June 17, 2016

Finding Dory

  • Country: United States
  • Original release: June 17, 2016
  • Running time: 103 minutes
  • Director (s): Andrew Stanton
  • Written (s): Andrew Stanton
  • Cast: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neill, Ty Burrel, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levi, Idris Elba, Dominic West, others.

In 2003 Pixar Animation Studios presented us with some of the best under the sea animated images in an unforgettable movie: Finding Nemo. As usual, the studio taught a lesson on how to create an incredible original screenplay (nominated for an Academy Award in this category), that paid special attention to character development. One of these characters was the sweet, yet clumsy and forgetful, Dory. The Pacific regal blue tang stole the spotlight and it came to no surprise when she was announced as the protagonist of the sequel.

It took 13 years for this movie to come to life, but, I must say, it was worth the wait. Under the sea, however, only one year has gone by since Dory helped Marlin rescue Nemo. Life is the same for everyone, except for one single detail: Dory starts to have glimpses of memories about her life as a young fish, having her parents around her. That's when two important things happen: the adventure begins and it is nothing like the original.

Finding Dory doesn't recycle the plot or characters. Don't expect, for example, to see Darla or the trio of Sharks. This movie brings its own assemble of new characters and they are special on their own. The original trio, Dory, Marlin and Nemo, are still true to their characteristics with Ellen DeGeneres doing another exceptional job voicing the blue fish with the perfect tone between naivety, youth and comedy timing. This time she has new friends: Hank, the cranky octopus (played by Modern Family's Ed O'Neill); Destiny, a short-sighed whale shark; and Bailey, a beluga whale. Also, Eugene Levi and Diane Keaton provide the voices for Dory's parents, Charlie and Jenny. All of the characters have their moments to shine in a screenplay that navigates well between comedy and drama, without being pushy or underestimating children's understanding. 

The animation is a piece of art. Every frame, every fish, every seaweed... Everything has a special appeal. Sometimes it's like seeing the real thing, like going under the sea. This experience is enhanced by the real 3D, something that wasn't used with its predecessor. Back then 3D was not a well developed technology as it is now.

Coming from successes in the animation field (A Bug's Life and Wall-E) and a huge flop in his live-action attempt (John Carter), the director Andrew Stanton, who also wrote the movie and provided the voice for the sea turtle Crush, outsmart himself with this sequel. Can we say it's better than the original? No, we can't. However, we can say for sure it is as good as Finding Nemo.

Tip 1 - Don't come to the movie late or you'll miss the incredible Pipper, the best piece among all Pixar's works in short length features.

Tip 2 - The Aquarium crew is not part of the movie this time, but if you want to know what happened to them after Finding Nemo I advise you to stay for the after credits scene.

Find tickets for Finding Dory HERE.

June 16, 2016

Superman #1 - Review and Preview

Superman is back, we all know that at this point. If you don't, check HERE and HERE first. We know who this old new guy is and we glad to see him in the official Timeline. This Superman #1 came with a mission: making the generation that started reading the series during the New 52 relaunch fall in love with this Clark Kent. That's why the story, written by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, happens through Jon's point of view.

Jon, who was born during the Convergence event, is Lois and Clark's young son, who just recently found out who his father was. Besides, his powers are starting to show up, what makes the family come together in a attempt to protect and prepare the kid for what's coming his way.

The whole issue deals with Jon trying to understand what's happening to him and what's the weight of being Superman's son. His powers brings him a loss right in the beginning and a gain in the Kathy Branden character, who, for what is seems, is going to be the "Lana Lang" for this "Superboy".

Through Jon's eyes, we see his admiration for his father, his love for his family and Superman being recruited by the Justice League in one of the coolest moments of the issue. Also, a cliffhanger leads us to believe the boy is closer to become a younger version of his father.

The panels developed by Mick Gray, with colors by John Kalisz, are really good, but not as good as the work presented in Action Comics #1. There's room to improvement there. In general, a good issue.


Batman #1 - Review and Preview

Tom King has proven himself a good asset to write about the Batman world. However, after BATMAN REBIRTH #1, this is the first the writer will be fully responsible for the Dark Knight title. I'm not sure if this Batman #1 was a good starting point, though.

We have two new heroes in the city: Gotham and Gotham Girl. DC's been teasing these two new insertions to the Batman mythos for weeks and now we finally got to meet them. Sort of. They are just presented to the readers as a cliffhanger to the next issue. I loved the art by David Finch, Matt Banning and Jordie Bellaire. It bring us close to the Gotham City as never before, finally presenting it as more than the place the action takes place. It actually seems like a real city, with a bunch of vigilantes doing their most to protect it.

