Posted tagged ‘johnny depp’

The Dark Knight + Batman 3

September 22, 2009

I stuck on one of my favourite dvds the other day. The Dark Knight goes into my dvd player on a monthly basis. The film has to be one of the most enjoyable ever made. Not only does it have the brilliant Batman, we also get to see the finest depiction of his nemesis: The Joker. You’ve heard all this before. The film came out over a year ago and if you have any interest it in you’ve seen it ten times by now.

The Dark Knight can be viewed as an allegory for the age of terrorᵀᴹ. It highlights the debate between security and liberty. Is Batman right to spy on the whole populace to catch the Joker? Was he right to torture gangsters and crooks to gather evidence? Bruce never seems happy doing these things, eager to let Harvey Dent be the true hero and use due procedure. Is that good enough? Do the ends justify the means? These questions are left to the viewer to answer. Not something you will likely get from another blockbuster. *cough* Transformers *cough*

Not only does the Dark Knight provide a thought provoking story, it also kicks arse. The action set pieces feel fresh and look superb. Shying away from CGI for practical effects and models, the film looks as good today as when it came out. The scene on the ferries was so intense the first time I thought it. I really believed the boats would explode, something that could never happen in a Hollywood summer film. No matter what those criminals had done you couldn’t justify killing hundreds of them in cold blood. But Nolan made me belief he might. Sweet.

How do you top the scale of the Dark Knight for Batman 3? Joker terrorised with thirty million inhabitants, killed police commissioners and judges, destroyed Harvey Dent and almost cracked Batman. If you had Catwoman stealing an Egyptian cat statue from Gotham’s museum, it wouldn’t cut it. It needs to be a massive story without losing the characterisation that makes the Dark Knight such a watchable film.

joker

The quickest way to do that is to bring back the Joker. It is clear that Nolan intended to bring back the Clown Prince of Crime in the final part of his trilogy. Heath Ledger’s untimely death may have scuppered this plan but I believe there are alternatives. Ledger did a terrific job, but the show must go on. An obvious replacement would be the very intense Daniel Day-Lewis. After seeing him in There Will Be Blood, I have no doubt he could play a psychopath convincingly. Another choice would be my favourite: Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He has worked with Ledger before and has similar flare. Gordon-Levitt has also just filmed Inception with Christopher Nolan which will help his chances.

Women. The one thing more interesting than films and superheroes. Not that I think of women as things… I’m just going to stop there. As much as I respect Nolan as a director, I do not think he is great at directing his actresses. I know from experience that it is difficult to direct women and he does the right thing by casting strong actresses. But women are a huge part of Batman’s ethos. They have to make an appearance in the next film, but which ones?

When most people think about women in Batman I bet the first one that springs to mind is Catwoman. She is iconic, sexy and anything but predictable. As I mentioned earlier, I fear that her flirting with Batman and stealing some artifacts would not make a film two hours long. Rumours have been going around and around about who has been cast as Catwoman, but Nolan has been quoted as saying we wouldn’t see her. He seemed pretty serious about there being no Robin, so I doubt we’ll see Catwoman in his films either.

Where there is the Joker, Harley Quinn is not far behind. She was created for Batman the animated series. The Joker’s former psychiatrist at Arkham was driven mad and became his sidekick. She is sort of stuck in the shadow of the Joker and I doubt would work as a stand alone villain. Harley is close friends with Poison Ivy but her supernatural abilities are likely to rule her out of the Nolan-verse Batman.

A woman I would like to meet is Talia al Ghul, daughter and heir of Ra’s al Ghul. In the comics, whilst Batman was training with Ra’s, he fell in love with Talia. This would be a great way for the third film to tie back into the first one. She is just as experienced as her father in martial arts and strategic planning. She is now motivated by revenge for her parent’s death, making her the perfect foil for the Dark Knight. Not only that, she will know Batman’s secret identity.

talia

All that makes Talia a great choice of villain. Her involvement could force Batman to give up being Bruce Wayne to protect himself from assault in public by Talia. This issue is often touched upon in Batman lore. Is he Batman or Bruce Wayne? The pain of losing Rachel Dawes may be enough for him to bury Wayne. Talia’s reappearance and his mixed feelings towards her will not help matters.

The new Nolan films have been following some of Batman’s graphic novels fairly loosely. Batman Begins was inspired by Batman: Year One and the Dark Knight was inspired by The Long Halloween. The Long Halloween had a sequel called Dark Victory and could obviously serve as the basis for the next film. The problem is that Dark Victory covers the origin of Robin, this won’t happen in a Nolan/Bale film.

Dark Victory does look at how the three protagonists of the Dark Knight (Batman, Gordon and Dent) are now at odds with each other. Batman is an outlaw, Gordon has to hunt him and Dent is a crime boss called Two-Face. In the story Batman is really losing touch with his humanity, Robin acts as an anchor for him. This role could be transferred to Alfred/Lucius Fox.

