Author: Robert Greenberger

REVIEW: Legends of Tomorrow the Complete Third Season

REVIEW: Legends of Tomorrow the Complete Third Season

“Insane is what we do best.”

To appreciate fully the CW’s Legends of Tomorrow, you just have to lean in with the crazy. An antidote to the overly grim Arrow, the spinoff show embraces its sloppiness. The “legends” wear their inefficiency as a badge of honor and each episode of the third season amplifies this while also tightening the bonds between them.

Legends of Tomorrow the Complete Third Season is a three-disc set out now from Warner Home Video, In addition to all 18 episodes, we get the complete “Crisis on Earth-X” crossover with Arrow, Flash, and Supergirl. Taken as a whole, the season introduces a major threat and deals with it, while also pausing to focus on the various characters while also setting up the fourth season, doing a better job than its peers do.

We open with time having been broken and the Legends racing about repairing the damage they caused while their former leader Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) has ordered his reconstituted Time Bureau to leave them alone. After some solo exploits, they recognize they need one another and sally forth into new escapades.

Bit by bit, though, we get a sense of the greater evil, first through Kausa (Tracy Ifeachor), a hydrokinetic assassin until we learn that a demon named Mallus (John Noble; there’s a brilliant destruction of the fourth wall in one episode) is trying to reach Earth and dominate it. By then, they have partnered or fought against good old Damien Darkh (Neil McDonough) and his daughter Nora (Courtney Ford), who becomes the object of Ray Palmer’s (Brandon Routh) affections.

Speaking of romance, Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) has not only settled into her role as their commander with a gravitas befitting her training, she’s allowed herself to fall in love with her rival Ava (Jess Macallan). This is balanced by the bittersweet and necessary breakup between Nate (Nick Zano) and Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers).

By then, everyone and then some are back for the most satisfying season finale among the CW’s super-series.

It was also fun to see Helen of Troy (Bar Paly), Jonah Hex (Jonathan Schaech) and the real Gideon (Amy Pemberton) in return appearances. What was less enjoyable was seeing Victor Garber’s career mean the end of Firestorm (at least for now). The less said about Beebo the better.

Throughout the season, perhaps the character who got the least screen time and is woefully underdeveloped is Zari (Tala Ashe), something I hope gets fixed in the new season. With Matt Ryan’s John Constantine back in the fold (if played a bit broadly, even for this show), we can see how the dynamic may work.

The high def transfer to Blu-ray is fine for both audio and video. The disc comes with some of the same features from others discs: Inside the Crossover: Crisis on Earth-X and The Best of DC TV’s Comic-Con Panels San Diego 2017. Unique to this set is an interesting look at The Time Calibrators: Legends Assemble as produce Phil Klemmer walks us through his thinking for the new season. There’s also an interesting Post Production Theater where you see stand-is work with actors as placeholders before the special effects and CGI are added. It’s interesting but would have been more interesting to see the before and after aspects. Finally, there’s a well-edited Gag Reel.

REVIEW: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Those who attended Solo: A Star Wars Story during its theatrical run were treated to an entertaining adventure story, leavened with the patented humor derived from the original trilogy. It was well cast, well produced, and enjoyable. All the behind the scenes contretemps in no way spoiled the final product, which is out tomorrow from Disney Home Entertainment on a variety of discs and packages.

Yes, the version that was shot under directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller would have been dramatically different, perhaps too different for the Lucasfilm executives. We have no way of knowing since no footage has been released. The casting didn’t change and incoming Ron Howard was a good choice, able to get things up and running smoothly and delivering a satisfying movie.

So, why didn’t people flock to see the movie despite positive buzz? Hard to say. Yes, coming out so quickly after the previous Star Wars film (which in itself was controversial) and just weeks after the same fans had their moods spoiled by the downbeat Avengers Infinity War no doubt contributed to poor opening weekend box office  Word of mouth should have saved the movie but didn’t.

There little doubt that Alden Ehrenreich stepped up as Han Solo, younger and not quite so jaded as the version Harrison Ford introduced us to in 1977. This film fills in each and every crevice from the past, so much so, that if the rumors are true and no sequel is being planned, then we should be satisfied. In fact, so much continuity service was present, it almost interfered with telling a solid stand-alone story.

