Posts Tagged ‘Batman’

A Dark Debate Rises

August 5, 2012

Dark Knight Bane

I’m noticing a distinct love/hate reaction to The Dark Knight Rises. Having seen it twice now, to give myself a fair chance at absorbing and judging the film, I’m not terribly surprised. It is a flawed film, for sure, and expectations after the sublime experience that was The Dark Knight might have been impossibly high for the finale of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Certainly they were in my own mind. Thus, a feeling of mild letdown upon seeing it initially in the theatres was mediated slightly upon a subsequent, quieter viewing that allowed me to more easily enjoy the film for what it iwas.

Don’t mistake me. There are many issues with this film and, as happens at times in Nolan’s work, plot holes develop for the sake of cinematic drama. I understand that and, quite often, it’s worth it in the end. In TDKR, those holes might be a bit more glaring in light of a film less impactful and dramatic than folks had hoped for.

Allow me to present, via Comic Book Movie, two clashing opinions on the merits of the film. A fascinating debate that I urge you only to look at after you have seen the film for yourself and can filter these complaints/praises through your own opinions of the matter.

99 Reasons Why The Dark Knight Rises Sucked

Response To “99 Reasons Why TDKR Sucked”

I have to say, for my part, I fall somewhere in the middle with a far less passionate, emotional response to the thing. There is a lot to what the complainer is saying and many of his points are quite valid. However, it’s obvious his skills and eye as a movie reviewer are more, shall we say, pedestrian than others. It reads a bit like a fan rant at a geek club and not a considered academic review. The response, in turn, may be a bit defensive and unnecessarily harsh by someone making a point of looking down his nose at the “fanboy” complaints.

Either way, it’s a good example of the debate storm the film has generated. One side or the other, or stuck in the middle like me, it’s rather fascinating and enjoyable to see us so stirred up about a “comic book movie”.

We have come a long way, my four-color friends.

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There’s 26 More of These To Go? Really?

September 14, 2011

swamp thing

I’m making my way, like alot of other comics loving folk, through the so-called “New 52”, the much-hyped DC Comics reboot of it’s entire line of comics and, while they’re at it, Universe. I had envisioned a series of reviews talking about various books but let me tell you right now it’s not going to happen.

I’m just too damned bored with it.

Seriously, folks. So far there is almost nothing new happening inside these books and, in many cases, a lot of just very ordinary superhero storytelling. Stale, tired plots and action so predictably like what we’ve seen a thousand times before in the most everyday, mediocre comics of the last few decades. I can’t see very much originality happening. Certainly no risk-taking. A lot of yawning while reading, however.

On top of that, the whole thing seems a bit inconsistent and confusing when you go from book to book. Which Superman is Grant Morrison portraying in Action Comics? Because it doesn’t look to be anything like the one appearing in the Justice League. The world of superheros is once again fresh and new to planet Earth (as shown in JL) but, wait, Green Lantern’s Sinestro is still playing out a leftover story line from Brightest Day. And Batman and Robin seem to have not missed a beat in continuity from issue #22 of the most recent run to this new #1. Same storyline, same creative team. Different universe?

No clue.

It’s not all bad, though. Above you’ll see a panel from Swamp Thing #1. And while the story is nothing astonishing, Yannick Paquette’s artwork is just beautiful to look at and it’s worth reading the book just for that. The new Animal Man book looks intriguing and I like the liberal minded viewpoint expressed in that and Action. I don’t know. I still have a few more from this week to slog through (including J.H. Williams III’ Batwoman which also looks beautiful) and maybe one of them will surprise me.

I’m betting it won’t be Deathstroke #1, though, will it?

Sigh.

The Gates of Geek Heaven

July 23, 2011

avengers movie

I’m starting to feel like we are fast approaching a sort of Geek Singularity right now. The Peak of Geekness lies before our very eyes, ready to blossom in it’s sci-fi/superhero/fantasy fullness. There are many signs that this is the case but allow me to list a few from my own Inner Geek’s Perspective.

These past few weeks are a great example for me. We have seen:

Trailers for Dark Knight Rises, John Carter (a.k.a. Warlord of Mars), and, today, The Avengers, have appeared online as, seemingly, all of the adored heroes of my childhood are coming to life. The Avengers was my favorite comic as a kid. Of Burroughs’ creations, John Carter was the one I adored the most, thanks not only to the magnificent adventures but those gorgeous Frazetta covers. Batman, as realized by Christopher Nolan, is another dream come true.

