Zack Snyder’s Justice League has inspired me to play Batman: Arkham City again. I’m going to start another new playthrough. I believe this is my first time streaming this. By the way, this year will be the 10th anniversary of this game. 10 years! Crazy. Stream starts at 9:10 p.m. at robertfrowniejr.
We’re back with the second and the final part of our Zack Snyder’s Justice League review. The film is still a mess, but shaping up to be better than the original cut. It’s time to review the final two hours of this four-hour superhero saga. The film, obviously, is directed by Zack Snyder. It is written by Chris Terrio. The film stars Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince, Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman, Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash, Ray Fisher as Victor Stone/Cyborg, and Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman.
As I mentioned in the previous review, the Snyder cut does a tremendous job with the origins of Cyborg. Viewers get to see Victor Stone’s life before the horrific accident that almost killed him. The Mother Box, an alien device, is as connected to Cyborg as the Kryptonian spaceship is to Superman. If it wasn’t for the Mother Box, Cyborg wouldn’t exist. This inclusion into the film is a great addition by Snyder. However, a surprise addition follows.
After the scene where Cyborg explains the background of this particular Mother Box, we get a new sequence where Martha Kent is visiting Lois Lane in Metropolis. The pair chat with the surprise coming after the talk. Martha goes to the hallway after leaving and it’s unveiled that it’s actually the Martian Manhunter (Harry Lennix)! General Swanwick (Harry Lennix) from Man of Steel is secretly the Manhunter. He’s there to motivate a depressed Lois Lane to live again in the world. Why? His motivations are unclear.
In the original cut, there’s a scene where the Justice League resurrect Superman from the dead. The scene isn’t executed properly, as the tone is everywhere and the scene is confusing as to how Superman is resurrected. There wasn’t a thorough explanation. This time around, the movie explains better how the Mother Box can bring Superman to life. Also, the tone is better as the League are afraid of the resurrection and are somewhat at odds due to fear. Snyder introduces a new nightmare scene into this sequence. Cyborg gets a vision of what could possibly happen with Superman’s return. It seems that the future could be in peril with Superman’s return to the living.
Snyder shakes up the battle scene where Superman fights the Justice League. In the original version, Joss Whedon made the scene similar to an Avengers’ fight sequence. There’s drama injected with comical quips. Snyder’s version is all drama with peril as Superman is deadly in his return. The scene is smoother, cohesive, and it makes more sense.
The final battle sequence sees many creative changes. Unlike the original cut, the team actually loses briefly. Steppenwolf forms the Unity and the world explodes. For the first time, we get to see The Flash run into the past and rewind time. A huge, creative change that actually works flawlessly. It made the scene more impactful and that it takes the whole team to win. If Snyder gains enough success from this, we may get a sequel. It sets up a potential sequel where the league would fight Darkseid in a dark future.
Although the film’s odd at times, the Snyder cut is a deep improvement. Out of the three films he has directed, this is the best installment. Snyder had plans to do a five-film saga. Hopefully, this film generates enough buzz that Warner Brothers will let him complete his vision. If not, Snyder delivered a passionate project for the fans.
Overall rating: 3.5/5.
It has been a while since we had the chance to talk about Batman: Gotham After Midnight! The saga continues as the citizens of Gotham are running scared as they learn about a new villain rising in the city. Steve Niles does a fantastic job portraying a sense of urgency within Batman. Midnight, the book’s villain, is menacing to victims, while being motivating to Batman’s rogues gallery. Niles provides Midnight with the same charisma that Joker has. Midnight persuaded Scarecrow and Man-Bat previously to help in his/her violent mission. I said his/her because Midnight’s gender is unidentified. Midnight adds Clayface in this issue to the mix to assist.
Readers get their first look at Midnight’s face in the comic. It is a ghastly sight due to Kelley Jones’ huge, one-splash page of a bony, gaunt face. It’s revealed that Midnight uses a speaker attached to the throat in order to speak. Clayface learns from Midnight that he can absorb bodies and become a gigantic, building-sized monster. Niles and Jones make Clayface into a monster that is reminiscent of classic monster movies, such as Godzilla. Clayface gets colossal size and starts to terrorize the city of Gotham. Batman appears in a mammoth-sized robot to combat Clayface–setting up for a massive showdown for the next issue.
