So, two teasers of huge movies have been released. Why am I not bouncing up and down in my chair with glee?
I get a bit of stick these days for my supposed, relentless negativity, but it’s only there because of the relentless mediocrity that I keep getting told I should be excited about. It’s been a really bad couple of years for movies. Nothing but reboots and sequels. Nothing that treds new ground. Everything seems more interested in perpetuating a franchise rather than actually entertaining an audience.
It wasn’t the first to appear, but I’m going to start with it: Batman/Superman: Dawn of Justice.
This was probably only released because it leaked. It certainly does the movie no favours. The ham-fisted attempts at drama which brought down the previous Superman film look set to not only continue but intensify. It’s dull, it’s grim, it shows us once again that you can’t write Superman as Batman. He just doesn’t work as a brooding character.
Batman himself appears in the teaser very little, but what is there hints that they still don’t understand why he works better in the comics and animated movies than any of the live action incarnations.
I think the Keaton era Batman came the closest, if not bang-on target: Batman doesn’t talk much. He’s a character of action, not dialogue. He will demand an answer from a villain and that’s about it. If said villain refuses to answer, Batman beats the sh*t out of him and then asks the question again. That’s Batman. He’s to-the-point. He doesn’t threaten to make people bleed, he just goes ahead and does it.
The best example of how Batman should be done is in the flashback
scene of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.
That’s the damn benchmark. Not even Nolan’s hallowed Dark Knight
comes close. Dawn of Justice
doesn’t look like it’s even trying.
Also, though not seen in the teaser, there’s the surplus of side characters that we’re going to get. I’ve no idea how that’s going to be handled, but if you look at how too many character introductions has killed previous superhero movies (like the recent Spiderman
) and add in the desperation of WB/DC to produce their own Avengers
style mega-movie, things don’t look too good.
Next: Star Wars 7
I have higher hopes for this than Dawn of Justice
. I really, really, really wanted to hate JJ Abram’s Star Trek
because I felt the time-travel narrative was utterly lazy. It made the characters less like heroes who were forging their own path and more like pawns of fate, waiting to be told what to do next. However, the movie was such impossibly good fun that I saw it on the big screen about 5 times and enjoyed each viewing. I’ve never done that before.
The big gripe I have about SW7 is that it’s ignoring all of the really good material that was produced in the wake of the original trilogy. I was hoping episodes 7, 8 and 9 would be adaptations of the Thrawn trilogy, but it was announced early on that none of the expanded universe was going to be used in the movies.
It doesn’t matter how you slice it: that’s a real slap in the face for all the fans who kept the franchise afloat all these years.
Then there are the visuals, which are very “Abrams”. He’s promised to cull the lens flare, but the teaser is really making his Star Wars
look a lot like his Star Trek
. Everything’s f**king shiny! Shiny robotic hands, shiny TIE fighters, shiny Storm Troopers. Shiny, shiny, shiny.
And when did the Empire become Space Nazis?! I’m not talking about the way they act, I’m talking about the way red flags are draped everywhere
. It’s something I noticed in an episode of the (very, very Disney) Rebels
CGI animated series. As a visual metaphor that informs with all the subtlty of a brick, it’s as lazy as the time travel thing I mentioned earlier. You may as well just have a subtitle flash up reading “These are the bad guys. Commence booing”. That kind of crap is a recent development. It was never even in the prequels.
I’ve mentioned in previous journals that I find stories that focus on the Jedi to be rather boring, so, while I will be watching SW7, along with the rest of the planet, I have a feeling I’ll enjoy Rogue One
more as it's about war in the stars, not space wizards.