Tag Archives: clark kent

The Superman 75th Anniversary Animated Short Comic Book Notes 16 OCT 2013

superman statue based on jim lee artworkThe 75th anniversary of Superman officially kicks off with this amazing super-short film created by Bruce Timm (Superman: The Animated Series) and Zack Snyder (Man of Steel), and produced by Warner Bros. Animation.

This animated short follows Superman through the years, from his first appearance on the cover of Action Comics #1 all the way through to Henry Cavill in this year’s Man of Steel.

Seriously, there’s so much history in this two-minute film, it’s enough to make any fanboy quiver with happiness!

The official DC Blog went and wrote up a full breakdown of the video, and I thought it worth saving here just in case they go ahead and lose it in the next site redesign (which always seems to happen).

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Movie Update: Iron Man 3 | Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore | Superman: Unbound Animation | Fanboy | Live-Action | My Reviews 14 JUN 2013

Iron Man 3 (2013)

A deadly extremist terrorist has now moved from causing chaos in the Middle East to striking out directly against the United States of America, rocking the country with a series of devastating and untraceable explosions. But the Mandarin isn’t the only demon that Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, will have to track and face-down: there is an even more sinister, homegrown plot on the brew, not to mention his own damaged psyche to get under control following the alien invasion of Earth just a few months ago.

In other words, things are going to get quite bad, quite quickly, and quite close to home.

Director Shane Black takes over the reins from Jon Favreau for the final installment of what has been a thoroughly entertaining Iron Man big-screen trilogy, and pleasingly he massively delivers the goods, releasing a relentlessly enjoyable comic book action movie, filled to the brim with story, drama, action, humor and twists galore.

Borrowing heavily on the concepts introduced by Warren Ellis’ epic Extremis story line, this particular script allows Robert Downey, Jr. to once again fully embrace the character of Tony Stark/Iron Man, with his usual combination of fun, intensity, irrelevance, and charm, and as per usual it is pretty difficult not to like the playboy inventor problem child Stark that Downey, Jr has so made his own in this trilogy outing.

Visually Iron Man 3 is epic, the special effects are amazing and as per usual the suits are simply awe-inspiring, especially now with the added trick which Tony has built in for this outing. Added to this, the strong performances from all the actors involved, the great fight choreography, and pumping musical score, all mixed together leaves you with a fantastic action movie that has a great story, delivers on the comic book-fuelled action, and is guaranteed to keep you watching from start to finish.

In other words, every comic book fan’s dream movie.

It certainly ranks right up there in terms of my favourite comic book movie adaptations, snuggled just behind Avengers (which simply can’t be beat).

(Oh, and I can even forgive what they did the Mandarin, that’s how much I enjoyed this one!)

iron man 3 tony stark looking at gauntlet

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Man_3

Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore (2013)

An enigmatic terrorist wearing an unusual, highly advanced techno-organic white suit of armour appears to have the ability to control both organic and electronic material – and appears to be quite happy to kill, destroy and maim on his way to fulfill his yet unveiled quest.

But it would appear that this new villain shares some sort of past connection with Iron Man, and unfortunately it may just be War Machine who ultimately pays the price for this…

2010’s Marvel Anime Iron Man outing, directed by Yuzo Sato and produced by the famed Madhouse animation studio, was disappointingly a monster of the week type of show, but it was certainly an interesting and not a particularly horrible experiment which I did rather enjoy in the end.

Well it obviously did well enough to spin off a full length direct to video anime film in 2013, this time with Hiroshi Hamasaki taking the directorial reins, and once again being produced by anime powerhouse studio, Madhouse.

Visually Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore is a tour de force, slickly animated with some exceptional choreography, visual style and flair that you only seem to be able to get from a Japanese anime production.

Unfortunately the story doesn’t quite match this, and disappointingly, the voice acting even less so. The story is a bit of a mess, and at times the pseudo-philosophical mechanized angst-driven plot bogs it down badly, especially when you combine it with an antagonist who is simply just too enigmatic and too unmotivated. Luckily the frequent action sequences do make up for this to a degree, and it has to be said, it IS quite a treat to get a bonus showing of Nick Fury, Hawkeye and even the Punisher on screen.

