When it comes to Batman’s universe, Nightwing has always been a favorite on the hero side and Bane on the villain side. Here is my Nightwing and Bane action figure collection with a Nightwing Pop! figure thrown in for good measure.
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Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009) Written by Stan Berkowitz Directed by Sam Liu Runtime 67 min. 4.5 out of 5
The Man of Steel has been framed for the murder of Metallo.
Now on the public’s radar as a wanted man, Superman must team up with his greatest ally—and closest friend—Batman, to clear his name and show the public what really happened the night Metallo died. But before he can do that, he must survive an onslaught of superheroes and supervillains alike, all of whom have come to cash in on the bounty for his capture.
Meanwhile, a giant kryptonite meteor is on a collision course for Earth, making things even worse for the Man of Steel who has no way to stop it, especially since the President of the United States, Lex Luthor, wants to destroy it himself with nuclear missiles.
Will the Earth survive and will Superman restore his good name?
This movie, based on the graphic novel by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, is a comic book fan’s dream come true. Not only does it feature all of comicdom’s two most popular icons, but also a super supporting cast consisting of Power Girl, Captain Atom, Major Force, Black Lightning, Starfire, Katana and a host of other familiar faces, including, but not limited to, Captain Cold, Mr. Freeze, Bane, Lady Shiva and a ton of others.
The story is solid, simple, but enough to really showcase each character: Superman as the one who doesn’t kill; Batman as the disgruntled detective; Lex Luthor as the glory-seeking, power-mad President—it totally works. The pacing was bang on and not once was I bored. Even the humor was in-step with the rest of the movie and didn’t come across like jokes from left field. Case in point, the giant robot in the end would’ve come across as goofy had not an explanation been given for the way it looked.
There was a good give-and-take between Batman and Superman in this flick, too, both in their banter with one another, their approach to doing things, and also in saving each other’s bacon. Sometimes it seems that whenever the two team up, it’s always Batman that saves Superman. It was awesome a balance was finally struck between who helps who and when.
I’m a huge fan of Ed McGuinness’s rendition of Superman and to see that they mimicked that art style in this feature made this fanboy happy. His Superman is big and strong and powerful. His Batman is top notch, too, same with the other characters.
Of course, having Superman voiced by Tim Daly and Batman voiced by Kevin Conroy only adds to it as these guys were the voice talent behind these characters on their respective animated series. I really wish they would’ve been used for all the animated movies, but sadly that’s not the case and, of course, there’re different behind-the-scenes reasons as to why that is. Regardless, each actor captures each character perfectly, their tone, inflections and presentation reflecting the hero they’re supposed to portray.
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies was one of the early feature-length DC animated movies and still holds up to this day as a classic.
Justice League: Doom (2012) Written by Dwayne McDuffie Directed by Lauren Montgomery Runtime 77 min. 4.5 out of 5
Assembled by Vandal Savage, the elite members of the Legion of Doom—Bane, Cheetah, Mirror Master, Star Sapphire, Ma’alefa’ak and Metallo—are shown how to beat each and every member of the Justice League of America. Using the specific weaknesses of each hero, the Legion heads out to destroy their counterparts and bring them to their knees so Vandal Savage could implement the next phase of his plan: annihilating the majority of the human race so he can bring about a new world order from its ashes.
To make things worse, Vandal Savage didn’t discover how to destroy the Justice League on his own, and when the answer as to who was responsible is revealed, the JLA is rocked to its core with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.
Man, I love this movie. It features an all-star cast of all-star superheroes going up against an all-star roster of evil supervillains. Finally, we get to see the villains stick it to the heroes in a big way and not let up until the JLA is down. And I mean really down. It’s not often you see Superman on the brink of death, Batman humiliated and defeated, Flash completely screwed, Green Lantern a broken man, Martian Manhunter totally incapacitated, and Wonder Woman so messed up she doesn’t know what to do or which way to turn.
