THE BATMAN: 5 Characters I DON’T Want To See!


The Batman (title confirmed by Ben Affleck… though he did say he may change it)  is coming (in 18 months if you believe Random WB Exec #52)!  Written by an Academy Award winning writer (Affleck) and directed by & starring the director and star (Affleck!) of the Academy Award winning film Argo, The Batman is DC’s best chance at finally knocking a DC Extended Universe movie out of the park! In addition to cinema’s greatest Batman actor (AFFLECK!), we know The Batman features Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello),  my favorite version of Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons), and Commissioner Jim Gordon (J.K. Simmons).

I’ve already made a list of “5 Batman Villains New to Cinema I DO want to See in The Batman”  – Part 1 and Part 2 – but now I’ve deemed it necessary to list 5 Batman Characters I DON’T want to see in the film.

5. CATWOMAN4-big-screen-catwomanIn both the films and the comics, Catwoman is played out. She is not be the only prominent character who’s had more than one cinematic go-around (Harvey Dent/Two-Face has had 3 cinematic incarnations, if you count Billy Dee Williams’ 5 minutes as Dent in Batman), but we have seen her four (4!) times: Adam West’s Batman, Batman Returns, Catwoman, The Dark Knight Rises. Making matters worse, the latest version (Anne Hathaway) was forgettable, incorrectly characterized, and poorly used overall. “Don’t you want to see her done right?” you may ask. “No, not this character.”

In addition to being the most used big screen Batman villain,  Catwoman/Selina Kyle has a relationship with Batman/Bruce Wayne far too complex and impossible to shoehorn in unless she gets about half the screen-time. Michelle Pfeiffer had more screen-time than perhaps even Michael Keaton, crushing both identities and her relationship with Batman in Batman Returns. There are much better female characters to use, like Poison Ivy. I hope she shows up eventually!

4. HARLEY QUINNharley-quinn-margot-robbie-the-batmanNo, this isn’t a sexist list. In fact, it’s the opposite, as the two female characters are not among the three I want to see the least! The three I really don’t want to see are all total bros.

We’ve seen what was basically a Harley Quinn movie in Suicide Squad. And according to WB, we’re getting a Harley Quinn solo movie down the line, with Margot Robbie returning to star as Quinn, and the possibility of a focus on female characters like Poison Ivy, Catwoman, Batgirl, etc. There is already plenty of Harley Quinn to come in the DCEU, so why waste The Batman‘s running-time with her? Like with Catwoman, do something new!

Most importantly, I don’t want The Batman turned into a bloody Hot Topic commercial. The costume designer behind Suicide Sqaud should be fired.Or given a bigger budget?

3. NIGHTWING / ANY Other “Bat Family” MembernightwingBatman will have spent plenty of time with allies by the time we get to The Batman. He worked with Superman and Wonder Woman in the climax of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and he’s just one in a crowd of several more powerful heroes in 2017’s Justice League. He already has the required Gordon and Alfred on his side. While I wouldn’t mind adding Harvey Dent (the DA, not the criminal boss) as a supporting character, I want to see Batman physically fight crime on his own for the first time in the DCEU. Leave the team-ups to the multiple Justice League movies they will make.

I don’t want to see ANYONE from the Bat Family which includes Batgirl, Batwoman, multiple Robins, etc. Among the two most likely to show up, is Dick Grayson aka Nightwing. Grayson was Batman’s 1st Robin, who upon growing up adopted his own title, Nightwing, both striking out on his own and assisting Batman when he needs it. Zack Snyder already confirmed the Robin Costume we see in BvS is Jason Todd’s (more on him next), but in the comics, before Tood came Grayson. The DCEU will hopefully be simplified, eliminating Grayson all together, making Jason Todd the only Robin referenced in these movies.

2. RED HOOD / ANY version of Jason Toddjason-todd-robin-red-hood-the-batmanI just don’t want these movie to get crowded with too much history and complicated relationships!

In the comics, Jason Todd was the 2nd Robin, only to be murdered by the Joker.Through the magic of comic books, Todd came back with a vendetta against Batman, pissed Batman continues to not kill Joker & other villains even though Joker murdered him. He fights crime and wants the Joker’s head, but Red Hood and Batman do not see eye-to-eye; Red Hood using guns to kill villains and Batman usually doesn’t like guns.

