How a Single One-Liner Ruins Batman in The Dark Knight Trilogy

How a Single One-Liner Ruins Batman in The Dark Knight Trilogy

batman begins movie poster

When Batman Begins came out in 2005, there was one particular scene – one line in one particular scene, to be more specific – that bothered the hell out of me, and I have wanted to talk about it ever since.

To paraphrase John Mulaney, I know it’s kind of stupid to complain about a movie that came out 14 years ago, but I wasn’t a blogger back then, so I have to do it now.

The scene in question is the audience’s introduction to The Batman.

I’m coming in hot on this one. Let’s just dive right into it.
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Rated ‘D’ for Doom: A Look at Superhero Movies in 2019

spider-man far from home movie posterHello, and welcome to another installment of “Rated ‘D’ for Doom,” my annual look at the year’s upcoming superhero movies!

It’s been a couple of years since I wrote one of these, but that’s only because we haven’t had any new superhero movies come out lately. I guess they’re just not that popular with general audiences anymore.

But fear not! It’s a whole new year, and it looks like several of the major film studios in Hollywood are going to risk it all once again and roll the dice on a few of these properties. Hopefully they don’t lose their shirts!

No, but, for real, the stakes have never been higher than they are right now – last year, three of the top five highest-grossing superhero movies of all-time were released. At the domestic box office, six of the top ten highest-earners on the year were superhero movies.

Studios have a lot riding on this fad, and they’re determined to milk it for all it’s worth.

You thought Solo was a gross cash-grab in the Star Wars Universe? Well wait until you see the TV spin-offs for Scarlet Witch, Loki, and the Winter Soldier!

Drain ‘em dry!

But this year, we have more superhero movies coming out than ever before (don’t, uh… don’t fact-check me on that), so we don’t have any time to waste on looking back or talking about TV spin-offs.

Let’s get right into it!
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Doom & Doomer: Aquaman

aquaman movie posterDOOM DELUISE: Hello, and welcome to the latest installment of Doom & Doomer, where Jim Doom and I sit down for a back-and-forth conversation about the latest superhero movie releases of the day.

Today, we’re here to discuss the latest of the surprisingly successful Justice League spin-offs: Aquaman!

Overall, big picture, what did you think?

JIM DOOM: I loved it!

And I really only went to see it so we could review it. I thought it looked comically bad (no pun intended) since the very first trailer. I hated Aquaman in Justice League. I hate Roman Reigns. So I was going into this trying to have an open mind, but fully expecting to hate it.

And for a while, I felt pretty justified in thinking I was going to hate it.

But then it won me over, somewhere in the first act.

DOOM DELUISE: Do you remember the specific moment where you were won over? Or was it more gradual?

JIM DOOM: There was one pivotal moment in the movie that set me on a course of enjoying it.

DOOM DELUISE: Was it the octopus playing the drums?

Because that ALMOST got me on board. (more…)



Doom & Doomer Two-fer: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse & Bumblebee

spider-man into the spider-verse posterDOOM DELUISE: Hello, and welcome to the latest installment of Doom & Doomer, where Jim Doom and I sit down for a back-and-forth conversation about the latest superhero movie releases of the day.

Today, we’re here to discuss Bumblebee and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, but before we get to that, let’s check in with Jim and see how he’s doing. Hi, Jim!

JIM DOOM: Hey hey hey. Let’s do this!

You know what today is the anniversary of?

DOOM DELUISE: Nope, what?

JIM DOOM: When we went to see The Spirit together.

Not to spoil the ending of this, but I liked these movies better.

DOOM DELUISE: Damn. Superhero movies have come a long way since then.

What year was that?

JIM DOOM: 2009. On the 10th anniversary of seeing that movie, we’re back!

DOOM DELUISE: Whoa! That’s crazy. Ten years ago, I was unemployed and going to see terrible movies with every bit of free time that I had.

Whoa! Nothing has changed! I’m unemployed again, and still seeing terrible movies all the time!

JIM DOOM: Is that a segue into what we’re here to talk about?

DOOM DELUISE: Yes, except for the fact that the movies we’re here to talk about were actually pretty fun (unless you want to talk about Aquaman, too).

JIM DOOM: I haven’t seen Aquaman yet, so let’s keep it to Spider-Man and Bumblebee.

We can give Aquaman its own review another day.

Although today at the comics shop, the lady at the register pointed to Aquaman on the cover of one of the comics I bought, and was like “Have you seen Aquaman yet?” I said no, I haven’t. She said “It’s really fun!” I asked “Is it good?” And she paused for a long time, and then replied “I think I’ll just stick with saying it’s really fun.”

So between Bumblebee and Spider-Man, where would you like to start? I saw Spider-Man first, so I guess maybe I’d like to vote for starting there, but I could be easily talked out of that. I saw them both the same day so it’s not like Bumblebee is all that fresher in my mind.

