Movie Review: Batman & Harley Quinn

(Seemed appropriate for #HarleyQuinnDay…Big thanks to Prince Adam for sharing his Bat-thoughts with us. 🙂 xoxo)

“Batman and Nightwing are forced to team with the Joker’s sometimes-girlfriend Harley Quinn to stop a global threat brought about by Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue, the Floronic Man.” (Warner Brothers)

This movie had me the minute it was set in the style of Batman: The Animated Series, featuring the voices of Kevin Conroy as Batman and Loren Lester as Nightwing, The new addition to the Bat-Family, comes in the form of Melissa Rauch, of The Big Bang Theory fame, as Harley Quinn. To be honest, it was her casting that worried me. I though her name recognition from TBBT and the signature voice of her character, would take me out of the movie and be a hindrance to the character. However, Melissa was fantastic and except for one time when she screamed at someone in the film, did I recognize it was her and get pulled out of the film, otherwise the actress totally disappeared and all I saw and heard was Harley Quinn. Hearing Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester again, felt so right and sounded like the pitch perfect dynamic duo. It’s like they have been doing this for 25 years straight, with no time lapses in between. Giving a voice to Poison Ivy for this film was Paget Brewster. She was okay, but I don’t think she was distinctly Ivy enough. That’s not necessarily her fault though because, she only had one scene where she employs Ivy’s trademark seductive, hypnotic sexiness to get a man to do her bidding. Poison Ivy’s partner in crime n this feature is Jason Woodrue aka the Floronic Man. The inclusion of this villain fits, given Ivy’s involvement and I really like his inclusion, not because I’m a huge fan of the character but because, he’s never really used. Come to think of it, even amongst Batman’s heavy hitters, Poison Ivy was underused. Even when she featured in episodes of Batman: TAS. The Floronic Man is voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. This actor voiced The Joker for four seasons on The Batman but never once did I hear The Joker in this performance, which speaks to his range and versatility. Though, his voice is tailor made for portraying a villain.

As for why Harley Quinn would help Batman and Nightwing, it’s because she’s trying to live her life on the straight and narrow. Especially, since she has separated from The Joker. However, due to her criminal past, no reputable organization would hire someone with a criminal past and record, as a psychiatrist. Though, she makes a point at hinting that late nigh risqué movie producers have shown interest. Instead, Harley take a job at a bar called Superbabes. The waitresses all dress up in skimpy superhero costumes and are often ogled and groped by male patrons. One night Harley is grabbed in the ass, flips the customer over a table and starts a bar fight before heading home. This whole time, Nightwing was tailing her, following her back to a rundown, abandoned apartment. Naturally, there is a scuffle and Harley Quinn not only holds her own against Nightwing but knocks him out. When he comes to, Nightwing realizes that he’s tied up. Harley, changing out of her costume is in her bra and panties. She begins being flirtatious with Nightwing, saying they both have something the other wants. Nightwing protests, in a half assed way, before admitting the idea of being with Harley does sound appealing, The lights go out, the costumes come off and the scene cuts away as the implied sex scene happens off screen. Some reactions online, have people up in arms, throwing a hissy fit over this scene. Firstly, some are calling the moment a glorified rape scene, given that he was tied up and at first refused Harley’s suggestion. If you actually rewatch the scene, you can see that it’s quite clear that Nightwing is more than agreeable to having sexual relations with Harley. Once Nightwing agrees, I view the ropes as some kinky, superhero/supervillain role-play type of scenario. Prior to that scene, when both characters were physically fighting, Harley Quinn was verbalizing that she was tired of people telling her what to be and assigning a label to her. For example, some see her as crazy, others see her only as a villain, while others still, view her as a sex object. She mentions, how she wants to be in control and determine who she is. While some see the sex scene as demeaning, only further objectifying Harley, I saw her initiating the flirtation, and being in control of that situation. I saw it as a moment of empowerment for Harley Quinn. That’s my take on the whole “controversy.”

