Funny world we live in. Finally after what feels like an insane amount of time waiting for something, anything really for the much anticipated Todd Phillips Joker movie, we have a trailer. I’ve fully been in the camp of, how can there be a Joker movie without Batman? How on Earth can that possibly work? How can you have one without the other, it just doesn’t make any sense. So I was so curious to see some sort of footage.
I already know, we will have the DC fan boys raving that, well since this is Joaquin Phoenix that this is already better than Nicholson and Leto. Some might even say it’s better than Ledger, I’m serious there will be people that think this will be the second coming of Jesus. I’m sure this can be a great film, but I don’t think a Joker movie without Batman can surpass any Joker performance that has had that, that’s just my opinion. The biggest concern I have going into Joker is the director. Phillips really isn’t known for any sort of visual style really, he’s made a few great comedies but that’s it. So it will be interesting to say the least
So, what are my thoughts on the trailer. I get a Taxi Driver meets The King of Comedy vibe. Interesting, that was interesting to say the least. It’s more of a character study then trailer. This looks dark, twisted and pretty creepy. Phoenix is going full tilt here, he’s all in and it he looks great. Again it’s weird he won’t be battling The Dark Knight, but this is a good first trailer. With Aquaman and the upcoming Shazam, DC seems to be going back in the darker direction, which is fine with me. As long as it’s handled right, that’s how I would want a Joker film. Hope this turns out great. If you’re going to follow up Heath, you need to find your own spin on this character. Phoenix has done just that. An interesting psychological, gritty thriller. Who knew we needed this.
It’s been 10 years since Christopher Nolan’s comic book masterpiece. His finest work to date and still arguably the greatest comic book movie ever made.
Christopher Nolan – “You’ve changed things. Forever.”
Funny world we live in, can’t believe its been 10 years since I waited outside a packed theatre. The lineup was legitimately wrapped around the entire building. The hype was real, it was like nothing I had ever seen at this point in my life, and well Christopher Nolan and company didn’t disappoint. I saw The Dark Knight 9 times in the theatre, I couldn’t get enough of this experience. I was like LeBron James when he went to Miami – “Not one, not two, not three, not four.” It has everything you want in a movie, and I don’t mean just a comic book movie, this is such an enjoyable movie experience, it simply meets all your needs. One of the biggest takeaways all these years later, is that people forget that this just isn’t a comic book movie. It’s so much more. This movie simply changed the game, it changed everything. It took the world by notice, that comic book movies should be and can be taken seriously. Everyone saw this movie, even your Mom. People couldn’t stop talking about it, everyone wanted to be the Joker, everyone had their own Batman voice. Ever since this movie, other film makers have been trying to replicate this formula, without that much success (Power Rangers, Fantastic Four). Since the turn of the century this sticks out as one of the very best films we have set our eyes on, and remember you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.
Where does one even begin with this movie? The incredible opening scene, the best of any comic book movie to date. The way they introduce the Joker at the beginning of this film is so brilliant, and unique. Watching the bank heist in IMAX was such a treat. The whole premise of this bank job taking place with the Joker, yet the rest of the crew has no idea he’s sitting right in front of them, all while they are picking each other off one by one. I could rewatch this scene again and again and it would never get old. I think from the opening moments you knew that this would be something truly special. The way it was shot, the dialogue, everything about that opening scene was so different and transformative. It’s not like this is the only rewatchable scene in the movie, jesus the whole thing is rewatchable. Christopher Nolan was showing us moments that I will just never forget. The “sky-hook” scene and the 18-wheeler being flipped over are things that just blew me and the audience away. Speaking of the 18-wheeler, that entire sequence is one of my favourite in all of cinema. I remember seeing the trailers and knowing that the Batpod was going to make an appearance in the movie, and I kept waiting and waiting for it to show up, and when it finally does, and how they introduce it. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so hard during a movie. Gotta be one of the most “Batman” moments ever. Then the showdown between Batman and the Joker on the street – you know the one, HIT ME!!! Which ends with the reveal that Commissioner Gordon isn’t dead after all. Just next level movie making stuff. Dark, gritty, grounded are three words that surrounded this movie, it’s what Nolan built this franchise on. He took a character and moulded him the way he saw fit, and he didn’t rely on heavy CGI, insane action sequences to do so. When you think back to The Dark Knight, there isn’t much action to be had, in fact, for a summer blockbuster that just so happens to be a comic book movie, there is very little. His take on the Caped Crusader was so radical, that at first people didn’t know how to react. Since this trilogy, we have gotten another depiction of this character, which is more comic book like than Nolan’s approach. In Batman v. Superman and Justice League we see Batman fighting aliens from other worlds and teaming up with the worlds strongest heroes, that was not the reality in which Nolan’s universe took place. At the end of the day, I can never decide which version I like best. Scorn by critics alike, Ben Affleck’s Batman or “Batfleck” is incredible. People tend to forget that comic book characters are malleable. They can be shaped and formed however someone sees fit. Dark and gritty or fun and light. They can be part of a shared universe or not at all. These aren’t the things that make these movies special, it’s the vision, and having an idea about these characters that will, in the end, make them memorable. I say this because what followed Nolan’s Batman franchise was Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel movie, where you could tell from the trailers that it had a definite Nolan influence. Man of Steel turned out to be the greatest Superman movie ever made, and one of the best comic book movies made to date. People were thrown off about his interpretation of this beloved hero, but it was his take, just like Nolan’s take on Batman. The new Superman is just so different from Richard Donner’s 70’s hero, that people believed it was totally wrong. They can’t see that these characters can be whatever we want them to be, and if you can’t see where the artist is coming from, doesn’t mean the artist is wrong.
