Tuesday, November 26, 2013

There Still Are Video Stores--Despite Notable Closings, They Persist

The Swan Song of Video Rental Stores Hasn't Quite Started
It may be because I'm the perfect age to be someone who grew up in the golden era of video-rental stores, but I've always had a soft spot for the ol' rental shop where you could get the latest flick on a hopefully-rewound VHS tape (and later on a hopefully unscratched DVD) and grab a copy of the hot new game for your game console. Funnily enough, Blockbuster was probably my least favorite rental place of all the chains or independent stores I would go to. Therefore, I didn't feel too sad for the chain when I heard it was shutting down (although I do feel sympathy for the employees who worked there and had to follow the increasingly confusing rental schemes before now unceremoniously being laid-off), but it did get me nostalgic about video-stores and happy about the ones who do still exist.

Depending on where I lived there were the local stores, and in places those weren't available I would frequent chains that seemed to do a good job, such as Hollywood Video, which I primarily liked because some locations had really nice and attentive staff--plus when they started doing those connected "Game Crazy" stores that was fun too. The Hollywood Video's went of business some time ago however, and now so has Blockbuster, two giants are gone. This raises a question, who is left? Well, if you're willing to look a little bit you can see some stores not only doing well but actually thriving, surprisingly enough.

The Last "Big Guy"
Probably the biggest "chain" of video-rental stores to still be around is "Family Video". A store opened in an area I once lived shortly before the Hollywood Video shut down, and when it did I shifted my business fully over to Family Video. One of their stores is kind of like Blockbuster if Blockbuster hadn't sucked as much. Better rental fees on games and movies, the employees (in general) are more helpful and eager to recommend items to view/play, and on a personal note, I prefer the green and orange colors for Family Videos' logo and store-design instead of Blockbuster's sickly Yellow and Blue that seemed to clash more than compliment.

Another reason I like Family Video is they don't try to impose some puritanical viewpoint like Blockbuster and some other chains have in the past, with their refusal to stock NC-17 or Unrated movies. As someone who likes artistic freedom I appreciate that Family Video (at least the ones I've been to) will stock movies like that, allowing people to enjoy an NC-17 movie such as "Showgirls" in all its awesomely horrible glory. From what I've read Family Video seems to be doing better than ever, probably thanks to careful expansion in areas that may not have as much fast internet, or by knowing that instead of trying to fight entities such as Netflix and Redbox they need to just work at being better, e.g. having great employees, more obscure titles that Netflix may not have, etc.

Some Remaining "Little Guys"
Even though when chains such as Blockbuster came about they hurt the fabled "independent video store" some do still exist. By being in good locations, such as "9th St. Video" which is well-positioned by the University of Columbia in (where else?) Columbia, Missouri, or through catering to niche crowds such as folk who are big fans of independent and cult movies, which is what is done by "Video Americain" in Balitmore, Maryland (and plenty of other stores, like "Vulcan Video" in Austin, Texas), stores can continue on. There are other examples of places that found a way to keep being popular, like how "Movie Madness" in Portland Oregon also has a movie memorabilia museum.

Vintage Stock has an assortment of names
Plus, there are those stores that aren't meant to be "just" rental places, but do rent movies and games. Out here in the Mid-West  and further South there is a chain of stores called, "Vintage Stock"/"V-Stock" which sells everything from movies, to games, books, comics, trading cards, etc. Someone can create a rental account with them and then the rent movies or games, just like at a video-rental store, but its like one that also happens to have a ton of other stuff for sale.

It's Not The End...Yet
As can be seen, there are still video-stores doing pretty well despite the rise of Netflix and Redbox. There is struggling, and who knows how long these remaining entities will persist, but for now that part of me which treasured going down to the video-store doesn't have to go away just yet.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Comics, Sexual Harassment, and Brian Wood

If you've been following the latest big news out of comics you know that the past couple of weeks have had some time spent on the issue that depending on who you choose to believe, Brian Wood is either a little scuzzy and inappropriate, or a huge jerk who preys on women who want to get into comics. Confused by what I'm talking about? Let's rewind a bit to make things more clear for some of you.