As for why Nightwing was following Harley and not Batman? The Dark Knight was busy doing detective work, uncovering Poison Ivy and the Floronic Man’s diabolical scheme. Firstly, I love that this film focuses on Batman being a detective. To me, Batman: TAS and issues of Detective Comics, are the only two interpretations, that really key in on this aspect of his character. Speaking of our villains’ plan, it involve using samples of Alec Holland’s (Swamp Thing’s) blood, mixed with a chemical agent, that when dispersed, would turn the human population into plant like creatures, such as Floronic Man and Swamp Thing. I like that the evil plot is perfectly symbiotic with the overall goals and beliefs of our villains, unlike that time when Poison Ivy teamed up with Mr. Freeze in 1997, and their plans were in complete opposition and counterintuitive of each other. Back over at Team Batman, when the Caped Crusader rejoins Harley and Nightwing, he catches them in a compromising position. While he doesn’t say it outright, you can tell he is judgemental of what they did. Nightwing responds with; “Oh right, like you’ve never made out with a villain before.” I loved this line because, it’s a clever callback to Batman’s trysts with Catwoman and Talia al Ghul respectively. It also calls out Batman’s hypocrisy in this moment, but also speaks to the closeness and rapport between Batman and Nightwing, that Dick Grayson can speak to Bruce this way. With Harley assisting Batman and Nightwing, you knew humor would be a key feature of this film and it is. As the three drive in the Batmobile to find Ivy’s location, Harley complains that a burrito she ate earlier isn’t agreeing with her and they should pull over. Batman refuses and Harley retorts; you asked for it, before beginning to fire off some farts. Batman & Nightwing’s facial reactions are hilarious. Yes, I know getting laughs from farts is a bit cheap and childish, but in addition to her sexiness, Harley Quinn has always had a childishness about her, so it works. There’s also a scene where Batman calls the Justice League for potential backup. However, all the heavy hitters are off world, so Booster Gold starts naming a bunch of C and D list superheroes that could help out. As Booster Gold’s voice rattles off names through the intercom of the Batmobile, Harley Quinn and Nightwing shake their head no and make faces in disapproval, before ruffling papers to make it sound like their was static, before hanging up on Booster Gold. This was priceless and had me in stiches. Harley Quinn’s influence is clearly rubbing off on Nightwing. Harley takes Batman and Nightwing to a bar for supervillain henchmen, where she meets an informant, who has info on Poison Ivy’s location. To get info out of an informant, Harley has to sing karaoke. That’s not the fun part though, as Melissa Rauch unfortunately is a terrible singer. However, the henchmen featured at this bar, are ones featured in the Batman 66 TV series, specifically noticeable are Catwoman’s henchmen. They even buy Batman a glass of milk, as a nod to his drink of choice on the Adam West series.

When the unlikely trio finds Poison Ivy and Floronic Man, Harley Quinn pretends to double cross Batman and Nightwing, to gain their trust, However, when she pleads with Ivy to not go through with releasing this pathogen, Ivy realizes Harley lied to her. Even Batman tries to appeal to Poison Ivy’s humanity, pointing out that if she makes even one mistake with the formula, all of humanity will be wiped out. When she still doesn’t budge, Harley Quinn removes her mask and makeup, gives Ivy a “puppy dog” look and begins to cry, lamenting that she doesn’t want to die. Ivy can’t resist Harley crying and agrees not to release the toxin on humanity. She too now turns on the Floronic Man. While some may say Poison Ivy’s turn was too easy, I liked it! It really emphasises the close knit relationship and love that Harley and Ivy share. This is both emphasized in the comic books and animated series. There are a few things, that I didn’t like about this film. Aside from the fight scene between Harley Quinn and Nightwing, which was awesome, the action in this film is extremely limited. And when it is their, the film cuts away from it, When you see the henchman bar fight, you’ll know what I mean. Swamp Thing has a cameo in the third act, condemns Ivy & the Floronic Man for what they’ve done, but refuses to get in the fight. He doesn’t get involved because “It’s not his “fight.” What!? How is it not his fight? They tampered with his blood and what they plan to do, is going to alter The Green, the nature that Swamp Thing is sworn to protect. How is that not his fight? It made no sense. What a wasted cameo. Also, I was let down by the final battle with The Floronic Man and it stems (pun intended), from the reasons I just mentioned.

