What we noticed from the AVENGERS: ENDGAME Big Game TV spot

Avengers: Endgame (Marvel Studios)

What we noticed from the AVENGERS: ENDGAME Big Game TV spot

Unless you’ve been hiding from the internet you will surely have seen the Super Bowl spot for Avengers: Endgame. The 30 second spot features a flurry of images from the movie including plenty of things you may have missed!

Here are some of our favourites…

The Fallen

Before the spot even begins we get a swift role call of those heroes wiped out by Thanos’ infamous snap. We see Wasp, Nick Fury, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, Winter Soldier and Vision.

Whilst it’s not an exhaustive list of those we have lost there is definitely some significance to those we see. The shots are also beautifully styled in black and red as you can see from the previews above.

For Those We Left Behind…

Right before we get a first look at Steve Rogers there’s a brief, but lingering, shot of this poster.

We don’t yet know how much time has lapsed since Infinity War but it’s long enough for support groups to be setup. It seems that Endgame will certainly spend some of its runtime on how those left behind deal with the consequences of seeing half the population turn to dust.

It certainly seems that Steve is part of one of these support groups…

Solemn Steve Rogers

It certainly seems that Cap is struggling with the events of Infinity War. Its fair to say this scene follows on directly from the above shot of the poster with Steve attending a grief support group.

Though there’s no dialogue directly from Steve here his face says it all. Having seen his team disintegrate in front of his eyes he’s not the same man he used to be (more on that in a minute).

The question remains: what lengths will Captain America go to in order to bring back the lost?

Team Nebula

In the first trailer for Endgame we saw Tony Stark on the verge of death. In those scenes it seemed Stark has resigned himself to dying whilst lost in space. During those sequences there was no sign of Nebula, whom Stark was left with at the end of Infinity War.

Fans have been speculating that Pepper Potts will suit up as Rescue (as seen in quasi-leaked set photos) and save him in his final moments. Now we get to see Stark at his best, saving himself with what little tools he has to hand, alongside Nebula.

Is she on the ship with him? Will they be able to work together to save themselves and rejoin the rest of the team?

Rocket Raccoon Sports A Familiar Look

We’ve seen Rocket wearing an array of costumes in his three appearances in the MCU thus far. But this quick shot has certainly made fans online very happy.

We briefly get to see the character sporting a very comic book accurate costume right down to the gloves.

Where he is or what he is doing here we don’t yet know but boy is he looking good!

Where In The Nine Realms Is Thor?

There are a couple of shots of Thor in this spot. The first, a closeup shot of his face, shows an emotionally battered God of Thunder struggling with his decision not to go for a headshot when he had Thanos in his sights.

It’s this second shot which has got people talking. Some believe this is Thor looking out over Wakanda. Others believe this to be the location we saw Thanos at the end of Infinity War following the great snap.

We were learning to the side of the post-snap location but it certainly does look like Wakanda.

Steve Rogers PTSD?

Another huge Cap moment in the spot comes in this scene. Firstly yes that is his shield finally back on his arm. Whether this moment comes before or after being reunited with Stark remains to be scene. Perhaps Steve steals back the shield as a sign of hope to those left behind.

But right before he adjusts that buckle he freeze for a moment as his hand begins to shake. Could he be injured from the fight? Or could Steve be suffering with PTSD following the battle of Wakanda?

It would certainly be an interesting twist for the story to see him really struggling with the impact of the previous movies events. As one of the more emotional characters in the MCU it would certainly ground him in reality to see this type of reaction.

Avengers Re-Assembled

The final shot of the trailer shows of a new team of heroes. As best we can make out these scene features Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Rocket Raccoon, Ant-Man, War Machine and one other, we can’t quite tell if its Hulk or Hawkeye/Ronin.

Where could this New Avengers team be headed? To the Quantum Realm perhaps?

What were your favourite moments in the Big Game Spot? Let us know in the comments!

Avengers: Endgame is due to hit cinemas in April 2019.


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DC Films

Taking a deeper look at the DC Films ident

Say what you will about the bulk of the DC Films slate that has been released so far. One thing that fans will all agree on is that seeing the DC Films ident for the first time attached to Wonder Woman was a rousing moment of pride and excitement.

From the echoes of Justice League‘s animated  series to the full cast shot it’s quite a visual feat and one which stands apart from the various Marvel Studios logos that we’ve seen in the last decade.

We thought we’d take a deeper look at moments from the ident just to see what tidbits we could pick out. But first let’s remind ourselves of the video itself:

The League

Of course we need to start out with the individual league members in their solo moments. Batman gives way to Superman, to Wonder Woman on to Aquaman, Flash, Cyborg and ending on Green Lantern. Each features an iconic aspect of its character.

It’s interesting to note the characters costumes echo the comics more than the films themselves. These are not opening credits for a Justice League movie. This is DC Films way of telling the audience they are (doing their best) to bring the comics to life.

The inclusion of Green Lantern definitely points to the studios wish to move towards featuring the full league on film in the future.

Batman and Batarang

Superman showing off his cape

Wonder Woman with lasso and shield

Aquaman with trident and visual representation of his telepathy

Cyborg with bionic eye

The Flash with chest thunderbolt

Green Lantern displaying the titular lantern

The Cast of DC Films

Following on from the league we get the money shot of the DC Comics cast. Starting close in on the Trinity and the Justice League the camera pulls back to show a much much wider picture of the universe including a whole host of exciting characters that we would LOVE to see on film.

DC Films

In this first pictures we can see the Justice League front and centre. Their costumes are a little more mixed between film and comics here. Wonder Woman wears a more Gal Gadot like costume whilst Batman’s chest plate has been made yellow to help the logo stand out on screen.

Aquaman has a more comics accurate costume but his hair and beard are more Jason Momoa like than his current comics incarnation.

But who else can you see?

If we look closer to the right of the frame we can see Nightwing hiding behind John Stewart’s Green Lantern. Behind him is Martian Manhunter who many hoped would be included as a founding member of the Justice League.

Over to the left of the frame next to Cyborg is Catwoman is a wholly comics accurate costume. Behind her is Shazam and Black Adam. In the far background we get a first look at Supergirl and then on the far left is Green Arrow.

We know that Chris McKay is currently developing a movie based on Nightwing but when could these other character make an appearance in the DC Films universe.

A few other characters from TV’s Arrowverse make appearances in the group shot. Both Hawkman and Hawkgirl appear on either side of the group. Reverse Flash can be seen on the far left just coming in to shot as the camera pulls out.

As the camera pulls out further we get a first look at Batgirl, her film is currently in development by Joss Whedon, behind her is Bumblebee and most excitingly there’s a very Tim Drake style Robin lurking in the back left corner.

Close to Batgirl we can also see Black Lightning, the newest entry to TVs Arrowverse. We can also see Poison Ivy and looming large in the background is Spectre. Over on the right are Black Manta and Mera. Both soon to be seen in James Wan’s Aquaman. There are also looks at Scarecrow, Blue Beetle, Lobo and Solomon Grundy.

