Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dark Knight Rises

SPOILER WARNING!!! This Post spoils movie Dark Knight Rises.

Dark Knight Rises is the last movie in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. I happens few years after Dark Knight. Bruce Wayne is no longer Batman. After Harvey Dent died, Gotham City passed Harvey Dent act, which have ended organized crime in Gotham City. Bruce Wayne just stopped being Batman and started to live in solitude.

That is about to change because League of Shadows has returned. It should be same League of Shadows as in Batman Begins. It has changed too much to be same. In Batman Begins they were secret order trying to get rid of crime. They didn't care about collateral damage. To get rid of cancer they were ready to kill some heathy tissue.

I don't understand motives behind this League of Shadows. They talk about giving power to the people, but they align themselves with criminals against police. The social experiment they had didn't make any sense because plan was to destroy Gotham City in the end. If plan was to show that anarchistic society can work, why forcing people to stay and having criminals as police. They just turn Gotham City into North Korea run by criminals then try to destroy it. Writers just wanted to show changing current class society ends up malfunctioning society that need others to keep it alive.

One theme of movie is social inequality. Problem is that lower class is presented as criminals. Bane and League of Shadows are strawman of people who want social justice. Sometimes Bane talks about justice and sometimes about poisoning and destroying Gotham City. Like lower class only want to destroy upper class. Like fairer share of resources is not possible. Catwoman is lower class but manages make her life better when she starts to play help upper class and play with their rules.

I guess it is too much to ask that blockbuster action could give fair treatment to such political subject as social injustice and fairer share of incomes. This movie just tell what upper class fears will happen if lower class was in power. If you see your political opponent as force of destruction you can't reach compromises beneficial to both parties. You end up fights that hurt both parties. Lower class may not want destruction, but fairer system for everyone instead of system where some are more equal that others.

Other annoying thing in movie is that police doesn't seem to have any brains. They send every police to tunnels and get trapped there. When they got out of there they use tactics to from before first world war. Walking in formation on streets and rushing against armored vehicles and machine guns. I want to forget final massive fist fight. It is icing on the cake.

The movie is not all bad. I like Bane. Only problems I have with him is mentioned above. Catwoman is tired of criminal life and wants something else. This kind of Catwoman suits the movie. Love story between Batman and Catwoman is far from what it was in Batman Returns. Script has problems, but it manages to have enough twists and keep thing hidden while giving enough hints.

It is bit strange that this doesn't feel too long even when this is longer than Dark Knight. It helps that this is more even movie. How ever this is worst of Dark Knight trilogy. First two are close to each others but this is further behind. It is not a bad movie. It just have too much laziness in script and cuts corners from time to time. This could have been classic if class society issues were given more equal treatment and police wasn't made to look so stupid.

This was it for holy bat-month. Next week it will be something different.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dark Knight

SPOILER WARNING!!! This Post spoils movie Dark Knight.

I went to see this movie twice dressed as Joker on opening weekend. My Joker photo shows what I looked like. At that time this felt one of the best movies ever made. Without make-up this doesn't felt as good. After few times it has dropped below Batman Begins. Best movies show more good things when you watch them again. First time you see main story. Next times you start to see sub plots and pay more attention to minor characters. Main story is not problem of this movie. Being too long and spending too much time outside main story is.

Harvey Dent/Two-Face plot was mostly waste of time. You could have got everything it gave to main story with lesser character. Harvey Dent dated Batman's love interest. Harvey Dent was good at beginning and ended up being killer and Batman took the blame. You could have achieved that with less screen time. Two-Face had couple good scenes but that doesn't change that most of the time Harvey Dent is in screen is waste of time in movie that is too long. These scenes are not on level of other scenes. Aaron Eckhart and Maggie Gyllenhaal are not as good as others in this movie. Sometimes they seems to be different kind of movie than rest of the cast. Worst thing in Harvey Dent plot is that it ends after main story with Joker. After all excitement every thing is toned down to Two-Face ending.

Other thing that could have easily been taken away was trip to Hong Kong. That introduced gadget that was used later in movie. This could have achieved with much less time. Trip just takes the movie from main story and stops the flow. There is no good reason why that guy could not have been taken before he left country. I don't think any group performing artist would cancel sold out shows to go to cruise with millionaire playboy. They could do that when they don't have sold-out shows. Movie was too long and I would have taken these away. That would have left with real classic instead of long, good but uneven movie.

What I can say about Heath Ledger as Joker. He does a perfect job. Best moments of movie are ones he is in. Scenes in police station deserve their place in movie history. Joker is suicidal psychopath who want to see how people react when he does something horrible. Some of his plans go too well, but this is not realistic movie. Eric Roberts and Michael jai White have memorable roles as gangsters.

