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Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« Reply #980 on: March 01, 2020, 01:32:36 PM »
Quote
It reeks of a desperate urge to hyper-masculinize

Let that sink in.

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Offline honk

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Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« Reply #981 on: March 05, 2020, 12:43:06 AM »
No idea what that's supposed to mean. Anyway, we now have some official pictures of the new Batmobile:

https://twitter.com/mattreevesLA/status/1235261421425958912







I love this. I fucking love this. Words cannot express how fucking delighted I am by this design. It's an actual car, not a city-smashing monstrosity, and it looks amazing. It's not at all what I expected or would have visualized as the ideal Batmobile, but it's fantastic all the same.
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Offline Lord Dave

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Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« Reply #982 on: March 05, 2020, 02:56:42 AM »
And look, a cape.

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Offline honk

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Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« Reply #983 on: March 15, 2020, 04:17:31 AM »
I would like to officially respond to Crudblud's review of Batman Returns:

https://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=700.msg200592#msg200592

I largely agree with you. It's an odd thing to say, but the movie feels less offensive for its deviations from Batman lore than its predecessor, despite being even less faithful to the source material. Maybe that's exactly the reason; the previous Burtman was required to be more Batman-like and include details like the deaths of the Waynes, which then contrast sharply with Batman being a reckless murderer, his flair towards the theatrical, and other elements more reflective of Burton's sensibilities than the character of Batman. But in Returns, where we're not constantly being reminded of whom Batman is "supposed" to be, and he certainly has nothing approaching an arc, everything feels much more natural. This Batman is a Burtonesque weirdo first and foremost, and so it's a lot easier to accept his attraction to Catwoman and almost instinctive distrust of the Penguin as being consistent with his warped personality. As well as, of course, all the killing.

I do feel like the story ought to have been trimmed quite a bit. It feels like it was written by a dozen people all shouting their ideas at once. "The Penguin should be a wild and savage freak who lives in the sewers!" "And he should somehow be the leader of a criminal circus troupe!" "And he should run for mayor!" "And he should be partners with another villain, an evil businessman who's hoarding power!" "And then he should steal the firstborn children of Gotham's elite!" "And then he should destroy the city with penguins armed with rockets!" These plot points all lurch into each other clumsily, sometimes being resolved with a careless handwave, other times being forgotten entirely by the screenplay itself. It's too much, even for a ridiculous cartoon of a movie like this. Also, much of the movie's dialogue is absolutely horrendous, especially the puns and double entendres Penguin and Catwoman so regularly spout.

The improvement that stands out the most for me from the first Burtman is the action. In the last movie, as I've said, I found Batman to be distinctly unimpressive, as he mostly blundered his way through fights and seemed to be far more lucky than he was actually tough or skilled. This time around, however, Batman legitimately kicks ass. I'm not sure who deserves the bulk of the credit - Keaton and/or his stunt doubles for learning to work within the inflexible Batsuit's limitations, Burton for approaching action scenes with more confidence and experience - but either way, I think they managed to do a pretty good job with the tools they had on hand. It's not quite "super-genius ninja Batman," of course, but it's a perfectly valid reinterpretation. And Keaton is just great in the role. In a way, I think the biggest missed opportunity of the Burtmans is not giving Batman himself, and by extension, Keaton's take on the character, enough time in the spotlight. Not with the "My parents are dead!" standard Batman crap, which Burton obviously didn't care for, but more of what's in this movie (and the first act of the last one) - Bruce Wayne being a goofy, charming guy who apologizes for hitting women while fighting them, casually gives journalists grants, and occasionally drops his eccentricities to confront corrupt fellow businessmen. With a little more focus, he could have become as iconic as Christopher Reeves as Superman.