You’ll notice that peppered throughout the scene are members of Green Lantern Corps. It’s clear this cast of characters are important to the future of DC Films.

Pulling out to the full shot gives some tiny glimpses at Black Canary, The Riddler is on the furthest left of the characters as well as what appears to be Renee Montoya as The Question. Over on the far right are Starfire from Teen Titans as well as Cheeta and a whole host of other villains.

Is there any one you can spot that we have missed? We’d love to know your favourites!

Here’s our UHD gallery of shots from the full intro.

Justice League

‘Justice League’: 4 things we liked and 3 we didn’t (MILD SPOILERS)

There was a lot to like about Justice League but there were also some serious drawbacks which DC Comics and Warner Bros. need to work on before the series continues. You can read our full review of the film here but we thought we’d focus on some of the major pros and cons.

DID WORK: THE LEAGUE

The chemistry between the 5 (or is that 6!) team members is excellent. With Wonder Woman and Batman sharing team leader duties it is up to Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman to provide support. More on Flash in a minute.

Aquaman provides some great comic relief though not on the same level as Flash. His surfer dude bravado is a solid contemporary twist on a character known as the laughing stock of the DCU. Though his scenes are slimmed down for the theatrical cut there’s still enough for him to do to whet the appetite for his solo adventure in 2018.

Cyborg is also a solid member of the team. Again his origin is a little murky due to the films editing but his characterisation is great. His interactions with the team are sparse until the final battle but as the others fight to protect him the sense that this group is becoming a family is palpable on screen.

Though there are very few moments when the full League appear together on screen in the same shot when they do it is exhilarating. Part of what makes the film succeed beyond its flaws is the League and their bond as a team.

DIDN’T WORK: CAVILL’S MOUSTACHE

Whist Henry Cavill puts in his best performance as Superman there is one aspect of his appearance in the film which lets him down: his CGI lip.

There was literally nothing Warner Bros. could do about the Mission Impossible 6 moustache. It has been well documented that Paramount Pictures held Cavill to account and contractually locked him in to keeping the facial hair. It had originally been expected that Cavill wouldn’t return to the Justice League set until after Mission Impossible 6 had finished film. When that was no longer the case Warner Bros. had to turn to digital artistry to remove the dreaded moustache.

Though not all of his scenes in the film are reshoots many are and the quality of the CGI varies greatly. Thankfully the final fight scenes come off without a hitch and moments shortly after Kal-El is resurrected are passable it is the cornfield scene which suffers the worst. It’s clear this scene was reshot to change the dialogue and this leads to some of the shakiest moments in the film.

DID LIKE: EZRA MILLER

Watch out Grant Gustin. We’ve got a new favourite Barry Allen. Ezra Miller is a shining light in this film as he lightens the mood and brings a sense of adventure to the proceedings. He has the most screen time of the new recruits to the team. Partly as he is the first to come on board but also as his scenes seem to be some of the most coherent in the film.

From visiting his father in Iron Heights prison to the reluctance to join battle there’s a clear arc for Miller to act the hell out of and he does it well. As Barry he learns to become part of the family and to pull his life together to have some meaning.

As The Flash he learns how to go from reluctant pusher to fully fledged hero. His mentor/mentee relationship with Batman is only shown in the briefest of instances in this cut but its existence gives us hope for the interplay between these two in the future.

The comedy timing works well with the script and he is able to stop the film from becoming slapstick whilst still garnering a strong laugh from audience members. We have really high hopes for his solo film.

DIDN’T WORK: RESHOOT SCENESJustice League

 

Reshoots are nothing new in Hollywood. Plenty of films have suffered them and come out the other side for the better. It’s safe to say for a huge Hollywood blockbuster that they can be saved by adding some extra connective tissue. Justice League is not necessarily one of those films.

If there were entirely new scenes added to the film I couldn’t have pointed those out to you. They didn’t stand out from the rest of the film in the way that additional shots added to pre-existing scenes did. As you can see from the image box Ben Affleck’s appearance altered slightly between shooting periods and this where the reshoots become obvious.

Though it never borders on Kate Mara’s wig in Fantastic Four bad it is still noticeable. I’m not criticising anyone for gaining weight or growing a new beard. It’s the technique by which these moments are added to the film that make them obvious. Moments of green screen wizardry betray when the crew were unable to return to original locales or when sets had been taken down.

Haircuts change slightly. Makeup fluctuates. Lighting doesn’t quite match. The devil is in the detail and sadly someone wasn’t quite keeping a close eye when editing this film.

DID WORK: HOPE IN THE DC UNIVERSE

Justice League instills a huge amount of hope in to the future of the DC Films universe. That hope had already begun in Wonder Woman earlier this year but now we get to see the other members of the League portraying that same hopeful feeling.

From Flash’s youthful exuberance to Aquaman’s joyous screaming in battle each other heroes appears to be having fun in this film. Even when the stakes are at their highest. This is really cemented with the return of Superman.

For the first time in this new franchise we see him at his brightest. Both on screen and in metaphor. His costume is as blue, yellow and red as it has ever appeared on the silver screen. Just seeing Cavill for the first time in this way instills a feeling of hope and excitement in the crowd.

The films ending, though overtly positive, is a high point of driving home that feeling of hopefulness which needs to exist in the DC Universe. When times are dark these heroes are here to save us and at last it finally feels like that is the case.

DIDN’T WORK: STEPPENWOLF’S AMENDED BACK STORY

In our review of the film I talked at length about my feelings on Steppenwolf overall. His appearance, despite being all CGI, is not the hugest of letdowns for Justice League. It’s his updated back story which is the real flaw in the character.

At some stage during the reshoot production it must have been decided to dial back on the Darkseid angle of the story and focus in on Steppenwolf as a lone wolf character. As such the scenes in which Diana explains his backstory to Bruce Wayne are also altered. In an early trailer we saw the two discussing the character in a brief glimpse of them in the Batcave. In the film this scene has shifted to a daytime walk by the lake at Wayne Manor.

As Diana explains that Steppenwolf has attacked earth before she misses out some key details. She mentions how the Mother Boxes will terraform Earth to be like his home world though never refers to it as Apokolips. Neither does she mention that Steppenwolf is acting as General for his uncle Darkseid.

It makes the film more accessible to the general audience but is disappointing for comics fans to see a great story diluted in this way.

DOES WORK: END CREDIT SCENESLex Luthor

 

 

One aspect of modern cinema that DC Films has toyed with but never fully committed to is the post-credit scene. It’s understandable given that Marvel is perhaps famous for popularising the technique of teasing future developments in this manner.

Justice League goes all in (pardon the pun) on this by having both a mid and post credit scene. The mid credit scene acts as a brilliant nod to a Superman comics cover from August 1967. Seeing Superman and The Flash race is a great final injection of humour and levity to the film. It’s also one last chance to see Henry Cavill’s fake lip in action.

