Tag Archives: Kevin Conroy

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009) Movie Review By Stephen McLaughlin

SUPERMAN BATMAN PUBLIC ENEMIES

Director: Sam Liu
Writers: Jeph Loeb (comic book), Ed McGuinness (comic book)
Stars: Clancy Brown, Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Xander Berkeley, John C. McGinley

I have to say that i am enjoying my current DC Animated Universe binge-a-thon at the moment. Revisiting some great animated action and being introduced to some of the films that I missed the first time around, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies being one of them. Almost a decade old I feel pretty ashamed that I somehow missed out on this film on it’s original release. I have no excuses and for someone who claims to be a massive Superman and Batman fan, words fail me. I’m can only apologise for my ignorance.

Anyway, I was very excited to get my hands on a copy of this film and what a film it is. When Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown) gets elected US President, he uses the threat of an oncoming kryptonite meteor striking Earth as a rationale to frame Superman (Tim Daly). Even the thought of Luthor somehow becoming President of the United States of America gives me the chills, but somehow it works and I accepted it pretty quickly as the introduction in a old fashioned newsreel narrative we are introduced to a country torn and on the verge of collapse and implosion. Crime is everywhere, poverty is everywhere and although the narrative doesn’t really go into the nitty gritty on how the US ended up in this sorry state, society in desperation turns to Luthor as the saviour and quite honestly he does a great job in getting the country back on its feet.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I couldn’t help but think that perhaps Luthor pulled a Palpatine on everyone and somehow he was the cause of the collapse of a country. Let’s be honest, that’s totally a Lex Luthor thing to do. Nevertheless, with a looming kryptonite meteor heading in Earth’s direction it is up to Luthor to entice Superman to let bygones be bygones and work together to save the earth. In all honestly it’s a stitch up job by Lex into framing Superman and outcasting him (along with Batman (Kevin Conroy) and turning the nation on both Superheroes. Don’t get me wrong the Meteor situation is true and shows the twisted mind of a megalomaniac into thinking what he can get out of the crisis situation. With both Superman and Batman “Public Enemies” it is up to our heroes to clear their name. Do battle with Luthor and other Super Villains who have sided with Lex and stop the Earth from it’s pending doom from the rock in the sky hurtling towards their home.

I loved the fact that before Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) we had DC’s two most iconic characters teaming up in an unusual situation and although both heroes have different ideologies and methods it was interesting to see how Director Sam Liu along with writers Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness would handle this without taking the characters out of themselves. Sometimes their relationship was friendly and other times it was rough, but overall you could sense a respectfulness between both of them. The dialogue was excellent in both characters and overall the cast, but with the main leads and along with the great delivery of iconic voice actors Daly and Conroy you would think you are stepping into the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight world with the tone and feels to this film and that’s thanks to the excellent dialogue and screenplay. The inclusion of (to me) lesser known villains and heroes like Captain Atom, Captain Marvel / Solomon Grundy, Major Force, Power Girl, Metallo, Black Lightning and Toyman is a great way to involve these other DC characters and perhaps encourage the casual fan to investigate these comic books.

Overall Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is an enjoyable film that just wasn’t long enough. Seriously I could have watched another hour of this but perhaps that is its appeal. Making the audience wanting more. Sam Liu delivers an emotional storyline that is satisfying and entertaining. The cast of Clancy Brown, Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Xander Berkeley, John C. McGinley to name a few is stellar and shows why these DC Animated films are respected and enjoyed by the fans (hardcore and casual) alike. If you haven’t seen Superman/Batman: Public Enemies yet then what are you waiting for. Highly Recommended.

Batman: Gotham Knight (2008) Movie Retro Review By Stephen McLaughlin

Batman Gotham Knight

Directors: Yasuhiro Aoki, Futoshi Higashide
Writers: Bob Kane (creator: Batman), Jordan Goldberg (story)
Stars: Kevin Conroy, Jason Marsden, Scott Menville

I’m going to put it out there in the opening lines to my movie review for Batman: Gotham Knight. I wasn’t keen on the first 5 minutes of this animated movie so much I was ready to stop the movie. There I’ve said it. Thankfully I didn’t do such an idiotic thing. What was it that I didn’t like? My first thoughts were that the animation looked a poor attempt of a Gorillaz music video and with the combination of the teenage skate gang’s different versions of events it didn’t get better for me at this point. That is the thing though. I missed the point on what Yasuhiro Aoki and Futoshi Higashide where doing here. Different perspectives and interpretations of The Dark Knight using the style of anime here. Now I have that out the way and out of my system I can now explain why I was wrong in disliking the opening scenes to Batman: Gotham Knight and why I’m glad I continued on watching this 2008 film.

