Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Batman/Superman Movie: World’s Finest (1996) DVD

Worlds Finest and Worlds Worst
Rating:  3 out of 5 progressively larger robots of destruction

Plot Synopsis:  Batman and Superman team up.  They are the World’s Finest.  Joker and Lex Luthor team up.  They are not.

The Good:

-I love the animated Joker theme, it’s so recognizable.

-This is animated in the later, more stylized Batman The Animated series art.  I prefer this style to the original, albeit more realistic, style.  But it is unique, Joker’s skin is gray with beady little black eyes.  Catwoman was blue and Poison Ivy was green.

-I had such a crush on animated Lois Lane, Dana Delany was the perfect voice for her.

-I like the relationship between Lois and Clark in the animated series.  It’s playful and flirty but with an edge of competition.

-Clancy Brown is great as the voice of Lex.  This is really the definitive Lex Luthor.

-Harley Quinn kidnaps Lex and while she’s driving she comments on the cute hitch hiker who happens to be Joker showing off his feminine legs.  I imagine this is part of the weird role playing they do, that they went over it before hand and it’s an extension of their bizarre personal life.

-The way Joker says “Corinthian”

-Joker propositioning Lex on killing Superman.  If you’re good at something you don’t do it for free.

-“You’ll be Mr. Clean.” Joker to Lex, a nice subtle bald joke.

-I like that Harley is the one to get her hands dirty.  She acts as Joker’s muscle while Joker cleans up the weakest scrubs.

-Bruce Wayne is charming with flashes of Batman’s intensity.


-Batman judo throws Superman.

-Superman uses x-ray vision to see who Batman is and Batman uses badass to find out who Superman is.

-I like that Gotham has a retro feel while Metropolis has a futuristic feel.  You can’t really pinpoint when either is taking place.  Gotham often feels like it’s existing in the 30’s while Metropolis exists sometime in the near future.  Two totally different aesthetics for two totally different heroes.

-There’s a good, friendly but mildly antagonistic rivalry between Bruce and Clark.

-After saving Superman and Lois Batman calls his Batplane then shoots it with his grappling hook flying off like a boss.

-Hey, I didn’t know Mercy was voiced by Lisa Eddlestein.

-While Luthor and Joker discuss their business deal gone bad (Luthor paid Joker a billion dollars to kill Superman, which he didn’t do) Harley and Mercy have a knockdown, drag out fight in the background that leaves them both hurting.  I like how both of these criminals use women as the muscle.

-Harley hums the Joker theme while she repaints a giant flying wing.

The Bad:

-It’s slow, it’s 17 minutes in before we get an action scene that’s longer than a minute.

-Bibbo looks like Popeye, I like the comic version better.

-Yeah, just yell my secret identity why don’t you.  Use your x-ray vision to violate my privacy and then announce my secret identity to a room full of crooks.  Thanks boy scout.

-Isn’t melted kryptonite the same as regular kryptonite just more wet?  I don’t see how dousing it in acid eliminates it ability to weaken Superman.

-That’s why you don’t wear capes, they just get caught in things like printing presses.

-Is there anybody who doesn’t know who Batman is?

-Mercy gets punked too often.  Harley gets her badass moments but never gets them taken away by getting owned.  Mercy gets her background fight with Harley but on at least 3 different occasions she gets taken out effortlessly.

-There’s always a bigger robot.

-Kryptonite gives off deadly radiation right?  I mean it gave Lex cancer at one point.  Are you really going to allow it to fall into a river?

-Batman makes a funny.  I won’t ruin it.

The Ugly:

-The animation is good, the quality is decent, but it’s clearly a product of its time.  The main characters are well animated but the background guys get less care.  It’s kind of hit and miss, especially when there’s dynamic action.

Final Thoughts:  This is a low investment movie in pretty much every sense of the word.  It’s only an hour long, originally a 2 part episode of I believe the Superman animated series.  It was a part of the WB block of television that aired every day.  Man, I lived for that block of television.  Both of these series were a major part of my life.  Everyday I’d get home and I’d watch that block of television, it was an hour and a half and you’d sometimes get 2 Superman cartoons and a Batman cartoon or 2 Batman’s and a Superman and it was nice because you could get a 2 parter out of the way in an afternoon rather than trying to find the next airing.  This was before DVR’s, the age of TV guides because cable box guides weren’t even a thing where I lived until, like, 2002.  So, in other words, even if you set your VCR to the next known airing they could air that conclusion some other time leaving you with a major case of story blue balls while you watch a rerun.

            Man that brings back memories, and really that’s what this little movie is all about.  It brings back memories.  It’s a nice little nostalgia trip, back to being a kid.  The story is pretty straight forward, it gets the job done, the animation, while dated, has aged pretty well.  The pacing is that of a TV show.  You get some minor action at about the 15 minute mark with big action at the 30 to close out each episode.  The movie can feel a little slow as a result.  I found those first 10 minutes to be a little hard and it drags a bit here and there.  It feels longer than its 60 minute run time but what made it more bearable for me was the nostalgia.  However I did find myself surfing Wikipedia and checking my email at a few points.  But boiled down it’s a decent movie with a satisfying final climax.  As I said because it was originally two episodes you get a mini climax about half way through.  Usually multiple climaxes is a good thing but here, it doesn’t work too well.

            I got this at Target for I believe 3 dollars.  They marked down the 5 dollar DVD’s for some kind of sale.  It’s a double feature with The Batman vs. Dracula.  That’s also what I mean by it’s a low investment film.  You can get it cheap, the story isn’t complicated, it’s only an hour.  You have to invest virtually nothing into this movie, you just have to be prepared for that.  If you remember these animated series fondly you could probably add a star, if you got a kid and want an inexpensive introduction to Batman and Superman it works for that too.  The story is simple, good guys win, bad guys lose.  There’s not a complex moral tale (but has a positive message: be good), there’s virtually no violence and what little there is, is pretty cartoony and being as short as it is will probably hold a kids attention to the end.  So if you spot it at your local Target pick it up, it’s a nice little cross-over.

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