Posts Tagged ‘christopher nolan’

How could something so beautiful end so horribly?

How could something so beautiful end so horribly?

Bats, it’s been a good run. We really need to look back over the years and understand where we started and where we have arrived. Back then…we were young, you only 50 and me only 2. I mean, I knew there was an age difference. People said we couldn’t be together, that I was ‘too young for you’. But that didn’t stop me stealing your VHS-card and spending a heavenly two hours cuddled up next to you in my basement. My love for you scared me. You also scared me. Literally scared me. No joke, that part where Jack Nicholson falls in the big vat of green stuff made me terrified of pea soup forever more. Fucking terrifying.

Now, I will admit, we’ve had our ups and downs. You had that weird period in the 90s where you experimented way too much. I don’t think we’ll ever be able to forget the atrocities of Bane and Poison Ivy. But…I forgave you. There was nothing you could do. I mean, with a man like Joel Schumacher forcing you to do things…unspeakable things. I’m sorry. At least…at least we had the Animated Series. That was a constant. A perfect, unending stream of adoration to which I could cling, my anchor in the storm, my kiss from a rose on the gray. We went through so much, you and I. I could never leave behind Batman Returns…how could I not love you for that? Clowns? Danny Devito? Michelle Pfiffer in a skin-tight suit? You gave me Christopher Walken in a bow-tie. What more could a girl wish for?

But then you were gone. I should have left you. They told me there was no way to return from George Clooney…no way to escape the gravitational force of Chris O’Donnell’s and Alicia Silverstone’s tanking careers. I let you go. I removed you from my life. Yes, I will admit, on stormy nights I’d curl up with the box sets of the Animated Series and cry for the days of yore. The days when we were happy. BEFORE Jim Carrey in a green lycra suit.

Then, one day, you came back, from outer space and you found me here with this sad look upon my face. Out of all the movieplex’s in all the world, you had to stroll into mine. You were different; you were new. You had a new man. Chris Nolan and Chris Bale were at your side and you had changed for the better. You seemed happy, in between the horrendously depressing storytelling. You showed me wonders…the Scarecrow, Heath Ledger, Bane’s stupid fucking voice. It was a beautiful dream from which I never wished to wake. And, with the ending of the trilogy, I knew it was over once more. It never could last. No matter how much I begged. So I cried. I let you go. I went through every stage of Bat-grief, from Bat-Denial (“they’ll make another!”) to Bat-Anger (“Fuck you! You can’t leave me!”) to Bat-Bargaining (“I’ll give you anything you want. I’ll even let JGL be Robin! Please!”) to Bat-pression (liquor bottles everywhere, “remember Batman and Robin? I want to die”) to finally Bat-ceptance (“At least Zack Snyder never made a Batman movie!”).

And now this. This. You come to me with this? Talk about the straw that broke the camel’s back. And by straw, I mean Ben Affleck (“Don’t put me on that camel, you quee-ah!”). You came back into my life, after I accepted you were gone…WITH THIS? Who the fuck do you think you are? Come on. I could handle Burton. I liked Nolan. I even forgave you for Joel “Phantom of My Anus-Opera” Schumacher. But ZACK SNYDER? Do you know how he’ll treat you? Did you even see Man of Steel? You don’t need me to tell you this is mistake. You think you’re happy with your $200 million dollar budget and your Frank Miller based script. But you’re not. Snyder will change you. He’ll make you a monster. Affleck is only the beginning. Sure, you think, “Argo was great!”. DID YOU EVER WATCH REINDEER GAMES?

This is your new man? What is wrong with you, Bats? Why do you hate yourself?

This is your new man? What is wrong with you, Bats? Why do you hate yourself?

So, my love, this is the end. It’s over. I can never expect to get you back. I’ll see your Batman vs. Superman: Big Swinging Dongs Edition. And I’ll hate myself for it. But, I suppose, I’ve let you go. It’s over. It’s time for you to move on and make your own choices. Who am I to accuse your new boyfriend of suffering from acute dick-in-the-ear? Who am I to say that Affleck is a flabby has-been who is only truly talented when behind the camera. People said the same thing about Keaton. Sort of.

I’m saying it because it’s true. Inside of us, we both know you belong with Snyder. You’re part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that franchise leaves the ground and you’re not with him to make The Justice League, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life.

We’ll always have The Animated Series. We didn’t have it, we’d lost it, until you came back to Batman Begins. We got it back last Dark Knight.

Batman, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of kryptonite in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.

Here’s looking at you, Bats.

It's over. For real this time.

It’s over. For reals this time.

[He takes off into the night, his iconic bat joining with Superman’s S, a symbol of hope and future. I watch him go in silence, knowing what I’ve lost. I turn to Joss Whedon and The Avengers at my side.]

Avengers, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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Man of Steel (2013) – Zack Snyder (Dir.), Henry “The Howitzer Show” Cavill, Amy “More Pantsuit Than a Hilary Clinton Cosplay Convention” Adams, Michael “I’M NOT YELLING, THIS IS THE WAY I TALK” Shannon, Russell “Fuck That Guy” Crowe, Diane “Silver Fox” Lane, Kevin “The Silverier Foxier, Well More of a Possum” Kostner and Laurence Fishburne.

It seems as though Snyder signed up for JJ Abrams's master class, "Lens Flare and You: How to Give Your Audience Epilepsy"

It seems as though Snyder signed up for JJ Abrams’s master class, “Lens Flare and You: How to Give Your Audience Epilepsy”

Here we are. Finally Chicago has figured out it’s insufferable mood swings and delivered us some weather worthy of the word ‘Summer’. And, as every Chicagoan is like to do, I have begun complaining about the heat and the sweat-where-sweat-shouldn’t-be almost immediately. So, instead of delving into my fickle meteorological tastes, let’s complain about something else. As the perturbed (and probably pretty drunk) carnie says, “Oh look, another fucking tentpole”. Yes! Tis the season for a metaphorical filmic circus. What kind of tentpole is Man of Steel? Is it the big ring? The freak hut? Where they store the elephant dung? Keep reading, because the answer might surprise you!

Or the answer might not! It probably won’t. Let’s get that out of the way. This movie was quite safely on the “Movies I will See and Hate Myself” list for good reason. For every excellent sign of its quality, there was an equal and opposite red flag. This thing is the Newton’s Third Law of films. Every point counting in its favor has an exact opposite measure pulling it inexorably into the harsh no man’s land of bland BS. It becomes the worst possible thing a summer blockbuster can be: boring.

Alright, the basics. Our director treats us to an absurdly overlong prologue in which we learn far more about Kryptonian politics than anyone has ever wanted. Jor-El (Russell “The Muscle” Crowe) and his wife Lara give birth to the only naturally born Kryptonian in hundreds of years (well, the wife gives birth, he just creepily watches. Because, you know, Russell Crowe). Oh, and the world is falling apart due to energy harvesting. Oh, and it’s also apparently Pandora after the humans win in Avatar 2 and strip it of all its resources. Oh, and there’s a council with more funny hats than a Tarsem hat-a-thon. Then, Michael Shannon enters, without any insane yelling or creepy laughs, as the curiously monikered ‘Zod’. He, in the essence of some kind of space Hitler, wants to eradicate the weaker Kryptonian bloodlines by way of a thing called a Codex…a knock off of the Crystal Skull that can be read by a computer with…um… And there’s a fight… And he’s arrested or…uh…well…

I imagine this is the contraption Dick Cheney uses to suck the youth out of virgins.

I imagine this is the contraption Dick Cheney uses to suck the youth out of virgins.

Bored yet? That’s only the first twenty fucking minutes. In all seriousness, there seems to have been a great effort to realize Krypton to the fullest degree, from the organic Dune-esque costume design to a Game of Thrones-ian definition of the Krypton Houses. I have no doubt that one day a Krypton Wiki will find its way into existence and we’ll be able to examine every inch and frame of the homeworld in the way that only single people who are more connected to their ISP than to any other hum-on beings can do so. Here’s the problem: everything gets fucking destroyed. All of that detail is adorable and all…but we are fine with it in the background and not chewing up precious screen time. The kicker is that the entire prologue is retold by Russell Crowe in a later scene. It was reminiscent of the infamous “Underwears” story from Tommy Wiseau’s shitter-piece The Room. But I’ll return to that gripe later.