Writer: Steve Niles. Artist: Kelley Jones. All images courtesy of DC Comics.
So…did Batman survive? Niles and Jones work their hardest to make it seem that he didn’t. Readers know that Batman isn’t going out this easy. The cover of issue two features the Axe-Man going for the fatal blow on Batman. Chapter one of issue two begins with the thugs celebrating the death of Batman. A thug turns his back on Batman to call his boss about collecting a cash payment for Batman’s body. Axe-Man wants the Bat’s head so he swings only to be countered…by the Batman! Batman begins to fight the thugs where readers get treated to a two-page splash by Jones. It’s Batman jumping in the air to avoid bullets from the thugs. The art is amazing. It will make readers wonder how none of those bullets hit. These thugs have Stormtrooper aim. Batman defeats the thugs and captures Axe-Man. Batman lets one thug run away so the thug can inform others of the fear that Batman brings. Too bad that the thug won’t make it.
After the warehouse showdown, the one escaped thug gets cornered by a mysterious person. The streets of Gotham look ancient. It looks like the setting is from the 1800s. Niles and Jones may have wanted this to feel similar to Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. The mysterious person is revealed to be the person that the thug was negotiating terms for Batman’s body. The person is displeased with the thug for failing. Niles and Jones keep the design of the character in the shadows. They give readers a few small details. The mystery person has on a long trench coat with a top hat and a straw mask. It looks like the character has long hair from behind the mask. The character is carrying a staff that is revealed to have an extracting mechanism at the end of it. The character uses it on the thug, who screams into the night.
In chapter two of this issue, Man-Bat has broken into the Gotham Historical Society. Man-Bat is doing the same as Scarecrow. He’s not following his usual M.O. Jones draws Man-Bat as a monstrous, muscular bat with glowing green eyes. Man-Bat uses stealth usually to get a jump on his opponents. This time, he’s out in the open. Niles keeps changing up the usual traits of Batman’s characters, so readers get a fresh glimpse of how characters act not in their normal ways. Man-Bat evades Batman and escapes with the Skull of Ra. Nothing is given on the importance of the skull.
After Man-Bat’s escape, readers are introduced to the rivalry between Batman and Detective Clarkson in chapter three at the GCPD. Detective Clarkson, a female investigator, has been taking credit for Batman’s work. She has a good reason as she doesn’t want to condone Batman’s work as a vigilante. I feel that Batman complaining makes him seem weak. I know that he wants to strike fear into the criminals of Gotham, so that’s why he’s angry with Clarkson. Batman can strike fear with his actions. He doesn’t need to talk. After bickering with each other, they have a moment of laughter. Is Niles portraying a potential relationship between the two? After leaving the GCPD, Batman returns to patrol Gotham. He finds a ghastly sight, which I find to be amazing by the creative team. The thug who gets murdered earlier in the comic is attached to the arms of a gigantic clock on a building in Gotham. His blood runs down the clock. Something is definitely not right in Gotham. I like this imagery that the duo created, though it would be hard for a single person to do that to a body. That’s the end of issue #2!
I talk about the second issue of Batman: Gotham After Midnight tomorrow! I can’t wait. We’ll find out if Batman survived the first issue or not. It’s hard to find images of the comic so I may have to provide pictures of the book. Also, I’m going to try to create a new logo for the site! I plan on using Adobe Spark, unless there’s another platform that I would like to play along with. It should be fun!
Writer: Steve Niles. Artist: Kelley Jones
It’s almost Spooktober! Let’s celebrate it by talking about a scary Batman tale. In 2008, DC Comics released the first issue of Batman: Gotham After Midnight. Writer Steve Niles and artist Kelley Jones makes Gotham a grim city that Batman must cleanse in this dark story arc.
