Author Topic: Superhero Movies  (Read 134662 times)

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Offline nacho

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Re: Superhero Movies
« Reply #270 on: June 23, 2014, 10:49:21 AM »
If you wait long enough, other people will write your article for you!

http://www.wired.com/2014/06/batman-25/

Quote
Tim Burton’s Batman turns 25 today, believe it or not. And in the quarter-century since the movie was released, superhero movies have turned into a genre all their own. Some of have been more coherent than Batman, some have been slicker, some even more enjoyable. But none have been as off-kilter, confused, and passionate as the 1989 film—and that doesn’t bode well for the future of the genre.

Let’s get this out of the way first: Batman is not necessarily a good movie. Yes, there’s a lot that’s good about it—Michael Keaton made a surprisingly great Bruce Wayne, despite the fan outcry at his announcement, and the movie looks amazing thanks to Burton’s direction and Anton Furst’s production design—but overall the movie is as uneven as a mountain range. A lot of that can be put down to the performances, which range widely in intensity; at times, two people sharing a scene seem like they’re acting in entirely different movies (e.g., Michael Gough’s Alfred with Kim Basinger’s Vicki Vale, or Jack Nicholson with… well, anyone, really).

But the movie also reflects a struggle between Burton and Warner Bros. over just what a Batman movie should be. Burton came into Batman with a particular mission: to show the public a cinematic Caped Crusader as fraught as the one who first surfaced in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, then continued in projects like Batman: Year One and The Killing Joke. Burton’s Batman, in his mind, would drop the camp caricature the vigilante had been saddled with since the 1960s television show and replace it with something more befitting of a character nicknamed the “dark knight.”

It’s that philosophical tug-of-war that makes the movie so compelling 25 years later. Burton got his way when it came to casting Batman, but Nicholson as Joker was the studio’s decision, as was Basinger as Vicki Vale (Keaton reportedly wanted Brad Dourif, and Sean Young had the female lead until an accident just before shooting began). Likewise, Burton got his way with Danny Elfman’s melodramatic score, but the studio opted instead to promote WB Records signee Prince’s soundtrack for synergy’s sake. There’s more; the original climax of the movie—the Joker kills Vicki Vale, sending Batman over the edge—was dumped by the studio during filming, leading to a shoot where no one actually knew how the story would end until they’d already filmed it. And so on, and so on. By all regular standards, Batman is a mess.

The superhero movies of today were born of Burton’s desire to make superheroes gritty and “realistic,” and Warners’ desire to make Batman as mainstream and profitable as possible. Compare the self-conscious camp of Christopher Reeves’ Superman movies to the self-conscious sincerity of Man of Steel, and ask yourself whether we could’ve gotten there without Burton’s adherence to the idea that Batman be taken seriously. Just one look at the aesthetic of Burton’s movie, and you can see the roots of the re-imagined X-Men and Avengers uniforms.

But rather than being resolved before the movie was released, the argument played out on screen. The result was something much more contentious than today’s superhero movies—which, having no need to validate superheroes as a worthy genre, by now seem almost smug. For all its flaws, Batman was clearly a movie made by someone who wanted to say something about the character—something more than “how much money can we make?” It’d be nice if more superhero movies today felt the same.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Superhero Movies
« Reply #271 on: June 23, 2014, 03:54:21 PM »
I'll get behind that.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Superhero Movies
« Reply #272 on: June 23, 2014, 03:58:26 PM »
This is also pretty good.

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/culture/tim-burton-batman-the-best

Quote
WHY TIM BURTON'S BATMAN IS STILL THE BEST
The man behind the bat, and Gotham, were weirder and more interesting

Tim Burton's Batman was released June 23, 1989, 25 years ago today, and it is the best mainstream comic-book movie ever made.

Not just the best Batman movie, but the best movie based on characters from the two major comic book publishers: Marvel, and "magazines published by DC Comics," as it says in the opening credits of Burton's film.

This is a near-heretical point of view among fanboys of funny-underwear films. Hell, it's probably a near-heretical point of view among guys named Michael Keaton, to judge from the premise of his upcoming Birdman, so please feel free to skip to the comments and batarang me with your contempt. As a friend said when I first volunteered my pro-Burton, pro-Keaton, pro-Nicholson-in-wackadoodle-whiteface opinion: "You're trolling, right?"

No, not trolling. Batman '89 is superior for several reasons, but two stand out: The Burtonverse is more richly nuanced than any other onscreen comic universe, and Michael Keaton is a better Bruce Wayne than his peers. He's the more compelling man behind the bat.

Back in '89, there was no joy in Mudville when Keaton was revealed as the Dark Knight. Here was a guy who was best known as Beetlejuice (grubby undead, lives in a train set) and Mr. Mom (feckless dad, lives in a diaper). As an actor chosen to play The Bat, Keaton didn't have what comic fanboys call a good origin story. I mean, we're talking about Bill Blazejowski here. His career was as weird as his eyebrows.

But the origin story — that essential background that provides the "why?" behind the "WTF?" — is exactly what Keaton and Burton (and scriptwriter Sam Hamm) got right.

