Tag Archives: batman

Movie Review – Justice League (2017)

Well, it only took two years and four films, but Warner Brothers has finally figured out a winning formula.

BQB here with a review of “Justice League.”

Character development.  It’s what the Marvel Cinematic Universe excelled at and what Warner Brothers failed at, even though the winning formula was clear – make a bunch of films starring the individual heroes, then make films starring the heroes working together…repeat.

Warner Brothers went a different way in March of 2016 with the pathetic flop that was “Batman vs. Superman.”  Technically, they started with “Man of Steel” years back, though at the time it didn’t appear as though there was an intention for that particular version of Superman to stick around…as far as I know anyway.

In B v S, we were flashed quick versions of Batman and Wonder Woman.  The plot was hacky, like Man of Steel, it was riddled with product placement, and Lex Luthor, greatest villain of all time, was turned into a nerdy wiener played by Jesse Eisenberg.

While critics despised “Suicide Squad,” I enjoyed it, though looking back on it, I’m not sure it really capitalized on its main asset – Harley Quinn.  A Joker and Harley movie is long overdue.

Bottomline – Marvel’s characters weren’t as well known to general audiences.  Thus, Marvel/Disney was able to make an Iron Man flick, a Hulk flick, a Captain America flick, a Thor flick, an Avengers flick, then press repeat, minus the Hulk flick because the green guy just can’t carry a film on his own, sadly.

But the character development in the individual flicks always paid off in the Avengers flicks.  We would see the individual characters suffer and face their demons and  then come together as a team.

DC’s cross to bear was that prior to this attempt to copy Marvel, Batman and Superman had been done umpteen million times.  However, while I still maintain that audiences didn’t need another origin  story for Batman or Superman, there could have been a film to introduce us to this grittier, older, depressed version of Batman starring Ben Affleck.  We didn’t need to see Bruce Wayne’s parents get capped after a night at the theater for the 1000th time, but it would have been nice to have seen a film where we jump into the new Batman’s world and see what he’s all about.  For example, a Batman vs. Joker and Harley film could have done just that.

Meanwhile, “Man of Steel” was yet another Superman origin film and as Supes and Zod punched their way through 7-11 signs and IHOP restaurants, the whole thing felt very forgettable.

June of this year’s “Wonder Woman” was Warner’s first critically acclaimed hit.  Wonder Woman has appeared in TV form before in the 1970s, but generally, she wasn’t as well known as Bats and Supes, so Warner had a chance to introduce her and tell us what she’s about.

Thus, in “Justice League,” the main continuity payoffs come from references to the earlier “Wonder Woman” film whereas references to B v S made me want to hurl, as I’m still doing all I can to forget that epic fail of a film.

Honestly, I feared that character development was not Warner’s forte.  It felt like they were rushing these films out, not taking their time, that we were a bunch of chimps who would put our butts into the seats no matter what so they just cared about money and not plot or telling us what made the characters tick.

Thus, it felt to me like “Justice League” was destined to fail.  We were introduced to new Batman and new Superman, albeit poorly, and we were introduced to Wonder Woman well, but introducing us to the Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg all in the same film and somehow making us care about them seemed like a tall order and yet…they pulled it off.

Ray Fisher plays Cyborg/Victor Stone with just the right amounts of anger and sadness.  Cyborg, a young man rebuilt as part-man but mostly machine by his scientist father, views himself as an abomination, subject to the will of the technology that controls him, tech that he has little control over himself.  He must overcome self-hatred to serve a higher purpose.

Ezra Miller provides much needed comic relief as The Flash/Barry Allen.  The Flash has appeared on TV in the 1990s to not so great results, though a more recent return to TV faired better.  There were a variety of ways the film could have gone with Flash but here, they decided to go with an accidental bumbler.  Hit by lightning, the kid can now run really fast.  At the time of this film, he’s foiled a few petty crooks with his feet of fury, but he’s never gone toe to toe with a big bad and that leaves him scared shitless.  He devours entire pizzas in one sitting without gaining weight because his top speeds leave his body depleted and a scene where he thinks he’s about to shine only to realize Superman can run as fast as he can is the highlight of the film.