The rest of this 2.5 hour behemoth follows the more-ripped-than-my-curtains-after-pissing-off-my-cat Henry Cavill as the titular Man of Really Difficult to Kill Stuff. He wanders through this feature a removed observer, keeping his cool better than a bored jedi. By way of increasingly redundant flashbacks, we get to see the man find his way through these powers that, at first, scare the ever loving shit out of him. Finally, he finds an old ship haunted by the electronic ghost of Russell Crowe (who found the wrong end of a sword when Michael Shannon fulfilled the dream of everyone who saw Les Miserables). From there, he gets his shiny mesh suit and begins just kinda flying around and not giving a fuck about anything. I appreciated that. Seriously, if I could fly, that’s all I would do. Ever. It would never get boring. Ever. But then, Zod comes looking for the Gentleman of a Hardened Exterior and then the movie begins the grandest exercise in tedium since I downed too much pinot noir and decided to organize a ten-year collection of random change.

Is it weird that I find this actress incredibly attractive in a Joan of Arc of Satan kind of way?

Is it weird that I find this actress incredibly attractive in a Joan of Arc of Satan kind of way?

Firstly, let’s be clear, I had a number of overwhelming prejudices when waltzing into this particular multiplex. Zack Snyder is at the helm, a man who, like Achilles as a child, was dipped into a steaming vat of liquid testosterone to the point that his brain is more testicular than neurological. He is a walking, breathing example of why you can’t leave AndroGel around your children. He gave us the delightful, yet hollow Dawn of the Dead, the my-homophobia-radar-is-going-haywire-yet-my-eyes-are-bleeding 300, the horrific letdown of a comic ‘masterpiece’ Watchmen and, the pies de resistance, the spine-tinglingly, mind-numbingly, jaw-droppingly horrendous excuse for a waste of megabytes that was Sucker Punch. However, here Mr. Snyder has an unseen hand guiding his work. Mr. Christopher “Buzzkill” Nolan watches over this movie like some kind of dark knight, making sure that dick-for-brains Snyder doesn’t hurt his loose plans for the Justice League and topple his attempt to show Joss Whedon that there can be two versions of The Avengers, except in his, nobody will have any fun whatsoever. We have a darker Superman. One with ‘feelings’. This movie is dotted with some incredibly tender moments, all carried by that muscly machine of stoicism Henry “Dreamboat” Cavill. His relationships to his earth ‘parents’ and his budding love with the heavily pantsuited and thankfully likable Amy Adams are legitimately compelling. They lay a groundwork from which some true character development can occur. Much like X2 and The Dark Knight considered the ramifications of these superheroes in the real world, a dose of needed humanity is offered to this alien immigrant.

But then…Zod arrives.

It was as though, during this process, Nolan was the Miyagi to Snyder’s Ralph Maccio. The wizened filmmaker is constantly correcting form and style, helping the arrogant young student through the pitfalls of blockbuster storytelling…until he looks away for one fucking second and turns back to see Snyder punching himself in the face. The pair get so much of the movie right and yet Snyder ruins it with his constant “More is Awesome” mentality. From the get go, we are offered too much. From the extended prologue to the gratuitous shots of Cavill’s finger-lickingly good ab muscles to the why-is-this-here demonstrations of the hefty CGI budget. Nothing compares, however, to the drawn-out and exhausting fight scenes that make up the last hour of the film. The second Cavill punches Shannon in his inexplicable goatee (it wasn’t there at the beginning of the film, where the fuck did it come from?) I knew I was in trouble. And here we arrive at the problem with Superman. Our heroes in this, I think we’re at the Bronze Age of comic books, are a darker sort. They are vulnerable. They have weaknesses. You know who doesn’t have any weaknesses? The Man of Invincibility. While Bryan Singer tried (and failed miserably) to craft a Superman with some level of killability, Snyder, in his style, decides to amp up the competition. We won’t have Lex Luther and his intelligence; we’ll just have another Superman. Thusly, the end result is a game of human ping pong, just with buildings in the way. People punch and punch and punch and yet do no damage. And it goes on forever.

Like, seriously, did he look in the mirror and think, 'Mustaches are silly. But half-bleached chin pubes are seriously thug'?

I believe he looked in the mirror and said to himself, ‘Mustaches are silly. But half-bleached chin pubes are totes thug’.

I think I finally realized what bugs me so deeply about Snyder’s excess-ad-extremum style. Watching his fight scenes is like watching porn. At the beginning, everyone is having fun. But then, it keeps going. You get the same shots of the same body parts. You finish, but it keeps going. You sit there, on your couch/desk chair/bed/bouncy castle with your tissues filled. You’re done. You got what you wanted…but it keeps going. Suddenly that initial excitement transforms into shameful fatigue and moral introspection. How many times do I need to see someone fly through a building before they finally decide to end the movie? How many trains can be thrown at one person? We all know what’s going to happen. There are no twists or turns. The novelty wears off and we, the audience, are left waiting for Snyder to stop punching himself in the face and finish off that asshole from Cobra Kai.

Even his actors, save for Cavill, seem ready for the film to be over. While Shannon, who is so delightfully bat-shit in every movie in which he appears (everyone needs to see Premium Rush or “JGL Rides a Bike” RIGHT NOW), looks bored. It’s as though he’s been directed to death. Every inevitable insane impulse he had during rehearsal was evidently left on the cutting room floor and all we have as a signifier of his mental instability is that ridiculously stupid goatee. Also, there needs to be a shout-out to Mr. Laurence Fishburne who I don’t think finished reading the script before signing up. He starts as his no-BS, strong CEO character he honed in Mission: Impossible 3 and ends as some poor human guinea pig caught in a sadistic Roland Emmerich wet dream. Every scene with him, the guy from House of Cards and the crying lady caught amongst the rubble as Metropolis is transformed into urban mulch made me want to personally apologize on behalf of their agents.

Lawrence: "Hey Amy, I didn't finish reading the script. What happens to my character?" Amy: "Um, oh, nothing much. Just some mild, you know, pulverizing."

Lawrence: “Hey Amy, I didn’t finish reading the script. What happens to my character?”
Amy: “Um, oh, nothing much. Just some mild, you know, pulverizing.”

Perhaps, one day, they will figure out a way to make Superman vulnerable. Perhaps one day we will see a sequel. Perhaps the “Man of It’s Like Iron, But Less Rusty” is destined for relegation to the back of the Justice League along with Wonder Woman (you know, because she’s a woman and absolutely NO GIRLS watch comic book movies). I give Snyder and Nolan credit for honestly trying, but all good will they build in the first half is utterly obliterated in the second. That is, in essence, what made this movie so painful. It gave the promise of potential and then shot itself in the foot. It seemed, if momentarily, like this could have been Snyder’s redemption and reprieve from the dark side of misogynistic inanity. But then things go boom and the AndroGel claims its victim once more. *Le sigh*. There might be talent hiding deep down in that shell of a creepster and its waiting to break out and bloom. This is a marked and great improvement over his recent forays. Let’s hope Snyder continues down the road of Nolan and stops the self-inflicted facial malefaction.

Also, I’m suffering from a severe lack of Michael Shann-sanity. I need my fix. I think I’m going to watch Premium Rush again. AND NOBODY CAN STOP ME.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) – Christopher Nolan (Dir.), Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman…let’s be real, pretty much the cast of Inception.

Disclaimer #1: I can be slightly irreverent at times. Well, extremely irreverent most of the time. In this ‘review’ I’m going to use harsh language, sarcasm, overly extended metaphors and general jackassery. However, this is purely in the spirit of fun and film criticism. My jokes and nonsense are meant in no way to belittle the horrific events at the midnight screening in Aurora, CO. My thoughts and prayers go to the victims of this tragedy. If you want some light-hearted ribbing/brutal emasculation of a major film franchise, please read on…

Disclaimer #2: Another one. Sorry! Well, I’m not sorry. Deal with it. This is for everyone wary of the dreaded ‘S’ word. That’s right…Shitzus. None of those yapping little fuckers will appear in this review. There will, however, be spoilers. I have demarcated them clearly. You’ve been warned.

