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Re-booting the Superheroes

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Re-booting the Superheroes Empty Re-booting the Superheroes

Post by Thomond on Wed 05 Sep 2012, 4:19 pm

Courtesy of Jim Bryant

A week ago, the news broke that Batman was going to be re-booted on film yet again. Starting with the proposed Justice League of America movie, the character will be given a fresh take by an as yet un-named director (although Ben Affleck is, thankfully for some, out of the frame). The internet erupted with various opinions: Christopher Nolan’s final Bat-film is still in the cinemas; his trilogy is still close to our hearts; it’s the most perfect adaptation of a comic-book; and various other things. There was a similiar, if lesser reaction to Marc Webb’s rebooted Spiderman film starring Andrew Garfield. Perhaps people were remembering emo-Peter Parker from the final Sam Raimi effort and thinking that, however soon, a rethinking was required for this one. Who can say? Whatever the reaction, superheroes are hot property in the cinema at the moment and rebirths are a byproduct of this. This is, in my humble opinion, a good thing.

Take Batman as a prime example. Ignoring the Bat-Exploding-Shark-Repellent sixties version and starting in 1989, audiences were treated to Tim Burton’s dark vision of the Dark Knight; highly stylised and immensely watchable, it went a long way to repopularising the character and certain elements from the film started cropping up in the comics. This then, somehow, morphed into the neon-punk vision of Joel Schumacher. We were perhaps only a few steps off Bat-Exploding-Shark-Repellent again. The disaster that was ‘Batman & Robin’, not only the worst ever Batman film, but a candidate for worst film of all time, brought the franchise crashing to a hault and begging for its life on screen. Nolan’s vision of Batman, ultra-real and even darker than Burton, will go down in history as one of the greatest on-screen trilogies and demonstrated a belief that audiences would still turn up for complex stories and well conceived, believable characters within their summer blockbusters. As you can tell, my favourite on-screen interpretation is Nolan’s, however I’ve met people who have preferred Burton and, shockingly, more than one person who really likes ‘Batman & Robin’. Sigh... The point is, it’s all relative to the individual audience member. As it should be.

In the same time period as the films mentioned above, Batman has gone through numerous changes in the comics. There are a wide variety of different interpretations running simultaneously. Batman’s died (actually he didn’t), been resurrected (see the previous point), started up Batman Incorporated (this one happened) and starred in a well received spin-off collaboration with Bat-Gerbil (coming soon to all good comic book and pet shops). There have also been a multitude of cartoon series, most of which have been excellent. Batman is, as are all superhero/comic book characters, a template with which to work and something that all writers can put their own stamp on.

Similar to the Batman screen story is ‘The Amazing Spiderman’; it was a new take on the character. However, there was a bit of a backlash towards the new Spidey yarn on its release as it was, at times perhaps, too similar to the Raimi films. For my money, Andrew Garfield is a much more impressive Peter Parker and the film itself, while not perfect, captured more of the dark heart thats been in some of his printed adventures recently. Most importantly, however, there were no evil side-partings venemous space aliens that somehow led to dirty dancing and general rudeness. The importance of a good barber is clearly the key to the Marvel universe. Just ask Wolverine.

If you’re not a fan of comic books, and there’s absolutely no reason you should be to enjoy these films, then all of this might be a bit bewildering. Why continue to revisit the same characters again and again? I’ll skip over the inevitable money-led argument (which has its place), and concentrate on what I’ve hinted at before; for every well written character in traditional literature, there is another that started life as a comic book character. Batman is a psychological mess, with multiple personality disorder, a lot of money and a good line in black eye makeup. Superman; an orphaned boy, destined to spend his existence trying to fit in despite extraordinary abilities that make him an outsider. Captain America; a man out of time, who believes in a way of life that no longer exists. Booster Gold; a guy from the future who stole some power bands from a museum and then came back in time. OK, it doesn’t work for all of them.

Rest will up on the journal in around 10/15 minutes


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Post by Morgannwg on Thu 11 Oct 2012, 9:13 pm

Batman and Robin was fairly good. Whoever read it must have it confused with Batman Forever. Burton's Batman films were immense as were the characters and the actors who played them. All spot on in my opinion.

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Post by Enforcer on Tue 30 Oct 2012, 1:00 pm

I don't think he has Morg, Batman Forver is decent is a downgrade on the previous Burton films. However, Batman & Robin is considered by the majority of people to be the worst Batman film - and for me one of the worst big budget films made.

George Clooney was terribly cast as Batman, Arnie was terrible and Bane was turned from a great character to a joke. The only saving grace for me when I saw it years ago was the fact that Alicia Silverstone was in it. She is also the only reason I would consider watching again.


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