Tess Fowler is someone in the comic's industry who in the past discussed how a certain creator had expressed interest in her work at a convention and invited her up to his room to discuss it "in private". When she turned him down he belittled her, insulted her work, and basically did a whole spiel of, "You realize who I am and how this impacts you chances in this industry, right?" The name of this man was never given, so there were whispers about whom it could be, but little came of it.
Tess Fowler
Then, recently after she had been contacted by other people who had suffered harassment from the mystery man, Fowler decided she would name names and said that this previously-discussed jerk was Brian Wood of all people. Yeah, the man who is generally known for being progressive about women, and is even writing the mostly-female "X-Men" book. Part of the reason Fowler spoke up apparently was that she was sick of Wood being portrayed as some sort of feminist while she kept receiving emails from other women whom he had taken advantage of, making him anything but progressive and "for women". The weirdest and most interesting part of all this is how Wood responded, namely he kind of admitted to some impropriety.

Brian Wood, when confronted with these accusations said he never tried to abuse any power he could have had (or didn't have yet back in those days) but did in fact, "Make a pass," at Tess Fowler, which he said was rejected and then that was the end of the issue. There was no pressuring of her to sleep with him in exchange for getting work, he didn't threaten her career, he just came onto her at a convention. First off, I'm glad Wood is at least owning up to misbehavior, but I'm not the only person who thinks he still comes off a little gross as one of those guys trying pick-up girls at conventions by doing the whole, "Yeah, I write comics," bit and exercising whatever power he may have, which to many women (or men) would mean little to get you excited, but there are people struggling to make it in the industry who don't deserve to be put in a place of feeling pressured to have sex with someone in order to get their work noticed. Being "somebody" in a career field trying to take advantage of another person who in your eyes is a "nobody" is textbook sexual harassment.

Brian Wood
Many feel it is good that this is at least being talked about now, the issue of sexual harassment in the comic book industry. A lot of folk are wondering why it took so long. In a sense, the comic's industry is starting to grow up, albeit painfully and kicking and screaming along the way as some comic-readers of course try victim-blaming and other tactics to make Fowler look bad.

It is just so strange that someone who is known for writing strong female characters (look at the stellar recent comic "Mara" for an example) may very well also be kind of a sleaze toward women. Still, I don't think trying to pin all the problems of sexual harassment in the comic-book industry on Brian Wood is a fair thing to do, as there are undoubtedly plenty of men in the industry (and possibly some of the few women) who have tried to use their power to coerce people to do certain things, sexual or whatever else. I feel that people working in any job field should be able to feel safe and secure, not as if their boss or someone else could harass them at any moment with inappropriate comments, behaviors, or such.

I have enjoyed much of Brian Wood's work I've read, but now think I look at it in a bit of a different light, having been made aware that the man may not behave in the most appropriate manner toward the opposite sex. It saddens me that might be the case, and I also wonder who else out there in the comic's industry may be less saintly than we think.

In the end, we just need to be better as a society, toward all sexes, genders, colors, beliefs, ability-levels, etc. I just wonder why that is so hard for us to do much of the time.

Warren Ellis is Writing Moon Knight AKA Some of the Best News Ever

In what sounded like news tailored specifically to appeal to my interests, one of my favorite writers, Warren Ellis, is going to be writing a comic about one of my favorite characters, Moon Knight. This news made me scream, "Dear God Yes!" when I first read it and roll around on the floor in a state of pure ecstasy. Then I saw the quite talented Declan Shalvey was doing the art and I rolled around with joy a little more.

Considering how I'll buy basically anything Moon Knight-related, and I love almost all of Warren Ellis' works, this is clearly a comic I want, no matter how much more strict I have become about my comic-purchases. I'm maybe getting my hopes up, but I bet that an Ellis-written Moon Knight is going to be something incredible. Plus, Ellis has written the character before, he did a a few issues of "Secret Avengers" a awhile ago and Moon Knight was on that team and therefore popped up in some of them. It was pretty cool stuff.
Ellis has penned stories with Moon Knight in them before.
In closing, Warren Ellis and Moon Knight, I'm excited beyond all belief!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

So...Did the Free Comic Book Day Mini-Event for Halloween Make Much of an Impact At All?

Alright, did anyone really do anything for this supposed "Halloween ComicFest"?
We are all the way here in mid-November and I have quite the back-log of comics due to life being busy. I was looking at some stuff I needed to read and noticed a few of those free comics that came out to sort of tie-in with Halloween, and it led to my above question. I don't blame you if you have little idea what I'm talking about, because even though Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) is a big deal on the first Saturday in May every year, this whole October-free-comics-business seems to gets minimal acknowledgement.