The second scene is far more important to the future of DC Films. As we return to Arkham Asylum and also catch up with Lex Luthor and a character we won’t spoil here. It was a brilliant surprise and a jaw dropper to hear what Lex has up his sleeve now that he’s gotten wind of both Superman’s return and the formation of the Justice League.

We can only hope that Warner Bros. and DC Comics forge ahead with their plans despite recent setbacks.

What do you think of our picks? Sound off in the comments with your favourite and least favourite Justice League movie moments and checkout our YouTube playlist for Justice League below! (AppleNew users click the link)

Fuelled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Supermans selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes – Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash – it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

Justice League stars Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman and Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. Joining them are Jason Mamoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman, Ray Fisher as Victor Stone/Cyborg, and Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash.

The film is directed by Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon from a screenplay by Chris Terrio. Justice League hits cinemas on November 17th 2017 from Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment.

5 Things we learnt from the ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ trailer

The second trailer for ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ dropped yesterday. If like us you’ve watched it fifty times over you’ve probably started to pick up on a few details about the film.

We thought we’d pull together some of our observations for you. Don’t forget you can also check out our gallery of over 130 screenshots from the trailer. You can also join the chat about ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ on our social media channels, just search @getyourcomicon!

1. Too much Tony Stark?

One criticism which seems to be uninamous with fans is that Robert Downey Jr. looms large over this trailer. Now we’ve learnt that Tony Stark will have to save Spidey during the Staten Island Ferry incident and as a result take back the costume he gave to Peter during ‘Captain America: Civil War’.

We’ve known for a while that this film wouldn’t focus on Spidey’s origin and that means no Uncle Ben. However it would seem with that father figure missing he has been replaced by Tony Stark. With Peter so keen to impress Stark and become an Avenger could the whole movie feel like an ‘Iron-Man’ spinoff?

Focus on Stark too heavily and it will take the movie away from Tom Holland and make him feel like a sidekick. Feature him too little and fans will feel ripped off by the announcement he would be co-starring.

2. Home made suit.

The first trailer for ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ showed us that Peter Parker would at some stage put on his home-made Spidey costume. There was a belief that the film may have flashed back to some early moments in his Spidey career to show how he caught the attention of Tony Stark.

Now we know that Peter is forced back to basics when the suit is taken away from him. With this revelation the film takes on a whole new feel. Instead it would seem that we will be watching Peter fighting for the right to call himself a hero. The back-to-basics approach will allow the Marvel-Sony partnership to tell an origin story of sorts without retreading films of the past.

We clearly see Spider-Man facing off against Vulture and Shocker wearing the old costume. What is unknown is when or whether he will get the Stark designed costume back.

3. Avengers cameos?

One unexpected cameo which made its way in to the second trailer was a brief appearance of Captain America. Seen during a highschool fitness video it brings around one of the lighter moments in the trailer.

Could this signal that other Avengers may make appearances?

In ‘Captain America: Civil War’ Spidey sided with Iron Man. This paved the way for the relationship the two share in this film. He was also fighting alongside Black Widow, War Machine, Black Panther and Vision. Any one of them could appear to support the young hero.

Of course the Team Cap heroes are now in the shadows following the events of ‘Civil War’ so it is unlikely we will see any of them.

4. Aunt May.

Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) appeared briefly in ‘Captain America: Civil War’. Her scenes acted mainly to show the character existed and only gave us a small glimpse of her personality.

Suspiciously she seems very absent from this new trailer.

There are two brief moments where she appears and neither gives way anything about her story arc. Fans will remember that Tony Stark was quite taken with this younger interpretation of the character. There’s a concern amongst fans that with Stark taking on the father figure role Aunt May will be sidelined to  little more than an object for his flirtations.

After the mother figure role in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ films it would be great to see her character taking on a more involved role in this new version. She doesn’t need to suit up as a costumed hero but give her more to do than sit at home doing laundry and making dry meatloaf!

5. Tech-heavy Vulture.

The Vulture first appeared in comics in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ #2 released in May 1963. He was the second villain that Spidey ever faced. First was Chameleon.

Vulture is the alter-ego of Adrian Toomes a former electronics engineer and inventor. After losing everything when his business partner had embezzled their earnings he turned to a life of crime.

The Toomes of ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ is a little different however. His company is put out of business by Tony Stark leading him to get some vengeance by using salvaged materials from various battles involving The Avengers to create his signature wings and weapons as seen in the trailer.

It takes away a little of the magic of the Vulture in the comics and cartoons. It does definitely help ground him in the MCU though.

Checkout the trailer in the player below and let us know on social media what your favourite part of the ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ trailer was.

A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.

Starring Tom Holland, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr., MIchael Keaton. The film is directed by Jon Watts from a screenplay by Watts, John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein and others. It hits cinemas in July 2017!

'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' image from March 2016 issue of Empire Magazine

Batman v Superman: a lesson in tolerance

'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' IMAX poster
‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ IMAX poster

DISCLAIMER: if you are reading this article in the hope of berating somebody trying to tell you why you should like ‘Batman v Superman’ this this is not the article for you. All opinions are welcome here!

‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ was also going to be a divisive film from the outset, taking three characters who have never appeared on the big screen together – one of whom has never appeared on the big screen at all – and trying to present them to a hungry and strongly opinionated audience.

Between them the DC Trinity of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman have over two-hundred years of comic history with Batman and Superman both having celebrated their 75th anniversaries and Wonder Woman set to have hers in 2017 and that’s a lot of history to represent on screen. Arguably too much.

As a DC Comics fan the build-up to films like ‘Avengers Assemble’ (I’m British remember!), ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ and ultimately ‘Captain America: Civil War’ is one of excitement for the spectacle but not one with emotional attachments to the comic book versions of the characters. I don’t know the histories of the characters as well as I do with DC. I don’t know the adapted storylines without some pre-screening googling or reading so there’s little chance for disappointment for me. I know going in that I have little expectations for seeing a comic book defined on screen.

The opposite can be said for films in the newly christened DC Comics Extended Universe (DCEU) and also the DCAU (Animated Universe).

There’s little of the last 20 years of comics for the likes of the characters who make up the Justice League that I have not read so when storylines like ‘The Killing Joke’ and ‘Death of Superman’ are banded around I know in my head what I am expecting to see and what, as a fan, I feel the filmmakers ‘should’ do in order to honour the source material that they are adapting. However I have been able to reach a point in my life where I am able to step back from my preset ideas and enjoy the interpratations that new writers bring to the table.

Contemporary comic fans are seemingly easily divided in to those who are open and accepting of film interpretations and those who struggle with what they see as creative liberties. The same can be said of fans of any adaption, this isn’t specifically a comics fandom issue.

