Average Film Blog’s version DC Movie Universe

I’ve outlined in my Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice review how I think the movie should have gone. After seeing Justice League I’ve noticed that there have been a fair few missed opportunities to tie stories together and create a cohesive shared universe. If my idea for ‘Batman vs Superman’ and ‘Dawn of Justice’ was the version of events we got we could have seen something like the following, as a release schedule for a DC Movie Universe.

Dawn of Justice (2013-2018)

Man of Steel (2013)
This film is unchanged.

Batman vs Superman (2016)
Batman and Superman are being manipulated by Lex Luthor in to hating each other, they both had their reasons but they were played upon and had their perspective skewed. The story would involve the main characters investigating what seem to be separate leads that all end up being part of the one plan.

That plan, was to have Superman kill Batman and that this scenario would have one of two outcomes:
1. To show the world either that Superman would kill someone – God can’t be all good. Or,
2. To show the world that Batman killed Superman – God can’t be all powerful.

Naturally, of course before killing one another, but not after a really good fight, they realise they are actually on the same side and they go after Lex Luthor together. They put that Lex in jail, while he is in there he plots something bigger, upon his eventual escape, which will be the story of Dawn of Justice.

Suicide Squad (2016)
Similar to the story in the original film but instead to Enchantress being the villain, it’s the Joker. Deadshot and Harley Quinn are the main characters as they were in the original, but the film focuses more on Harley’s confliction with going after her former lover. The Joker is somewhat defeated but vanishes leaving behind his face.

Wonder Woman (2017)
The same as Wonder Woman film that was released.

Dawn of Justice (2017)
Batman launches a new satellite called ‘Brother Eye’, the satellite monitors almost everything on Earth. Using Brother Eye, he learns that Lex Luthor has escaped and could be planning his revenge against Superman and Batman and he is using General Zod’s body. He follows the trail that he found in BvS to find more meta-humans. Flash and Wonder Woman join Batman’s team. But Superman and Aquaman ignore the request until a mutated General Zod attacks San Diego. All coming together, the team defeats Zod. Superman decides to join the team but Aquaman wants nothing to do with the issues of the humans on land. An Apokoliptain Mother Box activates on Earth and the energy reading is picked up by Brother Eye.

(Note: the mutated General Zod looks more like a Bizzaro like character than a Doomsday like character.)

Justice League (2018)
This film takes place just after Dawn of Justice. The Mother Box that activated merged with what was remaining of Victor Stone’s body, making him a cyborg. Brother Eye was not the only thing that picked up the Mother Box’s activation, on Apokolips Steppenwolf notices the signal and embarks on a mission to Earth to recover the technology that went missing a thousand years ago. He arrives and attacks Central City searching for one of the three Mother Boxes he believes to be on Earth. The Justice League mobilize and fight him off. Cyborg joins the team after helping the League fight Steppenwolf. But he then attacks Atlantis, the home of another Mother Box, forcing the city to surface. The Justice League step in to help Auqaman. Steppenwolf is defeated, Atlantis returns to the ocean and Aquaman agrees to join the Justice League.

Lex Luthor, laying low since the General Zod incident begins to put together his own team – the Legion of Doom.

The Legion of Doom (2018-2021)

The Batman (2018)
Batman vs Deathstroke

Superman and the Lost City of Krypton (2019)
Superman vs Brainiac and he learns about the city of Kandor.

Aquaman (2019)
Aquaman vs Black Manta

Green Lantern Corps. (2020)
Green Lantern Corps. vs The Manhunters

Justice League: Doom (2020)
The storyline deals with The Legion of Doom taking down the League to cause planet-wide chaos. They use stolen contingency plans made by Batman to take down his teammates, causing the team to distrust Batman. Based on ‘The Tower of Babel’.

The Flash (2021)
A rip in the Speed Force opens as a speedster from the future travels back in time and is trapped in the present day. The speedster (Eobard Thawne), in order to return to his own time has to steal the Flash’s speed.

The Batman 2 (2021)
Batman has fallen out of favour with the Justice League and with no one left to help him the Joker returns after mysteriously disappearing for years. His face now tacked back on, could this be endgame for Batman?

