On movies I want: I saw THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

24f6204e7a529a196605512d65a151e9.jpgLast night I reviewed a movie that I consider sort of unreviewable because the act of discussing it will make it impossible to properly enjoy it.  Tonight my wife and son and I went to a movie that doesn’t need a review: the Lego Batman movie.  You already know what you’ll think of the Lego Batman movie.  You already know whether you’re going to see it.  Chances are you know what thought of the Lego Batman movie, and could write this review for me.  And chances are you’re right about all those things.

After leaving the movie, I was thinking about what I’m always thinking about when I leave a Batman movie, which is that I will never get the Batman movie that I want.  Batman has been the star of a comic book called Detective Comics since nineteen thirty goddamn nine.  That was a really long time ago.  There have been approximately three hundred Hollywood films with the word “Batman” or some variant thereof in the title since then, and some of them actually had Batman in them.

Can we get a damn mystery Batman movie, please?  One where he has to actually solve a crime and act like a detective?  I mean, hell, they’re basically making one of these things every two or three years and seem likely to be planning to continue that until I die.  Can I get one of those to be a detective movie?  Bonus points (this will never ever happen) if it’s a noirish piece and actually set in the 1930s or 1940s.  You can still end the movie with a slam-bang action sequence, just make all the stuff before that be quieter and give me a Batman who uses his brains and not his gadgets and ninja skills.  Yes, Batman Begins, the movie about black-wearing-ninja-sword-fighting-not-Batman-angry-guy, I’m looking at you.

Don’t take this as a criticism of Lego Batman, by the way.  There’s nothing wrong with it; as I said, it’s exactly the movie I thought it would be (perhaps a bit more clever) and is probably exactly the movie you think it’ll be.  But gimme just one dark, shadowy, film-noir Batman crime movie where he has to slink around and detect some shit and doesn’t do a lot of punching.  I promise it’ll still make money.  Please?


…because I’m not ready to talk about the election just yet.


Here’s the deal about this movie, guys:  when I walked out, my wife said to me that she had no complaints about it at all.  And I agreed with her.  You will enjoy watching Doctor Strange, and you will see some shit you haven’t seen on screen before, and you’ll see a movie where the good guy wins not by winning a big fight but by outsmarting the bad guy at the end.  This movie is fun to watch.  But now, six days later, I’m finding that while it’s not the worst Marvel movie (that would be Iron Man 2) it’s definitely held up more poorly than any of them.  I knew IM2 had problems when I saw it.

In no particular order, a list of complaints:

  • Okay, I get why this sorta had to be an origin movie.  But goddammit it’s damn near the same origin movie that Iron Man had, only Iron Man’s transition to heroism stretched out over a few movies and Bangledoof Climberbunch’s takes like ten minutes.  Is there any reason, really, that we couldn’t have had a movie where Doctor Strange is already the Sorcerer Supreme and we just do like a five-minute flashback to his origin, a la every Batman appearance in the last twenty years?
  • Speaking of Binglethump Clammerplatch, I spent the whole movie wanting him to say “Carl.”  His American accent is basically exactly the same as Hugh Laurie’s.  He certainly looks the part, though.
  • Although, that said, there’s no reason a white guy had to play this part.  None at all.  There was supposedly going to be a story-based reason why the Ancient One was a white woman; that boiled down to Baron Mordo saying “She’s Celtic” at one point.  Not that she sounded Irish or anything either, mind you.
  • The fight scenes are kind of cool because of the reality-folding stuff and gravity-bending that happens, only it’s not really entirely clear why reality-folding and gravity-bending follows from the rest of the stuff that magic can do, which mostly involves generating weird glowy things out of one’s hands.  Magic is boring in the Marvel universe.
  • Also boring: learning magic.  If we’re going to waste a big chunk of the movie on Bufflepuff Cummerdammerung training to use magic and not being a big old dumb empiricist anymore, maybe we could have seen the moment where he first succeeds at something?  Maybe.  It really seems like doing magic in the Marvel Universe basically just involves waving your hands around, and sometimes wearing a weird two-finger ring for some reason.  I have a few years’ worth of Doctor Strange comics, by the way, and the ring has made no appearance.  We spent a lot of time watching him train, but never saw him learn.  There’s no Word and the Way conversation here, no indication at all of how magic actually works, or why him waving his hands in a way does something but me waving my hands the same way in front of my computer wouldn’t.
  • Oh, and he also learns karate, because of course he does.
  • This isn’t a complaint: Kaecilius, the villain, makes more sense than any other Marvel villain so far.  His role is criminally underwritten, but his evil plan makes sense.  Especially this fucking week.  This movie was loaded with acting talent– it may have the best cast of any Marvel movie, with the possible exception of Thor.  It just wasn’t interesting.
  • The Female Love Interest had no reason to be there, at all.  None.  They shoulda had Strange working out of Night Nurse’s hospital and brought Rosario Dawson in.

There’s probably more, but I think you get the idea.  I’m not actually recommending not seeing this; my wife liked it a lot, and again, all these problems came up later, not while I was watching it.  But the ultimate assessment?  Meh.  If I write much more, it’ll just be so I can find more ways to say Blimpledimp Clinkypunch’s name, and that’s gonna get old eventually.

(No it won’t.  Bumplemump Carrybrinks.  Buzzawump Clubberpick.  Bonklesnuzz Clippersmell.  It will never get old.)

In which 2016 is an asshole yet again: RIP, Steve Dillon


Goddamn, this one sucks.  If you’re not a comic book person you’re unlikely to have heard of Steve Dillon, who passed away today (of as yet unannounced causes; if he was sick, his family kept it quiet, and he was working up to the end) at the disgustingly young age of 54. Dillon did a ton of work in a long career in comics but was known primarily for his work with writer Garth Ennis on titles like Punisher and Preacher.  He also had a run on Hellblazer that I’m less familiar with.

Dillon was one of my favorite artists, despite having caught a fair amount of shit from me over the years.  His greatest strength as an artist was tied in tightly with his greatest weakness: Steve Dillon could really only draw one face, when it came down to it, and most of his characters ended up being that same face with differences in hair, headgear, eyepatches, things like that.  But the man could capture a range of expressions on that face that was flatly unparalleled among any artist I’m aware of.  Absolutely goddamn nobody can capture shades of emotion in a comic book character’s look like Dillon could.  He had a grounded, realistic style that made him perfect for the books he had long runs on and occasionally (and I say this with love, believe me) hilariously inappropriate for others:


That is, believe it or not, supposed to be the Hulk.

He’s also responsible for this moment, which will live forever:


If you have led the type of life that resulted in getting paid real money to draw the Punisher punching a polar bear in the face, you have won as a human being.  Steve will be greatly, greatly missed.  He was one of the good guys.


Guys I need help


I can’t decide how much I hate the cape they have Tyler Hoechlin wearing as Superman in Supergirl.  I also can’t believe that sentence makes sense, but it does.  I mean, do I just hate the costume?  Or does it need more than that?  They also got rid of the briefs, which adds to the overall suck.  I might just hate it, but then again it’s possible that I shouldn’t just hate it and despising it is a better use of my time.  I’m really having trouble calibrating my dislike here.

Then again:

Granted, they’re not actually using the Williams score (which I think of as the “right” score) but maybe I can forgive them.