I have no problem in admitting that prior to ‘Man of Steel’ I was not a huge fan of the Superman character. I, obviously, have seen the Christopher Reeve films on multiple occasions and in my younger days was a big fan of ‘The New Adventures of Superman’ (again remember I am British – damn title changes!) but there was no rush for me to see ‘Superman Returns’ and to this day I have not seen all of the ‘Superman The Animated Series’ despite it’s status as a great representation of the character.

My issues with the Man of Steel character came from a place of not wanting heroes to be perfect. Granted Superman is not perfect in his comic book representations and I know that now but the Superman portrayed on film was all too often the golden boy hero and not the flawed role model that I required.

I have always gravitated towards the Batman character as my hero of choice and his characteristics are typical of the heroic characters that I gravitate towards.

With ‘Man of Steel’ director Zack Snyder presented a version of Superman that introduced flaws that perfectly made me buy in to the character. Arguably those flaws are what, for many, has ruined their DCEU experience. The choice on behalf of the filmmakers to have Superman kill Zod in the closing moments of a truly epic battle will perhaps go down in history as one of the most controversial moments even to take place within the DC Comics universe.

Something in that characterisation just clicked with me in a way that the character never has previously and for that I am grateful. It has opened up a new avenue of comics for me and in the years since ‘MoS’ I’ve enjoyed reading stories that previously had no interest to me.

That moment as Kal-El snapped Zod’s neck perhaps sealed the fate of the DCEU for a huge cross section of fans. How could the shining beacon of hope that is Superman be brought down to such levels of grit and grime? The answer again is interpretation.

Something which I struggle with as a reader of popular opinion is the lack of understanding that some fans have for interpretation. Comic books fans should find interpretation second nature given that our favourite characters and look and sound different depending on the artist or the writer who is working on them. If, as comics fans, we are able to accept that pre-New 52 Nightwing wore a black and blue costume and that New 52 Nightwing wore black and red then why can’t we accept that Snyder’s Superman would kill Zod when Richard Lester’s (or Richard Donner’s) would not.

There’s little difference in effect, it is only the circumstance and the medium in which the story is released to consumers that differs.

Is it a matter of cost? £3 for a comic against £10 for a cinema ticket. Maybe. The cost of the time to make a comic against the $250M budget of a film like ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’. It’s unlikely many weigh up the cost of a film as part of their enjoyment.

More likely is that it’s a matter of that history I was referring to. If I were to ask you to list your favourite comics storylines and then talk to you about adapting them in to a film you would have very strong opinions, as I do, about how we want them to be represented on film.

Each one of us has our favourite period in comics history, our favourite artists, our favourite writers all based on our own years of experience. A film is like taking a chance on one artist or writer to execute the biggest, most elaborate comic book of its time and everybody has their own wish list for what they want to see. Even the most irrational human being will tell you that you can’t please everybody all of the time.

‘Batman v Superman’ really only suffers from being the interpretation of one specific group of people with their own motivations, their own tastes and their own personalities. Technically the film making is flawless. It is, after all, a fully functioning film. It plays from start to finish; it has actors who read dialogue, it has music.

The rest is your interpretation and that may not mesh with Snyder’s.

We are all only human so when we are disappointed in something that we are so heavily invested in naturally we want to express that disappointment. In this age of the Internet there are so many outlets for our feelings that it’s much easier to be exposed to the negative and positive sides of our reactions.

If Rotten Tomatoes had existed in 1989 how would Tim Burton’s own ‘Batman’ film have fared? Would critics disappointment at his reduced screen time in ‘Batman Returns’ have outraged the Internet sending the box office returns in to a spiral? We’ll never know. What we do know is that now everybody with the ability to spell can tweet, or blog. That is after all why I am here.

You remember how I said that between them the DC Trinity had over 220 years of comic book history? Well bare that in mind and tell me how you would satisfy all of those fans in one film.

Arguably somebody out there in the landscape of the Internet will tell me that you can’t please them all but you can certainly please more than Synder has with ‘Batman v Superman’ and that would be one of the least offensive comments thrown my way.

I’m always up for a debate and I’m more than happy to hear the reasons why you maybe didn’t like the film as much as I did but in the past month I’ve had comments lobbied at me such as: ‘You clearly don’t read comics’ ‘Do you even know who these characters are?’ and my particular favourite ‘How can you like a film that allows The Flash to have a ponytail?’.

So why is it that if your opinion of this film is negative that you are applauded by your peers but if you dare to speak positively of the film you are derided? Simply put it’s a symptom of modern consumerism, as I said before if we’re disappointed in something with which we feel highly connected then we feel obliged to tell the world about our dissatisfaction and as it gets easier to do that our voices get louder and more easily heard.

Friends of my mine have spat equal amounts of love and vitriol towards this film, some before even having been to the cinema to see it. I’ve seen opinions change and many a friend has said to me that that whilst ‘Batman v Superman’ is by no means a perfect film (‘What is?’ I often reply to be told ‘The Dark Knight’) it doesn’t deserve the reception that it has been given.

Sadly nobody is innocent in this story as just last week an article made the news (here) around fans sending death threats to critics who have written less than positive reviews of their favourite films. It seems that regardless of your opinion fans are willing to shoot down those with opposing views in ways which are more and more socially unacceptable.

If being a fan of ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ has taught me anything then it’s a lesson in tolerance and standing for your own beliefs. Do not bend to popular opinion for the sake of fitting in and not standing out in a crowd. Art is subjective. Enjoy discussing your differences.

I do think that many out there need to learn to relax a little, at the end of the day we are only talking about a film, and learn to enjoy art for what it is but I appreciate that sadly there are some who just can’t do that.

I’d love to hear some of your constructive criticism about the film so please do leave comments, send us messages on Twitter (@getyourcomicon) just make sure to play nice!

You can read my review of the film here!

Batman @ SDCC 2013

SDCC: A Guide for Bat-Fans

We’re a mere ten days away from the official opening of San Diego Comic Con for 2014, coincidentally our first time attending, so we thought rather than just reposting he schedule we’d pull together some of the things we’re hoping to see and a lot of that happens to be Batman so here’s our quick guide to The Dark Knight @ SDCC14.

Batman @ SDCC 2013
A Lego Batman @ SDCC 2013

Everybody knows that this is the year of Batman 75, the 75th anniversary of the creation of the characters, and so DC Comics and Warner Bros. will be bringing it’s A game in terms of exclusives, events and panels so here’s your guide.

Off-site events & marketing

First up is new Fox show ‘Gotham’ which will be in marketing overdrive during the Con. If you’re already in San Diego you may have seen that several of the trolley cars have been dressed up in adverts for the show much like Marvel did last year for ‘Agents of Shield’. I will be making sure to always ride the Gotham car this year.