It has arrived…through the ceiling apparently.

Here is a dramatization of me seeing this movie. Last time on ‘Andrew Meets Girls That are Actually Movies: Prometheus’

“Oh hey, I’m Andrew.” “Oh hey, I’m Prometheus. I’m pretty but I actually suck. Wanna make out?” “Any human contact is welcome. Even if you are simply a heavy-handed metaphor. Thank you!”

I’m back at another party, weeks after having surreptitiously exchanged mental saliva, if only briefly, with Prometheus in a closet. It turned out the movie/girl of my dreams was just that. An illusion. Well, the party is thumping but I’m standing in the corner gently swirling my beer in a shitty cup that is always red for some reason. Or blue. Any primary color other than yellow. I’m bored, checking my watch, ready to head home.

“Hey.” She’s right behind me, looking, for some deliriously (and wonderful) reason, like Anne Hathaway in a skin-tight cat suit. I am about to comment on how inappropriate it is based on our recent weather…and then I realize I need to shut the fuck up before I do something stupid, you know, like scare away a hot lady in a cat suit. “How’s it going?”

“Oh. Good. Thinking of heading out…”

“I just got here though.” She smiles at me. I’m interested (read: extreme understatement).

“What’s your name?”

The Dark Knight Rises.”

I finish my drink. “I’ve heard about you. You’re supposed to be pretty amazing. But I’ve already been burned once this summer… Not sure if you know Prometheus…

“That’s a shame. It’s also a shame that, not only am I hot, but I’m also surprisingly emotionally poignant, politically relevant and filled with Oscar-winning actors.” I take pause for a moment and consider the last item on the list. I’ve heard weirder things. I’ve done weirder things.

“That’s awesome and everything. But the last girl who said that wasn’t, well, all there…”

“Really? Not smart? Or deep? How about me? I’m a sprawling epic about class warfare, reminiscent of the French Revolution, all the while threading together a narrative of intense emotional destruction and, at the same time, extensively exploring these themes in relation to the concept of parental abandonment and societal isolation”

“Oh.” I grab someone else’s drink and down it. “Well…in that case…”

And then we make out. Everywhere.

“Who the fuck is Rick Ross and why the fuck is he in my police report?” ~ Batman, a Rick-Roll virgin.

We have finally reached it. After Nolan’s years of puttering with forms and structures, he has at last reached his eventual goal of inserting true thoughtfulness and literary considerations into a product so commercial it practically has a McDonalds ad taped to its nut sack. This is probably the closest we will ever get to a legitimate movie masquerading as a blockbuster film. Now, I know to some of you lugheads, that might not sound so appetizing and so, in response, I offer you this: Anne Hathaway in a fucking cat suit (#drool) and, for the ladies, Tom Hardy is only mostly disfigured (meaning he could still take on Matthew ‘Duller Than Matlock and Impossible to Spell’ McConaughey in a prettyboy-off with one check bone tied behind his back). There are action scenes! Joseph Gordon-Levitt is likable! Michael Caine cries! Twice! (It’s like watching an angel weep, if that angel has a grizzled British accent, has killed multiple people with a sawn-off shotgun and once stole a bunch of Italian gold). Apparently, Mr. Nolan decided to put in a little bit of everything for everyone which might explain why this movie is almost THREE FUCKING HOURS LONG. But I forgive him. I also forgive him for the fact that I only slept like three hours last night because I was so fucking excited about the end of the movie I couldn’t pass out, like a child terrified of closing his eyes in fear of wetting the bed once more (Editor’s Note: totally never happened to me. Totally never.)

That day, rock/paper/scissors ended terribly.

What’s it about? I refuse to give away much (like some other phallus-gobbling reviewers out there. I’m looking at you ‘The Guardian’ and David ‘How Have You Been Doing This For So Long?’ Letterman). So. Batman. He’s sad. Bane. He’s evil. Bane wants to fuck Gotham up. Batman doesn’t. Gotham gets fucked up. Batman gets fucked up. Aaaaaaand Anne Hathaway helps a generation of boys become men. That’s all I’ll give you. It’s as complex as a Dickens’ novel, if Nicholas Nickleby used his armory of ultra-tech to do battle with a severely steroid-jacked Oliver Twist (Note to Self: TV series idea. I’m thinking…Lifetime Channel?) It also, structurally, has about five fucking acts packed to the gils with twists, turns, ups, downs, side-to-sides and Anne Hathaway in a cat suit, as well as a half-way point that basically screams INTERMISSION. I expected a Pythonesque curtain to descend and John Cleese to try to sell me an albatross. Alas, that dream shall continue to go unfulfilled. This thing is so long and all-encomapassing that you eventually leave the theater a crushed shell of your former self, as though Bane has pummeled your innards into a veritable pea-soup of fanboy glee. Sense, patience and the ability to stand long monotonous barrages of tribal drums will be melting out of your fucking ears as you stumble from the multiplex. If that doesn’t entice you, stay the fuck away. This shit ain’t The Avengers. Yes, there are some witticisms (this should be fucking shocking coming from Christopher “Humorous as a Holocaust Vigil” Nolan) but this is an EPIC. Not in the sense of assholes with backwards caps and popped collars going for the record number of jaeger shots to be ingested by way of their rectums, but in the Homerian sense of omnipotent narrative brutality. It’s a marathon. If you don’t train and prepare, bringing with you acceptable sustenance (a jumbo popcorn, a hotdog, three packs of snow caps and a roast turkey should do it) you might die. No joke. It’s that draining.

In the apocalyptic dance-off, Batman realized that he had no way of competing with a perfect landing of a triple sow-cow.

As the years have passed, Nolan has been secretly weaving together a tapestry of immutable acting talent and, like that fungus at the bottom of my pantry, is growing with each delicious morsel that he consumes. I’m not sure if he signs a contract for these actors’ souls or if he’s just pleasant to work for, but Nolan’s Harem of Beautiful Men is on full display here. We have Tom “Watch Bronson Right Now, You Little Whores” Hardy acting the fuck out of this thing, even with Darth Vader’s fist lodged in his mouth. Also, there’s Morgan “God – I will keep making that joke because it is still funny to me” Freeman given more to do than simply point and spout at fancy gadgets. Marion Cotillard is back as Nolan’s shadow, steadily murdering all of his dreams and driving him mad with boner-popping desire (she is a very attractive woman, even if she a frenchie). Also, finally, Mr. Oldman is allowed to come into his own, truly stretching out those Oscar-pants he so graciously tried on earlier last year in Tinker Tailor This Sounds Like A British Porno Spy, and offering up a performance packed with so much heartbreak you’d think it was a bad day in the trauma ward (my thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families affected by Grey’s Anatomy day at Northwestern Memorial Hospital). I would also like to say, for all of the attractiveness of Ms. Hathaway and her figure that simply will not quit, even if you take it’s stapler, stop paying it and move it down to the boiler room, she delivers one hell of a performance. While most of the film is a mirthless cortege of unending barbarity, Ms. Hathaway is positively delectable as Selina Kyle, expertly adapted to stick just close enough to the comic’s conception without ever dipping into the realm of painful punnery or Pfeiffer whippery. She seems to be the only person here enjoying herself, constantly gobbling each scene with cat-like don’t-give-a-fuckery and impenetrable confidence. Both she and Cotillard aid in a pleasant departure from Nolan’s usual sausage-fest offering, providing at least two women in Gotham who can be classed at a level above ‘District Attorney/Wet-Blanket Barbie’ (Side Note: there was a limited edition of Wet-Blanket Barbie’s released in the mid-90s to help with menstrual education. It was a limited edition for a reason. Side Side Note: There will never be a ‘District Attorney Barbie’ for the obvious reason that legitimate employment hurts chances of marriage). We must also offer her the age old honor of ‘props’ for making herself both likable and engaging enough to survive some of the more ridiculous shoe-horning of her character into the latter half of the film. Honestly, she has no place being there…but no one is going to argue. Trust me.

