Posts Tagged ‘Catwoman’

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Batman 1966

Posted: November 10, 2014 in Television
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Ok. I have alluded to, compared with and contrasted against this so many times by now, let me tell you about it.

First off, if you’ve never watched the show because you were too young, or missed the countless re-airings and repeats since then, at least watch the 1966 Batman movie this show is based on. If you never watched it because you thought it was too campy and had cheap special effects, all I can say is, think about it in a satirical sense. It’s not trying to be dark, or gritty. In fact, I’m positive the death of Bruce’s parents only gets mentioned in one of early episodes off-handed, then never again. And I don’t ever recall anything happening to the Grayson’s. The show is a light-hearted affair, nothing wrong with that.

It was produced in a time when the Comics Code Authority was in place. Think of the CCA much like how the MPAA regulates film, except with comics for a long time there was no system of ratings, just a pass or fail. With strict guidelines. Such as good guys were good guys, villains were bad and you couldn’t establish reasons why the bad guys were against the law. Authority figures like the police and military were always on the right side of the law. No matter what. The Code threw away a lot of potentially interesting conflicts in stories. Even having giant monsters from outer space smash a police squad car was forbidden, because the inanimate vehicle was seen as a point of authority and the big alien could be interpreted as disrespecting it.

That explains a whole lot. Why is Batman walking around in broad daylight having a surfing contest with The Joker. Because the hero could not be seen to be anything less than being the most upstanding citizen setting an example for the youths, and only creeps and thugs stalk around in the dark. Why could we never see any major villain’s motivations? Because you might be able to relate to their strife and agree with what they’re doing. Which then would lead down to a path of going against authority, putting bad ideas into children’s heads. I’m sure these are the reasons why Robin was treated to be younger than college going age, even though in the run of the show it was brought up countless times he was going to a University. Catwoman was allowed to skirt some lines when she was flirting with Batman, but Batman never chose to do anything outside of the law in the end.

All that aside, the show itself is a weird television program. Early on the show relied on The Riddler and Penguin an awful lot, but staples of Batman’s army of villains made appearances, the aforementioned Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, and Joker being chief among them. It was almost like they were on rotation. Oh sure, there were others, King Tut, Egghead, and The Cavalier were some of the off beat creeps thrown in to mix things up, and then rarely seen from again. But if you took a list of all the episodes and threw a dart into it, Burgess Meredith would have a high chance of appearing in the episode.

Episodes of the first two seasons were broken up into two parts, leaving a cliffhanger at the end of the first part. They usually involved the Dynamic Duo in a peril, like being on the business end of a giant mouse trap, or some such other crazy situation, one time Robin got eaten by a giant clam. All of them dangerous situations, some of them hilariously dangerous. All of them solved within five minutes of the second part.

With the release of the entire series on Blu-Ray tomorrow, you should think about taking a look. Maybe not a hundred and seventy-five dollar look, but look into maybe the 1966 movie is streaming on one of the services you subscribe to? Start there, that’s only a ninety minute commitment on something you already have. Just don’t watch it and think you’re getting a dark tale from Gotham. Have some fun with Batman for once.

Batman Returns

Posted: July 28, 2014 in Movie
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The sequel to the 1989 Tim Burton Batman is better than the it’s predecessor. Michelle Pfieffer as Selina Kyle slash Catwoman is a far more interesting love interest to Bruce Wayne slash Batman than photojournalist Vicky Vale. Danny DeVito’s Penguin is as grotesque as you think it should be in a Tim Burton movie, and the movie has Christopher Walken as Max Shreck a second antagonist to Catwoman along with Batman. Christopher Walken is pretty much a real life comic book character already.

Origins of the Penguin aren’t to out-of-place for him. Oswald Cobblebot’s wealthy parents reject their disfigured baby, and send him down Gotham River one dark cold night in a basket. He floats down and grows up in the sewer rescued by Gotham City Zoo penguins.

Catwoman’s beginnings are a little on the dumb side. Selina Kyle is a secretary to Max Schrek, who is a real jerk to her. One night Selina’s in the office late and discovers something about her boss. When she confronts him, Max throws her out a window. Remarkably not dying from the fall, cats come and lick her wounds and transform her. Maybe they were mystic cats from magic land, the movie is a little light on those details.

One good thing about Batman Returns is, Batman actually fights one of his foes in this movie. The Joker and Penguin pose no real physical threat to The Caped Crusader, but Catwoman puts up a worthy fight. She, at one point, even gets close under the Batsuit and gets her claws into Batman’s side.

Then there’s this point in the fight were Batman is on his back and Catwoman climbs on top of him then says something and licks his face. As a child I thought that was weird, As an adult I think, yeah, no, that is gross.

