Name: Ryan Newell


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    bfkiller's Recent Comments
    December 7, 2008 7:06 pm The only comics-related item on my wishlist is Bat-Manga: The Secret History of Batman in Japan.
    November 16, 2008 5:08 pm

    I like recap pages if a new story-arc is kicking off that involves some older or obscure elements from a character's history or if there are a lot of characters involved.

     Take Final Crisis and it's tie-ins.  I just read Submit and Resist, didn't recognize a single character and had no idea what kind of organization Checkmate is or how they fit into the DCU.  I would have loved a page that brought me even a little up to speed.  Sure, wikipedia's great, but I usually read comics in bed.  No frigging way I'm getting up and getting dressed to go and read up on comic book minutiae, so I stay lost and don't get to fully appreciate my $4 comic.

    July 24, 2008 5:21 pm

    @ Paradiddle - That's a very good counter.  My disappointment, though, was that it was used once to catch the terrorist and destroyed -- quick and neat and at no expense to the public, as Fox's satisfied smile would attest to.  I think that's a misguided message considering the complete lack of respect for citizen's privacy in current US politics.

    July 24, 2008 2:54 pm

    @Kory - I think the WB should have chosen a demographic and stuck with it.  I'd like to think the dark artistic vision of the movie wasn't at all compromised so they could market it to kids, but...

    Does anyone know what suspense is anymore?

    I might have found it suspenseful if it I didn't find it obvious.

    I didn't get a political ad vibe from the cell phone surveillance scene.

    Dude, it was unquestionably an allegory for warrantless government surveillance.  It was topical, but I thought the moral dilemma it created was an unnecessary and awkward addition and I was unsatisfied with the naive resolution.  I think the movie was already filled to the brim without these unnecessary allegorical tangents.

    July 24, 2008 12:31 pm

    The Dark Knight had many excellent qualities: some incredible set pieces, an astounding performance by Ledger, fairly accurate characterizations, an impactful musical score...

    Unfortunately, I feel the writing didn't live up to these other elements or this truly would go down as an all-time classic movie.  Here are my two main problems with the script, and they echo my reservations with Batman Begins.

    1) It pulls its punches way too often.  In a fantastic sequence, the Joker blows up a hospital.  But an empty hospital.  Bruce in his Lamborghini is able to save the day while Joker has Dent all to himself, but the emotional resonance of the big explosion is inadvertently sucked out by the way the script achieves these plot points.  Sure, the Joker shuffling away in his poorly fitting nurse's uniform trailed by a chain of explosions is a great image, but it has no real impact.  Other examples include the resolution of the social experiment on the ferries, which fell completely flat for me (not that neither group chose to kill the other, as expected, but that 12:00 struck and nothing happened.  Joker ran out of timers on his petrolium drums?) and the complete lack of a resolution of Joker's infiltration of Dent's fund raiser (I guess he must have ran away even though the only guy who posed a problem just jumped out the window). 

     Pretty much the only people the Joker ever kills are members of the mob or people whose deaths advance the plot.  For a city terrified of chaotic violence, you'd think there'd be some actual chaos to the violence. Instead it's all very calculated and precise.  For me, the Joker's actions don't mirror the Joker's random and unpredictable character.  In the comics, he gets a kick out of killing dozens or hundreds of people at a time and the writers typically aren't shy about that.  If it's ok for younger readers to get that kind of mayhem in print, why can't cinema viewers get those same stakes on film?  The citizens of Gotham got away from danger unscathed too often, indicating to me that either the Nolans weren't fully comfortable with allowing the Joker to cut Gotham too deeply or, more likely, the WB didn't feel comfortable with the depiction of mass murders by a terrorists (especially if that would make-or-break the PG-13 rating).

    2) Chris Nolan has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the face when it comes to expressing themes.  Though I don't think TDK is as blatant as Begins when it comes to the underlying theme (just count how often characters say the word "fear" in Begins), the political allegories (i.e., warrantless surveillance, capital punishment) were awkwardly inserted in TDK and resolved with little grace.  For example, the movie lost its steam for me while we waited for Nolan's little twist that the big scary black guy isn't going to kill a bunch of people to save his own skin after all.  I thought it was an easy, and sort of condescending, manipulation of the audience.

     I don't mean to rag on the movie too much.  I did enjoy watching it.  It's just that its few faults are significant enough that I'm surprised they don't get more mention.

    July 19, 2008 5:01 pm

    I must have liked Gotham Knight more than... pretty much anyone else who has seen Gotham Knight because most of the reactions have been pretty lukewarm.  I absolutely loved it and it might even be my favourite comic book movie I've seen this year (though I'm sure The Dark Knight will have something to say to me about that this Sunday night).

     It reminded me quite a bit of the anthology Batman: Black & White.  The vignettes in either don't give much room to develop a story arc.   The writers instead focus on exploring very specific elements of the mystique of Batman or how Bruce Wayne is able to do what he does.  In Gotham Knight, we see how children interpret the mystery that is Batman; later we gain insight into Bruce's sense of obligation to sacrifice himself for the citizens of Gotham; etc.  I always enjoy it when a complex hero is dissected by good writers.  Most animated movies are more gutteral than cerebral, so this was a nice change of pace.

    May 28, 2008 2:35 pm

    As for the Flash - where is the loyalty?  Call me crazy, but someone's gotta show some loyalty - I think i'd rather have a bad Flash book then no Flash book at all, because then there's hope for it to get better with a new creative team.  If it's cancelled, then that won't happen...

     On the flipside, what would motivate DC to improve the title if it's sales aren't hurting?

    May 28, 2008 2:31 pm

    I haven't read any of Moore's work, but he comes off like the Uwe Boll of comics in that blog.

    I expect him to challenge his critics to a boxing match soon.