We meet him and Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) on Corellia, a world ruled by the Fagin-like Lady Proxima (Linda Hunt). They long to escape for a better world but only Han gets free, his first step down the road to bitterness and pain. While he tries to be a loyal member of the Empire so he can fly, her path brought her from one criminal orbit to another, the latter being Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), a powerful player in the criminal Crimson Dawn. Han winds up working with his own criminals, a band led by Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), a man with a conscience, whose behavior proves influential.

Events from screenwriters Jonathan and Lawrence Kasdan bring everyone back to together with Han meeting the Wookiee Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). There’s the usual twists and turns, revelations and reversals, and surprises and sadness. There’s also plenty of action, one on one duels and a high-speed train robbery before we even get Han and Chewie aboard the Millennium Falcon for the first time.

The performances are certainly engaging, with nice chemistry between Ehrenreich and Clarke as well as Ehrenreich and Glover (who is even better casting for his part). Michael Giacchino’s energetic score nicely complements the John Williams music we are so accustomed to.

The Blu-ray edition comes with two discs and a Digital HD code. One disc is the film, the other an hour or so of special features. The film itself looks fine, not perfect, which is surprising considering the production crew.  Everything is cold and bleak and the color is desaturated throughout (letting Lando shine) and that’s all nicely captured. The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 is actually superior.

The Special Features are a mixed opening with the soft Solo: The Director & Cast Roundtable (21:44) as Howard moderates a so-so conversation with Ehrenreich, Glover, Suotamo, Clarke, Harrelson, Bettany, Phoebe Waller-Bridge (the voice of L3-37), and Thandie Newton. Kasdan on Kasdan (7:50) offers father chatting with son about the franchise’s impact on the elder’s life.

Remaking the Millennium Falcon (5:36) looks at recreating the vessel and its origins; Escape from Corellia (9:59) touches on the film’s place in the timeline in addition to the opening action sequence. The Train Heist (14:30) breaks down the largest set piece. Team Chewie (6:41) spotlights the formation of the friendship between Han and Chewie while Becoming a Droid: L3-37 (15:06) spotlights the new character and bringing her to life.

Scoundrels, Droids, Creatures and Cards: Welcome to Fort Ypso (8:02) looks at the creation of the creatures, card game, and characters in this mid-movie moment. We also get Into the Maelstrom: The Kessel Run (8:28) which explore show this chase sequence was conceived and executed.

There are some interesting Deleted Scenes (15:13): Proxima’s Den, Corellian Foot Chase, Han Solo: Imperial Cadet, The Battle of Mimban: Extended, Han Versus Chewie: Extended, Snowball Fight!, Meet Dryden: Extended, and Coaxium Double-Cross.

Very little is made of the first version of the film, not that it’s ignored but everything here is dedicated the film fans received. While history would be curious to see what might have been, that will have to wait for another day.

REVIEW: Supergirl the Complete Third Season

There is so much to like about the CW’s Supergirl that you want it to be brilliant, entertaining, and empowering for its young female viewers. That it is such a muddled mess more often than not spoils that because you admire their intentions and scratch your head at how the execution too often misses the mark.

Out tomorrow is Supergirl the Complete Third Season on Blu-ray with a Digital HD code from Warner Home Entertainment. The four-disc set contains all 23 episodes including all four episodes of the “Crisis on Earth-X” crossover with Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow.

We start the season with Odette Annable’s Sam, newly arrived in National City with her young daughter Ruby (Emma Tremblay). They’re in the wrong place at the wrong time when an accident happens and we see Sam affected and over the course of the season’s first third, we watch her become a villain. It’s a wonderful, slow build, especially her growing sense of panic over her blackouts.

As luck has it, she has arrived to work for Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath), who is now spending more time at CatCo, micromanaging James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks), and still trying to be besties with Kara (Melissa Benoist). With Wynn (Jeremy Jordan) now at the DEO (and apparently as smart as a 12th level Coluan intellect – who knew), and Snapper Carr absent, it’s just a distraction. The James/Lena romance appears to exist just to give the actors something to do.