Wonder Woman 2 (2021)
Wonder Woman vs Medusa

Justice League Unlimited (2022-2026)

Justice League: Darksied (2022)
The Mother Boxes are safe on Earth but the Green Lanterns have notice more Boom Tube activity of late. The Corps sends a team to Apokolips to investigate where they see a large army amassing under the orders of Darksied. His uncle has failed him and it’s time to defeat the Kryptonian that beat Steppenwolf and destroy the planet he resides on. A battle ensues and all the Green Lantern team except Hal Jordan are defeated. He narrowly escapes and flees to Earth to find a way to stop this force. Hal lands on Earth where he meets the Justice League and warns them about Darksied. But just as the League attempts to prepare for the oncoming army and Cyborg begins to monitor Boom Tubes on Earth, the entire planet of Apokolips appears in Earth’s orbit.
There’s a battle on Earth, a battle in space and a battle on Apokolips. The Justice League find many new heroes to join the battle and to join the new larger league.

JLU: Green Arrow & Black Canary (2022)
Green Arrow and Black Canary vs

JLU: Shazam (2022)
Shazam vs Black Adam

JLU: Teen Titans (2023)
Based on ‘The Judas Contract’. Deathstroke returns.

Superman: Doomsday (2023)
Based on ‘The Death of Superman’.

JLU: Firestorm (2023)
Firestorm vs Killer Frost

Green Lantern Corps: The Rann-Thanagar War (2024)
Based on the ‘Rann-Thanagar War’. Hawkman and Hawkgirl are introduced.

Justice League: A New World Order (2024)
Based on ‘A New World Order’. A League without Superman vs. White Martians and the Hyperclan. Martain Manhunter is introduced.

Batman: The Court of Owls (2024)
Based on ‘The Court of Owls’.

JLU: Booster Gold (2025)
Booster Gold vs The Time Masters

Return of Superman (2025)
Based on ‘The Return of Superman’. Featuring the Eradicator, Superboy, Cyborg Superman and Steel. Superman Returns. Superboy is not defeated in the end but goes insane and more powerful (to the level of DC Comics Superboy Prime) which leads to…

Justice League: Crisis (2025)
Loosely based on ‘Infinite Crisis’. Barry defeats Superboy by throwing him in to the speed force. Barry is also lost in the speed force and ends up on a strange version of Earth.

Flashpoint (2026)
Based on ‘Flashpoint’.


Future of the Universe

Blackest Night
Includes the whole DC Universe. Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps lead DC’s champions into battle to save the universe from an army of Black Lanterns made up of the DCU’s deceased heroes and villains.


Other Ideas

Wonder Woman: Hiketeia

Batman: The Long Halloween

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Justice League – Review

The DC movie franchise returns to the cinemas after Wonder Woman dominated the Box Office with their second film for 2017, Justice League and it was pretty good.

Justice League is set some time after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Superman is dead and that starts to wake up three mysterious boxes. The boxes are ‘Mother Boxes’ powerful cubes from the planet Apokalips (but that isn’t really mentioned in the film). These boxes either called to or freed Steppenwolf, a New God (again not really mentioned in the film) who had tried to bring the boxes together before but failed. This time, he doesn’t plan on failing. This is where Batman realises he must bring together a team of superheroes to stop this alien threat.

While the ‘getting the team together’ scenes weren’t bad, they felt poorly paced. In usual DC Movie style they jump from scene to scene like a comic book rather than a film where usually some form of transition is required. And maybe that’s it, I’ve said in the past that these films have captured the comic book style more than other series has. So maybe these are the ‘real’ comic book adaptations? That aside, there were a few similarities to Marvel’s The Avengers but the Justice League coming together had a little more nostalgia for me (the Justice League animated series being one of my favourite cartoons as a kid) and it was good to see these characters come together on screen.

The team consists of Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg (plus – spoilers… eventually, Superman). The characters have a good dynamic with each other and it feels more like a team that actually likes each other more than a team that is forced together for a common goal. Batman (Ben Affleck) continues his gruff and grizzled persona but has lightened up a bit for this film (almost like Superman’s death actually made him happier) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is still the elegant bad-ass who appeared in the solo film earlier this year. Both of these characters are good but we know who they are, its time to meet the new guys.