In Batman V Superman, we saw Jason Todd’s Robin costume, with “Ha-Ha Joke’s On You Batman!” spray painted on it, memorialized in the Batcave. Suicide Squad delivered a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Easter Egg confirming Harley Quinn herself may have done the act in the DCEU. Leave it at that! No flash-backs to Todd and Batman fighting crime, and no appearance of Red Hood, who needs a movie dedicated to him alone IF we do ever see him (I hope we won’t). And, for God’s Sake, no weird mash-up character revealing Deathstroke is Jason Todd. Yuck!

1. Jared Letos’ JOKERjared-leto-joker-tattoosI don’t like this version of the Joker, I just don’t. I don’t like the Gangster angle and Jared Leto made the strangest choices. They were brave, like Heath Ledger’s, but it backfired for Leto. Normally I would say the Joker should be in at least one of each Batman Actor’s films, but honestly, I never want to see Jared Leto’s Joker in the DCEU ever again.

Is it too late to recast the role? If we could get Walton Goggins involved, I say we give his Joker ALL the screen time! Just look at the dude laugh! (For examples of him playing a laughing psychopath, watch American Ultra or Vice Principals.)walton-goggins-for-new-jokerBest part is, about half the pictures on Google Images are of Goggins laughing.

Consider it, DC?

SUICIDE SQUAD Review: Is DC Even Trying?


I’m tired of giving DC movies poor reviews, I really am. I’m not a Marvel Fanboy, I believe in both teams. It is true I have more favorite Marvel characters than DC and like Marvel Studios’ movies better, but I have read far more DC books; all the essential Batman graphic novels (Year One, Dark Knight Returns & sequels & prequel, Long Halloween‘s family of books, The Killing Joke, Arkham Asylum, Knightfall, Prey, Hush, Mirror’s Edge, and even No Man’s Land), every issue of Batman, Detective Comics, Hellblazer/Constantine, and Supergirl, New 52 to the present,  as well as a good number of Suicide Squad, Justice League, and Batman & Superman New 52 story-lines. I also love older DC movies and TV including Batman: The Animated Series, Batman (1987), the animated films like Year One, and especially the Dark Knight trilogy and all four of Arkham video-games.

Yet, in 2016, I keep having to knock DC for blown opportunities like Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Batman: The Killing Joke, and now Suicide Squad. I love these characters and their world, I really do. In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that rather than Marvel and Fox forming an alliance to bring X-Men into the MCU, DC should hand off their characters to Marvel Studios so they can make amazing films using these iconic characters. They can keep the universes separate, but for God’s Sake, give these movies to someone who knows how to make a good movie, because at the moment DC Entertainment, as well as their writers and directors, are incapable of it (except for the shows… I hear they’re pretty, pretty, pretty good and I still miss Constantine).

Going forward, I will clearly announce any SPOILERS, and most will be vague. What I absolutely won’t do is spoil Suicide Sqaud‘s antagonist’s identity, because (most) the trailers have been good at keeping it hush-hush (no, the bad guy is not Batman villain, Hush, I will say that).

I’ll also break this Review into Parts for easy navigation, because this will be a very long one.

Overall:Suicide Squad Review Task Force X Boomerang Harley Quinn Deadshot Katana Rick Flag Killer Croc DiabloSuicide Squad reminds me most of the so-so (here I go using that descriptor again…) first X-Men movie from the year 2000, before the modern age of truly good Superhero movies cemented by Marvel Studios 6 years later. This movie a muddled, bleak, grey world inhabited by underdeveloped characters that are mere shadows of their comic counterparts,  with unexplained plot points and character motivations, as well as completely “blah” action scenes. Forget the pop-y,bright visuals and tone of the many trailers and prepare for a movie less appealing visually than Batman V Superman.