There are two standouts, however. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is as shiny as a new nickel playing the ingeniously conceived John Blake. From a structural point of view, the wide-eyed and almost impossibly intuitive cop provides an emotional spine for a good deal of the movie while our heroes, Oldman and Bale, are otherwise indisposed (which really sounds like they’re on a sex holiday. That would have been incredible.) In the hands of another actor, Blake would have been limper than a penis in a Phyllis Diller convention. But this boy is erect as hell (That metaphor went to the wrong place). Joe Levitt is that wonderful intersection of young talent, endless charisma and 3rd Rock From the Sunness that we need in our new acting generation. Never once does he lose believability and literally every time his character is threatened onscreen, the audience gasped. They didn’t even do that for fucking Batman and the movie is named after him. On that note, let’s talk about Bale. Yes, the bat-voice is still here, intermittently. Finally, though, he has crafted a human being on screen that we actually are interested in. No longer is the hot-headed billionaire-jackass but a reclusive drinking-his-own-urine type of shut-in (you know, like that famous one…Hugh Hefner.) He’s hurt, physically, emotionally and metaphysically; and he’s looking for a way out. Instead of seeing the Bat as this infallible machine of pure ass-kickery, we get a glimpse of the human underneath and the fact that nobody’s physical form can take that kind of depreciation and still face off against Tom Hardy. His performance truly forms the missing piece of the emotional puzzle, bringing his arc into full-body over the three films. Though we barely even see the Bat throughout the nine hours of this film’s length, we see a shit load of Wayne. And it couldn’t be more necessary.

Bruce just made a really off-color joke. He hasn’t realized that ‘negro’ is no longer acceptable nomenclature.

Of course, since this is Batman, we must discuss the villains. While the last we saw of Bane was the Hulk as though he’d been roped into an impromptu S&M convention, this one is simply a bastard of such dickish proportions he’d give Stalin a run for his proletariat, with arms the size of my head and a mouth with more metal than a Slayer tour. It’s an interesting, though not wholly sense-worthy, departure from the manic insanity of Heath Ledger’s divinely-inspired Joker. This antagonist is deliberately sadistic, fully in control of his hatred and completely lacking in anything resembling empathy. While there was an irrational sense of safety in the fact that there was no rhyme or reason to the targets of the Joker’s malice, Bane is coolly calculating and evisceratingly vengeful. When he has your number, he will pound your ass harder than a fist-ended jackhammer. Granted, his plan to turn Gotham into a sinewy fiefdom is so far-fetched it makes the horizon look close but it certainly makes for some exciting cinema. Especially the hilariously out-of-tone court hearings overseen by a gleefully disheveled Cillian Murphy. In the end, however, this villain is far closer to the heart for Bats than the mad-dog off the leash, even if the titanium crab attempting to emerge from his esophagus does reduce his facial emotive capacity to zilch. There is nothing comparable to the Joker, but the rest of this film beats the hell out of Harvey “Your Yelling Voice is Kinda Whimpy” Dent and Eric “Smarmy Ass #4” Roberts. Advantage: Rises.

*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*

Alrighty, boys and toys, ladies and babies (Editor’s Note: no baby should see this movie on account of having to explain the fact that Selina is in a momentary lesbian relationship that never really comes up again. Though babies have a keen sense of lesbianism and alternative sexuality, their capacity for disjointed character traits is nil) have you all seen the movie? If so, continue. If not, STOP READING AND WATCH IT. IT’S AMAZING. If you don’t plan on watching it, well, then, I guess…to each their own. Batman ain’t for everyone. Well, intrepid readers, ahead thar be plot-points! Tid-bits! In-depth discussions of thematic arcs! Jokes about Inception! You have been warned.

Now, the big thing that people are doing is directly comparing this movie to The Dark Knight. This isn’t fair for a multitude of reasons. Dark Knight existed in a vacuum, providing something rarely seen in the span of human existence: intelligence in blockbusters. It discussed some stuff in an adultish manner, had thru-lines, characters attempted to exist and the Joker was in-fucking-credible. What The Dark Knight Rises does is tie together the disparate elements from both the first and second movies which, to be honest, seemed so fucking divergent they could be a Chicago-based young adult novel. This is the keystone, holding together this at-once muddled mass and at-twice a sprawling examination of chaos/order/fear/parental loss. We all watched Nolan wrap his lips around the massive sausage that is this franchise, expecting him to gag on it, predicating a vomitous explosion of akin to the Schumacherian efforts of the earlier series. However, unlike any other Brit in existence, this gentlemen seems to know how to chew after biting off too much. He artistically deep throated this comic book, bringing it to a climax so titillating you can…well, we’ll leave that metaphor to finish itself (INNUENDO). Not only that, but like the master of the shadows it portrays, this movie stands alone, without any aid from its predecessors.

At the curtain’s close, after the sneakily named-Robin wanders into the Bat-cave and we get a glimpse into Wayne’s new freaky-deaky life as Bonersaurus Rex alongside Sexelina Kyle, just pounding it out Florentine style (with some added Alfred action) we have been treated to a comprehensive view of this hero, a fully-developed arc stretching all the way from the homicidal little ass who gets the shit slapped out of him by Katie Holmes to the infringer of basic civil liberties while fighting the Joker to the broken shell of a man who almost loses all principles in search of final vengeance. Going into this film, they clearly hint at Wayne’s demise, offering a thematic thread of a man who is seeking his own destruction before realizing that death is by far the simplest option. That, coupled with his unhealthy obsession with a woman my friends described as ‘Sarah Jessica Parker on a good day’, is beautifully juxtaposed with the twisty tale of a forbidden love affair between Talia and Bane. It’s the only moment of humanization Hardy is afforded in the entire film, just a ephemeral glimpse of that angelic face before being maimed in the name of love (not the Bono name of love, the name of love where you are vigilantly stopping an entire prison from raping a small girl. You know, Twilight love). In that second, this codification of the purest of evils transforms into nothing more than a star-struck lover, a guardian of the only thing in life that he cares about. A love that would blow up a fucking city. Yo, Bella, would Edward take an entire metropolis hostage with a weaponized nuclear core and systematically murder dissenters just out of pure affection? No? Bane’s a real man. Also, he’s a psychopath. So…he’s like pretty much every dude after their balls drop.

Batman…I’m your father. Well…in a metaphorical sense. I didn’t mean to get your hopes up. Please stop crying.

I will say that I had some issues with plotting etc. Batman’s ‘death’ was a little too reminiscent of both The Avengers (without the wit) and Heroes season one (without the terribleness). Also…if he was vaporized by a neutron bomb…what the fuck did they bury at the end? There was a patch of disturbed ground under his tombstone… Did Alfred bury his Wayne sex-doll as some sort of perverted effigy? We all know he has one. Also, we harp so hard on him getting his shit wrecked, when he easily just appears at the end with Selina, I expected the camera to pan down and see a spinning top spinning away. It just seemed so easy in comparison to the rest of the film. No doubt, my inner fanboy was pissing himself with relief, as this continued to confirm the fact that Batman is, in fact, immortal. Seriously, though, if I were Alfred, after the emotional fecal maelstrom Wayne had put him through over the course of this 20-hour ordeal, I would have walked right the fuck over to that table and punched Bruce in the nut sack. Then hugged him. And then the nut sack again. What a cock.

Finally, here is a list of absurd plot devices throughout the film that didn’t fit too well into reality: the fact that the core decays in EXACTLY the amount of time Batman needs to heal his spine; the fact that Batman is suffering from a decay of cartilage (a chronic disorder) which is then completely ignored after his back is miraculously healed…who are these guys, the dudes from The English Patient? Geographically, it makes sense, temporally…not as much. Also: why does no one ever shoot Bane? Or Batman? There must have been stray bullets going everywhere in that final fight. None made contact? None? Also, I know Robin is meant to be the ‘Boy Wonder’, but that doesn’t make him fucking Miss Cleo. How the hell was he predicting all the bullshit he goes through?

But I can forgive all that. Why? Because Batman, that’s why. Because this is thoughtful, delicious entertainment of the highest order. Because watching this movie is like a 2 hour 45 minute Swedish Massage, it’s gonna get that deep tissue and it’s going to fucking hurt…but a pretty lady is touching your naked back and the next day you feel like a million bucks.

*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*

The only time since Transformers 2 that I’ve ever wished I were a motorcycle.