This film has key voice cast from Batman: The Animated Series, the animation style evokes later seasons of Batman: The Animated Series, which was rebranded The New Batman Adventures but one thing that is different is the tone. Sure, there is some dramatic story telling of the classic animated series, but this is more of a comedy set in that world. So prepare yourself for that but you know what, for me, it really works. I have never laughed so much while watching a DC Animated show, or movie. If you want a good laugh and 75 minutes of fun with characters you love, give this film a buy and a watch. Happy Batman/Harley Quinn Takeover Day everyone!

#SuperheroSaturday Comic Book Review: Batman/Elmer Fudd Special #1

(Submitted by Batman’s Bitch, Mr. Prince Adam… 😉 Thanks, Super Friend. You know I tease ya cuz I loves ya…and also because it’s true. 😉 xoxo)

“After a chance meeting with billionaire Bruce Wayne, Elmer Fudd’s obsession quickly escalates into stalking Batman through the dark alleys and high-class social settings of Gotham City. Welcome to Bat Season! And the bonus Looney Tunes backup story features DC characters written by Tom King and artwork by Byron Vaughns.” (DC Entertainment)

Batman/Elmer Fudd Special #1 is one of five one shot specials teaming up the DC Comics cast of characters with the Looney Tunes cast of characters.  I love DC & I love Looney Tunes, so these crossovers should be a slam dunk and this issue absolutely is.  How do the two worlds meet?  Well, in the case of this issue, writer Tom King places Elmer Fudd, a hunter on the hunt for a hitman who killed his girlfriend.  The hitman offers to make a trade, spare his life, in exchange for the name of the person who contracted him.  Elmer agree and the hitman tells him the contract was ordered by Bruce Wayne.  Elmer Fudd heads to a party at Wayne Manor and opens fire on Bruce Wayne.  Of course, Bruce escapes, switches his suit for his Batman costume and tracks down Elmer Fudd.  A fight ensues, Batman subdues Elmer Fudd, as he should be able to and convinces him that Bruce Wayne didn’t order the hit on his girlfriend. The two team up and track down the hitman to a bar filled with hitmen and seedy characters. Naturally a bar fight ensues and as they corner the hitman, he pleads and reiterates that he’s not the killer, pointing behind them.  Batman and Elmer turn around, and see Elmer’s girlfriend.  She says that she enlisted the hitman’s help to fake her own death, so she can get away from Elmer Fudd’s dangerous lifestyle as a hunter.  She walks out of the bar, while the three men enjoy a drink to end the first story.  The story is a traditional Gum Shoe detective story, especially with that swerve at the end, with the girlfriend being the mastermind behind it all. Judging by my commentary, you’d assume that Elmer Fudd was randomly dropped into Gotham City, just for crossover purposes.  However, Tom King cleverly works in some Looney Tunes references.  The bar that the hitman frequents is Porky’s, with the owner/bartender being the human version of Porky Pig.   Furthermore, the hitman accused of killing Elmer’s girlfriend is named Bugs “The Bunny” Woves.  The other hitmen and shady characters are made up of Looney Tunes archetypes.  We see versions of Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, even Sylvester and Tweety. I liked Tom Kings decision to make Bugs and some of the other Looney Tunes characters villains.  Had they been the exact status quo as their cartoon counterparts, the reader would have a hard time rooting for Batman or Elmer Fudd.  Also the reveal of classic Batman character Silver St. Cloud being Elmer Fudd’s girlfriend, is a fun way to further have Batman/Bruce Wayne cross paths with Elmer Fudd, instead of merely setting the story in Gotham City.  The interesting twist, for the purposes of this book, is that Silver St, Cloud dated Elmer Fudd first before Bruce Wayne, but left them both because of their dangerous lifestyles, highlighting a similarity between the two men.. The ending of this story featuring Batman, Bugs and Elmer drinking carrot juice and discussing Albuquerque is a nice nod to Bugs Bunny’s vegetable of choice, as well as a call back to a classic episode.