DOOM DELUISE: I saw Spider-Man a couple of days before Bumblebee, so I’m happy to start there.

JIM DOOM: I’ll start. I thought this was one of the best superhero movies ever. When we left the theater, I said “I can’t think of a single nit to pick!” Since that time, I’ve thought of one, but I thought it was fantastic. That’s my headline review. What about you? (more…)



Doom & Doomer: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

batman v superman posterDOOM DELUISE: Hello, and welcome to the latest installment of Doom and Doomer, wherein Jim Doom and I take a back-and-forth look at comic book movies.

Today, we discuss Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the sequel to 2013’s abysmal Man of Steel. Was this film able to rise above that one, or is this whole DC Comics Cinematic Universe doomed before it’s barely even started?

We’ll get to that eventually, but overall, in regards to Batman v Superman, what did you think, Jim?

JIM DOOM: I think I told you that I was going in with an open mind, ready to be pleasantly surprised. But I have to be honest, even with good intentions I was ready and eager to hate this movie with all my heart.

And it’s still not the movie I would have made, and I still won’t be all that bothered if Zack Snyder gets booted from the franchise (and it looks like that might happen sooner rather than later), but this movie at least did a lot of the things right that I think Man of Steel did wrong, and while that’s basically the measuring stick that I hold it against, it makes me more hopeful for the movies that are coming up.

So where should we start? All the things that are terrible about it? Because I really hate the terrible things, and there were plenty.

DOOM DELUISE: Sure, we can start with the terrible things, but then I don’t think we’ll have much left to talk about after that’s out of the way. (more…)



Batman vs Superman in the Comics

Batman vs Superman Dark Knight ReturnsUnless you’ve been living under Iraq (quick, what’s the statute of limitations on making puns about Saddam in his hidey-hole?), you’ll know that Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is hitting theatres this weekend, and it seems poised to shatter some records at the box office, to say nothing of its title characters’ bones.

Now, personally, I have pretty much the same reaction to a screening of Zack Snyder’s version of this fight as I do to a dog eating its own poop: Yes, I know it’s happening all over the world this weekend, but I don’t much feel like seeking it out and paying money to watch.

See, to me, the most appealing thing about watching Batman and Superman get into a fight is in seeing the contrast between the two characters. Every time they lock up in the comic books, those differences are always highlighted so that the reader can easily pick a side in the fight (hint: It’s Batman. It’s always Batman).

But in the movie — at least from what I’ve seen of it in the trailers, which is probably all of it, let’s be real — those differences have all but been erased thanks to the efforts of DC/WB to make Superman fit into the world of the Dark Knight.

Instead of the overly-patriotic, relentlessly optimistic “Big Blue Boy Scout,” this film seems to be giving us a militaristic, angsty, tortured soul dressed in a dark costume and forced to scowl for two and a half hours straight. Cracking a smile is this Superman’s Kryptonite. (more…)



Rated ‘D’ for Doom: A Look at Superhero Movies in 2016

Hello, and welcome to another installment of “Rated ‘D’ for Doom,” my annual look at the year’s upcoming superhero movies!

Now, before we move into the current year, I always like to take a moment to reflect on the prior year’s releases and see how they fared.

Last year, we only had three big releases in the genre, and boy were they all over the place in terms of success. They were all three Marvel properties, though only two were released by Marvel Studios.

I’m speaking, of course, about Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, and Fantastic Four. The first two were both critical and commercial successes, though the sequel to 2012’s Marvel’s The Avengers (nobody calls it that) couldn’t help but be a bit of a let-down, considering the level of expectations surrounding it.

At the time of its release, Jim Doom and I discussed it at length, though my thoughts on it have changed a little bit over the past few months, and not in a good way. I think I’d be hard-pressed to justify ever watching it all the way through again, what with how long it is and how little happens in it.

Ant-Man was also a movie that came out last year, though I don’t know if I could tell you a single scene from it that stands out today (that I’m not simply remembering from the trailer, that is). It’s just a really forgettable movie with a formulaic ending.

And, lastly, we have Fantastic Four, the only non-Marvel Studios superhero movie that came out last year. The less we say about it, the better. I saw it. I regret seeing it. Let’s move on.

This is a new year, Jack! And if you like superhero movies, well, you’d better get ready to drop some serious coinage. In 2016, we have SEVEN new superhero movies coming out, and that’s actually down from what was originally slated, as Sony had to scrap Sinister Six after The Amazing Spider-Man 2 shit the bed and ruined that entire “shared universe” that they were hoping so hard for.

The good news out of that whole debacle is that Spider-Man will appear in one of the movies coming out this year! And it’s alongside the other Avengers! There aren’t enough exclamation points for this!

