Iron Man 3 May 8, 2013Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Comic Book , add a comment
IM3 comes off as the weakest of all the Iron Man films (including cameos). In the run up to seeing this there was all this talk of the film taking a different direction, posters and trailers showed a darker tone. But in the end we got more of the same but far less entertaining and far more unrealistic villains. Ok, granted Iron Man fought Aliens in ‘The Avengers’ last year which was just as unrealistic and granted I was drunk for the first hour or so of watching this movie, but it still wasn’t good.
Why the heck did Stark need to be out of the suit for so long and why did he need to discover himself (yet again) in this movie and why did he need to go up against another corporate competitor and what the hell is it with those glowing people. For some reason I’m reminded of glow worms from my childhood. I kinda liked that the Iron Man movies at least had bad guys that were a bit closer to reality. The first part of the movie seemed to be going well but it dragged on after, Tony Stark tries to be James Bond and in the last 15 minutes shit just exploded everywhere. Screw the 3D. My Beer goggles do a better job.
The Mandarin. I liked Ben Kingsly as the Mandarin, he was great in many ways. But yes, I did see that twist coming because all movies are pulling the same move these days.
I think we’re done here right? Even Robert Downy Jr is considering hanging up his armor. I still want to see the character and actor in the Avengers sequels but if this is the direction of the standalones then no thanks.
Favorite Quote: “Ever since that big guy with the hammer fell out of the sky, subtlety’s kinda had its day.” - Aldrich Killian
Dredd 3-D November 14, 2012Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Science Fiction, Comic Book , 1 comment so far
Stylish, uncomplicated, great soundtrack and has that Chick who played Sarah Connor in the Terminator series as the main villain.
I’ve known about Judge Dredd growing up, was familiar with the Character but had never read a comic which featured him although I had enough interest to go see the Sylvester Stallone flick back in the early 1990s. But Mr. “I Am the LAW!” didn’t really do it for people, neither did Rob Schneider apparently.
This new movie just called ‘Dredd’ is a better film even if it looks less of a big budget movie and most of it takes place in the same building for the movie’s duration. It’s a far more gritter character this time and seems closer to the comics say fans. Karl Urban is pretty great as Dredd and I like that for the entire film the mystery of the character stays behind the helmet and the intimidation stays on the outside.
I had no choice but to see this is 3D. Was pissed off that I had to pay extra for something I didn’t want. I wonder how many others this might have put off because ‘Dredd 3d’ (yes 3d is part of the title) seemed to be mainly shown as a movie in 3D with little options for film goers to see it in anything else. I’ve personally had it with 3D as have a large part of the movie going audience. It’s a format that is not suited for everyone. Worse though is not having the option to watch it in 2D. So paying extra for something you don’t want is going to push people away. It’s unfortunate because it’s a film worth seeing and a film worthy of a sequel. But it seemed to have shot itself in both feet before even getting made because the funding that the film got was guaranteed by it promising to be filmed in 3D. While other Hollywood mainstream movies might get away with that it won’t work for a lower budgeted un-fondly remembered character.
It was the positive word of mouth that got me into see it. Shame if there is no sequel. So I want to do my part and say, Go see it people!
Favorite Quote: “Ma-Ma is not the law… I am the law.” - Judge Dredd
The Dark Knight Rises July 27, 2012Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Comic Book , 7 comments
And so ends the Dark Knight Trilogy. Having spent 7 years watching these three films from Ireland to Japan to Hong Kong I almost feel i’ve been on a journey with Batman.
The Dark Knight Rises isn’t the best of the three films. I still love ‘Batman Begins‘ for where they finally took the character and ‘The Dark Knight’ for exploring the response to that character through the Joker, it too is just a perfect film with brilliant performances. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is certainly the most epic of the three and brings a fitting conclusion to the story of Bruce Wayne/Batman so much so that I almost cried near the end which was perfect. Getting to the end a little less than perfect, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a brilliant film. I am only measuring this against what has come before and the high standard Nolan has set for himself.
TDKR is the most comic bookish of the Batman films Nolan has done. I thought with TKD anyone and their Grandma could watch it just as a film. Here Nolan gravitates a little more towards the fans. Before it was a movie set in the real world that contained comic book characters, now it’s a movie about comic book characters.
The scale of the film is huge. As I said in my ‘Inception’ review, Christopher Nolan is a traditional film maker. Here he makes a movie, movie. I mean he uses CGI quite sparingly and from the opening scenes of the movie I feel far more impressed with what I see because it’s not just some CGI effect. It looks completely real and adds an element of realism that is necessary for such a character as Batman.
