Tag Archives: batman

Adam West and Burt Ward to Voice Animated “Batman”

You know that a movie or TV show is truly culturally resonant if you can never actually watch it but still hold a moderately long conversation about it at a party. The original Batman TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward is one such TV show: how many tropes of the show do you know purely from parodies and pop culture references? I’d estimate a whole bunch.

You may have seen the show get a boost in popularity recently with a resurgence of merchandise, thanks to Warner Bros. and the brand Batman ’66. Well that’s also due in no small part to the encroaching 50 year anniversary of the show.

But that’s not all, because we now have reports that there will be a salute to the golden age of camp batman and to an extent the golden age of batman in general with an animated movie based on the show.
According to Screenrant, the movie will be released at the start of next year on January 12th and will pay tribute to everything about the original TV series that we know and love.

But who will be voicing the dynamic duo themselves? Oh I don’t know, how about the dynamic duo themselves!? Slam! Sorry I got over excited. Both Adam West who starred as Batman and Burt Ward who starred as Robin both stated in a recent Batman panel at the Mad Monster Party in Charlotte, North Carolina, that they would be voting their original alter egos for the animated movie.

Ward also let slop to the crowd that this may be the first of two animated movies. Will both be based on the 1960s TV series? And if so will West and Ward return for a sequel? Well let’s not get ahead of ourselves yet, we’ve still got a while to wait to see even one.
If you’d like to see a video of the panel, why not have a peek down below:

Are you jazzed for an animated Batman movie?

“Suicide Squad”: Leto’s Joker will be Muscular?

You know what’s great about an article that has an open ended question as the title? You are garuanteed to not get a definite answer about anything out of anyone. It will be more of a speculative, philosophical waxing that pumps out so many theories that you close the window of your laptop at the end of it and feel more confused than you were when you started. So more often than not we tend to stay away from blatant rumours that have no basis here, unless we have a little something to go on. Or if it’s super intriguing. The potential for a physical description of the joker in the upcoming comic book movie Suicide Squad is a little of both.

Since getting word that Jared Leto would be playing the Joker in David Ayer’s villain team up, we’ve been hearing that the Dallas  Buyers Club star would be losing his legendary locks for the role. It’s been a while and still no hair job, but Leto mentioned that his presentation of an award at the Oscars would be a “farewell party for his hair”. Not only that, but Leto came out on stage with a considerable amount of poundage on him compared to his Oscar winning role last year. Turns out the actor who is no stranger to augmenting his body for a role has put on 70 pounds for his part as the joker. So we’ve got short hair and bulk, which would be a huge change from what we’re used to seeing from cinematic representations of the Joker. Both Jack Nicholson’s and Heath Ledger’s portrayals of Batman’s nemesis have been violent and brutally theatrical, but not quite so physically dominant. So it looks as though Suicide Squad is set to change all that.

Leto partying it up a the Oscars, carrying considerably more weight than last year's performance.
Leto partying it up a the Oscars, carrying considerably more weight than last year’s performance.

When the cast list for Suicide Squad dropped late last year, one of the actor choices that has sparked the most chatter is Jared Leto for the role of Batman’s biggest villain property the Joker. The big surprise about the choice of Leto is that the majority of the cast are action or mainstream vets (include list here) while Leto himself was hot off an Oscar win with a pocketful of indie roles before that. With such an elevated status, everyone wants to know how Leto is going to play the clown Prince of Crime, and to what era of the batman canon will he be most closely aligned.

We’re gonna leave it there for the moment because very soon the ratio of news to guesses is gonna spin wildly out of control. But if you’d like a visual representation of what Leto’s Joker feels like to us – and why wouldn’t you? – check out the incarnation of the Joker from the graphic novel Batman:RIP.

Oh, and if he ends up looking exactly like this, I’m taking credit.

JokerwithDualKnives

Will Batman make an Appearance in “Suicide Squad”?

It’s an intriguing prospect that a Batman universe project like Suicide Squad would exist without Batman actually taking part. Whether or not people would agree with that depends entirely on how they fell about the recent TV show Gotham. In any case, that may not be an option for Suicide Squad, as Screen Rant reports rumours that Batman will have something of a significant role in the film that basically puts a bunch of his villains together.

According to Forbes, Batman will be making an appearance in the film near the end to take care of the Joker, who will potentially be escaping from Arkham. This follows on from a previous rumour that the Joker will not be an active member of the Squad (this was never really the case in the comics) but will serve as an insane consultant for the group. The idea is that this will act as a jumping-off point for a Batman standalone movie, which will supposedly be inspired by the Joker-portion of the Frank Millar graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns. This would make sense, since Batman V Superman is already drawing heavily on the graphic novel for its plot.