Nolan’s come a long, long way. So often his films are pretty and heady as hell, but lacking the emotional core required to draw in someone of my particular tastes. I, shock and horror, didn’t care all that much about Inception. It had a shit load of style, it was kind of smart in places, but it’s a soulless demon of a film experience. Even The Dark Knight felt unfairly manipulative in its designs. You felt as though Nolan was more on the Joker’s side than the Bat’s, gleefully obliterating hope and life in the goal for more excitement. Here, however, you never once doubt that Nolan is with the Bat, pushing him along, praying that he’ll win out against this foe so evil, even Aleister Crowley would be reticent to invite him to a goats-blood and virgin-rape party. This movie, unlike anything Nolan has really produced in the past, is about people. Hurt people. People searching for redemption. And we want them to get it.

Hopefully, this movie changes things. Hopefully, we’ll finally get the better class of blockbuster we, as a people, so deserve. Perhaps audiences will reconsider seeing Transformers 4 in favor of something a little less intellectually necrotic. This is the new wave and Batman is the banner man, charging into the darkness of popular taste, waging war against mental sloth and lackadaisical pop-shit gluttony. We need more Nolans. We need more Whedons. We need the good shit to be the norm. And we need to celebrate it, unfettered, unadulterated and unashamed. Go see The Dark Knight Rises. Let movie companies know that this is what we want. Tell them to shove their What to Expect While You’re Expecting and their Expendables 2 up their rectal channels, along with the rest of the shit they plan on laying out over the next few years. This is a revolution. A revolution of the smart blockbuster.

Also, I hear the IMAX is awesome. That’s not part of the revolution. That’s just pretty.

The Dark Knight (2008) – Christopher Nolan (Dir.), Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Eric Roberts…basically everyone again

Dude, it’s behind you…

As we have witnessed this franchises lowest lows, so must we visit its soaring high. As the flashing neon of Schumacher and the pop music of Burton drift off into the distance, Grand Master Nolan reaches down from the grit-covered heavens and offers us entry into the darkest most decrepit vision of the Bat-world. If The Avengers hadn’t soared its glorious way across the silver screen this last summer, The Dark Knight would have to unequivocally be the greatest comic book movie ever made. Other than Ang Lee’s HULK, of course. But I’ll go off about that work of brilliance another day (read: sarcasm). I remember when I was living in England, the trickle of news about Ledger’s joker infecting the news waves, tickling our fanboy titties, just teasing us with the titillating temptation of the Dark Knight’s greatest villain. Honestly, all I was hoping for was a musical interlude in an art museum and purple berets. I was sorely disappointed when that was replaced with ‘good acting’. What pish-posh! Thematic depth? Well constructed character arcs? Get yourselves out of my genre of goofy bullshit and go back to that Ishiguro movie. The one with Keira Knightly where she maybe gets naked. Maybe not. I haven’t seen it. The point remains the same, who let you be so fucking good at this Chris Nolan? Did Zeus descend from Mt. Olympus disguised as a ‘talented director’ and impregnate your mother (thinking it was, after all, Rob Reiner circa 1985…ewww)? How did this happen?

Most violent game of duck, duck, goose ever.

Well, let’s check out what’s going on here. After Ra’s Al Ghul took the phrase ‘getting on like a house on fire’ the wrong way and got off at one El stop too late (i.e. the one where he dies) Batman is cleaning up Gotham like a champ. And he has groupies! One of them being a hilarious dude wearing hockey pads (side note: Andy Luther, the hockey pads dude, is an amazing Chicago actor and stand up guy). Well, mob bosses are all wetting their panties in fear of the Bat, they hire the world’s worst kids’ entertainer to, well, I believe the technical term is: fuck shit right up. And he does. In increasing maniacal and vicious ways. All the while, we have Bruce pining after a woman who looks as though the original version of her was kidnapped and forced into slavery by Scientology (and nobody minds) and Aaron “Chin of the Year” Eckhart is trying to be the best DA in town. Well, shit gets nasty, stand-in-Katie-Holmes gets blowed up, Aaron’s beautiful, beautiful face gets a healthy dosing of the Courtney Love Vagina treatment (don’t ask what that is), a truck flips over on Michigan Ave, Batman gets a new motorcycle-batpod-thing and Heath Ledger dresses in drag. It’s a feast for the eyes! Basically, Nolan has taken the basic premise of the chaos vs. order dichotomy and injected it with a vicious dose of Heat (all the parts without Val Kilmer) as well Goodfellas (without Ray ‘Exasperated all the Time’ Liotta) and The Untouchables (without Kevin ‘American Robin Hood’ Costner. And no, I will never let him live that one down. The bastard). It’s complex. It has something to say. And, like a goth stripper with a PhD, it will let you know in the most boner-inducing, gorgeous way possible.

Okay, so, the movie is good. It’s got a solid script, decent set pieces yada, yada, yada. What elevates it from the mantel of ‘Pretty Good’ to ‘Ball-Blazingly, Seizure-Inducingly, Melt-Your-Face-Off-Good’ is Mr. Heath ‘That One Time in the Mountains With the Cowboys’ Ledger. Holy shit. While we were watching, doing our regular jackassy thing, the room fell silent whenever the Joker entered. He has Scenes, with a capital S. You know, for Actors with capital A’s. Every other mutherfucker unlucky enough to be dumped into a comic book franchise barely even phones it in. I believe Chris Walken mailed it in, that’s how little of a fuck he gave. Ledger, on the other hand, crafts something otherworldly. It’s a performance that reminds you plebs out there that actors don’t simply interpret, they create. Ledger was a fine artist who, of course, will be sorely missed. But day-um. What a way to go.

Harv, the Crypt Keeper called and he wants half his face back. Also, he was wondering if you were around for poker on Tuesday. Are you guys seriously friends?

Unfortunately, by contrast, the rest of this A-list cast looks closer to a matinee performance of the Mikado in Bum-fucktonville Idaho. It’s not that they’re bad…they’re just adorable in comparison with their ’emotions’ and ‘gravitas’. This is probably my favorite role of Eckhart’s other than Thank You For Smoking and yet, whenever he has a scene with Ledger, you almost feel bad for him. You want him to be as good, you pray for him to be as good, but his scary half-face looks as intimidating as a fucking corgi. The man just doesn’t have the ABs (that’s Acting-Bollocks, a technical term for when Marlon Brando would pull down his pants and slap his adoring audiences with his 400lb nut sack. True story.) Oldman is still around kicking tail as Gordon as is Morgan “I had a friend named Andy Dufresne” Freeman. But, Mr. Bale…oh Mr. Bale. Can someone please tell Chris to clear his throat? Or stop eating cigarettes? Or stop using the bladed dildo? Who ever thought that impression of a gravel road was an acceptable form of communication? It’s fine when he’s demanding to know where the drugs are going, but when he’s having a simple conversation with Harvey Dent, he seems more likely to begin coughing up radioactive phlegm rather than plot points. Just take a lozenge, you silly man.

Also, let’s be real. For all it’s titty-twisting beauty, this isn’t without its flaws. First and foremost we have the extended Tom Waits impression that is the Bat-voice. Next we have far too much footage of the Bat-pod. Seriously, I know you spent a really long time building that thing and it looks fun as hell, but Mr. Nolan this isn’t a meditation on how totally sweet Batman’s wheelies are. I think, if you remove half of the batpod footage, you’d get this monster of a film down to an acceptable length. Another bone to pick: we are led to believe that Batman is a stand up guy, making sure to never murder any perps…but he doesn’t seem to give a single, voluntary, airborne fuck when it comes to collateral damage. Every chance he gets, he’s blowing up parked cars or walls or malls or glass or…what is he, a nine year old who found the cheat code to the tank in Grand Theft Auto? Also, if anyone has read my review of Mississippi Burning, you know some of my fury when it comes to the conservative undertones of this movie, specifically in regards to police brutality and the whole cell-phone radar conceit at the climax. I mean, it’s a debatable thesis and I won’t get into it again, but I will say this… The Joker is holed up in a totally abandoned building filled only with hostages, dogs and thugs. How can Batman use cell phone radar in the entirety of the structure? Are the bad guys live-tweeting their murder of civilians? Are the guard dogs instagramming the whole affair: “W/ Joker LOL. Here comes Batman! Charge! Oh he punched me! ROFL!”