I’m not sure what the Japanese script and dialogue is like, but unfortunately the English version isn’t all that great. A lot of the lines are just a little bit too quick-fire, a little too forced and often insincere, unfortunately meaning that the voice acting suffers accordingly.

Nevertheless, this is a polished animated movie with a pulse-pounding soundtrack and fantastic visuals, meaning that even though it isn’t the greatest comic book related movie out there, it certainly is worth picking up if you enjoy Japanese anime sensibilities.

iron man rise of the technovore

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Man:_Rise_of_Technovore

Superman: Unbound (2013)

A dangerous android probe heralds the coming of a sinister galactic evil to Earth, prompting the Man of Steel and his newly arrived cousin, the young and unsure Supergirl, to take proactive measure to try and ensure Earth remains out of his treacherous and world devouring clutches.

But with the knowledge of literally tens of thousands of worlds at his disposal, there is very little that the all knowing Brainiac can’t overcome…

It’s a bit of a pity that financial risk means that only Batman, Superman and Justice League movies get churned out in the awesome DC Universe Animated Original Movie series these days, but nevertheless, Superman: Unbound is the 16th film in the series and as per usual, it is a strong, enjoyable, and worthy addition to what really is turning out to be a marvellous franchise for comic book fans.

Based on Superman: Brainiac by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, Superman: Unbound brings to the screen an updated Silver Age villain and prop in the forms of Brainaic and the Bottled City of Kandor, and does so credibly. The story is entertaining, features the complete Superman cast, brings a lot of Krypton lore with it, and despite a slightly too clean resolution at the end, is a thrilling tail of an overwhelmed and outmatched Superman and Supergirl, fighting against the odds to save our planet.

A classic Superman tale in other words.

As with all the movies in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series, Superman: Unbound features its own unique animation style and I have to be honest, I didn’t particularly like it. I certainly got used to it, but it is not a particular favourite of mine. Nevertheless, outside of the visual style and one or two silly animation gaffes, the actual animation is slick and well choreographed, and the movie is by no stretch of the imagination a poorly animated affair.

Voice acting is actually pretty enjoyable and the musical score is top notch (as expected given the series’ high production values), and overall it is a polished package that makes for an action-packed, enjoyable Superman viewing that is sure to entertain pretty much all the comic book fans out there.

Certainly worth the watch, and quite enjoyable to boot.

superman unbound - superman pounding robot

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superman:_Unbound

Review: Superman vs. The Elite (2012) My Reviews 06 DEC 2012

Superman’s effectiveness as a superhero and a deterrent comes into question with the arrival of a teleporting superhero group known as The Elite, led by the media hungry telekinetic, Manchester Black. The Elite are not afraid to kill in order to stop the bad guys – permanently, putting them on a direct collision course with the Man of Steel, whose refusal to put a final end to the problems plaguing the world seems to have alienated the people who once adored him.

Is there still a place in our modern day world for the kind of superhero ideals that Superman embodies?

Superman vs. The Elite is an animated superhero film based on Joe Kelly’s “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice & the American Way?”, a story published in Action Comics #775, back in March 2001. The movie is directed by Michael Chang and features the return of George Newbern as Superman, and David Kaufman as Jimmy Olsen, reprising their roles from the DC animated universe. It is the 14th film in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line.

After not quite enjoying the last Superman solo outing that was 2011’s “All-Star Superman”, I’m pleased to report that I genuinely, genuinely enjoyed Superman vs. The Elite. The pacing, the story, the character development – everything is right on the money, and the threads all combine beautifully to create a strong story that reaffirms just why we need the classic superheroes to still exist.

It’s a fairly simple and straightforward story that is told, but it has plenty of the necessary drama and twice as much action as that, making for an exhilarating comic book story that is both sure to entertain, as it is to get you thinking.

The animation is solid and bold (though it does feature a slightly off, British Pop sort of musical start intro sequence which doesn’t quite fit in with the film in my opinion), with very smooth choreography and great looking character designs – though admittedly Superman does come off a little too goofy at times thanks to his big eyes and silly chin. Nevertheless, for the most part this is a brightly coloured, strongly animated movie whose style is most certainly good on the eye.

In terms of the aural experience, it feels good to have some of the classic voices return to the characters they voiced so long ago, and mixed with with a very solid soundtrack, Superman vs. The Elite is certainly a polished package.