We’ll get to that soon enough, though. For now, let’s run these films down, one by one, and we’ll talk about Spider-Man when the time is right. (more…)



Ma & Pa Kent: History’s Greatest Monsters

pa kent

So, if you’ve been online today, you probably know by now that the new trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – – the most happy-go-lucky movie of all time – – has arrived, as Warner Bros and DC Comics unveiled it to attendees at the San Diego Comic Con this weekend.

If you haven’t been online today… how are you here?

Anyway, judging by the reaction, people are really excited for this movie, which is okay, I guess, though I personally think it looks like, well, it looks exactly like how I expected a sequel to Man of Steel would look.

In a word: Terrible.

But the most alarming thing to me, as a fan of comic books and storytelling IN GENERAL, is that Superman’s parents on earth are just absolute garbage people.

Remember, one of the key moments in the Man of Steel trailer saw a young Clark Kent asking his dad if he should’ve just let that school bus full of kids sink, if he should have just let all those kids drown, and Pa Kent replied, “Maybe.”

And, now, in this movie, we have a moment where he’s talking to Ma Kent, and she says, “You don’t owe this world a thing. You never did.”

Compare that with ol’ May Parker’s monologue to Peter in Spider-Man 2:

“Everybody loves a hero. People line up for them, cheer them, scream their names. And years later, they’ll tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who taught them how to hold on a second longer. I believe there’s a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams.”

I dunno, I think there’s something to be said for acknowledging and encouraging heroism in superHERO movies, especially when your only job as a character is to INSPIRE THE HERO TO BE GOOD.

Using Ma and Pa Kent to teach Superman not to trust humans is a very weird, very unnecessary decision on the part of the screenwriters. The Kents are supposed to tie him to humanity. No wonder the guy levels half of a city without so much as a second thought – – his parents are the worst.

Anyway, Jim Doom is going to pop in here soon with his thoughts on the trailer, so I don’t want to say much more. It is just a trailer, and things could be completely different by the time it hits screens, but I don’t hold out a lot of “S” for this movie.



Doom & Doomer: Avengers: Age of Ultron

SPOILER ALERT: THE FOLLOWING DISCUSSION CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVE YET TO SEE THE MOVIE.

avengers age of ultron posterJIM DOOM: So I remember being in the parking lot outside the theater in Bellevue after seeing the Hulk, or Incredible Hulk — whichever one was part of Phase 1 — thinking, “This is going to build up to an Avengers movie someday, but that is so far away.”

And now not only did that happen — they’ve done it again.

So now that we’re at the conclusion of Phase 2, I’d like to ask you this question kind of in two ways — how are they doing in terms of the movies, as in, what are your top-level thoughts on Avengers 2, and how are they doing in terms of the long-form universe-building?

DOOM DELUISE: It’s interesting that you put it that way, and I want to get back to making a point about the phrasing of that question, but, to just go ahead and answer it, I think they’re doing a pretty great job on both fronts. When it tips too strongly toward ignoring the long-form storytelling (Iron Man 3), it’s obviously not a very good thing (though I personally loved that movie), but the same can be said for when it goes the other way (Iron Man 2).

But the Avengers movies are in a really weird, never-before-seen-in-movies spot, in that they have to blow off an entire “Phase” of movies, but they also have to lay the groundwork for not only the next “Phase,” but also the next chapter of Avengers movies themselves.

That’s not much of an answer. I think Avengers 2 struggles with this problem, and it probably is the number one strike it has against it, as I feel it sometimes spends too much time trying to shoehorn in stuff for what’s coming next.

That said, it still delivers a really great movie, and I loved it. (more…)



The Amazing Leaked E-mail

I just came across this on Twitter, from user @TylerHuckabee.

It’s a leaked e-mail from one producer at Sony to another, and it’s an incredible insight into what was going on behind-the-scenes at Sony while The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was in development.

Date: 2013-11-07 17:08:49
From: nick.shore@[redacted]
To: amy_pascal@[redacted]

Subject: Spidey thought

Hey Amy – just a couple of rando thoughts from 35,000 LAX-JFK:

– A rising trend we see with Millennials are the really extreme forms of experiential exercise like Tough Mudder (a sort of filthy triathalon), the Color Run and even things like Hot Power Yoga, veganism etc. Millennials will often post “N.B.D.” on their social media after doing it , as in No Big Deal, also known as the “humble brag”…..wondering if Spidey could get into that in some way….he’s super athletic, bendy, strong, intense….and it’s all NBD to him, of course.

– EDM (electronic dance music) is the defining music for Millennials. Wondering if there’s an EDM angle somewhere with Spidey? His movements are beautiful, would be awesome with a killer DJ behind it

– Snapchat just launched a “story” functionality, which is sort of “day in the life of me” told in a series of snapchats that expire after 24 hours. It has a very VIP quality about it, since invitation only. Getting invited into Spidey’s Snapchat circle would be huge, and very buzzworthy and cool.

Very VIP.

This guy knows what he’s talking about. As my brother said when I showed him this, “He’s clearly read all of the reports.”