It’s amazing what we have seen in recent years, really. A faithful adaptation of Watchmen. Sin City. The Marvel films, most of which are wonderful fun, have the right spirit in them. Folks are finally respecting creators’ visions when they adapt material. Hell, there was even an attempt at another comics favorite of mine, Green Lantern, however middling it ended up. Another Superman is on the horizon, as well as Sin City 2 and a host of other fascinating projects.

I’ve always said that, if I could go back to 1977 and bring forward in time that little boy and show him what’s happening now he fucking die on the spot of some sort of astonished overload of shocked pleasure. Laid out on the floor with an ear to ear smile in front a 46″ HD TV showing the Iron Man Blu-ray, an iPad full of sci-books and comics in one hand and a PS3 controller in the other.

It goes on, to the fantastical realms. Game of Thrones has shown us just how adult and edgy great Fantasy can be. If you like it a bit sappier, the Lord of the Rings Extended Editions are now on Blu-ray and you won’t believe how fucking good they look, my friends. I have in hand the latest tome from George R.R. Martin, I should mention, as well. A Dance With Dragons clocks in at about 1000 pages and I can’t wait to devour it. Joe Abercrombie looks interesting and Richard Morgan owes us the sequel to Steel Remains.

In television, Doctor Who is going as strong as ever. In sci-filiterature, Iain Banks, Alastair Reynolds and Neal Asher continue producing the hard space opera of my dreams. In comics, Mark Millar, Grant Morrison and Warren Ellis are regularly taking superheroes where they have never gone before.

It’s a veritable bounty of Geek Goodness. I’m wallowing in Geek Gluttony.

It’s almost too much. Almost.

I can’t tell you how much I am going to enjoy it all. The truth is, I’ve never quite grown up. Those of you who know me know that I have no need for an “inner child” as the child remains very much on the surface with me. I Like to have a good time and my imagination, thankfully, has never died and festered like some folks my age. It burns still, open to new and different magic, like that wide eyed kid who stood in line for Star Wars in 1977 and had his world forever changed as his eyes were opened wide to strange new ones. Just like that kid devouring all those Marvel Comics in their four-color, newsprint splendour back then. Just like that kid reading Dune for the first time.

Here I sit, all these years later, still hungry for more.

Bring it on, I say.

This Looks Horrible

June 2, 2011

jim lee justice league

I’ve been looking at some of the announced plans for DC Comics’ upcoming “reboot” this September when the company will release a staggering 52 new #1 issues, restarting their entire line with new creative talent and, in some cases, complete character overhauls.

It just looks like an awful idea, folks.

Not just that it’s a tired ploy to generate interest and sales, restarting a title at #1, or even that it’s a tired ploy that never really seems to work in the long run. It’s the ideas behind it and the selection of the creative talent that seems to be what’s truly frightening here.

Jim Lee? Jim. Lee? The guys been done for years. In the same way that a lot of artists whose style and talent shone through in their youth (see John Byrne) he has slipped into the realm of stock pose hack work (see John Byrne) and it’s clear he’s not really invested in his work. Look at the above cover of Justice League #1 for all the proof you need. Lack of detail and original creative ideas, anyone? The absence of such is screaming off the page in the same way the absence of Hal Jordan’s ring is.

Sloppy fucking work, people.

It doesn’t end there, however. Check out this rundown of some of the initial releases planned.

Dan Jurgens? Dan. Jurgens? When was the last time a single word that guy wrote was relevant. When was the last line he drew that wasn’t a generic piece of shit? It’s a trick question because the answer is never. But, hey, let’s give him not one but two titles to make totally irrelevant.

Right down the line the selection of writers and artists is pretty questionable, with few exceptions. Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis, two of the few actual notable talents on board, are being wasted on a doomed title like Aquaman. When has an Aquaman book ever succeeded? When will DC understand that one never will.

The new Wonder Woman artist looks brutally bad, as does the youngster being handed the reins to The Flash, despite DC’s deranged claim that he’s a “rising star”. The work is wholly unremarkable. Not half as bad as the apparent Firestorm or Captain Atom redesigns, though. Actually, if you look closely, you’ll see that some of the information released is inaccurate, listing the wrong cover artists for various books. Again, sloppy. And confusing.

The whole notion just seems savagely ill-conceived. You have to wonder if Grant Morrison, currently helming a Batman title or two, will use this as his chance to pull the ripcord and bail out of the flaming zeppelin before it hits ground and erupts into full fledged conflagration. Because that’s my prediction for this entire relaunch, folks.

Total. Failure. Crash. Burn.

Sorry, DC. There was a time you understood that the foundation for good and successful comics was to hire talented professionals willing to take chances with their art and tell mature, intelligent stories. Not tired, disinterested, used-up talent with naught in their bag of tricks but an attempted flashy new #1 issue or costume redesign.

This just looks super-fucked.