Catwoman. Ann Hathaway is a sexy Catwoman but the character herself isn’t fleshed out so much and the relationship between herself and Batman isn’t as interesting compared to Keaton and Pfeiffer in ‘Batman Returns‘. I loved ‘Batman Returns’ when it came out, the relationship between the two characters, exploring the dichotomy between them was fascinating to watch. We don’t get that so much here. We see Selina the person.
Bane. Doesn’t have the onscreen presence of the Joker and I do think the mask takes away some of the performance of Hardy while at the same time adding to the mystery of the character and his unstoppable force. I could understand his voice fine for about 99% of the film but I did find it coming in too clear, the audio sounding unnatural, almost as if dubbed over the film. Tom Hardy as Bane is the most threatening looking Villain Batman has ever faced and the way Batman pounds on this guy to no effect shows Batman losing in a very different manner to how he lost to the Joker. By the way how stupid was Batman to sleep with someone and then get into the biggest fight of his life. Boxers and sports stars avoid that stuff until after their big sporting event. Batman really did underestimate this guy…
The story. I’m getting a ‘Dark Knight Returns’ comic vibe from the story and I felt after watching ‘The Dark Knight’ that Nolan might take the Trilogy in this Direction. Here we have an older more fragile Bruce Wayne coming out of retirement to help Gotham once more like the DKR comic. There is also parts of the ‘Knightfall’ comic in this with the breaking of the Bat along with bits of ‘No Mans land’. We see a return of Batman twice in this film. I thought the parts at the beginning dealing with his return and the middle would better fit into one continuous thread of Batman’s return. There is an obvious analogy to the world in recent years with the rich standing above the poor and the system that protects the people no longer fully working.
Alfred. Michael Caine gives it his all and it’s his best turn at Alfred yet. Give the man an award I say. Any actor that can stir an audiences emotions like him deserves another Oscar. He portrays Alfred as a loving Father figure who is seeing his adopted son losing himself in his battle against life. He isn’t as large a presence in the film as he was in the previous ones and I kinda miss that. While he was more of a sidekick in the others here he has become the Bat computer, dispensing relevant plot information to Bruce Wayne about Bane and his accomplices. Where does Alfred get this info from? Off the streets? It’s one minor little nit pick I have that here we have a film running at 2 hours 45 minutes and there is still a lot of exposition from characters, giving info about certain things. Take Blake’s explanation of how he discovered who Bruce really was. Couldn’t we see said scenes instead?
John Blake. He has some very cool scenes, especially towards the end with his real name being mentioned and then what follows after that…. I geeked out completely. It put a massive smile on my face. I liked Joseph Gordon Levitt’s character. He’s someone almost above Batman and Gordon in the Morals department, he gives no ground to the idea of doing a little wrong for the greater good, he believes that the system is no longer working and quite clearly common sense has abandoned the police department.
The ending of the film is perfect way to end the franchise and it’s an emotional blow out that I haven’t really felt with the end of any other trilogy. It’s sad, touching, heartwarming and beautiful.
As I was coming back home on the train having just seen the film and having a big dumb school girl smile on my face I suddenly stopped and thought.
“Did Nolan just pull an inception on us with that ending??!”
It’s food for thought. Of course things point to the happier ending which is how I originally perceived it,but I do love the way Nolan did that.
As to the future of Batman in movies there seems to be talk of a Justice League Movie on the way that he might be in. Nolan has completed his Batman story too so we won’t be returning to that world. Unless… we continue with John Blake as Batman. Kinda like Terry McGinnis of ‘Batman Beyond’ (they already have a flying batmobile). I wouldn’t mind seeing something tonally similar rather than your typical comic book film that has flooded the cinemas in recent years. Then again I wouldn’t mind seeing ‘Batman Beyond’ on the big screen too.
Favorite Quote: “A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a little boy’s shoulders to let him know that the world hadn’t ended.” - Batman
The Amazing Spider-Man July 8, 2012Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Comic Book , 2 comments
It’s a good film but I couldn’t help thinking how Sam Raimi did things better. I just wasn’t connected to it as much as I was with the original Spider-Man. The Spider-Man of 2002 nailed the story, the character, the origin. The wrestling Spider-Man, Uncle Ben’s death, the set up with the villains, the young, fragile teenage boy thrown into a life of a superhero and trying to hold all aspects of his life together. It’s tough being Peter Parker.
Thing is, Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker is already a cool looking guy, already stands up to bullies, already has the girl interested in him. What really changes for the character? He becomes a superhero, goes through some sh*t but he’s still the same guy when he comes out of it at the end. Who is Toby Maguire’s Parker at the end of his movie? In the beginning, he is weak, a geek and definitely does not have the eye of the girls. At the end he is not totally willing to be Spider-Man, guilt over his Uncle’s death has thrust him into that life and it reminds him of his greatest failure. There is a lot of inner conflict there, he is still a geek, still the boy next door but he knows who he is. Spider-Man.
