Posts Tagged ‘ nightwing ’

The Dark Knight Rises Breakdown Review

 

By now I’m sure you’ve all seen it, read the reviews and written your own opinions, but one thing is for sure, The Dark Knight Rises is a game changer for comic book movies. While the movie isn’t perfect, its magnificent cast ensemble and extraordinary set-pieces helps provide an epic conclusion to the best comic book movie trilogy of all time.

The Dark Knight Rises

Positives:

1) Bane

Watching Tom Hardy as Bane quickly erased any fears that the final instalment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy would suffer from having a villain that didn’t quite match up to Heath Ledger‘s Joker. Despite wearing a mask that covered his facial emotions, Hardy’s Bane was formidable, frightening, and easily the best incarnation of the character in recent memory. Unlike many comic book villains, Bane’s origin was fleshed out and his motives were explored to an extent in which his story was just as interesting as Bruce Wayne‘s. It’s unfair to compare Bane to Joker and it’s questionable as to whether Joker would have even appeared in the third film anyway had Heath Ledger not tragically passed away. Nolan prides himself on selecting villains that serve the story. Bane’s brutality provides the perfect contrast to an aging Bruce, and it’s clear Nolan has taken some inspiration from Frank Millar’s ‘The Dark Knight Returns.

2) Selina Kyle

Managing to almost steal the show is Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle. Until now, Nolan’s Batman films have lacked a dominant female lead. There was Rachel Dawes, but the contrasting personalities of Katie Holmes’ and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s interpretations left a lot to be desired. In a dark and broody Gotham, Selina is a welcome injection of fun, adding many laugh-out-loud moments to the film. My only complaint towards the character is that she wasn’t featured in the movie enough.

3) The Fight Choreography/Editing

I’ve previously criticised Nolan’s Batman films as using poor cut transitions during the fight scenes that pull the viewer away from the scene. An example would be Batman’s first appearance at the shipping dock during Batman Begins where Batman’s assault on Falcone’s men could barely be seen due to the nauseating camera cuts. In contrast, The Dark Knight Rises has the trilogy’s best action scene with a breathtaking fight between Batman and Bane that will live long in the memory of comic book fans. It showcased Bruce’s desperation matched up to Bane’s brutality, and we all know what happens when Batman took on Bane in the comics….

4) John Blake

I was tempted to add John Blake into the things I didn’t like about The Dark Knight Rises. Why? The film’s ending revolves around the revelation that Blake is Nolan’s ‘Robin’, and that with Bruce Wayne “deceased”, Blake rises as the new guardian of Gotham City. With Nolan achieving the impossible by giving us a realistic take on Robin, it disappoints me that Warner Bros are going to reboot the Batman franchise with Bruce Wayne again, leaving Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s ending up to the imagination.

As the new good guy of Gotham City, Blake is one of the most likable character’s Nolan’s ever put on screen. He successfully worked out Batman’s identity, rescued Jim Gordon, fought side by side with Batman and presumably ended up taking on the mantle. Not bad for a rookie…

 

The first issue of Batman: The Dark Knight Ret...

Negatives:

1) Miranda Tate

Miranda Tate being a cover identity for Talia Al Ghul was probably the worst kept secret in Hollywood. Despite actress Marion Cotlillard repeatedly denying she was playing the daughter of Ras Al Ghul, set-pics from the film immediately confirmed otherwise. Regardless, Talia’s story is actually well handled. Her origin from the prison (or metaphorical Lazuras Pit) mirrors Bruce’s story in an interesting way. An intriguing theory I’ve heard is that Bruce Wayne is the Joe Chill to Talia Al Ghul. Chill murdered Bruce’s parents, inspiring him to later become Batman and protect the citizens of Gotham. In Talia’s eyes, Bruce murdered her father Ra’s, robbing her of the opportunity to make peace with her father. For that, Talia’s story is well-crafted, but Cotillard’s screen time robs the character of making a lasting impression. Her cover-up crusade to bring clean energy to the world through Wayne Enterprises’ reactor never feels believable, and despite Talia manipulating Bruce, it was odd to see her jumping into bed with him so soon in the movie as their relationship hadn’t received any real development.

