On June 19, 1992, Batman Returns premiered and was unlike any comic book superhero movie that came before — or after. Starring Michael Keaton as Batman, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, and Danny DeVito as Penguin, Batman Returns was a beautiful dark twisted fantasy that doubled down on Tim Burton’s gothic tendencies and created one of the most enduring female characters in superhero cinema.
I’m examining Batman v Superman from the perspective of the ridiculous and (not) unprecedented fan “outrage” and critical overreaction.
First thing, let’s take a look at the phrase “confirmation bias.” Here’s the definition:
Confirmation bias, also called confirmatory bias or myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities.
Simply put, if people desperately wish to cling onto or believe in a certain conclusion, there’s nothing in the universe that can change their mind. They will not entertain — nor have the ability to entertain — anything that falls outside of their way of thinking.
I wrote about Birdman a couple weeks ago. It’s still my favorite movie of the Fall, and I hope it gets showered with accolades come Awards Season.
Anyway, over on Fox Searchlight’s official YouTube channel, they’ve posted this retro trailer for the fictitious 1992 epic Birdman Returns, and it is awesome. Check it out for yourself after the jump.
The superhero genre — as we know it — was first birthed over seven decades ago in the pulpy pages of the 10-cent comic books. Mint copies of which that are now worth thousands, if not millions, of dollars. Not only are the books themselves more valuable, many of those original heroes are even more popular today than they were at their inception. Even the heroes who weren’t popular then have been resurrected to much critical acclaim today. We call this period of superhero storytelling “the Golden Age” of comics, but we are currently living in a new golden age of superhero storytelling, except the heroes have migrated from the four-color page to the fourteen-screen multiplex.
The fact that we can count on a new comic book superhero movie (or three) every year until infinity and beyond is both a blessing and a curse for the nerd contingent. For every billion-dollar grossing blockbuster that stars men in tights saving the universe — and it is almost always men — there are critics from both within and without nerdom that bemoan the genre’s grasp on pop culture and predict its demise every year. “Superhero fatigue,” it’s called. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is the latest film from writer/director Alejandro González Iñárritu — best known for heavier, more melodramatic fare like Babel and 21 Grams — and it takes on the superhero genre, and the fatigue that may or may not come along with it, like no other film before it.
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.
I love Batman and I love toys, so it’s only natural that I’d love Batman toys. I’ve been a collector for as long as I can remember, and my first Batman figure was from the ’80s Super Powers series. I still collect the figures when one catches my eye, and that was the case with Mattel’s new DC Multiverse figures. I’ve long been a fan of Mattel’s DC offerings, but that was when they were being sculpted in the 6 inch scale. I’m not really a fan of 4 inch figures, as I just don’t feel you get enough bang for your buck, especially since these figures are $10 and up. However, when I saw these figures shown off at last year’s San Diego Comic Con, I knew I had to have them. Today, we’re looking at Batman and Penguin.
As we continue Bat Week here at the NOC, Keith (@the_real_chow) brings on William (@williambwest), Raymond, and special guest Marc Bernardin (@marcbernardin) — senior editor at The Hollywood Reporter who is also a comic book and television writer, as well as a frequent guest on Kevin Smith’s Fatman on Batman podcast. Together the four of them reflect on the legacy of Tim Burton’s Batman on Hard N.O.C. Life.
As you know, yesterday was the 25th anniversary of Batman 89, Tim Burton’s gothic interpretation of the Dark Knight Detective, and the reason we’re celebrating Bat Week this whole week. To mark the occassion, last night around 10pm, I pulled out the Batman disc from my Anthology collection and popped it into the old blu-ray player, fired up my phone, and tweeted along with some dedicated NOC followers on twitter.
A good time was had by all, and I’ve shared some choice tweets after the jump. If you want to relive the whole experience, you can find all the tweets on our twitter feed, or if you prefer them curated, head over to Storify.
If it weren’t for Michael Uslan, we definitely wouldn’t be celebrating the 25th anniversary of Batman this week. In fact, Uslan is the reason there are any Batman films in theaters at all. You see, Uslan and his producing partner Benjamin Melinker are responsible for every live action Batman movie from 1989 to Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, plus 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as well as the animated Mask of the Phantasm and even The LEGO Movie. Basically, anytime Batman’s been in a movie, you can thank these guys.
When he attained the rights to make movies of the character in the late 70s, no one save for Uslan ever imagined that Batman would be the center of a multibillion-dollar grossing film phenomenon. Not even the brass at DC Comics! Only Michael Uslan — a self-described blue collar, comic fanboy from New Jersey — knew the world was ready for a “dark and serious” take on the Caped Crusader. In honor of the milestone anniversary of his labor of love, Michael agreed to sit down with me to talk about how he ultimately brought his vision of Batman to the big screen. Part One of our conversation is below.
On Monday, June 23, the movie that kickstarted the modern comic book renaissance — Tim Burton’s Batman — celebrates its silver anniversary. So what better way to celebrate the landmark film than to dedicate a whole week’s worth of posts to the Dark Knight Detective himself? Because 2014 is not only the 25th anniversary of Batman, it’s also the 50th anniversary of Carmine Infantino’s iconic “new look” costume design, the 75th anniversary of the character himself, and the 100th anniversary of the birth of Batman’s co-creator Bill Finger.
So all week, we at The Nerds of Color will be honoring all things Batman — both the 1989 film and the character in general. Look for my interview with Batman executive producer Michael Uslan and a special episode of Hard NOC Life featuring The Hollywood Reporter senior editor Marc Bernardin.