Lowering the Bat-Bar

Boba Frag

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Trishbot said:
irishda said:
I very strongly disagree with him that Marvel has been making excellent movies.
I very strongly disagree that they HAVEN'T. In fact, Marvel movies of late have truly captured the imagination of both kids and adults while delivering costumed thrills, solid performances, stellar action, and comic-accurate authenticity to a world of heroics few comic movies have been able to match in years. That's not to say Marvel doesn't have some stinkers (Fantastic Four, Elektra, Ghost Rider, Wolverine: Origins), but they've far outclassed DC heroes on the big screen that aren't named Batman (Catwoman, Superman Returns, Green Lantern, Jonah Hex...)

But, on topic...

I'll be honest; I'm an 80's girl. I grew up with the highly stylized, gothic, dark masterpiece that was Michael Keaton and Tim Burton's Batman, which I think nailed it. It had a superior aesthetic (neo-noir), a superior soundtrack (Danny Elman's theme is the definitive Batman theme), a superior Batman (Michael Keaton's Bat-voice was deep, dark, and yet intelligible), and I'd even say an equally good Joker (Jack Nicholson was classy, creepy, psychotic, and still fun.)

I'll concede the new movies have better action and even better plots, however. But to me, Batman was never story-driven; it was a subtle, imaginative, larger-than-life, and even otherworldly experience, like being transported to a world that couldn't possibly exist anywhere else but in film and comics. The new Batman world is just Chicago/New York.

I remember reading that Michael Keaton even asked that most of his spoken dialogue lines in the movie be removed, because, accurately, he said "Batman is a man of actions, not of words", and the movie was better for it. He had a few one liners, but if you watch those movies you notice Batman barely speaks. He's a presence. An urban legend. Some even think he's a monster or demon. When he shows up, it's all action and business, and it's far more effective than Bale's "It's not who I am that defines me, it's what I do" and "I'm the hero Gotham needs, but not what it deserves" Hollywood pep speeches.

To me, the image of Batman, bloodied and injured, slowly crawling up a winding, dusty belltower to an inevitable final throw-down with the Joker, slow, dramatic, and tension-filled, was a far better Batman moment than Batman's punch-kick-growl finale with the Joker in The Dark Knight. The old Batman was quiet, subdued, methodical, and it took the time to create a sense of mood and atmosphere. The new Batman is loud, blunt, heavy on the philosophy and chit-chat, and just seems to play to the same Jason Bourne-crowd that favors realism over imagination.

I told a friend once that nearly every gadget Batman has in the first two movies exists in the new movies too... except in the Nolan movies, they spend a great deal of time explaining where these gadgets came from, who made them, how it got them... In the first movie, Joker just barks out "Where does he get those wonderful toys?" and leaves it up to your imagination. And that's the big deal for me; the movies LEFT a lot to your imagination on purpose. The new movie feels compelled to over-analyze and explain every aspect of its universe, where Batman came from, how he became Batman, where it got his gear, who he knows, why he fights or makes certain decisions. The old movies made the mistake of over-explaining the villains; the new movies over-explain their protagonist.

But that's just my feelings as a fangirl.

Besides, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill remain the best performers for their respective roles of Batman and Joker. The Animated Series nailed it, and by comparison both Burton and Nolan films fail to measure up.
While I disagree with you on a couple of points- I don't think taking the time (actually very efficiently done) to explain where Batman came from in Begins was most of the fun of the film for me- we've all seen the Wayne's murder too many times, but I loved that you actually spent a little time with Bruce's father first, got a glimpse of the man Bruce looked up to so much.

Also, I love the grounded, 'realistic' and grittier Nolan films, but I want to absolutely clear that I flat out LOVE the 1989 Batman movie for basically everything you outlined there.

To me, both have merit, they're just different facets of the mythology- I think that if Batman ever became definitive, he'd stagnate.

Nice to spot a real fan out here!

Conroy and Hamill are a tough, if not impossible, act to follow alright! :)
 

CK76

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I like every film Nolan has made (Following, Momento, Insomniac, Inception, Prestige).