It all started with the legendary Batman Begins, at the end of the movie where they tease the Clown Prince of Crime. Batman tells Commissioner Gordon that “he’ll look into it,” and that was our first mention of the Joker. When that happened fans everywhere were on pins and needles to find out who would be playing Batman’s greatest foe. So when Heath Ledger was pinned as the Joker, the world didn’t really know what to think. He was a heartthrob, known for Brokeback Mountain and 10 Things I Hate About You. People were on the fence about the whole thing, they wanted this to be right, and some people didn’t think it was a great fit. Well we all know how that turned out, not only did Heath give us the greatest comic book performance we have ever seen, he even won an Oscar for his role. We all know the tragedy that comes with this movie, sadly Heath died shortly before the films premiere.
Some men just want to watch the world burn. Words can’t really describe how I feel about the Heath situation, for so many reasons. His performance is hauntingly beautiful, where it’s almost put a curse on this character because I just don’t see anyone ever topping it. There will be other interpretations no doubt, there’s already been one, but something about his is just magical. Here’s the other thing, if Heath doesn’t die, I don’t really know what happens over at WB. I know Nolan always had his vision for his Batman trilogy, but if he’s alive, there’s no way he’s not part of the final installment of the franchise. Maybe it keeps going. There’s no way we don’t get to see him in this iconic role again. It’s saddens me to say that, because it sounds selfish, but the way we leave his character, just hanging and laughing hysterically because he believes he has beaten the Batman. I just have always wanted more from this Joker, I want to know what happens to him, why he’s never mentioned again. I know these are all unanswerable questions, it’s just every time I watch The Dark Knight, this is always something that crosses my mind. One of films biggest “what-ifs” because I personally think the DCEU might not be where it is today if he were still alive. There was just to much story to flesh out with his character. I always dreamed of WB releasing never before footage or a scene of the Joker, maybe we will get something this week, it’s a pipe dream, but a man can dream.
The movie flows pretty flawlessly, I’ll admit though, the ending does get a little cloudy and messy. I just don’t believe everything that happens, from the ferry scene and the cell phone stuff. Something just seems off about that bit of the movie, but that is a serious nit-pick. Everyone is sitting atop apex mountain. Nolan, Bale, Caine, Eckhart, Ledger, everyone is firing on all cylinders. Comic book movies just aren’t written like this, the screenplay is just brilliant. Comic book movies didn’t tackle things like politics and and philosophical discussion that comes with being a hero and a villain. The interrogation scene, is one of the best Batman/Joker confrontations just not in the movies, but in all of history as well. Joker knows that Batman has one rule, and the way he manipulates and deceives Batman is incredible.
Harvey, Harvey, Harvey Dent. I’m so bittersweet about how they handled this amazing villain. The way he is introduced. I remember my first viewing and when Batman walks into his warehouse, and realizing that Rachel is about to die, it really made you think. It’s such a powerful moment, and happens with the voice over of Rachel telling Bruce that she is going to marry Harvey Dent. Within Nolan’s trilogy it’s by far the most vulnerable we see Bruce Wayne, he is crushed that she is gone, because he believes she was going to wait for him. Two-Face is one of many iconic Batman rogues, and I know when they were making this film they didn’t know what was going to happen to Heath, but again it’s a real shame that they killed off Two-Face at the end, because I think there was so much more to explore with him. They could have adapted The Long Halloween or another great Two-Face story.
What more can I say about this masterpiece of cinema. From Hans Zimmer epic score, to the cinematography, the acting, and everything in-between. It not only helped shape the landscape for movies but how the audience and Academy perceive them as well . The backlash that followed when The Dark Knight wasn’t nominated for best picture, ultimately led to the Academy expanding the best picture nominee category. It’s hard to imagine another comic book movie taking up the mantle of greatest of all time. Because this is more than just a comic book movie, it feels so real. There aren’t any super powers or even super heroes involved. That’s why it’s so special, Nolan was able to tap into something unique and make this so grounded, that it was just about a man in a mask and terrorist clown. It’s everything around that, that makes this a truly special piece of film. The Dark Knight didn’t just set the standard for comic book movies today, but it set a standard for movie making itself. It will never grow old and will be a timeless classic. It’s easy to forget why this movie is so special, because so many comic book movies have been made since. But for me, this is always looked at as a crime thriller-drama, that just so happens to have a man in a batsuit chasing a man dressed up like a clown throughout a city. These two are truly destined to do this forever.
I really have no idea what is going on with Warner Brothers and the DCEU anymore, makes me sad.