While the first story is set in the DC Universe, the backup story is set in Looney Tunes continuity.  It actually reads like a typical Bugs Bunny Vs, Elmer Fudd story.  Mr., Fudd is chasing Bugs because it’s Rabbit, or should we say, Wabbit season. To save his own skin, Bugs switches the sign to Bat Season, lights the Bat-Signal and calls Batman. Seeing the sign, Elmer switches gears and starts chasing Batman. After being thoroughly amused, Bugs Bunny ends up in a Batman costume, throwing Elmer Fudd into a little bit of a confused sate, just like the cartoon.  Also, just like the cartoon, he eventually figures out the ruse and continues chasing Batman.  To outsmart Elmer Fudd, Batman changes the sign to Robin Season, before summoning his various sidekicks who use this moniker.  As Elmer Fudd takes up the chase against the Robin’s, Batman & Elmer Fudd walk off into the sunset.  This book felt like I time travelled about 29 years to a Saturday morning long ago, watching The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show. In this story, the writer is focused all on the laughs. It’s really a love letter to vintage Looney Tunes episodes. Both these stories show how malleable the Batman and Looney Tunes stories are, that they can tell two stories, with completely different tones and objective and still be recognizable to their brands and be entertaining on two different levels.

Lee Weeks is the artists for the main story.  It definitely has the feel of a gritty, noir detective story to match the story being told.  The art is definitely nowhere near as clean cut or crisp as your typical Batman or Looney Tunes comic book.  It’s got a scruffy look about it. This scruffy look makes Elmer Fudd look like a total badass.  It adds so much gravitas to Elmer Fudd’s trench coach and hat look.  Yet, Mr. Weeks manages to keep Elmer Fudd’s aloof, simplistic look.  I loved the human rendition of the Looney Tunes.  They all have distinguishing characteristics that give the characters away.  For instance Bugs has those protruding teeth he is famous for.  Although, I think they made the human Bugs more visually unappealing, so that we would gravitate towards Elmer.   Yosemite Sam  has his read mustache and beard, but it’s more of a goatee.  Instead of a cowboy hat, he now wears a bandana.  Bartender Porky looks as much like a literal pig as a human drawing could look.  It’s like the pig animation morphed to a human from screen to page.  Foghorn Leghorn has gone from a giant Rooster, to a sharply dressed African American card shark. I loved that there was diversity with some of the characters.  The card shark angle was great as well given that Foghorn Leghorn, in the cartoon often tricks and swindles the hens and the watchdog into getting what he wants.  With all this Elmer Fudd talk, I should mention that there is an exceptional image of Batman leaping down into an alley.  That is an iconic image in Batman lore but done from an angle we’re not used to seeing.  It’s worth noting that Silver St. Cloud is drop dead gorgeous, so it makes sense she could stop both Elmer Fudd and Batman in their tracks at the bar.  The art for the second story is done by Byron Vaughns. There’s not much to say except that it’s great and looks EXACTLY like the animation of Looney Tunes.  It’s so good, that it’s as if they just transposed film cells from the show.  Batman looks like an over exaggerated version of the character from Batman: Brave and the Bold.  The only complaint I have with this portion of the art is that when Bugs Bunny dons a Batman costume, he looks too much like Bat-Mite for my liking.

I expected to like this book but quite frankly, I straight up loved it!  It satisfies both fandoms with a story set in both the DC Universe and Looney Tunes lore.  If you’re a fan of both, this is your fanboy heaven. I can guarantee I will be reading and reviewing the remaining four one shots in this series.  Whether you go looney or batty over this book, I guarantee you are going to love it! So BUY IT and read it.  Until next time…. That’s All Folks!

Movie Review: Spider-Man Homecoming

WARNING TO ALL YE WHO ENTERETH: This post contains #SPOILERS. Just scroll on down to the Marvel Universe Live stuffs if that sorta thing upsets ya. 🙂

(Review submitted with all the love by our Superheroic Ho-mie, Prince Adam…Thank you, Super Sir! 🙂 xoxo)

“Several months after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens, New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man as a new threat, the Vulture, emerges.” (Sony/Marvel)

