Tag Archives: Batman

Ben Affleck as…Batman? Yeah, I like it!

Ben-Affleck1

Affleck is going to be the bomb as Batman, yo!

…let that sync in for just a moment. The man that spent the better part of the 2000’s getting ridiculed and almost run out of Hollywood. The man that was critically hated by as Daredevil. The man that was a running tabloid joke…is our next Cape Crusader..

…BUT WAIT…it is NOT that Ben Affleck.

It’s the Ben Affleck that has proved over the past 6 years of how talent of a director he is. It’s the Ben Affleck that has gained back the critics. Gained back his long time fans. The Ben Affleck that has shown that not only is he as good in front of that camera as he is behind…but also has a nice golden Oscar statue to back up his case. That’s the Ben Affleck who has been cast as Batman…so why is everyone pretending we took a time jump to 2003 and hating this decision?

Is it because it’s a weird choice…well…yeah it is. But Batman has never been a role deemed for an unknown, that is Superman. Batman has a long line of actors very well known during their time under the cowl (Keaton, Kilmer, Clooney, and Bale).

Every since it was announced that they would be looking for a more older and war torn Batman to go with, a lot of people quickly pointed toward John Hamm as the obvious choice. Someone who has been rumored for the role in the past and even rumored for Superman too. Would of that been any more odd of a choice…not really, because Affleck isn’t just an actor taking a role right now, he is riding the wave of enormous postive buzz since the Oscars and since Argo, that picking the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman has to be a collected and calculated choice for Affleck.

He had to deal with the backlash and jokes coming from what I think is the underrated Daredevil film a decade ago, why put himself through all that if he A) didn’t like the scrip, B) didn’t want the role, and C) didn’t think he could do something with this role that maybe hasn’t been done in the past Batman films.

Lets not forget though…this isn’t a Batman movie, this is the sequel to Man of Steel, this has been rumored at least to be titled Superman vs. Batman, so The Dark Knight will be sharing screen time with the so-called “lead” in Superman, but we all know why we will be buying a ticket, to watch Batman beat people up. Its why we always want to watch Batman, be it film, television or videogames…cause Batman punching villains in their turkey necks is always a grand ol’ time.

The one type of Batman we haven’t really seen done is … “detective” Batman. Which is weird, because “The Worlds Greatest Detective” is one of the most famous monikers associated with the Caped Crusader, yet hasn’t been displayed on film …at all. The extent to Bale’s Batman’s detectiveness was screaming “WHERE’S THE ____” you can fill the blank with whatever you need, its basically his catchphrase in the Nolan trilogy.

So far the reaction to the news has been overwhelmingly negative…but honestly, that comes with the territory unless you pick someone that fanboys deem worthy, like Nathan Fillion…or….Nathan Fillion for the role. It just takes me back to not that long ago when the likes of Robert Downy Jr. and Heath Ledger were announced for their comic book iconic roles as Tony Stark and The Joker respectively…and the outcome from the fanboys were vastly negative too. Talk about how someone like Ledger who came from teen RomComs and fluff picture couldn’t handle the sadistic nature of The Joker…look how that turned out. Or when people talked about how RDJ was too old and not charismatic enough to pull of Tony Stark…a role that he has now gone on to define and make into an A-list character.

The lesson is…until the movie comes out, we as a people have no fuckin idea how Affleck will fair in the role of Batman. Some have taken it and done great things, some have crumbled under the weight of the role and bad writing. Everyone wants to talk about how Affleck is not right for it…but we kinda forget that the likes of David Goyer and Zach Snyder are writing/directing it…where is the backlash that those two get to have a role in bringing Batman back to the big screen?

The casting of Affleck, takes me from a point where I was indifferent to the entire idea of Superman vs. Batman movie…and now makes me a little bit more interested to see it in a few years. I feel bad for Cavill tough, he is just buried now under the talk of Affleck and who the next Lex Luthor will be and to think this is all a sequel to HIS Superman film.

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Stub Review: The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises

*Fair Warning: SPOILER HEAVY REVIEW*

Does the Nolan Batman films end on the most epically high note ever? …No, but TDKR is still really good!

