Superman: Man of Tomorrow

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 9/8/20;
Warner;
Animated;
$24.98 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for violence, some bloody images, suggestive material, language, smoking and brief partial nudity.
Voices of Darren Criss, Alexandra Daddario, Zachary Quinto, Ike Amadi, Ryan Hurst, Brett Dalton, Neil Flynn, Bellamy Young, Eugene Byrd.

The latest DC Comics animated movie takes a look at young Clark Kent’s early days as Superman as a fresh-faced potential journalist newly arrived in Metropolis.

This version of Clark, while aware of his powers, has no clue about his Kryptonian origins. He begins attracting the attention of the press through a series of heroic deeds, though he has yet to be branded Superman or even don his iconic costume (though his reasons for needing the costume provide one of the film’s biggest laughs)..

However, his exploits also get noticed by the notorious intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo, who comes to Earth looking for a fight. Though Clark finds an ally in the mysterious Martian Manhunter, his battle with Lobo ends up unleashing a deadly creature known as Parasite, who grows stronger by absorbing energy and draining the life force of his victims.

To stop Parasite’s rampage, Clark (voiced by Darren Criss) must enlist the help of Lex Luthor (Zachary Quinto), a man destined to one day become his sworn enemy. But this story occurs before all those pieces fall into place.

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The movie also gives some attention to the young Lois Lane (Alexandra Daddario), a recent graduate looking to establish herself as the top reporter at the Daily Planet, where Clark has been working as an intern bringing everyone their coffee.

The film does a nice job of establishing Clark’s eagerness to fit in. He knows he’s an alien, but isn’t sure from where or who else knows, so he knows his heroic excursions come with an element of risk. In fact, one of the big motifs of the film is finding the humanity in beings who otherwise aren’t human, particularly as Superman tries to re-connect with the man Parasite used to be.

Man of Tomorrow, the 40th entry in the DC Universe series of animated superhero movies, is a standalone film, not connected to the brand’s recent string of interconnected movies, though it could very well prove a good jumping off point for a new continuity.

The animation is crisp and lively, and the colors pop in high-definition. The filmmakers have crafted some exciting action sequences, including the initial all-out brawl between young Clark Kent and Lobo. The third-act battle against Parasite takes on much of the flavor of a typical “Godzilla” movie, but for the most part this is a pretty entertaining Superman adventure. Fans of Lobo should get a kick out of finally seeing him in action in one of these DC movies.

The Blu-ray includes two Lobo-centric episodes from “Superman: The Animated Series,” plus a 10-minute featurette on the history and popularity of Lobo.

There’s also a nine-minute featurette about the legacy of the Martian Manhunter.

Rounding out the extras are a trailer, featurettes for earlier DC animated movies, and a 12-minute preview of the next animated DC movie, a kung-fu-style Batman adventure set in the 1970s.

Warner Releasing Animated ‘Batman: Death in the Family’ Interactive Movie Oct. 13

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Oct. 13 will release Blu-ray Disc and digital editions of Batman: Death in the Family, a compilation of animated shorts based on DC Comics characters that includes the studio’s first interactive film presentation.

The centerpiece of the compilation is the extended-length Death in the Family, based on the landmark 1988 Batman comic book storyline in which readers were given a chance to vote via telephone poll about whether or not to kill off the second Robin, Jason Todd.

Produced, directed and written by Brandon Vietti, the interactive Blu-ray presentation allows viewers to guide the storyline through their remote control, with numerous plot twists and several possible endings. Viewers can also choose to allow the story to tell itself, as there is an option to let the Blu-ray decide its own path.

Batman: Death in the Family

Batman: Death in the Family is essentially a comic book come to life,” Vietti said. “We’ve paid homage to the 1988 interactive experience of DC’s ‘A Death in the Family’ comics release by giving fans a unique opportunity to craft their own story through a branching tool that can lead in multiple directions. The viewer gets to choose these characters’ paths, and each choice paves an alternate future for all of the characters and, ultimately, the story.”

The animated Death in the Family short is based not only on the original comic book run, but also Vietti’s 2010 Batman: Under the Red Hood animated movie, which is based on a comic book storyline in which Jason Todd returns.