After his fantastically energetic extended cameo in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man gets his first solo film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  We get two prologues before hitting “present day”, which as stated, is several months after Civil War.  The first prologue is set shortly after the first Avengers film.  We see Adrian Toomes and his cleanup crew, removing debris and alien technology from the destruction sites. We see that he is so excited by landing this government job, because it puts food on the table for his wife and daughter, as well as providing for his whole crew.  However, they lose the contract when Tony Stark funds the government owned “Damage Control”, to clean up super heroic messes and such. We then see a flash forward to present day, where we learn and see that Adrian Toomes and crew have been stealing weaponry from superhero/supervillain skirmishes, propagating some for themselves, and selling other weaponry to criminals on the black market. Meanwhile, the flashback with Peter Parker/Spider-Man, actually ties into his appearance in Civil War.  The flashbacks are actually self-shot home movies, of his “trip” to Berlin.  You actually see him getting his upgraded suit from Tony Stark via Happy Hogan, as well as P.O.V. shots of the airport battle in Civil War.  These are a way to catch the audience up on where we last saw Peter, but done in an inventive and unique way. These flashbacks are great because they show us our villain’s motivations for what he is doing, and give us a glimpse into how much Peter Parker loves being Spider-Man.

Our main story picks up with Peter Parker being left back in Queen’s and dealing with being a high school student, while also dealing with being a Spider-Man that has to deal with more street level crime.  First of all, I love that this film really stayed in Queen’s as much as it could.  It gave this film a much more intimate feeling over previous installments.  Peter Parker being in high school felt like a naturalistic part of his daily routine, as opposed to being scenes that were shoehorned into the other films because the character was supposed to be 15.  I think it helps, that the actor playing our hero, as well as his classmates were actually teenaged, as opposed to Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, who both had Wellingitis.  That is to say, they were both 25, cast to play a 15 year old, just as Tom Welling was on Smallville.  I also appreciated that this iteration of Peter Parker wasn’t overtly geeky, or overly hipster, like our previous versions of Peter Parker.  Tom Holland plays an average teenager who takes his high school happenings and everyday situations to the extreme, and makes everything seem like the biggest deal and sometimes the end of the world.  Peter Parker’s best friend in this is Ned played by Jacob Batalon.  The character as played by the actor, is the quintessential best bud and sidekick.  The character is a gamer and total Star Wars fanboy.  Sure, the idea that the two friends spend their after school time building a LEGO Death Star, felt a little all too obvious and convenient, given the Marvel/Disney and Disney/Star Wars connection, but it felt like something two modern day teen fanboys would absolutely do.  There is no spider-bite or death of Uncle Ben in this film.  Instead, that sort of exposition, comes from Ned, once he accidentally discovers Peter Parker is Spider-Man.  We learn of the spider bite and Peter’s abilities through Ned’s endless questions. The exchanges are so naturalistic yet humorous.  There’s a lot of humor in this film, yet never once does it go overboard like Guardians of the Galaxy 2, or feel forced like in the Thor movies.  Liz Allen played by Laura Harrier is the object of Peter Parker’s affection in this film.  She is the popular girl, with a type A personality.  Sure, she and Peter admit that they both liked each other and went to the homecoming dance together but I never felt a spark, or connection between these characters.  No offence to the actress, she did okay with what was asked of her.  Story wise, once we learn that Liz Allen is really Liz Toomes, daughter of the Vulture, any chance the two had at a relationship was gone.  I really did like the character of Michelle played by Zendaya.  This character is very intellectual and is a bit of a loner, playing it off as if she doesn’t really care about hanging out, or being around her classmates. She’s a bit of an introvert, who is lost in her reading. The banter and animosity between she and Peter, gives off a vibe of a love/hate relationship, which definitely hints at something more later on.  Flash Thompson is played by Tony Revolori.  This Flash is not the big hulking jock of a bully like in previous installments, or the comic books.  Instead, he’s more of a verbal insulter, who tries to break Peter down emotionally, not physically.  He’s still a sleaze bag.  The young actor plays that well and you won’t be able to stand him over the course of the film.

