OK, before we do anything, let’s discuss the elephant in the room- Todd Phillips’ Joker film has had quite possibly the most ridiculous and stupid controversies, nonsense and general negativity attached to it. As a result, I’m probably not going to watch the film this weekend, instead I’ll be waiting until the student cinema at my university shows it so discussing the film will be a lot easier to discuss without a lot of the baggage attached (also it’ll be free for me if I volunteer so…). BUT, I’m still doing this post because a few stupid people on the Internet isn’t going to stop me from discussing one of the greatest villains in all of fiction and the various actors who have portrayed him. So let’s get going.
The Dark Knight has been around for over 80 years and many great actors have worn the cape and cowl. Today saw a new Batman potentially be announced- Robert Pattinson. Whilst the Internet has of course been moaning and whinging, a look back at all the main actors to don the mantle proves that left field, unconventional choices often result in great results. Nobody thought Heath Ledger could play a good Joker. Nobody thought an unknown Australian could become Wolverine. No one thought Beetlejuice could be Batman. But the fan community has been proven wrong time and time again and just because Robert Pattinson was in that franchise doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve a shot at DC. I haven’t seen anything he’s in outside of Goblet of Fire (you will never, ever, ever catch me watching one of those films. Ever) but a brief look at his filmography proves his capability as an actor. If he gets the role, I’ll be up for it. As long as the writing is strong I know we’ll get a great Batman. With that said, let’s look at the other iterations of Batman, in an article I have been waiting ages to write. For this article, I’m only going to discuss the six “main” actors who have played Batman. These are actors who have either played the Caped Crusader in multiple films or have been linked to the franchise in other ways through television or video games. With this criteria, I count six, soon to be seven actors who are considered to be the “primary” Batmen. Let’s start with the legendary-
I didn’t just watch that film (you know the one) this month. I made good use of my Easter holiday to check out some famous, and not so famous, films.
The Silence of the Lambs
Had I seen it before? No.
How did I watch it? Netflix
Famous for being the only horror film to ever win Best Picture, The Silence of the Lambs is an iconic film for so many reasons, chiefly the spine-tingling performance of Anthony Hopkins as the immortal Hannibal Lecter. And no, I will not say he is the lead actor, he is a supporting actor. A well deserved Oscar in the wrong category. The lead character is Jodie Foster’s Clarice Starling, an phenomenal film hero who stands up to the most disturbed minds on the planet and still survives. The film is a masterpiece of pacing, writing,acting and directing and nearly thirty years on it still has such a strong impact and effect. The film is primarily a psychological battle of wits between Lecter and Starling, with the two trying to one-up each other at every turn, resulting in riveting viewing. Even though I know a lot of the twists and turns the film still gripped me, which is a credit to the talents of Jonathan Demme. His use of close ups and shot composition have gone down in film history and he masterfully directs the extended sequences of Lecter and Starling talking to each other to create some of the most intense dialogue scenes of all time. This film deserves every award it ever got and more. It’s truly spectacular.
Action scenes! Part of the parcel that comes with comic book films. Thanks to the rise of computers and new filming techniques we have seen some truly spectacular comic book battles, and to honour Avengers: Endgame let’s take a look at some of the finest brawls presented on the silver screen. To qualify for this list, two or more combatants must be physically battling each other and have somewhat equal strength. Excluded are chase scenes (with warm regards to The Dark Knight’s highway pursuit), one sided demolishing (Wonder Woman kind of thrashes the German Army with no effort in the iconic No Man’s Land scene, despite it being a magnificent sequence) and action scenes that have no actual battles between opponents (take Nightcrawler’s White House sequence or Quicksilver’s standout scene in Days of Future Past). With that aside, let’s look at how the comic book world’s finest slug it out-
10. Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman and Johann Kraus vs Nuada and the Golden Army- Hellboy II: The Golden Army
The character of Shazam- sorry, Captain Marvel, no not that one… whatever, is a long and complex one. The character who is mostly known as Shazam predates the creation of modern day DC and Marvel. In 1939 Fawcett Comics conceived the character as, ironically, a rival to Superman. In fact, Captain Marvel was given a film in 1941. In response to the adventures of the Marvel family outselling the Man of Steel, Action Comics chose to first sue then eventually join forces, with DC Comics buying Captain Marvel in the 70’s. Unable to use the name due to obvious reasons, his comic book was renamed Shazam! and his backstory altered, giving the character more distinction from Superman. Within mainstream continuity he was still referred to as Captain Marvel due to Marvel’s Captain Mar-Vell having been killed off. The New 52 relaunch in 2011 however officially christened the character Shazam after Carol Danvers became Captain Marvel, and no one but the die-hard fans know DC even HAD a Captain Marvel. So that’s the backstory. And as I said in my Captain Marvel review, there is no need to compare the films. They are completely different films with two very different characters.
Well this is unexpected news. As James Gunn’s sequel/reboot/spinoff of Suicide Squad called, um… The Suicide Squad (the “The” is very important) goes into production we’re hearing interesting things such as how literally everything barring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn is being jettisoned. Ok, an interesting approach but given the tepid reaction to the film I don’t blame Warner Brothers. Personally I liked Suicide Squad but oh boy was it flawed (glares at Jared Leto doing a weird Jack Nicholson impression and the absolute wrong villain) but still fun overall. Deadshot was played by Will Smith initially and whilst I personally didn’t mind him in the role it was more Will Smith than Deadshot. As Smith is busy making even worst career choices it appears WB are looking to not do the sensible option and remove Deadshot from the next film but recast him. Who are they considering? Idris Elba.
The Defenders are no more. Yesterday Netflix announced that The Punisher and Jessica Jones were cancelled, becoming the final casualties of the Marvel purge on Netflix. Whilst many may be quick to blame Disney’s upcoming streaming service for this as far as I know the Marvel/Netflix deal had nothing to do with Disney and it appears the shows were cancelled due to low viewing figures and lack of interest from even hardcore Marvel fans. So what happened? How did what promised to be the most exciting branch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe become no more?
Another year done and dusted- and what a year it’s been for nerdom. A new Doctor arrived, Thanos killed half the universe (SPOILER ALERT for the three people who don’t know), the Skeleton Detective got political and del Toro won his Oscar. 2019 promises to be huge, so without further ado it’s time to reveal what I am looking forward this year in terms of films, television shows and books. We are returning to Hawkins, visiting our favourite drunk reality jumping cynical genius once again, travelling to a galaxy far far away and the most underrated comic book hero of all time is getting a new coat of red. 2019 is going to be huge.
For over seventy years Aquaman has been DC’s resident joke character. Thanks to some silly interpretations and the cheesy nature of the early comics the character, despite being one of the founding members of the Justice League and a constant in pretty much every lineup, has been seen in pop culture as “the fish dude”. This is in spite of his rich mythology and rebrand as a fighter and a warrior in the New 52. One of my primary concerns about the DCEU tackling Aquaman was built on the awkward attempts to make everything ultra serious yet still trying to make Aquaman a joke- in Justice League he made no impact as he simply stood around making jokes about how he talks to fish whilst the film tried desperately hard to make the audience take this inherently silly character seriously. It just didn’t mesh well. Jason Momoa was a good choice for the character but unless Aquaman’s world was treated with respect he simply wouldn’t translate well to the big screen. Well, the fears have been washed away (ooh, water puns, how original) by James Wan’s brilliant film that embraces the comic book campiness and adventurous tone of films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark whilst balancing it out with actual respect for the mythology and world building, creating a film that’s both immensely fun yet also being quite serious. See DC, this is what you should have been doing from the start!