“Justice League: The New Frontier,” adapted from the late great Darwyn Cooke’s graphic novel is an attempt at a new approach toward the DC universe the heroes behind DC. It’s an engaging, poetic, often brilliant animated film with an adult sensibility and intriguing psychological analysis that features a world on the brink of a new frontier, and its heroes and protectors facing the prospect of not being needed. On the opposite spectrum, their views of humanity are waning and devolving as they see endless cruel violence, and hatred take form through horrendous racial crimes. Director David Bullock and co. dare to present a film that takes a step back looking at the humanity that is affected by a world inhabited by DC heroes.
If you want to talk about weird team ups of 2017 in comic books, it’s tough to come across any weirder than Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and the Justice League. It takes a lot of exposition, but the crossover with both teams is entertaining enough in that the writers find a good balance between both properties. The Power Rangers at Boom Studios are now dramatic enough in their own series to work alongside the Justice League, while the Justice League are considered somewhat bright enough to work alongside the Power Rangers. This could be a good platform to mock the Power Rangers and give the Justice League considerable credibility, but thankfully both teams manage to take the piss out of one another quite often.
2014’s “The Lego Movie” surprised fans two fold, not just by being an excellent movie, but by turning Batman in to one of the funniest supporting characters in an animated movie since—well ever. “The Lego Batman Movie” initially had me very skeptical as to how far they could stretch the hilarious side character in to his own feature film, and shocking enough Lego Batman’s spin off is fantastic. It’s laugh out loud funny, very clever, and has a bonafide appeal to both hardcore fans and new audiences looking for a giggle or two. Like the original movie that spawned it, “The Lego Batman Movie” garners a myriad absurdity and off the wall hilarity that will keep many viewers laughing almost non-stop, but the writing team also injects a lot of heart. While Batman is a self confident, obnoxious, egomaniac in love with his own vigilante persona, he’s also a man who doesn’t realize much of it is hollow without a family or someone to lean on.
Setting aside that DC pretty much slaps Batman in to their newest film, “Justice League Dark” is actually a fun celebration of the supernatural element from DC Comics. Taking a much needed peek in to the darker universe from DC, “Justice League Dark” is an adaptation of the acclaimed graphic novel, involving supernatural characters from DC who team up to take on a threat beyond the capabilities of Superman and Wonder Woman. “Justice League Dark” is a fairly well realized horror take on the DC universe that suffers, sadly, from a short run time. With a group of characters filled with such immense, and complex back stories and amazing powers, it’s sad “Justice League Dark” is only allotted a scant eighty minute run time. John Constantine alone deserves a thirty minute introduction.
I’m still not sure why DC commits to creating new branches of their animated universe with only a little under eighty minutes to spare. I think it wouldn’t hurt if something like “Justice League Dark” was given two hours to tell its story. Instead it rushes through just about everything possible, from prologue, set up, character introductions, villain introduction, villain back story, and the final showdown. And there’s no guarantee we’ll see a sequel any time soon, since DC and Warner are planning a live action version. So unless you’re a hardcore DC fan, you won’t get to learn a lot about folks like the Demon Etrigan or Zatanna, since we speed right through their characterizations.
As always with these lists remember this is not gospel or definitive opinion, so by all means feel free to disagree, and share your own candidates for the worst films of 2016, below. It’s been a year filled with very good films and very bad films, and thankfully it wasn’t very hard to compile this list. There weren’t very many movies I’d call awful this year, but these are ten of easily the worst films studios released to audiences
Bad Movies in 2016 that almost made the list includes the silly Lauren Cohan starring horror drama The Boy, the insanely vapid The Angry Birds Movie, the painfully stupid animated film Batman: The Killing Joke, the tedious and lazy X-Men: Apocalypse, the pointless and scare free The Night Before Halloween, the pointless remakes of Cabin Fever, and Gasper Noe’s Martyrs, the Rob Schneider starring animated comedy Norm of the North, the continued murdering of Robert Deniro’s career known as Dirty Grandpa, the sickly sugary and obnoxious Trolls, the half baked sitcom My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, the empty sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass, the moronic and mean spirited Clown, and the insanely awful anthology Holidays.
Now on to the Top 10…
After the horrendous reboots of “Powerpuff Girls” and “Teen Titans,” I had zero expectations for “Justice League Action.” Thankfully after sitting through its hour long premiere that combines various eleven minute episodes in to one small movie, I’m happy that it ends up being an entertaining series. It has potential to be a really great reboot that plays well in its eleven minute format, and all in one big marathon. After the bleak and dark material DC and Warner has embraced over the last five years, “Justice League Action” is aimed toward kids and it’s so much brighter and lighter in tone than the previous “Justice League” series by Bruce Timm. That show will always have a place in my heart, but “Action” is strictly for kids, continuing the tradition of “Batman: Brave and the Bold” by adhering to an aesthetic that’s fast paced, bright, fun, and bereft of the bigger complexities.
October 10th, DC and Warner break their official rule by featuring Superman in season two of “Supergirl.” The series makes the trek from CBS TV to CW TV this fall and Warner are throwing out all the stops by having her crossover with her iconic cousin, the man of steel. Tyler Hoechlin of “Everybody Wants Some!!” steps in to the cape and tights this time around and as a Superman geek I’m expecting a lot of fun action and family dynamic. To celebrate Superman coming to “Supergirl,” I list five of the best Superman-centric episodes for Bruce Timm’s “Justice League” and “Justice League Unlimited.”
What are your personal favorites?