2) Plot Errors

It feels like a crime to accuse writer, screenwriter, producer and director Christopher Nolan of being lazy, but wouldn’t a nuclear bomb explosion outside of a large city at some point cause severe radiation poisoning? Granted the bomb exploding mid-air certainly wouldn’t have caused a tsunami as the water would have absorbed most of the blast impact before it reaches the city, but it certainly would have created some lasting radiation. Perhaps I’m wrong, but electing to ignore this repercussion certainly took me out of the movie. A side note though is that there is some movie potential to stem from it. Frank Millar’s epic masterpiece ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ explores a gang of ‘mutants’ rising up and taking control of Gotham. There’s no chance of it happening, but wouldn’t it be awesome to see Warner Bros create a continuation of Nolan’s films set even further in the future where Batman’s actions have doomed the city to radiation poisoning and an uprising of mutant gangs?

Another disappointing aspect was the inconsistency of Batman’s physical and mental state. Christian Bale’s performance was his finest yet, as he really showcased Bruce’s emotional struggle leaving the cape and cowl behind.  How Bruce jumps from a retired hermit state straight back into the dark knight is a different matter altogether, as Bruce defies numerous injuries through the film that would leave most men dead or crippled. If the exoskeleton Bruce wore helped his limp, why wasn’t Wayne Enterprises marketing this groundbreaking exoskeleton technology more efficiently?

3) Jim Gordon’s Screen Time.

In a movie that provides so many new characters, some of the older one’s were undoubtedly going to get shifted and it turns out to be Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon. When the film opens, we are shown Gordon’s grief with having to lie about the man that held up a gun to him and his family. The city treats the fallen Harvey Dent as a hero, while Gordon’s inner struggle to contain the lie is never really given the development it deserves. We only learn that his family have left him and moved away through a brief comment from one of the police officers. Oldman’s absence is further felt when Gordon is injured at the hands of Bane’s mercenaries.

Now the one thing I can’t decide on. The ending. Some argue Alfred seeing Bruce and Selina Kyle in Italy was all in his head. After all, how could Bruce survive a nuclear explosion? An opposing theory is that how could it be in Alfred’s head when he barely new Selina Kyle. I commend Nolan for giving us an Inception-like ambiguity to the film, but if I had to choose, I’d say Bruce was alive. The disappointing thing is that we’re unlikely to ever see Blake’s story as the new protector of Gotham City. At least in the film medium anyway. For now though, The Dark Knight Rises is a fantastic piece of cinema, defying the trend of disappointing threequels. Nolan, Bale, Cain, Freeman and Oldman did the impossible.

They brought Batman back from oblivion.

4.5/5

 

 

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What Characters Will Benefit From The DC Reboot The Most?

Grant Morrison at San Diego Comic-Con 2008 day 1.

Image via Wikipedia

With the DC comic revamp just around the corner, I’ve decided to look at what characters might benefit mostly from the shake-up. With a huge 52 titles set to be released in September, DC is showing that they are serious about their characters, and I for one can’t wait.

1- Superman

Superman is the character most affected by the upcoming reboot. With a new origin, and a new costume, DC attempts to modernize Superman for the 21st century. Starring in three different series, (Action ComicsGrant Morrison, Superman- George Pérez, Justice League– Geoff Johns) Superman is DC’s top priority heading into September. With a new movie on the way, The Man of Steel needs to quickly establish a new fan base, and writer Grant Morrison describes Action Comics 1# as an action comic that recreates Superman in lots of different ways. After years of fans arguing Superman is too overpowered and incorruptible, DC have promised to show us, just who Superman is, and what motivates him to don a costume and fight against evil. Anything Superman with Grant Morrison involved is sure to be a hit (just see his work on All-Star Superman), and it’s about time The Man of Steel gets back to top spot as the world’s top superhero.

2-The Flash (Barry Allen)

To decision to put Barry Allen back as The Flash in 2008 angered a lot of people. Fans thought Barry’s nephew, Wally West had come so far in character development, and taking away the Flash mantle from him was a bad move. In my opinion, apart from some stand out moments in Blackest NightBarry has yet to make the Flash his own again. Well, now’s the time for Barry to justify why he’s the definitive Flash, and what better way for him to do it then when a close friend becomes a an all new villain who can be everywhere at once.