Uncle Ben and Aunt May: For these minor characters the star power of Sheen and Field is not required and I see it as something of a publicity boost giving weight to the films cast. With all due respect to the fine acting talents of Martin Sheen and Sally Field I just like Raimi’s version of Uncle Ben and Aunt May more and thought them to be closer to their comic book counterparts. The most glaringly absent line from the movie is by Uncle Ben which should have been “with great power comes great responsibility”. I think it is a quintessential piece to the character of Spider-Man and while Raimi didn’t quite have a home run with his Spider-man films that basic line still rang true even by film 3 .
A groan worthy nitpick. Why did Spider-Man’s identity need to be revealed so much in such unoriginal ways? He shows Gwen Stacy who he is, he is unmasked by her father and the most pathetic was the lizard discovering who he was because he had put his name on his Camera. Please…. Even there is a point where Aunt May might seem to know that Peter is Spider-Man. Hate to drone one about this but compare it to the reveals of Spider-Man’s identity in the 2002 film, the familiar kiss with Mary Jane, Peter’s cut arm noticed by Osborn. So much more impactful.
The Lizard. The origin story of Spider-Man takes time away from the Lizard of course and I can’t help thinking again what Raimi might have done with that character. Lizard seems to have little necessity except for someone for Spider-Man to fight and have action scenes with. The fights themselves aren’t on par with what’s come before.
There seems to be a rehash of scenes from Spider-Man 2002 early on. A reboot so close to that film is unnecessary to me. While the story here is changed the basic points of Peter dealing with his powers are similar, as is Uncle Ben’s death and there is also that “America is great” undertone with the citizens of New York once again lending a hand to Spider-Man as we glimpse the flag of the united states on a wall in the background. I don’t find it as relevant as it was back in 2002 for obvious reasons. Marc Webb just hasn’t done enough to reinvent this character and only shows how it pales in comparison.
Kids will probably love this and like it more than the originals for no other fact than they were in nappies when the original Spider-Man films were released.
The after credits scene. No idea what that was about but it didn’t interest me at all in the slightest or get me excited for the next film except to think we need to wait another 2-3 years to find out what the hell that was about.
So 10 years after watching Spider-Man (2002) in Dublin and walking out with a smile on my face I leave the cinema here in Hong Kong and frown. These franchise reboots, re-imaginings will not sustain themselves unless there is a strong creative force behind it that cares about the material and wants to deliver. I think Directors like Nolan, Raimi, Whedon get it. But here I believe Director Mark Webb was chosen because he could create a teenage romance to attract a wider audience or women and the credence is on the money that can be pulled in.
Favorite Quote: “Secrets have a cost. They’re not free. Not now, not ever” - Aunt May
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles Forever May 30, 2012Posted by oldboy in : Animation, DVD/Video/T.V., Comic Book , add a comment
If you are any sort of Turtles fan then you gotta see this. I got into the original show “Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles” back in the late 80s after watching it at a Cousins house. Of course it became a massive hit and was the next big thing after “The Real Ghostbusters” for me. Trying to get all the Hero (Ninja) Turtles action figures for christmas was difficult as it was that years big toy seller. Who doesn’t remember people going around shouting Cowabunga! This was the age of dumb teenage slang and we were getting a healthy feed of it from this and the likes of ‘Bill & Ted’, ‘Waynes World’ etc. Hero Turtles introduced young kids to skateboards, pizza and Ninjas with the educational side of the show teaching us about great Italian painters. Their names at least…. As usual some parents groups complained the show was too violent and a bad influence on kids. I didn’t think so even though I did get in serious trouble for giving a karate kick to someones eye.
I started to eat more pizzas although I wasn’t big on Pizzas at the time. My Aunt used to always make a massive Pizza for me which was almost half a meter long. I always appreciated that but there was always still some of it left over in the freezer by the time she made the next one and you know what, she’d still do it today if I were closer to Home.
I was thinking today how the show had an influence on me even now. I was not wholly conscious till now that I actually possess most of the weapons the turtles had, all except for Raphael’s sais.
The animation itself was based on a comic book series and the popularity of the animation spawned three live action movies, a CGI movie and numerous other animated and live action series from America and Japan.
‘Turtles Forever’ is quite fun to watch as it brings together the universe of the original animated Turtles with the newer darker animated series of recent years showing the contrasts between both. It is big on adventure and fun but does take the micky out of the earlier animated series, there is a fantastic homage to the original comics and nods to every single interpretation of the franchise to date.