In my Top Ten…Movie Trilogies list I did a few months back, I preemptively listed Nolan’s Batman trilogy in the list as Number 10, even  without The Dark Knight Rises coming out for release at the time. Well it has come out, tragically it become a bigger deal for its opening weekend for something other than its box office numbers. But now we can look back at Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises as a complete trilogy and … it’s a powerful trilogy for one of the biggest and greatest heroes in all of comics, Batman.

I really like Batman Begins, its in my opinion the best origin film that has been made. The Dark Knight…is amazing. Backed by a powerful performance by the late Heath Ledger as the iconic Joker, that movie goes well beyond comic book movie status, to just being remembers as an all around great film. So how does TDKR stack up in comparison? It’s not The Dark Knight. Now that is not an insult to the film, it just can’t follow up the great sequel and to be honest I never thought it could, for the sole reason that Bane, Catwoman, and Talia al Ghul combined don’t equal the single great performance of The Joker.

My problems with TDKR don’t out weight my joy from the film, but for arguments sake, these are my three biggest problems with the film:

1) 3 Hour Batman film. Nolan has been met with such success in his career, that I fear no studio has the balls to tell him to trim his films. This movie has no reason to be as long as it is, there is at least a good 20 minutes that could have been left on the editing room floor and the time does take a toll near the middle of the film and as we get to the ring of numerous false endings.

2) Where is The Joker? I understand that Nolan wanted to respect Heath Ledger’s memory and all, but this entire film is predicated on the events of TDK and those events were set in motion by The Joker. A throwaway line about Joker being in Arkham or …something. Just something. It felt like a huge elephant in the room, where we saw something about every single bad guy in the previous films but The Joker.

3) Most importantly how the fuck does John Blake deduce that Bruce Wayne is Batman by a chance meeting 15 years ago and a smile? That’s all it takes? Batman has been spending close and personal time with Commissioner Gordon and he is made out to look like a fool if he couldn’t figure it out as quickly and easily as Blake did. Catwoman has seen BOTH Bruce Wayne and Batman up close and personal and couldn’t figure it out and she is a master jewel thief with a pretty good I.Q. It just bugs the living hell out of me.

Now with all those nit-picky complaints, you might think I didn’t enjoy the movie, but I did. I really did. I think Anne Hathaway easily stole every scene she was in as Catwoman, a interpretation of the character that is nothing like Michelle Pfeiffer’s from Batman Returns, but in a good way. Two completely different, but excellent versions of the original feline fatale. Bane was an excellent choice to follow up The Joker, because he is more powerful in both mind and brawn, giving Batman probably one of the worse beat downs this side of Batman & Robin that I have ever seen. It was just … brutal. I started to feel uneasy watching Bane crack Batman’s cowl with fist after fist.

The movie though is more dedicated to the rising of John Blake aka Robin from street cop to the new Dark Knight…or maybe its Nightwing? Either way a good portion of the film shows how Blake learns from being a beat cop to a detective to finally taking the steps to become a vigilante in wake of Bruce Wayne’s death….

… he didn’t really die. Just in the publics eye, as Bruce really retires with Selina to Italy, finally giving up the mantle of the Bat once and for all…that is until WB reboots and recasts a new Batman film in probably 4 years.

Either way, this is the final addition of Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy and maybe I will updated my top ten trilogy list to reflect where I now think his trilogy should stand after seeing the final piece of the puzzle.

I give it an EIGHTout of a TEN, on the scale of film merit and overall quality.

But I also give it a BANES VOICE out of TEN, on the scale of how much that voice kept taking me out of the film, as I thought I was listening to Christopher Walken speak.

Top Ten…Movie Trilogies!

Top Ten…Movie Trilogies!

*If there is one thing I love more than talking about movies, its making lists ABOUT movies…or anything in general. No greater good in this world (bar my g/f) gives me more pleasure than an awesome top ten list.

 

I’ll get it out in the opening here…Lord of the Rings is not on this list. It’s not because it’s not a good movie or well acted or great looking, its because I haven’t seen any of the films past the first one, which I fell asleep during…TWICE. So no dice on the hobbits. The only other rule is that no film series can have a sequel to it and still be a trilogy on this list, so that means no Indiana Jones or Scream.