Without Cat Grant around, there’s less and less a need for CatCo and maybe they need a fresh break, since it splits the focus although we do get a delightful reveal for Eve Tescmacher (Andrea Brooks) late in the season.

Similarly, the super-secret DEO has become a revolving door with just about everyone wandering in and out, making one wonder about national security. John Jones (David Harewood) doesn’t seem too worried because most of this season his focus is on his father M’yrnn (Carl Lumbly) who has developed Martian Alzheimer’s, giving them some charming moments.

Increasingly, Alex (Chyler Leigh) takes charge, and gets a uniform upgrade along the way. She’s got little else to focus on since she and Maggie (Floriana Lima) break up early, over the perfectly reasonable issue over having children. It’s a natural pause in their romance and one of the best handled plot lines.

On the flip side, we get Sam becoming Reign and she has her own desert-based Fortress (which no one ever seems to notice), chided into performing destructive acts for reasons that continually shifts and never makes sense. We’re halfway through the season before we realize she’s one of a triad then we hastily add the other two and do absolutely nothing with them so viewers could care less, especially as it takes the focus over Sam’s problems.

Reign and her gal pals are such a threat that a mere three members of the Legion of Super-Heroes hurtle back in time to change the future (like that trick ever works). Leading the charge is Mon-El (Chris Wood), who is now married to Saturn Girl (Amy Jackson), who is now a telekinetic rather than a telepath, and for comic relief Brainiac 5 (Jesse Rath), with the worst makeup job on network television.

As the show came back from hiatus in January, the series suffered from the usual Greg Berlanti problem of an overstuffed cast, an overly complicated nonsensical major plot arc, and the focus diminished from the title character.

We get diversions as we cross the stars for a visit to Argo City, where her mother (Erica Durance) and others from Krypton have managed to survive (further diminishing Superman and Supergirl’s uniqueness). The Argo revelation should be its own arc or season but shoehorned here, takes away from the specialness of the event. Instead, it’s all to retrieve a Magoffin to save Earth.

Speaking of which, once Superman was introduced in season two, every time the stakes are raised, it raises the question of where is her cousin? The dialogue usually is something about him being in space rather than Kara declaring her confidence in handling the situation no matter how dire. I wish the writers did a better job handling the Big ‘S’.

The climactic episodes are so much sound and fury that you stop caring. The human elements are too lacking in favor of spectacle. Kara is either getting beaten by Reign or moping over Mon-El that’s she a lesser character this year, which is a waste of Benoist’s skills.

In addition to the episodes and crossover, we have a 41-minute Inside the Crossover: Crisis on Earth-X and The Best of DC TV’s Comic-Con Panels San Diego 2017 (both appearing on other series sets). As a result, the only unique to Supergirl features are a brief one exploring Annable’s arc, an assortment of deleted scenes, and the gag reel. The high def transfer is just fine for audio and visual.

REVIEW: Predator 4K Blu-ray

REVIEW: Predator 4K Blu-ray

On Friday, Shane Black’s The Predator will arrive, intending to be a fresh take on the franchise that appears to be playing up the humor. It’s set after the 1987 original and its Predator 2 sequel so acknowledges those events happened, which is cool.

Additionally, 20th Century Home Entertainment has wisely capitalized on the new film by releasing 4K UHD releases of Predator 4K, Predator 2 4K and Predators 4K.

When the film first arrived, audiences suspected it was another Arnold Schwarzenegger action flick with sci-fi trappings. After all, the one-sheet positioned him, rifle in hand, in the crosshairs of someone. He was paired with Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, Richard Chaves, Jesse Ventura, and so on (including Black back when he acted). What no one was prepared for, though, was John McTiernan’s taut direction and Stan Winston’s amazing alien hunter; the helmet removal moment late in the film stunned audiences.

A franchise was born, populating film sequels, comics, novels, and the crossovers with 20th’s Aliens series. As a result, the thrills were gone, the surprises were quickly absent, and they become more of the same.