The issue begins with Batman creeping through a shadowy alleyway. Jones draws Batman’s movements as if he were Dracula. He moves swiftly from shadow to shadow. Batman begins an inner discussion about the first time that he said the iconic quote: “I’m Batman.” He discusses this mentally as he slips inside an antique building after Scarecrow. Scarecrow is in an all brown outfit with menacing red eyes. Scarecrow is slim with long limbs. His brown hat is similar to a wizard or witch’s hat. Scarecrow is looking to steal the Hand of Glory.
What’s weird is Scarecrow is carrying matches. Not his usual M.O. Batman punches Scarecrow and asks him what’s he up to. Scarecrow tries to douse him in fear toxin, but Batman is immune. Batman gets Crane to breathe in his own toxin by removing his mask. Jones makes this panel frightening as he portrays Crane as losing his mind due to his own toxin. Batman is menacing in this scene as he gives Crane a taste of his own medicine. Crane sees Batman as a gigantic monstrous bat. Batman defeats Scarecrow, then ties him up as the G.C.P.D. arrive.
Batman traverses the rooftops as he realizes that Scarecrow has gone astray from his usual criminal patterns. Batman’s years of experience helped him come to the conclusion that all insane criminals have repeated patterns. I like this analysis that Steve Niles gives through Batman. I never have thought that criminals have patterns that are the same. When thinking about it, it can be true. Riddler is always making puzzles. Catwoman is always stealing. The theory makes sense.
At midnight, in this first issue, things get weird. All of these evil people start to appear in the city. Batman gets a tip on the Axeman, who escaped Arkham Asylum with Scarecrow. He goes to hunt for him inside of an abandoned warehouse. He gets jumped by guys with plenty of guns. They all unload on Batman. He drops to the ground lifeless. Is the Bat dead? Niles leaves readers with a pleasing shocker at the end of the issue.
I like talking about weird, indie, or obscure media so I’m going to highlight a Batman series that is somewhat hidden beneath all of the other Batman stories. I’m going to chat about Batman: Gotham After Midnight! It is written by Steve Niles and drawn by Kelley Jones. It is a Batman tale filled with horror and the grotesque. I have a few posts planned so stop on by!
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight is a classic graphic novel written by Brian Augustyn and drawn by Mike Mignola. The novel focuses on Batman who is trying to stop the murder spree of Jack the Ripper in Victorian-era Gotham City. Warner Brothers Animation and DC Comics adapted this entertaining story in 2018 as an animated movie. Bruce Greenwood returns as Batman with Sam Liu handling the directing duties yet again for another DC animated film. The final result is a boring, loose adaptation that does not feature any thrills like the original novel.
Jack the Ripper is wreaking havoc in the streets of Gotham. The film begins with the Ripper carving up a prostitute in a dark alley who happens to be Poison Ivy. Poison Ivy is not included in the graphic novel. This appearance of her is a wasted cameo that is not needed. Batman is on the Ripper’s trail, but he arrives too late to save Ivy. Batman is inexperienced in the movie as it is easy to tell that Bruce has not been a vigilante for long.
In the first act, the film introduces several characters into the movie that were not in the graphic novel. Poison Ivy, Doctor Hugo Strange, the three Robins, Selina Kyle, and Harvey Bullock all make appearances. Characters from the graphic novel that are included in the movie are Bruce Wayne/Batman, Jim Gordon, and Alfred. The movie is missing one significant character that is important to the plot of the novel. The character is Jacob Packer who turned out to be the Ripper in the comic.
Selina Kyle and Jim Gordon are the intriguing characters with the best story arcs. Kyle is a wealthy businesswoman who runs a popular dance show in Gotham. The Ripper tries to make her a victim in the film. She shows that she is fierce and unafraid of the Ripper’s deadly game. In their fight scene, Kyle is a fantastic fighter which audiences know is not a surprise. However, the surprise is that the Ripper is an expert hand-to-hand combatant. The surprise does give away who the villain is if viewers are paying attention. Gordon is a mysterious inspector for the Gotham police who seems to be hiding something. Gordon is hellbent on catching the Ripper. The film’s version of Gordon is a man who is untrustworthy. Gordon plays a pivotal role in the Ripper reveal scene that is nowhere near as satisfying as the graphic novel.
