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It's an admirable thing that in this modern day and age of already established superhero movie franchises there are still film-makers out there who are trying to do something new and differently, with a completely unknown superhero and 'universe'. It's all the more admirable, considering the budget of the movie. Won't say that this is a great movie or a true must-see but it's a pretty good, fresh and enjoyable, superhero entry.

It's not like an ordinary modern superhero movie in the sense that it's also trying to create a certain sense of realism to the characters and the world it's set in. It's set in a 'fantasy' world, or perhaps I should rather say an alternate universe and it leaves no question about it. It's an hyper-stylized movie and which most of the characters don't act like real persons but truly as comic-book like ones instead. I mean all of this as a positive thing by the way, since it definitely gives the movie a nice and pleasant style, also supported by the fact that the movie is set in the '30's/'40's era. But like I said, not the 1930's/1940's we know from images and textbooks. It has an almost steam-punk like look and atmosphere to it, with its costumes and other designs.

It's the type of movie that almost entirely, if not entirely, got shot in front of a green-screen, in the vein of the 'Sin City' movies for instance. This is both something I liked and disliked about the movie. At times the budget works in the advantage of the movie but at others it definitely works against it. The low budget is showing at all times but at the same time, the look and quality of the movie suits the B-movie and comic-book like atmosphere that the movie is trying to create for itself. But then again, at some moments it's too simplistic and cheap looking and feels too forced, so it wasn't just always working for me. It took me out of the movie at parts, which is of course never a good thing.

I also have to say that I was really, really liking the first one third of the movie. The rest of it was just OK in my opinion but definitely not as fun, creative and enjoyable as the first part of the movie. The moments I was liking the movie best was when it still was a full blown superhero movie. There comes a point in the movie that is slowly starts to shift from being an entertaining superhero flick to a more serious film-noir type of movie. Sounds like an awesome thing, especially considering its settings, characters and time period but the film-noir aspects of the movie never really work out as anything all that creative or solid. The story is somewhat lacking at that department and I even kind of lost interest in the story and characters as well after a while.

Still, I really want to give the movie credits for trying out some new things and combine different genre elements, in a quite effective way. It never feels weird or disjointed, I just wish the story was a bit more solid and engaging at parts. The movie is more special and unique than truly great really, which maybe sounds like a backhanded compliment but it's really something that still makes this movie a perfectly fine and watchable one.

Most of the acting is deliberately wooden, which again, suits the B-movie style and atmosphere of the movie. I also definitely liked this acting approach, though some of the actors were definitely better and more convincing with it than others. I definitely liked Clancy Brown's performance though. This is the type of role he always should be playing and he already sort of does but that's fine, since he's always so good and enjoyable at it. He always plays the sort of tough and mean character that you love to hate, even when he's playing one of the good guys.

It's a real fine and sadly still unknown superhero movie with a twist, that deserves a bigger audience in my opinion. It's a perfectly watchable movie, especially for those who aren't that fond of- or just fed up with overblown and CGI filled superhero blockbusters, that keep getting pumped out.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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