Posts tagged #Batman

Josh's Inner Dorkdom Journal - Episode 10

1. HD for last-gen games?
Go on and do yourself a favor and download a Playstation 2 emulator. I've recently been replaying Final Fantasy XII and I can honestly say that one of the low points of the series (in my opinion) is now a more pleasurable experience because of PCXE2. The once (again, in my opinion) horrid graphics of one of the last major PS2 titles are much more palatable at a higher resolution, due mainly to the various plugins available for the emulator.

I'm not condoning the use of a pirated copy of FFXII, as PCXE2 will play titles directly off of the original game DVD. So if you have some old PS2 games (and a powerful enough PC rig) and you want to see what those games look like in HD quality, download the emulator and give it a look. You won't be disappointed.

2. Selling your soul to the devil... all for a videogame.
In my last post, I talked about the fact that I would probably be reviewing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. To someone like Nic, this may come as something of a shock since I've been staunchly against paying a monthly fee for a game.

My opinions on charging players to play a game is a whole other story for a whole other article.

But I figured... what the heck? (censored Back To The Future quote)

The pricing schemes for FFXIV are kind of ridiculous, but I won't be playing the game forever. I'm planning on paying the minimal fee so I can see if I like it or not. Plus, you get a month free when you start the game, so that should be plenty of time to check the game out and give it a trial run.

When The Elder Scrolls Online releases, however, I may just have to suck it up and pay for it full-tilt. Those are games I can get into for a long period of time, so I'll probably be just a tiny bit more justified in the month-to-month fee... right?

3. People need to leave Ben Affleck alone.
Seriously, what did this guy do to garner all this hate over him playing Batman? I think it's a great choice and he's a great actor. I've never seen a movie with him in it that I didn't like. Or at least, I've never seen a movie of his that I thought was terrible.

Yes, I saw Gigli, Phantoms and Daredevil. I personally like Daredevil, and Phantoms (in which he was da bomb, yo) and Gigli certainly weren't the best movies I've ever seen, but they weren't nearly as bad as jerks on the internet make them out to be. And even if one thinks that those movies are bad, exactly how much do they really believe that Affleck was the cause? He didn't write those films, or direct them, he just starred.

So I guess because Ben Affleck, a good actor, decides to take a few acting gigs in movies that people deem terrible means that we should crucify him for playing Batman? Really? The internet really needs to take a minute and think about the logic they use to come to a conclusion sometimes.

Just as a side note: I also think Ben Affleck should play Eddie Dean in The Dark Tower films if they ever get made.That's the guy I've always pictured since I read the character in The Drawing of the Three. Hate me, internet.


A Batman, A Batman, My Kingdom For A Batman!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We have a new Batman and he is Daredevil. Affleck is the Dark Knight Detective.

So its been awhile since I posted anything. Having a new baby, a child starting school, and big life decisions to make will do that to you. So, I'm trying to get back into the game. Hopefully, this will be a regular occurrence. Anyway, like the title says, Ben Affleck is Batman. Warner Brothers confirmed it this evening along with Zack Synder. I'm not going to get into my opinion of this decision just yet, because I need to write up my (very late) piece on Man of Steel. It's been kind of a down summer at the movies (especially after last summer), and out of the movies I saw I only had two really stand out. Pacific Rim and Man of Steel. I want to really get into an in-depth review of this summer at the movies as a whole, so I'll save the commentary til then. I will just say one thing, "never would have thought of Ben Affleck, but sometimes there are smarter people in Hollywood than I am. Perfect." If you are a Ben Affleck hater, you might want to rethink your movie watching habits (he does have more Oscars than you). There is always French foreign language films you may be interested in, just saying. Full press release after the jump.

Ending weeks of speculation, Ben Affleck has been set to star as Batman, a.k.a. Bruce Wayne. Affleck and filmmaker Zack Snyder will create an entirely new incarnation of the character in Snyder’s as-yet-untitled project—bringing Batman and Superman together for the first time on the big screen and continuing the director’s vision of their universe, which he established in “Man of Steel.” The announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, and Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.
The studio has slated the film to open worldwide on July 17, 2015.
Last month’s surprise announcement of the new movie featuring both Superman and Batman created a wave of excitement and immediately fueled discussion and debate—among fans as well as in the media—about who would put on the cape and cowl of Bruce Wayne’s alter ego.
Snyder successfully re-imagined the origin of Clark Kent/Superman in the worldwide blockbuster “Man of Steel,” which has earned more than $650 million worldwide to date, and climbing. The director will now create an original vision of Batman and his world for the film that brings the two DC Comics icons together.
Affleck will star opposite Henry Cavill, who will reprise the role of Superman/Clark Kent. The film will also reunite “Man of Steel” stars Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane.
In the announcement, Silverman stated, “We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular Super Heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some. His outstanding career is a testament to his talent and we know he and Zack will bring new dimension to the duality of this character.”
Snyder also expressed his excitement about the casting of Affleck, noting, “Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.”
Kroll added, “We are so thrilled that Ben is continuing Warner Bros.’ remarkable legacy with the character of Batman. He is a tremendously gifted actor who will make this role his own in this already much-anticipated pairing of these two beloved heroes.”
Affleck recently starred in the Academy Award®-winning Best Picture “Argo,” which he also directed and produced, earning acclaim and a BAFTA Award nomination for his performance in the film, as well as a number of directing honors. In 2010, he starred in and directed the hit crime thriller “The Town.” His recent acting work also includes “The Company Men,” “State of Play,” and “Hollywoodland,” for which he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. Earlier in his career, Affleck starred in and co-wrote (with Matt Damon) “Good Will Hunting,” for which he won an Oscar® for Best Original Screenplay.

