Posts Tagged ‘ Joker (comics) ’

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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How to make a superhero game work

Arkham Asylum - the game

Image by s3rioussam via Flickr

As you may or may not know, I am a harsh critic of both video games based on movies, and games based on superheroes. Whilst movie games seemed doomed to an eternal fate in the bargain bin, games such as Batman: Arkham Asylum and Spider-Man 2 have shown us superhero games can be fun and enjoyable, and in Batman’s case amazing.

Superhero games usually tend to fail because little care is taken from the developers to actually make you feel like the character you’re playing as. For example take SEGA‘s Iron Man video game in 2008, which is one of the worst critiqued superhero video games in existence. And why? Because rather than make you feel as if you’re actually playing as Tony Stark in a one man army suit, you feel as if you’re playing a really poor arcade game with ridiculous difficulty and rubbish design. The developers seem to make a poor attempt at creating the hero’s powers, whilst putting no creative effort into making the personality of the character. For instance as I mentioned with Iron Man, the main protagonist Tony Stark was portrayed as a dislikeable, arrogant egomaniac. There was no insight into his self-destructive traits (alcohol, depression etc) and unlike the fantastic portrayal of Stark in the 2008 film; this Iron Man had no substance.

That’s where games such as Batman: Arkham Asykham have flourished. Arkham’s developers RockSteady took the time to explore the man behind the mask. For instance in one scene, Batman is hallucinating that he is reliving the death of his parents again. Or in another, you witness the guilt Batman has after he fails to save Commissioner Gordon’s life. It’s these moments along with awesome action orientated game play that makes you feel like you are actually the character you’re playing as.

Spider-Man 2 also incorporated the best of both elements and did it fantastically. You had awesome web-slinging game play, which still incorporated Spider-Man’s Peter Parker Persona. For instance one mission had Spider-Man deliver pizzas because Peter Parker’s job was on the line. The game was so good it actually made you care about the repercussions of what if you didn’t deliver the pizzas on time.

Game play should take a back seat to characterization and narrative in superhero games. After all look at Spider-Man 3. It had the same game play that made Spider-Man 2 so successful but a boring story and terrible voice acting/characterization earned the game universal panning. Sort the story, and the game play should follow. I know Arkham Asylum hardly had the most character driven story, but the moments it did have were better than anything we’ve seen from a superhero game so far.

With so many fantastic superheroes such as Thor, Captain America, Green Lantern etc finally finding their way onto video games it’s time superhero games start delivering, or the bargain bin at your local Game store is likely to fill up big time this Christmas. All superhero games need is a little more development, more character driven stories and original game play. Sure it’s a lot to ask for but come Christmas this year when Batman: Arkham City takes the gaming world by storm, the bar for superhero games will be raised even higher.

Should this be the summer of villains instead of heroes?

X-Men First Class: Michael Fassbender & James ...

Image by Lyon & Pan via Flickr

I loved the Thor movie. I thought it was fantastic and finally delivered something comic book movies have been struggling with for a long while.

A classic villain.

Tom Hiddleston delivered a sensational performance as Thor’s brother Loki. Throwing out the tradition of simple minded, undeveloped villains which comic book moves tend to have, Loki was a complex, multilayered villain, who kept the audience guessing at every turn. Thor is just as much Loki’s movie as it is the God of Thunder’s. The same could potentially apply for all the villains in the upcoming summer comic book movies as well.

Starting off with X-Men: First Class, the movie focuses on the relationship between Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto), as well as the beginnings of the X-Men. Seeing as X-Men Origins: Magneto was supposedly cancelled, First Class is likely to at some point in the film depict Magneto’s origin as a survivor of The Holocaust. This will surely make for some compelling stuff, and is far more interesting then the rise of a rich telepath in Charles Xavier. Sir Ian McKellen‘s portrayal of Magneto in the X-Men trilogy was probably the best comic book movie villain of all time. His character was multilayered, tormented and it was just as easy to sympathize with him, as it was to hate him. Now we’re getting to chance to see his origin on screen, the rest of X-Men: First Class is just filler. Calling Magneto the best comic book movie villain of all time is no disrespect to Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight, I just thought McKellen’s Magneto was much more relevant to the comic book source material.

I’m going to skip over Green Lantern because I don’t know enough about the main villain Hector Hammond (played by Peter Sarsgaard). I’m also not too keen on what they’ve done to the intergalactic fear entity Parallax. It looks like a giant cloud of special effects. Why can’t Hollywood do justice to their galactic monsters? It’s like when Marvel’s world consumer Galactus was turned into a giant cloud in Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer. It’s insulting to the source material.

Sinestro, leader of the Green lantern Corps is where it gets interesting. Hopefully the film will set up the fall of Sinestro so we get a classic hero turned villain story in the Green lantern sequel.

Next up is Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull. Originally created as a Nazi leader, and Adolf Hitler’s right man for obvious reasons the Nazism is likely to be toned down in Captain America: The First Avenger. Instead we will probably see Weaving in charge of a villainous terrorist organization known as Hydra. Whilst I completely understand why the Nazi theme has been toned down, I hope it is not removed completely as it’s an essential part of the Red Skull character. Much like the Joker, Red Skull is the hero’s equal/opposite. Captain America represents democracy and freedom where as the Red Skull represents communism and dictatorship. If the Captain America film establishes this then we should be in for a great battle. The Red Skull is obsessed with world domination, and the film needs to touch on Skull’s origin to make it believable. He can’t just be a supremacist who’s obsessed with Nazi domination, as there needs to be a convincing reason behind his madness.

And if there is, then we may have a villain to rival Hiddleston’s Loki.

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