All in all, it's a ridiculous mess of a movie, and far less cohesive than its predecessor, but I found it the more enjoyable watch.
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Offline honk

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Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« Reply #984 on: April 04, 2020, 11:30:36 PM »
I watched Birds of Prey, or whatever its name is supposed to be. For a movie that's trying way too hard to be a distaff Deadpool, it's actually pretty good. Certainly better than Aquaman, not quite as good as Shazam! or Wonder Woman. The action is easily its biggest strength, being raucous and energetic, choreographed with flair and creativity, and full of comic grisliness. It's a lot like a more fanciful John Wick. The cast is great, especially Ewan McGregor as a ridiculous villain, and I had a few laughs too. The movie's main issue is that there are just too many characters and not enough time to spend on them. I'm really surprised they kept the runtime under two hours. This movie definitely could have used another ten or fifteen minutes with the characters, especially Huntress, who by far has the least screen time of the main characters. She's also the funniest, largely due to Mary Elizabeth Winstead's portrayal of her as a wannabe edgelord.

It's a shame this didn't do better at the box office. It's a decent movie, and it's nice that they gave a chance to an up-and-coming young director who isn't a privileged, well-connected white guy for once. Like I said, the R rating was a clear mistake, driving away the family and teen audiences. If there's any positive to this, at least it might kill off the dumb gimmick of making R-rated capeshit for the sake of it.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2020, 03:15:18 AM by honk »
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Offline beardo

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Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« Reply #985 on: April 05, 2020, 12:49:09 AM »
I watched Birds of Prey, or whatever its name is supposed to be. For a movie that's trying way too hard to be a distaff Deadpool, it's actually pretty good. Certainly better than Aquaman, not quite as good as Shazam! or Wonder Woman. The action is easily its biggest strength, being raucous and energetic, choreographed with flair and creativity, and full of comic grisliness. It's a lot like a more fanciful John Wick. The cast is great, especially Ewan McGregor as a ridiculous villain, and I had a few laughs too. The movie's main issue is that there's just too many characters and not enough time to spend on them. I'm really surprised they kept the runtime under two hours. This movie definitely could have used another ten or fifteen minutes with the characters, especially Huntress, who by far has the least screen time of the main characters. She's also the funniest, largely due to Mary Elizabeth Winstead's portrayal of her as a wannabe edgelord.

It's a shame this didn't do better at the box office. It's a decent movie, and it's nice that they gave a chance to an up-and-coming young director who isn't a privileged, well-connected white guy for once. Like I said, the R rating was a clear mistake, driving away the family and teen audiences. If there's any positive to this, at least it might kill off the dumb gimmick of making R-rated capeshit for the sake of it.
April 1 was 4 days ago.
The Mastery.

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Offline honk

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Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« Reply #986 on: May 20, 2020, 09:21:29 PM »
04/05: If you really hate Margot Robbie's portrayal of Harley, then it's safe to say you won't like the movie. I found her to be...okay. She's improved from SS, and is at least dressed much better, but Robbie's line delivery grates on me. It's like she's trying to squeeze every bit of sass and attitude she can into every line she says, and then her dialogue ends up being drowned out by the subtext of just how full of sass and attitude she is. Her stupid Three Stooges accent doesn't help. The other characters are much better, except for "Cassandra Cain," who has absolutely nothing to do with the Cassandra from the source material beyond being an Asian girl. And like I said, the action is great. Oh, and I can honestly say that even the most hardcore right-wing/anti-SJW critic would have a very tough time trying to point to any insidious anti-men material here or whatever the fuck they imagine is in the movie. Hell, the animated Harley show is far more pointed and direct in its commentary on gender politics and toxic relationships, and that show has, as far as I can tell, notably not drawn any right-wing/anti-SJW backlash. Go figure.

...