‘Gotham’ also have a couple of off-site events taking place this year. First up for users of the ‘Uber’ app there are a series of free taxi cars around the Downtown area which have been dressed up as squad cars for GCPD. Select the ‘Gotham PD’ on your uber slider and book yourself a ride in a cop car and whilst you sit back and relax watch clips and exclusive content from the show on built in iPads.

Next up between the Hilton Bayfront Hotel and the convention centre Fox will be recreating the cityscape of ‘Gotham’ to feature a 130-foot long and 30-foot high zip-line.  Fans will be able to fly through the skyline of ‘Gotham’ and receive a shareable photo of their experience plus other ‘Gothan’ goodies. Appearances by cast and crew have been mentioned but no further details as yet.

In the convention centre

Here’s a quick run-down of Batman themed panels taking place across the four days:

Thursday

Spotlight on Bill Finger the Co-Creator of Batman
2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the movie Batman, the 50th anniversary of Batman’s “New Look,” the 75th anniversary of Batman’s debut, and the 100th anniversary of the birth of Bill Finger, the Caped Crusader’s uncredited co-creator. Not only did Bill Finger breathe life into Batman, Robin, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, Gotham City, and one fantastic villain after another, he co-created bat-free icons such as Green Lantern, Wildcat, and Lana Lang. Bill’s only living descendants Athena Finger (The Cape Creator: A Tribute to Bill Finger) and her son Benjamininvite you to celebrate the life and achievements of the man who first put the dark in the Dark Knight. Dr. Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight) moderates a bat-tastic panel, featuring Bob Kane’s biographer Tom Andrae (Batman and Me), writer Mark Evanier (Bill Finger Awards), actress Lee Meriwether (Batman: The Movie‘s Catwoman), authorMarc Tyler Nobleman (Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman), Cartoons Arts’ Jens Robinson (son of Joker co-creator Jerry Robinson), and executive producer Michael Uslan(BatmanThe Dark Knight film trilogy), plus special messages from legends like DC’s last surviving Golden Age artist, Wildcat co-creator Irwin Hasen.
Thursday July 24, 2014 11:30am – 12:30pm Room 4
Batman in the 70s
In celebration of Batman’s 75th birthday, panelists look back at a crucial decade in the life of the Caped Crusader. It was a time of change as new writers and artists brought forth new interpretations of this classic character. On hand to discuss it are many of the those who were there: Neal Adams, Denny O’Neil, Michael Uslan, Len Wein, and Anthony Tollin, along with moderator Mark Evanier.
Thursday July 24, 2014 1:00pm – 2:00pm Room 5AB
DC Comics Batman 75: The Legend of the Dark Knight
In his 75-year publishing history, Batman has grown into one of the most popular and influential icons of all time. Don’t miss this historic panel with the legendary creators such as Neal Adams,Greg CapulloGeoff JohnsJim Lee, Frank MillerGrant MorrisonDenny O’Neil, and Scott Snyder, who have shaped the Dark Knight into the hero he is today.
Thursday July 24, 2014 3:30pm – 4:30pm Room 6BCF
Batman ‘66
Holy Bat Panels! Get all the details on the most anticipated home entertainment release in fanboy history when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment reunites pop icons Adam WestBurt Ward, and Julie Newmar on the Hall H stage for a Bat-tastic look at Batman: The Complete TV Series. The actors behind Batman, Robin. and Catwoman, along with moderator Ralph Garman, will give you an inside sneak peek at all the exclusive content within this blockbuster home entertainment release, as well as exhibiting dazzling HD remastered footage from the landmark series. Batman: The Complete TV Series will be released in November 2014.
Thursday July 24, 2014 6:00pm – 7:00pm Hall H
Friday
Batman in the 80s and 90s
2014 marks the 75th anniversary of Batman, but also several other anniversaries for the character. It’s the 100th birthday of writer Bill Finger who wrote many of the character’s adventures through the 1960s, and is responsible for many additions to the legend and some of the Dark Knight’s most infamous villains. It’s the 50th anniversary of the “New Look” Batman, which started in 1964 under editor Julius Schwartz and including artist Carmine Infantino’s interpretation of the Caped Crusader, which saved Detective Comics from possible cancellation. And it’s the 25th anniversary of Tim Burton’s Batman movie, which brought the character back to a whole new audience, in a new-and much darker-form. Comic-Con special guest Denny O’Neill (writer/editor, Batman, Green Lantern/Green Arrow) will moderate fellow Comic-Con special guests Chuck Dixon (writer, Batman, Airboy)Kelley Jones (artist, Batman, Deadman),Graham Nolan (artist, Detective Comics, The Phantom, Joe Frankenstein), and Brian Stelfreeze(artist, Shadow of the Bat, Daymen) in a discussion on how they kept the world’s greatest detective going strong through the ’80s and ’90s.
Friday July 25, 2014 12:30pm – 1:30pm Room 5AB
Batman ‘Assault on Arkham’ world premiere
Be among the first to experience Batman: Assault on Arkham, the highly anticipated next entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe Original Movies. Produced by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, DC Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Animation, the film is based on the bestselling Batman: Arkham video game series. We find Gotham in great danger when the government assembles a group of villains-code-named The Suicide Squad-and forces them to break into Arkham Asylum to retrieve top-secret information stolen by the Riddler. Things take a turn for the worse when Harley Quinn frees the Joker, who is intent on using a dirty bomb to blow up Arkham Asylum and Gotham City. Batman must use his superhero wits and strength to thwart the wicked plans of the Joker and the Suicide Squad. When the film ends, stay in your seat for a star-studded panel discussion featuring fan-favorite Batman voice Kevin Conroy(Batman: The Animated Series), as well as Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds), Troy Baker (The Last of Us), and John DiMaggio (Futurama), plus the filmmaking team of producer James Tucker(Son of Batman), director Jay Oliva (Justice League: War), dialogue director Andrea Romano(Batman: The Dark Knight Returns), screenwriter Heath Corson (Justice League: War) and moderator Victor Lucas (Electric Playground). As usual, there will be special announcements, exclusive prizes for a few lucky fans, and a few potential surprises. Batman: Assault on Arkhamwill be available on Digital HD on July 29 and as a Blu-ray Combo Pack on August 12.
Friday July 25, 2014 7:00pm – 9:00pm Ballroom 20
NOTE: ‘Assault on Arkham’ will be screened again at 21:30 also in Ballroom 20.
Saturday
DC Comics Batman 75 Too Tough Trivia: Riddle Me This!
Think you know everything there is to know about the Dark Knight Detective? How do you rank among fellow Bat-fans? Test your Bat-knowledge and rise up to the challenge, as this Batman-themed trivia panel will sure to rack the brains of even the most hardcore Bat-aficionados out there! It’s your chance to go Batty and win some exclusive prizes!
Saturday July 26, 2014 10:00am – 11:00am Room 6DE
Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures presents an upcoming slate of movies including Jupiter Ascending, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies and Mad Max: Fury Road. Noticeable absent from this schedule is a certain Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice but don’t be surprised if there’s an announcement or footage for it that appears out of nowhere!
Saturday July 26, 2014 10:00am – 12:00pm Hall H
Comics Art Conference #10: Brain and Body by Batman the art and science of The Dark Knight
What motivations sustain Bruce Wayne? What was needed to prepare him for his career as Batman? What has this career done to his psyche, his brain, his body? Psychology professor and superherologist Dr. Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight), neuroscience and kinesiology professor Dr. E. Paul Zehr (Becoming Batman), health and exercise science expert Eric Bruce (Western Oregon University), and Comic-Con special guest Dennis O’Neil (Batman) discuss, dissect, and demystify the Dark Knight on his 75th diamond jubilee anniversary, providing an evaluation of the psychology, kinesiology, and neuroscience of Batman and discussing the physical and psychological realities of becoming and then having a career as Gotham’s Dark Knight avenger.
Saturday July 26, 2014 12:00pm – 1:00pm Room 26AB
DC Comics: the weeklies
DC Comics -The New 52 is in the weekly business, with groundbreaking series such as Batman Eternal and Futures End. And with Earth 2: Worlds End on the horizon, the weeklies are part of the most exciting comic line since the launch of the New 52! Join the amazing cast of creators-Marguerite Bennett (upcoming Earth 2: Worlds End), Ray Fawkes (Batman Eternal), Kyle Higgins(Batman Eternal), Dan Jurgens (Futures End), Jeff Lemire (Futures End), Scott Snyder (Batman Eternal), James Tynion IV (Batman Eternal), Daniel H. Wilson (upcoming Earth 2: Worlds End)-behind this revolutionary storytelling for a look at what the future holds for these series.
Saturday July 26, 2014 12:45pm – 1:45pm Room 6DE
DC Entertainment: Batman 75th Anniversary
Throughout his 75-year history, the Dark Knight has become one of the most popular and widely recognized superheroes in the world. From comics to TV to movies to video games, the World’s Greatest Detective has permeated all entertainment mediums and beyond. Get a look at Batman’s rich history and what the future holds for this pop culture icon with industry titansKevin ConroyPaul DiniBruce TimmRalph GarmanGeoff JohnsJim LeePeter Girardi, and some surprise guests!
Saturday July 26, 2014 4:00pm – 5:00pm Room 6BCF
Warner Bros. Television and DC Entertainment: The Flash, Constantine, Arrow and world premiere of Gotham with special appearances by casts and producers and hosted by Stephen Amell

