Batman & Robin: A Comical Cinematic Masterpiece

Bat Family

For most DC fans, Batman & Robin is ranked among the worst DC films ever made. For other film fans, Batman & Robin is considered the worst film of all time. I am here to paint the film in a new light. When I first saw this film I was seven years old. I convinced my aunt to take my brother, my cousin, and I to see this film instead of Men in Black. Much to my brother and my cousin’s chagrin, we went to watch the film. I thought it was fantastic and remember running around the store after the film punching paper towels screaming, “I’m Batman!” I have recently rewatched the film with my nephew, who loves Batman, and it still holds up. Although, as an adult, I see the film for what it truly is: a comedy. In many ways its the most “Batman” Batman film we have ever had. And here’s why:

Beware as there will be mild SPOILERS below!

Batman Wasn’t A Solo Act

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What issue does Hollywood have against Robin? Ever since Batman & Robin was released in 1997 we have not had a true Robin appear in film. The Dark Knight Trilogy gave us a Batman origin story where there is NO Robin (I’m talking to you Joseph Gordon-Levitt!) and the DCEU’s version of Batman is older and has at least one dead Robin. This is revealed to be Jason Todd in Suicide Squad, so maybe he’ll pop up later if Matt Reeves gives us an adaptation of “Under the Red Hood”. All that aside, both of Joel Schumacher’s Batman films managed to not only squeeze in the character of Dick Grayson, but make him an integral part of the plot. He first appeared in Batman Forever where his family is killed and he is taken in by Bruce Wayne. Eventually, he becomes Robin and works with Batman to avenge his family. Then, he appears again in Batman & Robin, where he is tired of being in Batman’s shadow and is looking to move from sidekick to full-fledged partner. In these films, the dynamic duo behave as if they are brothers. They fight like brothers, argue like brothers, and have each other’s back like brothers. Also, in this adaptation we see another one of Batman’s partners, Batgirl, on screen for the first and last time. Perhaps, Joss Whedon can change that with his upcoming film, Batgirl, if it ever enters production.

Batman Had All The Gadgets

Skates

Batman carries a utility belt for a reason. Also, his suit is modified with all kinds of precautions to either keep him safe or to stop people from unmasking him. In Batman & Robin, we see a variety of gadgets in use, from lasers to video recorders to ice skates to — credit cards. The Batsuit in this film was pretty much a proto Iron Man suit, but with a better design. People say that the ice skates were a bit too much, but why is that so? This film exemplified Batman’s moniker as the World’s Greatest Detective, because he was always prepared. Batman knew all there was to know about Victor Fries and his motivations. Batman knew that if he had to battle Victor, then it would make sense to have his and Robin’s costumes outfitted with skates, lasers, etc. In the end, every gadget used in the film was worth having.

Bat Nipples

Hercules

The Bat-nipples get way too much flack. Nobody cared in previous films when the Batsuit had abs. Superheroes are meant to be in perfect shape and good looking. Hence, why George Clooney was cast as Bruce Wayne. When Joel Schumacher was making Batman & Robin he wanted them to look like Greek Gods! Therefore, he had their costumesBatman modeled after the ancient Greek sculptures. On screen they looked like action figures brought to life. Also, I have to say that it worked because Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Poison Ivy, and Mr. Freeze all looked either very imposing or very sexual in the film. The muscles on their suits alone made them look bigger than the henchmen and the cops that they fought against, respectively. Christian Bale’s Batman, while an excellent interpretation, was not very imposing on screen. Yes, we have seen in Ben Affleck’s interpretation of The Dark Knight that Batman can be be large without looking like he was carved from marble. But the outfit in Batman & Robin, like the film itself, was very much a product of it’s time.

It’s A Comedy

Now onto my original point. Batman & Robin is a comedy. The film was meant to parody the mythology of Batman as well as pay homage to the original Adam West series. The only thing it was missing was a few BAM, POW, and WHAM symbols during the fight sequences. From Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ice-themed puns, to Uma Thurman’s seductive dance number, I don’t see how people can’t help but laugh and enjoy the film. I can agree that Batman & Robin may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is in no way a bad film and is definitely not the worst film of all time… that honor belongs to The Last Airbender! Batman & Robin is just a different interpretation of a character that we all love and enjoy. Currently, we have an awesome, older, gritty take on Batman in the DCEU, and hopefully a great new solo story on the way with The Batman. But, I implore you readers to go back and enjoy Batman & Robin for the comedy that it is. And remember, if the film had been a critical as well as a box office success, then all future Batman films would have been modeled after it. Meaning that we would not have received Christopher Nolan’s Academy Award winning The Dark Knight Trilogy or Zack Snyder’s and Ben Affleck’s interpretation as seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Now give the film another try and let me know what you think in your comments below.