Seriously? What in the bloody hell is going on over at Warner Brothers? Just when you think they finally got it figured out, especially after the recent success of WonderWoman. Which is now the highest grossing movie of the summer. The last 24 hours have been kind of a cluster. First we get word of a stand alone Joker movie, that will not only not take place within the DCEU, but it turns out will cast a new lead??? Now we get word about The Batman, not being part of the DCEU either. Matt Reeves wants to make it his own thing, and tell his own story.
Honestly have they learned nothing from Marvel? Do they not realize with the success of Wonder Woman, that this universe was finally heading in the right direction. Yes I understand Justice League is going through MASSIVE reshoots, but I still have very high hopes for that movie. Why are they letting this news come out before it gets released? Ride this Wonder Woman wave all the way up to the release of Justice League. Why are you making the fans doubt the stability of the DCEU at this point in time? We do not need a Joker stand alone movie, even if the legendary Martin Scorsese is on board to be a producer. I’m sorry it’s just not something that needs to happen right now. Todd Phillips (the guy behind The Hangover movies) is apparently directing, and he is certainly hit or miss. Like focus on what’s in front of you right now WB, and that’s getting Justice League out, without the entire world hating it. How about making two good movies in a row, before announcing about 15 up coming projects, that quite frankly WE DON’T NEED. Jared Leto was a fine Joker, but we really don’t need another Joker casted. This is entering Spider-Man territory.
As for Matt Reeves and his standalone Batman movie. Having that be separate from the DCEU is actually kind of fine by me. What that probably means is, it will take place before the events of BvS, we will still get Affleck in the role, and that way, they feel ZERO pressure to add in any of the other Justice League members. Just let him tell a great Batman story, without having to worry about connecting it to all the other movies that are in the works over at WB for the DCEU. As long as Ben Affleck is still Batman, in these up coming standalone Batman movies, I’m totally on board for whatever they want to do. In fact I think it’s best if it’s completely different from the DCEU, maybe that’s just what this character needs.
“Sometimes, old friend, I wonder if I’m really doing any good out there”
Let us keep this party going! We’re almost in the top 50 here folks! Hopefully you have enjoyed reading this so far, and are coming back to each part! Here are numbers 62-43!
62 – The Last Laugh. Season 1, Episode 4. Director: Kevin Altieri, Story: Carl Swenson
It’s April Fools Day in Gotham, and you know what that means. Joker is going to try and kill a bunch of people, by making them laugh to death! Talk about a punch line! It’s got one of the greatest April Fools jokes ever, remember when Alfred “drew Batman a bath” and shows him a picture of a bathtub, classic Alfie! But when poor old Alfie gets infected by this laughing gas, Batman has a little more incentive to stop Joker. It’s weird, but I really dig the background music in this episode, it’s pretty catchy, and overall it’s a great Joker story. It’s got a giant clown robot that Batman fights, and just a boatload of puns, and who doesn’t enjoy a good pun. It’s even got Batman smiling and cracking jokes, and that is a super rare thing to come across. Seriously though, look at Batman in that picture, isn’t it adorable!!! Grade C+
“Oh, that’s a joke, right? Batman finally told a joke!” – The Joker
61 – Lock Up. Season 3, Episode 26. Director: Dan Riba, Story: Paul Dini
Lyle Bolton is his name, get it BOLT-ON, and his alter ego is Lock Up. Wow, I don’t know if that’s extremely clever or corny. This guy is a grade A psycho, I’ll tell you that much. See Lyle was a prison guard, one of the best, but he wanted more, he wanted the prisoners to fear him, and he felt like they were all the scum of the Earth. When the inmates complained, they get Lyle fired, and boy does he not take that lying down. Some time passes and he is now, Lock Up, and is kidnapping some of Gotham’s finest (Summer Gleeson, Commissioner Gordon, Mayor Hill) and wants to punish them for creating a poor justice system. He’s even got some cool lock gadgets that are pretty handy. I kind of wish this guy was in more episodes, he’s huge and pretty damn smart, but when he gets stopped by Batman in the end, since he’s so psychotic, he can now watch all the criminals inside Arkham. Maybe this guy is just a pure genius who knows! Grade C+
“Just what this town needs, another psycho in a Halloween costume.” – Harvey Bullock
60 – Fire From Olympus. Season 3, Episode 7. Director: Dan Riba, Story: Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Maxie Zeus, just another wack job in Gotham. See he believes he is the reincarnation of Zeus himself, and thinks he can wield thunder bolts. When he wants to steal an experimental weapon from Gotham and use it to destroy the city. I’ll admit, if I did these rankings years ago, this might be a bottom 10 episode, but there’s something about it. It grows on me with each new watch, and I don’t know if its because I’ve come to know the character more, or because I’m realizing it’s actually just a great episode. The ending of this one, when Zeus is being taken through Arkham and he’s comparing all the rogues to well know Greek Mythology characters is actually so brilliant, and it’s just a really cool scene. Grade C+
“To the depths of Tartarus with you!” – Maxie Zeus
59 – Deep Freeze. Season 3, Episode 28. Director: Kevin Altieri, Story: Paul Dini
Awe, imagine if Walt Disney, had gone batshit crazy and wanted to be immortal. Well I guess, he did freeze himself, and I don’t know if this episode has anything to do with that, but it reminds me of that, so back off! Grant Walker a billionaire with way to much free time on his hands, breaks Mr. Freeze out of Arkham, so he can help him become just like him. Not only that, Walker wants to turn the world into a skating rink, and start the next ice age, man Gotham really has some sick people in it. Maybe I’m to hard on this episode, but anything that’s not Heart of Ice, has a lot to live up too. This episode just doesn’t really do it for me, and to be perfectly honest, I was always so pissed they waited like 60 episodes to bring Mr.Freeze back. So in the end Freeze helps Batman and Robin, so he can help get his wife back. I just wish we would have gotten a few more Mr. Freeze episodes, but there’s just something about this episode that doesn’t feel right to me. Grade C+
