What will we see in Zack Snyder’s JUSTICE LEAGUE?

Superman: Red Son (Warner Bros. Animation/DC Comics)

SUPERMAN: RED SON director Sam Liu’s best DC animated movie moments

Sam Liu is a Chinese American director, storyboard artist and character designer popularly known for directing animated superhero films. Liu has directed most DCAMU films, a series of animated superhero films produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment featuring legends including Superman and Batman.

To celebrate the release of Liu’s latest DC animation direction, Superman: Red Son, we’re taking a look at some of the best DCAU films he’s directed to-date.

All Star Superman

Released in 2011, All Star Superman stars James Denton as the voice of Clark Kent and Christina Hendricks as the voice of Lois Lane.

The film follows Superman after he is overdosed with solar radiation while saving the crew of the first manned mission to The Sun. The radiation is slowly killing him, so he plans to spend the rest of his time alive fulfilling his lifelong dreams. However, Lex Luthor has other plans…

When Lex Luthor reveals his latest plot to control the world, Superman must use all the strength he has left to stop him.

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract

Released in 2017, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract stars Stuart Allan as the voice of Robin and Jake T. Austin as Blue Beetle.

Teen Titans Beast Boy, Raven, Blue Beetle, Robin and newly-returned Nightwing are a team led by Starfire, fighting the never-ending battle against evil. Their newest team member, Terra, is mysterious and powerful. Terra threatens to alter the usually cohesive dynamic of the group.

However, the ancient evil Brother Blood has awakened and familiar foe Deathstroke is lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce. Ultimately, the Teen Titans will need to battle their enemies as well as their own team doubts to come together and overcome the malicious forces around them in this twisting tale of intrigue, adventure and deception.

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines (Warner Bros.)

Released in 2019, Wonder Woman: Bloodlines stars Rosario Dawson as the voice of Wonder Woman. This film was directed by Sam Liu in conjunction with Justin Copeland.

In this epic instalment, renowned Justice League member Wonder Woman makes it her mission to help a troubled young girl, Vanessa, who has fallen in with a deadly organization known as Villainy Inc. headed by Dr. Cyber.

Villainy criminal members plan on invading Themyscira, Wonder Woman’s paradise home. Equally strong in body, heart and will, Wonder Woman faces an epic battle to keep Themyscira safe.

Superman: Red Son

Released on Digital Download February 25, and on Blu-Ray and DVD in March this year (2020), Superman: Red Son stars Golden Globe-nominated Jason Isaacs as the voice of Kal-El.

Based on DC’s famed Elseworlds tale from 2003, Superman: Red Son is the highly anticipated new entry in the DCAMU. This film takes place in an alternate reality where the spaceship bearing the last survivor of Krypton crash lands – not in rural Kansas, but in Stalinist Russia.

Can this Cold War-era Earth survive the coming of a Soviet Superman?

The cast of the latest direct-to-video film includes Jason Isaacs (Batman: Under the Red Hood) as Superman; Diedrich Bader (Batman: Brave and the Bold) as Lex Luthor; Amy Acker (Angel) as Lois Lane; Vanessa Marshall (Star Wars Rebels) as Wonder Woman; Phil Morris (Doom Patrol) as James Olsen; Paul Williams (Goliath) as Brainiac; Sash Roiz (Grimm) and Phil LaMarr(Supergirl) as Hal Jordan and Jon Stewart; and Roger Graig Smith (Arkham Origins) as Batman.

Red Son‘ will also introduce a number of Cold War-era figures seen in the source material. Travis Willingham (Batman: Bad Blood) will voice John F. Kennedy and Superior Man, while William Sayers (Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders) will voice Joseph Stalin, and Ave Zoli will voice Svetlana.

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Birds of Prey (Warner Bros.)

James’ Top Harley Quinn Moments

There is no denying that Harley Quinn has soared in terms of popularity since her first appearance in 1992. 28 years ago. Since her first appearance in Batman: The Animated Series, Harleen Quinzel has dominated the super villain world, despite being Joker’s accomplice and occasional pain in the neck.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation (CBS)

Neil’s top five PICARD moments in history

Star Trek: Picard finally makes its global debut this week. The return of Jean-Luc Picard begins on CBS All Access in North America tomorrow, with the series hitting international shores on Friday via Amazon Prime.

