Posts Tagged ‘ Bruce Wayne ’

Will Batman Die in The Dark Knight Rises?

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since the release of the latest trailer, fans have been speculating that Bruce Wayne will meet his end in The Dark Knight Rises. We all know this is both Christopher Nolan’s and Christian Bale‘s last time spent on the Batman franchise. While Nolan is known for constantly trying to mislead audiences, Batman’s death is certainly something that seems likely in third and final Dark Knight film.

When we last saw the Caped Crusader he was on the run from the law after taking the fall for crimes committed by District Attorney Harvey Dent. Set forward to this film eight years later, we find Bruce in retirement after temporarily hanging up the mantle. From what the trailers and TV spots have shown us is that Bruce is old and weakened in this film. Is this perhaps a sign of things to come for the Dark Knight?

Since this is the last film in Nolan’s trilogy, it’s fitting that he would want to wrap up Bruce’s story full circle. Blockbuster trilogies rarely get fitting conclusions anymore. Comic book movies such as Spider-Man 3 and X-Men 3 ended either too softly or with unresolved cliffhangers while other franchises such as Pirates of the Caribbean 3 simply conclude by trying to set up sequels. It’s a money-focused market where filmmakers don’t have to power to do anything drastic to their films or characters that belong to high-grossing franchises. However, Nolan is not your usual director and it’s likely that DC might let him conclude his story by having Bruce Wayne die while preventing future filmmakers from butchering his franchise with bad sequels.

To truly understand the enormity of the problem Warner Bros themselves face post Dark Knight Rises, is to look at what Nolan has achieved with his work on the Batman films.  To take a product that was considered dead in the water after back-to-back critical flops and turning it into a billion dollar franchise is an undisputed achievement which DC aren’t likely to achieve again. Warner Bros have finished with Harry Potter and finishing with Batman and now left needing a new blockbuster hero. Will that be Superman? I doubt it.

Warner Bros don’t have another big time superhero to turn to. Man of Steel faces an uphill battle to win over sceptics that find Superman unrelatable, while 2011’s Green Lantern killed off any potential for a Flash movie. They need a superhero property that keeps their presence felt in a market where rivals Marvel are currently dominating. Once Nolan’s Batman trilogy wraps up, DC only has Superman left to compete. Even then, Man of Steel finds itself up against Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 in the same year.

I don’t think Batman is going to die in The Dark Knight Rises. While studio factors are definitely a part of the reason, I just feel Nolan simply doesn’t have to have Bruce Wayne die in order to complete his story. I think Gotham will realise Batman is their true white knight, and the film will end with Bruce Wayne going in to hiding akin to the ending of Frank Miller’s masterpiece, The Dark Knight Returns.

As a side note, one of the best Batman comic books of the modern age contains Bruce’s former sidekick Dick Grayson as the Caped Crusader. Batman doesn’t need Bruce Wayne anymore. As said by Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins , “as a symbol I can be everlasting”. A new face behind the mask means Warner Bros won’t need to reboot the Batman franchise while leaving Nolan’s trilogy intact.

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The Dark Knight Rises Trailer 3 Deconstruction

We’ve been waiting for some Dark Knight Rises news and here it is. The second full-length trailer for Christopher Nolan’s third and final Batman film is here, and while the latest trailer is a little underwhelming, it does showcase more of Catwoman and Bane, as well raise plenty of talking points about the film.

Age For Concern

1)This is a Bruce Wayne story as much it is a Batman story:

Here we see an aged Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) with a dramatically different appearance to when we last saw him in The Dark Knight. Is this just a sign of his old age? Or perhaps the burden of being a wanted dark knight means Bruce isn’t looking after himself these days. More interestingly, I believe this could be a sign someone (Bane or Talia) has worked out Batman’s identity and Bruce has taken precaution to keep himself hidden.  Seconds guess is perhaps this is just after Bruce escapes from the prison we saw him locked up inside during the last trailer. Hardly a billionaire playboy look is it? What’s brilliant about how this film is being marketed is that it’s been suggested Bruce could die in this film. While realistically this probably won’t happen as Warner Bros aren’t going to allow Nolan to kill off one of their biggest franchise characters. Or will they? With a Batman reboot seamlessly already planted in the future, are Warner Bros letting Nolan throw all the toys out of the pram for the big finale?

