man of Steel. Even with out Superman, that’s a fucking stacked roster. Despite how powerful the Justice League is, they’re simply not up to facing Doomsday. They’re completely helpless to stop him.

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So, when the fight between Clark and Doomsday finally goes down, there’s no backup or cavalry coming. Superman is the “last watcher on the wall”. If he doesn’t stop this Monster there and then, there will be no end to the death and destruction Doomsday will unleash. There’s an inevitability to Doomsday. As he slowly kills his way to Superman. We all slowly march towards death and this story shows us The Man of Steel is no different, but for him Death comes in the form of Doomsday.

D7E8CFE2-14CB-4D0E-9B8C-C628369780CDThe fight between Superman and Doomsday is easily the most brutal and bloody Superman fight I’ve seen in any medium. I found myself wincing or exclaiming “Jesus..”, as conflict went on. At a certain point, it stops being a fight. You realize you’re watch Superman slowly be beaten to death with each blow and it’s hard to watch. The fact that there’s such emotional heft shows that the storytellers did their job with this film. The movie is called The Death of Superman, OF COURSE HE’S GOING TO DIE! But the movie magic was that the filmmakers had me so engrossed in the story onscreen, I almost forget that there was no question to the outcome of this fight. The battle’s hard to watch not just because of the level of violence, but because you really care about Clark Kent and it’s heartbreaking seeing this man die in front of us.

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The animation in this film is top notch. When the action goes full tilt there’s a level of detail that comes close to resembling anime, without completely going over into that style. Every once and awhile a western animation superhero project will use anime influenced sequences, Justice League Unlimited comes to mind for example. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s used well here and only adds to the already visceral fight scenes. For those of you who aren’t fans of that animation style, It’s not so noticeable that it takes you out of the story.

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I think its was smart that DC decided if they were going to tell this story, it should be a 2-Parter, like they did with their fantastic adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns. As impactful as the death of Superman is, the story of how the world, his friends, his enemies, his family, and his fellow superheroes react to his death is arguably more compelling . Who or what will step up to fill the void left by The Last Son of Krypton? Considering how well this story was told, I can’t wait to see what the filmmakers do in Reign of The Supermen. If you’re a DC Comics fan, there are some Easter Eggs in the movie that hint at some of the story and characters elements that’ll be used in Part 2. Make sure you stay for the end credits, there are multiple mid credit tags setting up the next movie.

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I didn’t want to end this review without mentioning something I noticed that the writers chose to add to the story. As I said before, this movie is part of a DC Animated Movie Universe, this story doesn’t exist in a bubble. I don’t want to spoil this for anyone and I’ll let you draw your own conclusions, but pay attention to EXACTLY how Doomsday comes out of space, ultimately crashing on Earth. Also be sure to pay attention to the details when STAR Labs examines the high tech weapons Superman takes off the thugs at the beginning of the movie. None of these story elements are from the comics, so the writers deliberately chose to add them in. I have my own theory about what’s going on, but I wont spoil the fun here.

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This is top notch superhero story telling from DC Animation. This movie is the best DC Animated Movie since Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (which is high praise). This a surprisingly moving story about love, death, family, friendship, and sacrifice. No DC fan worth their salt should miss this one. I know I cant wait to see Part 2, when Reign of The Supermen comes out early next year. The Death of Superman is an excellent film, the best DC Animated Movie in years, and a must watch. Don’t miss it.

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The Death of Superman:  9/10

FILM REVIEW BY Paul Wright

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