Last weekend was International Women’s Day. The one day a year when all of the pathetic men out there can go on social media and say “er… but when is International Men’s Day?” Yep, you can really see why the patriarchy has thrived for so fucking long, can’t you? It’s such a fun time. Still, the day is always a good excuse to celebrate women and their impact on the world. Reading books by female writers or watching films directed/written by women. This week I’ve been reading the final part in Alexis Marie Chute’s fantasy trilogy. I’ve also been watching some fantastic female superheroes. So, I decided to carry on the comic book theme and discuss some of my top female characters. Most of them will be very obvious because I’m an obvious person and I’ll miss out plenty I’m sure. There are just too many of them!
In the Marvel vs DC debate, I’ve not been the kind of person who shows loyalty to one over the other. It’s weird. There are characters on both sides that I love and those that I don’t care about. I’m not entirely sure that it’s as much of a thing as it used to be now that so many people have been introduced to graphic novels and comics. Maybe I’m just naive though. I’m just happy to embrace anything well-written and well-drawn. However, that’s only for the comic. When it comes to the film side of things, I’m a Marvel gal all the way. DC films just haven’t had the same impact on me. They’ve just never been able to match the skill and precision that Marvel has become known for. And I don’t say that trying to pretend that Marvel films are perfect because there are still plenty of flaws. It’s just that they have embraced different approaches and have such a tight grip of where they’re going. Some might call it overthinking or overplanning but it’s clearly working. Just look at those box office figures mixed with the critical response.
We all know that very little positive stuff came out of 2016’s Suicide Squad. In fact, the only really memorable thing was Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn. She was exactly the character we needed and Robbie brought real heart to the Joker’s slightly mad paramour. Yes, she also gave basic white girls a new go-to sexy Halloween costume but hey ho. Who am I to judge? It was just great that Harley was getting the treatment she deserved. As a female comic book fan, I’m obviously a Harley fan. She’s been an interesting part of the Batman storylines, had some great team-ups with Ivy and co, and her own comic book is fantastic. She could easily have been ruined by the same people who allowed Zack fuckin Snyder to ruin Superman and almost ruin Batman. But she wasn’t and she was beloved enough to be given her own film… sort of. Female superheroes are slowly becoming more prominent so it’s refreshing to see a fully female comic book film that seems natural. You know, not like the embarrassing scene in Endgame that was awkward and smug. You may remember that this film was on my list of 2020 films I was looking forward to this year and it was finally time to see it.
I’ve talked about Batman a lot more this week than I normally do and it’s all R Patz’s fault. Every day there seems to be a new update about his upcoming role as the Dark Knight. We know a lot of the other actors that will appear in the film, we know that we’ll be seeing Greig Fraser’s cinematography and hearing Michael Giacchino’s score, and we’ve seen evidence Robert Pattinson is learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Things are getting serious. And, from the looks of it at least, the initial frenzied backlash to the casting announcement seems to have calmed down. Yep, who would have thought it but the internet reacted badly to something again. Just moments after the world knew the actor would take on the role of Bruce Wayne, fanboys around the world were throwing their toys out of the pram. There was the inevitable petition demanding a change. The petition demanded that Warner Brothers “stop trashing” the DC universe by making another mistake with casting. DC comic fans, as we know from the past, aren’t the most level-headed of people. So, let’s make this clear, Ben Affleck and Robert Pattinson aren’t the cause of the DCEU getting trashed. That all started the moment Zack Snyder stepped up to the plate. So, am I concerned about Pattinson taking over the role? No. Especially not after watching his performance in The Lighthouse. Plus, we’ve seen this with pretty much every actor who has stepped into the role. People freaked out about Michael Keaton, a comedy actor, playing him in the Tim Burton film. Ben Affleck was one of the best things about Dawn of Justice and Justice League. And neither George Clooney or Val Kilmer is really to blame for Joel Schumacher’s reign of terror. But I’ve just realised that this introduction is longer than a Russian novel. So, it’s time for my Friday Favourite’s for this week: Batman portrayals. So, who is the best Batman actor?