This flick is based on the “Tower of Babel” Justice League story arc by Mark Waid, who is arguably one of the best comic book writers on the planet. I can’t comment on this flick’s faithfulness to that storyline because it’s been over ten years since I last read it, but I do remember the overall premise and this movie delivered on that.
The heroes and villains look great in this movie, and it does well in showcasing their various powers and abilities.
It’s also an exciting movie that is fast-paced, has a sense of atmosphere, a sense of taking place in the overall DC Universe—thanks to other heroes and villains not mentioned above showing up—and gives the JLA a threat that even they might not be able to handle. And that’s the thing with a JLA movie: the threat needs to be so huge and so dangerous that it takes them as a team to solve the issue, and considering each one of them is extremely powerful in their own right, that threat needs to be mega huge, not just physically but psychologically as well. Justice League: Doom has that and delivers it in spades.
Also features the voice talent from the Justice League animated series so that totally adds to it as well, giving it a sense of familiarity.
Out of all the superhero movies on the market, this is easily one of my favorites and is good viewing for kids and adults alike.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012) Written by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan Directed by Christopher Nolan Runtime 165 min. 5 out of 5
It has been eight years since the Batman took the wrap for the murder of District Attorney Harvey Dent. Eight years since the last time the Dark Knight was spotted in Gotham. The streets are safe, the police are receiving praise for doing a good job—except Commissioner James Gordon knows it’s all based on a lie. About to come clean of what really happened that fateful night, Gotham is suddenly thrown into chaos at the hands of a mastermind, muscle-loaded criminal named Bane. With the city about to fall, the Batman must return to restore order to his beloved city otherwise it will fall into the hands of a sadistic genius bent on its destruction.
To complicate matters, a mysterious female cat burglar is working out an agenda of her own and her endgame is tied into the legacy of Bruce Wayne.
Will Batman rise from the shadows to defeat evil once more, or has he had his day and should stay in the dark?
Saw the midnight screening of this gem before it hit theatres all over the world. This movie is epic on a scale that is hard to fit into a simple review, especially since I don’t want to give away any key plot points and/or spoilers.
The Dark Knight Rises picks up immediately after The Dark Knight storyline-wise, and eight years later in movie-time. Running throughout the whole flick are threads from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, plotlines that reach their ultimate climax in what I have to say is one of the best endings to a trilogy I’ve ever seen. It’s on par with, third-movie-wise, Return of the Jedi and Return of the King. All comes to a head as we’re led down a deep tunnel into who Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) truly is and what being Batman has done to him. Glimpses of his scarred psyche were hinted at in the previous two movies, but really get hit home in an emotional and powerful way throughout this final installment.
Batman himself also shines as he gets to show off his physical skill against a villain that can truly stand toe-to-toe with him, something we never saw in the previous two films. The battle with Bane (Tom Hardy) is realistic, strongly-delivered, and one where this reviewer felt the punches thrown as if they were happening to him. Yeah, it was that good of a fight.
The other Bat-flicks struggled with having two villains in the same movie. To be honest, I never thought I’d see the day where a modern superhero movie would have more than one villain and be just as good as if it had just one. Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman is the best rendition of the character I’ve seen on screen, both in movies and on TV. She had to play multiple roles given her identity as a thief and work her deception in such a way that a lot of the time we weren’t sure who’s side she was on. I’m an Anne Hathaway fan, but this movie easily contains her best career performance to date.
Bane was a crazy good villain, a kind of cross between Joker—intelligence-wise—and Ra’s Al Ghul—combat-wise—of the previous two movies. Especially since most of his face was covered with a mask throughout the whole flick, Tom Hardy had to act with his eyes in such a way as to deliver a performance as if he wasn’t wearing a mask at all. It was something he did in spades. Bane was one of those on-screen villains that you were afraid of because he’s that smart and that powerful and that sadistic.