Who needs a distinct voice?

Building bridges

2) Gotham’s Reckoning:

If there were any doubts over Tom Hardy’s performance as the villain Bane, they were easily washed away by this new trailer. We get a better look at the scene from the jaw-dropping poster where Bane breaks Batman’s mask, as well hear his voice is perfectly audible (and awesome). Heath Ledger oozed charisma and energy as the Joker, however Bane looks to be a different beast entirely. In the last film, Joker wanted the citizens of Gotham to leave the city on ferries so he could put the opposite boats against eachother. In this film, it seems Bane’s intentions are more about containment, as we see several bridges connecting the city to the mainland presumably destroyed by the same device we saw in the last trailer that destroyed Gotham’s football stadium. Overall it’s very reminiscent of the classic No Man’s Land Batman story arc, which saw the bridges into Gotham destroyed by the government as the city had been overrun by criminals and had to be declared a no-go-zone.

John Blake, Azrael, Nightwing, Robin?

3) There’s a new cop in town:

This latest trailer showcases a lot more of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake character. What I love about what this film is doing is how it has created this uncertainty over the John Blake and Miranda Tate characters. Is Blake simply the ‘Harvey Dent‘ figure of this film or is there more to it? Fans of the classic Batman: Knightfall storyline might recall how when Bane originally broke Batman’s back, a new crime-fighting vigilante known as Azrael took his place. Could Levitt be this hero?

Another theory circulating online is perhaps the Batman symbol has become bigger than Bruce Wayne, meaning we might see more than one dark knight in this film. With Bruce Wayne supposedly injured, could Blake don the mantle of the bat in order to keep Batman’s presence felt in Gotham City? Another rumour, though this one slightly unrealistic is that Blake could be the Robin/Nightwing of Nolan’s Bat-verse considering there’s definitely a connection between Blake’s character and orphans as seen by the logo on the bus in the trailer.

The summer of black-suited super women

The puurfect team

4) This is what Gordon meant by escalation:

We know The Dark Knight Rises is supposedly set eight-years after The Dark Knight, meaning in the time since Batman becoming an outlaw new vigilantes have arisen. Catwoman (played by Anne Hathaway) reflects the change in Gotham’s hero. When Gordon said in The Dark Knight how Batman is the hero Gotham deserved, eight-years on this seems to have changed to reflect Selina Kyle‘s more morally ambiguous character. I love the running theme of Batman as a symbol. When there’s no Batman to defend Gotham the next best thing rises to take his place. Or does she? We definitely see footage of Catwoman fighting alongside Batman in what seems to be the film’s final act, however it’s a safe bet there will be plenty of twists and turns for Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises.

The worst kept secret in comic book movie history?

5) Miranda Tate:

Keeping with the comic books, Bruce Wayne is seen kissing Marion Cotillard’s character, Miranda Tate, (or Talia Al Ghul as Internet rumour suggests) proving that Selina Kyle is definitely not Bruce’s love interest in this film. What further suggests Tate is actually Talia is that Liam Neeson is set to return as villain Ras Al Ghul at some capacity within the film. I would not be surprised to find out Ras and Talia have more influence over the film’s plot than what we might expect. Rises definitely feels like a spiritual successor to Batman Begins, meaning the League of Shadows will definitely feature at some point.

Certainly not a car

6) Chicks dig the car:

As many film critics have pointed out, many Batman trailers/films all contain some sort of car pun. For instance the critically panned Batman & Robin had “Chicks dig the car”, Batman Begins had “It’s a blank..tank” and The Dark Knight had a less than memorable Lamborghini gag.  Rises is no different, however as it’s the final film, Nolan has ramped up the excitement meter with a scene that is sure to make the Avengers Quinjet suffer in comparison. We see Bruce and Selina inside the vehicle, with a “my mother warned me about getting into cars with strange men” line from Selina, which was easily the best line of the trailer. With missiles in pursuit of the Batwing, what’s exciting now is that the chase sequence is bound to look glorious in IMAX come July.