“She’ll wake up in a dead frozen world, that you helped destroy. She’ll hate you for that!” Batman
58 – You Scratch My Back. Season 4, Episode 5. Director: Butch Lukic, Story: Hilary J. Bader
Boy, is there an awful lot of sexual tension in this episode. Hilary wasn’t holding back on this one. Nightwing wants to get out of Batman’s shadow, so he decides to take down a smuggling ring all by himself. Or so he thought, because Catwoman joins in on the fun, and wants to help the boy wonder. She also seems to want to make Batman jealous by having a somewhat of a sensual relationship with Dick (see what I did there). Meanwhile Batgirl and Nightwing got their own thing going on, and it’s just a cluster of emotions going on. Being the double crosser Catwoman is, she is just using Nightwing, to get to some rare antique. He ends up double crossing her, by secretly working with Batman the whole time, he even pulled one over on me the first time I watched it. Pretty mature episode for being a kids cartoon, so I’ll give it props for that. It’s also just an enjoyable episode! Grade C+
“The only cucumbers in there are .38 caliber” Nightwing
57 – The Cat & The Claw. Season 1, Episode 15/16 Director: Kevin Altieri, Dick Sebast, Story: Sean Catherine Derek
We made it, to the first two-part episode! It happens to be Catwoman’s origin, and it happens to feature Red Claw (BOOOOO). If I’m not mistaken these were the first two episodes ever aired, but I go by the box sets, but that’s a fun little fact! So Batman is dealing with this new cat burglar in town. And it just so happens Bruce Wayne has been swept off his feet by the new gal in town, Selina Kyle. Coincidence, I think not! So Selina is pretty pissed because this mountain lion exhibit is being destroyed, by The Red Claw, so both Catwoman and Selina are doing everything they can to stop it from happening. Bruce Wayne is falling for Selina, and Catwoman is falling for Batman, it really is quite the conundrum. When things start to go wrong for Selina, Bruce is there to help, and Batman is also trying to protect Catwoman. When Red Claw steals a deadly plaque on a military train, it’s up to Batman and Catwoman to stop her. Once Batman finds out who Catwoman really is, he has a hard time controlling his emotions and knowing what the right thing to do is. The Catwoman origin stuff, and her arc with Batman in these two episodes are so fantastic, but they get penalized because of the Red Claw. She’s such a horrible villain, and she just was such a buzz kill for these two episodes. The dynamic between Batman and Catwoman is compelling to say the least, and they arguably have the most intriguing relationship in the show, it’s just to bad they couldn’t of had a better baddie to go up against in their first episodes together. Grade B-
“I’m an equal opportunity crime fighter!” Batman
56 – Christmas With The Joker. Season 1, Episode 2. Director: Kent Butterworth, Story: Eddie Gorodetsky
One of my all time favourite traditions. Watch this episode on Christmas Eve! This episode gives us a lot of good moments, I feel like I’m screwing up majorly by putting it this low on my list. We get the Joker rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’, which is an all time classic. Him riding through the roof of Arkham on top of that christmas tree is something special. But overall it’s just not the best of episodes. So it’s Christmas Eve, and Batman is not satisfied with his nightly patrol with Robin. When Robin finally convinces him to head home and put on “It’s A Wonderful Life,” Joker interrupts the broadcast, to declare madness on Gotham! He has capture some people, and it’s up to the dynamic duo to stop him. I feel like if it were December this would be higher on my list, I don’t know what it is, I think I’ll regret putting this episode here. Grade C+
“They don’t call ya Batman for nothing!” Robin
55 – Zatanna. Season 2, Episode 26. Director: Dick Sebast, Story: Paul Dini
Talk about a little sex pot. Zatanna and Batman have all sorts of tension and chemistry between them. When Bruce Wayne visits with Zatanna’s father to learn the ways of illusion and to become a great escape artist, he meets his daughter Zatanna. When he learns all that he can, he leaves and never sees Zatanna again. Until she comes to Gotham, as she grew up to become a great magician. When the final act goes horribly wrong, and she is framed for stealing a lot of money, Batman will stop at nothing to prove her innocence. It doesn’t take her long to figure out that Batman is “John Smith” the man from her past, when he uses an old nickname. They work together to bring down an evil illusionist Montague Kane. I like Zatanna, she’s a great character and I thought she was well portrayed in this episode. I just wanted a little more from the episode. She’s another character they bring into the show and never come back to, which was a total bummer. Batman also cares deeply for this girl and cared for her father, and I love the bond they share, and how close they still are, despite being away from one another for so long! Grade B-
“What do you care about some leggy dame in nylons- or have I just answered my own question?” Zatanna
54 – Appointment In Crime Alley. Season 1, Episode 26. Director: Boyd Kirkland, Story: Gerry Conway
One of the more emotional episodes of the entire series. Batman’s yearly tradition of visiting the site of his parents tragic murder. Crime Alley, a place that Batman hates, yet holds so close to his heart. Well it’s that time of the year, but Roland Daggett is doing everything he can to stop Batman from making that appointment. Daggett is planning on burning Crime Alley to the ground, with or without its residents still living there. He needs the land to build his empire even greater, and will stop at nothing to do so. Batman is also getting held up with various other crimes going on around Gotham, and his head and his heart are not in the right mind frame. The ending to this episode is just so powerful, they really don’t have cartoons like this any more. Like not even close. Once the day is saved, finally Batman and Leslie Thompkins head to Crime Alley, so he can deliver his roses to his parents. He kneels over and Leslie puts her arms around him and it’s just such a powerful scene, that sometimes even Batman is vulnerable and needs compassion every so often.