If you have or had any interest in Turtles throughout your life this would be worth seeing at least once.
Favorite Quote: “I cut two on the way down. Donatello takes out a third with his staff.” - Leonardo
The Avengers May 6, 2012Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Comic Book , add a comment
Starting back in 2008 with ‘Iron Man’, ‘The Avengers’ have finally assembled. ‘Iron Man‘, ‘Hulk‘, ‘Thor‘ and ‘Captain America’ get to bounce off each other to comedic and dramatic effect which is a heck of a lot of fun to see and what we have all waited long for.
It takes a while to get going as each hero is introduced and rounded up before the proverbial poop hits the fan and they all head to New York to fight off invading Aliens while leveling the city in the process. I feel it’s missing something though. A bit of heart and soul, it’s some yummy action but I felt like the meal was better than the conversation if you catch my spliff. With some of these Marvel movies you kinda feel the whole thing is a process to get to this point and when we get to this film it sort of feels like a process also of one thing leading to another to bring us to the goods at the end. The characters get familiar with each other a bit too quickly. Visually the movie looks very pretty, the heroes fighting side by side is some nice eye candy and fortunately for once the action is clear and visible unlike Bay’s Transformers which was too fast and close to the screen.
I really enjoyed Hulk Vs Thor which brought back memories of Hulk Vs Thor in the incredible Hulk TV series. I think one of the reasons Hulk became the favorite Character of the movie is that he is shown in a more heroic light for once rather than the monster alter ego of a mild manner scientist. In his previous movies he has been shown as a villain to that Banner has tried to rid himself off. It’s a shame we don’t see Edward Norton return to the role and play of Robert Downey Jr. but Mark Ruffalo does a nice job and I think for a movie like this where Hulk is the hero he doesn’t need to enlarge his character.
I was disappointed that Loki is the main Villain here as I find the character to be weak and not villainous enough. The generic alien invasion force weren’t all too profound either and it seems like future sequels might deal with more invading aliens which I think was already well covered in this movie.
DC comics. Where is your Justice League Movie?!? While I really enjoy Nolan’s Batman movies the one good thing about his trilogy ending is that it opens up the possibility of doing a DC movie with Multiple Heroes. It would be great if we had a Batman and Superman movie first followed by a Justice League movie. But they need to get their asses into gear and work on bringing character’s such as ‘The Flash’ to the Big Screen.
It is pretty amazing that Marvel were able to pull this movie off and get these characters and actors together in one film. Hats off to them. I don’t know where they could go for the sequel as it will have to be on a larger scale. I find it hard to even imagine these characters going back to their own series of films. I’d love to see more Marvel Characters feature in a sequel. Spider-man is out so far, maybe Daredevil? I’d like to see more well know characters added. Scarlett Johansson is nice as black widow (don’t like the shorter hair) but she isn’t a superhero that can match the rest of the cast.
Favorite Quote: “Shakespeare in the Park? Doth mother know you weareth her drapes?” - Tony Star/Iron Man
Thor July 14, 2011Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Comic Book , add a comment
Thor is another perfectly well made film from Marvel. Visually it looks great, there is a strong cast of actors to geek out about, Anthony Hopkins as Odin, James T Kirk’s father as Thor and Luke Skywalker’s Ma. Having Kenneth Branagh as Director seemed like a stroke of genius for the grandeur of Thor’s storytelling. They pretty much nailed it.
My only real pick with it is that the film feels a little bit on the small scale, visuals and casting aside the story seems rather on a smaller scale, even placing the film in a small town seems to strengthen that thought. This isn’t really a problem for me. My grip is that it just seems to represent a somewhat recent trend in movies to save goods till for the sequel. I can understand that, but also I want the biggest bang for the buck. I want the Chris Nolan philosophy of movie making. Don’t hold anything back for sequels, make the best film you can now. With “The Avengers” coming next year I thought this movie was holding back the goods for that. Compared to “The Incredible Hulk” and “Iron Man” the importance of this movie is the introduction f the character of Thor, introducing him well and blending the fantastical world of Norse Gods with the more scientific approach of Iron Man etc.
My first knowledge of Thor came from the 1980s movie “Adventures in Babysitting” (i kid you not). A mechanic named Dawson is mistaken by the little girl for Thor. My other knowledge of Thor comes from the early 90s animated Incredible Hulk and Fantastic Four series. I also saw the character in the Incredible Hulk Returns. Thor is pretty cool guy. Chris Hemsworth does a great job of playing the arrogant God of Thunder, he plays the humor of the character’s ignorance well and by the end has matured Thor into a Hero worthy of his Father and the audience. His physic is impressive and doesn’t just look like a beefed up guy but one who i quite athletic. Portman plays the heroine and is not completely a ditzy but obviously more attracted to Thor for his biceps than anything else. The relationship wasn’t completely sold to me and I’m growing a bit tired of shoving the love relationship in these movies to attract the female audience. It’s a necessary evil but it’s just not fresh anymore. I guess ‘m more interested in the flawed alcoholic super heroes these days.
