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REVIEW: Batman: The Movie

July 30, 2015 1 comment
Batman The MovieDirected by: Leslie H. Martinson
Produced by: William Dozier
Written by: Lorenzo Semple, Jr.
Edited by: Harry Gerstad
Cinematography by: Howard Schwarts
Music by: Nelson Riddle, Neal Hefti (theme)
Starring: Adam West, Burt Ward, Lee Meriwether, Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin, Alan Napier, Neil Hamilton, Stafford Repp, Madge Blake, Reginald Denny, Milton Frome, Gil Perkins, Dick Crockett, George Sawaya, Van Williams
Based on the DC Comics character created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger and the TV series created by William Dozier
Year: 1966

 

 

Confession time: Though it is one of my earliest memories of being at a theatrical showing, Batman Returns was not my first exposure to Batman. There was already a lot of love for Batman instilled in me by that point. Part of that was likely due to Tim Burton’s first film, but, honestly, it was far more likely that I was introduced to the Dark Knight in the form of the campy Caped Crusader portrayed in in the 1960s TV series starring Adam West. As a little kid, I didn’t quite understand that the series was essentially a satire of the comics and serials rather than a serious attempt to adapt the character to television. When I was finally exposed to the darker, grittier stuff, I pretty much thought it was silly because it was old, and older stuff was always sillier! Why else would they release all those ridiculous musicals back then that my mom enjoyed so much, right? With age, of course, I did catch on, and after getting over an initial feeling of betrayal that came with the understanding that the show was poking fun at my favorite superhero (and, by association, me), I also came to embrace the series for what it was. Read more…

The Ultimate Evolving Superhero Movie List – Part 2

August 18, 2012 Leave a comment

It can be hard to discern which films are worth your time. Now, I’m no expert on comic books, having primarily grown up getting to know most of these characters from films, TV shows, and video games, but I do have a love for superheroes just the same, and I do consider these mediums to be a part of the ever expanding reach of these characters beyond their comic book origins. As I write this, I also admit I’m running on a superhero high these days, as I just came off a string of reviews for The Dark Knight Trilogy. Also of note is that The Viewer’s Commentary not only reached its 100th post with the first portion of this list, but it is also coming upon its first anniversary, and I figured that I would do something grand to celebrate!

Initially, I was thinking, “Why not do an updated Top 10 Superhero Films list?” but that just came off as being not grand enough, and doubling that number still didn’t feel ambitious enough. So I set myself on a much grander mission: To make an ever-evolving list of not just the best or worst superhero films, but of ALL the superhero films I had ever seen, leading to the creation of this list you see before you.

Currently, I am limiting this list to just theatrically-released films, as that still provides me with a lot of ground to cover, though it will definitely begin to include exceptions for non-theatrical features such as Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Furthermore, I am abstaining from listing films that I have yet to see or have not seen in quite some time and, thus, do not feel comfortable passing judgment on. As such, there will be omissions, some of them obvious, some of them not so much, but that’s the beauty of the idea behind this project: It’s an evolving list.

So, as I see newer movies, re-watch forgotten ones, and also discover the ones that have somehow gone unseen by me, I will continue to add them to this list, which is also being given its own all-encompassing page here on The Viewers Commentary. Films will be neatly separated into the five easy categories – The Awful, The Bad, The Average, The Good, and The Excellent – and each film within each category ranked from least to greatest in quality (all my opinion of course). Do not consider this list or the commentary to be definitive reviews, but if I do have a review for the movie, rest assured that it will be linked to.

In part two of the initial form of this list, I present to you the current films in the Average section and the first half of the Good section. (Look out for the rest of the Good films to be included with the Excellent films in the last third of this list!) Read more…

The Ultimate Evolving Superhero Movie List – Part 1

August 11, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s funny to think that there ever was a time when superhero movies weren’t really the cash grabs that they seem to be these days. Even after the 1978 release of the first theatrical Superman film brought along with it higher production values and a certain level of seriousness to the material, superhero films continued to largely be considered high-risk material and no one was really able to capture that same level of respect and anticipation as 1989’s Batman. Despite going through another slump in the 90s, these days, it’s hard to imagine a year going by without a few studios trying to cash in on the superhero craze.

With 2012 seeing the successful release of two especially remarkable achievements in the realm of superhero films, The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, and with original properties like Chronicle and The Incredibles already proving that superhero films don’t have to be adaptations of pre-existing comic book properties to be successful, it’s very clear that this trend isn’t going to die down any time soon. Heck, regardless of quality, even films like My Super Ex-Girlfriend illustrate that the “superhero genre” isn’t really a “genre” at all, but rather an easily malleable plot device.

All that being said, it can be hard to discern which films are worth your time. Now, I’m no expert on comic books, having primarily grown up getting to know most of these characters from films, TV shows, and video games, but I do have a love for superheroes just the same, and I do consider these mediums to be a part of the ever expanding reach of these characters beyond their comic book origins. As I write this, I also admit I’m running on a superhero high these days, as I just came off a string of reviews for The Dark Knight Trilogy. Also of note is that The Viewer’s Commentary is not only now on its 100th post, but is also coming upon its first anniversary, and I figured that I would do something grand to celebrate.