Marisa Tomei, returns from her Civil War role of Aunt May.  This Aunt May is more active in the film and in Peter’s life.  We see very simple scenes of them sharing a family dinner.  You even see her helping him learn how to do a tie, teaching him how to dance, and giving him pointers how to treat Liz on their homecoming date.  Marisa Tomei seems to be playing this younger version of Aunt May as a big sister, which makes sense, given the smaller age gap between the two actors.  Though, Marisa Tomei does let the parental Aunt mode kick in, when Peter gets home late and hasn’t been answering his phone. She raises her voice at him, telling him he can’t do that and that between the two of them, that’s not okay.  Even though Uncle Ben isn’t mentioned by name, the tone in her voice and the pain in her face, clearly makes it know, this reaction is a reaction to Ben’s death.  It’s really powerful acting by Marisa Tomei.  As was known when this project was announced and as the trailers went out of their way to point out, Robert Downey Jr. is in this film as Tony Stark/Iron-Man.  He’s at his snarky, fast talking best in this film.  The trailers for this film had me worried that this film would turn into Iron-Man 4, featuring Spider-Man.  However, happily, that’s not the case at all.  We see Iron-Man as a mentor/father figure/ big brother to Peter Parker.  You can tell that Tony Stark has a love for Peter, but in typical Stark fashion, he’ll never outright admit it.  He gave Peter the costume upgrade, to make him a more effective hero but also to keep him safe. Yet still, he tells Peter to stay safe, by sticking close to home grown, street level issues.  The suit upgrades include different shapes and modes of webbing.  The spider symbol is actually a mini drone/ tracker.  There’s also an interrogation mode, which allows Peter to disguise his voice a la Batman, to intimidate his enemies.  There’s a lethal mode, to deal with the extremely dangerous villains and lest we forget, the web wings from the early comic books, which allow him to glide.  I thought all these enhancements by Tony to the costume would minimize Peter Parker’s intelligence but the way Robert Downey Jr. and the film itself handles it, is just Tony being overprotective.  In fact, the film makes a point to show Peter’s intelligence, by showing him secretly brewing his webbing in science class.  We also see Peter disabling the trackers and security measures Tony put into the Spider-Man costume.  Iron-Man does save and assists Spider-Man twice in the film but it never feels like belittling and minimizing the character to me.  His biggest contribution happens of screen, after he realizes that Peter is too reliant on the costume and its gadgets, so he takes it away.  This forces Peter to go back to his homemade costume and find the hero within, which he ultimately does. While this is a Spider-Man film, Tony Stark does seems to resolve some father issues he had in Civil War and there is even a progression of his relationship with Pepper Potts that carries over from that film, which I won’t spoil.

Nearly all of the action beats are tied to our villain, Adrian Toomes, aka the Vulture, played by Michael Keaton.  As hard as it is for me to see Michael Keaton as anything but Batman or Beetlejuice, he is absolutely fantastic as the Vulture.  He’s easily the best villain in the MCU since Loki and he might even be better than Loki.  As I mentioned earlier, the cleanup contract is so important to him, as he’s trying to provide for his family, as are his crew.  When he loses that contract to the joint venture of Stark Industries and the government, he feels pushed aside and stepped on by “the man.”  This is why he hates The Avengers and turns to the black market to sell stolen alien weaponry.  He’s not a one dimensional, over the top, mustache twirling villain, which has become the norm in the MCU. What the script and Michael Keaton convey so well, is that while Adrian Toomes motivations are relatable, his actions remain 100% wrong and the viewer never over sympathizes with him.  This is a mistake the Sam Raimi films made with Dock Ock and Sandman.  They became too sympathetic, to the point where I gave their actions a pass.  While Michael Keaton was great throughout, his best scene happens with Peter Parker when both men are out of costume.  I won’t spoil it but I guarantee it will make your spine tingle. Michael Keaton is particularly chilling in this scene.  The Vulture’s crew introduces other villains, namely the Shocker and the Prowler.  They’re not overly developed. They’re more in service to the Vulture, which I prefer.  The Prowler is of course the uncle of Miles Morales.  There is a small nod to him in the film, which could open the door for Ultimate Spider-Man in the future of the MCU.