“Good people still live in Crime Alley” Batman
53 – Blind As A Bat. Season 3, Episode 3. Director: Dan Riba, Story: Mike Underwood
Imagine Batman was like blind. Bats are blind, so why shouldn’t Batman be blind. Well in this episode, that’s exactly what you get. Penguin steals some military badass helicopter from the Gotham airshow, and Bruce Wayne happens to become blind, when he gets caught up in some cross fire. But you know Batman, he never quits, so he uses some sweet technology to give himself sight, but it has a few problems. Watching Batman be completely blind and trying to fight people, is actually hilarious, and I can’t help but laugh every time he falls into those barrels! His glowing red eyes, actually make him look more terrifying and menacing as The Dark Knight. Just kind of a meh episode for me, obviously he gets his vision back….. Grade C
“You’re blind as a bat. Sightless and helpless.” Penguin
52 – Heart of Steel. Season 2. Episode 10/11. Director: Kevin Altieri, Story: Brynne Stephens
Seriously, Bruce Wayne really knows how to pick em. Imagine going on a date with a woman, to only find out she’s a robot, and wants to kill you. Robots! Lots and lots of robots. So these episodes are kind of all over the place. So there are a ton of robberies going on around Gotham, and Batman discovers it to be a mechanical briefcase (I’m not kidding). So he tracks down his old pal Karl Rossum, who is an expert in robotics and has lived a sheltered life, after his daughter was killed in a car crash. There he meets the lovely lady/robot assistant Randa Duane. He doesn’t know she’s a robot, and now that I’m thinking about it, why would Karl even let that go on for a second? He must be a sick guy. Any who, he also shows Batman his most prized possession, H.A.R.D.A.C a super computer capable of incredible things. Things that even Rossum doesn’t know. Like make robotic duplicates of some of Gotham’s most important people! I almost forgot, we get introduced to Barbara Gordon in these two episodes, and she’s awesome. When her Dad gets taken away and replaced with a duplicate, she knows something is wrong right away, there’s also a moment when she thinks she has killed Bullock, but it turns out to be a duplicate also. Imagine that wasn’t the case though, and she straight up just killed a guy! So when Bruce Wayne goes on a date with a robot lady, she sneaks into the batcave and tampers with the bat-computer. When Batman investigates he gets attacked, and realizes something is severely wrong in Gotham. With the help of Barbara, they head back to Rossum, to confront him, but he doesn’t even realize what’s happening, and together they free all the kidnapped citizens, and destroy H.A.R.D.A.C once and for all. This is a two parter that I find myself disliking with each viewing, I’m not sure why, so that’s why its so low on the list! Grade B-
“His human imperfection endangers the plan. He must be improved upon.” H.A.R.D.A.C
51 – A Bullet For Bullock. Season 3, Episode 11. Director: Frank Paur, Story: Michael Reaves
Thee Harvey Bullock episode! Finally, one of my favourite characters from the whole show. A tortured soul, a good cop, but simply misunderstood. He believes we don’t need Batman, and in this episode, Bullock finally comes around to the idea of Batman, and hell even thanks the man. Someone is trying to kill Bullock, and wants him dead bad, and well he doesn’t have the slightest of clue as to who it is. So like any desperate man, he turns to Batman for help. This is a really character driven episode, and us as the audience and even Bullock himself learn a lot about this guy. He realizes that his demeanour and his behaviour has created some of the unlikeliest of enemies. He becomes self aware of how he treats people, and maybe realizes it’s time for a change. They scour Gotham, and pinpoint someone from his past as the culprit. That wasn’t the case, it was Bullock’s landlord who wanted him dead, and even pulls a gun on him at the end of the episode. He had driven this poor guy mad, and you just learn to really love the guy by the end of the episode. I really want to see this guy in The Batman movie. Grade B
“You wanted my apartment? You mean, this whole thing was about rent control?” Bullock
50 – It’s Never Too Late. Season 1, Episode 12. Director: Boyd Kirkland, Story: Tom Rugger
There’s a crime war going on in Gotham, between Rupert Thorne and old timer Arnold Stromewell, and it is sweeping through the city. When Thorne wants a “truce” Stromwell shows up thinking that this is really happening, meanwhile it’s a trap! You gotta know better old man, but Batman is on the case and saves Stromwell from an exploding building. He needs Stronwell’s help, and needs him to testify against Thorn. He pulls out all the stops, Batman tracks down his son, who is a drug addict but is getting the attention he needs. See Arnold had a trouble upbringing, when he was a boy, is brother lost his leg, when the pair of them were playing on the train tracks and he’s never forgiven himself for it. Now a priest, with the help from his brother and Batman, Arnold swears off crime and even helps bring down Thorne. This is another emotional episode, with all sorts of emotional baggage and layered story telling. Dealing with some serious subject matter for being a kids cartoon. An episode that honestly only gets better with time. Grade B-
“Stay away, Michael! The last time you tried to help me, you lost your leg!” – Arnold Stromwell
