When it was announced late last year that Mattel would be losing the master license to make DC Comics-related action figures, I wasn’t sure how to react. On the one hand, I had pretty much stopped buying Mattel’s offerings when they ended their DC Universe Classics line around 2012. On the other, I’ve been an avid collector of these figures ever since popular action figure sculptors the Four Horsemen gave us Zipline Batman in 2003. Of course, in the years since, I moved on — preferring more premium toymakers like SH Figuarts for my DC fix. But I couldn’t help coming back to Mattel one last time for an all-Batman wave to close out their 16-year run on the character.
Originally published at NBC Asian America
I am an avid toy collector, and every few years I like to take stock of the number of action figures that feature Asian American and Pacific Islander characters. When I started doing this in 2009, it was difficult coming up with enough figures to fill out a Top Five list. Fortunately, it has become much easier to populate these lists since AAPI visibility in pop culture has dramatically increased in the intervening years. In fact, I actually had a difficult time winnowing down this year’s list since there are so many AAPI action figures from which to choose! Moreover, nearly every slot on the list is populated by female characters, which hopefully puts to rest the fallacy that girls don’t buy action figures.
Suicide Squad director and writer David Ayer has written a screenplay that is flat and not very exciting. The editing is all over the place and most of the characters are boring. This may not be all Ayer’s fault. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Warner Brothers gave him only six weeks to write whatever he could and went straight to shooting. Why did the studio let this happen?!
I will give Ayer props for making the cast unique in that it’s one of the few (maybe the only) comic book film with such a diverse group of actors in major roles.
So let’s talk about Suicide Squad, one of the most highly anticipated films of the year.
Figuring they’re all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret mission. Now armed with government weapons, Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc and other despicable inmates must learn to work together. Dubbed Task Force X, the criminals unite to battle a mysterious and powerful entity, while the diabolical Joker (Jared Leto) launches an evil agenda of his own.
The verdict? There was some pacing issues and the worldbuilding/mythos was a bit rushed, especially considering this is only the third movie in the DCEU universe. Definitely some areas of opportunity in terms of the editing. It made the one scene with Amanda Waller handing out pinkslips gangsta style a bit on the nose.
We all know that DC’s television universe is a force to be reckoned with. Hell, the Berlanti-verse alone is already four shows deep across two networks, with each show — even Supergirl — all but guaranteed to return next season. Now that the DC Universe is firmly entrenched on the small screen, I think they should continue the pattern of spinning off characters into their own series. In fact, DC should look to spinning off no less than three shows next year: the obvious ones being Martian Manhunter and Vixen, but I want to make the case for another team show: Birds of Prey featuring the female heroes from the Arrow-verse.
Another Oliver-light episode, “Unchained,” focuses on Felicity, Nyssa, and ROY’S RETURN! It was wonderful how much light Roy brought back to the group. He had Oliver smiling and everyone happily working together as a team.
“This is Your Sword” was another mixed bag of an episode. It had a lot of great moments, but as I’ve been saying in the recaps recently, the overall stakes don’t make any sense. The audience is steps ahead of the characters, telling them what will happen instead of wondering. We end with a cliffhanger where every member of Team Arrow (save Thea) “dies” from the Alpha/Omega bio-weapon. Yeah, uhm okay. Sure. That totally happened.
The end of this week’s Arrow gutted me (and Oliver) more than the literally torso-piercing mid-season finale did. As I write this I am still in shock and can’t really move. We’ll get to that later though.
Seven episodes into season three of Arrow and one thing is clear: the universe that is being assembled on The CW is the most consistently entertaining take on DC’s heroes I’ve ever seen in live action1. Coming in to “Draw Back Your Bow,” I was actually expecting it to be one of the weaker ones of the series (and trust me, there were some weak spots, but more on that later) because I didn’t think Cupid — played convincingly by Amy Gumenick — would be a compelling enough villain. But by and large, the quality of the episode was up to par with the rest of the season so far.
We are definitely living in a golden age of superhero television. Last year, we dedicated an episode of Hard NOC Life about the topic of comic book adaptations in prime time, but this season has seen a dramatic increase as the first three days of the week are chock full of superheroes — with DC heroes dominating the landscape1. And while Gotham on Fox and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC get all the press — because they’re on major broadcast outlets — those two shows should be taking notes from The CW, the network that does superheroes better than anyone.
I’ve already sung the praises of The Flash. Not to be outdone by their newly arrived companion, the third season premiere of Arrow kicked off with one a hell of an episode! Fortunately, Rodrigo was live-tweeting along with all of the other Arrowheads. Warning: there be spoilers ahead!
In a surprise press release last week, Warner Home Video announced a blu-ray and DVD release for Beware the Batman, the most recent animated iteration of the Dark Knight Detective. This was a surprise because the announcement was last week and the disc comes out today. While there may have been some rumblings earlier in the month about a possible home video release, most DVD announcements usually give buyers way more lead time than just “next week.”
Though it was a pretty big departure from how Batman has typically been depicted in animation, Beware’s dark and emotional storylines quickly attained a loyal following every Saturday morning. Unfortunately, the suits at Cartoon Network didn’t feel that enough of these loyal fans were watching and unceremoniously pulled the plug after only airing for a few months. Though it was never officially cancelled, it was never not cancelled either (and the rest of the episodes haven’t seen the light of day ever since).
But hey, we fans are getting a blu-ray (available today only at WBShop.com), so hooray?