One thing’s for sure, DC are going to miss Nolan.

 

What Characters Won’t Benefit From The DC Comics Reboot?

Damian Wayne as Robin. Promotional art for Bat...

Image via Wikipedia

As I mentioned yesterday, the DC comics reboot is creating a large buzz in the comics industry right now. With 52 titles hitting stores next month, DC is going full out in their attempts to bring in new readers. The relaunch will surely benefit characters such as Superman and Green Arrow, who have long needed an overhaul. However, there are sure to be some characters that don’t benefit from the relaunch, and just who do I think they will be?

1) Damian Wayne (Robin)

The Batman and Robin series is one of the lucky few titles able to escape total relaunch. Instead, the title will be given a sense of restricted continuity, where old readers will be able to follow the new books fine, whilst the revamped title will also serve as an entry point for new readers. With Bruce Wayne back as Batman, he is set to battle evil alongside his son Damian. Having Damian as Robin in the relaunch might not be DC’s greatest idea. For many readers, Damian is a marmite character. Some say he’s a badass assassin who adds a whole new dynamic on the Robin character, whilst others say he’s nothing more than a bratty ten-year old. I enjoyed his dynamic with Dick Grayson as Batman, but with Bruce back as The Caped Crusader, it’s definitely going to have a father/son theme, and unlike the interesting reverse dynamic between Dick and Damian, it’s fairly easy to see where Damian and Bruce’s relationship is heading. Only time will tell if Damian gains more or less popularity after the reboot.

2) Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)

The Green Lantern books are in no danger. Writer Geoff Johns constantly delivers one of the best comic book series on the shelves. Older fans aren’t going anywhere, now that fan-favourite Sinestro is back in the picture. The only problem is, Hal probably isn’t going to benefit from the reboot at all. The likely hood is any potential new readers for Green Lantern would have already seen this year’s disastrous movie on the character. Whilst I’ll admit, the Green Lantern movie did not do justice for such a great character, but it’s likely left a stink in any one’s mouths looking to know more about Hal and Corps. Some say movies don’t really influence comic book sales massively, but I have a feeling the Green Lantern series won’t benefit from a massive influx of new readers.

3) BatGirl (Barbara Gordon)

Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl in a series that see’s her facing old secrets and new villains. Regarded by many as the definitive Batgirl, the decision is to put her back in the role has likely pleased many fans. I personally feel it’s a shame we won’t be seeing her as her wheel chair bound Oracle character anymore. I mean this in the sense that, Barbara represented a minority that rarely gets any treatment in comics. Her story of coming from being shot by the Joker, to becoming one of Batman’s most valuable allies, giving him crucial support from the Bat-Cave was a welcome break. Having Barbara back fighting crime (no matter how DC explain her recovery) seems a little cheap, and it’s personally thrown away any interest I had in her character. The new Batwoman series starring Kate Kane looks far more appealing, and it’s a horror/espionage tale that will likely make Kate the preferred female Bat character on the shelves.

So there you have it. These are the top three characters I feel won’t benefit from the DC comics reboot. Their books won’t crash and burn by any means, but with such high expectations on the first two I mentioned, if new readers didn’t flock in, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another shake-up in the future.

Would A Nightwing Movie Work?

Cover to Nightwing #100 (2004). Art by Scott M...

Image via Wikipedia

Continuing with my Batman themed posts, I’ve decided to explore if a solo Nightwing movie would work; now Nolan‘s Bat trilogy is wrapping up next year. To start with, let me explain that I do not actually think there’s any chance of seeing a Dick Grayson/Nightwing movie anytime soon. DC isn’t going to take a gamble on a lesser-known character after the disastrous result from this year’s Green Lantern. However, if the unexpected were to happen, and the movie was given the green light, how would a Nightwing movie successfully translate to the big screen?

