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The Umbrella Academy
The Umbrella Academy
2018 | Action, Fantasy
Great comic book adaptation from somewhere not Marvel/DC, excellent soundtrack, awesome CGI on par with some big budget films (0 more)
A little weird and quirky...might not be for everyone, dialogue could use some work and has some plot holes (0 more)
A Gamble That Pays Off - 8/10
The Umbrella Academy is a 2019 dark comedy sci-fi/drama superhero tv show developed by Steve Blackman and Jeremy Slater for Netflix. It's an adaptation of the comic book series created by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba and published by Dark Horse Comics. The series was produced by Borderline Entertainment, Dark Horse Entertainment, and Universal Cable Productions. Starring Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castaneda, and Kate Walsh.


On October 1st, 1989, 43 women around the world give birth although none of them were pregnant that morning. Eccentric billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colman Feore) adopts 7 of the children and turns them into a superhero team called, "The Umbrella Academy. The children are given numbers instead of names and even though 6 of them fight crime, 1 of them, Vanya/#7 (Ellen Page) is kept apart for not having any powers. Present day, the estranged siblings reunite when they learn their father has died. At the funeral, #5 (Aidan Gallagher), which has been missing for over a decade, reappears from the future out of a blue portal and reveals to the others, that the world will end in a matter of days.


 This show is stellar. It's a ride that you shouldn't miss. It's good to see a comic book series adaptation that is not from Marvel or DC and you can feel that it's a fresh take and different. I think the writers for the show did a good job on making it very three-dimensional. It's rated TV-14 so it's for teenagers and adults but also for comic book fans and sci-fi fans. That being said it does get pretty weird and far out there, so might not be for everybody but it's definitely better than what the critics are saying. Yes it does have some issues; like the dialogue might not be the best, there being some plot holes possibly, and some complaints of other comic book shows or movies having done that before. But it does have plenty of pluses; the soundtrack is phenomenal, the CGI is on par with that of big-budget movies, and the casting is very good. They were able to pull off the whole dysfunctional family vibe very well. I wanted to give it a point higher but I did understand some of the other points that other critics made about it. I give it a 8/10 but I also give it my "Must See" seal of approval. So if you haven't seen it yet what are you waiting for.
  
Wonder Woman (2017)
Wonder Woman (2017)
2017 | Action, Fantasy, War
The casting of Gal Gadot (1 more)
The correct spirit and mood for the film/character
Another CGI generic villain (0 more)
Finally seeing Wonder Woman for the first time, I am torn between joining the film's praise bandwagon and complaining about another stupid villain. While I certainly don't want to go back to the cheesy Bane, Poisin Ivy, Mr. Freeze days of old, I also am not a big fan of the generic CGI villain, in this case Ares, God of War. I would think they could come up with a happy medium using The Dark Knight as a basis for a complex, grounded human character.

As for Wonder Woman herself, I thought Gal Gadot was amazing in personality, spirit, and the physical embodiment of Wonder Woman as a modern, yet retro female superhero.


Unfortunately, the film's historical setting and perspective has already been done better in the first Captain America film, but had to be the way they did it to make it close to the comic book origin of the character. The scene where Wonder Woman emerges on the battlefield was very strong as you, the viewer, had been anticipating this moment throughout the first half of the film.


The use of CGI during some of the fight scenes with the Nazi soldiers was poor and looked very false. Even when she jumped great distances, I thought that looked fake and was more believable in a Hulk film or even the Wonder Woman TV series from the 1970s.


I also sorely missed an appearance by the original Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter. They have said they will have her in the next film. They had better. 😊


Overall, I enjoyed the film more than most recent superhero flicks, but in 10 years, won't all these films just start to run together?
  
Justice League (2017)
Justice League (2017)
2017 | Action, Adventure
"Meanwhile, at the Hall Of Justice..."
This movie is the culmination of a childhood full of Saturday mornings in front of the tv in pajamas with a bowl of cereal. "Superfriends" was superheroes at it's most basic. The bad guys wanted to take over or destroy the world and the good guys have to stop them. That was the depth of the plots for both those classic cartoons, and this movie. It's pure cartoon fun brought to life, and I loved every minute of it.

The plot only serves as a reason for these heroes to come together. So you can say that story is not a top priority. Character is the name of the game here, and on that level, the movie is gold. Each character is fully realized, with their own individual situation they need to grow from. Every hero is given his or her moment to shine as an individual. When they stand as a team, it's some of the best superhero action we've ever gotten.

The performances of the League members is spot on across the board. Every character is presented exactly the way they should be. Ben Affleck continues to prove all the doubters wrong, by giving us the best live action version of Batman we've ever seen. Right from the start you see how he demands fear from evildoers, but filled with hope for the good things in the world. Gal Gadot IS Wonder Woman. If there was any doubt left after her solo movie, it should be thoroughly erased now. She's strong in body, mind, and spirit. Jason Mamoa forever erases the idea of Aquaman being the wimpiest superhero. His "surfer dude" take on the character brings all the recklessness and abandon you'd expect from a beach bum. He's almost like a Spartan soldier that lives for the excitement of battle. Ezra Miller brings a youthful excitement of someone who is simply jazzed by what he, and others, can do with their abilities. He's almost the comic relief until you realize that the excited reactions he gives to everything is exactly what we would to if we were dropped in that situation.

