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?
We are in dire need of tales about Superman that are more thoughtful and awe inspiring. Superman can inspire hope and heroism and act as an avatar for humanity, and “It All Goes Away” proves it. Director Zachariah Smith adapts the short Superman story “Sam’s Tale.” Penned by comic book writer Jeph Loeb, the story was written him as a form of grieving for his son Sam who, very sadly, died of bone cancer in 2005, just as he was beginning to break out in the comic book world. Originally titled “Sam’s Story,” Loeb takes a very contemplative look at Clark Kent living in a world where death is an inevitability.
The series “Supergirl” is in a tricky dilemma from episode one. It’s been created by a network like CBS in America that doesn’t quite understand it. CBS has never really embraced the superhero boom of the aughts, and “Supergirl” pretty much was walking on egg shells from episode one. It’s a good bit of fortune it’s been ported over to the CW where it can live and breathe among other superhero fare like “The Flash” and “Arrow.” After swearing off Supergirl for many years, I decided to be a good little super fan boy and check out “Supergirl” and I’m glad that I did. It’s a pretty remarkable and loyal adaptation of the DC Comics character that is so much more Superman than Superman has been in the last sixteen years.
From the man who gave us such rousing successes as “Sucker Punch” comes a new vision of Batman and Superman that’s pitch black, violent, and painfully stupid. Zack Snyder is a man with so much admiration for Alan Moore and Frank Miller, he spends the majority of “Batman v Superman” ripping them off wholesale. Snyder’s film is such a botched job he works in reverse, and takes the time out to deconstruct his vision of the iconic superheroes we haven’t even gotten to know yet. But hey, at least we get to see Bruce Wayne’s parents murdered in an alleyway once again. To make matters worse, the film is long, overstuffed, and painfully boring.
Pearls. Again. Bruce Wayne’s origin. Again. Joe Chill. I’m presuming. Again. I can still hear the echoes of fan boys rejoicing that “Batman v Superman” wouldn’t be another origin story, and yet director Zack Snyder allows us the thirtieth origin of Bruce Wayne, all for the purpose of squeezing in Bruce muttering “Martha.” Which is his mother. And so a thousand memes were born.
Director Zack Snyder doesn’t allow us the benefit of young Superman or Clark Kent with his mother, also curiously named Martha, because that would make sense. Plus, Snyder never worked with Diane Lane or Kevin Costner. It would be funny though to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan playing John and Martha Kent.
It’s very satisfying to see a director who understands Superman and gets the ideals and goals he strives for. Sure he’s a super man with god like abilities, but it’s not his place to bend humans to his will and make them follow his desires. At the end of the day, Superman understands the fragility of humanity, and he also comprehends that despite being a hero that’s taken on gods, and aliens, even the smaller problems count from time to time. Sarah is on her way out of the city set to venture out on her own and isn’t intent on going back home any time soon. While sitting in the park, she’s approached by a seemingly mundane bespectacled man in a blue suit who explains he’s a reporter.
She can’t understand why she’s so important, but the reporter is insistent and is abler to charm her enough to where she can open up to him for his “interview.” Director and writer Thomas spends the majority of the short film defining Superman and exploring common questions and themes that have alluded many people for decades about the character. Who else to understand Superman than Metropolis’ ace reporter Clark Kent? Soon enough, the pair are discussing the idea of beings with powers, humanity, and how we all matter in the scope of life, no matter how minute our problems may seem in the long run.
Erin Brown Thomas and John Nagle perform very well, providing fantastic chemistry and conveying the dynamic of wayward youth and wise hero well. John Nagle is the perfect Clark Kent and might even be a bang up Superman, presenting an excellent amount of humility and empathy to make him a noble crusader, even when he’s simply sitting around in a suit and tie. Thomas has a small budget to work with but aspires for larger than life storytelling, emulating the awe inspiring more misunderstood traits of Superman and conveying that it doesn’t take an actual superhero to change someone’s life and steer them in to promise and success. I hope we see more from Jake Thomas very soon. Hell, I’d even love to see him tackle Superman yet again.
Once again DC Comics advertises a throwdown between titans that doesn’t totally deliver. True, the two teams of old and young battle, but it’s under wild circumstances, and it’s only a two minute bout at best. Sam Liu’s film should have been called “Teen Titans” and been done with it, but how else to cash in on “Batman v Superman,” I guess? The film is primarily centered around the building of the Teen Titans and their dynamics as a whole. The movie channels both the original animated series, and the cult classic “Young Justice” to offer up a movie that I wish would begin a new series of more exciting movies, showing how these teens have to work and fight in a world dominated by basic gods. That said, “Justice League vs. Teen Titans” isn’t a bad film, despite the criticisms and observations. It’s a very fine action adventure that focuses on the interesting interplay between Robin and Raven.