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Bond 25: Why Christopher Nolan Is The Director We Deserve And Need Right Now!

 

Nolan IMAXChristopher Nolan is what we would call a triple threat. He is an amazing writer, producer, and director. Looking at most of the films he’s been involved with over the past 15 years, all have received praise from both the critics and the fans. His movies are considered instant classics or cult classics. Bringing Nolan on to direct the next film in the James Bond franchise is, without a doubt, a slam-dunk. What Sam Mendes did with Skyfall and Spectre was great, but it is time to get a fresh take on the gentleman spy. Hiring Nolan to direct Bond 25 would benefit his career, the studios, and of course, the many fans of the series.

His Film Portfolio

Nolan TDKRChristopher Nolan has directed some great films. Both the critics and the fans enjoy his films. While some of his themes are consistent throughout his films, the films themselves are very different. He likes to work in various genres and time periods within the films he writes and directs. He started with the psychological thrillers: Memento and Insomnia. Then, he moved into the superhero genre, with The Dark Knight Trilogy, where Heath Ledger won his posthumous Academy Award for best supporting actor. Nolan had a mystery thriller in The Prestige, and then he ventured into the sci-fi realm with Inception and Interstellar. His most recent film, Dunkirk, was his first stab at a war film. A British spy film would be something new for him, and we now know that it’s something he is interested in doing, based on his interview with Playboy.

“A Bond movie, definitely…I’ve spoken to the producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson over the years. I deeply love the character, and I’m always excited to see what they do with it. Maybe one day that would work out. You’d have to be needed, if you know what I mean. It has to need reinvention; it has to need you. And they’re getting along very well.”

Academy Awards & Box Office

Nolan’s nine films have garnered a total of 26 Oscar nominations with seven wins. The Dark Knight won an academy award for best supporting actor, and best sound editing, but many thought it should have also won best picture at the 81st Academy Awards. Inception won big at the 83rd Academy Awards, taking home Oscars in the categories of cinematography, sound editing, sound mixing, and visual effects. Lastly, Interstellar took home an Academy Award for best visual effects at the 87th Academy Awards. His films have also grossed over $4.2 billion USD worldwide. He has yet to experience a “box office flop,” and at the rate he’s going, it doesn’t look like he ever will.

His Rotten Tomatoes Scores

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Speaking of critical praise, all of the films that Christopher Nolan has written or directed are certified “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes. Clearly, he knows how to speak to both critics and fans, as there is seems to be no disconnect between the groups on rating his films. The studio needs a director like that to carry on the James Bond franchise. Many moviegoers consider a film’s score on Rotten Tomatoes before deciding to go see it in theaters. Having a director like Christopher Nolan attached to a 007 film almost guarantees a large quantity of people will go see it.

The Daniel Craig Curse

Daniel Craig is universally loved as the best James Bond since Sean Connery. Yet, his 007 films have a strange pattern of approval in that every other film is not well received. When Casino Royale came out, everyone had high praise for the film and was excited about the new franchise, but when Quantum of Solace hit theaters, it was met with lukewarm reviews. The next film in the franchise, Skyfall, hit big, being the first of the 007 films to make over $1 billion USD. The latest film, Spectre, even though it made a lot of money, unfortunately, did not hit the billion-dollar mark, and was considered unable to capitalize on its potential. If the series continues with this trend, then Bond 25 should be a well-received film. Nolan would join the franchise during the trend’s upswing, gaining more attention from superstitious fans that have been following this well-known pattern in the series.

Hopefully, Christopher Nolan will decide to make Bond 25 his next film. It will be a change for him to take on a franchise that he did not start, but I believe he could handle it. Each new film in the series is a new mission, so even though Nolan would have to adhere to some of the continuity that was set up in the previous films, he has a lot of wiggle room to make it his own. I’m sure he would want to be involved in the writing of the script to make sure some of his ideas and themes are expressed. Also, I think he would add some of his regulars, including Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, and Michael Caine, to the already stellar cast of the current franchise.

What are your thoughts on Christopher Nolan directing a James Bond film? Leave your thoughts below.