I was thinking about the Halloween ComicFest that happened now, and how it barely made an impact. I mean seriously, this year folk were still talking about FCBD a month after it had happened. They were thinking of all the fun stuff their stores had done, had finally finished the immense stack of free comics they picked up--and were already making plans for next year. Meanwhile, in late October my local comic shops just sort of put these freebies out one day. Folk who stopped in to pick up comics or browse grabed a few and it was quiet. There was no huge line in the morning, cosplay was nonexistent, nary a fun contest, it was just another regular day everywhere.
There were some fun comics, but did anyone notice?
It is kind of a shame because I could see this Halloween-comic stuff potentially resulting in a big event. You could have a big comic-store Halloween party with all the costumes, scary-treats, and free comics--it would be quite fun. Instead, we just sort of had a few interesting and fun free comics come out that happened to be free. It all seems like a missed opportunity.

Am I wrong about all this? Did someone's store do a big event? Please do tell me in the comments if there were places that took advantage of the chance to have a big celebration or such.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Film Friday (Despite it Being Saturday)--Thor: The Dark World & The Potential Troubles of a Marvel Cinematic Universe Made Too Big

I saw "Thor: The Dark World" last night and will share a few thoughts on it in a spoiler-ific manner so as to tell you why I enjoyed certain parts and disliked others to result in an overall quite solid whole. Plus, through revealing a few elements I can discuss a worry growing within me that I used to only hear the occasional mention of, but which is now becoming quite the topic du jour. Namely, can the Marvel Cinematic Universe get so big and overly complex that it becomes as impenetrable to casual-watchers as many super-hero comics are to a non-reader?

The Danger of "Too Much"
By now if you follow comics and/or entertainment news much you have probably heard about Marvel's big deal with Netflix to produce a variety of shows that will be interconnected to the point they all lead into a "Defenders" program. This sounds exciting, but as "The Guardian" points out, couldn't this result in a bunch of shows where unless you watch every program, the resulting whole will be confusing? Arguably one of the best aspects of the "Avengers" movie was that you didn't really have to have seen any of the other Marvel features that led up to it in order to enjoy the flick. Sure, it helped to have watched "Thor" or one of the "Iron Man" movies, but if you saw those and nothing else you could easily deduce that Captain America had just recently come into the present, or that Bruce Banner/The Hulk was a genius struggling with his inner-rage (Hell, you really didn't need to see "The Incredible Hulk" at all, with it possibly making a viewer more confused due to the casting switch from the decent Edward Norton to the superb Mark Ruffalo). Will that be the case with these Netflix shows however?
Netflix, about to potentially make a lot more money thanks to Marvel
I'm going to give you an example to prove a point. Okay if someone were to not be interested in Luke Cage (which is crazy, but bear with me for the sake of an example), but enjoy watching a show about Jessica Jones, would they still be able to enjoy the resulting "Defenders" program even if they just "tuned in" to some of the characters' original programs? This leads to the even bigger question of if people will be able to enjoy the upcoming Marvel movies even if they have only viewed some of them. Should someone only go to "Iron Man 3" and the upcoming "Captain America: the Winter Soldier" will they still be able to follow 2015's "Avengers: Age of Ultron"? This is especially something to consider what with the big surprise at the end of Thor being--this is your last chance to avoid spoilers--the appearance of Infinity Gems/Stones, which makes it clear how important that original stinger with Thanos at the end of the first "Avengers" movie was, as I would bet a fair amount of money we are building toward some sort of "Infinity Gauntlet" type story in an inevitable "Avengers 3", which I talked about earlier today.