In addition to Peter Parker, Tom Holland excels as his costumed alter-ego Spider-Man.  He’s got the inherent goodness and altruistic nature that Tobey Maguire had and he’s got the incessant quipping, which was present in Andrew Garfield’s take on the character.  Mixed in with Tom Holland’s youthful excitement and energy and what you have is the most screen accurate Spider-Man to his comic book counterpart, when it comes to live action portrayals.  The action scenes aren’t just randomly inserted into this film to fill an action quota, instead they service and enhance our hero’s journey.  What’s also unique is that Spider-Man is wearing his fancy superhero attire, in the first two acts, when he is more of an unpolished hero, while wearing his makeshift home-made costume for the third act, when he becomes the full-fledged hero. Usually, it’s the other way around in superhero films.  The early action beats are definitely smaller scale.  We see Spider-Man stopping a bike theft, bank robbery, and we even see him giving an elderly lady directions.  There’s situational humor present in the film when Spider – Man seemingly thwarts a car robbery but in fact, it was just a guy who’d been locked out of his car.  The way the onlookers yelled at Spidey and defended their neighbors innocence, really sold the tight knit community feel of this Queen’s neighborhood.  Also, Stan Lee gets a rare cameo where he speaks, which is nice.  When the Vulture first swoops in grabbing Spider-Man, preventing him from chasing down his crew, the frantic, up-close perspective of the scenes, looks like a brief moment that belongs in a horror film.  The Ferry sequence and the plane fight with The Vulture, as well as the Washington Monument Rescue are the 3 stars of this film, as far as action goes.  The Ferry Sequence has a moment were Spider-Man is trying to hold the Ferry together in one piece, His positioning, actions and pose are eerily similar to Spider-Man 2, when he tries to stop the train from crashing. The scene showcases how effective, yet inexperienced this Spider-Man is.  Seeing Spider-Man crawl up the Washington monument, leap from the top of it, using his web wings to clear a helicopter was so damn epic.  Not quite as epic as Superman’s first flight in Man of Steel, but a pretty close second.  The plane fight between Spider-Man and the Vulture was unlike anything we’ve ever seen in a Spider-Man film.  Not only do they fight inside of the plane but on top of the plane as well.  It took eleven years, but we finally have a scene that surpasses the Superman Returns flight rescue. Kudos goes to the costume designer, who actually made the Vulture’s costume intimidating and menacing, as opposed to looking ridiculous like it does in the comic books.

Spider-Man: Homecoming just feels right.  For the first time in six films, Spider-Man feels like he’s right where he belongs, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The plot and the reason why Spider-Man is taking on the Vulture is very straight forward.  Instead, this movie focuses on getting the characters right.  In this area, the film 100% succeeds.  My previous favourite Spider-Man film was Spider-Man 2, however, I think Spider-Man: Homecoming slightly surpasses it.  In terms of MCU solo films, this ranks 2nd, behind only the first Iron-Man.  In terms of my favourite summer movies, this ranks 2nd behind Wonder Woman and is definitely a MUST SEE film.

Ho-stess’s PS- I saw SMHC last night, and agree wholeblackheartedly with Mr. P’s review…Ho-wever, I saw Marvel Universe Live on Tour today, and have to say THAT is the Marvel production we should all be talking about. #GreatestShowInTheGalaXXXy!! 🙂 xoxo

#SuperheroSaturday Comic Book Review: Injustice Gods Among Us #7-9

(Submitted by out freaky friend, Mr. Dr. Prince Adam III…Thanks, Heroic Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)

This trilogy of issues starts with a U.S. Missile strike in Bialya, on a stronghold of a Rebel Leader.  Before the missile could hit its target Superman intercepts it, destroying the missile.  While Superman was determined to stop the loss of any more life, after the tragedy that killed Lois and his unborn baby, the U.S. Military and government, all the way up to the President are furious that Superman’s actions have compromised their efforts in the region.  Fearing that Superman is on a dangerous road to totalitarian rule, the government puts off the books military personal in the charge of Mirror Master, in the hope of reigning Superman in.  Their plan is to kidnap the Kent’s, trapping them in a mirror dimension.  They then blackmail Superman, that if he doesn’t end this “My Way or the High Way” war on crime, his parents will be killed and pieces of their bodies will be sent to him. This only enrages Superman further, who quickly turns to Flash to learn more about Mirror Master.  Meanwhile, at the Justice League watchtower, Wonder Woman requests the help of the rest of the Justice League’s help in the search for Mirror Master and Clark’s parents. While the rest of the Superfriends, sans Batman and Green Arrow, who have defected, go on supervillain shakedown duty. Wonder Woman goes to another war torn area of the Middle East, Kandaq. There she literally gets right in the middle of a battle between fighter jets and tanks.  After decimating the heavy artillery, she urges the soldiers on foot to lay down their weapons, in a cease fire, while a peaceful dialogue can put an end to the conflict.  As this is unfolding, the God of War, Ares appears on the battlefield. After revelling in Diana’s handy work, he questions her about a potential romantic relationship with Superman. The snark in his comments offends Wonder Woman, they fight, so she cuts off his hand and impales him with her sword, leaving him alive, but pinned to the ground.  She then leaves the warzone with Superman in toe.  The book ends with Batman waiting for the President in the White House. He tells the President that he knows he ordered the kidnapping of the Kent’s.  While Batman, doesn’t agree with that tactic, he tells the President that Superman does need to be held in check, and that he is forming a resistance.