I don't think Batman got it correct why boats didn't explode. What he says to Joker is not what we saw happened. What actually happened was that only one man in those ships was ready take responsibility and he felt that innocent should survive. In other boat they wanted to blow criminal ship up. There just was no-one who could have taken the responsibility. I liked this boat thing until Batman ruined it. Those people didn't believe in good. I don't think this should show that Batman saw people of Gotham better that they actually were. There were nothing else pointing to that direction. He was even too afraid to let people to know truth about Harvey Dent. In press confess he looked like he understood that people wanted everything right now even when that would hurt them in long run.  He also saw how people were ready to kill Coleman Reese.

I don't think Joker was that wrong as Batman thinks. He just had wrong methods, not enough time and too little influence on normal people. On Coleman Reese case he nearly got what he wanted. One of the boats nearly exploded. Other boat voted on that. Movie paints picture of people being selfish and looking for short-term reward. They don't want to take responsibility. They want others to do the dirty work. They are ready to make bad things to other people, if they can keep their hands clean. To make society work someone have to make hard decision. People are happier to living in the lie because then they can have their hands clean and have their short-term rewards.  Problem is that movie is not subtle enough with  these themes to make them to work.

This is good movie that has little too much in it. I wrote Harvey Dent rant from memory. After seeing movie again I don't feel that strongly about it, but I still feel like it. Heath Ledger is so good as Joker that moments without him don't feel that good. This is not as even as Batman Begins and this has problems with rhythm.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Batman begins

SPOILER WARNING!!! This Post spoils movie Batman begins.

After disastrous Batman & Robin next movie tells in name that it has nothing to do with that movie. That is only reason why someone names movie Batman begins. To be honest, this movie spends lot of time explaining how Bruce Wayne became Batman and where he got all his gadgets. But that name sounds strange to me.

Batman of 60s was parody of Batman. Burton's Batman was dark modern fairy tale. Schumacher mixed both previous styles and added lot of neon and black light. Christopher Nolan try to make Batman as realistic as man who dress as bat to fight criminals can be. Gadgets are something you could expect army prototypes to be. You would expect someone who have seen those prototypes to guess who could have those.

Bruce Wayne had perfect childhood until he wanted to get out of opera. His ideal father owned business empire but he rather worked at hospital. When family walks out of opera parents are killed in unfortunate robbery. As adult Bruce is ready to his criminal who killed his parents. Someone is faster and Bruce is left without his revenge.

Bruce Wayne disappears and start to live with criminals. Ra's Al Ghul and League of shadows find him in chinese prison. Bruce joins them and they train him to be ninja. They ways apart when Bruce don't want to kill criminal. In following fight League of Shadow's gets destroyed but Bruce manage to save his mentor.

In this movie Bruce Wayne is mask and Batman is real face of man who was born as Bruce Wayne. He is Bruce Wayne only when he has to. Other time is devoted being Batman. Batman don't has to kill tons of people because he does almost everything by himself. He also keeps number of people who know secret as small as possible.

This movie doesn't have larger than life villains. Batman begins his career fighting normal criminals. Only supercriminal of the movie is Scarecrow. Cillian Murphy does great job in role. Christopher Nolan seem to think so too because Scarecrow returns in following movies. Too bad he is in minor roles on those.

Scarecrow works for League of Shadows who came to destroy Gotham City. Batman's mentor turns out to be Ra's Al Ghul. It is lost change that movie doesn't get more into how close Batman and League of Shadows are to each other. Batman just have more lines he won't cross. They both aim for same goal. League of Shadows is ready to go further. In the end Batman kills without saving. It would have been easier to just kill, but now he didn't cross the line in his mind.

This is my second favourite Batman movie after Batman Returns. Movie is filled with good actors doing good roles. Christian Bale, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman carry the whole trilogy.  Liam Neeson and Rutger Hauer also outperform others. This is most ever of Dark Knight movies and has best rhythm. Being shortest of three helps in that.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

We hate movies: Batman Forever

We hate movies: Batman Forever

I don't know if they read this blog, but timing of this podcast was interesting. I share this because it is Batman movie and gives different take on movie I just wrote about. They talk about Batman Mask of of Phantasm. It is animated movie and I won't add it to holy bat-month. One reason is that it is animated and other is that I don't have it.

Batman Begins post might be postponed. I planned to watch the movie and write the post today. Unfortunately I have such headache that I don't try to do that. I still try to have it published on Thursday but it is possible that it will be postponed to Saturday or Sunday.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Batman & Robin

SPOILER WARNING!!! This Post spoils movie Batman & Robin.