Also, a lot of dogs get thrown down elevator shafts. What does Nolan have against dogs? Is he just kind of a dick? Is he simply a cat person?

The Joker: Most Unnerving Blackjack Dealer Ever.

On a serious note, for once, what Nolan did with movie is rarely achieved. He took something in the popular domain that, honestly, has a rather basal approach to thematic exploration and doesn’t really have any huge dwellings on the Human condition, and turned it into something good. I’m talking The King’s There Will Be No Country For Old The Hours in Love with Atonement good. It raised the bar for what we expect in a summer blockbuster. We’re not just here to sink into our jumbo buckets of heart-attack-corn, only to have our brains numbed by an onslaught of visual and cranial anesthesia. His work on this franchise takes all other major titles to task. Forever more, summer movies will be judged against this work of pure panty-wetting bliss. It’s a movie like this that would force a studio like Marvel to do something drastic such as hire a veritable madman to almost single-handedly craft their golden child of a film franchise into whatever he pleased. Now, The Avengers is by no means nearly as deep or thoughtful as The Dark Knight, but it isn’t a piece of shit like everything else that parades across our eye-testicles every summer. It had quality acting, taught directing and fight scenes that made sense. This is becoming the norm. I hope. Give people something juicer to mull over during the waning summer days, not just more sugar-coated schlock to make us ever more artistically bankrupt than we already are.

So, Mr. Nolan, you have raised your bar high. Perhaps too high. Bring it home with what could be one of the best blockbusters of all time. Or else. You bastard.

Well, this is the end of our Bat Saga until the grand opening of the Film Du Jour. As a celebration, my friends, Alex and Kevin, joined me in competing for the ‘Best Bat-Voice Impersonation’. The prizes were of the highest caliber. Here is a little smattering of how fucking ridiculous my friends are:

Alex as Emotionally Supportive Boyfriend Batman:

Kevin as Batman rehearsing with his cat:

And, finally, me as Batman ordering movie tickets:

I believe I ‘won’. My prize, well, let’s just say the emotional roller coaster it put me through upon its reception could be best summed up with this picture:

There are no words.

Well, now for some serious Tweetage.

Kids, this is what happens when a smurf farts. #batathon

I like that all the clowns really want to give exposition. #batathon

Oh Heather Ledger, work the fucking balls. #batathon

Yes, nobody will notice the school bus that came out of the building.#batathon

“I’m not wearing hockey pads!” Batman has been drinking way too much Jack drenched in cigars drenched in Phyllis Diller. #batathon

“Sir, Batman just left. He left when you were talking to him. How rude.” #batathon

“Oh Maggie Gyllenhaal. She looks like Sarah Jessica Parker on a good day.” ~ Kevin. Wrong. #batathon

“I want your trust. And a mustache ride. Not in that order.” ~ Dent to Gordon, still a better love story than Twilight. #batathon

“Look at my whore, Rachel. This is how I impress women.” ~ Wayne. #batathon

“No ballerina would have tits that big!” “Have you seen Barishnakov’s bosom? He is a well endowed mutherfucker.”#batathon

Wait, everyone shut the fuck up. The Ledger is approaching.#batathon

“You’re a hard man to reach.” “You’re a hard man to reach around.” “What?” “Don’t worry about it.” #batathon

Did Morgan Freeman start a Meth Lab in Wayne Industries? Hey…Walt? Jesse? #batathon

And starring Maggie Gyllenhaal in the new sitcom from Fox: “Oh that bat!” It consists of her shaking her head with a smile in every scene.

And then Alfred had sex with everyone on that boat. Man, woman, child, mineral, vegetable…it was a veritable sex-topia. #batathon

“Why So Serious?” “Um…you have a blade in my mouth. Do you really want me to answer?” ~ Ended terribly. #batathon

“Leave your cell phone.” “I use that one solely for bitches.” ~ The Freeman. #batathon

“John Woo should have directed this scene. You don’t understand, there are doves and people jumping with two guns EVERYWHERE in China”

“That card completes my Pokedeck!” ~ The judge, about to be mercilessly murdered. #batathon

“That bitch behind him has some awkward tan lines happening.” ~ Meg. Vigilant. #batathon

“Let’s get drunk and sexually experiment. I mean…let’s just get drunk.” the commissioner, lonely #batathon

“Hey, Maggie, remember that movie where I made love to your brother? This is like that, but with less cowboys.” #batathon

“You remind me of my father. I HATE my father.” ~ With a knife. How Harry Reid gets the Senate to vote in his favor. #batathon

How did Batman not die from that height? Also, they forget they left the Joker with a room full of innocent rich people. #batathon

Batman…were you just standing there for like 20 mins until we got here?…that’s kinda creepy. #batathon

“A riddle…Riddle-er” “Shut the fuck up.” #batathon

“I don’t think we need a minigun to do that.” “But it’s sooo cool.”#batathon

And Joel Schumacher was allowed to direct a single scene. You know, the one in the gay night club. #batathon

“Anyone in this town you can trust?” “Bruce.” “Okay, anyone you can trust who won’t put his penis inside you?” Silence. #batathon

“I was literally a block away from you. We should torture suspects together.” “Sounds hot.” “Sounds like a sitcom.” Batman/Dent high five

“What will you have me do, Alfred?” “Endure.” In fairness, they had the same conversation when he wet the bed as a youngster,#batathon

I wish Aaron Eckhart’s chin had more press conferences. #batathon

“Ok, that’s NOT good.” ~ Thank you Greek Chorus of idiocy.#batathon

You know…that’s not how physics work…but it’s okay. Because it’s amazing. #batathon

Batman, you suck at braking. #batathon

Gordon is wearing a turtleneck! You know, I shall let that one pass.#batathon

“Glad we have mood lighting so that Batman totally can’t hide behind you.” Seriously, there is one door. How didn’t he notice him come in?

“Like a leper!” “I’m not a leopard. I’m a bat.” “I said leper.” “I’m NOT a LEOPARD.” “Um…let’s move on…” ~ Batman, mishearing

“This is the WORST SURPRISE BIRTHDAY EVER!” ~ Dent before a severe facial. #batathon

Wait…wouldn’t the GCPD have a unit in the areas next to both Dent and Dawes? Isn’t that how Police works? #batathon

“Let’s play a game. I spy something beginning with B. That’s right! Barrel of gasoline! Harvey…Harvey?” #batathon

Chris Nolan: “We’re playing for keeps. The only female character gets mercilessly murdered.” #batathon

“The guys at the station bought you this dildo. It was a joke and I didn’t have money for another present. So…I guess, here’s a dildo.”

On the upside, Harvey, your teeth look REALLY good. #batathon

“Fuck plans! Plans are pathetic!” ~ Joker, the man who plans the entire elaborate climax to this film. #batathon

GTA. Either Gotham Transit Authority, or the City of Gatham encourages violent rampages and sex with hookers in a hilarious manner #batathon

And then Mr. Freeman discovers the center of the Matrix. He uses to watch all the penguins in the Antarctic for narration purposes.

“Mr. Wayne, you don’t have to use the silly voice with me. I know who you are.” ~ Lucius Fox.

Remember, kids, wear a seatbelt or Two Face might murder you.#batathon

Wait…whose cell phones are they using here? The SWAT teams? “I’m on the roof, LOL” #batathon

And Gordon chooses his favorite thereby making every Thanksgiving far more awkward for years to come. #batathon

Batman falls like three stories and we’re worried he’ll live. He also fell from a penthouse onto a fucking car and was fine. WHAT?#batathon

“Dad, why didn’t Batman sign my tits?” “Because you don’t have tits, son. You don’t have tits.” ~ Gordon and his son, confused#batathon

YAY! The Batathon is over! The Dark Knight Rises, you better not fucking disappoint, or I will murder EVERYBODY. #batathon

And so, I’m seeing The Dark Knight Rises on Friday night. Be on the lookout for the review on Saturday.

Batman Begins (2005) – Christopher Nolan (Dir.), Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Katie Holmes, Tom Wilkinson, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, Rutger Hauer, Liam Neeson, Ken Watanabe, Gary Oldman…basically everyone ever

And starring Dracula as Batman!