The adaptation is decent. It is not as bad as the adaptation of Batman: The Killing Joke. The character details for Gordon and Kyle are what keeps this movie somewhat entertaining. This movie is the 26th film that I have added to my movies for pluviophiles list on Letterboxd. Final rating: 2.5/5.
There are plenty of Batman stories to read, watch, or play. Batman: Ninja is truly a different Batman story. What would it be like if Batman operated in Japan? Ancient Japan that is. In this movie, Batman is transported to Japan in a mission that involves time travel.
Gorilla Grodd created a time machine to use against the villains of Gotham City. Grodd is a villain that is not normally seen in Batman animated movies. Grodd being an antagonist in this film gives the Batman animated movies fresh material. Grodd’s plan is to send the Gotham villains to the past, so Grodd can take over the city. Batman interferes which causes Grodd, Batman, and all of the villains to get sent to the past to Japan.
It’s clearly evident that this film’s stylistic choices are inspired by anime. The animation of the characters is odd. Characters move robotically and rigidly. There are beautiful nature shots in the film, such as rain falling over the forest where Batman keeps his hideout. The character designs are an artistic fusion of Japanese art while keeping true to the DC characters.
The plot makes odd choices in its storytelling. For example, in ancient Japan, the villains create robotic fortresses. There would’ve been no way for this to happen in reality. The robotic fortresses can turn into one gigantic robot if the villains bring the fortresses together. Batman’s idea for stopping the robot is even more absurd. Batman takes Grodd’s device that controls monkeys. He makes the monkeys come together to form a towering monkey. After that, he calls upon bats to combine with the monkeys to make a Batman as tall as the robot. It’s epic, but ridiculous. The movie should’ve played it safe. It could’ve been a stealthy Batman flick where he has to be a ninja in order to take out his foes.
Batman: Ninja is an artsy film with crazy plot choices. I do recommend watching for anime fans. It is something different from the Batman universe. The movie is a fun, over-the-top adventure.
Overall rating: 3/5.
In 2016, DC Comics and Warner Brothers Animation decided to bring back the campy atmosphere of the 1960’s Batman television series. Adam West (Batman) and Burt Ward (Robin) return as the dynamic duo in a new adventure set in the 1960’s Batman universe. DC Comics also manages to bring back Julie Newmar, who played Catwoman in the original show. While the plot to this movie is messy, it still is an exciting adventure with plenty of laughs and intriguing concepts.
The story focuses on Batman and Robin once again trying to thwart Riddler, Joker, Catwoman, and Penguin from their nefarious schemes. I enjoy their schemes in this film because the crew try to rule the world from outer space. Obviously, realistically, this couldn’t be achieved by the villains. In the absurd universe of this Batman show, anything is virtually possible. Batman actually owns a rocket in this movie that helps him to get to outer space with Robin. I never thought that I would see a Batman story with a batrocket. After this sequence, the plot does start to wander in different directions though there are story beats that keep it together. While in space, Catwoman gives Batman what she calls “batnip.” Batnip makes Batman evil and causes him to use a ray gun that makes multiple versions of himself. Robin and Catwoman team up to take Batman down as Catwoman didn’t plan for Batman to be this evil. Batman has control of Gotham, but is thwarted from his plans. Batman snaps out of his batnip spell to realize that the trio of Riddler, Joker, and Penguin are executing heists while Gotham is distracted with evil Batman. The dynamic duo thwart the three, while Catwoman gets away with the treasures.
The voice acting is top notch. It’s like audiences are being taken back to the 1960’s. West and Ward sound like they haven’t aged a day in the movie. It is nice to see that West got to reprise the character before his passing. West’s take on Batman will always be a major part in pop culture history as well as the history of Batman. I highly recommend people checking this movie out.