The Batman films were highly enjoyable. I do not care about images creeping out, I'm seeing this opening weekend. It is the only film of 2012 I feel that way about. Avengers I'll see within first month.
 

WolfThomas

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Trishbot said:
I very strongly disagree that they HAVEN'T. In fact, Marvel movies of late have truly captured the imagination of both kids and adults while delivering costumed thrills, solid performances, stellar action, and comic-accurate authenticity to a world of heroics few comic movies have been able to match in years. That's not to say Marvel doesn't have some stinkers (Fantastic Four, Elektra, Ghost Rider, Wolverine: Origins), but they've far outclassed DC heroes on the big screen that aren't named Batman (Catwoman, Superman Returns, Green Lantern, Jonah Hex...)
I agree with pretty much everything here. Also the fact is all those stinkers weren't produced by Marvel/Disney, but other studios. Marvel Disney is doing pretty much five for five in my oppinion with Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America. The weakest link is Iron Man 2 and it's still a fairly enojoyable movie.
 

DoctorM

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ANImaniac89 said:
I have never been over excited about the Nolan Batman films.
To me they have always seemed a tad soul-less and over hyped.
Absolutely! After all the hype for The Dark Knight, when I finally watched it, I had to put my DVD player at 1-1/2x speed to keep from falling asleep.

Nolan mercifully appears to be the death knell for gritty realism in comic based movies.

And Bob: I think you're just plain wrong. Without whipping the nerd base into a froth to see this, who is going to show up opening weekend and bring the big numbers they need?

That's right, nobody. Sure there are those that will lovingly watch anything Nolan puts on screen (you, Bob), but without the hype, a lot of other people are going to play wait-and-see.

That's a self fulfilling prophecy. A small opening weekend will kill this film.

Warner Bros. is not so stupid as to be doing this on purpose. Even an upcoming train wreck of a film (like Green Lantern) gets a massive push just in hopes of being able to run the qualified-box-office-record-setting headlines: TKR Sets Box Office Record for Movies Opening In A Month Without An 'R' and Staring An Actress From The Princess Diaries!

Honestly, do you REALLY think they want to LOWER expectations?
Not really an effective business plan.

Of course maybe they're finally admitting defeat in the comics arena. I'd be perfectly fine to see them stick a fork in the upcoming Superman guaranteed suckfest.
 

ironlordthemad

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Wow warner brothers are playing down the hype for the sequel to their biggest movie in recent history incase fanboys over react... thanks for some ground breaking journalism there Bob.
*facedesk*
 

duchaked

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not a bad article actually. honestly when I heard the casting for Catwoman...I basically did my best to just NOT care about the Dark Knight Rises (okay hearing that title too) as much as I can

just gonna wait until it comes out and THEN see for myself haha...so yeah maybe my reasons are similar to WB's marketing
 

Kinokohatake

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j-e-f-f-e-r-s said:
Sorry Bob, but I think you're talking out of your arse on this one.

The real reason Warner Bros hasn't got the hype train rolling yet? Because the film is still nearly a year away from being released. Hell, it's not even finished filming yet.
He started out talking about why Warner Bros hasn't shut down the fan pictures when all they are doing is pissing people off.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s said:
They've already released one trailer. That's all they need to do for a film that's coming out during summer of next year. I also think you're wrong in how people are reacting to TDKR. The teaser trailer has been out for little over a month, and it's already got over 4000,000 views on Youtube. That's some serious anticipation. This movie is not going to suffer from a tepid reaction.
Views don't mean people are actually enjoying it. And all it is is a teaser. There has been much less joy about the "catwoman" costume.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s said:
The Dark Knight didn't succeed solely of Heath Ledger's death. it simply got a lot of publicity from that. The reason it broke box-office records was because the first bunch of people who saw it said, "Holy shit, this movie is the best superhero movie ever!" And it's true. The Dark Knight has a level of intelligence and thematic cohesion unseen in previous superhero movies. People heard that, and wanted to go see it. And many box-office records were broken.
Yes but Heath Ledger's performance was honestly the best thing about the movie. Nolan's Batman is honestly really boring, his villians are decent.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s said:
Regarding The Dark Knight Rises, Warner has still got a year to properly get the hype train a-rolling. They've already released a punch of teaser images, pics from on-set, and a teaser trailer. That's enough to be going on with. Around Christmas time is when you can expect the first proper trailers to be released. Right now, summer 2012 is simply too far away to get excited about. But roll on Christmas, and people will suddenly realise that summer is only a few months away, and there's a new Batman film to get excited over. Roll on March/April time, and you can expect the hype train to really get moving. Posters everywhere, billboards with the bat-symbol proudly emblazened.
As I stated last time the hype train seems to have a major problem so far as all the hype has been lukewarm at best. To be honest if he had released a decent picture of catwoman instead of girl in leather, I would be excited beyond belief instead of just bleh