Overall, there is very little not to like about this film, as it looks good, sounds good, has plenty of superhero action to share around, and most important of all, tells an accessible, thinking man’s story which is guaranteed to entertain. Definitely recommended if you can lay your hands on it then!

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Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superman_vs._The_Elite

Review: Superman: Brainiac Attacks (2006) My Reviews 20 JUL 2012

Embittered by Superman’s heroic successes and soaring popularity, Lex Luthor forms a dangerous alliance with the powerful computer/villain Brainiac. Using advanced weaponry and a special strain of Kryptonite harvested from the far reaches of outer space, Luthor specifically redesigns Brainiac to defeat the Man of Steel. But when Brainiac betrays Luthor and reveals its sinister plans for world domination, Superman must brave the mysterious Phantom Zone to find the strength to survive this deadly showdown – and save the life of his beloved Lois Lane!

Superman: Brainiac Attacks is a 2006 direct-to-video animated film directed by Curt Geda for Warner Bros. Animation, based on a script by Duane Capizzi and Christopher Simmons.

In terms of story, Superman: Brainiac Attacks delivers knockout action from start to finish, mixing a touch of humor here and there and tempered by plenty of drama, just as was done in the original Superman: The Animated Series run. On top of the whole Brainiac and Lex Luthor plot, the film also weaves in a subtle inner turmoil as Clark Kent continues to pine for Lois and toys with the idea of letting her in on his secret identity. However, whilst the build-up to the big finale is pretty well handled, I must say that the film kind of loses it two thirds of the way in, where it rushes the whole Phantom Zone scenario, provides a rather silly golden liquid solution to the problem at hand, before end off with a rather cheesy “kiss saves her life” routine, which feels rather out of place amongst all the action going on in the background.

Nevertheless, the film isn’t all bad and the heavy hitting action it delivers is pretty top notch (even if the design of the Brainiac robot isn’t exactly the most menacing around) – in other words, certainly doing enough to satisfy most fans of the Man of Steel.

Animation is done in the same visual style as what was used in the original Superman: The Animated Series television franchise, which does mean fairly simple lines, but also means immediate familiarity for anyone who grew up watching the revival of the Man of Steel on the Silver Screen. That said, there are moments where the animation is spotty, particularly in terms of proportions and face layouts, but for the most part the animation is solid, complemented by some great choreography, especially during the many explosive fight scenes.

The soundtrack by Thomas Chase Jones is top-notch, and the voice cast sees the welcome return of many of the voices who did Superman: The Animated Series, including Tim Daly who had been absent from the character during the Justice League animation run. However, the choice of franchise newcomer Powers Boothe is a bit of a mistake, as the character of Lex Luthor is completely off, coming across as more of a Joker from the Batman universe than anything else, detracting from what is normally quite a menacing figure in the Superman universe.

Overall, Superman: Brainiac Attacks is a competent animated superhero movie, though it did feel a little more cheesy than normal. Nevertheless, it does pack in quite a lot of walloping Superman action, so fans of the Man of Steel will probably enjoy catching this one.

I personally can’t really see myself bothering to watch it again though, truth be told.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superman:_Brainiac_Attacks

Review: Superman Beyond #2 (Apr. 2012) Comic Books | My Reviews 09 JUL 2012

As Superman aids the super-powered police force of New Metropolis, Lucinda Walters ponders her future after receiving a message from her late father, Lex Luthor.

Tied in with the futuristic titles Justice League Beyond and Batman Beyond, Superman Beyond #2 penned by J.T. Krul gives us an interesting look at a clearly tired Superman who no longer has a purpose nor feels that he belongs on this Earth any longer. Alongside this, we are treated to an interesting subplot as Lucinda Walters goes on a goose chase with a very surprising end result!

Art is handled by penciller Howard Porter with inks by Livesay and colors by Randy Mayor and despite being a little rushed and off proportion here and there, for the most part Porter’s work really suits the mood of the story, though it is surprising to see that for Superman Beyond they didn’t employ as stylized an artist as what they do for the other two Beyond titles.

It’s a decent issue with enough action to satisfy the boys and looks to be brewing up to quite a nice tale still to come.