Therefore, it’s interesting to go back to the beginning and relive those suspenseful moments when no one was sure exactly what unearthly creature was now hunting humans. It was camouflaged, rendered seemingly invisible, through most of the film so it was a cat and mouse game until Arnold figured out how to get the upper hand. The script from Jim Thomas and John Thomas nicely ratcheted up the suspense, giving us just enough characterization to help differentiate one target from another.

It remains a good movie, a strong piece of entertainment and reminds you how the Predator was fresh.

The previous Blu-ray editions were okay but never great so it’s nice to have a strong, 4K Ultra HD release. The 2160p transfer in 1.85:1 nicely captures the original look of the film, grain and all. The colors are more vivid and the subtle alien tech is sharper which enhances the rewatching. We get a good DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix but I would have preferred they invested in the Dolby Atmos upgrade to match the visuals.

The 4K disc comes with Audio Commentary from McTiernan, Text Commentary by Eric Lichtenfeld, who contributed to the 2001 documentary, If It Bleeds We Can Kill It: The Making of Predator and interviews with various production personnel.

The 4K disc is accompanied by the most recent Blu-ray pressing and that disc contains all the same Special Features as it did when originally released. The combo pack also comes with a 4K Digital HD code, so will look very snazzy on the right monitors.

REVIEW: Tucker: The Man and His Dream

Bit by bit, the cool, overlooked films of previous decades are finally being spruced up and released on Blu-ray. The most recent example comes from Lionsgate and is Francis Ford Coppla’s terrific Tucker: The Man and His Dream. Starring Jeff Bridges, it tells the story of Preston Thomas Tucker, a man who saw a different, better way to design, build, and sell cars. Many of his inventions attracted attention and were clearly ahead of their time.

Ever see a Tucker Torpedo? Not a surprise the answer is a no since only 50 true Tuckers were ever manufactured. Tucker (1903-1956) was an inventor and engineer, including auto racecars, a combat car and gun turret during World War II, and even aircraft. Once the war ended, he was determined to build cars, dreaming of models, as Detroit’s Big Three were content with the models form 1941.

The 1988 film shows how Tucker was thinking big and as early as 1946, had an idea for new features — disc brakes, seat belts, a pop out windshield, and head lights which swivel when you turn – for the next generation of automobile. The war weary public is fascinated and the Tucker Corporation sells many shares and there’s general excitement.

Under Coppola’s steady hand, we watch how the dream turns to ashes, one disappointment at a time, and his various innovations are discarded by a nervous Board of Directors. Tucker also had to deal with the wrath of Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler in addition to Michigan Senator Homer S. Ferguson (Lloyd Bridges) orchestrating government interference.

You admire Tucker and root for him thanks to Bridges’ winning performance. He’s surrounded by a strong supporting cast including Joan Allen as his wife Vera, Christian Slater as their son Preston Jr., Martin Landau as Abe Karatz, his lead financier, Elias Koteas as his engineering partner Alex Tremulis, and Dean Stockwell as Howard Hughes.

The film is a story of American innovation, chasing the American Dream, and a cautionary tale about corporate power. There’s a definite Frank Capra quality to the narrative, which makes sense since the screenplay comes from Capra collaborator Arnold Schulman, who shares the credit with David Seidler.

It’s a fine drama and well worth watching. Interestingly, Coppola initially considered this as a musical, similar to his One from the Heart, and in one extra, we see a shot of him with the legendary Leonard Bernstein, Adolph Green, and Betty Comden discussing the project. Coppola, a better filmmaker than businessman, never got to realize that dream, but got some financial help from George Lucas, to make this movie.

The movie never connected with its audience, despite solid reviews, and Paramount Pictures took a loss on the release. Even Landau being nominated for an Oscar and winning a Golden Globe Award as Best Supporting Actor, didn’t help the film’s home video release.

Tucker: The Man and His Dream gets a loving 1080p transfer in 2.39:1 and in addition to the Blu-ray disc, you get a 4K Digital HD code, which is cool. We can appreciate the work from cinematographer Vittorio Storaro with rich colors that have been well presented. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track is just about a solid match.