j-e-f-f-e-r-s said:
Hype is like foreplay. You don't just wade in there with everything you've got, otherwise the party ends too soon. That's what happened to Scott Pilgrim. The film was marketed so heavily that a lot of peopel were probably turned off the idea of seeing it. You have to tease people first with a few fleeting glances of what you've got, then you start to work them a little more, then you really work them and get them excited right before the main event. We've got a whole year left, and you can expect Warner Bros to really start working the Batman fans sometime before the new year.
This foreplay has been like your partner walking into the room wearing a mumu and letting out a silent stinky fart. You know it was them but you are hoping that maybe it was a gas leak from the street and they are wearing something sexy under the mumu.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s said:
And no offence, but the constant references to the Marvel films were kind of unnecessary. Firstly, their quality is very much debated by a number of movie fans (myself included), and secondly none of them have even gotten close to matching the Dark Knight's box-office figures. To be honest, I think people are getting burned out by Marvel, and wouldn't be totally surprised if that had an effect on The Avengers' box office takings. There were three Marvel movies released this year, one last year, another one the year before that, three more the year before that. And we've got a fucking slew of Marvel movies still to come out over the next year. People are going to get burned out.
Nope. The Marvel movies have been rather fantastic. I have enjoyed nearly all of them more than The Dark Knight. And no, no one is getting burnt out by Marvel. In fact people are getting more excited with each film. To go back to your foreplay analogy, imagine your partner and you have had foreplay and sex roughly...5 times. But each one is getting better and better and your partner is promising that the 6th time is going to be even better than all 5 times put together. Now THAT is some sex. Oh and Black Widow is hotter than Rachel.
 

Aiddon_v1legacy

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meh, the only Marvel movie that's actually been GOOD has been X-Men: First Class, which fittingly was NOT produced by Marvel Pictures. All the Avengers tie-ins have been lukewarm at best. The Avengers project is just PURE marketing through and through, with some calculated bastard at Marvel going "Look, Joss Whedon is directing!" in order to draw in nerddom.
 

tirone231

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rembrandtqeinstein said:
Batman Begins and Dark Knight were good movies but I thought Christian Bale's Batman was the worst thing about them. The costume where he can't turn his head was ridiculous and the "bat voice" was just laughable. I'm a big fan of the Batman mythology but I don't think the new one will bring anything to the table that the other two didn't already.
To be fair, none of the Batman movies prior to "Batman Begins" had costumes in which Batman could turn his head either, with the exception being Adam West's costume.

OT: Am I the only person who, upon seeing the picture of Anne Hathaway, paid no attention to her "non-cat" outfit and instead thought, "Wait a minute..why is Catwoman on Batman's motorcycle?...Oh, this is going to be awesome!" Nolan's trilogy has always emphasized the people behind the "masks" more than the superhero aspect, hence why there was a lot of Bruce Wayne being a detective in "The Dark Knight" and why we got a sadly grotesque Harvey Dent, rather than the traditional Two-Face. Thus, I'm sure the idea is to focus on Selina Kyle, rather than the usual Catwoman.
 

Therumancer

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The Bandit said:
Therumancer said:
The third "Nolanverse" movie doesn't have anything so attention getting in it, and a lot of the changes to the characters we're seeing continue to demonstrate how far out of context Nolan has been getting with "Batman". As he hits his third movie it's becoming increasingly difficult to see any real connection between the characters in his movies, and the comics they are supposed to be from. Bane and Catwoman seem to largely just be action movie cliques, albiet probably well done ones, that are carrying the names of popular comic characters.
People can really have an opinion on anything, can't they?