Favorite Quote: “She searches for you.” - Heimdall
Iron Man 2 June 29, 2010Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Comic Book , add a comment
I found this rather enjoyable. I remember when I watched “Iron Man” two years ago I was a bit critical of it. I watched it recently again and felt it had less problems, maybe because my expectations were lower for the second viewing. With Iron Man I felt it was only providing a taster of what was to come as a lot of films seem to do these days. The appetizer before the main course. Iron Man 2 certainly ramps things up and provides the action I was wanting from the first movie. There are more comedic moments too especially with Stark at his Birthday party and Stark talking with Nick Fury at the Donut shop. Downey lets his hair down more here.
The funniest part of the Movie though was the Stan Lee cameo, best one yet! I hope they continue this trend with further Iron Man sequels as Lee’s cameos in them are really fun to watch. This one gave me a good laugh.
Although this time the film seems more generic. I found the switching back to Micky Rourke’s character as he “slowly” made his plans, suit and documents to the US taking up unnecessary time and reminding me of older comic book and 80s action movies with the bad guy on his way to give the good guy a good ass kicking. The good guy comes back from the ass kicking of course after training/building a better suit, weapon etc.
Ivan Danko/Whiplash is a bit of a generic villain too. One that I lacked sympathy for compared to Dr. Octopus in Spider-man 2. I was glad that the Villain is one on equal footing of technological intelligence as Stark. I like that the Character is Russian as I was hoping for a villain the likes of Titanium man.
At times I wondered if Stark’s disease is more of an allusion to the Demon in the bottle storyline then actually doing it. We see him drunk, out of control, he is sick, he has a problem he can’t talk to anyone about, War Machine has to take the reins from him. War Machine is, well, War Machine! A walking gun advertisement. I’d like to see the demon in the bottle storyline in the next sequel but I think they’ve done a bit of it here already. Maybe it’s too dark for a family audience? But it might happen since Downy and Favre seem to think we are seeing the early stages of Stark’s drinking problem here. For a sequel which I have no doubt there will be, where will it go? I hope they do the demon in the bottle storyline. Possibly we’ll see the Mandarin too. I hope for more Scarlett Johansson, the red headed bomb shell black widow is sex.on.legs.
The after credits scene isn’t nearly as interesting as the first film. I thought finding something like Captain America in ice might have been more exciting than what we got. But obviously it’s referencing the Marvel film furthest ahead in development.
Some geeky things I want to address from my own pure geekness. Genndy Tartakovsky (Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Laboratory) storyboarded parts of this, in particular the action scenes. Love this guys work. His eyes are in the wide scope when he draws action.
It’s not a Dark Knight beater or a Spider Man 2 beater. But it’s a lot of fun to watch. It’s still a bit too long of a film like the first one. I thought a more tighter film would be better.
Favorite Quote: “You have *a* big gun, you’re not *the* big gun.” - Iron Man
Watchmen April 19, 2009Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Comic Book , add a comment
Zack Snyder forgot to make a Film here while attempting to do a faithful adaptation of the Graphic Novel. He missed the point. You can’t adapt it. There’s just too much material to adapt, the same goes for Book adaptations. Not even Peter Jackson attempted this with the “Lord of the Rings”. But Syner apparently did his best to do so here.
While it may be sacrilege in some circles to cut this graphic novel down to a usual script size it is in the end the only realistic way to do it justice as a Film unless you want to totally alienate the movie going audience which is what it did.
I ‘m not a fan of Zack Snyder. I didn’t watch “Dawn of the Dead”, I didn’t like “300″, I thought it’s all image and no soul. Watchmen also is too much style over substance. In trying to accomplish the impossible the film lags, without focus, without pace. What he had to do as any film maker would have was to slim it down to a film format as previous scripts for this had done. Give it a definitive beginning, middle and end. Focus on more important or interesting characters. Rorschach and the The Comedian are the most fascinating characters that are also played well by the actors in those roles.
Rorschach reminds me of “The Question” from DC comics. I believe Rorschach is based on “The Question” since Alan Moor couldn’t use characters from DC. But Rorschach is more like a Dark Knight Returns Batman in terms of personality (note Rorschach is beaten by Miller’s Batman in a cameo in the comic “Countdown Final Crisis). “The Nite Owl” is clearly based on Batman and the movie even shows him saving the lives of what appears to be Bruce Waynes parents.