An Overview of Christopher Nolan's Batman Trilogy

Disclaimer: Sorry about the lack of spaces that may be present in this article. For some reason, the blogger program messes up sometimes and removes them when I post from my phone. Also, watch out for MAJOR SPOILERS below!!!

Batman. Who doesn’t love Batman? Well, I’m sure there’s somebody out there that just absolutely hates the Caped Crusader, but that ain’t me. Of all superheroes, Batman has always,by far,been my favorite.

On opening weekend,The Inner Dorkdom saw Christopher Nolan’s final installment of his Batman trilogy,The Dark Knight Rises… and we were,and I speak for all of us, pretty much blown away. Not sure how Todd feels on this,but it is probably mine and Nic’s favorite of the Nolan trilogy.

The first film in the trilogy,Batman Begins, did a lot for Batman as a character. For the first time on the big screen,we were finally treated to a version of Batman that was nearly perfection in comparison to his comic book counterpart. No more nips on the batsuit,no more tilted camera angles that attempted to mimic the old ‘60s Adam West show,no more ‘Ah-nold.’ Just Batman… well… mostly Bruce Wayne. And here lies the most identifiable difference between the comics and the Nolan films: Identity.

In the comics,there is no question that Batman is the true personality and Bruce Wayne is just a costume that Batman wears in public. Batman is a personality that is, even in adulthood,still haunted by the death of his parents,leading him to be a cold,calculating individual with a one-track mind for catching crooks. Sounds weird, huh? Well,in all honesty,Batman’s a weird guy,but I think that’s the magic behind what makes the character so intriguing. The Nolan films use a different take on this in that Bruce (Christian Bale) doesn’t exactly want to be Batman forever (hey,wasn’t that a movie?). Batman is never really played up as the true identity of the man. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing,it’s just different. It’s almost as though Bruce’s desire for vengeance is over by the end of Batman Begins. Other than wanting to maintain peace in Gotham City,that’s pretty much where it ends for him. Having the main personality being Bruce Wayne,and the way Nolan depicts it,is actually quite interesting.

With that being said,Batman Begins is actually MORE interesting when Bruce isn’t in the batsuit. All the stuff where Bruce is training with Ducard/Ras Al-Ghul (Liam Neeson),having flashbacks in which he is determined to take revenge for his parents directly by killing Joe Chill,or his many scenes with Alfred (Michael Caine) and Lucious Fox(Morgan Freeman) all make Bruce an extremely interesting character in contrast to the bat-crazy/insane (hehe) Batman of the comics. Not that I have anything against his comic portrayal,as I find both equally interesting.

The second film,The Dark Knight,is however,BATMAN’S film. Well,it’s also the Joker’s (Heath Ledger) film,but I think a lot of people lose sight of just how much is going on with Batman/Bruce Wayne. Bruce has his sights on Gotham’s new District Attorney,Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) because,quite frankly,he’s in love. No,not with Harvey Dent! In Begins,Bruce is given a love interest in the form of his childhood friend,Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes),who at the end of the film tells Bruce that she can only be with him when he stops wearing the tights. At some point in the year between Begins and The Dark Knight,Rachel has plastic surgery which makes her look like Maggie Gyllenhaal and starts dating Harvey Dent. With an almost sense of single-mindedness,Bruce attempts to recruit Harvey to take his place. Not as Batman, but as Gotham’s law abiding,non-vigilante protector. This will give Bruce the opportunity to hang up the cape and cowl, start a relationship with Rachel and live happily ever after… That is,until the Joker shows up.

Like most people,it is my belief that Heath Ledger gave the absolute best portrayal of the Joker ever seen; not only in the films or television,but within the comics as well. The Joker in this film is not the typical clown/mastermind as seen in previous media; instead,he is a representation of anarchy itself. The Joker allies himself with the mob bosses and crime lords of Gotham City not because he wants to get rich,but simply because he enjoys causing havoc; particularly for Gotham’s protector.

I also love Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent/Two-Face. The transition from potential hero to enraged villain is done exceptionally well. My only complaint is that **SPOILER** Nolan decided to kill him off at the end of the movie. This seems to be a trend in Nolan’s Bat-verse: The primary villain always dies. Well, except for the Joker. Here’s something to think about: What exactly DID happen to the Joker at the end of TDK? Last we see him,he’s strung up, laughing maniacally and waiting for the cops to come get him. Did he get away? Did he get thrown into Arkham Asylum? Did he fall to his death? We’ll never know,I suppose. One thing I’ve always thought is that there might have been more scenes toward the end of the film involving the Joker,but due to Heath Ledger’s death, they were either never filmed,or not completed. Who knows?

Unlike most people,I don’t think that The Dark Knight hung the moon. I think it’s a great film and it borrows elements from one of my favorite Batman graphic novels, The Long Halloween (Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale),but it’s not,in my opinion,the epitome of film greatness. The movie is,and I’m no film editor,cut very strangely. The Dark Knight tells a big story in 240 minutes,so in order to fit such a grand tale into a movie,quick cuts must be made. While this would seemingly quicken up the pace,it feels as though it slows it down. There are several points throughout the film that I felt would’ve been more impactful had the camera lingered just a bit longer than it actually did. Some of the scenes at the beginning of the film are a prime example of this. I remember sitting in the theater watching it for the first time and thinking,“This thing is gonna go on forever!” But after having watched it multiple times since it’s Blu-Ray/DVD release,the pacing seems to work much better. The same thing basically happened to me with Revenge Of The Sith. And now that just happens to be my favorite Star Wars film. (And on that note,a lot of people leave the site because they disagree so strongly with that statement.)


