Tag Archives: Life Lesson from Mal

Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher

Story

Frank Castle (a.k.a. The Punisher) is hunting down a group selling high tech weapons that are tearing up his streets. After finding a location where a sale is happening, he makes an entrance and annihilates everyone except for the seller Cain. You have to keep one alive for questioning after all. After a “polite conversation” he manages to get a location out of him and is dragging him off for more information, maybe, and is interrupted by Black Widow.

We soon discover that S.H.I.E.L.D. was investigating Cain as part of a bigger operation to take down the terrorist organization, Leviathan. Punisher cuts a deal with Nick Fury to join the mission so he can get Cain and goes with Black Widow to find the weapons and suppliers. At the location Cain happily provided to Punisher before he escaped, they stumble across hundreds of bodies in pods being reconditioned to become stronger and act at the command of the highest bidder. Getting rid of one gun runner is the least of their problems.

Review

Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher is the second straight-to-DVD movie in their Marvel Anime line. This movie came out years after their four short lived anime series went off air (R.I.P. G4).

Being a big anime fan, I am in love with this style and animation. The art is bright, vibrant, and colors give more depth than you will normally see in western cartoons. The design of the characters is very Japanese in how they view Americans. It is almost videogame like in character design from character to character akin to Dead or Alive. The Punisher, being an ex-Marine and bruiser, is built much like a football player. Black Widow, being the superspy, is thin and stacked svelte like a konoichi (that means lady ninja in Japanese – Life Lessons from Mal).

In the same line, the hand to hand fights are awesome, but scarcer than they should be. The first fight between Black Widow and The Punisher is dynamic and is a big difference from their previous movies. Her acrobatics are reminiscent of Naruto. She dances around him while dodging bullets and breaking holds.99983fef866941adea9c8fcc598c2464ef428183_hq

The Punisher’s fighting reminds me of Christian Bale’s moves in Equilibrium plus Sam Fisher from the Splinter Cell game series. The camera changes and follows the muzzle of the gun as he fires to being like tied around her ankle and moving with her as she moves like a feather. There is another with Castle within S.H.I.E.L.D. that is cool, but they left me wanting even more.

The Punisher is voiced by Brian Bloom who does a lot of voice acting work for a lot of movies, television and games. His experience in the industry really shows in his performance. Bloom does a great job in making Punisher sound more like a troubled man on a mission following his own sense of justice versus an angry ex-soldier out to destroy the world. That takes real skill considering that Castle walks that thin line. After killing three S.H.I.E.L.D. agents under the influence of mind control at the time, you can hear the remorse and sadness in his voice as he surrenders himself to the next agents to enter. This was a “Save the Cat” moment that endeared you to this walking tank that puts no one above his sense of justice…not even himself.

Black Widow is voiced by Jennifer Carpenter who you might remember as Debra Morgan of Dexter fame. Her voice acting resume is not as long as Blooms, but she definitely holds her own as Agent Romanoff. She sounds strong and confident in her skills as a spy almost bordering on arrogant as well as determined to complete her mission. The best examples are probably her first fights with The Punisher. The first was showing off her skills and fearlessness even when The Punisher has two guns aimed and firing upon her. They also make an effort to make her less of the superspy and to show her vulnerable side when she discovers a lover of hers, whom she believed to be dead, is alive and working for Leviathan. She hesitates and pulls her punches, which is odd for Black Widow, but Carpenter brings this out perfectly in her portrayal.

There isn’t a lot to say about him, but Nick Fury is in this movie and sounds like Sam Jackson. He was actually voiced by John Eric Bentley and he does well. His performance does make me want to see another movie centered around Nick Fury unless The Hoff is the lead, however he would be an awesome cameo. It can’t be that hard to have a mission in Germany, right?

As a big DC fan, I will admit that I found this entry from Marvel Anime awesomely entertaining. The animation in Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher was great, the story was interesting, and the characters endearing. This is a must see for any comic book or anime fan. If you just appreciate good animation and want to see what can be done, this is a great example of how far they have evolved and how much further they can go (hint to DC…make a Green Lantern: Blackest Night animé). Hopefully Marvel will make more movies in the Avengers Confidential series and finally kill the Marvel Knights motion comics.

Poster for the movie ""
Fully Mature Evaluation:

Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher (2014)

PG-13 83 min - Animation, Science Fiction, Action - 25 March 2014

After interfering with a top secret mission, THE PUNISHER is taken into custody by S.H.I.E.L.D. AGENT and AVENGER, BLACK WIDOW. At the orders of Director Nick Fury, Punisher and Black Widow are sent on a mission to stop LEVIATHAN, a global terrorist organization, that plans to sell stolen S.H.I.E.L.D. technology to the highest bidder. Now, the vigilante and spy must work together to prevent this technology from falling into the wrong hands. The fate of the world, and of the AVENGERS, hangs in the balance.