I had debated reading watchmen before the movie was released as I was hyped by the buzz surrounding it. I decided to wait and read it after since my love of films gave me preference over the events that take place in the story and I didn’t want the movie to be spoiled for me. However I felt that the movie itself pretty much gave away who the villain was. It’s disappointing that that character plays such a small part throughout most of the movie only to presume a larger presence at the end.
While I commend them for giving this a R (18) rating I no longer feel you can pull in the audience with this rating. It’s not like the 80s or early 90s. A large audience is young kids now and older people just don’t enjoy having to listen to some kid talking on their cell phone during the movie when they could be at home watching this on DVD and BlueRay.
One thing i’m glad of is he didn’t make the movie contemporary and have it relate to some world issue of today. The alternate universe in which this film takes place is interesting due to the time setting as it’s a product of the 80s when we had this and Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” ruling comics.
Favorite Quote: “You see, Doctor, God didn’t kill that little girl. Fate didn’t butcher her and destiny didn’t feed her to those dogs. If God saw what any of us did that night he didn’t seem to mind. From then on I knew… God doesn’t make the world this way. We do.” - Rorschach
The Dark Knight January 10, 2009Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Comic Book , 1 comment so far
Back in 2005 I saw “Batman Begins”, I not only thought it was the best Batman Film and best film of the year but also a film I’d put on my list of Best Movies I have ever seen.
I eagerly waited these three years since then to see “The Dark Knight”. In this past year the momentum and build up to the film was almost like that of Batman 89, however finding any merchandise here wasn’t so easy as I had hoped. I finally got to see it on preview at the Wald 9 Cinema in Shinjuku, Tokyo on the 2nd of August. I was highly excited and couldn’t stop fidgeting in my seat until the movie started. Then that beating sound began as the logos of Warner Brothers, legendary pictures and DC comics appeared. The Jokers theme started as the Batman Symbol floated through blue fire.
The film was an intense experience, almost exhausting, but what a film. I had to see it a further two times to fully digest it.
The film tackles a variety of questions. Vigilantism, Batman’s methods used to fight crime, Joker’s Terror, how physical strength and force can’t stop a philosophy or way of thinking, good people falling to evil after losing hope. Their are parallels between this and what’s happening in the real world. Some things can’t be stopped just by using brute force and we may not be evil but be forced to do so if we become victims of our own situation. Batman and Joker are victims of their own pasts and both have turned to dealing with it in very different ways. As the Joker had said to Batman in the Comic ‘The Last Laugh’ “you had a bad day am I right? You had a bad day and everything changed”. People might think the joker is crazy but without a doubt Batman must be seen in a similar light. Joker uses his method of anarchy to show people that self righteous good intentions isn’t so effective in action when someone is put into a no win situation.
The film could easily be called “Joker”, so iconic is the character and well realised he was made by Nolan and Ledger who have reinvented a villain that will be around in our minds for a long time. It was a perfect idea to make him ambiguous, he came from nowhere, no history, no name, having different stories of his past, any of which could be true or false. He has created himself as a Symbol of Chaos to inspire evil while Batman had made himself as a symbol of Justice to inspire good and use Fear against criminals. In one respect Batman and the Joker represent two sides of the same coin, a good and evil.
Jokers speeches are almost convincing. He doesn’t spout typical villain/bad guy stuff where you’ll definitely disagree with him. To a certain degree he has a point and there’s less flaw in his logic than that of others. You can’t disagree with him 100%.
I was surprised that Nolan cast Health Ledger as the Joker however I trusted the Director and imagined he made the best choice for the Joker. It was a Tragic loss when Heath died. I was shocked by it. The world lost one of the finest actors of this era. Heath created one of the best onscreen villains ever topping the likes of Hannibal Lector or Darth Vader.
Batman has no answer for the Joker, he is totally taken out of his element because the Joker isn’t like other criminals, he doesn’t fear Batman. When Batman beats him in the interrogation scene the Joker just laughs. Batman for the first time is truly powerless and it is perhaps a learning curve the character had to take to understand that beating criminals to pulp just isn’t going to cut it with some of them. The interrogation scene that shows this has to be my favorite scene along with the ending scene.
Christian Bale had one of the hardest roles since he had to play 3 characters. Batman, the real Bruce Wayne and the public persona of Bruce Wayne, he does an excellent Job of it. He is the best actor to play Batman, Keaton would be my next choice but Bale plays into the character and delves into the deeper complexities of the character, although he does take more of a back seat role in this film to the joker and he gracefully does so. I certainly hope there is more focus on the character in any sequel since the character is so fascinating and with an Actor like Bale playing him you want to see as much and know as much about him as possible. I enjoyed Bale’s fighting scenes a bit more since the fights seemed a bit less confusing and more brutal.