I started watching this movie waiting for one of the worst movies ever made. I have to say it was not that bad. First time I feel like that after watching this movie. Previous time I thought it can't be that bad before watching and thinking it was worse after watching. Now I was more analytical while watching and that had some effect. Worst problem of this movie is that you don't care what happens to characters. Movie makes you not care in first fifteen minutes. Here is recap what happens during that time.

Movie starts with suit humor including asses in rubber suits and bat nipples. Then we see batcave with all unnecessary light shows. Cracked have good article how many people Batman had to kill to keep batcave secret. Link at the end of this post, you should read this before going there. It is not good sign when you start to think articles like that while watching the movie. When Batman and Robin are driving to Gotham City they are told that Mr Freeze is there. Important point is that they had left batcave when they heard about Mr Freeze. Mr Freeze is in museum. Batman comes through roof window and Robin comes through door with motor bike leaving Robin sign hole to door. Robin almost breaks one vase. Batman tells him if he breaks he buys. I guess he is buying window through which he came to museum and makes Robin buy the door through which Robin came to museum.

Mr Freeze has frozen the museum and fight between Batman, Robin and Mr Freezes gang turns in to ice hockey match. Luckily Batman and Robin had had boots with blades. Remember that I told they had left batcave when they heard about Mr Freeze. Why would they have these boots? This is little compared to what will follow. Mr Freeze has rocket that can be launched to space in his car. Only reason he had the rocket is that he can get Batman to rocket and launch Batman to space. Against all odds this happens. Batman jumps into rocket and Mr Freeze freezes Batman to wall of rocket.  When rocket is pretty high in the sky, Mr Freeze jumps off the rocket without parachute. He planned all this and didn't get parachute. Ok, he had some small wings but those are so small that those would not save him. That is nothing compared to what Batman and Robin does. Robin saves Batman from the wall and both jump off the rocket using rocket doors as surfboards.

Batman catches Mr Freeze during fall and Mr Freeze loses his wings. But that don't kill any of them. Mr Freeze freezes ground beneath him. I don't know how that should save him. I like to know if there is any science behind this. I can't think anything. What I know about cold and ice that should make fall more dangerous. Batman and Robin use their ropes to stop their fall. That is very believable when they fall from almost space. Mr Freeze escapes when he freezes Robin and Batman had to save Robin. After all this I don't know why I should care.

Stupidity is toned down after this but credibility of movie is eaten piece by piece during movie. There is bat credit card issued to Batman valid forever. Why would anyone who wants to keep his identity secret have credit card unless they are movie character and credit card company sponsors the movie. Characters have vehicles which only reason to be in movie is to have more toys to sell. Why would Batman and Robin have vehicles which can only be used on ice?

In this movie we have third Batman in fourth movie. George Clooney doesn't seem to know what kind of movie he is and what he should do. I doesn't seem to take his role seriously. He can act. We have seen that in other movies. I think problem is that he doesn't take this role seriously. Chris O'Donnell is same annoying teenager he was in Batman Forever. Now he has bigger role. Alicia Silverstone is also there. She is there. Yes, she is there in scenes but doesn't do much more than wear clothes and say words. None of heroes carry the movie they just are there saying the words. Chris O'Donnell at least tries. Others just are there.

Mr Freeze was badly written. He had three or four different personalities and movie didn't mention mental disorder. One liners were annoying. This character should have been possessed scientist who does crimes to have resources to save his wife. In this movie he looked like did crimes because he enjoyed it. Schwarzenegger wasn't the best choise for the role but with good director and better script he could have managed to do this role. Too bad that movie didn't have good script or director. Poison Ivy was better written but Uma Thurman was not correct actress for this role. She tries but she doesn't have what this role requires. She was too nice girl for this role. Bane was piece of meat pumped full of steroids and poison. He wasn't scary. Actor inside that suit was wrestler. He should have had athletic abilities. I guess suit didn't let him use his athleticism. He was more of a joke than scary villain.

This is bad movie and my post telling what was wrong with this movie is twice the length of my normal posts. And I didn't wrote everything that was wrong in this movie. That would have made this much longer.  If you think about script, this could have been good movie with few changes. Director with vision could have made this work. Casting was bad. There was nobody carrying the movie like Val Kilmer did in Batman Forever. There was no great acting like in Batman Returns. Story had darkness of Batman movie. Either actors could not take us there or director didn't want to take use there. This was mix of earlier movies and 60s Batman without being either one.