Now that all those people are gone because they think that ROTS is a terrible movie, let’s get into The Dark Knight Rises. Like I mentioned earlier,this is probably my favorite of the trilogy. Until some of the latter trailers,I really wasn’t interested in the plot elements that were being presented. Bane as the main villain? Catwoman? Both of these characters have never really interested me that much in the comics. I dug the whole Knightfall comic storyline back in the day,which introduced Bane,but he was portrayed more as just a really strong bad guy (when he took his drugs) that had enough fighting knowhow to take Batman down. Catwoman,just never appealed to me. I’m also not one to read spoilers on the internet,so I had no idea of the measures that were being taken with the plot of the movie.

Then Todd explained some of it to me.

After he told me that the movie takes place 8 years after TDK and Batman hasn’t been around since then,I was sold. The idea that Harvey Dent’s death,the loss of Rachel Dawes and the havoc of the Joker just ran Bruce down was extraordinary.

The Dark Knight Rises proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Nolan trilogy is about Bruce Wayne,not Batman. It’s about a man who does what he does because he has to rather than because he wants to. When he’s called upon,he answers,unlike the Batman of the comics that goes on nightly patrols,searching for crime to bust.

I think Nolan’s main point with TDKR (and the entire trilogy,for that matter) is the fact that one man can only do so much. In the comics,one of Batman’s major villains either escapes,or is released from Arkham on a month to month basis. While this makes for good reading,it’s not very realistic. Sure,crime is an ongoing problem in society,but Batman doesn’t exist to do the job of the police by handling domestic disturbances,ATM robbers and the like. He’s there to take down threats that are too large for the cops to handle. Threats like the Joker,Two-Face,Ras Al-Ghul/The League of Shadows and Bane/Talia/The League of Shadows. If those threats existed in the real world with that amount of frequency,there probably wouldn’t be a whole lot of people left living in Gotham!

**HERE ARE THE MAIN SPOILERS!! IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE DARK KNIGHT RISES YET,STOP READING!!********************* ****************************** ***************

The Dark Knight Rises sees Bruce/Batman face his largest threat yet: Gotham’s total annihilation. Basically,the gist of the movie is Catwoman/Selena Kyle (Anne Hathaway) shows up,Bane (Tom Hardy) shows up and threatens the city,a GCPD cop named John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) convinces a retired Bruce to become Batman again, Bane breaks Batman’s back and puts him in a hole while he terrorizes the city with the threat of a nuclear bomb,Bruce has to let his back heal,Bane lets loose the criminals of Gotham and cuts off the entrances/exits to the city by blowing up all its bridges (except one),Bruce heals and climbs out of the hole,Bane is revealed to be an exiled member of The League of Shadows and is working for Ras Al-Ghul’s daughter Talia, Batman returns to the city and defeats Bane,takes the nuclear bomb out into the ocean to let it detonate (“Sometimes you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”),seemingly dies,and turns over the mantle of The Batman and the bat-cave to John Blake, who’s birth name turns out to be Robin. Whew!

Oh and Bruce lives,by the way. Don’t get scared.

I left out a lot of the details,but that’s the general idea of the film. All in all,it was a fitting and satisfying end to a great superhero trilogy that was,in my opinion, much more efficiently executed than The Dark Knight. Will there be a sequel featuring John Blake as the new Batman? I doubt it. It’s more likely that Warner Bros. will reboot the franchise using a different director’s take on the material. I think this is an extremely bad idea,but it’s,of course, not my call to make. I’d rather see this new version of Batman and what his character could bring to the table. Plus,I thought Gordon-Levitt’s character was one of the most interesting in the film. Seeing him as Batman could potentially take the series in a really cool,interesting new direction.

That about does it for this overview of Chris Nolan’s Batman films. I’ve seen and heard a lot of people criticizing the films (particularly the newest) for taking certain liberties with the comic source material, but this is not the comics. Comic Batman is not Nolan Batman. This is an entirely different take on the character,just like Frank Miller does his own take with his Batman within the comics he authors. Nolan has done an excellent job of bringing Batman to the big screen and grounding him in reality. Not only did this help the Batman franchise remain relevant, but it also increased the relevancy of movies such as The Avengers and comic book based movies in general.

I realize that I didn’t spend a ton of time on the newest film,but I’m not very good with straight up movie reviews. If you want the official Inner Dorkdom review,Todd has written a great one up that should be available a few posts below this. Also,a cousin and friend of Nic’s did a pretty great review which should be the post directly below this one.
Hope you enjoyed it!


Dark Knight Rises review from guest reviewer

Nic here. One of my fourth cousins, Parker, is a good friend of mine, as well as a connoisseur of films. Also, he loves the Batman. He and I have had discussions about the Caped Crusader, and in particular his film exploits as helmed by Christopher Nolan, for some time now. He was anticipating The Dark Knight Rises the same way I anticipated the Star Wars prequels.

Well, he's seen the movie, and has written a review for us. So, after the break, I invite you read his thoughtful analysis of the film.

        It’s been four years since The Dark Knight graced the silver screen and I still remember my theater experience to this day. In fact, The Dark Knight is the movie that I credit for starting my passion for film. It just worked on every level. Who could forget Heath Leager’s iconic take on the Joker? He had a tremendous on screen presence and brought intensity to every scene he was in. The story captivated most in the audience and when the credits rolled, it was received with a thunderous applause. The Dark Knight was a masterpiece, no doubt, and The Dark Knight Rises was the inevitable squeal. However, expectations are through the roof and the bar has been set extremely high, perhaps even too high for Nolan to meet. So can Nolan not only give us the final installment that we deserve but also the one we need?