A movie such as this potential "Avengers 3" could incorporate all of these current films from Marvel's "Phase 2" and anyone new introduced between the 2nd Avengers flick and the 3rd (Marvel's "Phase 3"), or maybe even work in those Netflix characters. By now I bet you see just how intricate this could all get, and the potential for what at first was quite snazzy--a connected Universe--becoming an unbearably bloated and dense. In the nightmare scenario it gets to the point your average Joe and Jane throw their arms up in exasperation before even the 2nd "Avengers" film and declare, "Forget this, I'm just going to go re-watch those Christopher Nolan "Batman" movies!  At least those are just three movies instead of eleven (seriously, as of "Avengers: Age of Ultron" there will be a total of 11 connected Marvel flicks)."
Will people still be interested by this film? Probably.
I and some other folk out there could be worrying over nothing. For all we know, Marvel may be well aware of this risk and take great pains to make sure you can still enjoy  the tent-poles of their franchise like the "Avengers"-type movies without seeing anything else. There is that current "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." show and that seems to have not impacted the Marvel movies that much, other than obviously tying-in with various plot threads (working in Extremis, for example, or an episode that apparently involves the aftermath of this new Thor movie, and so forth). Maybe the Netflix programs will be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but not overly involved with a lot of the films, linking into them in subtle ways that make complete-viewing rewarding, but not essentially to enjoying the films--just as you didn't have to see "Thor" to like "Avengers" but it was a great way to really understand Loki's reasons for how he behaved. How was "Thor: The Dark World" itself, though? As I said, mostly enjoyable to a point I would recommend it.

The Movie
"Thor: The Dark World" starts out a brisk pace but does slow down a bit toward the middle before coming to a rousing close and a great mid-credits teaser. As with the previous "Thor" movie and much of the "Avengers" film, Loki generally steals the show and makes it quite apparent that without him and Tom Hiddleston's superb portrayal of the trickster that Marvel movies would be less awesome. Quite honestly, the apparent big-villain of the movie, the Dark Elf Malekith, is just sort of there to be the evil-someone Thor and Loki must put aside their differences to fight. There is not much of interest to the character other than, "He's a bad guy," and really if this film does anything right with Malekith it is that through not having him be all that neat Loki and his relationship with Thor is all the more interesting and integral.
"Thor, you aren't jealous I that I basically make this movie, are you?"
The major cast-members of the original Thor movie are all here, doing their usual quality job, although it still feels like an actor as established as Anthony Hopkins should have more to do than stand around and alternatively yell at or compliment Thor. Also, the potential romantic-rivalry between Sif and Jane Foster is hinted at but never really explored beyond a few jealous glances, which is quite the shame.

One other positive feature to this movie is that it spends a lot more time in Asgard than the first, showing us much of interest in this strange world of futuristic technology/magic and old-fashioned clothing. Between the Dark-Elves Star-Wars-esque space-ships and spears that shoot laser beams, it is an interesting dichotomy.

After all the fighting, explosions, and romance between Thor and Jane, at its heart this is arguably a movie about two brothers who alternatively are at each other's throats or watching the other's back, with their interactions making for some the richest and most interesting scenes. "Thor: The Dark World" may not be perfect with its dull villain and dragging along at certain points, but it without question is great fun and worth seeing for any fans of Marvel films.
4 out of 5 stars.

What the Ending Teaser Means at the End of "Thor: The Dark World"

Spoilers Ahead!
This is one big post of spoilers, obviously. Back in the days of the first "Thor" movie many folk found themselves confused by the little teaser (or "stinger" as some call it) after the credits. I explained what it meant and found that a variety of people found it useful. Well, lo and behold we have the new Thor movie out (which I saw last night and will have more up about later), and it too has a teaser--this time during the credits--that left a variety of people in the theater scratching their head while I exclaimed loudly with joy, much to the embarrassment of my girlfriend next to me.

The Big Tease
What is the deal with that scene then? One thing you don't really need to know is that the "Collector" individual being talked to (played with great eccentricity by Benicio Del Toro) is a character from the comics who has appeared at various points, with his shtick of course being he likes to collect things from across the galaxy. He is handed that Aether entity and then the BIG bombshell gets dropped, it and the Tesseract/blue thing from the other movies are Infinity Gems/Stones!

The Infinity Gems/Stones, sometimes also called "Soul Stones" are 6 individual and highly powerful pieces that combine on a big glove (of sorts) to result in the Infinity Gauntlet, something that gives the wielder what could best be described as God-like omnipotence and the ability to shape the Universe however they see fit. Now, this ties in quite well with the other movies because guess who one of the scariest people to wield the Infinity Gauntlet was? Yup, Thanos, AKA the guy who appears in that teaser during the "Avengers" credits.