We also get Audio Commentary with Director Francis Ford Coppola, a Francis Ford Coppola Introduction (3:39), which goes into the background; a Deleted Scene (4:11) with optional commentary by Coppola; Under the Hood: Making Tucker (10:02), assembles archival material complete with comments from Lucas; Tucker: The Man and the Car 1948 Promotional Film (14:54), a promotional piece that clearly inspired the director, who provides optional commentary.

Warner Enhances Batman the Animated Series Deluxe Set

BURBANK, CA (August 28, 2018) – Batman: The Complete Animated Series Deluxe Limited Edition, one of the most anticipated Blu-ray™ releases of 2018, will now include a Digital version in the all-encompassing package befitting the series’ revered place among all-time fan-favorite entertainment. Remastered for the first time since its broadcast airing from 1992-1995, the stunning Blu-ray™ box set ($112.99 SRP) will now be available from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and DC Entertainment on October 30, 2018.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, the Emmy Award-winning series captured the imaginations of generations, setting the standard for super hero storytelling for the past quarter-century with its innovative designs, near-perfect voice cast and landmark approach to DC’s iconic characters and stories.  Batman: The Complete Animated Series Deluxe Limited Edition box set includes all 109 thrilling episodes, plus two bonus disks containing the recently-remastered, fan favorite animated films Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero, The box set’s premiere bonus feature is, The Heart of Batman, an impressive 90-minute documentary on the making of Batman: The Animated Series that includes interviews with nearly three dozen members of the cast and crew, detailing the intricacies of production behind the landmark animated show.

The Opening Remastered for Blu-ray

The impressive Batman: The Complete Animated Series Deluxe Limited Edition package features approximately 2,700 minutes of entertainment spread over 10 Blu-ray™ discs, plus the two bonus discs – not counting 11 specially-selected episodes with audio commentaries by cast and crew. In addition, Batman: The Complete Animated Series Deluxe Limited Edition includes an exclusive ensemble of collectibles highlighted by three Funko mini-figurines (Batman, Joker, Harley Quinn) and seven beautifully-designed lenticular art cards. The entire box set is housed in a stunning layflat-book with a dazzling slipcase.

REVIEW: The Flash: The Complete Fourth Season

After a particularly dour third season, fans were promised that the fourth season of The Flash would lighten things up, which was most welcome. On the other hand, the pacing and plotting of the major character and story arcs was uneven and dissatisfying, with lots of highs but too many lows.

The Flash: The Complete Fourth Season is out on Blu-ray and Digital HD combo pack today and across its four discs offers up not only all 23 episodes but the compete “Crisis on Earth-X” crossover event. No doubt, this was necessary considering that Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Iris West (Candace Patton) finally tie in the knot in the crossover’s Legends of the Tomorrow installment.

While he is taking a moment to appreciate his happiness, his season-long antagonist has determined Barry needs to be taught humility and sets about to beat that into him episode after episode.

We start the season six months after Flash sacrificed himself to remain within the Speed Force to maintain its stability. Iris has gone from fledgling reporter to the brains behind Team Flash, more fully integrating her into the stories but defying logic. At best, she is the team’s heart and soul; at worst, it’s a pale imitation of Felicity on Arrow.

Once they free Barry, we learn this and everything that follows has been carefully orchestrated by Clifford DeVoe (Neil Sandilands), a man in search of knowledge (wisdom not so much) who winds up mutated by the same forces that turned Barry into the Fastest Man Alive. Aided by his devoted wife and partner Marlize (Kim Engelbrecht), the Thinker is racing against time, attempting to acquire massive powers before his body fails. These powers are to be derived from the dozen passengers aboard the same bus that also gave Ralph Dibny (Hartley Sawyer) his stretchable powers.

Along the way, the large supporting cast needs to be serviced, so we watch Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) accept her Killer Frost alter ego, lose it, and work to regain it; Cisco (Carlos Valdes) pine for Gypsy (Jessica Camacho) while helping her father, Breacher (Danny Trejo) cope with losing his powers; Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) feel like a fifth wheel and head off to be a Legend; and Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) prepare to become a father all over again with his new wife Cecile (Danielle Nicolet). Then there’s the flipside to DeVoe, Harrison Wells of Earth-2 (Tom Cavanaugh), who amps up his brain in an effort to match wits with their foe, only to find the price was his intelligence (but also giving us the godawful Council of Wells).