Gary Oldman did an amazing job, as usual, as Jim Gordon, and Sir Michael Caine nailed it once again as Alfred. In fact, I’d be shocked if Sir Michael doesn’t get an Oscar nomination for his emotional portrayal of a hard-headed vigilante’s butler.
It’d be so easy to give away several key plot points in this review, but I’m keeping it vague on purpose because you simply need to see this movie for yourself. You might think you have it figured out, but you’d be wrong, my friend.
All dangling story threads from the previous two movies are resolved, the SFX did its job but the movie didn’t rely on it, and The Dark Knight Rises had one of the best movie endings in history, to me, one equal to the incredibly-satisfying ending of The Shawshank Redemption.
Hats off to director Christopher Nolan and crew for the amazing stories and respect they delivered to Bat-fans everywhere throughout the entire Dark Knight Trilogy.
Go watch this Bat-flick. You must return to Gotham. You must.
Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (2003) Written by Michael Reaves Directed by Curt Geda Runtime 75 min. 5 out of 5
There’s a new superhero in Gotham, one who wears silver-gray tights and a cape.
And she’s a woman, a bat-woman.
At first it appears she’s here to help, but when she begins targeting the Penguin and Rupert Thorne’s secret arms operation, the Dark Knight and the Boy Wonder step in to solve the mystery of the Batwoman.
Who is she? What does she want? And why is it each time Batman thinks he’s solved her secret identity does he find himself back at square one?
As Batman and Batwoman put the strain on the Penguin’s operation, the bird man calls in a deadly force to eliminate them: Bane.
The Bruce Timm-designed Batman series is a staple on the animated superhero genre. The sleek yet angler style’s been used in Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Superman: The Animated Series,Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. And in Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman, it’s delivered in spades. The art is just simply amazing straight through.
The story is terrific, with twists and turns right up ’til the end, and no punches are pulled in giving each and every character a level of depth not usually achieved in animated features.
Kevin Conroy is Batman and has the greatest Batman voice out of them all, both live action and animated. His line delivery as the Dark Knight forces you to respect the pointy-eared vigilante and take him seriously. The dude’s got major authority.
Likewise, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Alfred? Wow. Between him and Kevin, these two hold down the film and set the tone for the entire movie. The relationship Alfred and Bruce Wayne share is beyond close and is a stark contrast to the relationships the bat-women suspects have with their own family or loved ones.
You know what? All the voices were terrific, not a one out of place. Each suited the character they portrayed, the acting and tone behind their voices never missing a beat.
The stakes are high, the danger’s real and Batman is better than ever.
Batman & Robin (1997) Written by Akiva Goldsman Directed by Joel Schumacher Runtime 125 min. 2 out of 5
A freeze is coming.
Gotham is under siege, this time by not one but three supervillains: Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman) and Bane (Jeep Swenson).
The Dynamic Duo (George Clooney and Chris O’Donnell) is called to the rescue despite the tension growing between them. Complicating things, Barbara Pennyworth (Alicia Silverstone), Alfred’s niece, has come to Wayne Manor to liberate her ailing uncle from a life of servitude. She also has a secret: a wild side that needs to be tamed.
When an all-out assault is declared on Gotham by Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy, the caped crusaders rise to the occasion, and this time they have a little help.
If you took the cheesy, camp-filled ’60’s Batman series and shot it with a huge budget, tons of effects and modern day equipment, Batman & Robin is what you’d get (and is what we got).
Clearly this was the film that killed the Batman franchise. It took eight years for Warner Brothers to recover from the disaster that was this movie.
The story—the “what it’s about”—though farfetched, is bearable. It’s the dialogue and stupid jokes that catapult this Bat-flick a zillion miles into the campy canyon.
On the plus side, if you watch this movie solely for the bright colors, glitter and action, you’ll have a good time.
If you’re looking for substance, go back to the beginning, namely Burton’s ’89 triumph.