Director:  Kenichi Shimizu

Storyline

After interfering with a top secret mission, THE PUNISHER is taken into custody by S.H.I.E.L.D. AGENT and AVENGER, BLACK WIDOW. At the orders of Director Nick Fury, Punisher and Black Widow are sent on a mission to stop LEVIATHAN, a global terrorist organization, that plans to sell stolen S.H.I.E.L.D. technology to the highest bidder. Now, the vigilante and spy must work together to prevent this technology from falling into the wrong hands. The fate of the world, and of the AVENGERS, hangs in the balance.



Tagline: All-New Marvel Animated Movie

Superman: Doomsday

Jimmy: OH MY GOD! He killed Superman!

Lois: YOU BASTARD!

Story

A genetically modified creature is unearthed during an illegal LexCorp dig. This creature, Doomsday, was sent to Earth thousands of years before. Not because its creators wanted to destroy the planet, but because they couldn’t kill it. Doomsday kills the workers that accidentally set him free and he paves a road of bodies on his way to Metropolis.

Meanwhile, Superman is in the Fortress of Solitude with Lois Lane on vacation. A quick Life Lesson from Mal, you don’t bring your woman to the FOS after six months. Always wait nine months minimum. Back to the story, Superman’s robutler (short for robot butler) informs him of the emergency back in Metropolis. This looks like a job for Superman.

Review

Superman: Doomsday was a good start for DC’s re-entry into the animated movie world releasing one year after Marvel’s first animated movie. The film’s core is based on the book The Death of Superman in which, SPOILER ALERT, Superman dies in.

It happens in the first thirty minutes, including opening credits so don’t worry. There is a lot more plot to be seen and it gets interesting as the movie continues especially after he comes back (or does he?).

Superman/Clark Kent is voiced by Adam Baldwin. He does a great job and delivers the strong voice and confident personality that you would expect from him. He sounds very genuine whether it’s his concern telling Lois his secret identity or reassuring the citizens how he is there to keep them safe. On the other hand, Lois Lane, voiced by Anne Heche, comes off as very flat for most of the film. She comes into character more as the film progresses and her scene with Martha Kent near the middle is her best scene. A weird thing is that Lois is almost treated as a side chick through the first quarter of the movie. Didn’t really have a point there other than I find it hilarious.

Lex Luthor, voiced by James Marsters, was probably too evil as a villain. It sounds weird, but he displayed more villainy in this movie compared to the combined evil of Lex in the animated series, Smallville (that’s not saying much), and the first movie. The best example is that he finds a cure for a muscular disease and gives it to his assistant. Not to cure it, but so that his scientists can turn that sure into a lifetime treatment. This new project was put on hold because his best scientist was doing the same for AIDs. He is arrogant, unapologetic, and gets a chub when contemplating ways to kill Superman. In short, the perfect comic book Lex Luthor.

The music score is classic and reminiscent of the animated series if you add a few years to everyone. Superman’s theme being the loud trumpet and trombone fanfare that let you know, “Your hero has arrived.” The animation and art style is simple, but well done. The fight scenes are built like comic panels so don’t expect The Raid: Redemption when you watch these fight scenes. They are constructed as very simple fist fights and a lot of off camera sounds fill in the blanks. It does make sense because Superman is in no way a martial artist. He hits things and they break so look forward to a super-powered bar room brawl.

Two big themes in Superman: Doomsday are dealing with loss and how a sense of duty can be twisted when given too much power. What do you do when your best friend gets beaten to death? Apparently a lot of drinking and, if you’re Jimmy Olsen, you take a job with TMZ and start wearing silk suits.  If you want to see a warped sense of power you’ll have to watch the movie. I promise that you won’t regret it.

This was a good first start for DC heading into the straight-to-dvd film realm. A great story, decent themes, and good acting makes this a must watch for any DC fan. The fight scenes do leave a lot to be desired, but this will improve in future DC projects. If you had an itch for something animated by DC since Justice League: Unlimited has gone off air, then this is definitely worth the watch.

Poster for the movie ""
Fully Mature Evaluation:

Superman: Doomsday (2007)

PG-13 75 min - Animation, Science Fiction, Action - 18 September 2007

When LexCorps accidentally unleash a murderous creature, Doomsday, Superman meets his greatest challenge as a champion. Based on the "The Death of Superman" storyline that appeared in DC Comics' publications in the 1990s

Director:  Lauren Montgomery, Bruce Timm
Stars:  Adam Baldwin, Anne Heche, James Marsters, John Di Maggio, Swoosie Kurtz, Tom Kenny, Ray Wise, Cree Summer, Adam Wylie, Chris Cox, Hettie Lynne Hurtes, James Arnold Taylor, Townsend Coleman, Kimberly Brooks

Storyline

When LexCorps accidentally unleash a murderous creature, Doomsday, Superman meets his greatest challenge as a champion. Based on the "The Death of Superman" storyline that appeared in DC Comics' publications in the 1990s



Tagline: Where were you the day Superman died?