Barry Allen aka ‘The Flash’ (Ezra Miller) is a socially awkward kid who after being struck by lighting can now move at incredible speeds. He is the comic relief of this film, very different to his television counterpart played by Grant Gustin, I didn’t hate him as much as I thought I would, he’s not a bad charater and Ezra Miller has done a decent job bringing him to the silver screen. Aquaman (Jason Momoa) is a man of two worlds that belongs in neither. He’s gruff and grizzled like Batman but doesn’t have the responsibility and tends to help only when he wants to. Jason Momoa does a great job cutting down the campy versions of Aquaman people are used to and I am very much looking forward to his first solo outing next year. Rounding out the team is Cyborg, after an accident that leaves Victor Stone (Ray Fisher) on death’s door, his father harnesses one of the Mother Boxes to bring him back to life. This results in the Mother Box grafting cybernetic limbs that end up taking over almost his whole body. He stays in control most of the time but on occasion the cybernetics take charge, this can put him in a little trouble. Cyborg has a good but rarely touched on character arc that I would have loved to see more on.

I wont touch on Superman but as many expected, he does return.

The villain Steppenwolf lacked a lot. I feel that he probably did have motive but it wasn’t confirmed by him, some of the characters assumed his motivations and that’s really all you have to go on. He didn’t pose much of a threat and his end goal was the same as Zod’s in Man of Steel – ‘turn Earth in to a planet like my planet’. I didn’t like him and he felt like a overcorrection to BvS where they went big with Doomsday and the Death of Superman story and the producers probably thought that using Darksied straight after might be overkill.

Like in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there was no coherent progression in the story. It was a collection of parts of the story. There’s definitely parts missing and again that comes down to Zack Snyder’s film making style. With that its time to talk production… and oh boy what a production this was. Many script revisions, two composers, two directors and one digitally removed moustache. With $25 Million worth of reshoots the story was likely changed significantly but you really can see what scenes are directed by Joss Whedon and what scenes are Snyder’s (Zack Snyder having to step down in Post Production after the death of his daughter). The reshoots coincided with Henry Cavill’s shooting schedule for Mission: Impossible 6, for which he had grown a moustache which he was contracted to keep while filming, so Justice League’s VFX team had to resort to using special effects to digitally remove the moustache in post.

Junkie XL was originally composing the score for Justice League after working on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice but was replaced by former Batman and Batman Returns composer, Danny Elfman. What an addition to the film it was, Elfman included his original Batman theme from 1989, worked in John William’s Superman theme from 1978 and kept Wonder Woman’s new bad ass theme. I love Danny Elman scores and I think they really belong in a comic book film. I hope Warner Bros. keeps Elfman around because he can add one thing to the DC films that Marvel is missing, good and memorable music.

With all the criticisms and all the praise I have with this film I find that there are parts that I loved and parts that I absolutely did not. It’s rare to have a movie this polarising. However I feel that the pros just narrowly outweigh the cons. It’s great to see this team together on screen finally and I would love to see more. Justice League is a step in the right direction and tonally the future of the franchise should exist somewhere between this film and Wonder Woman. I want to see Warner Bros. ramp up production in this area so we never have to wait more than a year (Justice League in November 2017 to Aquaman in December 2018) ever again.

Justice League: Average

Movie News – June 13th, 2017

Adam West dies age 88

The man behind one of the most iconic portrayals of Batman died over the weekend. Adam west continued to be popular and beloved by people everywhere since the Sixties. He will be sorely missed.

Marvel unveils a new Black Panther Teaser Trailer

We’ve still got Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok to come this year but Marvel has given us our first look at Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther.

Not much in Movie news this week, E3 is coming up so if you are a big Gamer, it’s basically Christmas!

Due to the Long Weekend in most States in Australia, the Box Office Report should be out tomorrow.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Review

Zack Snyder’s attempt at the movie we’ve wanted to see for decades fell short of expectations.

In anticipation to Wonder Woman, I watched Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice again, so here’s the review. PLEASE BE WARNED! While I will try not to go into specifics, there could be some spoiled plot points. While this is a review, it will include some analysis and ‘ways I would do it better’.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice never had the excitement around it that the idea of a Superman/Batman film had. That came from the divisiveness of 2013’s Man of Steel, which I enjoyed for the most part.