Batman: Gotham Knight is an anthology of key events marking Bruce Wayne’s life, as he journeys from beginner to Dark Knight. The way this film is presented is like a collection of 20 minute Batman comic book stories pieced together into chapters with no real connection between them. Sounds like I’m dissing this style here but I quite liked the way this was put together and it was so different to the usual DC Animated Films. Although not exactly a bridging the gap between Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008) it does complement it well in it’s storytelling and should be viewed as a prelude to the latter. There is definitely a Christopher Nolan influence in this movie and more so from the 1990’s animated series.

Again talking about the casting choices for the DC Animated Films still comes as a surprise to me in the calibre of talent. It was great to see Kevin Conroy return to play Batman again. Jim Meskimen as Jim Gordon and Deadshot, George Newbern as Killer Croc, Corey Burton as Scarecrow, Gary Dourdan as Crispus Allen and fellow Scot David McCallum as Alfred. Conroy much like Mark Hamill is synonyms to his role is what we mostly enjoy about Batman in animated form. The actor understands the troubling Bruce Wayne and the inner rage of his alter ego perfectly. His tone never misses the mark and it should be remember along with Michael Keaton’s from 1989’s Batman really gave us the version of Wayne / Batman that we are so used to seeing now and in many ways was a game changer for the Caped Crusader and a far cry from the 1960’s television version. Meskimen, Newbern, Burton, Dourdan and McCallum’s screen time is limited due to the designated set times of the 6 segments that some may argue that it was enough. Other’s like myself possibly could have enjoyed their talents for a little while longer.

The animation is frantic and enthralling. Excusing that first opening that I badly misjudged, I liked the styles for the rest of the movie and although each story had a different style of animation they were all very well done and kept the same tone and again the inspiration was clearly from the 90’s series and Nolan’s film. The action in this movie is great and very intense and entertaining to witness. Particularly the fighting scenes which I was very impressed with as they were fluent in an almost live action like way.

The ever present David S. Goyer is the recipe to the success of the writing and storytelling of Batman: Gotham Knight already having Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Justice League Unlimited under his belt in this genre and in the near future would pen the writings of the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice gets the character just like Conroy and with Josh Olson, Jordan Goldberg, Greg Rucka, Brian Azzarello and Alan Burnett writing segments of each of the stories, it kept it fresh and inspiring.

Overall, Batman: Gotham Knight I found the segments enjoyable. It showed the many aspects in Bruce Wayne / Batman’s life, what happened when he was much younger and what aspires him to be what he is now. I prejudged the animation style (a style that I wasn’t used to seeing in an animated Batman movie) that i thought i wouldn’t enjoy and ended up loving and found it it a rather refreshing and interesting approach to a genre. I recommend giving it a watch.

Batman: The Killing Joke (2016) Movie Review By Stephen McLaughlin

Batman The Killing Joke.png

Director: Sam Liu
Writers: Brian Azzarello, Brian Bolland (based on the graphic novel illustrated by)
Stars: Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Tara Strong

Based on the graphic novel of the same name, “Batman: The Killing Joke” is about The Dark Knight hunting down The Joker after he escapes Arkham Asylum and Kidnaps, humiliates and tortures Commissioner Gordon. Having not read the graphic novel I assumed perhaps I would struggle with understanding both Batman and The Joker’s relationship at this point. However, going into this with no expectations and fresh eyes I have to say that I quite enjoyed this animated movie.

I was already aware that the movie didn’t live up to the expectations of some diehard fans of the graphic novel, although I also have read that in most the film appears to be a direct adaptation of the famous novel, confusing or what?

For a movie running at 72 minutes I was surprised that for the first half of the movie was directed at Barbara Gordon and her struggle with her alter ego Batgirl. I could see what was trying to be achieved here in building the characters relationships and understanding their day to day (or night to night) routine in fighting crime. I honestly didn’t mind this although there was a slow build up before we finally get to see The Joker (around the 30 minute mark)

What I did enjoy the most about the film was the use of interspersed flashback scenes with The Joker and how he succumbed to a character of vicious madness and creepiness. Every flashback scene didn’t effect the pacing or distract from the main plot. In fact, The character of The Joker is perhaps the only character in the movie that the audience understands and I felt was the only one that was developed enough in the movie. Add Mark Hamill’s brilliant audio portrayal of this iconic character and you have the perfect comic book villain. Hamill’s energy wins the day and brings life to the mad clown.

Sadly Batman is more subdued and to be honest, uninteresting. The first 30 Minutes he hardly speaks and when he does he is mostly condescending towards Barbara Gordon. I felt this was a waste of Kevin Conroy’s talents and although I understand the focus was more on The Joker, I just felt there wasn’t enough there for Conroy to portray.

Feel and look, yes this was like a walking talking comic book. The filmmakers nailed these elements and Sam Liu should be commend for this. I loved the look of the movie and it’s dark grittier tones. Sadly the script suffered slightly and it’s saving grace was Hamill and Conroy. Overall, I did enjoy most of “Batman: The Killing Joke”
and wouldn’t say it was a bad movie. It had it’s flaws but I would still recommend giving it a watch.