Finally, we have reached it, like Orpheus emerging from Hades, the Eurydician Batman franchise, can see the light of life once more. It’s golden rays trickle across it’s skin, turning it into a sexier, leaner, darker, better, harder, faster, stronger version of its former self. Gone are the cheesy soundtracks by Prince, the insane leaps of comic-book logic (almost), Jim Carrey’s crotch and the abortion of Arnie’s comedic ‘skillz’. What we have here is the closest thing to a ‘film’ this Dark Knight has offered up thus far. Christopher “Look How Smart I Am” Nolan leaps from his backwards-logic, indie, thriller-face into blockbuster-dom, a knight in dark armor, wielding the blade of ‘Good Acting’, the lance of ‘Intelligent Direction’, the bow of ‘Coherent Characters’ and comically oversized battleaxe ‘Sensical Plot Developments’. Yes, he does have to confront the terrors of ‘Cliche One-Liners’ and ‘Complete Logical Fallacies’, and yet, like Mel Gibson emerging from the Thunderdome, he steps out, victorious, and makes out with Tina Turner on her lady lips (Tina Turner being, in this metaphor, ‘General Not-Terribleness’). He injects this tale with, as the Jews would say, hootspa. And, for pretty much the most part, he’s incredibly successful.

So, as the title would correctly suggest, this is the beginning of Batman. We see him as a whiny kid, demanding that he not see opera on the grounds that opera is terrible (bring on your wrath, opera singers, I will take you on, one by one). Well, apparently God loves opera because, in order to teach young Bruce a lesson, he has a crackhead murder his parents. Oops. Boys and girls, take note and listen to your Benjamin Fucking Britten, otherwise your parents will be mercilessly gunned down. Well, Brucy-wucy gets all angsty, and decides, like every college graduate, to go to Asian and find himself. And by ‘find himself’ I mean pick fights with random Chinapenese people in prison. While there, Liam “Very Special Set of Skills” Neeson discovers him and tells him to climb a mountain. Which one? Who the fuck cares? At the top of said mountain is an oddly-hairless-upper-lip Ken Watanabe doing the most racist impression of a Japanese person I’ve seen since, well, Inception. Well, Bruce, a man who is determined to never murder people, ends up blowing up the League of Shadows, thereby indirectly causing the deaths of dozens of men, either from random wood falling or just simple exposure. From there, he returns to his house, where Michael Caine is planning an elaborate heist of everything the Waynes own by hiding Minis surreptitiously throughout the mansion and playing ‘The Self-Presevation Society” on a loop. From there, the infinitely wealthy and kind of intellectually dull Bruce Wayne turns from a whiny little bitch trying to do an impression of Jack Ruby into a deadly spelunker and then into the Batman we all know and love. And it is fucking awesome.

Trust me, honey, keep the bag on. I know it’s terrifying, but it’s better than what’s underneath.

Also, the terrifyingly and unnervingly beautiful Cillian Murphy has returned from murdering British Nationals and slipped into a mask closely resembling a Stephen King wet dream to drive everyone in Gotham mad. Will Batman be able to stop him before he evaporates all the water and drives the city insane? Yes. Duh. (Spoilers) Will it be awesome? Yes. It fucking will be. Seriously, finally we have some badass bat-action. There isn’t a SINGLE turtleneck in the ENTIRE film. Do you know how happy that makes me? There was a scene where Katie “Fills Out A Sweater Surprisingly Well Too Bad About Her Inability to Be Interesting” Holmes is wearing one and you can see Christian “YELLING” Bale ready to rip it off and assimilate its fashion-blandness in order to join his misguided predecessors. But he doesn’t. In all the previous incarnations, Batman has some fucking random-ass gadget to help him out of exceedingly specific situations (Shark repellant aside, people) and occasionally he punches someone in the face. In this, he’s a fucking ninja. Do you know how cool ninjas are? Let’s put it this way: take pirates, remove the gay with the patented Rick Santorum “Pray Away the Gay Rape Spray” (TM), add a dash of cowboys, a hint of samurai and a double dose of ‘Don’t-Give-a-Fuckery’; distill it down to its base essence, cook it in Chuck Norris’s prostate (made of stainless steel, like all good Cuisinart tools) add a sprinkling of offensive asiaphilia and you have just one tenth of the awesomeness of ninjas. Now, take someone as infallibly panty-wetting as Batman and mix him with this ungodly potion for titillation and what do we have? We have theater owners mopping up rainbow vomit across the nation. Because people vomit rainbows when they are excited. Look it up.

So, yes, Liam “I Make Even Clint Eastwood Nervous” Neeson is the bad guy. I suppose he took time off from yelling at people down cell phones about his daughter and punching wolves in the snout to try to drive Gotham insane with his magical ‘Macguffin’ Device. I mean, I know this is Liam Neeson, a man known to skin major action stars and wear their anuses like decorative hats (because the Irish must have decorative hats), but his intimidation factor is severely decreased when his facial hair looks like he just ate a fucking poodle and forgot to wipe his lips. Seriously, it’s like an awkward teenager who insists on growing facial hair even though it’s patchier than my memory of New Years Eve 2010. And then we have Master Bruce, who for the most part is just kind of a rich prick. That’s fine, it just makes you care more about the indefatigable Alfred and his army of hidden Minis. Seriously, Nolan took the downtrodden butler that we saw in the previous films, shoved a healthy does of Bull-Adrenaline up his urethra and let him go. That smarmy asshole is one of the most well-rounded characters in the entire movie. Oh, and of course, we discover why Wayne is able to create such impossible pieces of technology because he has Morgan “God” Freeman making them for him. Mr. Freeman waltzes through this movie like a fucking pimp, tossing off lines as though the subtext is always: “I drove Miss Daisy, bitch.” I half expected an army of penguins to march through and begin mating at the sound of his sonorous tones.

This is your brain on meth ~ Michael Caine, teaching bat-related lessons

But, to top it all off, we have Mr. Gary Don’t Fuck With Me Oldman as the man everyone wants to be their father. I’m not sure if you know this, but Gary Oldman must be a fucking Highlander, decapitating every imposing figure in the English pool of late-age acting talent, whittling the competition down to nil because, after all, there can be only one. He, as Jim Gordon, is ball-blazingly amazing in both this movie and the next. With that porn star mustache you almost forget that he was the speed-freak bat-shit Tazmanian Devil-impersonator gunning down entire families in The Professional and accept that he’s just a big ole teddy bear made of candy and dreams. Also, hilarious side note, previous to becoming the nastiest little smegma-receptacle to ever take the throne, Joffrey “Someone Slap the Shit out of Him” Baratheon is in this movie as a wide-eyed little child having a bad LSD trip. I know we were supposed to care for him or whatever, but I really wanted one of the bad guys to take a hard back hand to his cheek. That’s for Ned Stark, you little twat-wazzle.

So, yes, I could come all over this wonderful redemption from the darkest of sides (“It’s ‘ice’ to meet you” – I will never erase it from my brain, Arnie. You bastard.) I could recollect the constant wet dreams that occurred in the months proceeding the life event that was this movie’s summer release. But I shan’t. Why? Well, with the handy tool of historical perspective, this movie has lost a little luster. At the time, the world was still caught in the almost decade-long flamboyant tailspin brought on by Clooney’s tepid Bat-thing, and Begins was the bat-equivalent of the Second Coming of Christ. There was no fur! No neon! No puns! This was something close to a real movie. I say ‘close’ because, as it’s sequel demonstrates, it could have been so much more. It’s not nearly as fun as, say, Batman Returns and doesn’t have anywhere close to the depth of The Dark Knight. It was a marker of the delicious wonders to come, like the menu for a box of chocolates, just teasing the taste-buds with the concepts of deliriously succulent treats hanging just beyond the horizon. This script was written by David “Blade Trinity” Goyer and, for the most part is pretty solid. But, like Madonna’s wrinkles, the ugly truth seeps through the Botox. We have sprinklings of cliched terribleness here, there and everywhere, from Gary Oldman declaring “I gotta get me one of those” to a random homeless dude announcing “nice ride.” They’re out of place, out of theme, out of character and came out of Goyer’s ass. If Batman is gonna be serious, then make him super-serial. Make him a thematic meditation on the concept of chaos versus order and the interaction of classes having violent climaxes. Oh wait. That’s the next movies. Also, the ending of the movie is fucking ridiculous. They have a machine that ‘vaporizes water’ with such violence that the entire plumbing system erupts throughout the city. You know what’s made of 80% water? Human beings. If that microwave emitter actually existed, Batman and Ra’s Al Ghul wouldn’t have been able to fist fight because they’d be too busy impersonating Veruca fucking Salt. Oh well.