        The story takes place eight years after The Dark Knight; Gotham is in a time of peace. The streets are clean, and the days of organized crime are over under the Dent act. However, underneath Gotham, in the sewers, a fire is rising. Bane (Tom Hardy) is building an army and his plan is about begin. Unaware of the chaos lurking below, Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) is still covering for the lie about Dent, thus keeping the public’s view of Batman tainted. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has become a recluse and keeps himself locked up in Wayne manor, thinking there is nothing the world can offer him anymore. Once the reports of Bane begin to surface, Bruce realizes that Batman is needed again to save the people he vowed to protect. Enlisting the help of someone whom he may be unable to trust, Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) leads Batman to the "Masked Man." Good and evil clash, and this could be Batman's greatest triumph or he may finally be broken.

       One thing I will say about the film is that the cast is fantastic. Others that I didn't mention are Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Marion Cotillard, and Joseph Gordon Levitt. This is an A list cast and Anne Hathaway is surprising very good in the role of Cat Woman. She’s agile, sly, and ultimately alluring.  Tom Hardy delivers a tremendous performance as Bane. What he is able to connive with just his eyes is truly astonishing.  Hardy brings a certain level of physical ferocity to the role that not many actors could. When Bane enters a room, Hardy is able to quickly convince us that Bane is powerful, ferocious, intelligent, and just downright nasty. Bale gives a terrific performance as Bruce Wayne, authentically showing Bruce's inner demons and the final redemption of the character. However, the best performance comes from Michael Caine. The emotional depth given to Alfred in this film is unbelievable. There were moments that had me choked up a bit.  Michael Caine just knocks the lines of dialogue out of the park. In particular, the scene where Alfred tells Bruce he never wanted him to come back to Gotham is just flat out masterful.    

        Which brings me to my next point, the emotional core of this movie is the anchor that keeps it afloat. We feel for Bruce and his journey. We want him to move on with his life and at the end succeed at saving Gotham. This is what makes the action scenes so satisfying, because we are so invested in what's taking place. This is also what makes Nolan such a great filmmaker because he believes in story first and spectacle later.              

        However, when Nolan does deliver spectacle it's exhilarating. The set pieces, the thousands of extras and the large scope really make this feel like an epic conclusion. The battle scenes between Batman and Bane are dark, gripping and overall exciting. The best quality is the fact that the majority of the action scenes are not CGI. Most of these stunts are actually performed on real sets which give an extra wow factor as well as making them more believable. This all goes back to Nolan whose decision to do things the old fashioned way is stroke of genius.

        Of course the cinematography and production value is phenomenal. There are so many scenes that are amazing to look at. One scene where Batman leads the final charge at Bane is particularly stunning. Snow is falling and every image put on the screen is absolutely beautiful.  

        The themes in this film come full circle from Batman Begins such as why we do we fall?   It has the idea of becoming a symbol rather than merely a man. There's some social commentary on Wall Street and the stock market. The class system is also touched on a bit as the rich get sentenced to either exile or death once Bane takes over.

        Still that doesn't mean the film is without flaws. At times, Nolan tries to do too much; there are too many characters arcs and plot lines being juggled at once. This causes moments of the film to come across as rushed, not every character arc and plot point has room to breathe. The rushed arcs make some character motivations appear muddled and twists feel like they came out of nowhere.

        Also, where is Batman in this movie?  There is a lot of Bruce Wayne and hardly any Batman. This wouldn't ordinarily be a complaint if it wasn't the conclusion to the trilogy. Additionally, this film more than its predecessor, feels like a comic book movie. Now I know that The Dark Knight Rises is a comic book movie but I personally loved the dark, realistic tone that Nolan established in The Dark Knight. What The Dark Knight did was transcending its comic book origin and becoming pure film. The Dark Knight Rises did this at times but there were moments that drug it back down.  Some lines felt a bit cheesy for this universe, the final kiss between Batman and Cat woman didn't fit, and the whole nuclear bomb plot was a little silly.

       Now we all know that a hero is only good as its villain and Bane wasn't quite as interesting as the Joker. What I loved about the Joker were the moral conundrums he gave Batman. He wasn't just simply a physical threat but really tested Batman's inner moral code. Bane is only a physical threat to Batman and that was less captivating. Also, we don't know a lot about the Joker, he had no origin in the film. That made him come across as the embodiment of pure evil for evil has no origin. Not to mention the Joker was very likable due to his humor, Bane lacked that severely. Now I'm not saying Bane wasn't a good villain, I loved Bane but the Joker was, well, ahead of the curve.

       Even with its problems, The Dark Knight Rises is still a great movie. It's wonderful to see intelligent filmmaking in a summer blockbuster. Nolan really trusts and believes in his audience, not feeling pressured into dumb, cliché and uninspired work where explosions take the front line over the story. Nolan treats his audience like they are intelligent human beings, giving us complex stories that spend a lot of time on character interaction and yet he proves that it can be successful. Nolan truly wraps up this trilogy well and really leaves the audience satisfied. Yet I don't think people will give Nolan as much recognition as he deserves. The film community certainly will but the average moviegoer probably doesn't even know who he is. The majority of moviegoers will never know who saved modern Hollywood but then I realize they do know “It was the Batman."
Posted on August 17, 2012 .

!!! Jimmy Stewart As Bane In It’s A Wonderful Dark Knight (The Dark Knight Rises Review With Spoilers) !!!