Batman and Joker hugging it out in Frank Millar's "The Dark Knight Returns"
Batman and Joker hugging it out in Frank Millar’s “The Dark Knight Returns”

Just to clarify, a rumour that makes sense because it’s based on other rumours doesn’t make any of it more likely. But it’s a nice idea.

here’s what Forbes’ Mark Hughes said on the subject of Batman potentially poking his cowl through the door:

“This would set up the Joker as a possible/likely antagonist in the solo Batman movie that’s planned in the next few years, and which I’ve heard will take some inspiration from Frank Miller’s comic book series ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ – the third issue of which is a story about Batman facing off against an escaped Joker. I’m also told that Gotham City Police Commissioner Ellen Yindel (who replaces James Gordon during the comic book story) is planned for inclusion in the film.”

To be frank, the timing of this rumour makes a considerable amount of sense since the news that Tom Hardy would no longer be playing Squad leader Rick Flagg and would be replaced by Jake Gyllenhaal suggested there were issues with the project.

Other than that, the cast of the film remains unchanged:  Will Smith as Deadshot, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jared Leto as The Joker and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller.

Ben Affleck as he will appear in "Batman V Superman". Hopefully he'll perk up if he gets this "Suicide Squad" gig.
Ben Affleck as he will appear in “Batman V Superman”. Hopefully he’ll perk up if he gets this “Suicide Squad” gig.

The benefit, I suppose, of including Batman in the Suicide Squad project, other than the fact that it would make complete sense, would be that DC and Warner Bros. could ease themselves a little more into the continuity universe structure. If it does happen, hopefully it pays off.

Want to see Batman take on the Suicide Squad?

The Crime-Fighters, They Are A-Changin’: The 76 Faces of Batman From the Beginning

This year marked the 75th Anniversary of the creation of the legendary crime-fighter Batman by Bob Kane. There’s been a whole bunch of homages throughout the year to the dark knight, including animated shorts, historical montages and artwork. Even the TV show Gotham conveniently coincided with the impressive and somehow inconceivable milestone. Of course, that also means that we only have another week to celebrate batman in outrageous ways in public before we just look silly again. So let’s make the most of it gang!

This week we came across one of the most succinct and impressive summations of the many changes made to the caped crusader during his 75-year-long war on crime. Deadline reported on a poster that had been designed by Salvador Anguiano, which catalogues every change to the cape, cowl and complexion as batman passed hands from then to now. It’s easy to forget a lot of batman’s incarnations, or perhaps mix up which came first and which came after. So just like the timeline that maps out all the Marvel and DC films that are coming out over the next few years, this poster serves to draw a straight line and make the development over time a little clearer. Have a look, courtesy of Hero Complex. Remember to click on the image for a closer look:

batman 75

 

Yep, they’re all there! As well as the comic book versions of batman, the list also includes the video game versions developed in the Arkham series, not to mention the cartoon versions. Even Lego Batman is there! It’s a considerable artistic feat and we thank Salvador for putting it together. And just in case you would like to have one all to yourself, you can actually buy the print on Hero Complex.

Which is your favourite incarnation of the dark knight?

Michael Keaton’s Christmas Message: “I’m Batman”

There are a lot of traditions that we look forward to during the Christmas season. One of my particular favourites – and I’m sure it’s one of yours – is an annual Christmas message from veteran actor and word-sayer Michael Keaton. This year, after such a flourish of success with nomination-magnet Birdman, I’ve been looking forward to how Keaton’s traditional Christmas speech reflects his experiences with a modern Hollwood. Now the wait is over, and during an interview Keaton’s Yuletide message was clear, powerful and succinct: “I’m Batman”.

Keaton’s Christmas messages have always been rich with distinctive themes that have run true over the decades of his successful acting career. Those themes include bats, men, batmen, cowls, capes, justice, and the Riddler being the worst kind of dick there is…a dick that tells riddles.

It’s around this time that I like to remember some of my favourite Keaton Christmas messages, and there are so many great moments to choose from. I remember the mesmerising 1988 classic “I’m going to be Batman”, 1990’s “I was Batman, and I’ll be Batman again”, 2000’s unforgettable “Wassuuuuup…I’m Batman” and of course 2012’s “I’m all of the Avengers…also Batman”. I have to say I’m a little surprised this time around: I was sure the message would be along the lines of “I’m Birdman”. But that’s what you get when you try to predict the unpredictable.

Michael Keaton’s dedication to bring such meaning to this dark, winter season, is truly inspirational. His words remind us that we too can be whatever we want to be as we approach the new year. That is of course unless you want to be Batman, because Keaton has made it pretty clear that he’s Batman.