10) Chris Nolan’s Batman Trilogy                                                                 (Batman Begins –Rating: 85% The Dark Knight –Rating: 94% The Dark Knight Rises –Rating: ???)

Alright…so I am starting my trilogy top ten list with a trilogy that hasn’t even been completed yet. Alright, but it’s my list, so go fuck yourself. It’s Batman, I dare you to go and tell Batman his films don’t belong on top trilogy list and see if he doesn’t hold you off a building and make you pray to him. The only reason it’s number 10 is because only two films have come out, but they both are amazing films and it’s REALLY hard to imagine that Nolan will fuck it up with a horrible third outing, especially with the key players they have in place with Bane, Catwoman and Ra’s Al Ghul returning. Two amazing films that are both completely different from each other, the amazement and wonder to what The Dark Knight Rises will bring is eating me alive.

09) X-Men Trilogy                                                                                                 (Average RT Rating: 75%)

The X-Men trilogy is the lowest ranking percentage-wise bunch of films on this list and a lot of that has to do with the beating that X3 took by critics and most fans. I’m on the other side of the fence when it comes to X3, found it to be a fun action flick that takes major liberties with characters, but that doesn’t bore you. X1 is a standard jumping off film that really spends all of it delving into the origins of these mutants and their roles in life. X2 is the finest of the bunch, one of the all time great opening film moments with Nightcrawler in the White House and one of the best endings of the Phoenix rising.

08) The Evil Dead Trilogy                                                                                   (Average RT Rating: 89%)

While there are talks of remaking the first Evil Dead, there will never be another experience like seeing that original, gritty, and raw film for the first time. Our hero Ash and camp of clueless kids open up a book in a cabin…and all hell breaks loose. It’s not so much about its story, because Raimi does a better job of re-doing the film in his sequel, but it’s about the love of slapstick comedy and horror that Evil Dead gets right. Ash is one of those great protagonists that has the attitude of an antagonist. He’s badass, he has one normal hand and one chainsaw hand, he carries a boomstick and when he finds a situation to be exciting, it is in the best sense of a word…”Groovy.” That is why these films are groovy, because you can sit back with popcorn and an open mind and watch a filmmaker have fun.

07) Spider-Man Trilogy                                                                                   (Average RT Rating: 81%)

Is it pure coincidence that Sam Raimi holds back-to-back spots on this list? Probably not…but could these two trilogies of his be any further a part…or maybe they are closer than you think.  Ok, so I might be more unbiased when it comes to Spider-Man just because of my personal feelings toward the character and the films, but I have always thought that the first film, along with X-Men, helped set the comic book boom of the 00’s. Spider-Man 2 in my mind is still one, if not the greatest comic book film and that the third film, while not on the level of excellence of the first two, still is more of a “Spider-Man Film” than just a “Spider-Man Film” The moment with Spidey and Green Goblin fighting from the Brooklyn Bridge to the warehouse in the first film, Doc. Ock vs. Spidey on the train from the second and well the birth of Sandman in the third are all really fantastic and stand out moments for me. Tobey Macguire brought something equally important to both the roles of Peter Parker and Spider-Man; hopefully we get more of the same from Andrew Garfield and his portrayal.

06) The Dollars Trilogy                                                                                  (Average RT Rating: 96%)

This would probably be higher on most people’s lists, but for me the ones that out rank these films are for a more personal reason. But out of respect to Clint Eastwood’s amazing portrayal of “The Man With No Name” and the superb direction Sergio Leone, I have to give The Dollars Trilogy its due at number six. If you don’t like westerns, you wont like these movies, but if you have any inkling of a love for the Italian west than you are in store for a treat. This film is a big inspiration for the great directors of today like Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. To watch these films is not so much to enjoy a western movie, but to partake in film history and experience the knowledge of excellent film making on its highest level.

05) The Jason Bourne Trilogy                                                                                     (Average RT Rating: 86%)

Won’t make any friends when I say this, but fuck it, Jason Bourne movies are better than James Bond films. There, I said it. In three progressively great films, Jason Bourne played by Matt Damon gives something to the spy genre that its been dying of for ages…a shot of adrenaline, hand-to-hand combat, and car chases that don’t need rockets or parachutes to make them exciting. In Identity, we are introduced to Bourne, in Supremacy we up the ante with a pissed off Bourne looking for answers, and in the supremely Ultimatum, we find Jason Bourne getting those answers and making people pay for turning him into a killing machine. Three movies rejuvenated a dead genre in such a way that even good ol’ 007 had to take the formula and run with their new films.

