Season Review: The Sandman

The Sandman is the latest graphic novel adaptation from Netflix and is based on the DC/Vertigo comic of the same name by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg. It stars Tom Sturridge as Morpheus, a.k.a. Dream of the Endless, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as his sister Death, Mason Alexander Park and Donna Preston as Desire and Despair. It also features Kyo Ra and Eddie Karanja as Rose and Jed Walker, Razane Jammal as Lyta Hall, Sandra James-Young as Unity Kincaid, Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer, Boyd Holbrook as the Corinthian, David Thewlis as John Dee, Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine, Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne the Librarian, Sanjeev Bhaskar and Asim Chaudhry as Cain and Abel, Ferdinand Kingsley as Hob Gadling, Stephen Fry as Gilbert, Patton Oswalt as Matthew the Raven, Mark Hamill as Mervyn Pumpkinhead and Charles Dance as Sir Roderick Burgess.

Acting as an amalgamation of the first two volumes Preludes and Nocturnes and The Doll’s House; after being held captive by a cult for over a century, Morpheus of the Endless finds his domain The Dreaming in complete disarray with dreams and nightmares let loose on the human world. Now he must rebuild his world, reclaim his sacred treasures, bring back his lost subjects to his realm. But the journey is long and difficult as he must contend with the forces of Hell, the machinations of his siblings, the victims and abusers of his lost powers, a phenomenon that threatens the very barrier of the worlds and his own personal demons.

Ever since the graphic novel came out in the late 80’s there has been some attempt to adapt it for live-action. But the dark, moody, and introspective comic isn’t exactly something that transitions well to the big screen as seen in the failed attempt to make it into a traditional superhero movie back in 2013.

So how did Netflix do?

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New In Review: Peacemaker

Peacemaker is an action-comedy series and the spin-off of last year’s The Suicide Squad created by James Gunn, it features John Cena, Jennifer Holland and Steve Agee reprising their roles from the film. It also stars Danielle Brooks, Chukwudi Iwuji, Freddie Stroma, Annie Chang, Lochlyn Munro, Elizabeth Ludlow, Nhut Le, Christopher Heyerdahl with Dee Bradley Baker and Robert Patrick.

Warning: The following review will contain Spoilers for both the series and The Suicide Squad

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New In Review: Catwoman: Hunted

Catwoman: Hunted is DC’s latest direct-to-video movie, written by Greg Weisman and directed by  Shinsuke Terasawa, it stars Elizabeth Gilles as Catwoman and Stephanie Beatriz as Batwoman. Rounding out the cast is Jonathan Banks, Keith David, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Lauren Cohen, Zerah Fazal, Kelly Hu, Steve Blum, Jaqueline Obradors, Andrew Kishino, Eric Lopez, Ron Yuan and Jonathan Frakes.

After stealing a priceless jewel, Selina Kyle a.k.a. Catwoman, finds herself on the hit list of a conglomerate of crime bosses known as “Leviathan.” Having been forced to team up with Kate Kane a.k.a. Batwoman and Interpol agents Julia Pennyworth (Cohen) and King Faraday (Frakes), Catwoman now has to help take down this cadre if she wants to avoid prison or death.

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New In Review: The Suicide Squad

Way back in 2016 when the first Suicide Squad movie came out, some little issues were noticed. The incomprehensible editing that made scenes look out of order, the rather obvious reshoots and new scenes added in after test audiences weren’t impressed, little to no characterization for several cast members and what characterization there there was for some turned out to be pretty nonsensical. Combine that with a huge amount of meddling from the executives, subpar acting and a unnecessary amount of licensed music and the movie looks like someone at DC saw Guardians of the Galaxy said, “We can do that.” and then decided to do that while drunk.

Thank God this movie was done with actual competence.

The Suicide Squad was written and directed by James Gunn and is the latest entry in DC’s Extended Universe and acts as a sequel/soft reboot of the franchise. Viola Davis, Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney and Joel Kinnaman reprise their roles of Amanda Waller, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang and Rick Flagg. It also stars Idris Elba, John Cena, David Dastmalchian, Daniela Melchior, Peter Capaldi, Alice Braga, Juan Diego Botto, Juan Cosio, Michael Rooker, Nathan Fillion, Flula Borg, Pete Davidson, Mayling Ng with Sean Gunn and Sylvester Stallone as the voice of King Shark.