The movie has an elegant and simple psychology: boy's parents killed, man seeks vengeance. It's a timeless storyline (see: Montoya, Inigo). And the brilliant part is that, in Burton's Batman, the audience is left to imagine exactly how Bruce Wayne grew into a weird, darkly obsessive, and deeply flawed man.

(That, by the way, is what we want from our heroes: They need to be flawed like us, but powerful beyond reckoning. Hence why we care about the infidelities of CEOs, and read Us Weekly to find out that "Stars — They're Just Like Us." The rich and famous are the closest we have to real-life superbeings, sadly.)

Keaton's Wayne is just like us. He's awkward at parties. He drives a 1978 Plymouth Volare. He invites Vicki Vale to dinner, then sits at the other end of the table. When Vale wakes up, he's doing Pilates.

But this! This is a guy who plausibly dresses up like a bat. Or, as Slaughterhouse Magazine wrote back in '89: "This Batman, you could believe, was insane."

By contrast, Christopher Nolan's Wayne is a narcissistic Boy Scout and a paragon of virtue, just like his do-no-wrong dad. There's no catharsis there. In '89 Batman, the stakes are that Bruce Wayne might be cuckoo. In 2005 Batman, the stakes are that Bruce Wayne might make Katie Holmes sniffle. Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale stripped Bruce Wayne of his dark side and turned him into a spoiled billionaire, like Tony Stark. Their movies suffer for it.

Speaking of Tony Stark: Iron Man (2008) is the only other mainstream comic film that holds a candle to '89 Batman. Jon Favreau got the origin story right, and Robert Downey Jr. was aces at being a frustratingly competent douchebag. But Iron Man has never been the most compelling hero. At the end of the day, he's a billionaire in an armored suit fighting other billionaires in armored suits. It's all very Robot Jox.

As for Spider-Man, X-Men, and The Dark Knight Rises: They're all competent movies, but each suffers from the Law of Too Many Villains. You could make a case that 2008's The Dark Knight is a great flick, but the only great part of that film was Heath Ledger. The series still falters on Bale's version of Wayne and Nolan's boring, glammed-out Gotham.

Which brings me back to my first point about '89 Batman: Burton created the most nuanced Gotham.

Look again at the details. The year on the newspapers is 1947, but the wanted poster for Jack Napier says 1989. Wayne Manor is gothic tudor, but Wayne's personal car is a Plymouth. Vicki Vale wears an '80s Parisian frock, but the other women dress like they're from the '40s. Villains use Tommy Guns. Newspapermen use flashbulbs. Gangsters dress like Al Capone's mob. This is a fully realized universe — it's almost as if a seedy 1947 existed inside a steampunk 1989.

Most superhero movies skip these details. They spend their ducats on SFX lasers and CGI villains. But it's the man behind the mask, and where that man lives, that make all the difference. 1989 Batman for the win.

Offline nacho

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Re: Superhero Movies
« Reply #273 on: July 02, 2014, 10:37:04 AM »

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Superhero Movies
« Reply #274 on: July 16, 2014, 01:57:52 PM »
ComiCon starts this weekend, so expect this thread to rev up over the next couple of weeks.


Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Superhero Movies
« Reply #275 on: July 22, 2014, 10:36:47 AM »
There a five minute excerpt from Guardians of the Galaxy making the rounds this AM. I'm waiting for the movie proper, but it's out there if you want it.

Offline nacho

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Re: Superhero Movies
« Reply #276 on: July 22, 2014, 03:46:23 PM »
There a five minute excerpt from Guardians of the Galaxy making the rounds this AM. I'm waiting for the movie proper, but it's out there if you want it.

I watched it. I'd say about 12% of it has not yet been in the 579 trailers and teasers, and that's just because they played music over those parts for the trailers.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Superhero Movies
« Reply #277 on: July 22, 2014, 03:54:44 PM »
We live in the age of over-advertising.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Superhero Movies
« Reply #278 on: July 27, 2014, 11:39:53 PM »
Blah, blah Avengers 2 banner...


Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Superhero Movies
« Reply #279 on: July 28, 2014, 05:37:40 PM »
Did Sin City talk exist on a previous iteration of the forums?

Anyway, nine years ago this was fresh and cutting edge. Now it seems like a cheap retread. The Matrix sequels were like that too.


I stand by my earlier assessment.


Offline nacho

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Re: Superhero Movies
« Reply #280 on: July 28, 2014, 07:23:18 PM »

I stand by my earlier assessment.

That you want to fuck Eva Green every night?

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Superhero Movies
« Reply #281 on: July 28, 2014, 07:31:49 PM »
She is amazingly beautiful.

Offline nacho

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Re: Superhero Movies
« Reply #282 on: July 29, 2014, 08:18:04 AM »
Sometimes, late at night, I load up her topless sword fight sex scene in the 300 sequel...

Did you know that she's a twin? Late at night, I think about that as well...
« Last Edit: July 29, 2014, 08:19:37 AM by nacho »

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Superhero Movies
« Reply #283 on: July 29, 2014, 10:35:57 AM »
I have not seen this topless fight scene you speak of.

Offline nacho

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Re: Superhero Movies
« Reply #284 on: July 29, 2014, 11:30:48 AM »
Then your life is incomplete.