To celebrate we’re taking a look back at the illustrious career of the former Admiral Picard and today our own Captain, Neil, is choosing his favourite moments from Trek history.

Humble Beginnings…

“Encounter At Farpoint” – Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987)

Back in 1987 Star Trek was that classic show with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy which you probably watched on re-runs. The show had run for three seasons and had become something of a cult hit when news broke that CBS was bringing the show back to life, not with Shatner but a whole new crew and a whole new Enterprise.

“Encounter At Farpoint” was our first introduction to Patrick Stewart as the then cold and commanding Jean-Luc Picard. For us here in the UK we would have to wait until September 1992 to see Star Trek: The Next Generation for the first time. In a world before the internet can you imagine waiting five years to see a show?

“Farpoint” placed Picard squarely on the bridge of the Enterprise, in the captains chair. He was no Captain Kirk clone and the show was quick to tell us such a fact. But succeeding where its predecessor did not TNG – as it became affectionately known – set up a huge mystery and rivalry by also introducing us to Q (John DeLancie) who would taunt Picard for the next seven years.

Picard was instantly an intriguing character to audiences. He represented a strong male lead but his relationships with the bridge crew and history with ship’s doctor Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) positioned him for some heavy character development in the future.

Finding Picard’s Inner Light…

“The Inner Light” – Star Trek: The Next Generation (1992)

In 1992 (or 1995 if you – like us – were in the UK), TNG premiered one of its most poignant and successful episodes.

“The Inner Light” would go on to become one of the series most decorated episodes when it won the 1993 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. The episode was also nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Makeup for a Series.

The episode saw Picard take over by an alien probe and reliving the lives of one of its people, Kamin. Living on the planet Kataan, Kamin is an iron weaver who also studies nature. Through the course of the episode he lives almost an entire lifetime, Kamin has children, grandchildren and grows to understand that his world is doomed.

It’s a poignant tale of love and loss as Kamin, now an old man, watches his grandchildren as a rocket is launched from Kataan, containing the memories of its people, in the hope someone will eventually learn their story.

Picard wakes up on the bridge of the Enterprise with a lifetime of memories learned in only 25 minutes. Meanwhile the Enterprise crew learns of the planet Kataan and its destruction almost 1,000 years prior.

The episode was voted one of the top three Star Trek episodes of all time at a Las Vegas Trek convention in 2016.

In 2015, The Hollywood Reporter noted the episode’s presentation of Picard remembering his probe-life and quietly playing the Ressikan flute in his cabin, as one of the top ten “most stunning” moments of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

In 2016, Empire ranked this the tenth best out of the top 50 episodes of all the 700+ Star Trek television episodes.

In 2019, Screen Rant ranked “The Inner Light” as one of the top ten important episodes to watch in preparation for the series Star Trek: Picard.

“Jean-Luc, blow up the damn ship!”

Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

By 1996 Star Trek: The Next Generation had wrapped up a seven year run on network TV, the UK had finally caught up too, and it made the leap to the silver screen.

’96 saw the release of the second TNG film, First Contact, which pitted Picard against on old foe… the Borg!

The alien race, first seen in season 2’s “Q Who” were given a massive overhaul for the big screen, making them even more formidable than in any previous appearance.

Their return brought plenty of challenges for Picard, with his PTSD following the events of “Best of Both Worlds” resurfacing. Losing control of the newly christened Enterprise-E, Picard is forced to face up to the fact he may be trapped in 2063 after being caught in the temporal wake of a Borg sphere.

Much of First Contact pairs Picard with the brilliantly written Lily Sloane played by Alfre Woodard. In a particularly poignant scene Picard, locked in the observation lounge looking for a weapon to defeat the Borg, is confronted by Lily. As she tries to persuade Picard to set the self-destruct mode and destroy the Borg for good he loses his temper, shattering the display of model Enterprise ships on the back wall.

It’s a moment which will forever be burned in to the minds of Star Trek fans, showing that the franchise had moved far beyond its purely science fiction past and in to an emotionally complex future.

Captains United…

Star Trek: Generations (1994)

1994 saw the first big screen outing for the TNG crew, luckily for them a few old friends came along to pass the torch. The film featured a prologue set heavily in the world of The Original Series with William Shatner (James T. Kirk), Walter Koenig (Chekov) and James Doohan (Scotty) making an appearance.