DC fans-get ready for a superhero Saturday night, designed specifically for you! For the first time ever at Comic-Con, Warner Bros. Television and DC Entertainment will present a three-hour event in Hall H featuring some of DC Comics’s greatest characters. Kicking off the exclusive evening is the world premiere public screening of the highly anticipated new drama seriesGotham, allowing fans their first trip into the dangerous and compelling world of the iconic city. This will be the only screening of Gotham at Comic-Con, and it will be followed by a screening of the complete pilot episode of new action-drama The Flash, as well as exclusive video presentations of returning hit Arrow and new thriller Constantine. Cast and producers from all four series will make special appearances on stage throughout the night, with the festivities to be hosted by Oliver Queen himself — Arrow star Stephen Amell.Gotham Before there was Batman, there was Gotham. With a reputation synonymous with law and order, Commissioner James Gordon is one of the crime world’s greatest foes. Everyone knows the name. But what is known of Gordon’s rise from rookie detective to police commissioner? And what did it take to navigate the layers of corruption that secretly ruled Gotham City, the spawning ground of the world’s most iconic villains-the larger-than-life personas who would become Catwoman, The Penguin, The Riddler, Two-Face and The Joker?Gotham is the origin story of the great DC Comics supervillains and vigilantes, revealing a new chapter that has never been told. From executive producer/writer Bruno Heller (The Mentalist, Rome), this one-hour drama follows one cop’s rise through a dangerously corrupt city teetering on the edge of evil and chronicles the genesis of one of the most popular superheroes of our time. The series stars Ben McKenzie (Southland, The O.C.), Donal Logue (Sons of Anarchy, Vikings),Sean Pertwee (Elementary), Robin Lord Taylor (The Walking Dead), Erin Richards (Being Human),David Mazouz (Touch),Camren Bicondova, Zabryna Guevara (Burn Notice), Cory Michael Smith(Carol), Victoria Cartagena (The Good Wife), Andrew Stewart-Jones (Person of Interest), and Jada Pinkett Smith (The Matrix films), and is executive produced by Heller, Danny Cannon (Nikita), and John Stephens (Gossip Girl). From Warner Bros. Television, Gotham premieres this fall, Mondays at 8/7c on FOX.
The Flash- From the Arrow creative team of executive producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg and director David Nutter, The Flash is a fast-paced superhero drama that follows the high-speed adventures of the Fastest Man Alive. Written by Berlanti, Kreisberg, and DC Entertainment’s chief creative officer Geoff Johns, the action drama follows Central City police scientist Barry Allen, an everyday guy with the heart of a hero and the genuine desire to help others. Standing still emotionally since the day his mother was murdered (and his father unjustly jailed for the crime), Barry was taken in as a child by the investigating Detective West and raised in a cop’s home alongside West’s super-smart daughter (and Barry’s dream girl), Iris. But when an unexpected and devastating accident at the S.T.A.R. Labs Particle Accelerator facility strikes Barry, he finds himself suddenly charged with the incredible power to move at super speeds. While Barry has always been a hero in his soul, his newfound powers have finally given him the ability to act like one. With a winning personality and a smile on his face, Barry Allen-aka The Flash-is finally moving forward in life…very, very fast! The series stars Grant Gustin (Arrow),Candice Patton (The Game), Rick Cosnett (The Vampire Diaries), Danielle Panabaker (Necessary Roughness), Carolos Valdes (on Broadway: Once), with Tom Cavanagh (Ed), and Jesse L. Martin(Law & Order). From Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television, The Flash premieres this fall on Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
Constantine- John Constantine is a man waging war against the forces of darkness -from both within himself and the outside world. An irreverent, working-class con man and occult expert, he’s an experienced exorcist and demonologist with an extensive list of supernatural contacts, each with their own paranormal talents and abilities. Following the aftermath of a tragic incident, Constantine has voluntarily checked himself into an asylum and sworn off investigating matters of the supernatural, but when a cryptic message calls him out to reluctantly resume his old life, he finds himself saving the life of a young woman whom he’s never met but is connected to in a very important way. With dark forces gathering power in the world, Constantine allies himself with Manny, a rogue warrior angel, and his giant childhood protector, Chas-the only friend who’s managed to stay alive. Based on characters published by DC Entertainment,Constantine reflects the lore of the fan-favorite comic, combining noirish storytelling with the evolving mythology of John Constantine, a morally challenged character who doesn’t come down on the side of either good or evil…but ultimately might be the only thing defending us against the dark forces from beyond. The series stars Matt Ryan (Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior), Harold Perrineau (Lost), and Charles Halford (True Detective) and is executive produced by Daniel Cerone (Dexter) and David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight trilogy). From Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television, Constantine will air Fridays at 10/9c on NBC, premiering October 24.
Arrow- Arrow series stars Stephen Amell (Private Practice), Katie Cassidy (Supernatural), David Ramsey (Dexter), Emily Bett Rickards (Flicka: Country Pride), Colton Haynes (Teen Wolf), Willa Holland (The O.C.), Paul Blackthorne (The River), and John Barrowman (Torchwood — with executive producers Greg Berlanti (The Flash), Marc Guggenheim (Green Lantern), and Andrew Kreisberg (Fringe) — will take aim at San Diego with a special video presentation and discussion previewing the show’s highly anticipated third season. Based upon characters appearing in comic books and graphic novels published by DC Comics, Arrow is from Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television. The series returns for a third season this fall, airing Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
Saturday July 26, 2014 8:00pm – 11:00pm Hall H
At the booths
There’ll be so much to see out on the convention floor that it would probably take us hours to bring it all together. Most important you want to keep an eye on the Warner Bros. booth as they will be exhibiting the Batman costumes worn by Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney and Christian Bale.
On Saturday 26th July the cast of ‘Gotham’ will be signing at the Fox booth, this will be a ticketed only event so keep an eye on for announcements as to when and where tickets will become available.
Kevin Conroy – perhaps better known as THE voice of Batman in the DCAU – will be signing as part of the ‘Assault on Arkham’ presentations on Friday 25th July. He will also be doing signings elsewhere at SDCC on 26th and 27th July so keep an eye out for him.
Elsewhere at SDCC
If you read our last article on Batman at SDCC none of this will be news to you but don’t forget that Warner Bros. Interactive will be exhibiting not one but TWO Batman games at this years convention with special exhibits for both ‘Arkham Knight’ and ‘Lego Batman 3’ taking place throughout the con.
The Sunday schedule for SDCC will be announced today so we’ll update this article with more details as they are announced and see you at the con in just over a week!
'Star Trek Into Darkness'