49 – Never Fear. Season 4, Episode 6. Director: Kenji Hachizaki, Story: Stan Berkowitz
Imagine Batman without fear. His deepest fear is becoming what fights every night in Gotham. He never wants to cross that line, and become one of them. Well we kind of get that in this episode, when Scarecrow makes a new toxin that eliminates fear as we know it. So when Batman gets exposed to the gas, he thinks nothing of it. Until he starts acting radically and is being more dangerous and reckless. Sensing this, Robin decides he must do this on his own. Knowing Batman is a threat to not only Gotham city, but to himself as well. Probably the weakest Scarecrow story, but the idea behind Batman losing control is a really neat idea, and something that should be taken seriously. Doing this again, but making it a little more edgy could be awesome to see, because Batman without limits, is a scary man to think about. There is a great exchange between Robin and Batman in this episode. Where Robin knows, that Batman is now such a threat that he needs to stop Scarecrow alone, it’s just a really powerful scene between the two. Considering Tim Drake is just a kid, and he’s not afraid of Batman, even when he is unhinged. Grade C+
“Untie me, you little… UNTIE ME!” – Batman
48 – House And Garden. Season 3, Episode 14. Director: Boyd Kirkland, Story: Paul Dini –
This episode is just straight up creepy. Poison Ivy is a broken woman in this one. We see her “building a new life” becoming free of crime and Batman is in shock. She’s turned a new leaf (plant pun!) and decided it’s time to settle down and start a family. She meets a nice professor that teaches at Dick’s school and together they raise his two sons. Batman at first is skeptical, and starts to spy on Ivy, but when he comes away with nothing, he even feels bad for pressuring her so much. Meanwhile, a giant plant like man is terrorizing Gotham, and it would appear that all fingers lead to Ivy, but Batman simply can’t connect the two. At one point in the episode Ivy tells Batman “She’s the happiest, she’s ever been”, and Batman tells her that he believes it. When it turns out, that Ivy is in fact making “people” and that her family isn’t real, Batman and Robin are able to put a stop to her insane plot. She eventually flees Gotham and is seen on an airplane, looking through photographs of her family, with tears in her eyes. Just an emotional episode, showcasing that even though her family and life weren’t real, it was in fact the happiest she’s ever been. Sad stuff. Grade C+
“She’s done nothing more incriminating than return an overdue video – even paid the late fee.” Batman
47 – If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich? Season 2, Episode 12. Director: Eric Radomski, Story: David Wise
The Riddler! One of my all time favourite Batman villains, and guess what? They do him such proper justice in this show! The episodes before the revamp that The Riddler is in, are just quality stuff. His origin story episode however, is my least favourite. The way he looks, speaks and intellect are all so on the money, it’s not even fair. So kudos to the guys for really nailing this character. So Edward Nygma creates a world famous game called “The Riddle of The Minotaur,” and is on top of the world. But when his boss, Daniel Mockridge fires him, so he can keep all the profits of the game for himself, Nygma vows revenge as he leaves the building. Fast forward two years, and Mockridge is getting riddles all across Gotham, and he knows it can only be one man. The Riddler ends up kidnapping Mockridge, and swears to put an end to Mockridge. Batman even feels a little for Nygma, knowing he was the creator of the game, and got screwed over. But they have to stop him from killing Mockridge, who he has hidden in the middle of a life size replica of the game he created. This is where the episode takes a downturn for me, I’m not a fan of the life sized game, it just seems so unrealistic (I know it’s Batman, but you know what I mean). It feels so out of place, and this is when we learn that Batman is a terrific riddle solver, and it damn near pisses Riddler off every time. Mockridge is saved, but he ultimately ends up living in fear for the rest of his life. Side note: I love how they got a guy who’s last name is Wise to write this episode…… Grade B
“My, my, my, can we actually have a brain beneath that pointy cowl of ours?” The Riddler
46 – Mad As A Hatter. Season 1, Episode 27. Director: Frank Paur, Story: Paul Dini
Jervis Tetch, a Wayne Enterprises scientist, is madly in love with one of his secretaries Alice. You know where this is going, he eventually snaps, and becomes his alter ego Mad Hatter. I like this character, I enjoy the play on the whole Alice in Wonderland thing. Jervis is a broken man, who just wants to be loved. When he can’t have that, he makes it happen, by mind controlling those around him. He can actually be a pretty worthy advisory to Batman, with his mind controlling devices, seeing how anyone can be targeted. So when Alice gets engaged to her boyfriend, Jervis doesn’t like that one bit, and sets off on a rampage to win her back. I’m a big fan of the end to this episode, with all the characters from Alice in Wonderland being involved, and I just think Mad Hatter is a really interesting and unique Batman character. Just an overall, really well done episode in my mind. Grade B
“You’re mighty in Gotham, Batman, but in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter reigns supreme.” Mad Hatter