Those scenes saw the apparent demise of James Kirk, but he would appear later in the film to team up with Captain Picard to take down the villainous Tolien Soran (Malcolm McDowell). An anomaly in space folding time enough to let the two captains share the screen was inspired writing.

Patrick Stewart and William Shatner had great on-screen chemistry and the well written dialogue allowed the metaphorical torch to be expertly passed between the two.

Though the film was ultimately a vehicle to propel the TNG cast in to cinematic history, it succeeded in giving James T. Kirk a heroic end to his story and cemented Jean-Luc Picard’s place in Star Trek history.

“No, no… something Latin!”

In 1998, Star Trek: Insurrection marked a turning point in the TNG history. Less warmly received than its predecessor, many saw Insurrection as the beginning of the end of the franchise.

But diminishing box office returns didn’t mean the series was done surprising fans…

The film, based on a story by Rick Berman and written by Michael Miller, pitted the crew of the Enterprise against their own when a group of Federation officials go rogue. Their plan? To harness the life extending energies of the planet Ba’Ku.

As the crew of the Enterprise spend time on the planet they begin to revert to more energetic, youthful versions of themselves and it makes for plenty of laughs. But for Picard it offers the opportunity to challenge the path before him.

He falls in love with Ba’Ku elder Anij (Donna Murphy) and learns to slow the path of time and literally live in the moment. It revitalises his character ahead of the fourth and final TNG film, Nemesis.

But my favourite Picard moment (and one of the most meme’d Trek moments in history) also happens in this film. Presenting to you: Picard does Mambo!

Star Trek: Picard is set to star Patrick Stewart, Santiago Cabrera, Michelle Hurd, Isa Briones, Harry Treadaway, Alison Pill, Jeri Ryan, Jonathan Del Arco and Evan Evagora. The series debuts on CBS All Access on January 23, 2020 followed by a release on Amazon Prime in the UK and internationally on January 24.

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Breaking down the biggest moments in the final BIRDS OF PREY trailer

Yesterday brought the final trailer for Warner Bros. Birds of Prey. The film hits cinemas in just under a month and today we’re taking a look at several key moments from the latest trailer to see what hints they might give about the final film.

A reliable storyteller?

The trailer opens with an extended look at a scene from the previous trailer. Harley (Margot Robbie) enters a GCPD station and tells the cop on the desk that she’s there to report a crime, when he asks her what crime she pulls out a gun and fires. The scene freezes and Harley, now in narration, tells us she got the story wrong and starts again.

We know from the film’s synopsis that Harley will be the one in charge of telling the story of Birds of Prey. But how much can we trust what she tells us? Could much of the story be exaggerated because it comes from Harley’s POV? Is she really working with Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and Montoya (Rosie Perez)?

We wouldn’t be surprised if in the film’s final act it is revealed that Harley’s tale isn’t quite the truth of events!

Return to ACE Chemicals

Before beginning her emancipation, Harley makes one huge gesture after her breakup with Joker. She returns to ACE Chemicals, the place where she was dumped in to a vat of acid, to blow the joint up.

It’s a symbolic moment for Harley as she closes the book on her time with Joker and her transformation and looks forward to her future. It echoes a similar moment in the animated series Harley Quinn when she learns that she jumped in to the acid rather than being pushed by Joker.

Revenge mission…

A the trailer progresses we learn more about just why Harley joins up with the rest of the gang and why they are taking a stand against Black Mask (Ewan McGregor). Each of the main cast has, for some reason, annoyed the crime boss and now he’s building an army to take them down.

Cass (Ella Jay Basco) stole a diamond from Mask’s henchman Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina) before she meets up with Harley. Huntress killed one of his best guards. Canary, once a singer in his club, sold him out, most likely to the GCPD. Finally, Montoya was brave enough to go against the corruption in the police force to build a case against him.

Alone they can’t stand against his arm of masks, but together they can make a stand!

Raising an army…

Though we don’t know his whole plan, it seems that Black Mask is building an army in his mission to take revenge on each of the Birds. We see several shots throughout the trailer where he is surrounded by goons also wearing intricate masks.

It seems this version of the character has some quirkier personality traits including a penchant for disguising his and his henchmen’s faces.

