Archive for the 'Superheroes' Category

30
Sep
10

Dojo of Fame – Paul Dini & Buce Timm (Animation Week Day 4)

Unlike DiMartino and Konietzko, Timm and Dini are not officially partners.  They have worked on many separate projects and I could really probably dedicate a day to each man.  However, they have worked on a large number of projects, and tend to work on similar types of shows, therefore I decided it would be best to let them share a post.

In the 1980’s they worked at Filmation on various shows including He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, but their epic partnership did not really come into play until they joined Warner Bros and began working on Tiny Toon Adventures.

At Warner Bros., Timm co-created Batman: The Animated Series, and brought Dini along to write.  Batman was everything you can ask from a Batman cartoon: It was action packed, entertaining, and dark.  The series never talked down to its audience like most kid’s shows do and it never failed to entertain.

The series met with phenomenal success and is considered by many to be the best superhero cartoon of all time, and with good reason.

One of Timm and Dini’s best creations come from this series.  Yes, that’s right…I am talking about none other than Harley Quinn

Dr. Harleen Quinzel was a psychologist at Arkham Asylum who was fascinated with extreme personalities.  Joker, sensing an opportunity worked his villainous charm and caused Harleen to fall him love with him.  She helped him to escape, donned a Jester outfit and changed her name to Harley Quinn.

As Joker’s sidekick, Harley actually made name for herself; proving that she was more than capable of handling herself in a fight and almost as much of a threat as Joker himself.

The character quickly became a fan favorite and eventually became integrated into the comic universe as well as the animated one.

Since then, Timm and Dini have worked on several other DC project helping to create the DC animated universe.  They have also worked on comics and even videogames (Dini having written the script for Arkham Asylum)  but their greatest achievements will always be the key roles they played in shaping the world of superhero cartoons.

Timm especially became involved with the creation of the DC Animated Universe to the point to where large part of the universe has been dubbed by fans as the “Timmverse”

Timm also created Freakazoid!.  However, as it turned from a serious show into a comedy, Timm left.  However Dini stayed and continued to write for the series.  Freakazioid!, which is kind of a parody of super-hero shows with an animaniacs sense of humor went on to be a cult hit.

It is interesting to note that Dini has apparently switched over from DC to Marvel and will be the head writer and producer of the up and coming Ultimate Spider-Man TV series.

Really, I would like to go over every series these two worked on…but it would take way too long.  Suffice to say that between the two of them, they have done a lot in the realm of animation.

Paul Dini and Bruce Timm are the Dynamic Duo of Animation.  Welcome to the Dojo of Fame guys, I salute you!

07
Aug
10

Quick Reviews – Green Lantern: First Flight, Batman: Under the Red Hood, Wonder Woman

Can you guess this week’s theme?

Green Lantern: First Flight (4.5/5)

Origin stories are always a challenge, you have to set up a lot while crafting an interesting story.  First Flight manages to do both well.  Personally, I do not know much about the DC universe  (more of a Marvel man), so this was all very new to me.

They wasted no time in getting Hal Jordan into the green lantern suit. Seriously he becomes the green lantern in the first five minutes.  A few minutes later, he is at the Green Lantern headquarters and told that a human can not be a Green Lantern.  (we are to primitive of a species)  He is given a chance to prove himself and that is where the film takes off.  It seems there is trouble brewing in the galaxy, and Hal gets thrust into the center of the action.  I don’t want to talk about the plot to much, for fear of spoilers.

The action is also really fun in a way that only the Green Lantern allows.  The ability to use the ring to create anything allows for some creative battles.  The violence is brutal but not overly violent.

Overall, this film should be fun for both newcomers and fans alike.

Batman: Under the Red Hood (4.5/5)

This is a great film.  There is a new baddie in town and his name is “The Red Hood”.  He has all the skills of the Batman, only he isn’t afraid to kill.  Worse, he seems to be taking over crime in Gotham.  It is up to batman to solve the riddle of who is under the Red Hood and stop him, before it is too late.  I don’t want to ruin anything for you, but the “secret identity” of the red hood is really obvious.  I mean, I know that comic-fans already know.  But even if you have never heard of the Red Hood, it will still be painfully obvious.  This one was definitely made for readers of the comics.  You can understand it all with just a small amount of bat-knowledge, but there are a lot of things that make more sense if you know you history.

