Birds of Prey Movie Review

Earlier this week, I watched the DCEU’s most recent movie, Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.  The film, directed by Kathy Yan, hit theaters on February 7 and has had mixed reviews.  Surprisingly, some fans of the many Birds of Prey comics were actually pleased with the movie, while others felt as if it was far from their expectation of a good comic book film.

In my opinion, it was an entertaining movie with hints of comedy and awesome fight scenes, but I do feel as if the plot as a whole was focused too much on Harley Quinn, considering that the “Birds of Prey” weren’t actually working together until the last two minutes of the film.  In fact, that’s one of my only issues with it.  It wasn’t actually a Birds of Prey movie, it was a Harley Quinn movie.  I might have enjoyed this movie even more if instead of promising the Birds of Prey, they just completely labeled it a Harley Quinn film.   However, I would have rather the movie been a Birds of Prey movie, with the members as the main characters.  To me, the film would have been even better if they had switched up the dynamic of Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya (later on The Question) and Harley, so that they were the main characters and Harley Quinn was just a side character.

Another thing I noticed throughout the film, was that the main antagonist, Roman Sionis (A.K.A. Black Mask), was much different in the movie than in comics.  For example, in the film, Sionis acts more like a snobby rich kid, as opposed to a world renowned super villain, as he is in comics.  In addition, in the film, Victor Zsasz and Sionis work together in their evil schemes and also appear to be friends, when neither have ever even interacted in any other DC story.  In my opinion, if Zsasz is going to be in a movie, he should be the main antagonist as opposed to somebody’s henchman or employee, since he is actually more violent and creepy than many DC villains, despite not having any powers or special abilities.  Another character who had no connection with Sionis in the past, who did in the movie is Black Canary.  Black Canary wasn’t always a hero, but she never worked for or with Black Mask.  However, I understand that these changes were a creative decision by the creators of the film.

Despite me wishing that the movie was more focused of the Birds of Prey and that some things were more comic accurate, I actually really enjoyed the movie!  I think it has been one of the better movies that the DCEU has put out in the recent years.

Birds of Prey Official Movie

Over the past few years of writing on this blog, I’ve posted a few things about a possible Birds of Prey movie, as they are one of my favorite teams within the DC Universe.  As mentioned then, the movie would follow the vigilantes and heroes that form the Birds of Prey, such as Batgirl, Black Canary, and the Huntress.  Well, now, the movie rumors have been confirmed, the first teaser having come out in the early summer and the official trailer being released in this past October.  While news of the movie made me excited at first, after watching the trailer, in my opinion, the movie seems to focus too much on Harley Quinn, and the movie’s title was even changed to: Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.  In fact, the whole movie seems to be about Harley Quinn’s newfound independence, which follows the Suicide Squad movie’s story line, as opposed to the comics.  Personally, I feel that despite Harley Quinn being a good character in the DC Universe, she gets almost too much recognition, and even seems to be made to outshine the Birds of Prey in the Birds of Prey movie.

On a different note, the other characters from the movies seem to match up to their comic counterparts from what I’ve seen so far (which ins’t much).  Other characters confirmed for the movie are the following:

  • Black Canary
  • Huntress
  • Renee Montoya (The Question)
  • Cassandra Cain
  • Black Mask
  • Victor Zsasz

Below is the official trailer

Shazam! Movie Review

Warning: Spoilers!!!

 

Yesterday, I went to see Shazam at my local movie theater, but before I start my review, here is some background.  Who is Shazam, A.K.A Captain Marvel?  Something interesting to consider about Captain Marvel (Shazam is the name of the wizard who gave Billy Batson his powers) and the Shazam family, is that originally they weren’t created by DC, but by a minor comic company called Fawcett Comics.  Fawcett was popular around the Golden Age of comics, but started to die out after the late 1940’s, so Malcolm Wheeler Nicholson, the founder of Adventure Comics (later turned into Detective Comics, then DC), bought all the rights to the characters.  It’s interesting because there was actually once a lawsuit of Nicholson versus Fawcett  regarding Captain Marvel being a copy of Superman, but Fawcett then brought a counter-suit against Nicholson suggesting  Lex Luthor was a copy of their own bald, bad guy, Dr. Sivana, before the sale of the characters.  After the companies merged, there were also complications about Marvel’s new hero, also Captain Marvel, having the same name as Shazam, even though DC’s Captain was almost 30 years before Marvel’s.  Anyway, here are my thoughts of the film and how I think it could have been better.