Thankfully, we also have a new foe in Blacksmith (a scenery-chewing Katee Sackhoff) and other distractions. The most wasteful and illogical thread has to be the trumped up charges against Barry, getting him convicted of killing DeVoe and letting his stew in Iron Heights while the Thinker’s plans progress. The Enlightenment, Thinker’s big scheme to ruin mankind’s intelligence so he can reteach them, is too easily dealt with and the conclusion feels rushed and unsatisfying.

Don’t get me wrong, there are strong episodes and terrific moments throughout the series, but too many times I watched and cringed at bad plotting and overly prolonged threads. Even the addition of Sterling Gates to the writing staff couldn’t stop the badly conceived stories. It was gratifying to watch the Elongated Man become a hero, working to save the other bus metas and become fully integrated into the team.

Sprinkled throughout, we see a pretty, young woman (Jessica Parker Kennedy) working at Jitters and encountering various members of the cast until she arrives for the season ending cliffhanger: her revelation as Barry and Iris’ daughter from the future and in need of their help.

The four discs come in a clean high definition transfer at 16×9 1:78:1 with a good DTS-HD 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track.

In addition to a handful of deleted scenes, there are bonuses scattered throughout beginning with a Gag Reel (8:58) on disc one. Disc two brings us the four show runners responsible for the “Crisis” crossover (41:30) which was too self-congratulatory and not revealing enough. Elongated Man (9:44), on disc three, has the producers gush about the fun of bringing the stretchable sleuth to the screen and what the actor brought the cast. Also on the disc is Flash Time on Amunet Black with Katee, Eric, and Sterling (12:52), the most enjoyable as the star chats with Executive Producer Eric Wallace and writer Sterling Gates, looking at her fourth season appearances. Disc four offers up The Fastest Mind Alive: The Thinker (15:20), a look at the comic book origins and adaptation of the villain. Here, the producers talk a good game making me wish more of this was found in the episodes themselves. Finally, there’s The Best of DC TV’s Comic-Con Panels San Diego 2017.

REVIEW: Freedom Fighters: The Ray

The CW Seed has been the ancillary stomping grounds for animated versions of DC Comics’ Arrowverse characters, a chance to extend the brand with lesser-known heroes. For their third outing (after Vixen and Constantine), they smartly offered up Freedom Fighters: The Ray for two six-episode seasons, which have been edited together into a feature, on disc today from Warner Home Entertainment.

Although the two seasons arrived in December and July, they act as a prequel story to last fall’s “Crisis on Earth-X” crossover extravaganza. Here, we have the birth of the Freedom Fighters with appearances by not only the Ray but also Black Condor (Jason Mitchell), Phantom Lady (Dilshad Vadsaria), Dollman (Matthew Mercer) and Red Tornado (Iddo Goldberg). According to some behind the scenes shenanigans, the animated story was written first and when the four-parter was written for live-action, things weren’t lining up right, so the keen viewer will notice there are inconsistencies between the two.

The biggest headscratcher may be the Ray fighting alongside Green Arrow (Matthew Mercer), the Flash (Scott Whyte) if they didn’t meet until the crossover.

That said, this is a very entertaining short film with pleasant limited animation aided by strong vocal talent. It’s interesting to note that this version of The Ray, originally created by Will Eisner for quality Comics back in the Golden Age, was a 1990s revival from Jack C. Harris, Christopher Priest, and Joe Quesada. As voiced by Russell Torey (a veteran BBC genre star), he is a likeable kid, coming to grips with his powers at a time when things look fairly dark for Earth-X’s population.

Interestingly, Ray Terrill being gay wasn’t overt in the comics but became a main selling point for the transition to mass media. The third episode focuses on Ray as a closeted adult, living with his conservative parents. Seeing him struggle is good, since it establishes his personality and gives people in similar situations a role model. Things go wibbly-wobbly when we realize this has been Earth-1 and the Earth-X Ray, a hero, arrives mortally wounded and passes on his powers to his doppelganger, sending him to a world where the Nazis won World War II and people like him are sent to the camps.