To start with, the movie would need to be treated extremely seriously so that it can be connected to Nolan’s trilogy. Warner Bros aren’t going to start a DC cinematic universe anytime soon, so connecting at least two or their franchises together would be a nice touch. I would set the movie in the fictional city of Blüdhaven. The city can be depicted like a cross between Gotham City and the Narrows area seen in Batman Begins. There would need to be a sense of corruption and evil surrounding the place, perhaps even making it the base of the new organised crime criminals, who were beaten out of Gotham by the Batman. It can’t under any means be as glamorous as Gotham. Blüdhaven should feel like the slums compared to Gotham or Metropolis.

Enter Dick Grayson. Would Grayson necessarily need the Robin gimmick as for Grayson it did come before he took on the persona of Nightwing? The Robin gimmick wouldn’t work unless he was a sidekick to Batman. It definitely needs to be a more adult Nightwing flick. The story could follow a teenaged Dick Grayson, inspired by the stories coming from Gotham about the Batman. The real task lies in creating Dick’s character. As readers of the comics will know, Dick is not necessarily a dark character. He’s actually one of the more light-hearted allies to Bruce Wayne. So Grayson shouldn’t be as dark and broody as Batman, but he shouldn’t be a wise cracking Spidey rip-off either. His origin in the circus should be kept, as it’s the only logical reason to explain his acrobatic fighting style that is essential to the character. Grayson’s origin should be that he was raised in an orphanage, only to run away during his adolescent years searching for the criminals responsible for his family’s death. Would the comic book villain Tony Zucco (who is responsible for the death of the Grayson family) be the main villain? I’d rather use a pre-established criminal such as Sal Maroni (providing he’s not dead already) who was last seen in a car crash in The Dark Knight. That way it ties the films together and adds some much needed depth to the Sal Maroni character.

Grayson is quite a ladies man in the comics, and that’s the hardest thing to translate onto screen without damaging the overall tone of the film. I’m a big fan of the The Huntress character (who had a great scene in Batman: Hush), and although she’s not an original love interest for Dick in the comics, she could be Nightwing’s answer to Hit-Girl. A young woman who uses a variety of gadgets and weapons she steals from criminals. Unlike Catwoman though, Huntress is more reckless and careless. If Batman has Catwoman, Nightwing should have Huntress.

And lastly, who would direct it? At the risk of sounding delusional, I’m going to say Frank Miller. A Nightwing film needs a director who can capture the serious tone of the film. Whilst Gotham’s been getting all of the attention, its sister city Blüdhaven has been ignored and left to ruin. The legend of the Batman needs to be a recurring theme throughout the film as it’s what will drive Grayson throughout his crusade. Miller would capture that perfectly, whilst adding some real importance to Nolan’s films.

It’s a shame Warner Bros own of all DC’s cinematic properties. Under their ownership I really doubt that we’ll ever see a Nightwing movie. Perhaps if DC gave some of their properties to other studios we might eventually one day see Nightwing fighting crime on the streets of Blüdhaven on screen. Do you think Nightwing deserves his own movie? How would you do it? As always leave your comments below.

*Update* (July 23rd 2012)

Spoiler alert: The ending of The Dark Knight Rises hints at the John Blake character (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) taking on either the mantle of the Batman, or his own costumed persona. Blake taking up the mantle would be an interesting way to continue the Nolan Batman franchise without resorting to a total reboot now Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale have gone. What do you guys think? Do you want a John Blake Nightwing film, or would you prefer a fresh Nightwing movie, more based on the comics?

Will The Dark Knight Rises Flop?

Bane breaks Batman's back in a splash page fro...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been a little harsh on the Batman franchise. Just last month I criticised Christopher Nolan‘s ‘The Dark Knight’ for being over-hyped, and being unfairly seen as the benchmark for all comic book movies. Whilst I remain true to my word, Nolan’s Bat franchise would not be as famous if it hadn’t of been for Heath Ledger, I will admit his previous Bat flicks surpassed my expectations and stand next to the likes Spider-Man 2, X-Men 2 and Thor as the greatest comic book movies of all time.

What made The Dark Knight so special was that it was a thoughtful movie that didn’t rely on fights and explosions, but had them anyway. It showcased the moral maze that the characters faced, managing to break away from the conventional superhero story. There were repercussions for everyone from Batman’s actions, and hopefully the next film in the franchise The Dark Knight Rises will showcase the huge repercussions from the caped crusader’s moral sacrifice at the end of the last film. Now Batman faces being an outlaw, after taking the fall for crimes committed by fallen District Attorney Harvey Dent. However after seeing potential plot leaks, I am not so confident in where ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ may be going.