I've been putting this off for a while. Not because I didn’t know how I feel about the movie, but because of the tragedy in Aurora Colorado. I want to say that my heart goes out to all those people and their families. I have felt extremely close to this since I heard the news on the morning of the 20th. I distinctly remember Columbine and I can tell you exactly where I was when 9/11 happened. Those awful events will forever haunt our country and our lives. It is truly sad that Aurora has to take its place among those events. I felt that I was somewhat removed from Columbine because I was no longer in high school when it occurred. I also felt removed from the events of 9/11 because it was taking place in large metropolitan areas on high profile targets while I lived in a decidedly small community a good distance from the bustle of the big cities. Aurora, on the other hand, took place in a movie theater, a place of wonder and joy for many around the world. It felt to me that this had taken place in my world and in a place I felt safe and at home. I love movies and to think that this could happen in a place I go to forget the world around me is disturbing. I can‘t begin to imagine the pain, loss, and fear that took place in that community, but I do know that this cowardly act cannot break our spirit and take away the small joys that we have when we go to the movies. We cannot let this one evil man destroy our love of sitting in a theater with family and friends to enjoy, for a couple of hours, an escape from the cares of this world. I feel horrible for those people that were in that theater and have had a great movie tainted forever because one fool had to destroy peoples lives because of his own demons (if you want to destroy yourself don’t take other people with you). We must not forget those people and the lives that they lived. They will forever be more important to this world than the scum (I will not use his name because he doesn’t deserve that kind of care) who took them from it. God bless them and keep them.

On a different note, if you’ve been paying attention you know how I feel about the movie soundtracks of Hans Zimmer (Hint: One Note). But for all the uninspired music he produces he is one upstanding gentleman. Hans has written a song to honor the memory of those people who died in Aurora and to help those who are dealing with the aftermath. Simply titled “Aurora” the proceeds from the song go to the victims and their families and you can help the cause by purchasing the song through iTunes (it‘s only $1.29 and it‘s worth it). I may have issues with the way he scores movies, but that does not change the fact that he is one heck of a human being. Keep it up Hans, I’m behind you 100%.

Well, after that, my thoughts on the Dark Knight Rises, seem unimportant. Movies are certainly not more important than lives, but I know that if I stop these reviews, then in some way that allows the shooter to win. That can’t happen, and I won’t let it. Spoiler Warnings Abound!!! You Are Warned!!! I'm Not Kidding I Will Spoil The Movie So Bug Out Now If You Want To Stay Clean And Clear!!!

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The Dark Knight Rises is first and foremost an end to the story Chris Nolan has been telling in the previous two films. Together all three movies (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises) constitute one large story that, for a comic movie, is extremely well thought out and highly detailed. I am a huge fan of the Tim Burton Batman movies (Michael Keaton was inspired casting) and I have been a comic book nerd for as long as I can remember (Batman is my favorite in DC comics, Wolverine in Marvel comics) so I have high expectations when it comes to comic characters I love and know well. Christopher Nolan has taken Batman and knocked it out of the park. Batman has always been a more realistic figure (if you can call someone who dresses like a bat and has a tank for a car realistic) and this is the aspect that Nolan plays up throughout the trilogy. That doesn’t mean that nods to the comic aren’t present, it just means that they might be represented by different things (more later). I have read that some people found the movie overly complicated. Really? It seemed to me that The Dark Knight was a harder movie to follow than Rises. Maybe that is because I have watched that film many times and had prepared myself for Rises. I also like to think that we are a more enlightened creatures who can handle bigger things from our movies.

The Movie clocks in at about 2 hours and 45 minutes and it needs every bit of that time to tell it’s story. If there is a criticism that I could level against the movie it would be that it was perhaps too short (I like to get my money’s worth). Strike that, I can also say that the score once again was underwhelming (sorry Hans). It just seemed to sound the same after a while (I’ve been watching the Olympics and hearing the theme written by John Williams so at this point it’s hard to get excited for Hans’s one note). I will limited my discussion of the soundtrack to those thoughts because I really like Hans (just not his music).
The cast for these movies has been unbelievable. Christian Bale was the perfect choice for Bruce Wayne/Batman (Yes voice and all). He can pull off both sides to the character in equal measure where as some actors could only manage one (Clooney, Arrrg). Charming as Bruce Wayne, determined and cool as Batman, to say he was born to play the role is an understatement. As much as Bale does a great job, the real standouts in this cast are Gary Oldman (there will never be another Commissioner Gordon), Michael Caine (I really wanted more Alfred), Morgan Freeman (I want to have a guy like Lucius Fox around), and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (John Blake or Tim Drake, coincidence? I don’t think so). They are all standouts in their respective roles with Gary Oldman stealing every moment he’s in the film and showing why he‘s one of the greatest actors working today (when he gets out of his hospital bed and takes out the guys coming to get him, WOW). Gordon-Levitt deserves special mention for his performance. If this is any indication of the future that he’s going to have on film, I can’t wait to see it (very ready for Looper). I don’t want to sound like I’m selling the other actors short, I’m not. Anne Hathaway is a great Catwoman, Tom Hardy is menacing as Bane (is he trying to do an impression of Jean-Luc Picard, cause you know he was a Picard clone  in Star Trek Nemesis, or a weird Jimmy Stewart? I can’t decide), and Marion Cottillard as Miranda Tate makes the most of her very surprising role (for everyone who doesn’t know !!! Spoiler Alert!!! she’s Ra’s al Ghul daughter Talia !!!Spoiler Alert!!!). The somewhat unfortunate problem that occurs (and is it really a problem?) is that everyone is so good that it’s hard to pick the best performance. Every comic to film adaptation should have that problem, think of the movies we would have (hey, like The Avengers). I also have to mention that almost everyone is back with the exception of Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart (we get a picture though). We see Liam Neeson as Ra’s and Cillian Murphy as Dr. Jonathan Crane, which was unexpected but very welcome. And I have to mention that one of Bane’s henchmen is played by Teal’c himself, Christopher Judge, how cool is that. We also get Nestor Carbonell (Ricardo Alpert from Lost) as the mayor, Matthew Modine as the deputy Commissioner, Juno Temple as Jen (but we all know that she really plays Holly Robinson from Year One), and William Devane as the President (doesn’t he always play the President, Vice President, Congressman, and/or hold some type of political office in everything he’s in?). With a cast like that, I could write an entire paper on their skills alone, but I’ll limit it to, “These guys ain’t half bad.”

