Category: Batman

Why ‘Batman’ is way cooler than ‘Captain America’

One of comics’ most iconic superheroes gets his first major movie appearance on Friday in “Captain America: The First Avenger.” But though the super-soldier has been around since World War Two, he’s probably not as familiar to the average filmgoer as Batman, who’ll return to theaters next year in “The Dark Knight Rises.” How do the two of them stack up against each other? Let’s count the ways.

Originally published July 19, 2011 on Read the complete article.

Who should be the next Batman villain?

Perhaps no other superhero has undergone such drastic reinventions over the decades as Batman. The Caped Crusader was invented in 1939 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger as a night-stalking noir detective who used his fearsome bat-inspired costume to terrify criminals.

When comic-book violence became a political hot potato in the 1950s and 1960s, the mandate was whimsy above all, and Batman was softened into a cheerful, colorful hero whose exploits were often downright silly.

He got even sillier in the 1960s TV show starring Adam West, a series that so successfully satirized Batman that for many years the character was synonymous with the goofiest side of superheroes. But since Frank Miller’s landmark 1986 miniseries “The Dark Knight Returns,” Batman has returned to his dark roots.

Director Christopher Nolan embraced that version of Bruce Wayne with 2004’s “Batman Begins” and the new “The Dark Knight,” with a gritty, realistic approach to superhero storytelling that stays as far away as possible from the comic approach of the TV show or the goth-campy movies kicked off by Tim Burton’s 1989 “Batman.”

As such, Nolan has to be careful about what characters to draw on for his version of Batman: It was no mistake that he chose the terrorist leader R’as al Ghul and the fear-spreading Scarecrow as the antagonists for “Batman Begins.”

“Dark Knight” brings in two of Batman’s most popular villains, The Joker and Two-Face, and reinvents them in a grimmer, more frightening mode. It’s a near-certainly that “Dark Knight” won’t be the final installment in Nolan’s series, and with that in mind, here’s a look at which villains in Batman’s roster would fit Nolan’s un-whimsical vision — and which wouldn’t.

Originally published on July 14, 2008. Read the complete article.

Beyond Batman and Catwoman: Comic books that deserve to be turned into movies

In recent years, the comic-book movie has really taken off. In part that’s due to ever-better special effects that make it easier to make a fantastical world look real. But there’s also more willingness to treat these stories with the seriousness they deserve — that is, it’s still escapist pop entertainment about guys who shoot lasers out of their eyes, but it’s no longer doomed to the dungeon of dreadful camp.

Casting is always crucial in any film adaptation, but especially so with comics. You need actors who can bring the character to life without moving too far from the established face and personality readers already know. Tobey Maguire, for instance, is just about the best Spider-Man one could hope for. Ron Perlman is an equally inspired choice for the title character in “Hellboy,” which came out at the beginning of April. This summer, we’ll see a new round of comic-based movies, led by “Spider-Man 2” on June 30 (this time taking on villain Doctor Octopus), Halle Berry’s “Catwoman” on July 23 and “Alien vs. Predator” on August 13. But there’s plenty of other comics — superhero, indie or otherwise — that deserve a shot at the big screen. Here’s a few of our suggestions.

Originally published on April 28, 2004. Read the complete article.

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