04) Back to the Future Trilogy                                                                                (Average RT Rating: 77%)

For the life of me I can’t understand how this trilogy has a low rating as a whole. I know the critics and some fans have problems with BTTF III, but out of the three movies, the second trip Back to the Future was the lowest rank, while I find it to be the second best of the film. It’s really hard for me to go and pick from the first two films, because the first film is so utterly classic with lines, moments, characters, and set-up, while the sequel comes and takes all that and adds to it and turns it on its head at the same time. The third film is just great if you like westerns and love foreshadowing, as everything you get in BTTF III you been told about in BTTF II. Marty McFly might be one of the best underachieving characters in film history, and even though he isn’t a mad scientist to the exact definition of the word, how do you not like Doc Brown?

03) The Original Star Wars Trilogy                                                                           (Average RT Rating: 90%)

Now in my introduction tot his list, I said no series that had four or more films to its name would be included…so I’m kinda bending my own rules here, so let’s say I don’t count prequels, because god knows nobody does when it comes to The Original Trilogy. Obi Wan, Yoda, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Luke, Chewi, Darth Vader, C3-P0 and R2-D2. These are all characters that have become so part of Americana and film history, and it were these three films that introduced them to the world. The first Star Wars was an Oscar Nominated Best Picture and probably right up there with 2001: A Space Odyssey as one of the pioneer and most influential sci-fi/space pictures of all time. And how do you follow that up? … with only one of the greatest sequels in cinema history, The Empire Strikes Back.  Maybe Return of the Jedi introduced us to Ewoks, but they are welcomed addition as long as nothing named Jar-Jar Binks is even mentioned in this trilogy. While Lucas has been altering and editing his original trilogy for the past decade or so to mixed reviews, it still holds up as one of the most important movie trilogies to one specific genre.

02) The Godfather Trilogy                                                                                (Average RT Rating: 88%)

Now as important as the Star Wars trilogy is important to a genre, The Godfather trilogy and films are cinema royalty. You want to know how important the first two Godfather films are? Ask anyone to rank the top 10 greatest films of all time, without a doubt The Godfather Pt. I and II rank in that top five…maybe even top three. They are that important to film. Not only did Godfather pt. I win Best Picture…Godfather Pt. II became the ONLY film sequel to win Best Picture along with its original. Now while a lot of accolade and acclaim goes to the first two films, many people love to over look the subtle greatness and pure agony of Pacino’s Corleone in the third film. We see a stripped down Michael with no more family to call his own, left with his own sins and just left to die a meaningless and lonely death. You can easily overlook Sofia Coppolla’s horrible acting for the poignant acting by Pacino and Diane Keaton.

01) Toy Story Trilogy                                                                                       (Average RT Rating: 99%)

How did a CGI animated film of a bunch of toys coming to life when nobody is around beat out Star WarsGodfatherBack to the Future and the rest of this list? Well, heart. It is because of the people that work at Pixar that Toy Story films are some of the most entertaining and heart-warming films there are. They are simple in concept — who as a child never thought that their toys came to life when they weren’t around? But the stories that are told — abandonment, feeling left out, feeling replaceable, and the overwhelming sense of your death — are all formulas of this trilogy. When the first Toy Story came out in 1995 I was hooked. A few years later I was more than ecstatic to see not only a sequel…but a rare Disney sequel that wasn’t horrible, but quite the opposite, extraordinary. Then I had to wait more than a decade for the third film, which by the end had me in tears. These films aren’t for kids, they are for all audiences of all ages, because Toy Story is more than just an animated film…and the trilogy is a collection of cinema art at its highest level.

Stub Review: Ghost Rider – Spirit of Vengeance

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Oh Nic Cage…you crazy son of a bitch.

