The Dark Knight

Best comic book movie so far this year; and that's saying a lot. That line you see at the bottom right is people waiting to get into a sold out theater.


Michael Bay and Batman

Apparently Michael Bay (Bad Boys, Armageddon, Transformers) wrote a script for The Dark Knight. Take a look - it's one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time.


Batman Begins (2005) mini review

based on a comic


I wrote this back around the time the film came out, before this blog, but thought it was probably good timing to post it here, what with Dark Knight coming out and all.

As I watch Batman Begins, opening with a million flying bats briefly forming the Bat Symbol, I think to myself, DC Comics is finally back in the game. Constantine was pretty good, but he's not one of their flagship superheroes. Batman is. And with the upcoming Superman Returns and Wonder Woman, I think we've got a lot to look forward to.

While it's not based on Frank Miller's Batman: Year One, Batman Begins shares a number of elements with the classic mini-series. They're both obviously origin stories and include the first meetings of Batman and Jim Gordon, Gordon's dealing with Gotham City Police Department corruption, Gordon's corrupt partner Flass, and mob boss Carmine Falcone. That's not all, but I don't want to ruin every surprise. A number of other comic elements work their way into the film - Lucius Fox (who runs Wayne Industries for Bruce Wayne), the name of Bruce's parents's murderer (a key player in Batman: Year 2), even a cameo from a lesser known villain from Batman's Rogues Gallery.

One of the interesting differences is the idea that Ra's Al Ghul - a villain created by Dennis O'Neal in the 70's - is instrumental in the etiology of Batman. In the comics, Ra's wants to destroy most of humanity so that the earth can heal itself of man's ills and return to a more natural state; in Batman Begins, he wants to destroy the corruption in the world that seems to be the ultimate state of man's existence. To accomplish this end, his organization enlists the Scarecrow to help destroy Gotham City by unleashing a fear toxin via the city's water system.

Batman Begins is well-written, well-directed, and well-cast. Writer-director Christopher Nolan (Memento) has succeeded in bringing the Batman franchise up from the Lazarus Pit (sorry - a Ra's al Ghul comics reference). Christian Bale is Batman, Michael Caine is Alfred, Morgan Freeman is Lucius Fox, Gary Oldman is Jim Gordon, Cillian Murphy is the Scarecrow, Ken Watanabe is Ra's, Liam Neeson (Darkman) is Ra's henchmen Henri Ducard, and Rutger Hauer (Sin City, Smallville) is Earle, supplanter of Bruce's father's position as head of Wayne Industries.

See it if you're a Batman fan or if you want to see how DC re-enters the comic book movie game.

Don't see it if you're too much of a purist and can't handle any deviation from the source material.


Hellboy and Chuck

This promo for Hellboy II: The Golden Army is probably one of the coolest fanboy videos I've ever seen.  Of course, part of that reason is that Chuck was probably my favorite new series this past season.

Here are a couple more Hellboy promos - one with the American Gladiators, and one with Bravo's Inside the Actor's Studio.

Hancock (2008) mini review

superhero movie not based on a comic book


Will Smith (Men in Black, Men in Black II) is Hancock.  A superhero that Los Angeles loves to hate, badly in need of some good PR. Jason Bateman (Justice League) is Ray, a PR agent badly in need of a new account.  It's a match made in...well, maybe not.

This is the type of film that I always feel I need to keep the review short.  Let me just say it's the best superhero film I've seen in a long time.  I'm continually impressed by the depth Smith can display as an actor; and Batemen seems to be good in anything he's in. I couldn't count how many times Hancock made me laugh out loud, but it's not a comedy. It's got a ton of action, but it's not an action movie.  It's got depth, but it still doesn't take itself too seriously.  Iron Man is good.  Incredible Hulk is excellent.  I haven't seen Wanted, yet, but I bet that's pretty amazing, too.  But if you had to make a choice and only see one superhero or comic film this summer - go see Hancock.

My 6 degrees of comic book movie separation - other parts are played by Eddie Marsan (V for Vendetta), Johnny Galecki (Batman Beyond), and Hayley Marie Norman (Trailer Park of Terror).  Also look for a cameo from Akiva Goldsman (writer of Batman Forever and Batman and Robin)

See it if you like stories about people and enjoy a little dark humor.

Don't see it if you don't like the fantastic mixed with your reality; or if you're wanting light superhero fare to take the kids to or are offended by a little language - this isn't a movie for children.



Got to the the theater 30 minutes early for a sneak preview of Hancock - and the place was *empty*. But the theater ended up filling up pretty well. Anyway, go see it. It may be the best superhero movie of the summer. Seriously.