When the Ray fully comes into his powers and responsibilities as a hero, we can thrill to his battle with the New Reichsmen’s Overgirl (Melissa Benoist). She’s aided by Black Arrow and Black Flash so there are a lot of costumes and duplicates in this event. He gets plenty of support from Arrow and Flash in addition to Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Mr. Terrific (Echo Kellum)

I have no idea why it took Emilio Ortega Aldrich, Lauren Certo, Marc Guggenheim, Sarah Hernandez, Elizabeth Kim, and Sarah Tarkoff to write this, but it also may explain the slightly shifting tone from episode to episode, which is less obvious when spliced together. What IU can’t figure out is why the various uniforms worn by the heroes come from differing seasons of the Arrowverse so you can’t quite tell how far ahead of the crossover was this set.

The edited feature looks terrific on Blu-ray and sounds just fine, letting you appreciate Blake Neely’s score. The movie has been released as a combo pack so you can have Blu-ray, DVD, and a Digital HD code. The sole special feature is a way too short interview with Tovey.


REVIEW: Lucifer the Complete Third Season

Nothing is as it seems on Fox’s Lucifer. The charming police procedural series is also a horror story and maybe even an allegory for human existence. Loosely based on Vertigo’s Lucifer Morningstar (from Sandman), the show has underperformed on the network despite a strong lead performance from Tom Ellis. As a result, fans never know if the show will be around or not.

With season three’s pickup iffy, Fox held back four episodes — “Mr. And Mrs. Mazikeen Smith,” “City Of Angels,” “Off the Record,” and “Vegas with Some Radish.”– running them as part of the 2017-18 season. Then, when things looked dire for a fourth outing, they decided to hold back on two more. And finally, once the show was officially canceled, they burned off the final two episodes – “Boo Normal” and “Once Upon a Time” — as a block on May 28,

Thankfully, you can have all 26 of them on four discs in the just-released Lucifer the Complete Third Season from Warner Home Entertainment.

We open with the mystery of where Lucifer was and how he got his wings back. That propels things, especially his consternation at the fact no one noticed his two-day absence. There are, though, bigger issues including a new killer in town, dubbed Sinnerman along with a brand new commander at police headquarters: Lieutenant Marcus Pierce (Tom Welling). You can almost being to suspect there’s some connection between the two and it is revealed across the run of the season.

Each week there’s a crime to solve and character arcs to advance, but really, this season is all about the characters coming to grips with their true natures. Lucifer won’t tell Chloe (Lauren German) who he is, something he’s tried to do since the beginning, usually with his fussy brother Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) stopping him. This time, it’s Pierce who gets in the way, romancing her, bringing her along for his own reasons that make for a nice reveal in the post-hiatus “All about Her”. He’s Cain, the first murderer, and was cursed with immortality and like so many immortals in fiction, is weary of it and wants to die. His plans are all about bringing him death and peace in Heaven.

LUCIFER: L-R: Tom Ellis and Kevin Alejandro in”All Hands on Decker”

But first, others must die, which brings out fine work from Tricia Helfer, as Charlotte, and Woodside. Welling’s Pierce was a wonderful addition, and his work has been quite effective, coming a long way from Smallville.

Lucifer has other ideas as seen in the rather effective finale, “A Devil of my Word”, with terrific visuals and a nicely choreographed fight. Finally, he stands revealed as the devil and Chloe is left to process the news. And as things wrap up, we’re left with a final meditation on free will vs God’s plan.

The series has, fortunately, been picked up by Netflix so we can see what happens next.

The five DVD discs are fine to watch and come with a handful of deleted scenes for 11 of the episodes. Additionally, disc 2 offers up Off Script with Tom & Tom, Part 1 as Ellis and Welling chat in Lucifer’s penthouse. You can find the entertaining part 2 on disc 3 and part 3 on disc 4. On the final disc, you have the cast and crew chat about moving the production to California in Lucifer Returns! Bringing the Hit Show to LA and the obligatory Lucifer: 2017 Comic-Con Panel, and finally a short Gag Reel.