3- Green Arrow

With Marvel’s archer Hawkeye currently getting all of the attention, now couldn’t be a better time for Oliver Queen to get himself a new series. “Armed with cutting edge technology and illegal gained Intel, Green Arrow is shooting first and asking questions later.” What I love about Green Arrow is that he’s morally ambiguous. He is a fairly right-wing hero, who isn’t afraid to put villains down for good in certain circumstances. With the new reboot putting Oliver Queen back to basics, hopefully new readers will realise just how interesting Green Arrow is as a character and that a Robin Hood look alike beats a guy in purple spandex any day. DC just needs to avoid making Green Arrow too similar to Tony Stark, and I’m sure this series will do wonders for the character. Did I mention the fact that his bow now has blades at both ends?

4-Nightwing

When Haley’s Circus (the circus where Dick once performed) returns to Gotham, along with murder and mystery, Nightwing must confront his past and face new and old enemies. Dick Grayson never really fitted the persona of Batman. His acrobatic fighting style, and his upbeat personality didn’t exactly install great fear. With Bruce back as the Caped Crusader, Dick returns once more as Nightwing. The reboot has given Grayson a new black and red colour scheme for his suit, which indicates DC intend on making Nightwing the coolest character in comic books again. Hopefully his new series will have plenty of action, and a hook up with Barbara Gordon not too far down the line. Marvel have proven former sidekicks such as Bucky Barnes can be just as popular if not more so than their respective heroes, so hopefully DC will have the same success with Nightwing.

So there you have it. These are the top 4 characters I think will benefit most from the DC comics revamp. With a whopping 52 titles set to be released, there are sure to be some stinkers, but as far as these four characters go things are about to get big. Other names such as Wonder Woman and Aquaman also have a shot at finding glory, but only time will tell. Bring on September!

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?

What’s Next For Batman in Film?

Batman: Battle for the Cowl

Image via Wikipedia

Next year Christopher Nolan will bring an end to what promises to be the greatest superhero movie trilogy of all time. The man behind Batman’s on screen resurrection has constantly assured fans that The Dark Knight Rises will be his last outing as director of the bat franchise. Whilst I’m sure Batman’s on screen future depends on the success of Marvel’s Avengers, as DC will look to get the ball rolling for their own Justice League movie, I’m not so sure a Batman reboot it the way forward for the Caped Crusader.

After all, how do you top a franchise, which has arguably set the standard for comic book movies? Reboots like The Amazing Spider-Man and Superman: Man of Steel I understand, but rebooting a franchise of such high quality that still oozes potential makes little sense to me. If Batman isn’t going to be played by Christian Bale in the next bat flick I’m not interested. Enter Dick Grayson.

I’ve already done a post on how Robin could factor into The Dark Knight Rises, but I doubt that’s going to happen given filming is underway and there’s no sign of any casting for the Boy Wonder. That doesn’t mean there’s no possibility of seeing Dick Grayson is some film capacity in the near future. I suggest going the Kick-Ass route with a teenage Grayson, and have him decide to fight crime on his own, inspiring to be like the caped crusader. I doubt Batman’s antics in the third film are likely to end crime in Gotham forever, so the city will be in need for a new hero.

Grayson is not like Batman though. Unlike Bruce, Dick did not feel responsible for his family’s death. Whilst he wanted to avenge them, Dick has never quite the amount of anger Bruce had in his early years. If Grayson were to get his own film, his circus life and the death of his family would need to be dealt with early on. This way the rest of the film can be spent building up Grayson’s character, as he attempts to mimic the actions set by Batman from the first three films. To make the character flawed and realistic, the film should showcase how Dick struggles to mimic the fighting style of the Dark Knight. After all, Bruce spent time training overseas to prepare him for his life fighting crime. To have Grayson become an expert crime fighter on his own would be unrealistic. Dick would need to develop his own fighting style suited to his past as an acrobat. Watching him develop his own style would be much more interesting and fluid considering how botched the cinematography was in Batman’s movie fight scenes.

What’s most important is that the character should not be looking for revenge; he should be looking for justice. If cinema is not ready to have Wayne and Grayson together in a film, then Dick should base his morals on the crime fighter he read and heard about. It’s a much more modern take on the sidekick role. Also the character’s costume should be a lot more amateur, with no cape. He is only an orphaned teenager after all. Lastly this is not a film about Robin, the Boy Wonder. Hearing the name Robin in cinema would likely bare a stigma from the famously flawed Batman & Robin film. Grayson should go through the film nameless until he catches the attention of Gotham’s police force that refer to him as The Nightwing.

So there’s my method how the Batman franchise should be continued. Would you prefer a Batman reboot after the last film hits cinemas next year? As always leave your comments below and let me know where you think the Batman franchise is heading.