Let’s face it: nobody really gives a damn about Batman.
Archive for The Joker
The Dark Knight Trilogy is a big, epic set of movies with big, epic themes. For all the talk about them being darker and more realistic than your average superhero film, they actually have the same scope as a lot of epic fantasy tales, with battles between pure good and fell evil and the fate of an entire city in the balance. With such big action and high stakes, the films have some large themes and symbols behind them. In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne crafts Batman as a symbol that is, “Something elemental, something terrifying.” Today we’re looking at some of that elemental imagery and how it runs throughout the films.
I was going to post a long, rambling review of The Dark Knight Rises. However, after doing some thinking about not only that movie but the three Christopher Nolan-directed Batman films together, I’ve decided that there is too much there to touch on in one post. So instead I’ll break my review down to three words:
It was awesome.
I will go further to say that The Dark Knight Trilogy is probably the best film trilogy I’ve seen. The movies themselves have their flaws, but they’re good enough overall to get people to overlook those flaws. And in terms of being consistently awesome, I don’t think there’s another film franchise that approaches it. The Star Wars Trilogy was excellent, but the first movie is, in my opinion, a weak link that doesn’t stand well alone. The Lord of the Rings movies are awesome throughout, but do drag near the end. The other most consistently good trilogy I can think of is Back to the Future, but even that has a dip in quality between the first and second movies. By comparison, these Batman movies are very consistent throughout, each tying into the previous film and building a final product that is a masterpiece of cinema.
With that in mind, I’m going to take this week to geek out about The Dark Knight Trilogy and its overall themes. And there is no better place to start than looking at the theme of symbolism.
(Warning: Spoilers for all three movies follow.) Continue reading
When it comes to comic adaptations, the DC Animated Universe (DCAU) is pretty much the cream of the crop. Running for over a decade, the shared universe included Batman: the Animated Series, Superman: the Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and the various tie-in movies and comics that connected to them. While the animated series aren’t comics, I think they’re awesome enough to deserve a list of Crowning Moments of Awesome all their own.
Comic book deaths are a punchline these days. A few years ago when Captain America died, no one expected the death to last more than two years, even though Marvel swore up and down that it would stick (sort of like how Spider-Man unmasking during Civil War was supposed to stick and not get retconned away thanks to a deal with the Devil). Despite the fact that a comic book death currently translates into little more than a cheap sales gimmick, there have still been some really good ones over the years. Even if they didn’t stick, they were chilling, touching, or otherwise hugely influential. What follows is my totally biased opinion of the best deaths comics has had to offer.
Possibly the greatest tag team of all time, Mr. T and Hulk Hogan up in Wrestlemania I. They also individually whupped Rocky Balboa’s ass (I never bother watching past the first half hour of Rocky III…it’s not like there’s any way he can possibly take down Clubber Lang). In honor of their general badassery, I’m yanking the “Taking on all comers” format I’ve used elsewhere and applying it to the tag team arena. There will be ten rounds, with each fighter or pair of fighters taking on these two. We’ll see if anyone can take down this titanic pair.
This rant is going to need some explanation, lest I look like a hypocrite.
Previously, I asserted that certain people are too sensitive to the treatment of women in comic books. I still believe that women or men receive more or less equal treatment in most comic books. I do acknowledge that there are exceptions among certain creators, though.
In browsing the Internet, I found a pretty well-written discussion about writer and artist John Byrne’s treatment of women in mainstream comics over the years. As Mr. Byrne is a very well-traveled individual in the industry, I’ve read quite a few issues of his work myself, and I can honestly say that the site linked above goes pretty easy on him. Byrne’s comics tend to be filled with women who are demeaned, battered, killed, and tortured. He seems to have a particular thing for pregnant women; they often get some of the worst treatment.
One of my favorite songs of all time is “Mack the Knife,” which Kevin Spacey was nice enough to sing when he was pretending to be Bobby Darin in Beyond the Sea. I originally tried putting that rendition of the song to the Batman Beyond movie Return of the Joker, but I couldn’t seem to get the music and animation to mesh. As it turns out, it works much better with the dirtier-looking and downright scary Joker portrayed by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. So viola: “Mack the Knife” joins The Dark Knight in a video that might not be everyone’s taste, but which I am overall quite proud of.
Okay, it’s not 100% from The Dark Knight; only about 99%. The very last laugh comes from Mark Hammill’s Joker from Batman: the Animated Series, because I love Mark Hamill’s Joker even more than Heath Ledger’s.
Fun fact: the guy that the Joker is threatening with a knife in the image above is Patrick Leahy, a big Batman fan who got The Dark Knight screened in Vermont before its premier. And while his Internet censorship bill he proposed recently has me wanting to imitate the Joker a bit, he seems like a pretty swell guy overall. Click on the Joker threatening to knife my favorite senator to download the video.
Superhero movies are the big thing right now in Hollywood. Since X-Men came out in 2000 and made a boatload of cash, studios have been buying up comic books right and left. Some of these, such as Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the revamped Batman franchise, have been great. Many of them, such as Daredevil, Punisher: War Zone, and the third installments of both the X-Men and Spider-Man franchises, have been creative wastelands. No matter what, though, the films keep making money, so the trend marches on. Continue reading
This video combined Three Doors Down’s “Kryptonite” with Cartoon Network’s Justice League cartoon (first two seasons, before it became Justice League Unlimited). Unfortunately, because I didn’t have all the clips I needed, there is no actual kryptonite in the video. Ah well.
I also wound up putting the opening title card on a second time at the end instead of the usual ending title card, which I guess works out now that the Screamsheet is moving on over to WordPress and all.
You’ll have to download the video by clicking the image above, as this video again falls into YouTube’s frustratingly inconsistent policing policies. The song is available in many forms on YouTube, including in music videos, and the episodes featured here can be found in full over on YouTube. Someday, I’m sure somebody will explain to me the fine details of their policies. I just hope the explanation doesn’t involve blind lobotomized monkeys like I think it does.