Humor:Suicide Squad Review Captain Bommergang UnicornWhat humor? You mean the “jokes” you’ve already seen in the trailer? Because other than that, the biggest joke is that Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) has a Unicorn fetish, which may have been funny… before we saw Ryan Reynolds jerk off to a plush Unicorn in Deadpool back in February. Sure, this film was shot before Deadpool‘s release, but being 2nd to the Unicorn Orgy looses all the thunder. At least Will Smith as Deadshot is funny enough through attitude alone; Smith hasn’t been this snappy since his 90’s classics like Independence Day and Men In Black. Everything else is bleak as Batman V Superman. Suicide Squad seems like it wants to be more like Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool, but it fails, miserably.

New Characters:Suicide Squad Review Harley Quinn Margot Robbie and Deadshot Will Smith 2Part of the excitement going into Suicide Squad is seeing all these fan favorite DC characters – Deadshot, Harely Quinn (Margot Robbie), Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agabaje), June Moon/Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), Katana (Karen Fukuhara), and Captain Boomerang – on the big screen for the 1st time. I never thought I’d ever see these characters brought to life  after the Christopher Nolan films grounded DC more in reality than ever before. And then there’s Diablo (Jay Hernandez)and Slipknot (Adam Beach), who I’ve never heard of. 

None of these fantastic characters are done justice. The film is overstuffed with characters. You can do Suicide Squad with less… Katana and Enchantress are more often associated with Justice League Dark’s “Magic” corner of the DC Universe (this should have been a Justice League Dark movie…), Diablo and Slipknot are nearly complete unknowns, and Killer Croc has never been a Task Force X member until now. Focusing on essential characters Waller, Quinn, Deadshot, Rick Flag, and even Captain Boomerang would have been ideal. Guardians of The Galaxy proved you can flesh out a party of characters without Avengers-esque origin films preceding them, but Squad feels lost in characters like X-Men: Apocalypse (which is NOT a flattering comparison).

Part of this is actually Will Smith’s fault (or WB, depending how you look it).  Because they cast such a giant actor to play Deadshot, who rides 2nd fiddle to Harley Quinn and Rick Flag in the comics, he now becomes the focus of the movie and steals screen time from other characters who are more important in the source material. But wouldn’t you do the same if you had Will Smith in your movie?

This Amanda Waller is a perfect adaptation of her comic counterpart, perhaps one of the most faithful Comic Book to live-action interpretations ever. Will Smith brings snarky-ness to Deadshot, though his motivation to see and care for his daughter seems half-baked and one-note (especially compared to Scott Lang in Ant-Man). It feels like Harley Quinn just exists to justify Joker being in the movie, and her arc with Deadshot transitioning from a “Bad Guy”to someone with enough empathy to save the world is not earned at all; feels forced. Diablo is given some interesting motivation too, but again, it’s one-note with no depth. Every character seems to want one thing and one thing only, without any growth. Meanwhile the rest barely exist. Katana’s origin is delivered in a quick sentence right before the final climatic battle!

Batman and Joker:Suicide Squad Review Joker Jared Leto Harley Quinn Margot Robbie and CommonThough his appearance is brief, Ben Affleck’s Batman may be even better in Suicide Squad than in BvS! He moves differently, even more gracefully than than BvS, and seeing him from Deadshot’s POV is damn intimidating. Bruce Wayne even has a bit to do, in one of my favorite scenes in the movie.

On the other side of the coin, Jared Leto’s Joker is simply a mess. A mess AND a complete miss, as if writer/director David Ayer hasn’t read a Batman comic since “The Golden Age.” This latest Joker is simply a mob-boss who is a little crazy; not Joker crazy, but more like TV’s Dexter crazy.

Slight SPOILERS: Joker only kills other gangsters and people directly in his way of rescuing Harley, without any of the collateral damage or joyous mayhem the character is known for. His voice is a Heath Ledger knock-off and his laugh is creepy, but continues to miss the fun Mark Hamill brought to the animated version in the 90’s. And his motivations are very questionable to a comic fan such as myself. All Joker wants to do is rescue Harley Quinn. Though he breaks her out of Arkham all the time in the comics, he’s always willing to throw her at Batman to escape (which he sort of does here) and often abuses and mistreats her. Her love is often one-sided, but this Joker seems to care about her more than Mayhem… or getting Batman. SPOILERS OVER!