I liked how the final scene with Batman and the Joker ended with the Joker telling Batman that they were destined to do this forever. To me that is their story done perfectly. We can imagine these two characters up against each other numerous times, locked in constant battle, neither of them willing to kill the other. This is the relationship that Batman and the Joker have in comics and it is somewhat comforting to just leave it on that note in the movie and let it be what it is.
It echoes a moment from the comic “The Clown at Midnight” (featured in Batman #663) when the Joker states to Batman, “You can’t kill me without becoming like me. I can’t kill you without losing the only human being who can keep up with me. Isn’t it ironic?!” The Joker says later, “I could never kill you. Where would the act be without my straight man?”
Aaron Eckhart really nailed the part of Two Face. The voice of Two face that you imagine in your head is what he brought out of the character. The performance was so true to the Comic and even the animated series of the early 90s. I honestly don’t think I can ever watch Tommy Lee Jones in Batman forever playing the same character. In the “Batman: Year One” script and in the graphic novel “The Long Halloween” Harvey Dent is really entwined with the Batman mythos since himself Gordon and Batman vow to clean up the city. He represents a charming force that can put a face to fighting crime that Gordon and Batman can’t. All the more tragic it is when the character falls and the once shining Knight is brought down to the same level as Batman and the Joker.
Gary Oldman is so believably Jim Gordon. He is an amazing versatile actor when you consider all the roles he has done but I could no longer even recognise Oldman, so complete and natural was his performance as Gordon that I felt he was real. He has such a large part in the film he should be on the poster holding a Police badge next to Dent, Joker and Batman. I hope Gordon features even more in the next movie.
Michael Caine is the Watson to Batman’s Holmes and a far truer interpretation of a ’sidekick’ than the boy wonder robin who thankfully isn’t in this. Alfred deals out the harsh truth to Bruce Wayne and is perhaps the only character besides Rachel that can talk on the same level with Bruce. He is a Father figure, he was the one who raised Bruce since his parents died. Caine also adds some moments of light relief which are much welcomed in this Dark Film.
David Goyer, Christopher and Jonathan Nolan crafted a film that contains the essence of who the Batman and Joker are. After completing Batman’s origins in Begins they had room to develop a story free of devoting time to character introduction. Before Nolan had starting filming “Batman Begins” he had shown everyone on the film crew “Blade Runner” and told them this was how they were going to make “Batman Begins”. With “The Dark Knight” he compared it to “Heat”, elevating it beyond a Comic book movie genre. With Begins and the Dark Knight he has always wanted to keep Batman in the real world. Since the character has no powers he naturally appeals and lends himself to this realistic vision of Nolans.
Nolan put everything into this movie storywise, he completed the story of two face and Joker rather than continuing it in another movie (as Goyer had previously mentioned back in 2005 when he worked out a story for 2 further sequels in which the joker on trail would scar Dent and Two- Face would be the main villain of a third film). But there is a opening for the next movie. In my view there is a bit of a set up there in the interrogation scene with the Joker and Batman when the Joker tells him that they (the people of Gotham, the Police) need Batman now but when they don’t they’ll cast him out. By the end Batman’s only choice is to cast himself out and be hunted by the police, it would be interesting to see where this goes, probably everyone will be after him and trying to figure out his identity. Perhaps a Character like Hugo Strange could be in it, a Batman villain from the Comics who was able to deduce that Batman was Bruce Wayne. I certainly hope to see more of Gordon in it too.
People are wondering at this time if Nolan should tackle making another Batman Movie since he has set the bar so high for himself;. I however think that this is a wonderful challenge to the independent film maker that he would love to take on. I have no doubt that he would make a Movie just as good if not better. I’m counting down the days to the one. Should a Character like Joker return? Perhaps if the story wants to tell requires it. I don’t think anyone can really match what Heath did but they could do their own interpretation. Maybe Johnny Depp? I’m not so interesting in seeing catwoman or the penguin. Less know villains would be interesting to see.
It’s still too early to say whether this is the greatest comic book of all time, it still needs time to age to see how it holds up. certainly it’s the strongest comic book movie containing the philosophy of a Hero and complex moral questions of been a vigilante.
Favorite Quote: “he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark Knight.” - Commissioner Jim Gordon
Batman: Gotham Knight
I mostly enjoy what has been released by DC Universe animated films so far. At this time Batman has appeared in two of them, the first been JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NEW FRONTIER which showed Batman in his early days but unfortunately the character doesn’t feature much in it. His first animated solo run in the DC animated universe of films is Batman Gotham Knight.