Also, Katie, I know you did the strong thing and divorced Tom “Don’t Get Too Close He Might Have Sex With Your Earholes” Cruise. I respect you for that. Unfortunately, you are about as engaging as a soggy cinder block. You see it, lying there, and you wonder how it got there and why someone would take the time to get it all wet. And then you remember, it’s a fucking cinder block. It’s not going to make you laugh or cry. It’s just going to be a cinder block. You can’t expect it to be anything else. That wouldn’t be fair to the cinder block. Let it return to its friends in the massive wall of cinder blocks, all of them similarly dull. Let Ms. Holmes return to her ocean of general attractiveness, let her disappear into the waves and never been seen again. Honestly, she’s that forgettable. Luckily, Nolan was counting on that for the second movie. He recast the role with the significantly more talented Maggie Gyllenhaal, to which the world went, “Wait…well, we don’t really give a shit.” A victory for all, I feel.

“We’re here about Pod-Racing.” ~ Liam Neeson before a random fanboy tried shanking him in the gut. That fanboy is now a decorative rug.

And, of course, Tweets!

And we’re off! Please, Mr. Nolan, pull down your pants and let me see your delicious manhood. #batathon

He fell and died! Batman Begins: Kid Ends. Movie is over. Go home.#batathon

“This is what happens when you pirate movies in China!” “You grow a beard?” #batathon

Oh no! White man is oppressing us! Where is Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker? #batathon

“What country is this?” “Chinapan.” #batathon

“Your midiclorien count is very impressive Batman.” #batathon

“You can become something else entirely.” “Wait, I can be Michael Jackson?” “No…I…” “I want to be MJ!” Bruce didn’t get it #batathon

Neeson stared at him so hard that he fell off the back of a truck. Such is the power of Neeson. #batathon

“Which mountain is he supposed to climb?” “There is ONE mountain in Asia. It’s Mount Jackie Chan!” #batathon

And the asians run in fear of walking in front of Christian Bale’s shots. #batathon

“Colonel Sanders, do you have the chicken I ask for?” ~ Bruce Wayne very confused as to his purpose in Asia. #batathon

Why didn’t Neeson just kick the Nazi’s in the nuts? That would have been way more efficient than that fucking list. #batathon

Opera. Rich kid form of time-out. #batathon

Yep, Waynes, go out the back door. Like a piece of shit (see what I did there?) #batathon

Thus began Bruce Wayne’s life-long crusade against opera.#batathon

They should remake this with Gary Oldman playing EVERY role.#siriusbat #batathon

Oh shit! It’s the guy from Blade Runner! Disguised as Jerry Springer!#batathon

They died because of your white privilege. You little fuck. #batathon

“They come for you. And you make lists. List after list. Of jews. Jew after jew.” ~ Neeson, hero. #batathon

Katie Holmes, just where you belong. In the kitchen.#whydidyouleavetomcruise #batathon

“Wayne’s still in sweaters. I don’t care yet.” ~ Meg. Not giving a fuck like a champ. #batathon

Hey Joe Chill, wanna see my Jack Ruby impression? #batathon

Oh no! Hers was better! #batathon

IRONY! It’s a criminal offense in Chinapan. #batathon

But this batman has a NINJA turtleneck. How about dem apples?#batathon

“Can you believe Tom Cruise was the last samurai? IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ME!” ~ Ken, bitter. #batathon

And then the movie turned into the Descent. And Bruce Wayne was eaten by albino Billy Corgan. #batathon

And Helena Bonham Carter as all the Bats. #batathon

“No, Cillian Murphy looks like he’s had plastic surgery and a creature from the deep.” ~ Rebecca, not getting it. #batathon

“This is the worst business tragedy since Harrison Ford chased me naked through the rain.” ~ Rutger Hauer #flashbacks #batathon

I also made a documentary about penguins, would you like to see it? ~ Morgan Freeman. #batathon

I also have Gwyneth Paltrow’s head in a box, would you like to see that? No? ~ Morgan Freeman. #batathon

“It’s called memory cloth. It remembers every time you jizz in it. BE CAREFUL.” ~ The Freeman. #batathon

“Wait…if I’m afraid of lawnmowers? Would I become lawnmower man? I should make that movie!” And it ended terribly… #batathon

“I’m Batman.” And fanboy panties were wet everywhere. #batathon

“Would you like some tape, Master Wayne, because you’re ripped.”#batathon

“I’m more than just a man drenched in cunnilingus juice.” ~ Wayne#batathon

“I own the Muscle in this Town” ~ Falcone, gay club owner.#batathon

Purple lightning brings purple rain. Prince returns… #batathon

“Oh, we don’t care what’s in that crate. It’s probably dead hookers. It usually is.” #batathon

The Narrows, brought to you by Final Fantasy VII. #batathon

“My boss is missing. We’re going to have a party! A search party. It’s very serious.” #batathon

That’s Katie’s mean face. Watch out, she might divorce you!#batathon

That’s the Scarecrow’s sex face. In that it is his only face. #batathon

“Stop spraying yourself, Scarecrow.” #batathon

Apparently, Scarecrow is scared of black men. Like all 1 percenters.#batathon

Bitch, you are no longer hallucinating. I’m dressed as a bat. Go back to sleep. #batathon

Don’t move! Neeson can’t see you if you don’t move! #batathon

“How many dementers are on the loose?” “Dem-what?” “I mean…forget everything I said.” Sirius Black, revealing himself#batathon

Batman…do you need a lozenge? #batathon

Who the fuck wears silk to fix a burned-down home? Katie Mutherfucking Holmes. #batathon

Wow, this one is harder than the others. That’s what Goldilocks said. :O #batathon

The cop version of “Anything you can do, I can do better” but with more grievous bodily harm. #batathon

And Batman spends the entire movie not turning his neck. #batathon

Thanks again, folks. Now, for the creme-de-la-fanboy-creme, we move onto The Dark Knight today at around 4ish CST today. There will also be a Batman impersonation contest. It will be glorious.

It has come to this. The elephant in the room. Well, it would be if that elephant where made of biological waste giving off such a malodorous stench that even the Jackass guys would think twice about sticking their penises into it. We have reached the depths of this franchise. Bane could not kill the Bat. Superman couldn’t kill the Bat. Joel Schumacher came the closest. If Christopher Nolan hadn’t, like an Odyssian hero, descended into the Hades of film franchises to retrieve this lost soul, this would have been the movie that had murdered the Dark Knight.

Simply, it is fucking terrible. Join us, tomorrow night (Wednesday, July 11th) at 9pm CST for a veritable Twitter-massacre, a Trail of Tears of Snark, a Lolocaust, if you will. The streets will run red with the blood of Schumacher.

Prepare yourselves for Batman and Robin.

And so it has come to this. As we exit the blissful land of Burtonia, passing the bikini-clad, shroom-guzzling absurdity of the 60s, our path begins to darken and stink. For it is upon us, before we can discover the shining light of Nolan only a little ways into the distance, we must wade through a quagmire of cinematic fecal matter. This is where careers have come to die, a comic book Tartarus where Val Kilmer is constantly pushing a rock up a hill, Jim Carey is doing that thing that we used to think was good and Chris O’Donnell is, well, being Chris O’Donnell. It’s an artistic hellscape, palatable to only completionists, drunkards and idiots.

We are about to head into the heart of darkness. Perhaps we shall emerge on the other side, clinging onto the last throes of humanity. One thing is for certain…we shall be forever changed. And so, join us for our descent into Joel Schumacher’s turd bucket as he serves us shit sandwich after shit sandwich of terrible acting, insane plot devices and art direction so loud it would make Von Gogh cut off his other ear.

We take on Batman Forever, tomorrow night, Saturday, at 10pm CST. Follow the Twitter feed if you dare. If we don’t make it, avenge us. Not even God can help us now.