Now that Keaton’s weaved his magic for 2014, all that is left to do is look forward to next year, and the Batman-oriented wisdom Christmas 2015 will surely bring.

If you would like to read the interview that inspired this piece of mania, you can read it here on Shortlist.

 

Batman V Superman: That’s a wrap!

March 25, 2016: The date that DC and Warner Bros. says is going to blow my mind! Judging from the set photos, the plot rumours and the umpteen films that are going to follow Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, I think they might be right.

It may seem like a long long way away, and that’s because it is. But we have good news in the interim because production has officially wrapped on the film. The film’s cinematographer, Larry Fong, was sweet enough to let everyone know by posting on his Instagram. have a look at the image, it’s as intriguing as it is sort of baffling.

Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman...what are they all staring at?
Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman…what are they all staring at?

Dawn of Justice is going to see Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck lock horns as the two greatest superheroes of the DC universe, provided you don’t ask Green lantern: he’s still a bit surly since his movie flopped and his reboot’s not for a few years…hopefully he sobers up by then. Sorry, went off on a tangent there. This will be the first time we see the two on screen together. The closest we’vecome on the big screen was in Batman & Robin with Goerge Clooney’s off the cuff remark “This is why superman works alone”. Cute, right?

Now that production is done we can hopefully expect a trailer or at least a teaser to dropping early next year, or maybe earlier depending on what other movie release it’s attached to (there’s a rumour circling The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies so keep your eyes peeled).

This movie’s going to be the ground floor of a very tall building, so it’s gonna be a real thrill to see some more tidbits emerge from this project.

Who do you think’s gonna win?

Just how good is the latest “Suicide Squad” news?

It goes without saying that everyone got a serious kick out of the news that Suicide Squad had a confirmed cast. The two biggest surprises to come out of it were the affirmation of Jared Leto as The Joker, and Will Smith‘s name being tossed into the mix as Deadshot. There’s no denying that a superhero team-up is a crowd-pleaser, especially since Guardians of the Galaxy proved that we don’t need to know the team members to fall in love with them. Add the fact that these are all villains, including Harley Quinn and The Joker!? How could we not get excited?

But now that we’ve had a few hours to calm down and all the glitzy dust has settled, maybe we should take a moment to think about how reliable a line-up of actors DC has put together for us.

First, we’ve got Will Smith. One of the most successful, well-known actors around. It might be argued that Smith has gone a little off the deep-end recently and might be looking to change his image with a DC picture. That might be true, except for the fact that he doesn’t need to change his image. Men in Black 3 grossed $624 million worldwide. 70% on Rotten Tomatoes. Positive responses from critics. Granted, After Earth  was mostly a write-off and Focus looks just plain dull, but so what? Clearly the man can still make what he wants and be a hit. Not to mention the fact that he could potentially come back for Independence Day 2 and already has a serious drama in the works with Concussion, an exploration of head trauma in the NFL, due out in 2016. So why Suicide Squad?

The obvious answer is because he likes the part and likes the script. But Smith doesn’t just have to like something and go along with it. If something doesn’t sit right with him, he’ll try and change it. Let’s not forget that he lost out to Jamie Foxx for the lead in Django Unchained because he wanted to shoot the bad guy instead of Christoph Waltz’s character. And this has got me worried. If Smith took this role, it could very well mean that the script was just the way he wanted it, or it was changed to suit him. This is all complete conjecture of course, but could still be bad news. There’s also the question of whether or not he has a contract to appear in other DC films.

But back to the other cast members. Tom Hardy is a dependable choice, given his history with DC (Dark Knight Rises) and his uncanny ability to augment his body shape seemingly at will. As for Jai Courtney, he’ll draw a modest tween audience thanks to the Divergent series if all goes well and will potentially make waves with Terminator: Genisys and add to the already considerable hype. Margot Robbie is starring in Focus alongside Smith, but her role in Wolf of Wall Street is most likely why she’s been given Harley Quinn to make her own. As for Cara Delevingne, she’s been popping her head in the door in a lot of big films recently, including Anna Karenina and the upcoming Pan. And if Aidan Gillen lands Deathstroke, he’s got his Game of Thrones gusto to call on.

And then we have Jared Leto. Between Requiem for a Dream in 2000 and last year’s Dallas Buyers Club, Leto’s acting contributions could easily have been missed if you didn’t know where to look. Two years ago he could very well have been groomed by Marvel as the star of a property all to himself, given his respectable dramatic chops and the kind of Everyman handsome face that pretty much any major superhero can be copy and pasted onto.

And it doesn’t matter that he has an Oscar. If you look at Leto’s track record, you get the impression that his acting trajectory is very much down to the projects he likes, instead of the parts he thinks would make him more successful. Now that he has Best Supporting Actor under his belt I don’t see that changing. Don’t forget that Ledger had a nomination for Brokeback Mountain before he was cast for The Dark Knight , so that’s not the issue.