There are two reasons I came back to this book now. The first is that I wanted another book featuring Wonder Woman to read. Second, the sequel game and comic book for this franchise is out. The sooner I read this, the faster I get to play the new game.  I’m now 9 issues into this book and while I know where Superman ultimately gets to, as of this moment in the story, I don’t disagree with his stance or more aggressive tactics.  I don’t hold killing the Joker against Superman.  Now I’m not saying every superhero should start picking off their villains.  However, had Batman killed the Joker long ago, Jason Todd wouldn’t have been beaten to death and Barbara Gordon wouldn’t have been raped or killed.  Comic books like this raise a question about our heroes.  In scenario’s like this, with exceptionally vile villains like The Joker, is it okay for our heroes to cross that line and kill?  Secondly, he what I just realised about this book is that it is the Bizarro Dark Knight Returns.  In that book, the government is worried about Batman going over the edge, with Superman having to step in and reign him in.  Here, it is the exact opposit.  It’s kind of sad that it took me so long to put that together, but it seems extra awesome now that I have.  In the scene where Wonder Woman rallies the Justice League around Superman’s cause.  Even though some of his teammates find his actions towards the Joker questionable. They all rally because of Wonder Woman’s call to arms.  It speaks to what a respected leader she is amongst the group. She is no 1B leader. She’s every bit the leader of the JLA as Superman is.  Wonder Woman has always been a character that preached peace and love first and foremost, with fighting always being a last resort. For now, at this juncture of the story, that character tenant is upheld.  When she does let loose in the Kandaq warzone, the way she just dismantles the armed and air weaponry and gets those soldiers to stand down is impressive. It will give added presence to the name Wonder Woman.  Ares’ presence in these issues is definitely the highlight for me.  His concern over a romantic union between Superman and Diana is genius.  The idea that their union could bring about a true end to conflict and war, thereby rendering him useless and moot. Tom Taylor writes the fierce and all powerful Ares, as worried and emotionally distraught over this scenario. By the end of the last issue, Ares is very different then the brash, authoritative and condescending Olympian God, when he first entered the story.

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Jheremy Raapack is back on art for these issues and these three stories are his best work in my opinion.  I’m almost certain that Zack Snyder used this artwork as a reference image for the Africa sequence in Batman v Superman: The Ultimate Edition. The way Superman defuse that missile and the look on his face as he approaches it, looks identical in the film as it does in this book.    This artist has done great things for Mirror Master’s visual credibility.  I’ll take the supped up rogue SWAT guy with a mask, over the traditional green looking long johns, any day of the week.  His mirror dimension is described and looks like 10 square kilometers of reflective sky.  That’s fantastic because it doesn’t just look like a household mirror, while also being difficult to locate for Superman, and metahuman’s like The Flash.  It’s also tricky for readers to spot, as it could be literally anywhere on the page.  The best imagery of these three books is Wonder Woman slicing the tail end of a fighter jet with her sword and head butting a tank. Yes, I said head butting a tank.   I’m not all that fond of Wonder Woman wearing pants though. Partially because I love her film costume and have it stuck in my head.  Also though, because putting pants on her was often done to appease complaints that her outfit was to scantily clad.  I think that’s the type of censorship her creator would have been against.  As for Ares, he looks like a cross between Savatar from season 3 of The Flash and a Spartan soldier, in black armor.  I had hoped hope he looked even more similar to this in the movie.

Every time I read this book, I end up kicking myself for leaving it alone for so long.  The first nine issues are so good, some of the best comics I’ve read.  So good, that I’m curious to know if the rest of Volume 1 and the current sequel are as good as this. I’ll definitely find out more quickly, as I plan on making this book a frequent habit. First though, it’s time for a few more theater screenings of Wonder Woman.