Even in this day and age, 1992’s “Batman: The Animated Series” remains the definitive iteration of Bill Finger’s Batman. Combining all of the best elements from past Batman lore, Bruce Timm’s iconic animated series is a mature, often compelling take on the Dark Knight that’s action packed enough for children, but sophisticated enough for older audiences to appreciate. Timm approaches the Batman with enough care and delicate creativity to allow the character to flourish in a contemporary setting, embracing the fantasy elements of the character as well as basing a lot of the aspects of the character and his background in reality as much as possible.
I’ve come to terms with “Teen Titans Go!” and I’ve especially come to accept it thanks to the shockingly good feature film. If there was ever a time where the superhero movie genre was ripe for parody and satire it’s 2018, and “Teen Titans Go! to the Movies” manages to do it better than anyone else. For everyone that’s come before, attempting to mock the whole appeal of the sub-genre, “Teen Titans Go!” captures the whole appeal and absurdity of the superhero movie and the superhero mythology as a whole. It also manages to cater to the hardcore comic book buffs in the audience, inspiring some great laughs from obscure references.
I’ve pretty much gotten over my immense hatred for the watered down reboot of the “Teen Titans” animated series. It’s here to stay, and I’m over it. So I approached the new big screen adventure with an open mind and rock bottom expectations. All things considered “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” is a mixed bag. Sometimes it hits with some sharp, slick superhero movie and Hollywood satire and truly engaging protagonists. Other times it feels like the writers are running out the clock with goofy filler and distracting musical numbers.
I can safely say that among the long running action franchises out there, “Mission Impossible” might just be my favorite. Not only has the series managed to re-invent itself time and time again, but Tom Cruise continues to impress and compel as series hero Ethan Hunt. He is a classic hero, a man who is bound to his work, or else the world literally falls apart at the seams. He’s a daring, bold, and clever force of nature, but he’s also one chained forever to the IMF, forced to confront not only terrorist threats, but the fall out of his past enemies that have come back to finally haunt him.
The Wasp is one of the oldest, most important Marvel characters of all time (she was one of the original five Avengers), and she’s also someone who has been waiting in the wings for far too long. In “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” the heroine finally gets her due in a movie that’s about her legacy as much as it is about the Avengers, and Ant-Man, overall. After the two heavy meals that were “Black Panther” and “Infinity War,” Peyton Reed’s return to “Ant Man and the Wasp” is like a nice light after dinner sorbet. It’s a palate cleanser, it’s simple, and it’s quite good.
Albert Pyun’s “Cyborg” is a lot more famous for its back story and production woes than it is for the actual movie. There’s even the famous tale of how much of the sets and outfits for the characters were re-used from the cancelled “Spider-Man” movie, and sequel to “He-Man” that Golan Globus failed to finish. It’s a shame, because in the eighties when a whole sub-genre sprang from the success of “Mad Max,” we got a whole library of post apocalyptic action films with gritty warriors charged with saving mankind or something like a child or village. In a massive sub-genre of B grade copycats, “Cyborg” is one of the best.
Whether you know it as “Léon,” or “Lionheart,” or “Wrong Bet,” or “Full Contact,” or “AWOL,” or “Lion,” it’s tough to argue that this is one of Van Damme’s sillier roles. And this is a man who once played twins in an action movie vehicle (“Double Impact” is the best Van Damme movie ever made, I’ll argue that until I’m blue in the face). “Lionheart” is such an odd movie that I fondly remember loving back in 1990, but now in both versions, it’s kind of a weird movie that skips through various sub-genres of action cinema that feel awkward. At one point it even feels kind of like a “Rocky” wannabe.
I’m usually very rough on video game inspired movies because—well—pretty much all of them suck. Save for “Mortal Kombat,” which is kind of fun if you’re in the right mood. After two goofy attempts to adapt the iconic adventure video game series “Tomb Raider” to the big screen, Warner reboots the movie series by—adapting the reboot of the video game from 2013. While I’d be hard pressed to call Roar Uthaug’s cinematic take on Lara Croft a masterpiece, I had a really good time with “Tomb Raider,” and that’s all I wanted in the end.