REVIEW: Deadpool 2

As I made clear with Deadpool, while I love the creators, I have always been lukewarm towards the Merc with a Mouth. I was pleasantly surprised by how entertaining the film adaptation was and that Ryan Reynolds was right to stick with the plan to make the character work on film.

Now we have Deadpool 2, out this week on disc from 20th Century Home Entertainment and it cleaned up at the box office, making in excess of $770 million worldwide. I think there’s a place for the character and the cheeky sendup of the oh-so-serious superhero fare. Frankly, better skewer yourself than let someone else do the honors. It’s certainly a proven success for Marvel the last decade.

The super-thin plot basically has a despondent Deadpool, in the wake of his sweet Vanessa’s (Morena Baccarin) death come to the aid of a young mutant, Russell Collins (Julian Dennison), hounded by an orphanage and its nasty headmaster (Eddie Marsan), that has been abusing mutants. This could have been subtitled How Deadpool got his Mojo Back.

Along the way, he gets a wakeup call from Colossus (voice by Stefan Kapicic), forms X-Force, and fights against or with Cable (Josh Brolin) as the prey becomes the prowler as the kid, pushed to the limit, fights back. Cable’s back from the future to kill the kid to protect his own family, creating the usual temporal headaches. X-Force features many familiar mutants including Domino (Zazie Beets), and you either love or hate how they’re used (abused?) in this film.

That’s pretty much it. Along the way, we get the overstuffed meta jokes and Easter Eggs, some of which are utterly brilliant and others are just so much filler. Brolin and Beets sell their new characters well although her Domino looks better in comics, here she looks generic.

Director David Leitch keeps things moving at a fine clip and makes certain the fun supporting players from the first outing, including Blind Al (Leslie Uggams) and Weasel (J.T. Miller) are there for good bits. Less useful was the superfluous use of Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), who is now playing kissy face with newcomer Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna), who smiles and waves a lot.

Really, it’s amusing but not the thrill a minute freshness the first film was. The action set pieces are prolonged, notably the X-Force chase/battle sequence. The climactic battle between everyone at Juggernaut (a CGI amalgam of multiple performers, voiced by Reynolds) was just so much destruction without humor. Better are the post-credits sequences that offer up some of the best meta humor in the entire film and well worth sticking around for.

The film most clearly sets the film and character in the Fox corner of the Marvel universe thanks to a brilliant blink-and-you-miss-it cameo. The question becomes, where do you go from here? The answer may reside more with Kevin Feige than anyone else and it’s still too early to tell.

The Blu-ray comes with two discs, one with the theatrical release and special features while the second disc has the fifteen minute longer Super Duper Cut. The best that can be said of the new cut is that it provides a fascinating study in editing considering line reads and sequences are edited differently as are the musical cues. Basically, the fifteen minutes is merely more. The 4K Ultra HD comes with the theatrical release as both 4K and Blu-ray plus the bonus Blu-ray disc. All versions come with a Digital HD code.

The AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.39:1 is just fine, with good color and detail (pointing out how cheap some of the CGI looks in comparison with other moments). The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix is excellent.

There are plenty of special features, some fun, some interesting, some utterly superfluous. We start with the Deleted/Extended Scenes (2:36) and Gag Reel (3:11) before we get to the film’s theme explored in Deadpool Family Values: Cast of Characters (15:09). Then we have David Leitch Not Lynch: Directing DP2 (11:39); Deadpool’s Lips Are Sealed: Secrets and Easter Eggs (12:52); Until Your Face Hurts: Alt Takes (9:25); Roll With the Punches: Action and Stunts (6:57); The Deadpool Prison Experiment (11:28); The Most Important X-Force Member (12:21);  Chess With Omega Red (1:16); Swole and Sexy (2:12), which focuses on the red necks (Matt Damon and Alan Tudyck); and, “3 Minute Monologue” (2:14), Brolin riffs during makeup.

There’s an Audio Commentary by Ryan Reynolds, David Leitch, Rhett Reese and Paul Warnick that is occasionally interesting and revealing.

Deadpool’s Fun Sack 2: Videos (35:22) has an amalgam of bits filmed for the film including the hilarious first teaser and Stills (2:23).