Flashbacks & Strong 1st Act: Suicide Squad Review Joker in Straigh Jacket Jared LetoThe characters that are actually deemed necessary are given flashbacks, which, though quick and also underdeveloped, are the best part of the movie. The movie starts strong with these quick stories explaining their origins (sort of), which also happen to be the only visually appealing sequences of the film. There are too many though, and while the 1st act is the most enjoyable, it does feel like an extended trailer. Some flashbacks are saved for later in the film, which really, really, slows down the story and feel completely unwelcome. So, it’s all downhill from the 1st act.

The 2nd Act & Action Sequences:Suicide Squad Review ZombiesJust a mess. All the pop-y fun of the 1st act is drained away in favor of poorly choreographed action sequences against the most generic soldiers since Loki’s Chitauri army in The Avengers or Ronan’s “Ninja Turtle” aliens in Guardians. Task Force X’s mission also seems misguided and a little unclear. Like I said earlier, Suicide Squad feels like a Superhero movie from the early 2000’s before Nolan and Marvel Studios figured out how to elevate the genre.

Main Villain & 3rd Act Finale VAGUE SPOILERS Section:Suicide Squad Review Harley Quinn Margot Robbie Baseball BatAs I mentioned, the “zombie soldiers” Task Force X faces are another example of giving a superhero team an army to destroy without murdering tons of human beings (though these “monsters” were once human, but Flag assures us they aren’t anymore…). The Avengers had the Chitauri army and Avengers: Age of Ultron had a robot drone army.  This feels similar, with a less interesting design and no charismatic leader like Loki (Tom Hiddleson) or Ultron (James Spader) to taunt the “worst heroes ever.” These soldiers are literally black blobs, a metaphor for all the bland visuals and fight scenes showcased here.

Just like with X-Men: Apocalypse, we’re back to a super-villain set on destroying the entire planet, doing just as much damage to Midway City as  Zod and Superman did to Metropolis (with a lower body count, as many were evacuated… I guess). In an era where we are transitioning to villains like Heath Ledger’s Joker who want to destroy the hero, not the world, including movies like Iron Man 3 and Captain America: Civil War, it’s just another goddamn destroy the entire world plot. Not awesome. Or original.

The finale shares so much in common with the end of the original Ghostbusters (1984) to a point that there is no way these similarities are coincidence. The villain is magical, reads the team’s thoughts, and is even uncased after the fight, like when the Ghostbusters pull Sigourney Weaver out of the husk of melted “dog.” Worst of all, it totally has that slow motion monument where (most) the team all does their part to destroy the villain; more akin to the cheesy versions in the original Fantastic Four (2005), X-Men: Apocalypse, and Batman V Superman than that awesome team fighting shot in The Avengers.

Rockin’ Soundtrack:Suicide Squad Review Amanda Waller Viola DavisIs it really rockin’? Full of great songs, Suicide Squad tries hardest to be Guardians of the Galaxy with its Soundtrack. I’m sure it does make for a great Soundtrack, but in the movie this overload of music seems distracting and overbearing; every time we meet a new character (every 3 minutes or so) we get a new song. Sloppy and simply thrown together like the rest of Suicide Squad.

Conclusion:Suicide Squad Review Enchantress June MoonAnother giant missed opportunity by DC. Suicide Squad tries hard to replicate the success of team-up movies like X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, and even The Avengers, but in doing so feels like a paint-by-the-numbers formulaic team movie, bringing nothing new to the table. The movie doesn’t even commit to its one chance at being unique; the twist that they are the villains, not our traditional heroes.

I can’t determine if I like the movie more or less than most because I know the comics. After all, I notice all the incorrect characterizations like the Joker’s motivation, the team dynamics, and the odd choice of including characters like Katana and Killer Croc (who is more impossible to understand than Bane, by the way). But, like BvS, there is a lot of set-up for future films and Easter Eggs that comic fans recognize, but will confuse and alienate the average movie-goer (SPOILER – like the Flash’s cameo… most may say, who is that? Especially with the new costume. – END SPOILER). I guess it some strange combo of both for me, disappointing on nearly every level.