I had anticipated Batman Gotham Knight to be one of the better ones. Produced and Directed by well know animation companies and Directors in Japan.
Unfortunately this does not deliver. It is said to be set in Nolans Batman Universe filling the gaps between Begins and TDK, however it provides no such interesting continuity links whatsoever other than using some of the same characters that appear in TDK, these characters personalities don’t match up to the ones in TDK nor do they look like their live action counterparts. Gotham Knight is similar to how the “Animatrix” was done, having 6 short stories running about 10 minutes each. This was a mistake in my view, as there is no room to develop the story into something more and the short storylines and themes are uninteresting at best with the exception of the last 2. There is a storyline connecting each animation but the resolve of it is over too quickly. Batman doesn’t face any true challenge and an excellent Character that Dead Shot could be is left with all too short a story. I also didn’t find this to be as realistic as I thought it would be. The Killer Croc doesn’t visually look like anything I imagine him to be if he were in Nolan’s Batman universe of films. The same goes for the Scarecrow. They even use the Batmobile from the Batman 89 film in this.
On the plus side the animation is beautiful and it’s interesting to see some of Japan’s best animation companies represent their interpretation of Batman which is coolness itself.
I suggest sticking with BATMAN: The Animated Series which is by far one of the greatest interpretations of Batman in animation.
Favorite Quote: “It seems I’ve been trying to stop those two bullets all my life.” - Bruce Wayne
Batman Comic Reviews
Batman The Cult
Before Bane ever came along the first man to break the Bat (mentally at least) was a man named Deacon Blackfire, a Ras Al Ghul wannabe who took baths in Blood and had a police record spanning decades with a proclaimed history of centuries.
At the start of the Comic Batman/Bruce Wayne awakens from a nightmare into a nightmarish reality where he has been captured by a cult who are in the process of making him one of their own. Keeping him hungry and drugged he soon crumbles under much strain and out of his mind he starts to work for the cult.
The art work and style of the story is a little reminiscent to that of Frank Millers “The Dark Knight Returns” but the antagonist is a rather poor one who only beats Batman while he is at his weakest. The true threat is the cult and the power that they command over the city of Gotham. It reaches to a point that Batman even fears. A threat that he must stop at any cost, even not stopping to help an innocent bystanders being killed by the cult members.
The story is alright. It doesn’t add much to the Batman mythos so it’s not a must read.
Another story where Batman is a broken man and one I found far more satisfying. Batman fails to save a young girl from drowning and in his anguish he tortures himself. first trying training himself to injury and finally in a weakened state tackling thugs that were responsible for the girls kidnapping and losing to them.
When he is offered Drugs that can make him stronger then he could ever be he at first refuses,
but after his prior failure he reluctantly takes these Steroid type pills that will enhance his strength.
One note of interest is this strength enhancing drug was later used by Bane when he broke Batman’s back.
You’ll feel not pity but embarrassment for the Character of Batman with his addiction, how much he lowers himself to the need of the drug. He loses himself, he loses his way in the fight on crime, he loses Alfred, he becomes an instrument of his addiction.
However there is a strong will within Batman that shines through later when he battles against it.
I liked how Alfred was portrayed in this, his characterisation is close to that of the Character in the Dark Knight. He is witty yet berates Batman for his unrealistic goals on his war on crime.
I enjoyed the story. Even the battle with the Sharks was pretty exciting and a little pulpish.
Batman Birth of the Demon
Apart from the Joker I would say that Ras Al Ghul is Batman’s opposite and equal. Both suffered tragedy in their lives. Both are highly intelligent and skilled men.
They both have their own goals which are alike in ways but the means through which they want to achieve their objective are very different.
Ras wants to bring peace to the world through control of it’s people. Batman wants a better world that has free will, even though it is difficult because there will always be people who do wrong, a world with choice is better than any world where everyone must think alike. One thing that comes across in this story is Batman’s idealism and his burning desire to rid the world of Ras. Even though Talia the daughter of Ras Al Ghul and the Lover of Batman scolds him for been the same as Ras, Batman admits that while they both can’t let go of the past, Ras has a burning hatred that he is unable to let go of, even after destroying the history and language of his culture he still can’t let go of it. Batman however is holding onto the past out of his moral obligation and promise to not let the crime that stole his childhood happen again.
These two characters have a lot of history and maybe even a grandson to link them together. Wherever this battle of ideals shall take them in future is anyones guess. The origin story as Ras is epic and the beautiful Art work is on level with the story presenting a very eye tasting treat.