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/justice-league-snyder-cut-plans-revealed-it-will-be-an-new-thing-1295102

Holy shit, the Snyder cut really is going to happen! And I was so confident that it wouldn't! In my defense, I don't think this is a particularly good business decision, and that rabid enthusiasm from a vocal minority doesn't always translate into IRL success. And contrary to the narrative that many people in the movement promoted, the Snyder cut is not essentially complete, and still needs a lot more time and money before it's in a presentable state. Still, at least they're finally getting what they want, and of course I'll check out the finished product. Will it be any good? Probably not, but it'll at least be far more interesting than the Z-grade filler Whedon crammed the original with. And the terrible, terrible quips.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2020, 09:24:55 PM by honk »
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Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« Reply #987 on: May 20, 2020, 09:24:05 PM »
This is WB being so starved for revenue they will do anything. I have a really hard time seeing how this could redeem JL, but I am interested to see it nonetheless.

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Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« Reply #988 on: June 04, 2020, 11:15:24 PM »
In honor of Crudblud's recent return to us, I will rejoin him on the Batman retrospective. Our moist respectable gentleman last reviewed Batman Forever:

https://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=700.msg202736#msg202736

In the aftermath of Returns, I think the studio was justified in looking for a new director. Burton - whom I'm pretty sure was always a producer on this movie, he didn't quit and then later on come back - had done his thing by now, I doubt he had anything new to contribute to Batman at that point, and Returns did underperform quite a bit, given what an enormous success the first Burtman was. It was time for a new voice, and Joel Schumacher, unlike Burton, actually was a Batman fan, so we might have even gotten a Batman more faithful to the source material out of it.

Needless to say, things didn't work out, and I'm in full agreement that this movie blows chimp. The worst part for me are the villains. Tommy Lee Jones and especially Jim Carrey in this are absolutely insufferable. They're not smart, they're not menacing, they're not compelling, they're just fucking annoying. I have no doubt that both of them played their roles exactly as they were directed, but said direction sucked. Carrey brings a lot of energy to every role he plays, but I've never seen him be this obnoxious. And Jones is just floundering, to the degree that I almost felt embarrassed for him. Why even have Two-Face be as manic and over-the-top as the Riddler? Wouldn't it have made more sense for him to be a straight-faced foil to the Riddler, a serious side to their villainous partnership? It also would have been a better fit for an actor like Jones. In fact, he should have been the one to get the origin story, because he has the best origin story of all Batman's villains. Interestingly enough, Jones had played a prosecutor in The Client (also directed by Schumacher) just the previous year who was pretty similar to Harvey Dent. That would have been a good inspiration.

Speaking of Two-Face, while this is far from a serious flaw in the movie, it drove me nuts how during the assault on Wayne Manor he repeatedly flips the coin until he finally gets the scarred side, at which point he incapacitates Bruce and tries to kill him, only to be stopped by the Riddler. That's not how the coin works! He flips it once, and he abides by the result. It's not like this was even critical to the plot. Bruce's life ends up being spared anyway, so they might as well have let Two-Face not kill him because of the coin. Maybe they could even have had the Riddler be the one eager to kill him, but Two-Face stops him. It's such a tiny little thing, and yet the movie goes out of its way to deviate from one of the most important details of Two-Face's character from the source material.

Val Kilmer was at least physically better suited to the role of Batman than any other actor until Christian Bale, but his performance in this movie was just...nothing. I'm not inherently opposed to this Batman being more traditionally heroic, but that doesn't need to translate as boring. Kilmer has always been best playing roles with some sort of a twist or eccentricity to them, like in Tombstone and True Romance. This sort of square-jawed straight man wasn't a good fit for him at all. I'm also a little puzzled by the movie going through the motions of giving him some sort of arc. Batman doesn't really learn anything or change throughout the film, and he doesn't need to. For all the movie's talk of him reconciling the two sides of his life, it seems like he's already got things pretty much figured out. Bruce Wayne is doing well, Batman is doing well, what's the problem? That his new girlfriend likes Batman more than she likes Bruce? Come on. Again, it's not necessarily a bad thing for Batman to not have an arc, but they didn't need to waste time on essentially pretending he had one. They could have just kept the focus on Dick Grayson and kept Batman in more of a mentor role.