Get your shit together, DC! If Wonder Woman and Justice League aren’t dramatic improvements, your Extended Universe may be dead in the water. I love the characters and the comics, I’m just saying it like it is.

5_Star_Rating_System_2_and_a_half_stars

 

 

Tax Day Trailer Catch-Up: DR. STRANGE, STAR WARS & More!


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Suicide Squad, and Dr. Strange, oh my!

The past week has seen many new trailers released, especially those of the Disney (including Marvel & Lucasfilm) and Superhero variety. As Captain America: Civil War draws near -the perfect place to advertise your next Sci-Fi Action Movie if you are a Movie Studio – we’ll continue to see A-List Trailers, but perhaps none more exciting than the following…

Let’s do this by release date, shall we?

Suicide Squad Trailer #2: “Blitz”Suicide Squad Trailer Blitz Harley Quinn Gun ScopeAs Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice crumbles under the weight of a million bad reviews, things seem to be looking up in the DCEU (Detective Comics Extended Universe). Not only was there an announcement this week that Academy Award Winning Filmmaker Ben Affleck will not simply star in The Batman, but also write and direct it (with the help of his best Screenplay and Best Film Oscars); Warner Bros. and DC also released the second official trailer (not counting the initial footage from Comic Con) for Suicide Squad. A follow-up to Bats V Supes that continues to produce excellent new footage and hope that the DCEU can turn that bad launch into something glorious.


All the best elements of the first trailer return, including more humor in one trailer than the entirety of Batman V Superman (maybe someday it won’t be cool to shit on BvS…), more catchy songs, great looking comic book visuals and action, and characters that would cause any geek to Nerdgasm.Suicide Squad Trailer Blitz Joker Jared Leto ScaredMore Joker (Jared Leto)! More Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie)! And the rest… Aaaaand…. BATMAN (Ben Affleck)! Suicide Squad Trailer Blitz Batman Ben AffleckIf this trailer is any indication we may be seeing more Batman in Suicide Squad than we thought! Half the villains on Task Force X are primarily part of Batman’s rogues gallery, after all.Suicide Squad Trailer Blitz Harley Quinn HammerSuicide Squad hits the States om August  5th.

 

Dr. Strange Teaser TrailerDr Strange Trailer Benedict Cumberbatch in Full Costume CapeI let loose a great sigh of relief when I watched the 1st trailer for Marvel’s Dr. Strange. The character rests somewhere between Thor and Ant-Man as far as trickiness goes with launching this, well, strange character upon the masses.


But all the parts work! Very little focus is put on Dr. Strange in action (we only see him in costume once… from behind… where all you really see is a cape that is the result of Thor’s and Superman’s Capes having a baby), in favor of a lot of origin looking material and the man, the myth, one of the world’s biggest Movie Stars, your friend and mine: Mr. Benedict Cumberbatch.Dr Strange Trailer Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strang in SuitDr Strange Trailer Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange Bearded in RagsRelying heavily on Benedict Cumberbatch’s star power (gone are the days of casting no-names like Chris Hemsworth or Chris Pratt, this movie has got a bigger lead than Paul Rudd!), the trailer focuses on the accident that leads him on a journey visually similar to that of Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins (just check out the cut from Stephen Strange in a suit to him in a beard and ratty cloths), continuing into Matrix-esque Training Scenes, with some Inception worthy trippy visuals.Dr Strange Trailer Benedict Cumberbatch Tilda Swinton Ancient OneDr Strange Trailer Trippy VillainDr Strange Trailer Cube Citiy InceptionI’m in! Dr. Strange appears November 4th.

 

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Teaser TrailerRogue One A Star Wars Story Trailer Rebels on Yavin IVI’m not sold on the title (“A Star Wars Story?” Really?), but I sure am keen on the look and feel of the 1st non-trilogy/non-Skywalker-focused Star Wars movie.