“From the very first navigation card, we wanted to give the audience an impression of what they’re getting into, but then also give them something unexpected — maybe even something they’ll regret, so they have to think twice about every future choice they make,” Vietti said. “Branched storytelling has to be stronger than just the gimmick of the choices — it has to be rewarding and offer new and worthwhile insights into the characters. It needs to involve you, and keep you searching for the next twist. So we sought to subvert expectations and do something very different.”

‘Batman: Death in the Family’ interactive menu

The digital version of Death in the Family is presented in a non-interactive format pre-assembled under the title Under the Red Hood: Reloaded, and three other non-interactive versions as bonus features: Jason Todd’s Rebellion, Robin’s Revenge and Red Hood’s Reckoning. Considering the various configurations, the Blu-ray also offers approximately five minutes of story content not included in the digital version.

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The Death in the Family Blu-ray and digital editions will also include four additional “DC Showcase” animated shorts that were previously released in 2019 and 2020 as bonus material with earlier DC Universe animated movies: Sgt. Rock, Adam Strange, Death and The Phantom Stranger.

Originally attached to Batman: Hush, Sgt. Rock finds battle-weary Sgt. Rock (Karl Urban) thinking he has seen everything that World War II can dish out. But he is in for the surprise of his life when he is assigned to lead a company consisting of legendary monsters into battle against an unstoppable platoon of Nazi zombies.

Inspired by Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman,” Death tells the story of Vincent, an artist with unresolved inner demons who meets a mysterious girl who helps him come to terms with his creative legacy and eventual death. Death was originally included with Wonder Woman: Bloodlines.

Attached as a bonus feature on the release of Superman: Red Son, The Phantom Stranger finds the enigmatic DC mystery man (voiced by Peter Serafinowicz) simultaneously playing both omniscient narrator and active character in a story of supernatural comeuppance for evil doers set in the 1970s.

Adam Strange, originally released with Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, tells the story of a rugged asteroid mining colony where the town drunk turns out to be legendary space adventurer Adam Strange, whose heroic backstory is played out in flashbacks as he struggles to save the very people who have scorned him for so long.

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The ‘R’-rated Blu-ray Disc will include audio commentaries by “DC Daily” hosts Amy Dallen and Hector Navarro on Sgt. Rock, Adam Strange, Death and The Phantom Stranger, plus the Under the Red Hood: Reloaded version of Death in the Family.

Warner Slates Animated ‘Superman: Man of Tomorrow’ Movie

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the animated movie Superman: Man of Tomorrow through digital retailers Aug. 23, and on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Sept. 8.

The latest entry in the DC Universe movie line from Warner Bros. Animation deals with young Daily Planet intern Clark Kent (Darren Criss) in his early days as Superman, as Metropolis is introduced to a new age of heroes. As the budding hero fights for good, he confronts the intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo (Ryan Hurst) and the power-hungry alien Parasite (Brett Dalton).

The cast also includes Zachary Quinto as Lex Luthor, Alexandra Daddario as Lois Lane, Ike Amadi as Martian Manhunter, Piotr Michael as Perry White, Neil Flynn as Jonathan Kent and Bellamy Young as Martha Kent, plus Cristina Milizia, Eugene Byrd, April Stewart, Cissy Jones and David Chen.

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Blu-ray and digital extras include the featurettes “Lobo: Natural Force of Chaos” and “Martian Manhunter: Lost and Found,” the “Superman: The Animated Series” episodes “The Main Man” parts one and two, and previews of other DC Universe animated movies.

Animated Movie Based on DC Comics’ ‘Deathstroke’ Coming in August

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the animated movie Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons through digital retailers Aug. 4, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Aug. 18.

The film offers a new take on the DC Comics character Deathstroke, a mercenary and master assassin named Slade Wilson. The film finds him living two lives, one as a relentless killer, the other as a dedicated family man. When his worlds are forced together by the terror group known as H.I.V.E., the killer in Slade must fight to save his loved ones.