45 – Fear of Victory. Season 1, Episode 24. Director: Dick Sebast, Story: Samuel Warren Joseph
Imagine being afraid of just about everything and anything. Well Scarecrow’s newest toxin does just that. When he’s intoxicating star Gotham athletes and making a fortune off their poor performances, he thinks he has it made. He even gets Robin’s roommate, quarterback of their universities football team, and at the same time Robin becomes infected. He doesn’t know until he’s on patrol with Batman, and finds himself, afraid of heights all of a sudden. This episode is all about facing your fears, and being master of your own mind. In the first season, Scarecrow is involved in 3 incredible episodes, and I really wish they didn’t go away from that character in later seasons. He is always testing Batman’s limits, and in this episode, Robin feels like he is a burden to Batman. Once Batman finds the connection between the athletes and Robin, he knows it’s the professor of fear behind it, and when he goes to confront him in Arkham, well guess who broke out. There’s a great part, when it appears he’s in his cell, just rocking back and forth on his rocking chair, but it’s just an actual Scarecrow. Like just how bad is security at this place? Grade B-
“I need the money, Batman. You know the cost of chemicals these days.” Scarecrow
44 – Night of The Ninja. Season 2, Episode 7. Director: Kevin Altieri, Story: Steve Perry
Kyodai Ken, man this guy was so cool! For being a lesser known rival to Bruce Wayne and later Batman, this guy was pretty badass! He’s only in two episodes of the show, but honestly they are two of my favourites. The reason I have it only at number 48, is well, remember what show we are talking about here. So when Bruce Wayne goes to Japan to learn the ways of a samurai, he meets Ken, who is a formidable foe. He is better than Bruce in the dojo, but he has his heart on a rare sword, and tries to steal it. When he is stopped by Bruce and their master, Kyodai Ken swear revenge. Some years later, robberies are happening all over Gotham, and to Wayne Enterprises subsidiaries, he comes face to face with a worthy opponent. When trying to get away, he notices a back tattoo, the same one that Kyodai Ken has. Fearing that he might not be able to beat him, like he could never do in the past, Batman is a little on edge. One of the reasons I love this episode so much, is there’s also a great Robin story in here too. That Robin sometimes feels like Batman isn’t proud of him, or that he isn’t grateful to have him around. Towards the end of the episode, it is Bruce Wayne that defeats Ken, but needs the aid of Robin, due to the fact that he’s fighting him in front of Summer Gleeson. He can’t defeat him with her watching, because it might start to raise unwanted questions. I think I’m really screwing up by making this episode 48, but the truth is, the next time Kyodai Ken comes around, it’s even better! Grade B+
“I have to be the best there is, no matter what it takes!” – Batman
43 – See No Evil. Season 1, Episode 17. Director: Dan Riba, Story: Martin Pasko
This episode for me at least, has it all. A great story, animation and a really good character. Lloyd Ventrix is a fresh out of jail father, who can no longer see his daughter. So he makes a suit, that’s made up of a special plastic that can bend light. He’s therefore invisible, and when he’s invisible he can see his daughter. See she thinks it’s her new best friend Mojo, and there’s something about this, that’s both sweet and creepy. He’s also using the suit to commit various crimes around Gotham, and when Batman goes up against him, and realizes what exactly he is going up against, he digs deeper into this matter. When he finds out the plastic is toxic and will eventually kill Ventrix, he tries to console him about losing his daughter. All the animation with him being invisible is incredible for the 90’s and they have some stellar fight sequences in this as well. Towards the end when Batman uses a dripping water tank to see Ventrix, and it’s just really well done. He’s only ever in one episode but man I just love that character, it’s a real mature story for a kids show. It really only gets better with each viewing in my opinion. Grade B
“See you ’round, Batman! Too bad you can’t say the same!” – Lloyd Ventrix
“DC, the house that Batman built. Yeah, what, Superman? Come at me bro. I’m your kryptonite.”
Back in 2008, when the greatest Batman movie ever made, The Dark Knight came out I saw myself going to the theatres EIGHT times to watch it. It’s more than just a Batman movie; it’s a cinematic masterpiece. Since then WB has had a hard time topping it, with The Dark Knight Rises, and last years Batman v. Superman. Who knew that the latest installment in the Batman franchise, The Lego Batman Movie, would not only be the best Batman since The Dark Knight, but one of the best Batman movies ever made. There is a long-standing debate among hardcore nerds, who is the best actor to play the beloved Caped Crusader? One thing is for sure; we can all agree that George Clooney is the worst. Sorry George, but remember the Bat-nipples? Christian Bale is probably the best, but Ben Affleck is nipping on his heels right now, unless he decides to be a coward and leave the DCEU all together. Well now there’s a new name on the list and he seems to fit somewhere near the top and that’s Will Arnett who voices the aforementioned Batman in The Lego Batman Movie.