To start, I will say that Shazam was, in fact, an entertaining movie.  Whether or not it was completely comic accurate is a different story.  I did like that the movie was a comedy as well as a superhero film, and for a DCEU movie, it was considerably good.  It was definitely more light-hearted and fun as compared to previous DCEU movies such as Justice League, and was higher quality, as well.

Despite it being a entertaining film, I feel that it could have been more so, if the plot itself didn’t feel so rushed.  I feel like the process of Billy obtaining and controlling his powers went by a little too fast, since the movie was supposed to focus on Shazam’s origin.  Although I felt it was rushed, it did hit key points about the main antagonist, Dr. Sivana, but his character was a bit different from how most fans remember from comics.

In comics, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana was a mad scientist with a genius level intelllect and a knack for developing strange and experimental technology.  In the Shazam movie, however, Sivana is given much more, almost supernatural, power because he “controls” the Seven Deadly Sins, which were originally their own characters, not allies with Sivana.  In more recent comics, the mad scientist can see magical forces with his eye, but that is just about the height about his magical properties.  In the mid-credits scene, the movie teases Mister Mind, who is another super villain and ally of Dr. Sivana’s.  I, personally, think that the film should have stayed a bit more on target with Dr. Sivana’s abilities, but he was still an intriguing villain, nevertheless.

Something else that was changed from comics was Billy’s origin, but a factor that we must consider when we look at the movie compared to comics is the timeline.  The first publication of Shazam was actually in the same year WWII started, which was 1939, so since the comics were American, one can expect that they would make their own hopes possible through the fictitious hero. An example of this is winning the war.  A good part of Captain Marvel’s crime fighting career was actually battling Nazis.  This was a shared story plot with all of the Shazam family, especially Freddy Freeman, or Captain Marvel Jr.  The comics only used Nazis as major villains because of the time at which they were written, so the movie follows New 52, which modernized every DC Comics character, except Hellboy and other characters who have a set time period.

Although I would have liked the movie to be very comic accurate, with every movie adaptation, there are going to be some minor or major changes. Also, something that I really thought was missing from the movie was action.  Yes, there were fighting scenes, and yes, there were explosions, but I feel like the some of the best parts of the movie were shown in the trailer.  This is just because when I saw some of the scenes, like when Billy is getting his powers, when he is testing his powers, and during the fight with Dr. Sivana, I didn’t get the full effect because I had already pretty much seen them in the trailer.  I also think that the ages of the characters were a bit messed up.  For instance, in comics, Billy Batson is around eight to ten years old, and in the movie, it is stated that he is around fourteen to fifteen.  This makes the change from Billy to Captain Marvel less drastic, and therefore, less ironic and funny, but there was still enough of an age difference for it to be entertaining.

On the other hand, my favorite part of the movie was when the rest of the Shazam family got their powers.  And power wise, it was accurately done because each member possesses one of the traits that Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel have.  Once again, this is based on the New 52, so this Shazam family is very different from the original.

For example:

Darla Dudley – Super Speed

Eugene Choi – Lighting Manipulation

Pedro Peña – Super Strength

Freddy Freeman – Flight

Here is a side by side comparison of the some of the characters and their associated characters from the movie:

 

Billy Batson:

Image result for billy batson comics Image result for billy batson shazam movie

 

Captain Marvel:

Related imageImage result for zachary levi as shazam

 

Freddy Freeman:

Image result for freddy freeman dcImage result for freddy freeman shazam movie

(There is also a version of Freddy Freeman which actually looks more like the one from the movie, but it isn’t New 52, or the newest version.)

 

Captain Marvel Jr.