When it comes to story, Christopher Nolan (and consequently Jonathan Nolan and David Goyer) have taken influences from the entire history of Batman, with a heavy emphasis on the 1970’s through today. While it’s not new for comic book movies to pull from different storylines to form the basis of a film, Nolan’s trilogy is like an overview of the entire history of Batman. From Bob Kane and Bill Finger’s early Caped Crusader, to the birth of Ra’s al Ghul by Denny O’Neill and Neal Adams, right up through Frank Miller’s “Year One” and “The Dark Knight Returns”. Nolan utilizes all of it to craft the definitive Batman story. The very fact that the “Knightfall” and “No Man’s Land” series are used in Rises speak to the willingness of the creators to dig deep into the lore of Batman and find meaningful influences by which to craft an intelligent film. Writers and Directors can really screw up a film by twisting different storylines together and altering the fundamental elements to suit a specific purpose (Example: Green Lantern). But Nolan has found the sweet spot by combining the different elements into a whole while retaining the spirit and intent of the original narrative (I feel like I’m writing a college paper on the intricacies and influences of Christopher Nolan’s Batman, which wouldn’t be a half bad title if I was). The fundamental difference between the fantastical world of the comic Batman and the grounded in reality Dark Knight of the films is the use of a supernatural element to place the printed Dark Detective in the greater world of aliens and demons found in DC continuity. Nolan chose to place his movies in a realm separate and apart from the wider world of Wonder Woman and Superman and to his credit (and to the credit of the wide choices Batman stories offer to a creator of any type) this strategy has proved extremely effective. Batman has always had the ability to move seamlessly between the greater universe of fantasy and the gritty detective drama that formed the basis for the origin of the character. This doesn’t mean that Nolan ignores some of those elements. He has placed subtle nods to some of the more outlandish ideas throughout the three movies. Resurrection is a recurrent motif in all of the comic worlds and Batman is no different. People die in a certain storyline only to return later on having been brought back to life via supernatural means (Superboy Prime punching all of reality and knocking Jason Todd back from the dead) or shown to have never been dead to begin with (Stephanie Brown’s faked death in “War Games”). These type of events are common place in comics but in the world that Nolan crafted people are meant to stay dead and those deaths have consequences. But Nolan has also found a way to acknowledge those elements while still retaining the reality in which he has placed his films. Liam Neeson returns as the seemingly dead Ra’s al Ghul (which is a story element throughout the history of the character) only revealed to be a hallucination of a battered and broken Bruce Wayne. In this way, Nolan gets to appease fans and still retain the atmosphere that has informed all three movies. Certain allusions are made to things in the comic such as the case with the prison that Bane puts the injured Wayne in after their initial fight. We see this prison dug into the ground with a round opening at the top which serves as the only way out. It’s called “the Pit” and it is most certainly a veiled reference to the Lazarus Pits that are used to bring someone back from the dead (in this case Bruce Wayne and Bane, metaphorically speaking). John Blake is another example of taking a less than realistic element from the comic (in this case, Robin) and adapting it to fit the world of the films (bye, bye Chris O’Donnell). In these ways, Nolan gives fans what they want without sacrificing the films artistic integrity.

This Trilogy of films have been a shining example of how to make a great film based on a comic. It has nothing to do with the tone of the film or how heavy the subject matter is. It has everything to do with the people involved with making the film. You could have the darkest, grittiest film you can make about a comic character, if you don’t have the talent both in front of and behind the camera it makes no difference. With the right people (those who understand and really get what the comic is about), you could make any comic, no matter the tone, into a hit film and a true money maker (Avengers, anyone?). Chris Nolan gets it, he understands how this character works and what motivates the stories that have been beloved by countless fans for over 70 plus years. If there was anything going right for Warner Bros. and DC comics when it comes to live action movies it was this series of films (the animated side of the DC universe is knocking it out of the park right now, so if you want good comic to film adaptations, I highly recommend these films). Marvel seems to be on the rise (pun intended) while DC seems to be coming to a conclusion of their film making (yeah, I know Man of Steel is coming, but come on, a realistic gritty Superman movie, read that again and listen to how it sounds, SEE). I sincerely hope DC and Warner Bros. can salvage there properties and start making good films that can rival Marvel’s offerings. As of right now, we bid a fond farewell to an incredible film series and say hello to an uncertain future when it comes to DC comic characters. But for the moment, Batman represents the pinnacle of comic storytelling. Nolan and everyone involved have given their all to bring the most ambitious and ultimately greatest comic book trilogy created to the silver screen. This film caps off an incredible summer filled with fantastic movie after fantastic movie and a banner year for comic book properties. There’s no reason to stop and as far as Hollywood is concerned (Especially, Marvel) it’s full speed ahead. Go see this movie if you’re a fan and if you just like really good movies. For all of you out there that have seen it and say, “I didn’t like it because it was too complicated (really?).” I say maybe it’s good for you to use your brains once and a while. I highly recommend The Dark Knight Rises and I praise Nolan and his crew for a job well done (It’s got a nuclear explosion in it, come on!). Until later go see a movie and enjoy your life because it is certainly too short.