The voice cast includes Michael Chiklis as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke, Sasha Alexander as Wilson’s wife, Chris Jai Alex as The Jackal, Faye Mata as Jade/H.I.V.E Queen, Griffin Puatu as Joseph/Jericho, Imari Williams as President Nichols, Asher Bishop as Young Joseph, Colin Salmon as William Wintergreen, Delbert Hunt as Bronze Tiger, Panta Mosleh as Lady Shiva, Noshir Dalal as Kapoor, Castulo Guerra as General Suarez, and Minae Noji as the Secretary of State.

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The latest entry in the DC Animated Movies line was produced by Warner Bros. Animation, DC and Blue Ribbon Content, Warner’s specialty arm for digital platform programming. Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons was originally presented as a series of animated shorts that appeared on CW Seed. The movie version includes 50 minutes of never-before-seen footage, including the climax.

The Blu-ray combo pack will include a digital copy and the featurette “Deathstroke: One-Man Death Machine.” Bonus material is also offered with the digital edition through select retailers.

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Indonesian Superhero Feature ‘Gundala’ Coming to Digital and Disc July 28 From Well Go

An Indonesian comic book superhero and his alter ego enter the cinematic universe in the actioner Gundala, debuting on digital, Blu-ray and DVD July 28 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

Based on a popular comic book first published in 1969, Gundala is the first film in a proposed eight-film franchise launching a new superhero cinematic universe (in the vein of Marvel). In the origin story, Sancaka (Abimana Aryasatya) is a security guard who was struck by lightning, giving him superhuman powers and turning him into the superhero Gundala. An Indonesian orphan, Sancaka spent his life on the streets trying to attract as little attention as possible, but when greed and violence reach a fever pitch in Jakarta, it soon becomes clear that he is the people’s only hope for peace.

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Written and directed by Joko Anwar (Impetigore) and based on the comic by Harya Suraminata, Gundala stars Abimana Aryasatya (12:00 A.M.), Tara Basro (Impetigore), Bront Palarae (Belukar), Ario Bayu (Java Heat) and Lukman Sardi (Abracadabra).

Gundala had its international premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, and the release features an all-new English dub, in addition to its original subtitled soundtrack.

Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 5/12/20;
Warner;
Action;
Box Office $84.16 million;
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $44.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for strong violence and language throughout, and some sexual and drug material.
Stars Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Ella Jay Basco, Chris Messina, Ewan McGregor.

The most significant aspect of the 2016 Suicide Squad movie was undoubtedly the popularity boost it gave to the character of Harley Quinn, as played by Margot Robbie. While she had always been a fan favorite, the film made her a pop culture sensation, as Harley Quinn cosplay dominated the comic book convention circuit more than ever before, and there was little doubt the character would be popping up in her own movie soon enough.

Those plans hit a bit of a snag, however, as the creative direction of the DC Comics shared movie universe began to unravel a bit following the disappointment of 2017’s Justice League. Subsequent projects would put more focus on the individual films while de-emphasizing the potential for interconnected stories.

And with that, Harley Quinn would end up fronting a loose adaptation of the “Birds of Prey” comic book that shined a spotlight on some of the female heroes of Gotham City. Being the girlfriend of the Joker, Harley was usually cast as an antagonist, but her popularity spurt resulted in her being positioned as more of an anti-hero.

As such, the film finds Harley (Robbie) having just broken up with the Joker, a change in relationship status that makes her an open target for every criminal in Gotham City with a bone to pick with her. In her efforts to establish herself as an underworld authority in her own right, and find a quiet moment to enjoy an egg sandwich, Harley finds herself protecting a teenage pickpocket (Ella Jay Basco) who stole a jewel encoded with the account numbers of a vast mafia fortune, attracting the attention of a mob boss nicknamed Black Mask (Ewan McGregor).

Along the way, and with nary a mention of Batman, Harley tussles with a hotshot cop (Rosie Perez) who treats her job like an ’80s action movie; the Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), a lounge singer with sonic powers; and Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a crossbow-wielding vigilante who seeks vengeance on the crime lords who killed her family.

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Described by one of the visual effects supervisors in the bonus materials as Pulp Fiction meets Clockwork Orange, the film seems trying to set itself up as something of a girl power version of Deadpool, intersplicing some decent action scenes with broad comedy in service of several story threads connected by narration from Harley that jumps back and forth through time. Also like Deadpool, the film tries to play in the ‘R’-rated playground, but the attempt seems more like an excuse for excess rather than anything intrinsically necessary for the characters, story or humor.