(Spoiler warning) Supposed leaked plot details emerged recently revealing that Batman is set to have his back broken early on in the film by Tom Hardy‘s Bane , drawing from the famous Batman storyline: Batman: Knightfall. Whilst this should be taken with a pinch of salt, it does make sense considering the film’s title ‘Rises‘. What worries me is how rumours indicate Selina Kyle/Catwoman played by Anne Hathaway is set to fill in fighting crime whilst Bruce is on the mend. I’m not the biggest fan of Hathaway, and I’m not convinced she would remain convincing with such a large amount of screen time, especially since early reception to her costume has been fairly negative. Having Selina fill in does allow Nolan to open up his ethical playground, showcasing that the idea of Batman has become bigger than Bruce himself.

I am very interested in Tom Hardy‘s portrayal of Bane. I hope there will be more dimensions to the character other than brute force, as Bane is one of Batman’s most intellectual enemies in the comics. I want to see Bane outsmart Bats, which is quite a feat considering Bats is one of the world’s greatest detectives. If Rises manages to showcase Bane’s superior intellect, we should be for a great hero/villain show down. I’m not convinced so far by the leaked videos though. It seems a lot of work needs to be done on Bane’s appearance post-production as so far he looks small compared to Christian Bale in the bat-suit.

I’m sure there’s more to ‘The Dark Knight Rises‘ then what meets the eye. Given Nolan’s track record of surprising audiences, I do not think this movie will flopl by any means. I just hope this film reaches the standard of those set before it. If Batman is all we’re getting from DC, it’s only fitting he gets a decent send off.

We should get the film we deserve, but not the one we need right now. But we’ll watch it, because it’s going to awesome. (Sorry couldn’t resist)

A Fanboy’s Tribute: Batman Is The Best Comic Book Character Ever Created

Batman: Dark Victory #1

Some people argue superheroes are no longer relevant in today’s world. Golden Age characters such as Superman have struggled in a modern context due to their limited flaws and storylines. One character that has flourished in a modern setting is Batman. The Caped Crusader is probably the most socially and culturally relevant comic book character in existence. He lives and fights against a world governed by fear and evil. Based on what we’ve seen this week, is that any different from the world today?

We live in dark times. Just this week, the city of London was thrown into chaos by a bunch of rioting youths. With no political will, these were just mindless acts of violence by gangs wishing to install fear and violence across the capital. What started as a small isolated incident, quickly escalated into nationwide pandemic of violence. It was then I realised just how relevant the Batman character is to our modern society.

What I find most appealing about Batman is his origin. After witnessing his parents being gunned down at the age of eight, Bruce Wayne could have gone off the rails and grown up to be a revenge driven psychopath. An interesting idea was raised in Alan Moore‘s The Killing Joke. The idea is that Batman and Joker are two opposite parallels. Both were victims to what Moore describes as “one bad day” that sent them on the path to insanity. The suggested origin of the Joker is that the loss of his wife and baby, followed by his disfigurement sent him insane. It’s the decisions of Batman and Joker that keep them apart. Batman chose to harness his inner demons and use them to seek fair justice and fight crime. Despite his horrific experience, Batman essentially remains ‘a good guy’. This is further conveyed by his decision to seek justice under fair means. Whilst beating criminals to a pulp pushes ethical boundaries, his decision to capture criminals and let the justice system decide their fate keeps the Dark Knight’s ethics in the right place. Shooting them down, or murdering his victims, makes Batman no different from enemies. At the risk of sounding delusional, how many people can say that they don’t take satisfactions in the idea of a hero praying on the type of criminals we saw in the UK last week?