"When Gotham is in ashes, you have my permission to come back and save the entire city and kill me in the process." -Bane (before rewrites)

Todd “Joe Kerr” B.

(If you don’t get the reference, check out the Batman Begins final scene where Gordon shows Batman the card from an familiar foe. The evidence receipt is signed J. Kerr, funny right?).

Batman: Earth One (Hardcover) Review

First off,I’ll say that I liked this book. Second,I didn’t “love“ it. I’m always down for a new Batman story (he's my favorite superhero, after all) and there have been many takes on his origin in particular, but honestly,this book reads like a rejected Batman Begins movie script. Don’t get me wrong,I think that Geoff Johns is a good writer,but it seems as though Earth One tries a bit too hard to change things and doesn’t really succeed.

With Earth One,Geoff Johns presents a more realistic take on the Batman mythos. Perhaps it’s even more realistic than Chris Nolan’s Batman films. Instead of Bruce being trained by ninja (that’s the plural form of ‘ninja,’ by the way) as in the films, he is trained by a significantly harder edged version of Alfred Pennyworth. Alfred has always had a back story of being a little bit more hard edged than his butler lifestyle might lead one to believe,but here it goes full tilt. Alfred,in this story,is no mere butler; he is ex-royal military,walks with a cane,refers to Bruce as simply, “Bruce,” is Bruce’s legal guardian and his sparring partner.

Bruce as a child is also portrayed quite a bit differently than in previous incarnations. Here,he is played as a severely spoiled child,touting his family’s wealth and bragging about it. He’s also quite whiney.

Jim Gordon is handled a little differently as well. He is a bit more cowardly and accepting of Gotham City being run by crime lords at the beginning of the story, opting not to save a damsel in distress, simply because,“that’s just the way things are.”

I think my main problem with the book is that I just don’t like these new characters. I liked the fact that in previous versions,the characters were a little bit more moral. To me,Batman plays as more like an idiot in a suit rather than someone who generally wants to make criminals fear him. He just seems to have very little motivation throughout the story for donning the cape and cowl and fighting crime. Sure,his parents died and he wants vengeance to a certain degree,it’s just not as emotional as it could have been,or that it has been in something like Year One. I really would have no interest in seeing the rest of these character’s lives play out.

Next thing is the art. All in all,Gary Frank does a good job. The book looks good… except for Batman. I’m not crazy about the costume design,really. It kinda looks like a Ghostbuster jumpsuit with Batman’s cape and mask. That’s essentially it. Also,the decision to show Batman’s eyes rather than white slits is kind of iffy here. I don’t mind a more realistic take that shows the eyes. The “Arkham” game series does that pretty well. It’s just that sometimes,Frank’s version looks creepy for some reason.

I don’t know folks. Based on these criticisms,one might think I hated the book. I didn’t. I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Alternate takes on characters have always been something that I’ve enjoyed,but this one just felt kind of lacking. In my humble opinion,Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One is still the definitive Batman origin story.

Story: 6/10 Art: 8/10

Total: 7/10


Posted on July 12, 2012 .

Cleanse the Palette, Cleanse the Palette

Nic here, trying to get the bad "dark and edgy Superman" taste out of all of our mouths (I wholeheartedly agree with Todd's commentary on the Batmanification of Superman being a bad thing), by pointing to a Superman-related product that actually appears to be good.

I'm talking, of course, about LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes!

Y'all may not know this yet, but I'm a big fan of LEGO, and have been for a long time. Some proof:

1. My swisscheesed brain (i.e., I don't have the greatest memory) can't recall anything about my first day of elementary school, but can recall quite well when I got a LEGO cement mixer set for Easter.
2. I had a LEGO monorail set when I was a kid.
3. I made my own Star Trek: The Next Generation LEGO sets in the early 90's (thus foreseeing a time when LEGO would get into the licensed properties business).
4. I played with LEGO regularly through middle and into high school.
5. Even when I officially entered my LEGO Dark Ages (google it), I still jumped at the chance to dabble with them when over at Josh's house. (Josh is six years younger than me. As such my friendship with him was a great excuse to play with toys and play make-believe long after it was age appropriate.)
6. I let my nephews (17 years younger than I) borrow my Super Nintendo and all my games (which, incidentally, know one knows the whereabouts of), but they couldn't borrow my LEGO collection. If they wanted to play with my LEGO bricks, they had to do so at my parents' house.
7. My Dark Ages started to end in 1999 with the release of the first Star Wars sets.
8. I have at least 93 different LEGO sets, with an estimated retail value of more than $2,947.
9. That retail value figure includes seven LEGO videogames (a few Star Wars, one Indiana Jones, LEGO Rock Band).
10. Next year when my family, Todd's family, and hopefully Josh go to Orlando, FL, I've already demanded that we go to LEGOLAND.

Why am I telling you this? I'm not sure...hmmm....

Anyway, here's the point of this post: today the newest LEGO videogame came out for all major videogame platforms. The game is, as I said, LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes. As the subtitle suggests, this game isn't just about Batman and the Boy Wonder. No, the scope is much bigger. Other DC superheroes also are playable in the game. There's Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash (Yay Dawson's dad!!!), and the Man of Steel himself, Superman.

I haven't played the game yet, so I can't give you a review. But the folks who have, and have, say it's great. The addition of an original story, open-world gameplay, and voice acting (yes, the minifigures talk) take the already enjoyable LEGO videogame formula and make it even more enjoyable.

So if you have a chance, check it out. You can find reviews for the game at many of the major gaming sites (IGN says it's the best Superman videogame ever). In the meantime, I leave you with three of the game's trailers.

Miss Teschmacher!!!!