Here is the link I promised. I didn't read it through this time, but I am pretty sure it spoils Batman movies and comics.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Batman Forever

SPOILER WARNING!!! This Post spoils movie Batman Forever.

I don't know how much you can consider that this is sequel to Burton movies. Story forgets somethings that happened during first movies. Also actor who plays Batman and actor who plays Harvey Dent are changed. Change from Michael Keaton to Val Kilmer was well informed. Change from Billy Dee Williams to Tommy Lee Jones was not. Like no nerd would notice that Lando Calrissian was changed to white man. I would have liked to see Billy Dee Williams in that role.

Joel Schumacher replacing Tim Burton as director meant that this movie lost all vision and became more product than art. Joel Schumacher don't seem to know what he is doing. He tries to mix darkness of Burton movies with content of 60s tv-series.

Bruce Wayne has changed from lonely awkward millionaire to business man and playboy with dark secret. Being Batman seems to be extreme hobby to him. Along collecting cars and motorbikes. Big question is how he got time for all this. This movie suffers greatly from two of its main characters. First one is Riddler and the other is Robin. I don't like Riddler character and this movie is one reason why. Jim Carrey makes Riddler too much annoying comedy character. In 60s tv-series Riddler had many layers thanks to great actor. In this he is one dimensional and annoying.

Robin is another character I don't like in Batman. Robin makes Batman less dark and less edgy. Batman is always better without Robin. In this movie Robin is annoying teenager. He almost exposes Batman's true identity by stealing batmobile. Worst thing of all, he brings 60s Robin to this movie. And to next movie.

Movie has it moments. Most of those involve Two-Face without Riddler. Val Kilmer could have been great in darker movie. He has edge needed for darker characters. Val Kilmer's talent is lost in stupid love story and Nicole Kidman not able to follow him. Same goes to Chris O'Donnell. He can't follow Val Kilmer. Val Kilmer takes this movie to dark places but other actors in those scenes can't follow him. That is one problem of this movie. Another is that this movie has seeds of disaster that made next movie so bad. There are product placements, there are things from 60s Batman, there are vehicles which reason is to sell toys and there is suit related humor.

To be honest, this was better than I remember it to be. This was darker than I remember. Val Kilmer carry this movie. He is the reason this is as good as this is. Tim Burton may have had some input to this movie. There are still things that made first movies good and things that made next movie bad are toned down. Even with all flaws this is still watchable movie.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Batman Returns

SPOILER WARNING!!! This Post spoils movie Batman Returns.

As I told my Batman post. I have seen this movie more times than any other movie. There was time when I could not get enough of this movie. First movie was more Batman movie. This goes more into Tim Burton fairy tale world.

This is story of three lonely broken people and one evil business man. Batman we know from previous movie. Vicky Vale has left Bruce Wayne. He is again lone crime fighter. Penguin is bird man freak whose parents dumped him into river when he was baby. Catwoman is lonely secretary who loses her mind after her boss kills her.

Tieing all together is evil business man Max Shreck who wants to build "power plant" that actually sucks power out of the grid. First Max kills Selina Kyle, who becomes Catwoman. Then he tries to make Penguin a mayor. Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle start to build relationship while they fight night after night as Batman and Catwoman. There is also something going on between Batman and Catwoman.

Batman manages to ruin Penguins reputation which makes Penguin to return to his original plan to kill all first born sons of Gothan City. My favourite scene comes when Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle realize that they are also Batman and Catwoman. They can solve this because Penguin interrupts the party.

Batman ruins Penguins plan. In the end everyone leaves Penguin and he dies alone in sewerage like his parents tried to do when he was just a baby. Batman tries to save his relationship with Catwoman. He is ready to give up everything to save the relationship. Catwoman rather have her revenge than tries to be happy with Bruce Wayne. She kills herself and Max Shreck in front of Batman. Did I tell you that this movie happens during christmas time?

This movie doesn't do any compromises. Doesn't try to be anything else than it is. Tim Burton does what he does best. Comic books just give characters and Burton make them tell story he want to tell. Danny De Vito is perfect as Penguin. He is pervert upper class bird man freak and he makes that character work. Michelle Pfeiffer is believable as shy lonely secretary, Catwoman who doesn't hold anything back and as woman who is about to lose it. Michael Keaton is as good as he was in first movie but Michelle Pfeiffer out performs him in every scene they are together. Micheal Keaton does great job but Michelle Pfeiffer is just so amazing in this movie. This love story is my favourite movie love story. Two haunted people try to have normal life, but don't know how to, and in the end their demons destroy their relationship. Two good actors make this work. This is good choise if you want to watch romantic movie with me.