I was on the fence with Jason Mamoa’s “Aquaman.”  Aquaman, long panned as the lamest Justice League member due to his power of talking to fish, has always been a long haul to bring home.  After all, the cartoon version featured Aquaman riding two dolphins under his feet as if they were water skis.  Here, Aquaman is portrayed as a gritty merman, unsure of why he was cast out of Atlantis and left to protect a seaside community.  This Aquaman is very “Point Break-ish,” an extreme adventurer type, enjoying badassery, boastful of his manliness and so on.  I had mixed feelings about him throughout the film until a humorous scene with Wonder Woman won me over.

As in any film, there are flaws.  Bruce Wayne doesn’t seem to give a shit about revealing himself as Batman to every new team member he meets, though I suppose if he’s going to work with these people, he has to.  Also, the plot revolves around finding three boxes that hold the power to global destruction before the villain Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) can.  Something about those boxes made me think about Marvel’s tesseract, though I suppose similarities between comic worlds are inevitable.  There’s only so much of this shit that can be done before it all seems to mold together.

Ultimately, it’s a good ride.  Would independent Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman films helped?  Maybe…maybe not.  Honestly, I worried about that going into the film but somehow the movie manages to give us just the right amount of back story for these three heroes – not too much, not too little – perhaps independent films would have been overkill.  Now that we’ve given small doses of them to see what makes them tick, we might root for them more independently.

Amazingly, the movie finally even gets Superman right.  Superman has always been a tough one.  He’s the ultimate boy scout who does no wrong and basically has no flaws, so its hard to relate to him.  Further, even though he can fight like anything and survive, Hollywood rarely pits him against foes worth his time.  Superman shines here, though I think long term, the franchise will suffer because of the earlier decision to let Eisenberg play a geeky version of Lex Luthor rather than go with the traditional comic book version were Lex is the ultimate cunning badass.

Good story.  Good plot.  Good characters.  It had heart and humor.  I finally care about these characters.  It took awhile, but WB finally got it right.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Who Was the Best Batman?

A) Adam West

B) Michael Keaton

C) Val Kilmer

D) George Clooney

E) Christian Bale

F) Ben Affleck

Rank them in the comments as to who you think is best to worst.

BQB’s ranking:

Best Humorous Batman = Adam West

Best Overall Batman = Michael Keaton

Best Serious Batman = Christian Bale

Acceptable Batman = Val Kilmer

Worst Batman Ever and the Studio Should Have Never Let It Happen – George Clooney

Blah, I’m Indifferent to This Batman = Ben Affleck

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RIP Adam West – 1960s Batman

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.  You know, after a while, I decided I wasn’t going to write about every celebrity’s death.  Unfortunately, they happen often, and talking about it just makes me sad.

But this is a nerd blog and Adam West is an icon to nerds everywhere.

When I was a kid, I loved Batman.  The Michael Keaton Batman movie came out in 1989 and I became obsessed with the idea that maybe a man could become a superhero without any superpowers but rather, just a lot of money and training.

The training would be easy to find, I thought, and what kid doesn’t automatically assume that he’s going to be a billionaire the second he becomes an adult?

Oh well.  My Batman plan didn’t pan out, although I did become the owner of a blog read by 3.5 readers, so I’d say I broke even.

After school, I would watch reruns of the old 1960s Batman TV show.  I’m not sure as a kid I got the humor.  The writing seemed hacky and even as a boy I remembered scratching my head and thinking, “Bat Shark Repellant?  Really?”

I also was incredibly confused as to why every episode ended on a cliffhanger where Batman and Robin would be put into some kind of intricate killing device set up by the evildoer, only to easily break free in the next episode.  One wonders why the villain just didn’t pull out a gun and blast the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder, but I suppose that would have been anti-climactic.

All I know is that even though you knew they were going to get free, that dramatic voice announcer asking “Will Batman escape this time?  Tune in next week, same bat time, same bat channel” always got me to tune in to the same Bat channel at the same bat time.

But I loved the show, the bright colors, how it looked like a comic book had been brought to life, complete with the “Biffs” and “Pows” flashing on screen during every Batman vs. henchmen scene.

