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"There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world." - Gandalf
Planet Hulk (2010)
One of Marvel's best animated films
I've just finished watching PLANET HULK for the second time; this time with the commentary track by Joshua Fine and Greg Johnson. The second audio commentary by Director Sam Liu, Character Designer Philip Bourassa and Key Background Painter Steve Nicodemus is only on the 2-Disc Edition DVD and Blu-ray disc. I find this to be a very satisfactory movie--one of the best animated films from Marvel so far. I can't comment on the changes from the original 400-page story since I haven't read it; although, many of the changes are discussed on the commentary track and in the "Making of..." featurette. Substituting Beta Ray Bill for the Silver Surfer seemed a bit strange, but I understand the reasons for it and the change works pretty well. I agree that ending the movie on a high note was probably for the best. Further developments can always be explored in a sequel.
The introduction for, and opening sequence to, THOR: TALES OF ASGARD has me jazzed for that movie too. It's a shame that it won't be released until next year, with no other Marvel animated DTV movies announced yet.
The Batman: The Breakout (2006)
One of the best episodes yet.
"The Breakout" is perhaps the best fourth season episode of THE BATMAN since the season opener "A Matter of Family". Black Mask is a serious threat who doesn't play games like most of Batman's foes. The episode doesn't explore his background at all, but that can be remedied in future appearances.
The Batman is deadly serious here--leaving the puns and light-heartedness to Robin & Batgirl. The sidekicks worked together especially well in this show, supporting each other even when they are expressing doubts about their chances of success. This could almost have been an episode of the old BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES.
The Batman: A Matter of Family (2006)
Dick Grayson joins the Batman as Robin the Boy Wonder.
"A Matter of Family" (THE BATMAN fourth season premiere): BEST. FREAKIN'. THE BATMAN. EPISODE. EVER.
If the rest of the season is only half this good, I'll be happy. Yeah, it hit a lot of the same beats as the "Robin's Reckoning" two-parter from Batman: The Animated Series, but that was largely unavoidable and I think that it was partly a deliberate tribute. With Robin joining the show, I see that Batman himself is becoming much more serious, leaving the puns to the kid in the brightly colored costume. Batman's fighting style was more direct and brutal in this episode, too. I liked it! The performances were outstanding. The great Kevin Conroy was perfect as John Grayson. Mark Hammill made Tony Zucco menacing and kept him from sounding too much like his Joker. Rino Romano gave us his best Bruce/Batman yet. Even Evan Sabara was terrific as Dick Grayson/Robin (it probably helps that they are nearly the same age).
I loved how Dick's circus outfit became the base for his Robin uniform (even though I was pretty much expecting it). I do wish that the costume he wore when he rescued Batman had looked more improvised. It's not to unlikely that Batman might have some domino masks just lying around, but gloves and a cape that are a perfect fit for Dick? And in the perfect colors to compliment his circus outfit? Oh well.
Superman: Brainiac Attacks (2006)
This should have been about Krypto because the feature was a super-dog. The producers of this piece of dreck did one, and only one, thing right: they got Tim Daly and Dana Delany to reprise their roles of the Man of Steel and Lois Lane. Everything else about it is an embarrassment-- especially considering the relative excellence of "Superman: The Animated Series," "Justice League" and "Justice League Unlimited". Luthor (voiced by Powers Boothe) should have been a ruthless & brilliant foe; instead was a joke, going back to the near-buffoon of the Chris Reeve movies. Lance Henriksen's Brainiac was only marginally better. The cold, calculating menace of the most recent animated series sounds positively human--that's not a compliment. SPOILER WARNING: A lot of fans were, frankly, expecting Kal-El to stop beating around the bush and finally reveal his dual identity to Lois. We get a tease, but it doesn't happen. END OF SPOILER. Thumbs way down for this fan.