This story could have been disaster. It works because everyone takes it seriously and Tim Burton make it work. Too bad that this is last Batman movie directed by Tim Burton. I really wanted to see where Tim Burton could have taken us from here. In the end of this movies it is hinted that Catwoman is still alive. Could she have returned in third Burton Batman? We can only guess.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


SPOILER WARNING!!! This Post spoils movie Batman.

Criminals tell stories about big bat. But Jack doesn't care. Jack loves himself and his mirror. Jack has a relationship with wrong woman. Wife of his boss. Boss sets Jack and his gang up. During following fight jack falls into pool of chemicals. Chemicals make his skin white and destroys his face. Jack becomes insane criminal clown Joker.

Bruce Wayne is rich awkward loner who feel better being Batman that Bruce Wayne. Wayne's parent were killer by Jack when Bruce was young. This made Bruce to become Batman, vigilante who fights criminals with fear and gadgets. Because of Batman Bruce Wayne have troubles having relationships. One of my favourite scenes is where Bruce tries to tell Vicky Vale he is Batman. That shows how bad man who dress as bat is in social situations.

Gotham city is full of crime and corruption. Decent people shouldn't live there. Everything is dark and tall. Police doesn't seem to care too much about their job. How else you could explain that mass murderer is allowed to be part of parade?

Tim Burton made Batman dark modern fairy tale. Michael Keaton is best movie Bruce Wayne. He is living in his own world being absent-minded as Bruce Wayne and ultimate detective as Batman. Like his brains could not be sharp both as Wayne and Batman.

I don't think Jack Nicholson was correct choice to be Joker. He does a good job with what he got but I can't see Jack Nicholson as real Joker. To me Joker is tall and skinny which Jack Nicholson isn't. Cesar Romero of 60's Batman and Heath Ledger in Dark Knight are more what I see Joker to be. Other than that I like what they did with Joker in this movie. He is as sick and twisted as he should be.

I like Tim Burton's vision of Batman. It studies question what kind of man would dress as bat and go hunt criminals night after night. It has enough darkness and insanity of Batman characters. It has enough of fairy tale likeness to make it all work and not make you think how unrealistic everything is.

If you guessed this is the movie I have seen more than other movies because I use Joker photo, you are wrong. That movie is the next one. This movie had few flaws. That movie didn't have any. This movie was training for that movie.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Batman - the movie (1966)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This Post spoils Batman the movie

Batman the movie is based on tv series that run during 1966 and 1967. Series contained 120 episodes during three seasons. This movie was shot between first and second season. It has same actors as tv series with exception Catwoman being played by Lee Meriwether instead of Julie Newmar. It is little shame that we don't have Batman home entertainment release where Julie Newmar plays Catwoman. She was better in role that Lee Meriwether.

The problem with this movie is that it is too long and tries too hard. TV series worked because it was looser and didn't take itself too seriously. In TV series you got two fights in 30 minute episode. In movie you got one fight scene with Batman and Robin in almost two hour movie. There is one teaser of fight scene and Bruce Wayne fights more than Batman. Fight scene itself takes place on surfaced submarine which limits what they can do with it.

In tv series Batman and Robin are more like little brother and big brother. Alfred and Aunt Harriet are like father and mother. Movie has too little Alfred. Alan Napier is best actor of regular cast and he has larger role in tv series than in movie. In movie Batman and Robin as kids playing superheroes angle was dropped completely. They still survive more with luck than their skill. This time criminals don't catch them and there is no cliffhanger. With all the times they were on mercy of the villains it is miracle that they are still alive and nobody knows who they are.

Frank Gorshin made Riddler best villain of TV series. Riddler is one of the worst villains ever but in suited the tv series style and Frank Gorshin made it work. He was most versitile villain actor in series. He also have big role in villains United Underworld. In tv series Penguin episodes were often ones where characters couldn't do anything because he hadn't done crime and had to wait and play along until he did crime. That angle was dropped in movie and Penguin was provider of stuff United Underworld used.  In this movie Catwomans role is mess with Batmans head as miss Kitka. For some reason she is russian in this movie. Joker, arch villain of Batman, is just a side kick in this movie. In series Joker was not on level of Penguin, Riddler or Catwoman. Same continues in this movie.

This version of Batman looks ridiculous today but it was quite faithful to comic Batman of that age. There is parody aspect but without it, it is quite close to comics of that date. Movie doesn't have all the madness tv series had. I like tv series more. This is bad substitute for series. And finally. Yes, Batmans batpole is thicker than Robins batpole. I didn't realize that until someone told me it. Now I see it every time they use batpoles.