You have not seen the movie. You have absolutely no idea as to what you're talking about.
Well I feel people can't possibly have the opinion your expressing, which is pure fanboyism. By the time you go and see a movie you've already paid for a product, it has succeeded by getting your money. Ultimatly a movie has to convince you that it's worth paying for, and thus the perceptions a movie generations about itself are important.

Like it or not a LOT of stuff has been leaked about this movie, ranging from plot details, to pictures of various Batman characters in their costume taken directly from the movie set. These kinds of details become important because they show the movie as it is, as opposed to the carefully constructed trailers intended to show the best a movie has to offer. Like it or not, I, and a lot of people, are not caring for the way certain characters like Catwoman and Bane are being depicted. Like it or not Nolan's vision is becoming rapidly his own work that is inspired by Batman, rather than being stories about Batman and his world.
 

Zom-B

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Trishbot said:
irishda said:
I very strongly disagree with him that Marvel has been making excellent movies.
But to me, Batman was never story-driven;
Seriously? Over the years, Batman, at least in the comics, has had dozens and dozens of powerful stories. I think without good stories to accompany the mythos, there's no way that Batman would be as popular for as long as he has. It's not just because he's a shadow in the night that beats up bad guys; there's also the stories. Without those, Batman would have become incredibly boring, incredibly fast. I compare him to Superman. Superman is also a larger than life symbol of good, peace and the american way (ugh) but because he's practically a god, he's so boring and, in my opinion, writers struggle mightily to come up with interesting stories for him because of it. Superman requires all sorts of gimmicks, bizarre entities from outer space and strange materials to provide some sort of reasonable conflict, which just leads to silly and outlandish tales. Whereas Batman, despite his training and equipment is still a man, which I think makes for a much more interesting character with far more interesting stories.
 

Zom-B

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solidstatemind said:
Now, as far as Catwoman goes? Michelle Pfieffer, hands down. I'll fight you to the death on that one.
I'll back you up on that. She was gorgeous and great in the role.

solidstatemind said:
But Tim Burton's Batman was enjoyable... well, up until they started switching who was playing Batman every film. Then it got kind of silly. Heck, you could even make the argument that both directors owe a debt to Adam West and the Batman TV show.
To be fair, Burton directed Batman and Batman Returns, both with Keaton. Schumacher did the third and fourth films with Kilmer and Clooney, respectively. You cannot blame Tim Burton for anything Schumacher did to fuck up the Batman universe.
 

Zom-B

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WolfThomas said:
Trishbot said:
I very strongly disagree that they HAVEN'T. In fact, Marvel movies of late have truly captured the imagination of both kids and adults while delivering costumed thrills, solid performances, stellar action, and comic-accurate authenticity to a world of heroics few comic movies have been able to match in years. That's not to say Marvel doesn't have some stinkers (Fantastic Four, Elektra, Ghost Rider, Wolverine: Origins), but they've far outclassed DC heroes on the big screen that aren't named Batman (Catwoman, Superman Returns, Green Lantern, Jonah Hex...)
I agree with pretty much everything here. Also the fact is all those stinkers weren't produced by Marvel/Disney, but other studios. Marvel Disney is doing pretty much five for five in my oppinion with Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America. The weakest link is Iron Man 2 and it's still a fairly enojoyable movie.
To be honest, the only movies you've listed that I've actually watched are the Incredible Hulk (both) and Iron Man 2, and for the life of me I couldn't figure out what there was to like about it, besides Robert Downey Jr. (and to some extent Don Cheadle, just because he's fucking Don Cheadle). I thought the movie was absolutely terrible. I've heard that the first one is better, but after seeing Iron Man 2, I've got no interest in wasting my time on the first one.

I'll probably give Thor a viewing at some point, but I've got no interest in Captain America. I mean, right there off the bat, his name is a huge turn-off. Blah.