But the question remains: when the movie ends and credits roll, will the mask be burned on to his face? Or will Roman Sionis remain intact underneath his garish disguise?

Personality traits…

In 2016’s Suicide Squad we got to to see Dr. Harleen Quinzel’s transformation in to Harley Quinn. Following her transformation we saw Harley making use of her skills as a psychologist to try and manipulate her squad team mates.

In this scene it seems like she’s up to her old tricks as she goes all analytic on Huntress. It might seem like a comedy moment at first but it also emphasises that despite all of her craziness, Harley still retains all of the intelligence she had before her breakdown.

Could the Clown Princess of Crime talk her way out of a hot spot or two purely but using her old mental prowess?

A scar for the ages…

We’ve seen very little of Victor Zsasz in the trailers so far. But this scene makes it clear that he will, to some degree, show off his trademark scars.

In the comics Zsasz permanently marks himself for each of his kills. The lack of visible scaring here could indicate that he’s early in his career or has only recently taken up the practice of scarification.

Either way we’re excited to his relationship with Black Mask as they are played as a bit of an odd couple in the trailer and it looks like a unique take of both of this classic comic book characters.

Roller Derby Harley

It would be remiss not to mention the flash of footage from the roller derby scene in the trailer. Though we have no context for how and why this scene takes place it looks set to be a classic Harley Quinn moment and one we cannot wait to see in action!

Canary Cry!

From the beginning fans have been worried about the comic book accuracy of Birds of Prey. The lack of Batgirl is a fairly major departure from the comics but up until now we’ve also yet to see Black Canary using her iconic Canary Cry.

We always knew it would be in there but until now we didn’t know what form it would take. This trailer finally shows, but doesn’t let us hear, exactly how the cry will work in action. As Dinah projects her voice forwards it throws a crowd of nearby goons flying.

The visual effect makes it look like Dinah is being seen underwater. It looks like very cool ripples or waves of sonic energy being blasted towards her victims. We cannot wait to hear what it sounds like!

A nod to The Dark Knight

In the final shot of the trailer finally introduces us to one of Harley’s trademark hyenas. It seems she may only have one rather than the traditional two but this is still a scene not to be missed.

As Cass is bemused by a hyena sitting in a bathtub, Harley proudly tells her that she named the animal Bruce after none other than Bruce Wayne who she refers to as cute. If only Harley knew that she had kissed him through his cowl eh!?

Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) stars Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary and Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya. The movie will be directed by Cathy Yan and arrives in cinemas on February 7, 2020.

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Ranking the SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME Spidey suits

Monday sees the release of Sony Pictures summer blockbuster Spider-Man: Far From Home on DVD and Blu-ray™ here in the UK. To celebrate we’re taking a look at the five different suits that Tom Holland’s wall crawler wears in the film. But before we do that let’s take a look at a clip from the film’s bonus features.

There are five, yes FIVE, different suits worn by Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Far From Home and here we’re going to rank them from worst-to-best (just our opinion of course!).

Homemade Homecoming suit

During one of Far From Home‘s more outlandish sequences, Peter finds himself back in his original, homemade costume first seen in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming.

When Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) lures Peter to a disused warehouse during his trip to Europe, he gets the upper hand on Peter by using his holographic technology to warp reality.

The scene culminates in a nearly defeated Peter suddenly being transported back to his Spidey origins and his homemade suit. Featuring crude goggles and a design make out of a hoodie and what looks like a pair of blue PJs it doesn’t do much for Peter by way of armour.

We loved this costume in Homecoming as it showed Peter taken back-to-basics in his fight with Vulture (Michael Keaton). There he used nothing but his powers and his wits to win the day. But in Far From Home that setup is flipped on its head by director Jon Watts.

Instead the costume represents Peter, defeated and at his lowest point. For this reason we’re putting the homemade suit at the bottom of our list!

Iron Spider

Avengers: Infinity War

For many their first taste of the Iron Spider costume came during Avengers: Infinity War when Peter, trapped on the hull of one of Thanos’ ships, is heading in to outer space. As the oxygen beings to thin Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jnr.) calls the Iron Spider suit to save the day.

It’s easily one of the most comic book accurate costumes we’ve ever seen him wear on film. In Far From Home the costume is largely absent. Peter wears the suit in early scenes before heading out to Europe. We see him attending a charity event alongside Aunt May (Maurisa Tomei) but there’s very little action to speak of.