The fact that Marvel showed off an Infinity Gauntlet prop all the way back
when they were promoting the first "Thor" movie gives a surprising amount away.
It is now becoming pretty clear that Marvel is slowly building toward an epic event-movie involving Thanos, the Infinity Gauntlet, and all of the universe in what I imagine will be the 3rd Avengers movie, because it seems the 2nd one is going to involve Ultron (who knows, maybe Ultron will team up with Thanos in a later flick resulting in a quite dangerous team). Just think, if the Tesseract could cause all the trouble it did in the earlier movies, and the Aether almost destroyed everything too, what would happen if those and other gems/stones were combined to form an unfathomable weapon?

Yeah, I'm definitely intrigued by all of this.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Hardest Time to Own A Lot of Comics Is When You Move

Okay, so my girlfriend and I moved recently from an apartment to a house we both bought. Being busy from that has resulted in less posting (I really seem to post in random bursts, I'm sorry) and soreness from moving around boxes and tubs. In the process of moving I came to see that probably the hardest time to own a lot of comics is when you actually have to pack it all up and transport it to a new residence. Whether it be all the comics you have in short-boxes & long-boxes, or the variety trade paperbacks and hardcovers you have to prepare, moving a bunch of comics makes changing homes even more of a pain in the neck.

Interestingly enough, the hardest things to move by far were some of the items I treasured the most--my big Absolute Editions and Omnibus collections of comics. I've built up a few of those deluxe books over time, and these big ol' honkers were extremely tricky to pack, mainly because their large dimensions made putting them in a small box impossible, and their weight resulted in some gigantic boxes that were wide enough to fit them being relatively under-filled because just having a small number of these gigantic books resulted in containers that weighed what was basically a metric ton.
Just imagine trying to move even a few of these sorts of books.
All I can really say is that I truly thank God/Jesus/Muhammad/whomever for movers, because even if they can be costly it sure helps to have some strong folk to shift about your boxes of comics along with other objects in need of a truck such as beds, dressers, and the bookshelves that held all of the aforementioned comic trades.

In the end the only advice I can offer to people who have a lot of comics or graphic novels is to either sell a lot of their stuff before any of the times they move, or to just never move. Seriously though, I don't even have much in the way of comics out here in Missouri, at least compared to the nightmare of boxes and books back in my parents house in NY. Lord help me when the day comes that I have to move all of that stuff from my earlier years of comic-loving.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Film Friday: A Random Bunch of Rented Movies

Opening Credits
I've watched a number of movies lately, be they rentals over the internet, acquired at a Redbox kiosk, or found via the magic of Netflix. I thought it would be fun to review them in no particular order as while I haven't been to a movie theater for a bit, I have seen plenty of flicks sitting on the couch. Without further ado, I present to you a bunch of random movies!

Olympus Has Fallen

There are action movies you have to switch off your brain to enjoy, and then there are the kind of films that basically require you to be utterly brain-dead when it comes to any form of logic. Should you be able to completely and without question accept this film's way of showing things, with a single plane somehow getting past our air security, assaulting the white house, and then a weird kind of ground-invasion taking place with the result of course being where only ONE MAN can save the President...then yeah, this is kind of fun.

The cast is pretty good too. Gerard Butler has his ruggedly good looks, Aaron Eckert plays the Prez decently, and Morgan Freeman seems criminally under-utilized, but let's be honest, you aren't seeing this movie for the acting--you're seeing this because you want to watch shit blow up even if its the White House, but that's okay because in the end America comes out on top and boy aren't we awesome, USA, USA, USA!
Yeah, I play an evil jerk in this movie, it's a living.
Oh, I almost to forgot to mention how I knew from the first moment I saw him that Dylan McDermott was going to be a bad guy, because lately when it seems you need someone to be the villain, he's the go-to guy (see the TV show "Hostages" for proof). Obvious villain and lack of any common-sense aside, I kind of enjoyed this in a guilty-pleasure sort of way.
3 out of 5 stars.

The Lords of Salem
Rob Zombie made the mostly-mediocre movie, "House of a 1000 Corpses" that had some flashes of genius but generally was a bit of a slog. He also made the quite impressively good, "The Devil's Rejects" which despite some issues (many aspects are heavily cribbed from other movies, such as the insane sheriff bringing back memories of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2") is definitely a flick I would say is solid horror-viewing. I skipped Zombie's "Halloween" remakes because I'd rather just watch the originals than a remake, but I was excited for "The Lords of Salem" in the hopes I would get more of that "Devil's Rejects" magic. I didn't.