What better way to capitalise on Batman’s vulnerability than by having him beaten by the super strong Bane. Don’t mistake him for a mindless idiot as he was portrayed in Batman & Robin. Bane is one of Batman’s smartest foes. In the Knightfall story Bane exhausts Batman before breaking his back. This would make a great set piece and send our hero to his darkest depths yet.

I’d like to see Talia and Bane working together. Maybe even dating. It wouldn’t be a great stretch to see Bane trained by Ra’s al Ghul before his death and chosen as a successor. In the comics Bruce was favoured by Ra’s as his successor but it would be interesting to see him replaced by the more savage Bane. I’d then add in an element from the graphic novel The Cult by having Batman brainwashed into killing someone. Whilst he is incapacitated Talia could use drugs and mind control to get Bruce back into the fold.

That’s my idea anyway, and something I could see Nolan using. Other big villains floating around the rumourmills are: The Penguin and The Riddler. The Penguin would make a nice bridge between the psychotic characters and the mob influence but isn’t big enough to fill a whole film. The Riddler (often rumoured as Johnny Depp) may seem like too much of a watered down Joker. I could see him brought in to try and solve the Hangman murders if they did choose to go with the Dark Victory storyline.

riddler

Interesting aside. Some people believe the character of Coleman Reese (the accountant who tries to blackmail Bruce Wayne) could become the Riddler. Mister Reese becomes mysteries. In the Dark Knight he says a little line that goes “what are you building for him now? A rocket ship?” A sly clue to a Justice League film and the Watchtower (orbital satellite) that Bruce finances.

So there you have it. I wish I was in a position to say what is coming next in the Batman films but sadly I am not. I think the Joker will be back in some capacity and that a member of the al Ghul family will come seeking revenge in a Die Hard 3 sort of way. I’d love to see a devilish Bane pursue the Batman as only he is capable of. Whatever happens, it is going to have a tough time living up to the high expectations set by The Dark Knight.

What are your thoughts? Which villains do you think we will see? Which storylines from the comics will be used? Leave your comments below.

AntBuoy

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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Some kind of high-powered mutant

September 5, 2009

I’ve been meaning to watch this film for some time. I have a lot of trendy friends who often discuss important issues like Gonzo journalism. Dicks. After watching the film I can’t say I have a greater understanding of the subject. But from the all knowing Wikipedia, I understand it to mean when the journalists own life comes to be the story rather than what they were reporting.

If you watch the film, with no knowledge of the king of Gonzo – Hunter S Thompson, none of that will come across. Instead you have a film about drugs that is so potent in its delivery that it makes you feel intoxicated. My sister was so moved by the film that she had to stop watching it when our two heroes stumbled into a circus/casino.

fear and loathing

I need to stress something. Stumbled does not do justice to just how they two men walked into the venue. High on ether, a powerful anaesthetic, they inch their way to the entrance. Raoul Duke (skillfully played by Johnny Depp) walks with bowed legs at the best of times but in this scene he challenges gravity as best he can.

What Raoul Duke cannot do as an able-bodied biped, he makes up for with ingenious inner monologues. Raoul’s inner monologues are the motor of the film. Which is impressive for a guy who has a cigarette in his mouth at all times. Almost all the dialogue in the film can be attributed to Raoul, but that is in no way a bad thing.

As much as this film is the story of Hunter S Thompson, it is through the distinct lense of Terry Gilliam. I’m not going to lie to you, I love Terry Gilliam. Brazil and Monty Python and the Holy Grail are two of my favourite movies of all time. Whilst Fear and Loathing won’t earn such a high honour, it is never the less a good film.

fear_and_loathing

Gilliam brings his usual richness to the visuals of this films. The lizard monsters (yes, lizard monsters) look incredible. The hotel suite the two men stay in as a terrifying mix of war zone, marsh and opium den. And not one actor looks savoury or wholesome in the whole film. They are all very sweaty too, it’s a bit like porn.

Where Gilliam falls short, in my opinion, is his editing. The scenes often seem to begin and end at very arbitrary points and don’t quite gel together. Granted, Raoul tries to describe how he keeps blacking out and this may be part of showing that. But, I’ve noticed this before in some of his films.

My favourite moment of the film came as a complete surprise. A man walks into a restroom and is horrified at what he saw. We are then treated to one of Raoul’s many musings on what was to become of this man. It was a tiny scene, with no significance to the plot, but it was also brilliant. I’d happily watch it as a one minute short.

In some moments of the film it was eerily similar to the 2000 film, Requiem for a Dream. Requiem is a far darker tale, but Fear and Loathing does take a nasty turn at the end of the second act. Raoul takes some drugs given to him by Satanists. This film obviously received an 18 rating. It cites its sole reason as “drug use.” The next time I see someone smoking a joint I will tell them to take some adrenochrome and stop misusing drugs.

This film has no problem keeping its head above water, but it’s not about to swim the channel. I’d recommend you see it just to hear this quote I want to use. We can’t stop here. This is bat country.

AntBuoy

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