Plot gets a little crazy. The Penguin runs for mayor with the help of Shreck. That gets up ended when the brilliant part of the Penguins feud with Batman leads him to take over control of the Batmobile, which doesn’t make The Dark Knight flinch at all, and instead when Penguin is prattling on about how stupid the citizens of Gotham are, Batman makes a record of the speech. Of which Bruce Wayne waits until Cobblepot makes a public speech and patches in the recorded audio, moving a CD back and forth, much like he was scratching a vinyl record. That bit seems out-of-place, and I’m seventy-nine percent sure they knew you couldn’t do that back in 1992 as well.The Selina Kyle romance part is alright. As Catwoman she allies with the Penguin to get rid of The Bat, and as Selina Kyle she dates Bruce Wayne. Selina gets double crossed by Cobblepot, as if that wasn’t going to happen, and at a Christmas party finds out Bruce Wayne is Batman during a dance with him. She then decides not kill him because Bruce has business deals with her boss. After that she decides to take it easy on Bruce and focus on Shreck, the man who tried to kill her.

In the end I thought this was a good movie, I still watch it every few years or so. If you liked the first Batman, I can’t imagine you havent seen this already, and if you have not seen either, you don’t really need to see the first one if you know where Batman comes from.

batman_13

Someone at DC liked that LOST show…

Catwoman

Posted: July 14, 2014 in Character
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Selina Kyle is almost the exact opposite of Bruce Wayne. Her morals waiver, justice can be on both sides of the law, and she is, for the most part, out for herself.

Her background has been told a multitude of ways, sometimes she starts off as a prostitute down on her luck and goes into cat burglary. Sometimes she skips that first part and goes straight for the robbery. Then other times, she gets thrown out of window and her body gets licked by magic cats that bring her back to life. All of them have the part where’s she is the down trotted looking to get a leg up in life.

Unlike a lot of other Batman villains that amplify a twisted piece of The Dark Knight’s core, Selina compliments Bruce rather than be one hundred percent adversarial. Even in certain Batman universes like the 60’s Adam West show, where The Caped Crusader is very black and white the justice of the law, takes a second look at Catwoman. Of course in those cases it also comes off as a little bit sexist.
DC’s New 52 Catwoman has gone through some changes. She started out a friend-with-benefits with Batman. It got better for Selina, but not before her new origin was told, and they used the Batman Returns magic cats route. And Last time I saw, she was Gotham City’s underground Kingpin. Which at this point is either where she is now, or last week’s news. Selina Kyle went a long way from being Batman’s fuck-buddy, but she’s still not to the character she was in Hush, where Bruce told her who he was, her and Batman kept the masks on. The New 52 is still new enough, she might get better stories in the future that aren’t lame.

Catwoman’s has some good stories though, Selina’s Big Score I remember being a pretty decent, so give that a try.

Hush

Posted: June 30, 2014 in Comic
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Written by Jeph Loeb and art by Jim lee, hush is one of my favorite Stories about Batman.

One of the big reasons why I liked it so much is that, it was a mystery. Setup was issue one, and each month you got a little piece of the story. It takes the villain of the month concept and connects them into a tale along the way. Reading it As a collection is a bit different, it is still good, you just aren’t going to take a whole year to read it. Well hopefully not anyway.

The one gripe I have with Hush is, if you read DC comics, or even just Batman, you know all the characters in the book. Catwoman, Two-Face, even Superman all make appearances. Bruce and Nightwing talk like a father and his adult son would. The exception being Bruce Wayne’s childhood friend that comes back to Gotham, Thomas Elliot. Which, when one supposed lifetime friend of a major character, you’ve never heard of before in comics shows up, its like wearing a red shirt in Star Trek, you have a strong sense about where this is going. It’s like that, except Hush’s mystery is a bit deeper than that.

This I’m pretty sure, marks the almost return of Jason Todd, the Robin who was dead for twenty-ish years come back from the grave. Well, heavily hinted at coming back. Weird part is, for as realistic as Batman can be, there is a very set way of bringing people back from the dead, Ra’s Al Gul’s Lazarus Pits. Which are used sparsely enough throughout Batman stories as a whole. Caveat being whoever uses them tends to come back a little more mentally unhinged each time, so it was surprising when Batman said he had thought of using one to bring Jason back as soon as he died, but ultimately never did.

I think the action bits are just as good as the detective parts. Thanks a lot to Jim Lee’s art, character designs are amazing, and there are some pretty awesome splashes as well. Batman fights Superman at one point. There is an iconic image of The Dark Knight, while wearing a kryptonite ring, punching Big Blue in the face You might think that’s something that happens every other Thursday, but doesn’t happen that way at all in comics.

In the end, I think the story holds up, maybe not as well as the art, the finale gets weird when you have time to sit and think about such things, but it’s alright. Read it and you’ll see a bunch of memorable scenes almost non-stop. Batman almost kills The Joker at one point. They’re fighting and Batman just puts Joker on the ropes and seriously considers ending Joker’s reign of laughs forever, but Commissioner Gordon steps in and says if The Dark Knight pulls that trigger he has to arrest him for murder, and Batman is not about to become the criminal he tries to keep off the streets of Gotham.

Hush is a great Batman tale that is both action and mystery, the best kind