‘Dunkirk’ Review

 

dunkirk-poster-600x889I am a big fan of Christopher Nolan. The films that he writes and directs are usually different and amazing. When I found out he wanted to make his passion project, Dunkirk, I was excited. We had never seen him do a war film before and I wanted to know what kind of expertise and gravitas he would bring to a film of this nature. After seeing the first trailer, I was not very impressed but hoped the film would be more interesting. I have now seen the film, and while it’s not a terrible film, I do not think it is up to par with Christopher Nolan’s previous films. Nor do I think it is the greatest war film of all time. The film is about the evacuation of the Allied soldiers that were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, France during World War II. The film is also told from three perspectives and in a non-linear fashion. From the land, we follow a young British private named Tommy as he tries to escape the beaches of Dunkirk. From the air, we follow two RAF pilots, Farrier and Collins, as they take down enemy planes. And from the sea, we follow Mr. Dawson, his son Peter, and Peter’s friend George as they sail to Dunkirk to ferry soldiers home to safety. The non-linear aspect of this film was a tad confusing as you are not told when you are switching from one perspective to the next. Therefore it is hard to grasp a sense of time. I feel if it were clearer when we were switching perspectives, or if each perspective were told separately, the film would have made more sense throughout. The cinematography and use of practical effects did add a realism to this film that most war films lack. The acting was fine and there were great moments of suspense, however, there was little dialogue. I understand that aspect of the film was by design, as Nolan wanted fans to focus on the situations that the characters were in, instead of what they were saying. Yet, I felt that it backfired as I hardly cared about the characters in the film because I didn’t really get to know any of them. Towards the end some light gets shed on the motivations of a few of the characters, but nothing more. Christopher Nolan cast great actors such as Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, and Cillian Murphy to play the roles in this film. Yet, every actor I recognized felt like a glorified cameo. Another setback for me was the film’s score. I was expecting an exciting sound from the composer, Hans Zimmer, but the music was rather dull and bleak. It did appropriately reflect the situation the soldiers were in, but it didn’t really change during the heroic moments. I give Dunkirk a Normal 6/10. I’m happy Christopher Nolan tried something different, but now its time for him to get back into filming something exhilarating and fun. Perhaps something like Bond 25.

‘Man of Steel’ mini Review

 

If I can be honest, I was not as blown away as I thought I would have been. It wasn’t a bad movie, I just felt like I needed more. I feel the sequel will satisfy my hunger better. I give Man of Steel a Decent 8/10 because even if he didn’t have the red underwear the color red should have been emphasized more in that region.

*Update Oct.12.17* After many repeated viewings of Man of Steel I have grown to love this extraepic™ film. At this time I would rate it an Excellent 10/10!

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Review

 

When you have something that is way better than ordinary, blows everything out of the water, is a real game-changer, then you have something extraordinary! Now, The Dark Knight for me was epic. It was a great masterpiece that changed the game for moviegoers everywhere. Nothing was thought to ever surpass it. That was until The Dark Knight Rises hit theaters. It went so far beyond what The Dark Knight did that I could only think of one word to describe it and I had to make it up. The Dark Knight Rises was extraepic™! It blew my mind away at every turn. Christopher Nolan has done a great job in creating one of the best trilogies to ever exist in cinema. The film tells the story of Bruce Wayne eight years after the events of The Dark Knight. He has become a recluse, caging himself up in Wayne Manor and refusing to go out into the world. Gotham has become a relatively crime-free place since the incorporation of the Dent Act. This peace obviously does not last much longer as the city hopefully expects. As it turns out a mercenary called Bane, who has taken over The League of Shadows after Ra’s al Ghul’s death, comes with a plan to destroy Gotham once and for all. Bruce also becomes entangled with a mysterious cat burglar named Selina Kyle who in a way helps him out of his reclusiveness. To save Gotham Bruce must put back on his cape and cowl and become Batman once again. The film brings back stars Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Gary Oldman along with newcomers Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, and Anne Hathaway. Christian Bale was absolutely great this time around as Bruce Wayne/Batman. His acting was superb; flowing with the feeling and commitment that I thought was lacking in the previous installments. Michael Cain had a little less screen time this time around with Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman getting about the same amount of screen time as in the previous films.  Like with Nolan’s previous casting of his villains I was a little hesitant of Tom Hardy as Bane and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. Though after watching I was blown away by their performances. Anne Hathaway did a great job playing Selina Kyle/Catwoman (although she is never actually called Catwoman). Nolan using a less crazy cat lady approach to the character and more of a realistic cat burglar feel. Also Tom Hardy is just great as Bane. I had to see the film twice so I could fully enjoy his acting. With the mask covering most of his face he had to do a great job in showing his emotion; which is seen when looking into his eyes. For me, this was the perfect end to the perfect series. It had great acting, great action, and a great story as well. Here’s to hoping they don’t reboot the series for a very long time. I give The Dark Knight Rises an Excellent 10/10!