Unfortunately, in an effort to be quirky, the film was saddled with the mouthful of a title Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, which when shortened to the obvious Birds of Prey doesn’t speak much to Harley’s involvement in it. So, after the film’s initial disappointment at the box office (also not helped by limiting the audience with its ‘R’ rating), the studio tried to re-christen it Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey for marketing purposes (a move further made understandable by the fact that they couldn’t get the full name right in their own press release for the home video). They probably just should have called it Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey to begin with.

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With the coronavirus pandemic cutting the film’s box office run short, it made an early debut through digital retailers, which offered a variety of bonus features that also made their way to the Blu-ray edition.

The primary extra is the Birds Eye View Mode, a viewing option that plays the film with a mix of filmmaker commentary, pop-up trivia and picture-in-picture behind-the-scenes footage.

More behind-the-scenes details are offered in six featurettes that run a total of 42 minutes, with some repetition of material between them and with the viewing mode. Most of the emphasis is on the physical look of the film, such as the production design and the costumes. There’s also a significant amount of time devoted to the style of the characters and finding the right actors to play them. One of the more unintentionally funny clips involves Winstead heaping praise upon the talents of McGregor — who reportedly left his wife for her while they were co-starring on the “Fargo” TV show just before signing on for this movie.

Finally, there’s a two-minute gag reel that, while amusing, is hard pressed to make an impact given all the silliness that ended up in the movie.

‘Bloodshot’ on Disc May 5 From Sony Pictures

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release the comic book actioner Bloodshot on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray May 5. The film is available now through digital retailers.

Vin Diesel stars as the title character, a recently killed soldier brought back to life with nanotechnology that makes him an unstoppable force. But the corporation that created him has sway over his mind and memories, leaving Bloodshot unsure about what’s real and what isn’t.

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Based on the Valiant Comics character of the same name, Bloodshot earned $10 million during a limited theatrical run that was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Blu-ray, DVD, digital and 4K editions will include deleted and extended scenes, including an alternate ending.

The Blu-ray, DVD and digital versions will also include outtakes and a blooper reel; the featurettes “Initiate Sequence: Directing Bloodshot,” in which visual effects and video game artist Dave Wilson takes the reins of his first feature film and reveals all of the passion, creativity, and hard work that he and his team of artists employed in bringing the film to life; and the featurette “Forgotten Soldiers: The Cast of Bloodshot,” in which Vin Diesel takes center stage to unveil the compelling aspects of his approach to the comic book superhero, and Guy Pearce, Eiza Gonzalez, Sam Heughan and Lamorne Morris detail all aspects of the film’s ensemble.

The digital version will also include “R.S.T. Hack: Chainsaw,” a series of four animated in-world videos about Bloodshot.

 

Warner Releasing ‘Lego Shazam’ Movie Digitally April 28, on Disc June 16

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the new full-length animated feature film Lego DC: Shazam! — Magic and Monsters through digital retailers April 28, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD June 16.

The latest entry in the direct-to-video line of Lego DC Comics movies features Shazam (Sean Astin) becoming the newest member of the Justice League. But to join, he must reveal his true identity as Billy Batson, a 10-year-old boy granted the power of the gods when he says his name, a gift bestowed upon him by a wizard (Ralph Garman). While fighting off the evil Mr. Mind and Black Adam, Billy learns that he must trust others — and that nothing creates trust like helping those in need.

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The cast also includes Troy Baker as Batman/Bruce Wayne; Nolan North as Superman and Alfred; Grey Griffin as Wonder Woman and Lois Lane; Christina Milizia as Green Lantern Jessica Cruz; James Arnold Taylor as The Flash and Dummy; Imari Williams as Black Adam and Teth Adam; Fred Tatasciore as Lobo and Oom; Zach Callison as Billy Batson and Jimmy Olsen; Dee Bradley Baker as Jeepers, Dr. Sivana and Crocodile Man; Jennifer Hale as Mary Batson and L.N. Ambassador; Tom Kenny as The Penguin and Perry White; Jonny Rees as Mr. Mind; Erica Lindbeck as a greeter and a farmer; and Josh Keaton as Terrance and an executive.