The main problem Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, is the Dawn of Justice part. This is two movies. The first involves Batman and Superman both being manipulated in to hating each other, they both had their reasons but they were played upon and had their perspective skewed. The story would involve the main characters investigating what seem to be separate leads that all end up being part of the one plan. That plan, was to have Superman kill Batman and that this scenario would have one of two outcomes:

1. To show the world either that Superman would kill someone – God can’t be all good. Or,

2. To show the world that Batman killed Superman – God can’t be all powerful.

Now to me, that sounds like a good story. A little bit of action sprinkled in at certain points, some mystery and intrigue, all culminating in a finale that pits the two DC Comics greats in a battle of Brains (and money) vs. Brawn. Naturally, of course before killing one another they realise they are actually on the same side and they go after the real threat that has been influencing them from the start. We put that threat in jail, while he is in there he plots something bigger, upon his eventual escape, which will be the story of the next film. 2 hours and 10 minutes, simple story, easy to follow, everybody forgets their so-so reaction to Man of Steel, bring on the next film, ‘Dawn of Justice’.

Except that didn’t happen. Instead, that story more or less ends around the 2 hour mark and the remaining 30 minutes of its run time resulted in a ridiculous mess that features an overpowered enemy that came out of nowhere, with very little set up or reason for being there, a character that while awesome (spoilers: it’s Wonder Woman), probably shouldn’t have been in a movie called ‘Batman v Superman’ and particular plot point that probably shouldn’t have seen the light of a projector til ‘Man of Steel 3’. Some shots from the last 30 minutes looked good, but a lot of them were just so cluttered by lighting bolts and laser beams that it lost all meaning. Some of the shots were harder to determine what was going on than being able to determine who’s fighting who in a Transformers movie.

There are more issues with the film, including pacing, writing and editing etc. But I don’t want to be so negative on this film, because there is something there. There’s a movie in here, I have ever since I saw this film believed that. All I need to do it sit down in front of my computer one day and maybe make a cut of my own to prove it. (I don’t want to alarm you but the writers and editor from BvS:DoJ are doing the same jobs on Justice League.)

I very much enjoyed Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne and Batman. He gave the older, gruffer character that the story asked for and we were looking for. That said, I like most of the acting in this film. Henry Cavill and Amy Adams have a shallow dynamic, dialogue-wise but their body language and the look in their eyes said more than the script could. Gal Gadot did a pretty decent job as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman and delivered in my favourite shot of the entire film – a small smile during the big fight at the end, a little thing that said so much about the character, it said: “This is fun.”, “I’ve missed this” and “So you want a fight, huh?” all at the same time.

Jeremy Irons brought a new side to Alfred Pennyworth that we hadn’t seen before and I didn’t mind Holly Hunter’s role as a senator leading an enquiry in to Superman. Lawrence Fishburne brought nothing to the role as Perry White and Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor left a lot to be desired… there were moments of proper evil to his character but sadly it was overshadowed by his ‘no one comprehends my genius’ shtick mixed with a fair amount of overacting.

The first 2 hours of the movie weren’t bad, it probably could have been done with being an hour and 40, but the story was enjoyable and could be followed somewhat. That being said, this is a comic book movie, and yes, the characters are from comic books, I know. I mean this movie paces like a comic book, it could even do with the odd “Meanwhile” tags in the top left corner in a few scenes, if this film was adapted in to a comic book – it would work. I think that is what sets the current DC films and the Marvel Cinematic Universe apart, Marvel makes movies based on its characters, they have adapted story lines, DC, or at least Zack Snyder seems to adapt the panels. Which is why 300 and Watchmen worked for the fans of those movies, its what they were expecting. It’s not what fans were expecting after Marvel had completed its ‘Phase One’. I think the culture had changed.

After all this though, I like parts of this movie, so it doesn’t fail completely in my opinion. I see this movie for it’s merits and what it tried to do. Don’t get me wrong, I have ideas about how you can fix this and effectively write this movie off – which in the DC Universe at least can be done very easily.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Well Below Average

Ben Affleck to star as Batman in second Man of Steel

Actor/Director/Academy Award Winner, Ben Affleck has been cast as the next screen version of Bruce Wayne/Batman for the sequel to Man of Steel.

