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About EdExley

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  1. EdExley

    Episode 70: BATMAN v SUPERMAN

    A repeat of my post from BMD... it’s always going to be Superman for the win with me, which I'll point out here was released in 1978, mere months after I was released, not '79 as per the poll. I’m a Batman admirer, but I think Returns is the better of the Burton movies. Some random observations on Batman: I love the animated, overhead shoot of Batman at the start of the movie. It’s the only shot were he moves right, and seems like the animated series Batman was on set for a moment. Some hate it because it’s ‘fake looking’ – typically braindead philistines who say older movies are ‘ruined’ by dated effects. It’s also evocative of that Universal feel that Devin talked about. I love that Lee Wallace, the unfortunate mayor of Taking of Pelhem 123 (“Hey, it’s the Mayor – Boooooo!”) is still an unfortunate mayor more than ten years later. For those who weren’t there, it cannot be understated how big a cultural moment Batman 89 was in general, and for geeks in particular. It didn’t stop us getting beaten up for reading comics, but it was the first sign of something like light at the end of the tunnel. I was steeped in this movie waiting for release – I had a scrap book of newspaper articles, and afterwards called into the local video store ON THE HOUR on the day of release until their copy came in. I also devoured the comic adaption well before release, which was probably the first time I’d read a story before seeing the movie. It really exposed what elements Burton managed to pull off, and what didn’t work so well. The Dead Flower scene is an example - it worked so well for me as a reader that I was disappointed with how it ended up on screen. So while I was psyched for the movie, I was disappointed by certain elements. This, Batjihadis, is known as ‘critical thinking’ and I was the same age then as you are now – eleven. I agree with Devin about the irritation that was Bob the Goon toys at the time, but I love knowing now that Tracey Walter was Nicolson’s best pal. He was given a part so Jack would have a buddy with him while shooting in England. The scenes between them are even funnier with that in mind. Shoutout to Nick Dudman, a true gent, for his awesome work on the Joker makeup! But Superman The Movie is, and remains, king of the superhero movies (Captain America and The Avengers are my strong seconds). I could go on about it forever, but you guys touched on most of it. Some more random thoughts: The movie doesn’t open in space, it opens in a theatre. Curtains open on a comic book. We see the Daily Planet, which is the device that TAKES US into space. It’s as if to say, this may be a performance, it may be comic book, but we’re reporting the TRUTH. After the sublime John Williams overture-disguised-as-credits assure you you’re in for something truly epic, Jor-El’s opening lines reinforce the opening point: “This is no fantasy, no careless product of wild imagination. No, my good friends. These indictments I have brought you today, specific charges listed herein against the individuals - their acts of treason, their ultimate aim of sedition... These are matters of undeniable fact.” He's both setting up plot and emphasising the magical realism of the movie (Note to BvS producers – this is what we call SCREENWRITING) I love the twelve-year gap, when El’s Kal and Jor go… where? Hyperspace? Time travel? Transcend dimensions? Become Stapleton’s Starmaker? Meet Doctor Strange and Howard the Duck? Is Clark really just sitting cross-legged on the floor of the Fortress, tripping balls to awesome Kryptonian mushrooms? I don’t know, which makes it all the more evocative. Whatever is happens, Superman emerges fully formed, ready for his first day on the job (yes, that is an MOS dig). I like Lex here a lot more than Devin, but I’m not a huge fan of the Pre-Crisis Lex in general, so I think some of the problems come from that. I think if Donner had the option of the untouchable billionaire dipshit version, he and Hackman would have killed it. But as is, he’s such fun-yet-catastrophically murderous psychopath (his plan puts all Joker-plans to shame) that I can forgive the short comings. The movie doesn’t fall apart for me until the end, for the reasons stated in the show – the end of Superman The Movie was supposed to be end of Part Two. It was buckled on to One when Donner realised he didn’t have a strong enough ending (it’s a BIG idea, if a bad one) and since he may have known he was about to get the sack, he took the best ending he had for his movie. But yes, it breaks the character. Kudos to Amy re the romance elements – again, these have been kicked around by ‘duh fans’ (god I’m starting to hate these fucks, while still being one of them…) but it’s beautifully done. Also, one final shout out to the mighty John Williams and Danny Elfman - superhero movies have never sounded as good since. While I think that music should naturally pair with these characters like James Bond and his theme, I’m glad they’re not being used over the current crop of DC dogshit. Hopefully a filmmaker who actually likes these characters can resuscitate them and their wonderful melodies soon…