OP-ED: The ‘Into Darkness’ effect

This week ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ finally came home to fans in the UK on blu ray and DVD having previously been released to download via iTunes. The physical release takes place shortly in the US following the same setup of an earlier release on iTunes.

While the film itself continues to impress many critics and fans – and the polar opposite with others – there has been a huge debate spanning the length and breadth of the web this week about the bonus content shipping with the film.

I have received my steel book edition which is an Amazon exclusive in the UK which contains the following bonus features:
– Creating the Red Planet
– Attack on Starfleet
– The Klingon Home World
– The Enemy of My Enemy
– Ship to Ship
– Brawl by the Bay

If I had gone to Sainburys I could have bought the standard case edition but with a bonus DVD featuring a further 30mins of behind-the-scenes action. If I had gone to Tesco I would have had the option of further featurettes that are not on my steel book.

Not to forget that all blu ray copies come complete with an iTunes download of the film which further includes an audio commentary and digital versions of some of the featurettes held on the disc.

Why all the controversy I hear you ask? It has become abundantly clear that there is perhaps 2-3 hours of bonus features for the film available across the various different store exclusives and versions across the world. There are still unconfirmed reports of deleted scenes currently only listed on an Australia release.

This aside there is also a debate raging about the aspect ratio of the film. Many of you will have seen the film in IMAX knowing that some scenes were filmed in native IMAX ratio. Much like The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises releases fans expected a transfer of the film with an alternating aspect ratio to allow for this footage… as yet no release is carrying this version of the film. The iTunes commentary features the IMAX footage but only if you wish to deal with the commentary that is tied to it.

Let’s move on from Trek for as this is not a review of that blu ray itself, that’s to follow.

The debate that rages is as to whether studio themselves – in this case Paramount Pictures – have split all these bonus features out over so many versions in order to make the biggest amount of money possible knowing that fans will shell out for double and triple dips for the sake of all the content or whether the retailers themselves have paid out the cash in order to bag themselves exclusives to boost their own individual sales.

Retailers have the right, especially in the current financial climate, to do everything they can to boost sales so unless the times comes that physical media becomes outdated I think we’ll see this practice continue and escalate. Is it fair? Perhaps not.

Of course you could ask the question of who cares? Actually in this kind of situation the only people who are really going to be affected by this situation are the die hard fans. But then that’s always the case isn’t it? The fans that find themselves in the situation of needing to double dip are always the sci-fi, fantasy and comic book fans.

When did ‘Bridget Jones’ fans find themselves having to dip in to their pockets a second time to own more features or a relic from the films plot? Never.

Science fiction lends itself to this kinds of release because there is so much to tell about the making of these kinds of movies. Your straight up drama can get by with a few interviews and behind the scenes clips as the fans base are not often so interesting the all the goings on behind the camera but us genre fans love to see the art direction, set design etc… that goes in to making our favourite summer tentpole movies.

Many would argue that this kind of marketing leads only to further piracy with many believing the that host of extras for ‘Into Darkness’ will soon surface online in one neat downloadable package.

I believe the biggest problem is that allow the fans of this kind of genre will be incredibly vocal on the subject of their dissatisfaction they will sill spend the extra cash required to get hold of all the material they want to see. I’m happy with having the film and a few glimpses of the behind-the-scenes stuff. Yes I would love to see it all but on my kind of budget that’s just not possible. I’ll take what the studio will give me.

What does annoy me? It annoys me when in three months time Paramount announce a special collectors edition which brings all these features together but will that happen? We’ll see.

I would love to hear your opinions on this. Sound off in the comments!

The Joker

OP-ED: If Batman really did kill The Joker is it such a controversy?

The Joker
The Joker

In 1998 the comic book world was rocked by the publication of ‘The Killing Joke’. Written by Alan Moore and featuring some striking art by Brian Bolland the effects of this one-shot story still continue to reverberate around the DC Universe.

The story had a massive influence over the origin story of The Joker drawing from the 1951 story ‘The Man Behind the Red Hood’ and rounding out the story in a way which presented The Joker for the first time as a character that the readers could sympathise for.

Tim Burton would go on to say that ‘The Killing Joke’ was the first comic that he loved, citing the fact that he struggled to understand the order in which dialogue should be read until this book came along. “The Killing Joke’ would be a heavy influence on The Joker’s origin in ‘Batman’ (1989), Burton’s first entry in to the Batman movie franchise.

It could be argued that the most profound effect of ‘The Killing Joke’ was on the Gordon family. The shooting of Barbara Gordon robbing her of her life as Batgirl but also revolutionising the Bat-family with the eventual introduction of her new alter-ego Oracle.