All being well, I should finally be watching The Joker tonight. I’ve been trying to arrange a time to see it for ages. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to think about it. I try not to take too much notice to criticism before I see a film but it’s been hard to avoid most of it. I know there has been some backlash from female critics and some questions about the motivations of the Joker in it. But there has also been a lot of praise. Plus, I’m already biased against Todd Phillips thanks to his absolutely stupid comments about comedy and “woke culture”. Guy sounds like a dick and I’m assuming that his film is bound to match his outdated ideas. But, I still want to go in with an open mind. After all, the Joker is one of the most iconic villains in comic book history. So, for this week’s Friday Favourites, I thought I’d explore some of my favourite Joker centric Batman storylines. Quick disclaimer, I’m by no means a Batman comic expert. I’ve not read as much as I’d like to have read but I’ve read enough to get by comfortably.
I guess you could say that I was looking for an excuse to watch this film. I’ve only recently started watching the show but it was mostly so I could finally see this film. All I was hearing about it was fantastic. To be honest, it was probably as soon as I heard Greg Davies talking to Richard Herring about having a role in it. I mean, I had to see what that was like. Davies is a great comedian and seemed like the perfect person to cast as a villain in a children’s animated film. Obviously, that’s not the only reason. Davies was only going to be a minor part. My decision to finally watch it became clear after it was mentioned in the same podcast that prompted my impromptu DC blog week. And how could I miss the chance to hear Nicolas Cage finally play the role of Superman? We’ve all been curious. It’s one of the greatest “what if’s” in Hollywood.
After watching the adaptation of Hush the other day, I decided that it would be a good idea to go back to the graphic novel. I don’t know how long it’s been since I last read it but it’s been a while. Is it entirely possible that I’m doing it because I knew I was ever going to finish my current read in time for this post? Possibly. But that shouldn’t take anything away from the fact that it was in keeping with my theme of the week. And it is one of those classic Batman story arcs. The kind that is so often referred to in lists of the ones read. But, if I’m honest, I’ve never been as big of a fan as other people. I didn’t know if I was just missing something or whether it actually was just massively hyped. Of course, it’s possible that the artwork was just making it seem better. I admit to falling for that so often. If a graphic novel is a bit meh but the artwork is gorgeous I’ll always rate it higher. But is that the point? Should it be let off for looking good if the story isn’t all that great?
When we discuss Batman storylines, Hush has to be up there with the best of them. The original story arc was written by Jeph Loeb and ran from December 2002 to November 2003. The artwork by Jim Lee is phenomenal and Hush features some absolutely great moments. It’s also kind of dodgy in its own way but not everything can be perfect? Whatever you might think about it, Hush made sense for an adaptation because it was already so cinematic in scope. The artwork was already begging to be shown on the big screen and the story includes so many well-known faces. So, it makes sense that this year Hush was finally going to be adapted as one of DC’s straight-to-video animated features. And, after listening to the Empire podcast discussion about Batman and Superman in the movies, I was feeling a bit inspired. I don’t tend to give DC the same attention that I give Marvel. So, despite the fact that I’ve got my copy of Endgame calling to me to watch it over and over again, I sat down to celebrate its rivals.
On Tuesday I reviewed Shazam! a DC film starring Mark Strong. So, what film could I possibly watch for this Throwback Thursday post? How about a DC film starring Mark Strong? Especially as it’s considered to be one of the worst superhero movies of all time. It even has a lower rating than X-Men Origins. Of course, they both star Ryan Reynolds. Until Deadpool was finally released, it seemed as though that guy just wasn’t going to make the superhero thing work. On the plus side, it isn’t the worst the film in DC history. Catwoman and Jonah Hex will forever beat anything and then there’s Joel Schumacher’s reign of terror. But, certainly, Green Lantern has to be one of the biggest missteps in comic book movie history. It’s just become an easy joke. Something that Ryan Reynolds is more than happy to join in with as evidenced by that line in Deadpool. I guess something good finally did come out of this film.
I’ve not had the best history with DC films. I loved Wonder Woman but part of me suspects that I just got caught up in all the celebration. I mean, she was the first female superhero to get her own film. I was already going in feeling excited. I haven’t seen Aquaman yet and I’ve only made it halfway through Justice League. However, I’m pretty confident in saying that my relationship with the DCEU is dicey. So, when it was announced that they were going to release Shazam! I remained unconvinced it would change my opinion. Then I saw the trailer. And it looked really good. I was still kind of skeptical of DC trying to go down the Marvel route after so much Zack Snyder but it seemed like it could work. I mean Zachary Levi as the lead and Mark Strong as the villain? Both of those things sounded great to me. And it’s about time DC had a little bit of fun, right? Shazam! looked like it was going to be a great change of pace.