“We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular Super Heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some. His outstanding career is a testament to his talent and we know he and Zack will bring new dimension to the duality of this character.” – Greg Silverman (WB President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production)

“Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.” Zack Snyder (Director of both Man of Steel and its sequel)

“We are so thrilled that Ben is continuing Warner Bros.’ remarkable legacy with the character of Batman. He is a tremendously gifted actor who will make this role his own in this already much-anticipated pairing of these two beloved heroes.” Sue Kroll (WB President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution)

This will not be Ben Affleck’s first time as a costume clad superhero, he starred as Daredevil in the 2003 film. So we can already get the feel for what he will look like under the cape and cowl of the Dark Knight. Very little is known about the direction that the film will take other than the appearance of Batman. What we do know is that the untitled sequel will be written by David S. Goyer who was one of the key writers in the Nolan Batman trilogy… so if anyone can write a good adventure for the caped crusader it’ll be him!

daredevil

History of Superheroes in Movies

superman

While there were superhero movies in the 1940s, 50s and 60s it wasn’t until the 1978 film Superman opened the door for comic books and their characters to be taken as serious movie ideas, but that faded over ten years until 1989’s Batman put them back on the map again. Unfortunately, with the exception of Batman Returns (1992) the popularity of superhero films declined again until 2000 when X-Men got it right.

xmen

Since X-Men superhero movies have been on the up and up. Production companies started taking the concepts seriously again rather than trying to make it comical and camp (I’m looking at you Joel Schumacher). 2002 saw Spider-Man swing on to the silver screen and both the X-Men and Spider-Man films spawned major film franchises for Fox and Sony respectively. But we’ll get to the major production companies later. Fox continued it’s push with Daredevil (2003), X2 (2003), Elektra (2005) and Fantastic Four (2005) while Sony (Colombia) released Hellboy and Spider-Man 2 in 2004. Following the success of
these franchises DC and Warner Bros. took a different angle and rebooted the popular Batman franchise with Batman Begins (2005) which had a much darker tone to it than the Marvel films that were being released at the time. Superhero films cashed in on the success of the early 2000 hits for a few more years X-Men: The Last Stand and Superman Returns in 2006 and Spider-Man 3 and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer in 2007 (which might I add were all franchise killers) but come 2008 something clicked in the minds of Marvel, DC, production companies and audiences… Superhero Movies could be better than exciting. They could be exhilarating the perfect escape for people young and old just like the comic books they were based on were for people years ago.

darkknight

2008 was a big year for Superheroes, with Marvel’s start of their Cinematic Universe (Actually owning the rights to these characters this time) Iron Man blasted on to the screen, reviving the dwindling superhero audiences and Robert Downey Jr.’s career at the same time. On top of that the reboot of the Hulk franchise with The Incredible Hulk re-established another character for something in the future. Iron Man would have been the walk-away hit of superhero films that year had the follow-up to Batman Begins not been released. The Dark Knight wowed audiences and box officenumbers proved that superhero movies were not just a sub-class of action films. They were their own genre. Mixing comedy and drama with action, visual effects and the characters people of all ages could enjoy. The superheroes were here.

avengers

The late 2000s brought us a prequel to X-Men in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and a surprise cult classic with Watchmen. The start of the new decade brought in more of the independent heroes in to the spotlight, Kick-Ass and Super depict average joes standing up and answering the call against villainy and Iron Man 2 delved deeper in to the mystery behind S.H.I.E.L.D and why they were showing up in all these Marvel movies. 2011 was another big year for Marvel with Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger setting up for the biggest superhero team up in film history. Fox released a re-invigoration of X-Men going back to the early days of Professor X in X-Men: First Class and DC unfortunately missed the mark with Green Lantern. Last year blew me away though with The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises three of the four big superhero movie powerhouses put everything they had in to these films and they were incredible.

The superhero film genre has risen over the last twenty or so years to become films that provide drama, comedy, explosions and an all round entertaining visit to the cinemas.

The Dark Knight Rises – Review

Apologies for the late review, this film needed to be seen a few times for me so I could happily pass judgement. Christopher Nolan’s epic run of Batman films ends with The Dark Knight Rises.