Continuity between the Burton and Schumacher movies is handled strangely. They are in continuity, but the newer films always seemed to walk a tightrope between directly referencing anything that happened in the Burton movies and openly contradicting them. I'm convinced that played a role in Bruce's objection to Dick planning on killing Two-Face not on the grounds that Batman doesn't kill, which he couldn't really do because of Burtman, but that revenge never makes things better. Is he speaking from experience here? Does he have a story to share about the time he avenged his family and it brought him nothing? Apparently not. Also, there was another actor who appeared in both the Burton and Schumacher movies - Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon. It's easy to overlook him, as his appearances were brief, and while I don't think it was intentional, he comes across as something of an inept buffoon.

What else is there to say...I do still like the idea of this glitzy Gotham as an interesting evolution of its depiction in Silver Age comics, but the CGI is appalling, and Schumacher's direction, with its giant swooping shots and nonstop Dutch angles, is just demented. And this is incredibly minor, but the acting of the guy playing the security guard at the start is so, so bad. "OH NO, IT'S BOILING ACID!" It's so weirdly amateurish, like he's a kid in a school play trying to make sure his parents notice him. I was surprised to discover when I looked him up that he's a veteran actor and way older than he looks. Must have been really weird direction.

Also, on the notion of the toxicity of the Snyder fandom and what it means to give them what they want:

https://www.vulture.com/2020/05/the-snyder-cut-what-does-hbo-maxs-release-really-mean.html

https://www.digitaltrends.com/opinion/release-the-snyder-cut-toxic-fandom/

Is it really fair to judge a large fandom by its worst and loudest voices, though? Also, it's surprising to hear that "DC Extended Universe" was never official and just a label casually made up by a journalist.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2020, 04:30:40 AM by honk »
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Offline Crudblud

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Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« Reply #989 on: June 05, 2020, 07:05:12 AM »
And this is incredibly minor, but the acting of the guy playing the security guard at the start is so, so bad. "OH NO, IT'S BOILING ACID!" It's so weirdly amateurish, like he's a kid in a school play trying to make sure his parents notice him. I was surprised to discover when I looked him up that he's a veteran actor and way older than he looks. Must have been really weird direction.

This is one of many little details that I wanted to talk about but couldn't find a way to fit them into the review. There's also the part where the vault being put back in place is just the shot of it being taken out played backwards, which both comes off incredibly cheap but also highlights how confused the whole thing is. In an Adam West context that would have read as tongue-in-cheek, but here, because the film doesn't establish that (or any) kind of identity, it just looks like shit. Sure, some scenes do have a similar tone, but there's no consistency so all you have are a bunch of Batman-themed jigsaw pieces that don't fit together.

Also, Commissioner Gordon was something I forgot about until after I published the review, but yes, he is there, unfortunately for him.

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Offline Crudblud

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Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« Reply #990 on: June 22, 2020, 09:14:25 PM »
Joel Schumacher has died at the age of 80 following a long battle with cancer. He already apologised for (or rather quasi-disowned) his Batman movies, pretty much, so I won't feel bad for shit-talking Batman & Robin in my upcoming review, which I'm pretty much guaranteed to do, but the coincidence struck me. Luckily(?) I'm not superstitious.

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Offline honk

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Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« Reply #991 on: Today at 04:12:14 AM »


I like that HBO Max is hyping this up as a big television event that'll presumably have critics reviewing it, rather than a quick direct-to-download release. No matter how the finished product turns out, we can't let the discourse be dominated by Snyder's fanbase, especially now that they've shown they have some pull with WarnerMedia (what a stupid name). These guys can like what they like and that's great, but their opinions are not necessarily representative of mainstream critics or audiences, and it'll be good to have a broader range of reactions to this than just the people who are already guaranteed to love it because it has Snyder's name on it. To put it another way, I don't want a revisionist history of this franchise to spread unchallenged that if WB had just stepped back and let Snyder do his thing without interfering, JL would have been a critical and commercial success - which is more or less what happened when the "ultimate edition" of BvS came out and was greeted with adulation by Snyder fanboys and largely ignored by almost everyone else.
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