Not the Sequel we Deserve, but the one we Needed…or is it the Other Way Round?

Well it wasn’t the Second Coming of Christ, and as a result there has been a tirade of slander against the final arc in the Nolan Batverse Trilogy – nicely countering the influx of fanatics who sent death threats to less-than glowing reviewers. Personally I liked it, although I’m fully aware of its’ numerous story, pacing, characterisation and design flaws, but c’mon this is a Batman film – remember how bad they used to be? Surely a disappointing yet not unwatchable instalment is leagues more acceptable than Forever and & Robin. This review isn’t me hating on a bad film as done for the previous Batman reviews here; it’s a chance to air out the complex stupidity of the story and maybe help us to better understand why Batman has such trouble getting rid of bombs. Plus with the Nostalgia Critic covering most of my back catalogue to-do list I figured I’d best cover something made after 1997 for a change. Strap on your detective hats, because this is going to take some sussing out…

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Green Masked Monster

This movie is an affront to everybody; comic fans and non-fans alike, cinema goers and film lovers, Warner Brothers back catalogue, the actors (except Ryan Reynolds), the crew, God, DC and especially Geoff Johns. Green Lantern is not just bad; mark my word this film is BORING to the point of being applied in non-lethal combat scenarios as a sleeping agent. The ironic thing is that this film was green-lit to prove that  Warners’ had something up their sleeves aside from the Superman and Batman franchises, no doubt to taunt Marvel Studios imposing and highly successful Avengers franchise (that started with a bang back with Iron Man in 2008) with the possibility of a Justice League film. HA! This has been touted and rumoured for over 20 years and WILL NEVER HAPPEN – the best we can hope for is the Superman Vs Batman fanwank piece and it’s utterly unoriginal premise (details on IMDB.com). Well, it backfired SPECTACULARLY. Make no mistake this film is atrocious; Sex & the City 2 with a bigger CGI budget. This has nothing to do with the source material, given that since Geoff Johns reinvented the title back in 2004, transforming the comic into one of Star Trek Deep Space Nine soap opera proportions set against galactic civil war, making it one of the most popular of DC’s run for years.

So where exactly did it go wrong? Well, as mentioned this was to be Warner’s chance to put a new power-tights wearing hero up on the big screen, mainly due to increasing pressure from Marvel’s successful run, so they were desperate to have complete control over the project to assure success – and we all know how good bureaucrats are at the creative process. So despite bringing Johns himself on to write an adaption of a series he saved from the grave (Hal Jordon has a long and WTF back story prior to this that ended with him essentially becoming Space Stalin and all but destroying the universe…it wasn’t exactly a fan favourite), and proven action director Martin Campbell to direct, Warner, in its desperate panic to make the potential SPACE OPERA SET AGAINST CIVIL WAR appeal to as wide an audience as possible brought on numerous co-writers (because that always work so well) to ‘fix’ the problems they thought plagued Johns script like Parallax in a host body. And guess what happened; we got Top Gun 2011 rather than a sprawling, multi-textual, multi-layered, deeply characterised and extensively populated space opera set against a backdrop of galactic civil war. Gee thanks.

I chose this film as my end of year/Christmas special review because it is so bad, so disappointing, so awful to look at (it’s an ugly film populated with bad design and less convincing CGI than that in Wild, Wild West), so so dull, and an affront to not only comic book movies but to cinema in general, with the added misery of starting Ryan Reynolds. And the worst part is that this will no doubt prevent Warners’ risking a gambit on any of their other licence rights such as Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg, Dead Man, or even Aquaman – instead they’ll just reboot Batman in 3 years (I wish this was just pessimistic thinking but they have stated as much once Nolan abdicates his seat on the franchise). So congratulations Warner Brothers on producing a film that not only destroyed your dreams of beating Marvel Studios at their own game and making a shit ton of cash, but for the miraculous way you’ve finally stopped the nerd community ragging on Batman & Robin. This is your prize, the top spot on Ticket Stubs’ refund pile.

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Nothing Good Lasts Forever

This feature is dedicated to the memory of Harvey ‘Two Face’ Dent.

Nice work Burton. Not content with making carbon copies of Jonny Scissor-Fingers until the paint bucket of white make-up ran dry, the one time you tapped into your true potential with (the frankly amazing) Batman Returns you offend the studio execs with vile mutants and a tone darker than black, leading to us suffering Joel Schumacher’s short but terrible reign of franchise terminating terror. Sure, we eventually got Big Fish, but too little too late. The deep scars left by the Batman films of the mid ‘90s are still felt world-wide over 15 years later, but as time tries to heal these wounds we often forget the entirety of the reason these 2 movies were as awful as we hazily recall in our night terrors. Allow me to bite the batarang and remind us all why Seth Green once said, as his character crawled through a sewage pipe, “it smells like Batman Forever in here”.

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Gone (for 8 Years) in 6[90]0 Seconds

Ah, what a year 1997 was for Blockbuster flops. I shall relish getting to each one in due course, but for now let’s focus on what is still regarded as the Titanic of the decade: Batman & Robin (point of interest; Titanic is only retrospectively regarded as the Titanic of the decade so doesn’t count in this instance). Now, I can forgive myself for once being suckering into believing Spawn was good for over a decade between the viewings; after all, Spawn himself was a dark and brooding figure with weaponised parasitic armour and a face like an abused abattoir, a bad ass monster foe in the form of Violator, some passable CG sequences (not the Malebolgia bits though – they sucked even by the late 90s’ standards), and of course Martin Sheen, who is always a treat to behold even during the darker days of his career. I can blame blissful ignorance and a teenage love of the gothic for my blinkered vision of Spawn that lasted until my early 20s, and yet looking back to my days as a rosy-eyed cherub with no concept of plotting, acting talent, narrative crafting and all the other things that prevent media graduates and film buffs from enjoying otherwise perfectly entertaining films, I feel dirty and ashamed that at one point I *choke* liked Batman & Robin – honestly, I couldn’t feel more violated if I were being raped by Violator, which I’d happily let happen to my 8 year old self if it meant foregoing the embarrassment of owning the VHS of this abomination. So nipple suits at the ready as we revisit the flop that was, and is, Batman & Robin.

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