It’s been 8 years since Batman took the fall for Harvey Dent’s murder and the police of Gotham, thanks to the ‘Dent Act’, have cleaned up the streets from crime. Until a ruthless mercinary named  Bane attacks Gotham. His plans promt Batman to return to the city who, in the last film, wanted him dead. But some of the police still hold those feelings for the caped crusader and their attempts to stop him allow Bane to continue his plans for Gotham City.

This film is epic and on a grand scale. If you see it in a cinema with good bass it is simply incredible.

Christopher Nolan expertly co-writes and directs again as usual. He brings in some of his actors from Inception, Tom Hardy (as Bane) Joseph Gordon-Levitt (as Gotham City PD officer, John Blake) and Marion Cotillard (as Miranda Tate) as well as some more famous faces like Anne Hathaway as Catwoman.

Old favourites return to the series aswell. Christian Bale is again, Bruce Wayne / Batman, Micheal Caine steals the show as Alfred Pennyworth. Morgan Freeman plays the President of  Wayne Enterprises, Lucis Fox. Gary Oldman as Commissioner James Gordon. There are also some nice little cameos from the other films you might find pretty cool.

As I said before Michael Caine was the stand out performance for me. He really conveyed the emotion that Alfred felt throughout these troubling times for Bruce and Gotham.

The music fills the cinema perfectly and Zimmer’s use of silence in key scenes is so captivating. You find the chanting in the film very hard to get out of your head. But why would you want it to?

I had so much fun watching this film. Both times it excites you, frightens you, makes you feel the dispair and anguish of the people of Gotham. I really don’t want to say all that much more about this film but it ends the trilogy very nicely perfectly. I was a bit suspicious the first time the film ended as a big fan of Batman lore. But after the second viewing… All that went away.

The Dark Knight Rises: Above Average

Batman: Mask of The Phantasm – Review

PART FIVE: Batman: Mask of The Phantasm

Directed By: Eric Radomski & Bruce W. Timm

Written By: Bob Kane and Alan Burnett

Starring: Kevin Conroy, Dana Delany, Hart Bochner, Stacy Keach, Abe Vigoda, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Mark Hamill

Gross: $5,617,391

Production Co: Warner Bros. Animation

Release Date: 25 December 1993

Runtime: 76 min

Batman, the costumed crime-fighter who prowls the night skies in Gotham City, soon finds there’s another vigilante in town knocking off prominent mob figures. Despite the scythe-like blade for a hand, a mechanical voice and the cloud of smoke that follows the figure wherever it goes, the police and outraged officials mistake the homicidal crusader for Batman himself and demand that the city’s longtime hero be brought to justice. Meanwhile, Andrea Beaumont returns to town. She is the lost love of Bruce Wayne, the billionaire playboy who is Batman’s alter ego, and was an integral part of Wayne’s decision ten years earlier to don the cape and cowl. Now, she is back in his life and is no less a disruption than the return of his old archenemy, The Joker, who has a stake in seeing the annihilation of this new vigilante, whoever it proves to be.

This animated Batman movie did something for the franchise that the live-action movies didn’t. The tension and mystery surrounding The Phantasm coupled with the fact that most of Gotham City were turning on their once beloved caped crusader makes this a brilliant movie. In my point of view many elements of this movie as well as other Batman graphic novels, such as Batman: Year One, were vital in creating the new direction of Batman in the more recent Nolan films. The Mask of The Phantasm was dark like the animated series and yet it was very effective in portraying a story and some backstory as well. For example what Bruce Wayne did as a vigilante before he donned the disguise of Batman. There are many other animated Batman films and TV series out there but this is by far one of the best.

3 Stars

Batman: The Mask of The Phantasm is available on DVD in all good DVD stores.