Lets be very clear on one thing. Nic Cage of today is nothing like the Nic Cage of the 80’s/ 90’s (save for the excellent Adaptation). Now maybe has his hair has slowly been disappearing so has his sane judgment in roles, but for one reason or another, more people joke, comment, ridiculous, etc…about his choice in films and roles over the 15 years or so. Maybe after finally getting his Oscar (this is Oscar season you know), Cage finally gave up caring about being picky about role choices, which lead him to know about the future with Jessica Biel, become bear-costume wearing psychopath, and a deranged father-husband who’s being kept hostage with Nicole Kidman.

Now that I got my Nic Cage rant out of the way…lets move on to the movie. Out of the gate, I am a comic book geek, but unlike most comic book nerds I don’t find everything besides the stuff I love to be horrible. Just fancy your way on to the SHH! forums to see those type of nerds, who just hate everything under the sun and love to bitch and rant, more than appreciate and enjoy the new.

….BUT!

This is Ghost Rider 2. So it hard to take the side of the grass being greener on the other side of the fence here. The first film, Ghost Rider, was a simple; color by numbers type of comic book film. You had a popular leading lady (Eva Mendes), a scene chewing lead (Sir. Nic Cage), an origin story, and a dynamic and bizarre looking leading character. The problem with this movie and this formula is that the first Ghost Rider complete botched it. Instead of doing what Batman, Spider-Man, Iron Man and …fuck even Blade did with their films, Ghost Rider went against the number one…numero uno … číslo jedna (that’s Czech, thank you Google Translate) rule of comic adaptation… STICK TO THE COMICS!

But maybe one day when I feel like wasting time and writing up a whole big Comic Book Movie retrospective, ill deal with the first Ghost Rider movie…this review is about its sequel. And the easiest way I could review the sequel against the firs movie would be…

Better effect than the first movie. Crazier than the first. More Nic Cagey-er than the first.

No more words need to be said to understand that review, in my opinion. But overall, the film is still just meh…at best. Ghost Rider could be a good comic adaptation, if it had a R rating, serious vision behind it, and someone who picked up a comic book …or went to wikipedia to check out the back-story of Johnny Blaze or Danny Ketch.

I give Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance a FIVE out of TEN, on the scale of film merit and overall quality.

But I give it an even bigger NIC CAGE HAIRPIECE out of TEN, on the scale of Nic Cage overactingness.



Top 10 … Horrible Sequels!

*If there is one thing I love more than talking about movies, its making lists ABOUT movies…or anything in general. No greater good in this world (bar my g/f) gives me more pleasure than an awesome top ten list.*

#10 –– Ocean’s 12

The first movie, Ocean’s 11, was fun, stylized, cool, enjoyable and light hearted all rolled into one gorgeous little package with the likes of Clooney, Pitt, and Damon staring in the film. It a big cast full of big names that really felt like anyone was bigger than the other, since the movie was all about the story. It was fun…the sequel, Ocean’s 12 was one of the biggest ego boost films ever put to film. Every star got a nice Italian vacation and sat on set and gave barely there performances where the only heist was that I paid 8 bucks to see that movie in the first place. Ocean’s 13 was better, but still never touched the heights of the first movie.

#09 –– Any Sequel to a Jim Carrey Movie!

Lets put it this way, back in the 90’s and early part of the ought’s (aka 2000’s for you un-hip people), Jim Carrey was funny. Now a days, he is more of a shell of his former self when it comes to comedies, but still a solid actor when it comes to dramas. But during his magical run of 1994, Carrey starred in THREE big pictures that made his career. Ace Venture: Pet Detective, Dumb & Dumber, and The Mask. All of those movies got a sequel, as did Carrey’s 2003 hit, Bruce Almighty. What do all these sequels have in common? 3/4ths of them don’t have Jim Carrey in them and Ace Venture 2 was an abortion of what made everything about the original film great and hilarious. While Bruce Almighty isn’t a all time classic, it still was funny…which I guess the sequel, Evan Almighty thought was useless, since they never once tried to put a single joke in their 200 million dollar bomb. And please just never mention Son of the Mask or you will be cursed by horrible Jamie Kennedy “comedy.”