I guess all to say that you can score Marvel/Disney 5 for 5 and I'd give them a 1 out of 5 (for the Hulk) so far, scores pending on one or two more movies. :p
 

Trishbot

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Zom-B said:
Trishbot said:
But to me, Batman was never story-driven;
Seriously? Over the years, Batman, at least in the comics, has had dozens and dozens of powerful stories. I think without good stories to accompany the mythos, there's no way that Batman would be as popular for as long as he has. It's not just because he's a shadow in the night that beats up bad guys; there's also the stories. Without those, Batman would have become incredibly boring, incredibly fast. I compare him to Superman. Superman is also a larger than life symbol of good, peace and the american way (ugh) but because he's practically a god, he's so boring and, in my opinion, writers struggle mightily to come up with interesting stories for him because of it. Superman requires all sorts of gimmicks, bizarre entities from outer space and strange materials to provide some sort of reasonable conflict, which just leads to silly and outlandish tales. Whereas Batman, despite his training and equipment is still a man, which I think makes for a much more interesting character with far more interesting stories.
I never said Batman doesn't HAVE good stories to tell... but besides the death of Batman's parents and the death of Jason Todd (with slight nod to The Killing Joke and Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns), I doubt most people in the world can name a single Batman story. Can you name me "dozens and dozens" of stories someone on the street would be familiar with or agree with? Everyone knows the Star Wars story, or The Godfather, or the works of Shakespeare, but even the best Batman stories I doubt even avid comic book fans could entirely remember or explain (Knightfall, Long Halloween, No Man's Land... etc.)

Batman, as a comic, a franchise, and a character, isn't driven by story, but by comic-book tropes and theatrics, and by single-minded character development; style, art, atmosphere, and personal moments. His "story" is no different than that of Zorro or a thousand other vigilantes, but it brings with him a stronger sense of style and interest through design and secondary details (side-characters, partners, the world of Gotham, enemies, allies, ambiguous morality plays).

Batman, alone, is bland. Batman, in his universe, is fantastic. Batman's stories, on their own, are weak. Batman's stories compared to other superheroes are pretty good.

But you'd be hard-pressed to get people that even LIKE comics to clearly explain to you just what was going on in Grant Morrison's Batman, or explain how Jason Todd was resurrected because Superboy Prime punched reality in the face. They get rather ridiculous.

But, Batman can have good stories and bad, good artists and bad artists, good movies and bad movies, but the persona of Batman remains cool. That feeling of one man against the odds, the hunter in the night, the nocturnal avenger, the dark knight... the LEGEND of Batman is greater than the REALITY of Batman, and that's what stays in the public's consciousness.
 

electric_warrior

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Do you remember when fans were up in arms, claiming Heath Ledger could never play the joker?

How'd that turn out again?
 

WolfThomas

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Zom-B said:
To be honest, the only movies you've listed that I've actually watched are the Incredible Hulk (both) and Iron Man 2, and for the life of me I couldn't figure out what there was to like about it, besides Robert Downey Jr. (and to some extent Don Cheadle, just because he's fucking Don Cheadle). I thought the movie was absolutely terrible. I've heard that the first one is better, but after seeing Iron Man 2, I've got no interest in wasting my time on the first one.

I'll probably give Thor a viewing at some point, but I've got no interest in Captain America. I mean, right there off the bat, his name is a huge turn-off. Blah.

I guess all to say that you can score Marvel/Disney 5 for 5 and I'd give them a 1 out of 5 (for the Hulk) so far, scores pending on one or two more movies. :p
No doubt about it Iron Man 2 is the weakest of the films they've put out. The first is a lot tighter in terms of pacing and the storyline. But you may not enjoy it as it's similar (but better) than the second in many aspects. Thor and Captain America are good movies, don't be put off by the latter's name. I'm Australian and it's personally my favourite (though I think Thor's probably the best they've made so far).

Yes I can go and score them 5 for 5 and it's just my oppinion, but if you look at them objectively they've all made decent profits (the Incredible Hulk is the weakset here) and received mostly positive reviews. It's a good business model for Marvel/Disney, they haven't knocked any out of the park but they're all consistent successes.
 

gundamrx101

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Well, considering that I'm in the minority of people who thought TDK wasn't anything special I have zero expectations so either way; no way I can be dissaponted