The Dark Knight Changed the Way I Watched Movies

by Benjamin To | Originally published at BANDtogether

In the summer of 2008, there I was: A fresh-faced, 19-year-old pharmacy school dropout, a few months removed from stepping off the plane from humble Oregon and on to hopeful California soil. I had no direction of where I was going or knowledge of how to accomplish my lofty goals, but I knew I wanted one thing and one thing only: I wanted to be a part of cinema.

One of my first — and one of my favorite — jobs was when I worked as a film projectionist at a local movie theater. It was one of those summer jobs that lasted well beyond the summer. Even though the pay was trash and I hated some of my managers, I had access to free movies that were actually projected on 35mm film (which is on the verge of becoming an extinct format). I made sure to watch everything I could get my hands on from big budget action blockbusters to independently produced prestige dramas. Since I didn’t have the money to go to a traditional film school like USC or UCLA, the movie theater became my film school.

Everything that I have absorbed about appreciating and deconstructing cinema up to that point came to a climatic crescendo in the form of a tiny little art house flick called The Dark Knight, and it altered my perception of sights and sounds, forever.

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How to Reboot Lex and Joker in the DCEU

It goes without saying that I haven’t been the biggest fan of Warner Brothers’ approach to the films based on their roster of DC Comics superheroes (also known as the DC Extended Universe). Even before Batman v Superman or Suicide Squad debuted to less-than-enthusiastic reviews, I went on record being against the DCEU’s tone and aesthetic. After BvS failed to become the pop cultural behemoth it was supposed to be, the folks at DC Films attempted a much publicized “course correction” to take their movie universe in a different direction — and if the Comic-Con trailers for Wonder Woman and Justice League are any indication, consider me all in for this new “course.” But as much as I’m looking forward to this new phase of the DCEU, I will never be satisfied until they recast the two characters I feel they’ve bungled the most: Lex Luthor and the Joker.

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An Honest Review: Suicide Squad

So let’s talk about Suicide Squad, one of the most highly anticipated films of the year.

Synopsis:

Figuring they’re all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret mission. Now armed with government weapons, Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc and other despicable inmates must learn to work together. Dubbed Task Force X, the criminals unite to battle a mysterious and powerful entity, while the diabolical Joker (Jared Leto) launches an evil agenda of his own.

The verdict? There was some pacing issues and the worldbuilding/mythos was a bit rushed, especially considering this is only the third movie in the DCEU universe. Definitely some areas of opportunity in terms of the editing. It made the one scene with Amanda Waller handing out pinkslips gangsta style a bit on the nose.

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Beyond the Cape: Batgirl and the State of Women in Comics

by CG | Originally posted at Black Girl in Media

[Trigger warning in these posts for mention & discussion of: sexual violence, molestation, rape, and violence against women]

Fiction always reflects the cultural temperature of the times. This could be a good thing, and sometimes be a great thing. But most of the time, it leads to us uncovering not so pleasant parts of our society. Comics have always been an accessible part of that cultural narrative, as their mix of visual and written storytelling have led to them being embraced by fans for decades. Comics and superhero culture are very much at the center of dictating societal norms.

So when we have instances of dictating women’s dress, allowing for female oppression and violence against women for book sales, the issue goes beyond just the individual books or characters in question. It’s about questioning the system that we’ve allowed for this behavior and thinking to flourish enough to reach the success that it has with the comics industry.

This is the state of women in comics.

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People on the Internet Get Things Wrong: Comic Book Cover Edition

by William Evans | Originally posted on Black Nerd Problems

Trigger Warning: Some of the images pulled from comic books depict assault and violence towards women.

DC is celebrating the Joker next month with a plethora of variant covers devoted to him. The Joker, who by definition is a deranged, sinister and disturbed individual is shown on most of these covers the way he’s always been: scaring the shit out of somebody. One specifically that sparked a lot of outrage was where the Joker is cozied up to a frightened Batgirl for her cover. After a lot of people voiced their displeasure with the cover AND RECEIVED THREATS OF VIOLENCE FOR IT, the artist Rafael Albuquerque asked DC to pull the cover. Now of course, there’s the backlash to the backlash as many fans and creators are crying foul and constructing this as an evil feminist argument that ruins everything. Sigh.

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Much Ado About Batgirl

Originally posted at WilliamBruceWest.com

So, usually I’d just let this kind of thing go, or just drop a casual mention of it in West Week Ever, but I was inspired to say more about this particular thing. Last week, DC Comics revealed a variant cover for the upcoming Batgirl #41, which can be seen here:

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Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Hot Toys?

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. It is the holidays after all. Speaking of which, I Just happen to be abroad at the moment and just had to share some pics from a recent pilgrimage to the Hot Toys Secret Base in Hong Kong. Check out the photos after the break.

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Legend of The Dark Knight: More with Michael Uslan

In Part One of our conversation with Michael Uslan, the Batman movie uber-producer recounted his decades-long journey to bring a “dark and serious” version of the Dark Knight from the comic pages to the movie screen, a journey that is the foundation of his memoir, The Boy Who Loved Batman. After a string of Hollywood studios and financiers initially rejected the idea, the Batman film franchise has gone on to earn billions of dollars in box office and merchandising and solidify Batman as a cinematic legend, with even more big screen adventures on the way.

After the jump, Michael and I continue our discussion of what makes the Batman such an iconic — and enduring — character.

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Looking Back at Batman: The Animated Series

In 1992, when I was only eight years old, my Batman knowledge was near non-existent. All I had to go on was the old Adam West Batman series that would repeat endlessly on the now-defunct Family Channel and Tim Burton’s Batman Returns, a movie that was too Tim Burton for my tastes. However, like any other kid, I loved cartoons. Getting home after school, my ritual was to grab a snack and watch The Disney Afternoon or Tiny Toon Adventures. Like the Adam West Batman, these shows were all lighthearted and mostly innocent.

Then Batman: The Animated Series premiered.

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