#08 –– Cars 2

This is on this list, not just because the sequel didn’t live up to the fun and story of the first film, but because on Pixars first failure of its history, it was done on a grand scale. Instead of doing what they always did and make a film that wasn’t just for kids, but for the whole family, children and adults…Pixar went against their way and just made a commercial for merchandise. I am 25 years old and when I came out of Cars 2 I had no idea in what happened at all, but all the little kids wanted to go and buy the newest toy cars from the film. Pixar for one film, sold out and that alone deserves ranking on this list.

#07 –– Star Wars – Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

The reason this isn’t higher or number one is because…it’s been done to death. Episode 1 is bad, it’s boring, and there is nothing to take away from the film besides Darth Maul under the positive column. I remember when the film came out and I was as excited as anyone to see it first day and I did…and then 45 minutes into talking about midichlorians for the hundredth time I fell asleep and woke up just before the final act and …I’m pretty sure that is the last time I saw that film. Really hope I don’t get dragged to see it again in 3D, cause really…wasn’t Jar-Jar enough in 2D?

#06 –– Men in Black 2

Another sequel that took everything that was great about the first film and then ignored it and did what they THOUGHT the audiences wanted and should want in a sequel. The first film was about chemistry between Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. It was about the exploration of alien life in New York City and focused on one pissed off bug. The second movie had Johnny Knoxville with two head and Laura Flynn Boyle as our bad guy…yep, the same chick that could be broken in half with a gust of wind was sending our heroes into misery with her EVILNESS!!!~ MiB2 sucked so bad, everyone basically apologized for its existence, here’s hoping MiB3 makes up for it.

#05 –– Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

I stand by the theory that Mortal Kombat is the ONLY good video game into movie adaptation made. It had the spirit of the film, a nicely kast of kharacters (see what I did there?) The story was simple, the fights were fun and the dialogue was so silly and over the top, it felt like videogame dialogue. So how do they fail in the sequel? They re-cast everyone but Lui Kang and Kitana. They turn Raiden into a wimpy mortal. They cast the worst Vin Diesel ripoff as Shao Khan and worst of all…THEY KILLED JOHNNY CAGE!

#04 –– Batman & Robin

Now here is a bit of controversy…I like Batman Forever. Two-Face was over the top and didn’t follow the characteristics of his comic-book counterpart. The Riddler played more like The Joker than a conniving mastermind. Robin was in college and still in the circus for some reason. And Gotham city was turned into a neon light city. But with all that, the film was still enjoyable…Batman & Robin was not. Not even in “It’s so bad, it’s funny” category. I remember watching it when I was a kid and recently and just thinking that I’m SUFFERING through this film, not watching it. Clooney was horrible. Arnie and Uma Therman made probably the worse duel villain combo in movie history and a comic book nerd, they completely ruined the monstrously genius known as Bane. Over 100 ice puns by Mr. Freeze, plus … the Bat-credit card? Come on…just come on.

#03 –– Major League 2

One comment and one comment only…Where the fuck is Wesley Snipes?

 

 

 

 

 

 

#02 –– Every Pirates of the Caribbean Sequel.

There is a common theme amongst the films on this list, where I speak about how the first movie did something very well and very enjoyable and then the sequels shit all over that. Pirate movies have been doing that every since Dead Man’s Chest and the worst part of all, is that everyone has been paying to see them do it again and again. The first movie had a plot, had characters you card about, had action, had rum, and had Johnny Depp in a supporting role. That movie didn’t live or die on Captain Jack Sparrow and that’s the big reason the sequels sucks. Something good in small doses works so much better than, over saturating that something good until it just feels forced and boring. The Pirates sequels are all about Captain Jack in some way or point and basically the filmmakers sold out their original vision to give Johnny Depp and Disney a huge pay day marketed off the dreadlocks and rum drinking Pirate that pretty much made and destroyed a franchise all in one fell swoop.

#01 –– Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li

Now the original Street Fighter movie is far from good….it is actually not good at all. Its like they did a random search on the fight screen from a Street Fighter game and just threw names into a script and ignored all characteristics of those characters. So how could it get worse…well with a remake/reimagining/re-whogivesashit sequel like movie known as Legend of ChunLi. First we get a Canadian actress as the fames Asian fighter. We get a blonde hair/blue eyed M. Bison and a Black Eye Pea as the vicious Vega. How could this not be #1? If anything else needed to be said…let me direct you to the best of Chris Klein as Nash…