SPOILER TERRITORY....skip to "END SPOILERS" if you don't want anything ruined

Although it should really come as no surprise to anyone, Superman does indeed return from the dead in this movie. Not only is that he's resurrected very cool, but the aftermath gives us the best fight scene of the film. Superman vs The Justice League. 'nuff said? I've always loved Henry Cavill as Superman, but now he owns the role. He has grown from a man filled with self doubt, trying to find his place in the world, to a man who now fully realizes who he is, and what purpose he serves to mankind. Lots of great Superman stuff in this movie, and that is the thing I'm most thankful for.

END SPOILERS

This is the most fun I've had with a superhero movie in a long time. It may not have the deepest plot, but that is fine with me, because this is truly a comic book come to life. It's full of the action and joyful spirit that the boy in me tuned into every weekend. Now, if the post credit scene in the movie delivers, it REALLY will be everything that the classic Challenges Of The Superfriends, and reduce me to that boy in pajamas again, cereal in hand, and a smile on my face.
  
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Lee (2185 KP) rated Titans - Season 1 in TV

Feb 4, 2019  
Titans - Season 1
Titans - Season 1
2018 | Action, Crime, Drama
Outstanding. This is DC done right
As the DC movie universe continues to struggle with consistency and quality, it is so refreshing to finally come across a DC TV show as entertaining and as epic as this one. A show which, in my opinion, manages to get the tone and style just right, restrained at times, but constantly teasing much bigger and much more exciting possibilities. I struggle with most superhero TV shows, failing to get more than a season into shows like The Flash, or more than just a handful of episodes into shows like Daredevil or Luke Cage, but this one just got me hooked. It kept me engaged and enthralled through every single episode, and managed to tweak every geeky bone in my body during its final episode. It had a decent cliffhanger finale, an interesting post-credits scene, and I absolutely loved it. What Titans manages to do extremely well is with the introduction of its main characters. It does this slowly, but enjoyably, leaving much of their character traits and abilities to be discovered throughout the season. It takes a while for them all to come together as a team, but even when they do it's more about them discovering who they all are individually and how to deal with the dangerous situations they find themselves in than just kicking bad guy ass (although they manage to do plenty of that too!). Occasionally, an episode will end on a real cliffhanger, only for the next episode to go off on a tangent, exploring another character and their past. But it just works, developing and enriching the story rather than acting as unnecessary or frustrating season filler.

We kick things off by meeting Dick Grayson, or Batman sidekick Robin as he's more usually known. He's currently working as a detective in Detroit having left Gotham City about a year ago. When asked about his reasons for leaving Gotham, he puts it down to problems with a difficult partner, but he still likes to wear the Robin suit occasionally - picking up leads as part of his day job, then dealing out swift vigilante justice as Robin by night. The criminals can't quite take him seriously though - scouring the skies, wondering whether the more terrifying Batman is going to show up to help out his little sidekick. Robin can more than handle his own though, brutally taking care of business before growling "F*** Batman". Yep, if you hadn't already gathered, Titans is a much grittier show than animated show Teen Titans! This version is much darker - we get blood, we get violence, our heroes have sex and they also have potty mouths!

Next up is Rachel Roth, a teenager with purple hair who sleeps in a locked room with crucifixes affixed to the door, fearful of a dark entity living within her. She has a vision of Dick Grayson, who she has never met, witnessing the moment from his childhood when his parents died during their acrobat act, the Flying Graysons. Rachel is being pursued by a number of individuals for reasons that are unclear for much of the season and, following the murder of her guardian, heads to Detroit where she crosses paths with Dick. Meanwhile, a fiery redhead named Koriand'r awakens in a crashed car in Austria, with no memory of who she is. She learns that she has some pretty good combat skills and some cool superhuman abilities. She also discovers that she is on the hunt for Rachel Roth, but she has no idea why. There is also a teenage boy called Gar, who is able to shape shift into a green tinged tiger, but only when he's naked!

Along the way, as these core characters all come together, we're introduced to a variety of other weird and wonderful characters from comic book history. Some, such as Hawk and Dove, have a recurring and increasingly important role, earning one of the more enjoyable episodes later on in the season when we delve into their backstory. Other characters, such as Doom Patrol and The Nuclear Family are briefly introduced, only to disappear for now - although I'm sure we'll be seeing them all again in future seasons (hopefully). But it's when new Robin Jason Todd appeared on the scene, and then Wonder Woman sidekick Wonder Girl, that I really started geeking out. New Robin is younger and much more sadistic than his predecessor (Robin 2.0 as he puts it), while Wonder Girl now leads a much quieter life. Her and Dick also share a past, with both of them being sidekicks, and we get a brief glimpse of her abilities a couple of times throughout the season. Hopefully with a lot more to come next season.

And then we come to the finale, with things coming to a head and with a serious threat to our planet looming. Dick heads back to Gotham where Commissioner Gordon has been murdered, the streets are rife with crime and Batman has gone off the rails - on a mission to kill The Joker and all of his enemies in Arkham Asylum. I loved this episode. The Joker, Batman, Wayne Manor, the Batcave - all of these things we're so used to seeing in countless movies and TV shows over the years, but in this context and as part of this world, this huge story that's been unfolding over 11 episodes, there was something about it that just blew me away. As mentioned before, the show also ends on a fantastic cliffhanger and teases some interesting additions post credits. I cannot wait for more of this!