It was only as an adult that I realized a) the writers were goofing on the comic book genre and b) it was the 1960s, a time when adults were expected to put away childish things and comic books were considered the ultimate in silly kid stuff.  Attempts to portray Batman as a serious crimefighter would have fallen flat.  Therefore, the only way Batman could have succeeded was as a wacky, campy show for kids.

Adam West played the role perfectly, being very serious as Bruce Wayne/Batman, saying ridiculous things in a completely deadpan style, as if you were the one who is an oddball for thinking it is weird that Batman keeps a hefty supply of Bat Shark Repellant on hand at all times.

In later years, Adam West found a resurgence as his fans got older themselves.  He was cartoon-ized as the Mayor of Quahog, Rhode Island on Family Guy, again called upon to say things that are hysterical in a voice that says, “I don’t think the Mayor realizes this is hysterical.”

One thing to keep in mind is that without the 1960s Batman show, all subsequent Batman films and possibly other comic book superhero films, TV shows may not have ever happened.  The Hollywood suits had to be shown that comic book fans would follow their favorite characters to TV and film, and West paved the way.

He will be missed.

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BQB’s Favorite YouTubers – Straight Outta Gotham

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

I came across this video by a group calling themselves the “Castanet Creative.”  It’s pretty funny, so check it out.

At first glance, it seems like a pretty standard parody by a bunch of buddies who got together to make a YouTube video.

But if you really look at it, it’s clear they were fans of the original Straight Outta Compton video by NWA, so much so that they copy all the scenes.  Batman and Robin chasing the villains through back alleys, Riddler getting slammed down and cuffed, the Joker standing up in a top down sports car, rapping insults at Batman ala Easy E.

Kudos.  These peeps have an eye for detail and that made this video 100% funnier.

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Movie Review – The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

Na na na na na na na na Batman!

VGRF here with a review of The Lego Batman Movie.

OBLIGATORY SPOILER ALERT.

Oh, 3.5 readers.  I’ve been enjoying myself so much since I broke up with that loser, BQB.  I have taken over the BQB HQ and now I get to go to movies without having to sit next to that nerd.

As it turns out, The Lego Movie was not a flash in the pan success.  Lego Batman is just as awesome.

The plot?  The Joker (Zach Galifinakis) is dismayed when Batman (Will Arnett) informs him that he isn’t the worst villain in his life.  Thus, the Joker goes out of his way to prove he is Batman’s worst villain and all manner of shenanigans ensue.

Along the way, Batman adopts Robin (Michael Cera) who completes his look by ripping off his pants and teams up with new Gotham PD Commissioner Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl (Rosario Dawson). Of course, no Batman film would be complete without Alfred (Ralph Fiennes).

For me, the best laughs came when Joker enlists every last Batman villain, including some of the lesser knowns (the ketchup and mustard shooting Condiment Man, for example).  Joker invites the audience to Google whether or not these villains were real and not just made up to poke fun at the Batman franchise.

Having no life, I did the Google search when I got home and low and behold, there really was a Condiment Man.

It’s fun for the kids but there’s also a lot of action…well, as much action as a movie about Lego toys can provide.  Also, it’s a non-stop parody of all of the past Batman movies as jokes abound about the Caped Crusader’s exploits, ranging from the latest Dark Knight films, to the 1980s and 1990s films, to the more campy 1960s series.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Fun for the whole family.  I don’t have a family so I took Bookshelf Q. Battle Dog.

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Movie Trailer – The LEGO Batman Movie

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

The LEGO movie really took everyone by surprise.

They’re back now with LEGO Batman.

The trailer looks great.  It’s Batman for kids, but it looks like they’ll get into some of Batman’s issues and make fun of him.

The part that made me laugh was Commissioner Gordon (Barbara Gordon this time around) proposes to work with Batman.

Batman doesn’t like that, assumedly because he prefers to be an outlaw.

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Will Suicide Squad Be Good?

Should we judge it by Batman vs. Superman, that horrible stink burger of a film, or will it break out and be awesome on its own?

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Batman vs. Superman vs. My Bookshelf

Holy Crap 3.5 Readers.

I walk away from my magic bookshelf for 3.5 seconds and this happens:

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Enough you two!  Settle your differences and get down to the important business of punching Lex Luthor in the face.