This week comic writer Grant Morrison stopped by Kevin Smith’s ‘Fat Man on Batman’ podcast to discuss the end of his run working on ‘Batman Inc.’ which came to a conclusion with issue #13 in July and awaits a final special being published this month.

As the two discussed Batman and comics in general talk turned to ‘The Killing Joke’ with Morrison dropping the following bombshell:

No one gets the end, because Batman kills The Joker. That’s why it’s called The Killing Joke. The Joker tells the ‘Killing Joke’ at the end, Batman reaches out and breaks his neck, and that’s why the laughter stops and the light goes out ‘cause that’s the last chance at crossing that bridge. And Alan Moore wrote the ultimate Batman/Joker story… he finished it.

It’s not the first time that rumours have circulated about Batman having killed The Joker – of course he did kill him during ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ – but this is the first time I can recall somebody so close to the DC inner circle confirming that this is the case in this particular story.

For those who can’t recall the closing panels from memory checkout this reminder:

image

The artwork is purposefully ambiguous and the fact that The Joker continued to appear in the comics right through to his re-introduction in to the Bat-verse in The New 52 age would say that even if the original intention was for Batman to kill The Joker that was no consequence of the actions in this book that rippled beyond its pages.

The talking point is whether this was the moment that The Joker finally pushed Batman so far that he breaks his no-killing rule. So often the relationship between The Dark Knight and the Clown Prince of Crime has been based on how far that The Joker wants to push Batman and how far he has to escalate his crimes to order to illicit the response he wants.

In all the stories that he has featured in over the years there has never been a contender to the crown of ‘most shocking’ that has ever come close to ‘The Killing Joke’ apart from perhaps ‘Death in the Family’. This year DC tried once more recreate the hype with ‘Death of the Family’ came close to stealing that crown.

To the uninitiated the idea of Batman killing is probably not a shock. To be fair in ‘Batman Returns’ he did attach a bomb to the stomach of one of the circus gang and knock him down a manhole only to leave him to explode. Or if you want to go back even further there was the death of Molly in the pilot of the Adam West TV series.

But to those of us with a love for the character we know that killing is not in his mantra and certainly not something that Bats would do lightly.

Does it ruin the character to have him kill his arch enemy? Or is it the only way to end the story between these two?

I for one think that if Batman were to kill then The Joker would be the one to push him that far. In the context of the events of this book it’s perfectly rational to think that with The Joker striking so close to him that Batman would take such drastic action to end the suffering.

Much in the way that 2008’s ‘The Dark Knight’ shows Batman’s increasing isolated reactions as The Joker increases the scale of his attacks there are examples of Batman’s retaliations across all forms of media.

‘The Killing Joke’ doesn’t necessarily have to impact on parents decisions to expose their children to Batman related products because I wouldn’t put this book in the hands of anybody who I didn’t think could handle the subject matter.

The argument from some more conservative fans will be that Batman has always been accessible to all and can be enjoyed at all ages. It’s a very valid argument as Batman is a hugely profitable brand for DC and Warner Bros. but it’s about identifying your Batman.

I read Batman comics; watch the cartoons and the movies. I see all facets of Batman but I know that ‘my’ Batman is the one in the comics. The darker Batman. The one that hides in the shadows.

The kids that play out in the street with the Batman caps? They’re probably watching Beware the Batman where guns don’t shoot bullets and Batman fights with ninja-like moves.

Is Batman killing The Joker big news? Yes. Is Batman killing The Joker controversial? No.

'Batman v Superman'

OP-ED: The ‘DC Universe’ on film

'Batman v Superman'
‘Batman v Superman’

Unless you have been living under a rock since the 2013 San Diego Comic Con, you will have heard that summer 2015 will be the season of ‘Batman Vs. Superman’ or is that ‘Superman vs. Batman’?

The news was broken to a packed hall by director Zack Snyder and ‘Man of Steel’ co-star Harry Lennix with the news immediately going world-wide and the sounds of elated fan boys being heard across the state.

We’re a year away from this film going into production and two years from it’s potential release but already the blogosphere is alive with the casting rumours, plot ideas and logo mash-ups.

The easiest place to look for potential story ideas is Frank Miller’s seminal story of ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ that was also recently adapted into a two-part DTV movie to massive acclaim. Snyder chose to introduce his future plans (via Lennix) with a quote from this very story but chances are that these are not the versions of Batman and Superman that you will be seeing on your local IMAX in 2015.

‘Returns’ paints a brilliant picture of an aging Bruce and Clark and one of the reasons that the story has become such a cult favourite is the brilliant interplay between the two but I don’t think that fans should expect to see any of the story directly adapted for the screen here.

The news has broken this week that Snyder is looking to Frank Miller for inspiration in crafting the story – take this with a pinch of salt though – which I think is a clever move because his stories have influenced the friendship between these characters for every writer that has written for them since. However if this film is to exist as a sequel to ‘Man of Steel’, a re-introduction to Batman and an introduction to Snyder’s Justice League universe, then the characters we need to see have to exude far less maturity than those depicted in ‘Returns’.

The DC film universe is still only in its infancy. Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’ franchise may still be in the zeitgeist but if the universe of ‘Man of Steel’ is to officially be separate then we have to date only spent 143 minutes in this world and I don’t think Snyder or Warner Bros. are going to be prepared to make that kind of creative leap right now.

The purpose of this film is going to cement to the viewing public that Snyder’s (not to forget David Goyer) incarnation of Superman is able to hold his own on screen against a juggernaut like Batman. Yes Batman has had his dark days on screen (around 1997 perhaps?) but he is riding the wave of Christopher Nolan and is currently considered box office gold. Superman has been absent from the big screen for much of the last few decades barring the minor box office success of Bryan Singer’s ‘Superman Returns’ and Warner Bros. are feeling the pressure to bring these two characters to a level pegging.

Looking to the future there’s undoubtedly a huge amount of pressure on both DC Comics and Warner Bros. to repeat the success that Marvel have had with Disney in launching ‘The Avengers’ via their ‘Phase 1’ movies.  Not only is ‘Avengers’ (I’m not calling it ‘Avengers Assemble’) one of the most successful movies ever at the worldwide box office, but Warner can’t be seen to follow the exact same path leading up to the big group movie.

Marvel cleverly gave each character their own movie as an introduction whilst placing threads that would eventually pull together to form the first ‘Avengers’ movie.

What DC now needs to do is find it’s own spin on this setup and this is why I think we are seeing a team up movie rather than a Superman franchise followed by a new Batman franchise etc.

DC are also reaping the massive benefits of Arrow becoming a hit series on The CW network. As Marvel attempt to conquer the TV platform with their ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’ series this season, DC already have a proven track record in this field. With the inclusion of The Flash in season 2 at some point there is hopefully going to be a merging of the platforms.

DC/Warner Bros. have found a creative partner in Synder who, with Goyer at his side, is setting himself up to finally be the man to bring the Justice League to the big screen in a credible and significant fashion.