Image result for freddy freeman dcIMG_0405.jpg

(Once again, there is an alternate version of Freddy Freeman who the actors resemble more, but that version was featured in the original publications, so I’m confused as to why they would make the whole movie based around New 52, but than have the original Freddy Freeman, but the original version is featured below.)

Image result for freddy freeman dc

(As you can see, the art looks much older.)

Dr. Sivana:

Image result for dr sivana comicsImage result for dr sivana shazam movie

 

Shazam (the wizard):

Image result for shazam wizard comics Image result for shazam wizard movie

 

Overall, despite this movie having made major changes from the comics, it is still a fun and entertaining version of fan favorite heroes, and I totally recommend seeing it!

 

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What is Brightburn?

DC Comics has many upcoming movies for 2019, but one of them leaves people sort of confused.  The trailer for Brightburn was released in early December, and people have been questioning it since.  The film is directed by James Gunn, who directed both Guardians of the Galaxy movies and was recently fired from Marvel.

The concept of the movie is: What if a being like Superman came to Earth, but isn’t a hero, rather is something sinister?  While the film makes it clear that the boy, the main protagonist of the film, isn’t Clark Kent, it does, however, show that he possess abilities similar to Superman’s.  This leads us to believe that he is from a planet similar to Krypton.  We know that he isn’t Clark Kent because of small hints throughout the trailer, such as the family’s mailbox that says Breyer, and people calling him Brandon.  The film is just simply playing with the idea that Bruce Wayne/Batman had in the earlier DCEU movie, Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which is that aliens aren’t to be thought of as saviors.  Long story short, the movie is based on a Kryptonian becoming a villain, instead of a hero.

I’m not sure if I will be a fan of this movie, given that it wasn’t a comic book series and is a new concept.  I see this as a trend for newer superhero movies.  For example, Marvel’s upcoming film, The New Mutants, is supposed to leave an unsettling feeling in the viewer, along with the DCEU’s The Trench.  All three are similarly labeled as part of the horror genre.

SHAZAM! Teaser Trailer

Last month, the teaser trailer for the new Shazam movie came out.  The trailer is very informative on what’s to come in the movie and even revealed who the main villain will be: Dr. Sivana.  I am looking forward to seeing it, but personally, I think that some of the actors are a little too old for their roles, considering that in comics, Billy Batson is 10, and in the movie, the actor is 15.  I hope that in the movie, like in the comics, all the kids get powers, not just Billy Batson.  I would love it if, at some point in the movie, Black Adam makes an appearance or cameo.  Overall, if the movie is anything like the trailer, I think it will be worth watching.

 

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Birds of Prey Movie

Recently, people have been spreading rumors about a Birds of Prey movie, directed by Cathy Yan, which would hit theaters in the years to come.  Even though the Birds of Prey tv show (2002 – 2003) was short lived,  the success of the Batgirl and the Birds of Prey Rebirth comic series, would make a movie based on the team would be a great addition to the DCEU (DC Extended Universe).  Actress Margot Robbie who played Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad has talked about possibilities for the film, including that the Birds of Prey might team up with the Gotham City Sirens who quite possibly have their own movie in the works.  Sources also say that the movie might be rated R which would make it more appealing to older audiences which in my opinion is a poor idea.  The only characters that have been confirmed are Harley Quinn and Black Canary with rumors of Batgirl.  I personally think they should seriously consider adding the Huntress, too.

 

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Batgirl Standalone Movie

Great news! Recently there has been a post that there will be a Batgirl standalone movie.  It will be directed by Joss Whedon, who also directed Avengers: Age of Ultron.  The casting is not yet public, but there is a rumor that there will be a Ben Affleck Batman cameo.  This news gets me really excited because Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) hasn’t been in anything live action since 1968.  The actress who played her was Yvonne Craig.  Now the movie will be based around Barbara Gordon (the first Batgirl), and there also might be a Nightwing cameo.  The release date is not known, but since it was just announced about 5 hours ago, and they don’t even have a cast yet, the movie should come out in around a year and a half to two years.  Hopefully this movie will live up to big fan’s (like me) expectations.

 

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