But if you look at the kind of film The Dark Knight was, and the kind of work that Leto has done in the past, you could start to think that DC are going to stick with their plan to keep things dark and serious. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. Do all superhero movies need to follow the colourful, fun-loving Marvel template? Not necessarily. It’s not so much about following the herd as it is drawing on experience and knowing what works in the long term.

Let’s just have a quick side-by-side comparison with Marvel. Now don’t get antsy, I know they aren’t the same and they can put their universes together in different ways. But we have to consider that DC is starting on the back foot and it’s already trying to catch up with Marvel in terms of output. Just take a look at the line-up of films to come out of both studios over the next few years:

So pretty...
So pretty…

From 2015 onward, we already have word of 23 Marvel properties and 15 DC properties. That seems unbalanced, but if you take away all of the Marvel films that will be released outside of the Marvel Studio system by Fox, Sony and Disney, that leaves Marvel Studios with 9 upcoming films against DC/ Warner Bros.’ 15. So it’s safe to say that DC have come to play, and they’re looking to take up as much space on the calendar as possible. That’s OK though, right? Marvel can’t “own” making good superhero movies can they? Of course not, but here’s the problem: DC simply hasn’t got the foundations for this kind of consistent turnout yet.

By the time we hit 2015, Marvel Studios will have released ten blockbuster productions, all successful, all awaiting sequels (apart from Iron man that already has two and Hulk). By the time the predicted line-up is finished, Marvel Studios’ number of productions will be more than twice as large. And that’s just in the current continuity.

DC has one: Man of Steel.

Now DC has a whole archive of successful films: the original batman series, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Christopher Reeves’ Superman, Watchmen – almost all of them produced by Warner Bros. Their ability to make good films is not in question. But they’ve never had to worry about tying them all together before. No one was telling Tim Burton to make Michael Keaton less self-reliant in case he needed to get involved with the Justice League…although that might explain what happened with Batman Forever . The truth is Marvel has been perfecting for the last six years what DC only started putting into effect a year ago.

I agree that I might be spoiling the party for everyone by saying it’s gonna suck before we even get there. Suicide Squad could be amazing – it’s got enough acting talent to do it. The only question is whether the choice of actors, the choice of tone and the Jenga tower of a movie multiverse are going to play well together when the time comes. Hopefully they will.

Rogue Squadron: cast confirmed for Ayer’s “Suicide Squad”

There’s been a whole bunch of reports over the last few months on who’s going to be filling the roster for David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. Names like Jared Leto for the Joker have been appearing and disappearing with very little sticking power. but now we have a solid cast list from Warner Bros. for the members of the DC Universe’s government funded villain branch.

So here’s the list, laid out nice and simple-like:

Jared Leto – The Joker

Will Smith – Deadshot

Tom Hardy – Rick Flagg

Margot Robbie – Harley Quinn

Jai Courtney – Boomerange

Cara Delevingne – Enchantress

Names have been named: Smith, Robbie, Hardy, Courtney, Leto and Deleveingne.
Names have been named: Smith, Robbie, Hardy, Courtney, Leto and Deleveingne.

This is a very intriguing list and I’ll tell you why: of the latest incarnation of the Suicide Squad – titled the New Suicide Squad in the series that started its run earlier this year – only Deadshot and Harley Quinn appear in the film line-up. Hardy’s character Rick Flag could refer to three different characters, a grandfather, father and son with the same name. Flag had a concrete member of the Squad up until 2011.

Boomerange is referred to as Captain Boomerang in the comics, so this may have been altered to sound less like a character in a kid’s TV show – either that or there were legal issues with the name. Enchantress is another long-running character, but has magical powers so it’ll be interesting to see how they broach that subject or work around it.

The most interesting name on the list is The Joker. I was originally very sceptical when Leto was named as a potential cast member, since the clown prince of crime has never really been directly affiliated with the Squad. The Joker’s daughter did enter the line-up in 2014 to join his on-again off-again girlfriend Harley Quinn. It’ll be exciting to see how Leto takes the mantle from Heath Ledger atfer his portrayal in The Dark Knight

David Ayer is writing as well as directing the film for Warner Bros., with Zack Snyder (who’d have thought it?), Deborah Snyder, Colin Wilson and Geoff Johns on hand as executive producers. Shooting will take place in Toronto.

It’ll be along wait before Suicide Squad arrives on our screens, but it’s not like we don’t have a bundle of Marvel and DC films to keep us limber until 2016.

What do you think of the lineup? Who’s depiction can you not wait to see?