Is there a battle on your bookshelf?  Tweet the photographic evidence to @bookshelfbattle #bookshelfbattle and I might just share it with my 3.5 readers.

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Batman vs. Superman!

Hey 3.5 readers.

It’s here.  It’s finally here.  The fight we’ve all been waiting for.  The Dark Knight vs. The Man of Steel.

Who will win?  No really, who do you think will win?

(As you can see, there is a “bookshelf battle” in the header of this fine blog in honor of this film.  Batman can take a punch like a champ.)

You have to root for Batman, right?  He’s the undercard in this bout.  Superman is an immortal quasi-God figure whereas Batman is a guy with good training and a lot of money. (An endless supply of money being the closest thing to a super power in reality).

I can’t wait to see it this weekend.  It will mark the beginning of DC’s attempt to recreate Marvel’s success with its Avengers movies.

Here’s a thought.  This is a big, summer blockbuster style movie and here it is, out so early…in March.

What does that mean for the future of movies?

Here’s what I think as a movie nerd.  Movie theaters are facing increasing competition from the Internet.  With the economy being down and ticket/popcorn prices high, a lot of people just decide to stay home and watch Netflix.

I can see that movie theaters are constantly coming up with new ways to get butts in seats. 3-D is one.  I’m seeing more theaters build stadium seating and put in extra comfy reclining chairs.  Beer and alcohol (watch Batman drunk!) and so on.

These big movies coming out earlier and earlier is just another way for movie theaters to stay competitive.  After all, if you love Batman and Superman, you’ll make the trip to see them on the big screen, right?

So this seems like a good thing.  Big movies earlier in the year because there just isn’t enough time to fit them all in during the summer.

Have you ever gone to the movies in January and wondered, “Holy Shit.  January movies are godawful.  This must be the time of year they release all the films that got the green light because someone had incriminating photos of a movie producer in a compromising position.”

I always wonder that.  Further, I always wonder, why can’t every movie be awesome?  Of course, I realize awesome is in the eye of the beholder.  What I find awesome and another finds awesome are two different things.  There’s enough room in the entertainment world for everyone.

Long story short, I think it will mean that eventually…bad ass movies will be shown in January.

Batman or Superman – who do you pick? Leave your pick in the comments.

SPOILERS – Batman is Bruce Wayne and he became a vigilante to cope with seeing his parents gunned down outside a theater as a child.  Also, Superman is really Clark Kent of the Metropolis Daily Planet.  His space pod crashed on a farm when he was a kid and a nice farm couple took him in and raised him.

That was a joke.

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Comic Con 2015 – Suicide Squad Trailer

Hey 3.5 Readers,

BQB here with some thoughts on the Suicide Squad trailer:

The official story is this trailer was only intended for Comic Con but DC decided to release it because nerds had pirated it and distributed it so they figured they might as well put out a quality version.

If you’re a nerd who isn’t in the know, the Suicide Squad is basically DC’s version of Dirty Dozen.

Based on a DC comic series of the same name, the government forces/recruits the DC villains (mostly Batman’s enemies) to use their evil powers for good, sending them on high-risk, practically suicidal missions.

Overall, the footage looks great and Jared Leto, in my opinion, looks like he’s going to be a better Joker than I’d originally given him credit for.

Like most geeks, I’m a big Harley Quinn fan.  If you’re not a nerd, Harley is the Joker’s girlfriend who got her start in the 1990’s Batman: The Animated Series.

Why do we love Harley?  Because she’s so hilariously over the top.  Now, I get that when there’s an attempt to make a serious movie, she can’t be running around in a full harlequin outfit with a massive novelty hammer to bonk people over the head with but come on, at least do the “Harley” voice.

Judging by this footage, they movie’s going with a half-powered Harley.  Harley at 50%.  She’s sort of got the voice a little, she’s a bit out there, but she’s not bouncing off the walls.

All I can say is if she doesn’t say “Hiya Puddin!” or call the Joker “Mr. J,” there’s going to be a nerd revolt.

DC’s definitely trying to pull a Marvel.  Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad both come out next year and assumably it will all lead up to the Justice League giving evildoers what for.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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