You can imagine how disappointed I was when instead of the often clever dialogue in "Devil's Rejects" I received over-the-top melodrama. Instead of the creative imagery of "Devil's Rejects" flick I got a random confusing mess of pictures. Plus the plot was basically garbage, and all-in-all I was extremely let down. There are at least a few tense moments, but mostly I would say this is a waste of time.
1 out of 5 stars.

This movie does pretty good justice (get it?) to the famous comic-character. Its futuristic but feels grounded, gritty and violent, but with some moments of levity to help relieve tension. The basic plot is that Dredd and a rookie cop/"Judge" become trapped in a 200-story apartment complex and have to fight their way out. Yes, this plot is a bit like, "The Raid: Redemption" and folk have actually accused each movie of ripping the other off at various points in time. Both are fine movies however so why bother comparing them when instead you can just enjoy the snazzy slo-mo gunfights in "Dredd" and kung-fu in "The Raid"? If you enjoy action movies, do give "Dredd" a try.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Pain & Gain

Michael Bay is a director known for various quirks. He likes to do quick-cuts, his movies go on a bit too long, and there has never been an over-the-top action sequence he would hesitate to throw in. Pain & Gain is actually pretty enjoyable however because Bay seems to tone down things and instead focus on a more human tale, that is all the more interesting due to how much of it comes from a an absurdly true story during which body-builders formed a gang and committed increasingly heinous crimes.

Bay does a solid job of making our protagonists sympathetic enough that we still like them  even as their actions get increasingly violent and unforgivable until things get to a point where you have to ask, "Really? They were this sociopathic and stupid?" and then find out that yes, they were. "Pain & Gain" is a movie that runs too long, is full of jokes that seem to miss a bit more than they hit, but is made well enough that you feel like you at least had some fun when its over.
3 out of 5 stars.

InAPPropriate Comedy
Well, this was terrible. Even though almost everyone hated another comedy-sketch movie that came out recently, "Movie 43," I thought it at least had its moments of being at least kind of funny. This film however, often just takes a punch-line that is barely humorous as it is and then milks it until the metaphorical cow has long since gone dry. A spoof of Jackass with an all-black cast called, "Blackass"? Okay, but then you do "skits" with that idea it loses any humor beyond relying on racial jokes. Speaking of racial jokes, "The Amazing Racist" with a guy going around being a huge racist again elicits a small chuckle at first, and then keeps going and going, and going until you just want each bit to end.
Oh, you think Asians can't drive? Okay.
You're going to do this joke for 10 or so minutes? No thanks.
As for other segments, Adrien Brody--who actually has a Best Actor award from the Oscars, keep that in mind--appears in some barely funny shorts where he plays a gay version of Dirty Harry known as, "Flirty Harry," and that too wears out its welcome when it becomes apparent we're getting little more than barely-disguised puns as our jokes. The less said about Rob Schneider and Michelle Rodriguez as porn-critics the better for that DOA bit, and Lindsay Lohan's brief appearance in the movie wasn't entertaining so much as it made me marvel at how bad she looks these days--the years of drug and alcohol use definitely have taken their toll.

There are some ever-so-brief glimpses of actual humor, such as bit where Schneider serves as a Psychiatrist to a former sex and drug-addict and he seems more interested in the sex and drugs than helping her, and the riff on "127 hours" at the beginning made me smile, but those are tiny nuggets of joy in a steaming pile of misery.  Unless you want to not laugh for 80-ish minutes (which felt like forever) you should avoid this film at all costs.
0.5 out of 5 stars.

This is the End
I thought this would be funnier, considering the cast. It was pretty below-average though. That's pretty much all I have to say about that.
2 out of 5 stars.

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox

I actually found the comic-event, "Flashpoint" to be a lot of fun even if in the end it was used more as an excuse for DC to reboot their Universe into the "Nu52" than it was an exercise in creating a solid story. That said, this movie actually might be better than the comic because it doesn't have all the tie-ins weighing it down, and instead the key points and characters can be focused on.

The animation is solid, and even though I've never been a huge fan of any version of the Flash (well, I did have a slight soft-spot for Wally West), I found Barry Allen engaging enough that I wanted things to work out well for him, plus the Batman of this altered-world is just as interesting in the movie as he is in the comics. This is definitely worth checking out.
4 out of 5 stars.

Ending Credits
I've seen some movies I liked, and others I loathed, but to truly appreciate films I guess you need to see both the good and the bad.