They got a new guy to play Joker.  At first I did not like him because…well, he is not Mark Hammil.  But the guy does a very good job in the role, and he really wears on you/

The film is really good and pretty dark.   The action scenes are amazing, and the story keeps you hooked.  I have a few small complaints, but it is really just nit-picking so I won’t go into them here.  Overall, this is a great movie, rivaling The Dark Knight.


Wonder Woman (4/5)

Coming into this, I did not know a whole lot about the Wonder Woman mythology (again, Marvel) but I did know she seemed like a cool character from the things I have seen her in.  (namely a few justice league comics and cartoons)  The only thing I knew to expect was great action sequences, and boy did they deliver.  The fights were epic and brutal.  It was great.  But oddly, that is not what impressed me about this film.  Rather, it was the sheer amount of humor.  This is my no means a comedy, but they manage to squeeze in a lot of funny moments.

The bulk of the humor comes from Steve Trevor, the first man to meet the Amazons in years.  His culture and theirs are so different it leads to a lot of funny moments.  He is always saying the wrong thing, or explaining US customs wrong or something.  It was genuinely funny.

One big thing about this film is it likes to point out how America still treats women differently.  On some level we still think of them as the weaker sex.  (much to wonder woman’s amazement)  While, I see the point, these sections start to feel a little preachy after a while. Although this is just a minor complaint.

A bigger complaint would be the way the story progresses.  Sometimes it feels as though the film is just going through the motions.  There is not much in the way of transition between the scenes, and it just feels like they are going on the adventure of the sake of making a movie. It just doesn’t always feel organic.  Granted, we don’t get this in all the scenes, in fact some of them feel remarkable real.  But the story itself is just too predictable.

The worst part is when they show up at a secret bad-guy hideout without actually explaining how they know where to look for it.  They just show up!  It is annoying and it pulls you out of the film.

But for all its faults, Wonder Woman is still a great film.  It is funny, it has exciting action sequences, and is just plain fun.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

Coin-operated self-destruct, not one of my better ideas.
10
May
10

Iron Man 2 (4.5/5)

I went to see this on opening night, and it was awesome.

Iron Man 2 takes place 6 months after the original Iron man left off.  The government wants Stark’s armor, Whiplash wants stark dead, S.H.E.I.L.D. wants him for their own awesome purposes.  Everything seems to be hitting this guy at once.  Actually, this can be considered the best or the worst part of the film.  There are so many things going on at once, it feels a little convoluted.  (did I spell that right?)  This may be a turnoff for some people, but I found it to be to the movie’s benefit.  The complex, chaotic story lends itself well to the comic book film genre as comic books often have complex, chaotic stories.

That being said, they do take a few wrong turns with story direction, but its only minor problems.  The basic plot was epic and both villains are great.  Whiplash is scary and menacing, whereas Hammer is a funny villain.  This makes for a terrific contrast.

The film is very well balanced being equal parts story, action, and humor.  There are a lot of little Easter eggs hidden for us comic nerds.  I do have one complaint that I think needs to be voiced…Black Widow seems to have lost her accent.  She is supposed to have a cool accent, instead…she sounds just like Scarlet Johansson.  I know its not a big deal, but it bothered me.

Overall, this is a great film.  It is not one of my top 5 favorite super-hero movies.  I would recommend you go see it while its still in theaters, you won’t regret it!

15
Apr
10

Goodbye Spectacular Spider-Man

Well, it is official, Spectacular Spider-Man has been canned.  We all knew it was coming, but it still hurts.

The series was doomed to begin with, a victim of circumstance.  It started out on the Kids WB, but near the end of season 1, the station changed hands and became the Kids CW! (I miss WB)  The series was then moved to Toon Disney.

Then Sony lost the right to the seires just as disney was buying marvel.  Its this many changes that can kill a great show.

It just makes me mad that they are canceling it though.  It was such a great series, so full of potential.  It had become my favroite super-hero show!

At least it is not all bad news, there has been another new spidey series announced!  This new series will be titled “Ultimate Spider-Man” and will be based on the comic of the same name.

The main selling point for this new series seems to be guest stars.  Now that marvel owns the rights to the series, they will be teaming spidey up with other heroes…this sounds like a good thing, but I fear it shall become a team-up of the week type thing.