 - Nic

Posted on June 19, 2012 .

!!! Wait, What? Oh No, They Ditnt! (Man Of Steel News) !!!

You Will Lick John Williams' Boots For This!!!

John Williams is a master! No ifs, ands, or buts about it. He has written more music that you instantly recognize than anyone else on the planet. He is a modern day Mozart, no "foolin'" (Def Leppard, 1983). I have recently been buying all the John Williams soundtracks I can find (for those interested, you can find them "here" and "here"). I have found that iTunes has a great selection of Williams' music. The other day I got the soundtrack to "Superman: The Movie". The Superman theme from that film is easily known worldwide by billions of fans. It is synonymous with the red and blue tights and the huge "S" symbol on the "Man of Tomorrow's" chest. To me, there will never be another theme for Superman. Bryan Singer knew this when he made his movie and Zack Snyder should know it now (oh, he knows, but he can only do so much). You see, the powers on high at Warner Bros. have a case of the "Dark Knights". They have decided that every DC Comics movie has to be "Dark" and "Edgy", or people won't come to see it and, consequently, they won't make a gazillion dollars off of it (because ya know, the Avengers didn't just make over a billion smackers and counting). So, what better way to do that than to chunk everything from the previous films and go with a Batmanification (my own word) to the entire world of Superman. Well, if Siegel and Shuster haven't already turned over in their graves they might as well get to turning and digging so they can get to China before they completely decompose, because that's a "STUPID IDEA"!! Superman is the opposite of Batman, that's why they are both the perfect friends and the perfect enemies. If you screw that up, you got two Batmans and one of them will kill the other (because there can be only one... Sorry).

So, it is with no small amount of dislike, that I hear a certain bit of news about the "Man of Steel". Hans Zimmer (he of "Begins" and "Dark Knight" ear splitting, "one notes all I got", scores) had flatly turned the job down saying, "My heart belongs to Batman." He also stated that, "I wouldn't even know how to go and give voice to it." Good, go away then. But noooooooooooo!! Today, Variety is reporting that he has now excepted the job to turn Superman into Batman! Great, that's just great! Hey, Warner Bros. you screw up Green Lantern (hard to do) and now you're screwing up Superman (extremely hard to do), what have you got to say for yourself (I don't expect an answer, but you can leave me a comment explaining your ridiculous decision below)? This goes to show you that no matter how successful a comic to movie adaptation that sticks closely to the original version is (Avengers), some idiot in a board room somewhere insists that he is right and the original creators were wrong (even though their characters have been beloved by millions for 70+ years as is). I don't usually go on a rant like this, because I believe creators should be able to make their vision however they like. This has just made me mad. Even Christopher Nolan's Batman is true to the spirit of the comics, it's not trying to be something it's not. Superman needs to be Superman, not what's "hip" or "happening" right now. Certainly, Superman shouldn't be dark and brooding. He shouldn't be bleak and edgy. Even Grant Morrison knows that, get with the program people!!

I'll leave you with one more quote from Hans (can I drop him out a window like Bruce Willis in Die Hard?) and you can discuss why he changed his mind below. Comment till your hearts are content.

"[It] happens to be one of his greatest themes," Zimmer said, calling Williams "the greatest living composer." "So no. And I’m not thinking of rewriting Beethoven’s ninth either. It just sounds like a thankless task, you know? So that’s unequivocally a no."

Hans, you are right. You are no John Williams! Go back to your Bat Cave!

Todd "Jimmy Olsen" B.

[ and The Hollywood Reporter]

!!! Boy, Those Superman Underoos Make You Look Fat (Man Of Steel AndTransformers News) !!!

I went to Krypton and all I got was this lousy cape!?!

The Licensing Expo 2012 is taking place in Las Vegas the week and the studios are pushing the merchandising world hard to support their upcoming slate of films in an effort to bring about world peace (actually they just want to make a lot of money, peace is secondary). There are a lot of posters of upcoming movie that basically just show the name of the movie and nothing else. Rarely, you might have a studio bring props or costumes from a highly anticipated big budget bonanza to whet the appetite of the companies with deep pockets. Such is the case with this years expo, because Warner Bros. has pulled out the big guns too woo said merchandise pushers to license it come next summer. What is the said movie, you might ask?

None other than Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan's Superman reboot "Man of Steel". Check out these suckers. They brought "the suit" (Superman's in case you are slow on the uptake), Jor-El's duds, and the as yet unknown character Faora's costume. Interesting to say the least. The iconic Superman Suit has changed quit a bit since Christopher Reeves put one on in Richard Donner's 1978 version. For you comic fans out there, you will already be familiar with the absences of the red underwear that the character has worn for 73 years, since DC Comics did away with them for their universe wide reboot "The New 52". I'm still on the fence about this movie because on the one hand I love Christopher Nolan's take on Batman and Zack Snyder's ability to take a comic book and put it on screen, but I don't want a darker more edgy Superman (Batman doesn't call him a boy scout for nothing) and I don't like the fact that they are ignoring the past movies. They may surprise me and that certainly has happened before, but call me old fashioned, because I want my Superman to be about Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Batman is the Dark Knight (I'll post my review of "Rises" after I see the movie), Superman is the Man of Tomorrow, that's just how it is. Don't screw this up Warner Bros. (like you screwed up Green Lantern). Check out all the coverage of the expo on

Also, in video games news, Peter Cullen and Gregg Berger are in Transformers : Fall of Cybertron. The two will voice the characters that they made famous in the G1 Transformer animated series in the 80's, Optimus Prime and Grimlock respectively. You can find more info "here".

Well, go on people. Get to getting.

Todd "I Had Robin Underoos" B.