Critics and fans alike praised The Lego Movie, the 2014 blockbuster that grossed around 470 million dollars worldwide. WB knew they had a smash hit on their hands, and decided to milk this cash cow for everything it’s worth. Batman was one of the many standouts from The Lego Movie, and WB felt it was only fitting that he got his own standalone movie.
So here we are, The Lego Batman Movie is out and I’ll be the first to say that this movie is awesome! It’s fun, warm-hearted and I loved it to pieces (yeah, that’s a Lego pun). This movie is cool, if you’re a true Batman fan, and get every little easter egg and reference then you will only enjoy it more. Like the return of Batman’s greatest enemies, actually one of comics greatest villains, The Condiment King! (Google him, so you know I’m joking) But even if you don’t there are so many laughs to be had in this movie, which is why I wish I hadn’t be sitting in a theatre with 3 other people, because funny movies work best when you are in a packed house. There’s a scene towards the beginning of the movie, where Batman comes home after defeating some bad guys. So he does what I guess Batman does, he microwaves’ his leftover lobster thermidor, and watches it spin around and around in silence (there’s a great bit where he puts in 20 minutes instead of 2 and he calls himself stupid). He eats it alone, in silence yet again, and then when he’s done he takes out his electric guitar and shreds a nasty solo. Did I mention he’s sitting on a jet ski, floating in his pool; man Batman is just so cool. It was at this exact moment I knew I was going to love this movie. You might be thinking, “Cool, but what does it all mean?” It means this scene kind of summed up what this movie was all about. It’s about how alone Batman is, how he is afraid to reach out to others, he’s afraid of starting a new family, because of the tragic way he lost his mother and father at such a young age.
The moral of this story is simple. That teamwork always trumps working alone. It takes Batman the majority of the movie to figure this out though. Even after the new police commissioner, Barbara Gordon points out that Batman has been fighting crime in Gotham for decades now and that it’s actually worse off now then when he started fighting crime. That was kind of a WHOA moment for me, because I never really thought about Batman like that, he’s Batman, a bonafide badass. The Dark Knight, The Caped Crusader, The World’s Greatest Detective! When Commissioner Gordon calls out Batman for basically being bad at his job, it made me look at Batman in a whole new light. Speaking of fighting crime, this wouldn’t be a Batman movie, without his best pal Joker (Zach Galifianakis). Essentially the premise of the movie is this; Joker is pissed at Batman, because he refuses to tell him that he is his greatest enemy, and that he doesn’t even care for the Joker. It’s kind of like one person in a relationship saying “I love you,” and the other saying “Thanks.” All the Joker wants is for Batman to say three simple words, “I hate you.” He just can’t do it, because Batman doesn’t feel that way towards him, he doesn’t feel anything, he’s Batman, and he simply does not have any emotions. Batman’s and The Jokers relationship can be complicated, and it’s been beaten to death in the comics and movies, so this new interpretation of it was just really refreshing. So Joker ultimately gets fed up with repeatedly getting his heartbroken by Batman, time after time. So he unleashes hell on Gotham, to seek revenge on Batman, you know, that old chestnut. The Joker trying to destroy Gotham and defeat Batman chestnut.
Now lets talk about the best part of this movie, ROBIN! Voiced by Michael Cera, I found myself laughing at pretty much every line he had. Robin is a little flamboyant to say the least, and Michael Cera’s voice casting worked to perfection. From him picking out his costume, which he settles on ‘Reggae Man’ to only rip off the tight pants, and declares “Now I’m free, now I’m movin’, come on Batman, lets get groovin’!” Reluctant at first to bond with his new adopted son, Batman pushes Robin away whenever he feels that he is connecting with him on any level. Much like Batman, Robin is alone and just wants to be loved. He’s been an orphan from a young age, and now his dad is Batman. One thing I thought was hilarious, Robin was calling Batman Pedro (Spanish for Dad) the entire movie, and it was just so out of place, yet it worked so well. Seeing that relationship grow was cute to watch over the course of the movie. It’s tough to be a 28-year-old man, watching a Lego movie pondering life and tearing up over life lessons these Legos are trying to teach us.
Listen, this flick is just so endearing, there’s so much love in it. While this is a Batman movie, it’s not dark and brooding. The first 15 minutes of this movie will actually amaze you, considering it’s a Lego movie. Tons of action, loads of laughs, just an all around great time at the movies. The people behind it, understood the mythology behind the character, and were able to translate that onto the screen in a way that’s just not for kids, but for adults too. I was never laughing at Batman, or any of these other characters for being stupid, or out of place, but rather laughing with them on this incredible journey that this movie takes us on from start to finish. This is the best DC movie since The Dark Knight, and with everything that is going on over at WB right now, they needed this for their morale. Go see this movie, and if you have kids bring them, this is a batastic time!
Check ya later,
Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews — The Lego Batman Movie = 93/100