Comic Book Art: Clark Kent kissing Lois Lane by Ryan Sook Comic Book Art | Comic Books 15 MAR 2012

American comic book artist Ryan Sook produced this peach of a comic book illustration, featuring everyone’s favorite news team locked in a passionate embrace. Yup, that’s Clark Kent and Lois Lane, doing their best to make the rest of the Daily Planet team feel a little uncomfortable.

Ryan has been producing comic book work for years now, having broken onto the professional scene back in 1998 with Challengers of the Unknown #15. Although he has done interior work in the past, he tends to concentrate on cover work, and as you can see from this piece, there is a reason why he is such an acclaimed comic book cover artist in the first place!

Review: All-Star Superman (2011) Animation | My Reviews 19 MAY 2011

Well, that was certainly… different. Not that it wasn’t enjoyable or anything, but DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation’s tenth outing in their DC Universe Animated Original Movies line, namely All-Star Superman is a very different sort of story from what the line has thus far trod.

More of a thinking man’s movie than a kid’s knuckle buster superhero yarn, it tells the tale of a Superman whose cells have been over saturated with the sun’s energy, increasing his powers and intellect tenfold but at the same time poisoning him and radically shortening his lifespan.

The question then arises, “what should he do?”. It is a film about Superman settings his affairs in order and dealing with the various threads that make up his existence, leading to a far more intellectually challenging story than what we normally get from these particular movies, a good indicator being that this is the first movie in the line to receive a PG rating instead of the usual PG-13 rating!

The pacing of the first half of the movie feels a little rushed and off, but it does propel us down the story just fine, though it may lose some of the casual viewers not associated very well with the Superman mythos along the way. It covers all the ground it wants to in order to make it a meaningful outing (for example the relationship between Clark and Lois) and ends off in a way which you might not necessarily expect, but one which certainly suits the mood of the story.

As per usual, the animation is strong and the ever so slightly styled and colorful visuals are fantastic to take in. Voice artists all fulfil their respective roles nice and credibly, while the orchestral background music remains as strong as ever.

This is definitely not a movie which action-hungry kids or adults will necessarily enjoy (though it does feature a fair bit of action funnily enough), and I can’t say that I really enjoyed it all that much either -though I can understand what it was trying to achieve and appreciate it for the type of story it so successfully tells.

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Review: The Batman/Superman Movie (1998) Animation | My Reviews 07 APR 2011

What do you do if you have one story broken over three episodes from a hit 1997 television show? You merge them into one movie and make more money by selling them direct to DVD of course!

And thus The Batman/Superman Movie was born.

Grabbing episodes 29, 30 and 31 from 1997 Season 2 of Superman: The Animated Series, the story titled World’s Finest (Parts I – III) in its original form, is penned by Alan Burnett and Paul Dini, and directed by Toshihiko Masuda.

The story involves a near bankrupt Joker hatching a scheme to replace the funds blocked thanks to the Batman’s Gotham activities, by stealing a large status made of Kryptonite and travelling over to Metropolis with the aim of striking a deal with Lex Luthor in order to kill Superman in exchange for a billion dollars.

But as luck would have it, Bruce Wayne is currently in partnership with LexCorp over a new robotics project, meaning that Batman too finds himself in the unfamiliar Metropolis, setting up the first ever meeting between the Man of Steel and the Bat, as they take on the combined might of two of their most cunning foes.

As with the writing for all the DC Animated Universe series’, the story is adventure-laden, packed with snappy dialogue, one-liners and puns, not to mention the non-stop action that this time around features two of DC’s biggest attractions in tights.

And the clever little feuding over Lois Lane between Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne is a particularly nice touch.

It is a thoroughly enjoyable, classic Batman and Superman story, animated with the distinctly stylized big chin and simple lines that came with all the original DC Animated universe fare, backed up of course with the all important voice work of Kevin Conroy as Batman, Mark Hamill as The Joker, Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor, Dana Delany as Lois Lane and of course, Tim Daly as Superman. And needless to say, everything is rounded off with a full orchestral score as per usual.

Thoroughly enjoyable, classic Batman and Superman action that all fanboys should be able to enjoy, making it well worth picking up from the DVD store, even if just to relive some of that animated nostalgia coming out of the late 90s when superheroes were finally done right!

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