However, while the city comes as real as ever, Batman comes as unreal as ever.

I know we're dealing with comic books, but Batman was always the closest we would get to "real people", taking into consideration he has no super powers. This issue, on the other hand, shows Batman trying to prevent an airplane from crashing after it was hit by a missile. Although the writing is really good, bringing fast pace and adrenaline to every panel, with the hero dealing with his upcoming death (Come on, we know it's not happening!), it was kind of underwhelming seeing him ejecting himself from the Batmobile, landing into the plane (Just to remember: it was hit by a missile and is falling at high speed) and manage to use gadgets from his utility belt to try to save it. Too much. Just too much. I mean, he's just a man... How hard will King push us?

Batman #1 was kind of a disappointment in this aspect, let's se what the future holds.

June 10, 2016

Detective Comics #934 - Review

James Tynion IV is a name that became known in the last few years among Batman fans. The writer created some great stories and brought back to Gotham City characters we all love and were ignored by DC Comics. Spoiler, Cassandra Cain and Azrael are a few examples. Also, Tynion IV know how to write for the younger crowds in a entertaining way and understands every character should have its spotlight moment. Batman & Robin Eternal is proof of what I say, but if you need anything else to confirm it just read The Woods. What I mean is that there's no more qualified writer for this new phase Detective Comics is going through. 

There's a villain in Gotham observing and analyzing the vigilantes. His identity is still a mystery, but Batman feels the growing need to prepare the new generation for what's coming next. However, Batman understands he has a lot of work on his shoulder and he needs a partner. Not a sidekick, a partner. And that's when he decides to look for the help of his cousin Kate Kane, the Batwoman.

New 52 failed at presenting Batman and Batwoman as a team, showing they could work together. Bruce, for example, never even came out as Batman to her. That was maybe one of the reason the Batwoman title was cancelled, but I can say that it takes only one page for Tynion IV to correct all these mistakes and have the Dark Knight apologizing.

The whole issue is not focused in who the villain is, this is for the future. This issue deals with the new Bat-team. And, boy, was I happy about it! Batman and Batwoman will be responsible for training a group consisting of Red Robin (Tim Drake), Spoiler (Stephanie Brown), Orphan (Cassandra Cain) and Clayface (Basil Karlo).


Tim is back to his red and green suit, reminiscing of his 90's famous uniform. He's not going to be a part of the Teen Titans for now and will have some good interaction with Spoiler, as he used to do in the good and old Chuck Dixon's years. Cassandra Cain is also a character who deserved a chance in this rebirth, but the most interesting addition to the team is Clayface. That was a villain I would never imagined as turning into a good guy, but I see lots of possibilities for this reluctant hero.

Spoiler is back to stay :-)
Now, the best part of this issue: the jaw-dropping art. Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira and Adriano Lucas are fu****g talented dudes; there's just no better word to define it than a big fat cursing one. They delivered some of the best panels I've seen in recent comic books. And is this promise of an exciting adventure with this phenomenal art that will keep me coming back twice a month for the new/old Detective Comics series!

June 09, 2016

Action Comics #957 - Review

Action Comics is back.

I mean, it was never really gone. However, after the 2011 relaunch the title was one of the many in DC Comics that started from number #1 again. Rebirth, however, decided to respect the 52 issues released, but brought Action Comics to its original numbering. So, now instead of #53 we have #957. And it couldn't be better: Dan Jurgens, responsible for Lois & Clark, is the head of the title.

Jurgens was one of the main forces behind the "comeback" of Superman in the 90's. When the sales for Superman comics started dropping, a creative team, whose leader was Jurgens, came up with the storyline that changed Comic Book industry: The Death and Return of Superman. Now, after the death of New 52 Superman, the Clark Kent/Superman we all know and love is back to DC Comics main timeline. 

If you remember the event Convergence, in which Brainiac brought several characters form different timelines to see how they would interact, you remember Clark and Lois, from the pre-Flashpoint timeline, got trapped in the current one. Lois, who was pregnant, delivered a baby they named Jonathan to honor Clark's adopted father. For the past 5 years the family adopted the name White and lived a calm life in a small town, but both Clark and Lois continued their activities in the dark. Him as a superhero and her as a writer X, who was investigating the Intergang. Those are all past events, though. Now the family, after being discovered by the Intergang, has moved to the semi-rural area close to Metropolis. Jon knows his father was a Superman before, although now he prefers not to interfere, while the boy himself is dealing with discoveries of his super powers.

