Posts Tagged ‘joker’

The Dark Knight

Posted: December 22, 2014 in Movie
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First time I saw the sequel to Batman Begins, I thought this was a pretty good movie. The second and third times I was more engrossed with it. Every other time since then I tend to pick up on things I hadn’t noticed before.

Christian Bale does another good job as Batman, except that stupid voice he does. Michael Cane as Alfred is a nice choice and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox is great. Aaron Eckhart as Two-Face was no slouch either.

Let’s be real for a moment, the best thing in this movie is Heath Ledger’s Joker. Hands down most memorable character, best dialogue, and best scenes. There was plenty of good reason for giving Heath an Oscar the year it came out.

As I said, the more I watch the movie, the more these the tiny little things take place that make me go hmm.

For one the interrogation scene between Batman and Joker. Joker has Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes kidnapped and tied up in two different sections of Gotham and Batman wants to know where Rachel is. Because she’s just that important, and Batman knows Joker has two people tied up, and likes to play games. So when The Dark Knight beats the answer out of Joker, he gives Batman both addresses, but switches the names around. Bruce books it to save Rachel, but what really happens is The Caped Crusader ends up rescuing Harvey, barely, creating Two-Face in the process and Rachel doesn’t make it.

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Which should not happen. Batman should know what the Joker was doing, realizing his nemesis was trying to lead him astray. But no. Batman walks right into where The Joker wanted him.

You might say, well this is a newer less experienced Batman and he didn’t know. I might say Rachel is a stupid character and wasn’t going anywhere so they needed a way for her to make an exit, and try to have an impact somehow. I think what this did was plant a seed for something later.

Overall it’s a great movie you should see. Some things might get weird if you skip Batman Begins, like what’s Bruce’s deal with Rachel. Other than those small details, better question is why haven’t you seen this yet?

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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┬áthe 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.

Cover Thursday 10/23/14

Posted: October 23, 2014 in Cover Thursday
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I was a little kid and didn’t understand technology all that well, when I’d describe the best Batman game ever, I came awfully close to Arkham Asylum.

Before this game, Batman in video games was in the range of kind of alright to just terrible. I remember this game being the type of wait and see how it goes deal as well. Especially when the combat system debuted, I was as unsure as anyone that style of fighting could work.

Although, right from word go I had high excitement. The main writer from the Animated Series, Paul Dini, was heading the script. Equally as important, both Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill were reprising their respective roles, as well as a few others. Rocksteady Games knew where they set their target at. Sky high.

Arkham Asylum is as fun playing Batman as you think it is. Just walking around as The Dark Knight started making me feel like I was Batman. The next thing was you beat down a group of thugs with a simple set of buttons, in the combat tutorial. Which throughout the game get expanded on with the gadgets and adding in extra combo moves you unlock. That first section ends and throwing fists and batarangs seems easy, while jumping through a number of enemies. And then the best part comes.

Batman walks into a hospital ward with several of The Joker’s henchman patrolling the grounds with firearms. Batman being easily susceptible to death by bullets in this game doesn’t mean those thugs aren’t going down. I went through a vent leading to the first victim, sneak over and a blow to the head takes him out. His friends get alerted to his demise by The joker over a loud-speaker, and come rushing over to see, and as Batman I fired my grappling hook to a gargoyle above on the ceiling, then swing around to be on an adjacent wall and perch, watching the “guards” freak out. Now when they patrol, the buddy system is in place, and the couples split off. Scared the twosomes look around wildly swinging their guns shaking, calling out in desperation, “we’re gonna get you”. I sat in my nice safe place, waiting for them to pass by. When they do, the first one gets let go for now, but as soon as his back is turned the second gets scooped up from above and tied up. The enemies converge again, but this time I already have the high point, and one noble fool decides to run across a bridge in the middle all alone. leaping from my position and using Batman’s cape to glide a bit, the lonesome man gets a face full of boot. The others go down one by one, getting more panicked each time one of their comrades fall. Eventually they start firing the guns aimless into the air, sometimes they get smart and destroy the hiding places up above. No matter, when the last one remains and the hunt draws to a close, I toyed with him by following him for a bit, staying just outside his vision. The thug’s pattern leads him around to a vent on the floor, I make my way to it before he does. When he walks right over me, calling for Batman in a last-minute attempt to sway what he already knows is going to go down, and before he finishes I leap out and choke him out.

That’s it. That is where the game went from, oh it’s Batman punching fools in the face, to, these men are simply antelopes grazing on grass while Batman is a lion ready to pounce on his prey. And you are Batman. Being either evenly matched or overpowered in video games happens a lot. The feeling of being outnumbered and outgunned, while still feeling like you have the upper hand happen far less, if at all. Arkham Asylum takes some of these story moments out to a separate challenge section on the main menu so you can do them again, and compete for high scores. It’s cool to see who can be a more efficient hero. Some of the people at the top are crazy good.

The game also has sections of detective bits. Mostly following particles like blood, or in one instance the type of smoke from Commissioner Gordon’s pipe to get from one section of game to the next. It may be a contrivance leading you around places, but it does make a more complete Batman.

There are more weird video games tropes as well. Such as Batman calls in to Oracle and gets extra equipment sent to him, at one point by the Batplane crashing into the roof of the Botanical Gardens. Which makes you wonder, why an ASYLUM has a separate building for botanical gardens, then you realize it’s probably because of the patient who can control them. The Dark Knight should always be prepared and not need to do that. The spots where it feels super video gamey is where you get experience and level up Batman, to show player progression. I’m sure a man does not gain more health, nor does his gadgets get more a more diversified way to use them by beating people up. Not that it’s a real complaint. Being a few hours into the game and you get a new gadget, or combat maneuver is a good way for you to mix it all up at the end.

Even death is entertaining, and all that happens is the villain gets up all in Batman’s face with a game over type quip on a black background. Every main boss has multiple sayings, and sometimes I’d die on purpose just to see what the likes of Poison Ivy would say if she ever beat Batman.

At this point, if you haven’t played any of the Arkham games yet and like video games I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe you’re waiting for the batsignal to lead you in the right direction. Or a Steam sale, which this game does from time to time, and you can get this extra cheap. You won’t get disappointed.

 

 

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

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Joker’s most insidious plot, balloons with his own mug on them.

Cover Thursday 5-15-2014

Posted: May 15, 2014 in Cover Thursday
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Joker gets a time-out

Joker gets a time-out

The Joker

Posted: May 12, 2014 in Character
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One of Batman’s most hated villains has no origin, no real name, and no reason.

Debuting in Batman #1 in 1940 The Joker has had an followed Batman through every iteration there is.

As far as antithetical arch nemesis go, The Joker and Batman are as far as you can get on opposite ends of the spectrum. Batman is definable. You know where he’s from, his motivations, and philosophies. The Joker has none of that, except sometimes he likes messing with Batman, whether Joker is trying to kill Batman depends on the day of the week.

Sometimes, The Joker will come up with a story of where he came from. Sometimes he comes from an abusive home, other times he can’t quite make his father laugh, or maybe it’s the jerk of a wife he has that makes him crazy. Maybe one of the stories Joker told was true, maybe none of them, I don’t think it’s that important, because none of it matters. The story will change again tomorrow.

All of that makes The Joker a confusing piece of work for Batman. Though, I like it when Batman gets his number a couple of times then Joker makes a play that throws The Dark Knight off his game trying to keep Batman second guessing himself, even for just a second. It makes for an unpredictable turn of events.