Initially, I was thinking, “Why not do an updated Top 10 Superhero Films list?” but that just came off as being not grand enough, and doubling that number still didn’t feel ambitious enough. So I set myself on a much grander mission: To make an ever-evolving list of not just the best or worst superhero films, but of ALL the superhero films I had ever seen, leading to the creation of this list you see before you.

 

Currently, I am limiting this list to just theatrically-released films, as that still provides me with a lot of ground to cover, though it will definitely begin to include exceptions for non-theatrical features such as Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Furthermore, I am abstaining from listing films that I have yet to see or have not seen in quite some time and, thus, do not feel comfortable passing judgment on. As such, there will be omissions, some of them obvious, some of them not so much, but that’s the beauty of the idea behind this project: It’s an evolving list.

So, as I see newer movies, re-watch forgotten ones, and also discover the ones that have somehow gone unseen by me, I will continue to add them to this list, which is also being given its own all-encompassing page here on The Viewers Commentary. Films will be neatly separated into the five easy categories – The Awful, The Bad, The Average, The Good, and The Excellent – and each film within each category ranked from least to greatest in quality (all my opinion of course). Do not consider this list or the commentary to be definitive reviews, but if I do have a review for the movie, rest assured that it will be linked to.

And so, I present to you the first part of this list for your reading pleasure, coming from the bottom of the barrel, the current inductees to The Awful and The Bad lists! Read more…

Special Review: “Batman & Robin” – Joel Schumacher and the Inevitable Taco Bell Analogy

April 20, 2012 11 comments
Directed by: Joel Schumacher
Produced by: Peter MacGregor-Scott
Written by: Akiva Goldsman
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, Uma Therman, Alicia Silverstone, Michael Gough, Jeep Swensen, Pat Hingle, Elle Macpherson
Music by: Elliot Goldenthal
Year: 1997

 

Let’s get one thing out of the way, right off the bat (so to speak): There was no way that Joel Schumacher was aiming to be anywhere near a serious tone for Batman & Robin. If you’re one of those people who constantly complains that Batman & Robin wasn’t serious enough, then, well, I’m just going to have to roll my eyes at you and unleash a really loud “Duuuuuh!” straight into your face.

With Batman Forever, Schumacher seemed to be experimenting with placing style over substance, something he did the opposite of with the absolutely mind-numbing A Time to Kill, but he achieved less than admirable results. With Batman & Robin, however, Schumacher didn’t even have a chance, as he found himself at the mercy of the studio, and he was clearly aiming to act out in his lack of say in the film’s production. Read more…

Awful Movie Review: “Batman Forever”

April 13, 2012 9 comments
Directed by: Joel Schumacher
Produced by: Tim Burton, Peter MacGregor-Scott, Benjamin Melniker, Michael Uslan
Written by: Lee Batchler, Janet Scott-Batchler, Akiva Goldsman (screenplay), Lee Batchler, Janet Scott-Batchler (story)
Starring: Val Kilmer, Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey, Nicole Kidman, Chris O’Donnell, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle, Drew Barrymore, Debi Mazar
Music by: Elliot Goldenthal
Year: 1995

 

You know what? This movie gets too much of a free pass. I get that, compared to its sequel, it’s almost competently plotted out, but this in no way implies that this is a good movie. Make no mistake about this: Batman Forever is one of the worst superhero films out there, and it even lacks much of the so-bad-it’s-good qualities that its more ridiculous sequel possesses, making this almost more unbearable  than that infamous stain of a film. To say that Batman Forever fails where its predecessors succeeded is to undermine the severity of the film’s existence. To put it simply, Batman Forever not only undid much of the goodwill gained by critics and audiences with the releases of Batman and Batman Returns, it very nearly laid the groundwork for the death of the genre as we know it. Read more…

Review: “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker” The Original Uncut Version

March 23, 2012 7 comments
Directed by: Curt Geda
Produced by: Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Glen Murakami, Bruce Timm, Benjamin Melniker, Michael Uslan
Written by: Paul Dini (screenplay); Paul Dini, Glen Murakami, Bruce Timm (story)
Starring: Will Friedle, Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Angie Harmon, Dean Stockwell, Teri Garr, Arleen Sorkin, Tara Strong, Mathew Valencia, Melissa Joan Hart, Michael Rosenbaum, Frank Welker
Music By: Kristopher Carter
Year: 2000

 

Batman: The Animated Series was and remains one of, if not the greatest animated adaptations of a comic book character ever put to screen. Premiering around the same time that Tim Burton’s Batman Returns released in 1992, the series could have easily been an easy cash in on the latest Batman craze, an episodic commercial for a heavily hyped and star-studded sequel to the 1989 film that shoved aside the campy Caped Crusader persona Batman held in the mainstream public’s eye and replaced it with the reinvigorated Dark Knight that had been making a comeback in the comics. Read more…

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