superhero galore

January 17th, 2007

bale_batman.jpgIt's hard to keep track of these guys, they keep moving around a lot. Let's see, Superman has just Returned to Metropolis, Batman has Begun in Gotham and last we heard from Spiderman he's in college somewhere in New York.

Batman Begins is by far the best of those movies. Christian Bale is awesome because... he has no charm. So he doesn't have to try to not be himself when he's serious, he's perfect for these intense characters. Although the title is stupid... "begins".... begins what? Sounds like it could be called Batman's First Day In School. His gadgets are great though, the suit, the wheels, everything. One thing is very disturbing, however. There is no Robin. And they completely forgot about the Batman theme. The soundtrack is by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, and as such, excellent, but nowhere does the classic Batman theme come into the picture.

bale_equilibrium.jpgFor those who didn't know, Batman trains as a ninja before he finds his calling at the bottom of a well he fell into when he was a kid. He's the son of super wealthy industrialist parents, who were very charitable and built a free monorail for the city. His childhood friend Rachel becomes a D.A. at the tender age of ~25 and prosecutes the baddest baddies in town, but she only loves the pre-Batman Bruce Wayne, not the superhero he's become. Ooh, deep.

Superman Returns is sort of a mockery of everything Superman stands for. I mean Brandon Routh has to be the least charismatic superhero ever. Then there's Lois Lane, who's supposed to be a dazzling woman, but she's just a totally ordinary person. Lex Luthor is played by Kevin Spacey, so you'd expect him to be the best character, but it's a very pale performance by Spacey. Perry White, the charismatic editor of Daily Planet, the great chief, the one who inspires and leads by example, the visionary, is just an old man. Jimmy is supposed to be this street smart kid, but they made him a total geek. Do the people who made this movie even like Superman?

bale_american_psycho.jpgSpiderman, the timid high school geek no one even knows exists. He's in love with this chick who doesn't know about it, and he's too shy to tell her. One day he discovers he has special powers.. Please stop me when it gets so cliché you can't take it anymore. You'll have to excuse me for not knowing what happened in the sequel, it's a miracle I didn't walk out of the first one. What's there to say here? Well, it's really boring. The villain is a big yawn and the story as a whole is too.

Which superhero did you grow up with? I wasn't really that big on them, but I guess Batman was on tv the most, so I'm kinda glad they didn't totally botch that movie. In terms of comic books, I used to read The Phantom though.

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7 Responses to "superhero galore"

  1. Jack says:

    I never had a superhero, I used to read any comic book available. I always thought Superman was special and the first three movies made were just superb, especially the first one. Look at its name "Superman", only the name, no beginnings, no ends, nothing, straight to the point. And Christofer Reeves was something there, he really was THE Superman.

    As time went by and I started to grow up, I realized that Batman is the cooler superhero, he is not out of no where, more realistic and relies on skill and technology to nail his villains. What I like most about Batman is the big bouqet of his enemies, he sure has more than anyone else, right?

    Spiderman has always been lame actually.

  2. erik says:

    Spiderman, pah.

    Batman is more realistic indeed, which is admirable, but not what most people are looking for in a superhero at all. Superheros have to be fantastic, galactic, magic. Superman is.

    Who needs realism in a movie about superheros? Seriously, you might wanna go and have a look at other genres, people.

  3. John Healy says:

    Batman is plausible in the same way as James Bond, Erik. He's also a more complex character than most because he's a psychopath. It depends on who is doing the writing (Miller really goes over the top on the insane end of the spectrum), but at the very least, Batman can be beaten - he feels pain, his relationships are strained by what he does. He's still human.

    Superman is different. He's an alien, nigh invulnerable. It's hard to write a good story for him - kryptonite exists simply to give him a weakness. Lois Lane too - she's there to be kidnapped, or to stumble into danger.
    I don't know if you've seen Kill Bill (Vol. 2) but there's a classic Tarrentino monologue in it:
    "Take my favorite superhero, Superman. Not a great comic book. Not particularly well-drawn. Mmm. But the mythology... The mythology is not only great, it's unique. Now, a staple of the superhero mythology is, there's the superhero and there's the alter ego. Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. When that character wakes up in the morning, he's Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man. And it is in that characteristic Superman stands alone. Superman didn't become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he's Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red "S" - that's the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears - the glasses, the business suit - that's the costume. That's the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent? He's weak... ...he's unsure of himself... ...he's a coward. Clark Kent is Superman's critique on the whole human race."

    Anyway, about Martin's criticism of the films: Batman Begins is a good film, damn you! Sure, Katie Holmes was the weakest element of it, but nothing's perfect. Superman suffers from a dull script and a pathetic Lois Lane from Bosworth, but it's beautifully shot and has that stirring soundtrack going for it. I have high hopes for the next one.

  4. erik says:

    In that case, I move for a suspension of Batman from the Superhero genre. If he's James Bond then let's move him to "action" and compare him to, oh, I dunno, Rocky I through XXI or Mission Impossible.

  5. numerodix says:

    Did I give the impression I didn't like Batman? I loved it

  6. erik says:

    Well yeah but you also appreciate realism in superhero movies.

    Take your realism outside, boo

  7. numerodix says:

    You're extrapolating. Yes, although I'm a fan of realism, I never said I miss realism in superhero movies. Nor did I mention it anywhere in this blog entry. In fact, what I said about the Superman flick is kind of reviving the fantasy that things are supposed to be a certain way in "Superman". And instead they made the movie more "realistic", which ruined it.