Rogue One takes place within a year (or even months, weeks, or days) of the OG Star Wars (now titled Episode IV: A New Hope) and boy does the film look like it! There may be new types of Stormtroopers (2! Black and Tan!), but everything else is classic! That’s the Rebel Base on Yavin IV and those are old school Rebel Uniforms! And that’s Moth Mothma! AT-AT’s (Walkers)! A hooded figure surrounded by Imperial Guards that protect Emperor Palpatine himself!  A shot of a Star Destroyer passing by the gigantic Death Star (it’s still big, even after Starkiller Base) that looks so familiar it could be footage from A New Hope!Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Death Star

Ph: Film Frame

©Lucasfilm LFLThe new characters look great as well, from Rebels played by Felicity Jones and Diego Luna! to a wise sage with battle armor portrayed by Forrest Whitaker. Donnie Yen as a Samurai (Star Wars was inspired by the films of Akira Kurosawa)! Ben Mendelsohn as a well armed Imperial Officer with a white cape that would make Thor, Superman, AND Dr. Strange jealous!Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

(Ben Mendelsohn)

Ph: Film Frame

©Lucasfilm LFLIf The Force Awakens wasn’t your cup of tea, Rogue One may be the closest thing you’ll get to the original trilogy… including the rumored appearance of a lil’ ‘ole Sith called Darth Vader.Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Ph: Film Frame

©Lucasfilm LFLRogue One: A Star Wars Story lands in time for Christmas on December 16th!

See you at the movies!

Jared Leto Gives Us A Sneak Peak of His Joker… KILLING JOKE Style!


Its been an entire day of 1st looks at comic book characters’ big screen counterparts. First, we got a full look at Vision from Avengers: Age of Ultron. Then, the Thing from FANT4STIC (Fantastic Four) and Yellowjacket from Ant-Man showed us their lovely mugs.

Now, we have our first look at Jared Leto, not going “Full-Joker,” but sporting green hair none-the-less and recreating a Joker image that will make any comic book fan cream their jeans.

Suicide Squad Comic With Harley Quinn and DeadshotI haven’t discussed DC’s other 2016 blockbuster Suicide Squad on the site yet, but the David Ayer directed film focusing on Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Leto as the always iconic Joker is basically coming together as the perfect opportunity to introduce Batman’s rogue gallery while the hero is busy in his own 2016 film: Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Here’s the film’s synopsis from IMDB,; obviously based on the comic of the same title:

“A secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency.”

Without further ado, here is the first look at Jared Leto’s Joker from Suicide Squad!Jared Leto as The Joker in Suicide Squad The Killing Joke Pose

See. He’s got the green hair! He’s doing the Killing Joke pose from the cover of the graphic novel (see below)! Otherwise… it still looks like Leto needs to go pale… full-pale. Gots to get some Joker makeup, son!'The Killing Joke' Cover Joker Camera

See? Just give the man some white make-up and some red lipstick and you’ve got the joker, baby! (And some gloves and a purple suit. He’ll need those too.)

Meanwhile, though the typical green color, Leto’s more modest haircut (compared to Heath Ledger’s Joker) does recall the Joker from the another beloved graphic novel: The Dark Knight Returns.

Though this picture comes from the animated film version of 'The Dark Knight Returns,' it is a great representation of The Joker's least wild hairdo.
Though this picture comes from the animated film version of ‘The Dark Knight Returns,’ it is a great representation of The Joker’s least wild hairdo.

My one wish for the DC Cinematic Universe’s Joker: No Scars!

Though Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger’s Joker sported horrific scars, Joker in the comics never has any, especially not in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Just give Leto some white face paint and some lipstick and we’ll be off to the races!

Suicide Squad comes out in 2016 with Batman Vs. Superman: Justice Begins. DC has been just as generous with Marvel lately so expect to see a lot more of Leto’s Joker in the coming months. Meanwhile, that first Batman Vs Superman trailer is set to appear on May 15th’s Mad Max: Fury Road.

Enjoy all these Comic Book Cinematic Universes, kiddies. Before the bubble finally bursts.

Podcast #12: The ‘Daredevil’ Dare


Nick and Andrew recount the horror’s of ‘Daredevil’ before jumping into Ben Affleck’s new reality as the Dark Knight. They cover the DCCU (DC Cinematic Universe) including ‘Aquaman’ casting and the troubles of ‘The Suicide Squad.’