When Lex Luthor, now bearing the S shield, decides to take over as Metropolis' new protector, the "old" Superman decides to resume his activities since he doesn't believe any good can come from the man that was one of his worst enemies. While they battle against each other, for the right to be the "new" Superman, an old threat is back to Metropolis: Doomsday, the creature that once killed the Man of Steel. For what it seems, an unlike alliance between Lex and Superman will have to be done to stop the killing machine.

And, weird enough, there's a new Clark Kent in the city. Yes, a man claiming to be Clark, who seems to have no relation to any of the Supermen, is in Metropolis and resuming his activities as reporter in the Daily Planet. One more mystery for the series. Although, I have to say, I think this new Clark Kent is either a shape-shifter or a robot and he's in Metropolis to help the new Superman to be back to his old life and secret identity. New 52's Superman secret identity was made public in the previous series, so, to have a "fake" Clark Kent interacting in the world right now would be a good idea to make people "forget" him and Superman were once the same person. They used this trick before, after the Return of Superman saga: To justify the return of Clark Kent, they had the shape-shifter Matrix becoming the reporter for a while. Remember that? Well, I do.

As as for Lois Lane's return, check it HERE.

The art in this issue, provided by the talented Patrick Zircher, is incredible and leads me to believe Action Comics is going to be as great as it was before.

Wonder Woman Rebirth #1 - Review

Who's Wonder Woman?

I bet an answer (some answer) just popped up in your mind, right?

Of course it did. After all, we're dealing with one of the most iconic characters in Pop Culture. Even if you never read a single Wonder Woman comic book or seen any episode of the famous 70's TV show starred by Lynda Carter, you'd still know who I'm talking about. 

Then, again, who's Wonder Woman?

That's a question Diana herself cannot answer at this point. She got lost in her own legend, her own myth. She doesn't know who she is or where she really came from. What she made out of clay and sand, brought to life by the power of the Gods? Or is she the daughter of the one God, Zeus? Was she really an only child? If not, what are the other secrets the Amazons have been holding from her? For a person who takes pride at truth and justice, it can be a little of a disappointment when she can't even be true to herself.

Greg Rucka the writer responsible for the new Wonder Woman title is taking us in a journey. A journey for the truth, for self-discovery and we follow his lead as Diana undresses herself from her old persona and is reborn with a new attitude. There's no much room to cry about or revisit the past: Diana's is stepping forward, towards revelations that will change everything she thought she knew. And this issue is just the beginning.

About the art... To be honest I don't like it very much when we have more than one artist in the title. It kind of breaks the experience for me. Even though they share many similarities, the change of style from a page to another is underwhelming. Nevertheless, what's coming for Wonder Woman is very exciting and something to be looking forward to.

While the odd numbered issues will deal with stories in the present, the even ones will deal with the "Year One" events, that comes to unify once and for all the origins of the Amazon Princess. This issue left me begging for more. I think it's never going to be as good as the George Pérez run, but I'll give it a try. Who knows? I may be surprised!

June 08, 2016

The Flash Rebirth #1 - Review

Flash is a hero who's always been popular in the DC Universe. More so after the recent success of the  TV show starred by Grant Gustin, going for its third season on CW. I even think the Rebirth Barry Allen design was inspired in the actor. Anyway, we're back to the basics, but not in a basic way.

In the beginning of the issue we see a murder of a mother, whose witness was her only son and her husband is the main suspect in the case. It seems that we're about the see Barry's origin retold, but it is soon revealed as just a similar case and Barry, as a CSI, is up to investigate the mystery. However, that's not the only mystery Barry has to put up with: his life as Flash has suffered a turning point with Wally West's return in the one-shot DC Universe Rebirth and now he has all his memories, once erased by a major, yet hidden, force, back to him. What does it bring to Barry's reality, though?

We're not dealing with a starting point for the new Flash series, but with an immediate sequel to the Rebirth Special. What is happening to both Wally and Barry as speedsters is explained and also give us a hint of what the pair will do to try to recover the other heroes' memories. Also, Flash advises Wally to get a new uniform and a new alias, as he goes his way to find the Titans and Barry goes to the only person he thinks is able to help him now: The Batman.

Not a lot of surprises here, not  many revelations either. But Carmine Di Giandomenico, the artist in charge of the new series, shows why he was an obvious choice for the job. His artistic style blends well with the character's atmosphere. The way the Flash is conceived, with the streaks of energy running all over his body is incredible, and he will for sure make a good partnership with Joshua Williamson, who seems to understand the material he's writing for quite well. Well enough to deliver good interactions between the characters and take Barry's charisma to another lever.

Although for me this issue works as an ending for the Barry/Wally re-encounter, it gave me some good feeling about this upcoming series. Flash is part of what I love about DC Comics!