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New In Review: Batman The Long Halloween Part 2

Batman The Long Halloween Part 2 is the follow up to the direct-to-video animated film released last month. It features the return of Jensen Ackles as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Josh Duhamel as Harvey Dent, Billy Burke as Jim Gordon, Titus Welliver as Carmine Falcone, Jim Pirri as Sal Maroni, Julie Nathanson as Gilda Dent, David Dastmalchian as the Calendar Man, Naya Rivera as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Alastair Duncan as Alfred, Fred Tatasciore as Solomon Grundy and Troy Baker as the Joker. New additions include Laila Berzins as Sophia Falcone, Robin Atkin Downes as the Scarecrow, John DiMaggio as the Mad Hatter and Katie Sackhoff as Poison Ivy.

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New In Review: Batman The Long Halloween Part 1

Batman The Long Halloween Part 1 is the latest direct-to-video animated film from Warner Bros. and is adapted from the graphic novel of the same name by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. Directed by Chris Palmer it stars Jensen Ackles as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Josh Duhamel as Harvey Dent, Billy Burke as Jim Gordon, Titus Welliver as Carmine Falcone, Julie Nathanson as Gilda Dent, Jack Quaid as Alberto Falcone, David Dastmalchian as the Calendar Man and the late Naya Rivera as Selina Kyle/Catwoman. The film also features a few reprisals with Alastair Duncan as Alfred, Fred Tatasciore as Solomon Grundy and Troy Baker as the Joker.

DC’s animated films are something of a mixed bag, on the one hand, their attempts at being more “mature” than the average cartoon can swing too heavily into the darker end of things and leave the film so bleak that there’s little chance of rewatching. Then there’s the attempts at drawing in viewers through star power, usually by casting television stars or veteran film actors in the lead roles, even if they have little to no voice-over experience and the performance sounds rough and amateurish because of it. And that’s not even getting into the fact these films have almost exclusively focused on Batman and thus other characters and their stories are shoved aside.

But on the other hand, when done right the animated films can stand out in ways their live-action counterparts can’t and highlight the characters in their own unique way. Thankfully, this film is an example of the latter.

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New In Review: Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman 1984 is the latest film in the the DC Extended Universe. Directed by Patty Jenkins it stars Gal Gadot, Kristin Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Connie Neilsen, Robin Wright, Stuart Milligan and Chris Pine. In this film Wonder Woman, going under the alias of Diana Prince has been living among humanity for decades now and still heartbroken from losing her boyfriend Steve Trevor from back in World War I. But when a mysterious stone seemingly resurrects him through her wish she finds others who also want this power, some for dubious reasons.

Now I haven’t officially reviewed the first Wonder Woman film as it predates this blog, I did make mention of it in my Aquaman review, which feels like ten years ago. Specifically how it tripped over its own message at the end of the film. Does this one do the same or have they learned from past mistakes? Well….

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New In Review: Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

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Before we begin I’d like to talk a bit about character oversaturation.  It’s a recurring thing that often takes place in comics usually when a character starts to become popular, which often leads to the executives demanding that said character appear in as many different books or issues as possible regardless of whether they would fit into the story naturally.  This can cause the character they’re trying to shill out to start to overshadow others even within their own story and then you run the risk of making a once popular character into something that’s overdone, tedious and just disliked.  Which more often than not will cause those in charge to demand their presence in even more stories, television and movies.  At times it feels like they’re slapping you in the face with these characters and demanding that you love them as much as they do.

Both Marvel and DC are guilty of this multiple times, in the 80’s and 90’s you couldn’t seem to get away from Wolverine no matter what corner of the Marvel universe you were in.  And Batman would never seem far away from the action regardless of whether it pertained to him or not.

So with that in mind let’s get to the review.

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New In Review: Joker

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Joker, based on the character from DC comics, is a psychological thriller directed and co-written by Todd Phillips.  It stars Joaquin Phoenix as the titular character, aka Arthur Fleck, alongside Brett Cullen, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy and Robert De Niro.  The film has become rather notable for a couple of reasons, for starters receiving numerous awards at the Venice Film Festival.  Secondly, for the way it portrays mental illness and violence in a realistic setting.  And finally for the numerous concerns that have been raised that it might inspire real life violence and wishing to avoid another Aurora Theater Shooting.

My own opinion? Well…I don’t really want to call this movie boring.  But it sure isn’t far from it.

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Early Screening Review: Shazam!

 

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Shazam! is the latest film in the DC Extended Universe and stars Asher Angel as Billy Batson and Zachary Levi as his superhero alter ego. It also stars Mark Strong as the villainous Dr. Sivana (making this the second time he’s played a DC villain), Jack Dylan Grazer, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Faithe Herman and Djimon Honsou.

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