For parents looking to introduce their tween children to lighter superhero fare before giving them heavier doses of superhero drama, “DC Superhero Girls” is a nice animated introduction. Based on the hit toy line, “DC Superhero Girls” is set in the superhero high school, where DC Universe’s most powerful superheroes attend to learn how to fight crime. The movie is mostly centered on the female superheroes from the DC Universe including young Wonder Woman, young Batgirl, Supergirl, Bumblebee, Katana, Poison Ivy, and class clown Harley Quinn.
My only hope is that when DC’s live action debut of “Wonder Woman” finally arrives, that they’ve taken notes from Bruce Timm and Lauren Montgomery’s animated depictions, because they remain some of the best iterations to date. DC and Warner have yet to churn out a cinematic masterpiece in the last five years, but they’ve done remarkably well in the animated department in the past. “Wonder Woman” is one of their crowning achievements as an exciting, action packed, and engaging look at the Amazonian warrior’s battle against her uncle, the god of war Ares.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Zack Snyder’s “Batman v Superman” is a prequel to “Justice League,” a spiritual reboot for his version of Ben Affleck’s love child iteration of Batman, and just one big amalgam of “Watchmen” and “The Dark Knight Rises” in one big messy unpleasant plate. Basically, Superman is Doctor Manhattan and Ozymandias, while Batman is Rorschach and Nite Owl. Snyder doesn’t really have to pull much footwork with his clashing of the titans, as he just instills a lot of the same themes and ideas from Alan Moore’s graphic novel, while spending the duration of the movie riffing on Moore’s work, along with Frank Miller, Alex Ross and everyone else he can. This results in a tonally uneven, and virtually fun free movie that has no respect for the Superman lore and an obsession with Batman’s, and it’s apparent from minute one. Did we really have to see Batman’s origin again?