Another great aspect of the Batman character is that he can fit into any storyline/subtext. He can be used in storylines with political subtexts such a Frank Millar‘s amazing ‘The Dark Knight Returns‘ or fantasy subtexts as seen in some of Grant Morrison‘s recent work. As long as the key mythos is the same, and that Batman is an ordinary man seeking to fight crime and evil, Batman works in any storyline. His mission is endless. As seen in the Nolan films, Batman fights for a day where he is no longer needed. He sees himself as a means to an end. A clever theme explored in ‘The Dark Knight’ is that a day won’t come where either Bruce or Gotham do not need the Batman. Frank Millar’s ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ also explores the notion that Batman had become crucial to society. Without him, crime will eventually take hold of Gotham. You won’t find many heroes that carry as much gravitas as the Caped Crusader.

Despite the rise of Marvel’s heroes on screen, Batman will always remain the most compelling comic book character ever created. Batman is relevant to the screwed up world we live in. His choice to fight crime is something many people can relate to. He carries more emotional weight than any other comic book character and his storyline potential is endless.

Emotion In Comic Books

Steve Rogers' presumed death. Art by Steve Epting.

Image via Wikipedia

It’s summer time, meaning both major comic book outlets, Marvel and DC have their annual crossover events in full motion. DC is providing a truly special event in Flashpoint, whill Marvel is putting out the lackluster Fear Itself. With summer crossover events, some characters will likely be killed off in order to add gravitas and emotion to the story. This year comic book deaths have gone into overdrive as Marvel have killed off The Human Torch, Bucky Barnes and Ultimate Spider-Man, and the question I ask is, what’s the point?

Comic book deaths rarely generate any type of emotion. This is largely because the dead character will likely be revived in a year or two, as the publishers can’t resist keeping a character dead as they can’t profit from dead characters. Take the death of Captain America in 2007. Originally perceived to be a story representing post 9-11 hysteria, the world was shocked when Steve Rogers was gunned down. This was an actual comic book death that had emotion. It was realistic and gritty.  Steve Rogers had fought for his civil rights during Mark Millar’s mega-event Civil War, only to be gunned down after surrendering on the steps of the courthouse. It was a comic book death that literally symbolized that America was being governed by hysteria and chaos…

Yet all that drama and gravitas was retconned in 2009 in Captain America: Reborn. Marvel took their most effective character death, and retconned into a time traveling adventure. Instead of being dramatically gunned down, Steve Rogers was trapped in time after being hit by a special time bullet. In a single stroke any emotion surrounding his death had been destroyed. The same can be said for his former partner, Bucky Barnes, who took up the mantle of Captain America when Steve was gunned down.

Recently (spoiler alert) Bucky Barnes was struck down and killed by the Red Skull‘s daughter Sin. Marvel expected fans to be shocked and they were, at how poorly Bucky’s death had been executed. For one of Marvel’s most popular characters, Bucky’s death has hardly been featured in any comic books since Fear Itself #3. Not even the recently re-launched Captain America comic series mentioned his death. It seems Marvel literally killed Bucky off to get Steve back in the suit.

DC is no better though. Bruce Wayne was apparently killed in Grant Morrison‘s mega event Final Crisis, only to be brought back to life through time travel. To add to the sell-out, Bruce will be returning to the mantle of the one and only Batman, as Dick Grayson reverts back to Nightwing in the DC universe  New 52 reboot come September. DC have also pointlessly recently resurrected the Golden Age Flash Barry Allen. What confuses me behind this retcon is that the modern Flash Wally West had become a far more engaging character than Barry ever was.

Why can’t DC and Marvel limit the amount of comic deaths so that the death of a character becomes more significant? If both publishers keep promising character fatalities to promote their events, any integrity of the books will soon diminish. DC is pushing the panic buttons by rebooting. It’s a safe choice, but things look bad for Marvel. They could be going down a slippery road. They butchered the once outstanding Ultimate Universe by handing it over to Jeph Loeb, who killed off nearly every character for shock value in the disaster known as Ultimatum. Mainstream Marvel has killed off their most interesting character just to coincide with Captain America: The First Avenger.

Marvel need to slow down with the comic book deaths, or it won’t be too long until fans start calling for a total reboot. The existing universe can still be salvaged, but both outlets can’t keep using character deaths to promote their events. It’s become nothing more than a cheap gimmick.

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