The Lego Shazam! Blu-ray and DVD will include three cartoons from the Warner Bros. Animation vault: The “Teen Titans Go!” episode “Little Elvis,” and the “Unikitty!” episodes “Spoooooky Game” and “Pool Duel.”

For a limited time, the disc versions of the move will include a Shazam minifigure.

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Animated ‘Justice League Dark: Apokolips War’ Due in May

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the animated movie Justice League Dark: Apokolips War through digital retailers May 5, and as Blu-ray/DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo packs May 19.

The latest installment of the DC Universe series finds the heroes of the Justice League, Teen Titans, Suicide Squad and others joining forces to save Earth from the devastation of the alien warlord Darkseid. The film is rated ‘R’ for bloody violence, language, and some sexual references.

The cast, many reprising their roles from earlier movies in the series, includes Matt Ryan as Constantine, Jerry O’Connell as Superman, Taissa Farmiga as Raven, Jason O’Mara as Batman, Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman, Shemar Moore as Cyborg, Christopher Gorham as The Flash, Rebecca Romijn as Lois Lane, Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor, Tony Todd as Darkseid, Camilla Luddington as Zatanna, Ray Chase as Jason Blood/Etrigan, Roger R. Cross as John Stewart and Swamp Thing, Liam McIntyre as Captain Boomerang, Hynden Walch as Harley Quinn, Stuart Allan as Robin/Damian, Sachie Alessio as Lady Shiva, and John DiMaggio as King Shark.

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Home video extras include filmmaker audio commentary;  the featurette “Darkseid: New God/Evil Classic,” a look at the motivations of the character and importance of Deities in classic and modern fiction; the featurette “Look Back: Justice League Dark,” a look at the previous film to feature Constantine and the misfit members of dark version of the Justice League who battle supernatural forces; taking on the malevolent forces that go beyond our plane of existence; “Look Back: Batman and Harley Quinn,” a retrospective at the earlier animated feature film; animated episodes “Zombie King” and “Abate and Switch” from “Justice League Action,” and “Nevermore” from “Teen Titans”; and a preview of the next DC Universe Movie, Superman: Man of Tomorrow.

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The home video release will also include the new DC Showcase animated short Adam Strange, featuring Charlie Weber as the title character, a heroic space adventurer whose backstory plays out in flashbacks as he struggles to save an asteroid mining colony from a horde of deadly alien insects.

Animated Elseworlds Adventure ‘Superman: Red Son’ Flying to Home Video in 2020

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the DC Universe animated superhero adventure Superman: Red Son through digital retailers Feb. 25, 2020, and on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray March 17.

The film is an adaptation of the 2003 graphic novel Superman: Red Son, part of DC Comics’ “Elseworlds” imprint that provides alternate histories and settings for some of the company’s famous characters. The story takes place in an alternate reality in which the spaceship bearing the last survivor of Krypton crash lands not in America, but in Stalinist Russia, and is raised to defend the ideas of the Soviet Union.

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The cast includes Jason Isaacs as the Soviet Superman, Diedrich Bader as Lex Luthor, Amy Acker as Lois Lane, Vanessa Marshall as Wonder Woman, Phil Morris as James Olsen, Paul Williams as Brainiac, Roger Craig Smith as Batman, Sasha Roiz as Hal Jordan, Phil LaMarr as John Stewart, Jim Meskimen as John F. Kennedy, Travis Willingham as Superior Man, William Salyers as Joseph Stalin, and Winter Ave Zoli as Svetlana.

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The Blu-ray and digital versions will include the new DC Showcase animated short Phantom Stranger, by Bruce Timm. Set in the 1970s, the short follows young adult Jess as she joins her friends at a party in a dilapidated mansion hosted by the mysterious Seth, when odd things begin to happen. Peter Serafinowicz voices Phantom Stranger, and Michael Rosenbaum provides the voice of Seth. The voice cast also includes Natalie Lander, Grey Griffin and Roger Craig Smith.

Other extras include the featurette “Cold Red War,” two episodes from Superman: Red Son – The Motion Comics, and a preview of the next DC Universe movie, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War.