On one hand, I love the ultimate spider-man comics and this one looks promising…on the other hand, I would have preferred more spectacular spidey…

What is with Marvel anyways?  First a Spidey film reboot, now they are replacing our cartoons!  Is this what happens when Disney buys your company?  Well, “Boo!”

Oh well, I suppose I will just have to settle for re-runs of spectacular spidey while I await our new cartoon (its supposed to come out in summer of 2011, I think)

27
Mar
10

InFamous (4.5/5)

Imagine living in Empire city, a huge, prospering metropolis. All is well until an explosion destroys a large chunk of the city.  Thousands are dead, and a plague breaks out.  In the chaos, powerful gangs take control of the city, taking what they want and killing countless innocents.  Now imagine that that same explosion gave you power.  The power to change this wasteland into whatever you want.  The question is, will you fight for the greater good, or just take what you want?

InFamous is all about choices.  But the choices are not just good vs. evil, they are self-sacrafice vs. self intrest.  You actions shape how the citizens of empire city view you, and how your relations with other characters go.  You will really have to decide who you want to be a hero or infamous.

The story with this game is amazing.  The characters feel real and all have their own arcs.  The ending will blow your mind.  The plot for this game is acually better than the plot of a lot of movies I have seen.  The game controls well, and really gives you a sense of power (especially towards the end of the game.)  Reallly, this game is almost perfect.

But there are a few flaws.  The when you jump, the game pulls you into nearby objects, which allows for some neat acrobatic stunts and you make your way across rooftops.  However, the system also makes it hard to do things like get down from the roof of a building.  Some of the missions get repetitive, and by the end it seems as though they just keep throwing more and more guys at you instead of coming up with more unique ways to challenge you.

However, these problems are not too bad and won’t keep you from enjoying this game.  If you have a PS3, you owe it to yourself to buy this game.

27
Mar
10

InFamous: Post Blast

Ok, I just beat InFamous.  (That review is coming soon)  While searching the internet for refrences to a sequel, I stumbled across something interesting.  It turns out that Sucker Punch (through IGN) has release a 4-part free downloadable comic that servers as a prequel to the game.  It looks pretty interesting, and I can’t wait to find out what happens in the first two weeks after the explosion.

You can download it here

Or, it can also be found on InFamous Wiki here

28
Feb
10

Batman: Arkham Asylum (4.5/5)

Ever wished you could be Batman?  If you have, this is the game for you. Arkham Asylum captures the feel of Batman perfectly.  The game starts with Batman bringing Joker to Arkham, but the Caped Crusader knows something is wrong; Joker was too easy to catch.  Turns out, Joker wanted to get caught, as soon as he arrives at Arkham, chaos ensures.  Joker, with the help of Harley Quinn, gains control of the asylum, leaving Batman to regain control.

The combat consists of two basic gameplay mechanics: There is the regular battles which use a simple, but pleasing combat system.  You can string together impressive combos and preform mind-blowing attacks.  The is also what is called “invisible predictor” mode where you sneak around in the shadows plotting your attacks and picking off armed criminals one by one.  Both modes offer a great experience and never seem to get old.

Arkham island is large, and you will do a lot of exploring using both your wit and your impressive arsenal of gadgets.  Hidden all throughout the island are riddles left by none other than the riddler.  These riddles take the form of hidden trophies, invisible question marks (that can be viewed only when in detective mode, a mode that allows you to do things such as see through walls), and actual riddles that involve finding a object that relates to a Batman character.   These riddles add a lot of gameplay value and allow the player to unlock plenty of extras (from character interview tapes, to character trophies, and even challenge maps that can be played).

The atmosphere is dark and gritty, it fits in well with the Batman universe.  Kevin Conroy (From Batmas TAS) lends his voice to Batman, and does a great job at it.  Mark Hammil (also from TAS) revives his role as Joker, providing what I belive is the greatest portrayal of Joker to date (Heath Leger included).

This game would almost be perfect, but there are two flaws.  First of all, the riddles that involve finding a hidden question mark are rather unenjoyable, and provide more headaches than entertainment.  This however is a small flaw, the real problem is the ending.  The story starts out great and keeps getting better and better until the last 10 minuets of the game, which suck.  Not only is the ending poorly written, but the final boss is easy and boring.

Overall, Arkham Asylum is a beautiful game, and I would reccomend it to anyone.  (even if you are not a Batman fan!)




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