Batman & Robin – Review

PART FOUR: Batman & Robin

Directed By: Joel Schumacher

Written By: Bob Kane and Akiva Goldsman

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, Uma Thurman, Alicia Silverstone and Michael Gough

Gross: $238,207,122

Production Co: Warner Bros. Pictures(Worldwide)

Release Date: 26 June 1997 (Australia)

Runtime: 125 min

Although, in my opinion not as bad as Batman Forever (story-wise), this movie ultimately failed the Batman franchise and is yet another reason why Joel Schumacher is blamed for so much. Batman & Robin is full of disappointing one-liners and really obvious continuity errors as well as poor acting from almost the entire cast. The film opens with Batman and Robin (George Clooney (who should never have been Batman) and Chris O’Donnell respectively) going toe to toe with Mr. Freeze (played by Arnie), a new villain in Gotham City. Then in a “Meanwhile in South America” type scene the two other villains, Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman) and Bane are introduced. After a series of events with Ivy causing the dynamic duo to fight over her affection and Mr. Freeze stealing a vast amount of diamonds, the evil pair team up and plot to freeze Gotham and allow Ivy’s plants to rule the world. Also on the scene is Alfred (Michael Gough) ‘s niece Barbra Wilson (Alicia Silverstone), who becomes Batgirl.

All in all the storyline in this move was better than the one in Batman Forever, however the rest of the movie was rueful. Alicia Silverstone won the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress. For those who don’t know the Golden Raspberry (or the Razzie’s) is an awards organisation for the worst movies of the year. Other nominations at the Razzie Awards included Schumacher (Worst Director), George Clooney and Chris O’Donnell (Worst Screen Couple), Akiva Goldsman (Worst Screenplay), both Chris O’Donnell and Arnold Schwarzenegger (Worst Supporting Actor), Uma Thurman (Worst Supporting Actress), and Billy Corgan (Worst Song for “The End Is the Beginning Is the End”). Batman & Robin also received nominations for Worst Picture, Worst Remake or Sequel and Worst Reckless Disregard for Human Life and Public Property. Ultimately, out of 11 nominations, this movie garnered only one Razzie Award, a disappointing feat in it’s own right. Clooney said himself, that he might have killed the franchise and that Batman & Robin was a waste of money.

1.5 Stars

Batman & Robin is available on DVD and BluRay and can also be bought in a Batman Anthology with the other three “80′s & 90′s” Batman Films (Batman, Batman Returns and Batman Forever).

Batman Forever – Review

PART THREE: Batman Forever

Directed By: Joel Schumacher

Written By: Bob Kane, Lee Batchler, Janet Scott Batchler and Akiva Goldsman

Starring: Val Kilmer, Jim Carey, Tommy-Lee Jones, Chris O’Donnell, Michael Gough and Nicole Kidman

Gross: $336,531,112 (Worldwide)

Production Co: Warner Bros. Pictures

Release Date: 29 June 1995(Australia)

Runtime: 121 min

The critic on the back of the DVD of Batman Forever is quoted in saying “The Best ‘Batman’ Yet”… Maybe they put it on the back of the wrong movie? Batman Forever picks up a few years after Batman Returns, the city is now over run with criminals of all shapes and sizes. Now, Batman must battle Two-Face and The Riddler with help of an amourous psychologist and a young circus acrobat who becomes his sidekick, Robin.

Although this film is good in it’s own way and enjoyable, it sadly lacks the qualities that the original films had and I’d say that one of the main qualities was Tim Burton at the helm as director. Schumacher transforms Burton’s Noir-Expressionistic world into a rave-meets-gothic-architecture-type Gotham City. However that’s not the only down point… Although the acting was good from Jim Carey and Tommy-Lee Jones (Riddler and Two-Face respectively)(You maybe thinking ‘but Harvey Dent was in Batman and he was played by Billy Dee Williams’, and you’d be right, you have one man to blame for this… Joel Schmacher (I blame him a lot) Billy Dee Williams was very ready and excited to play Two-Face however Schmacher decided after working with Jones on The Client, replaced the one and only Lando Calrissian… Shame Schumacher, Shame) the characters they played were below par. The dialogue was to stilted and fake and lets not get into the one-liners that start cropping up and end up being (pretty much) the entire script in the next film.

Warner Bros. wanted to make this film more main stream because Batman Returns was not the box-office success they hoped for and because of this decision and a few others i.e. removing Burton almost completely and telling Schumacher what to film, the movie despite a decent box-office taking (making it the second highest of 1995, Toy Story taking the top spot) received mixed reviews and in my opinion while had some good points was not overly fantastic.

2 Stars

Batman Forever is available on DVD and BluRay and can also be bought in a Batman Anthology with the other three “80′s & 90′s” Batman Films (Batman, Batman Returns, Batman & Robin).