On the home video release of Far From Home you can see the suit get in on the action in the new short-film “Peter’s To-Do List” in a scene briefly glimpses in one of the trailers.

Whilst the suit is easily one of Spidey’s most powerful weapons, it also serves as a huge reminder of everything he (and we!) lost in Avengers: Endgame. For Far From Home to be able to move on from the incredible loss of Iron Man it feels important to the story that he be able to move on from wearing the suit.

Classic Homecoming suit

The classic Spidey look. No film would be complete without the red and blue suit. As Peter is packing for his school trip to Europe he is keen to leave the suit and his alter-ego behind. But when Customs opens his suitcase he’s immediately confronted by the suit and note from Aunt May ensuring he has the costume in case it’s required.

This is the look that the majority of the audience associate with the character and it would be disingenuous not to have included it in the film. Even in its short time on screen it resets the audiences expectations of the character and allows some breathing space between the events of Endgame and the real beginning of the action in Far From Home.

The look was designed in Spider-Man: Homecoming by costume designer Louise Frogley who spoke at length with SFX magazine about creating Spidey’s iconic look.

When asked that the hardest part of creating the costume was, Frogley explained “Endless experimenting to get the texture right. We were printing on a dyed textile. The dots we were printing looked a bit like a ping pong bat. If you got the dots too high, too raised, they would collapse. If they were too close together or too far apart they would strobe. The dots drove me nuts for weeks and weeks! It’s all the tiny details. The only way to get it to look simple and perfect is for the work to be impeccable. It drives people crazy – these poor women would be in the work room crying, or throwing scissors!

Well we think you did an awesome job and we hope to get to see this costume in action again in the future!

Night Monkey

Perhaps the most iconic new look in Far From Home is the stealth suit which has lovingly become known as Night Monkey. When Peter is drafted in by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) on a mission in Europe has begs for a way to hide his identity from his school friends.

It’s a smart idea in the context of the film to have Peter fully aware that suddenly being Spidey, in Europe, in the same place as the school trip may put his secret identity in danger.

When SH.I.E.L.D. creates him a new, stealth look, Peter isn’t hugely impressed with the immobility of the outfit. But when Molten Man appears and causes havoc in Prague there’s little time to worry about a tight fitting costume.

During the fight Ned (Jacob Batalan) and Betty (Angourie Rice) are trapped atop a ferris wheel. When Betty spots the web slinging hero she – rightly – calls out to Spider-Man. Ned distracts her by claiming this is a European equivalent known as Night Monkey, a name which has stuck with the suit ever since.

Sony even released a trailer promoting the home video release of the film as if it were titled Night Monkey!

Speaking about the costume, director Jon Watts said “Because we have Nick Fury in this movie, I thought, ‘What would it look like if Spider-Man had a suit that was essentially designed by the S.H.I.E.L.D. team?’”

As cool as it is to see Spidey wearing something different, the suit itself isn’t quite as exciting as our number one pick for best costume in the film…

Black and Red

In the film’s third act Peter is backed in a corner with only Happy (Jon Favreau) and some Stark tech on his side. In a moment of emotional acceptance of the loss of Tony and his place in the post-Endgame world Peter crafts himself a new costume which easily tops our list as the best suit in the film.

The red and black costume brings a contemporary edge to Spidey. It features his classic web wings, a costume feature rarely seen in live-action but mixes the tech of the Iron Spider suit and the classic design of the red and blue.

Far From Home costume designer Anna Biedrzycka-Sheppard spoke with EW about the design of Spidey’s newest look, saying “It has to be stretchy, and it has to withstand a lot of trouble and different gymnastics he does in the movie.”

Sheppard, who previously worked on Captain America: The First Avenger and Maleficent went on to say “A lot of movement, a lot of stretching in every possible direction — plus it has to be breathable because he’s wearing a mask over his face all the time.”

This look encapsulates Peter’s rise from the ashes and brings his journey full circle as he saves the day and gets the girl. Whilst the coda scene in Far From Home teases an uncertain future for the character, at least we know he’s stepping in to his future in some stylish threads!

Let us known in the comments which was your favourite Spidey costume in Far From Home!

Spider-Man: Far From Home Digital Gifting Box is available now from select retailers and will be available to own on DVD & Blu-ray from 11th November.

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