Archive for Dick Grayson

Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Since his last encounter against Batman, Mr. Freeze has found a home in the Arctic and started a family (of sorts) with the still cryogenically-encased Nora, an Inuit boy named Kunac, and two pet polar bears, Hotchka and Shaka. Nora’s condition begins to rapidly deteriorate due to a submarine accidentally emerging from underwater directly underneath them, shattering her containment vessel. Freeze returns to Gotham City with his companions, and enlists the help of Dr. Gregory Belson to find a cure. Belson determines that Nora needs an organ transplant, but due to her rare blood type there are no suitable donors available.

Freeze declares that they will use a live donor, even though it means the donor will die in the process. Belson is at first reluctant to kill an innocent girl, but Freeze bribes him with a gold nugget and even more gold from an entire vein in the Arctic that will put an end to Belson’s financial problems. Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) is a perfect match, and Freeze learns from her roommate that she is at a restaurant with her boyfriend, Dick Grayson (Robin). Freeze attacks the restaurant and kidnaps Barbara, taking her to an abandoned oil rig where he and Belson are hiding. Freeze and Belson explain the situation to Barbara, who claims that she is willing to help Nora for the “blood transfusion”, but not at the oil rig, prompting Freeze to keep Barbara imprisoned. The time for the operation comes, Barbara realizes that they are lying when they say she’ll need to be put under for the simple operation and escapes with the help of Kunac. Belson gives pursuit and almost catches her, before the arrival of Batman and Robin.

Freeze follows, and in the ensuing confrontation, Belson accidentally shoots one of the fuel tanks and starts a rapidly-spreading fire as Freeze traps Batman and Robin. Freeze insists that Belson perform the operation, despite the oil rig blazing and ready to explode, but Belson betrays Freeze and attempts to escape alone, only to be killed by falling wreckage. Freeze’s leg is broken, but he tells Batman and Robin to save Nora and Kunac first, along with Barbara. Nora, Kunac and Barbara are taken to safety in the Batwing, but Batman fails to save the weakened Freeze in time, as the platform collapses beneath them, hitting him in the shoulder, and sending Freeze plummeting into the ocean below.

Batman manages to get back to the Batwing and get aboard just before the oil rig finally explodes, but Freeze escapes just in time, holding onto the swimming Hotchka and Shaka. Freeze then returns with his polar bears to the Arctic to resume his life alone, having frozen his leg in an ice cast, watching through a window he sees on a television in a research station that Nora has been revived after an organ transplant operation funded by Wayne Enterprises, moving him happily to tears.

REVIEW:

 Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero is another direct-to-DVD (video at the time) film in the universe of the 90s Batman animated series. If you ever saw that series, then you know how well crafted it was. Picture that on a larger scale and you have what this film brings to the table.

The animation here can be seen as “cartoony”, but it was supposed to be. For goodness sakes, this was the 90s, a time when everything didn’t need to look real.

In contrast to the cartoony look, though, the story is more on the mature side. I mean, there’s nothing R-rated, but Mr. Freeze does get a bit more, pardon the pun, cold-hearted with the way he goes about things.

One of the negatives for this film, though, is how little Batman was in it. This actually should have been titles Robin & Mr. Freeze: Subzero, because he is the main character, here. I’m glad we got some real Robin action. I could’ve done with more Batgirl, but that’s just being picky.

The action is what we’ve come to expect from comic book action animation. I would love to say that they did something groundbreaking, but there wasn’t anything fancy about this flick.

In the end, Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero comes off as a glorified Batman: The Animated Series episode. Having said that, one must remember the high standards of that series, so a glorified episode is not an insult.

I liked this film a lot. It isn’t my favorite in the scope of all the Batman films I’ve seen, but it is quite enjoyable, especially if you were a fan of the old animated series. This is definitely a good film to watch if you’re not into the darker fare that Batman has evolved into these days (not counting Brave & the Bold).

4 out of 5 stars

Batman Forever

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The film opens with Batman (Val Kilmer) stopping a hostage situation in a bank caused by Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones), alter ego of physically/emotionally scarred former district attorney, Harvey Dent.Two-Face escapes. Edward Nygma (Jim Carrey), a researcher at Wayne Enterprises develops a device to beam television directly to a person’s brain. Bruce Wayne rejects the invention, noting that “it raised too many questions”, and Edward resigns from his position.

After meeting psychiatrist Dr. Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman), Bruce invites her to a charity circus event. While there, Two-Face and his henchmen storm the event in an attempt to discover Batman’s secret identity, and in the process the acrobat family The Flying Graysons are murdered. The youngest member, Dick (Chris O’Donnell), survives and stops Two-Face’s bomb from exploding. Upon his return, he discovers that Two-Face killed his family and escaped the scene. Bruce assumes responsibility for Dick and allows him to stay at Wayne Manor. Dick declares his intention to kill Two-Face in revenge for his family’s murder, and when he discovers Bruce’s secret identity as Batman, he insists on becoming his sidekick, “Robin”.

Meanwhile, Edward has become psychologically obsessed with Bruce, leaving riddles for him. He decides to become a criminal known as “The Riddler” and allies with Two-Face. With his invention, Edward can read and control people’s minds, and steal their intelligence quotient. At a business party, Edward discovers Bruce’s secret identity, and Robin saves his life. Later, however, Two-Face and Riddler converge into the Batcave, destroy most of the equipment, and kidnap Chase. They also leave Bruce another riddle.

After solving the last riddle, Batman and Robin locate the Riddler’s lair, both are separated upon reaching the island, Robin encounters Two Face and manages to kick him off the ground where he clings on for life but Robin realizes he cannot kill him so he helps the villain back up, this allows Two Face to get the upper hand and capture him . Meanwhile Batman manages to make his way into the Riddler’s lair and meets the Riddler who reveales Robin and Chase as hostages, giving Batman the choice of only being able to save one of them. Batman finds a way to save both, destroying the brainwave-collecting device and warping the Riddler in the process. During the battle, Two Face falls to his death. The Riddler is committed to Arkham Asylum, and Chase is asked to consult on his case. Riddler offers to reveal the identity of Batman to her, but he thinks himself Batman. Chase then meets Bruce Wayne outside and tells him his secret is safe.

REVIEW:

This film gets so much negative publicity that is hard to be objective, however, the criticism is merited. At the same time, there are good points that no one ever seems to point out.

Val Kilmer makes a fairly decent Bruce Wayne, but is an epic failure as Batman. He just doesn’t seem comfortable or convincing. If I was a crook in Gotham City and he came swooping down, I would not fear him as I would Michael Keaton’s Batman.

Chris O’Donnell does a good job of capturing the rebelliousness of Dick Grayson/Robin in his later years, but the story is obviously based on the time when he and Batman first meet, so O’Donnell is too old. Can you believe this role was going to go to Marlon Wayans?

Nicole Kidman is a nice bit of eye candy. As a matter of fact, she looks much better then than she does now. Chase Meridian was created just for this film, but you would never know. Kidman was a true sexpot with this character.

Tommy Lee Jones replaced Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. From what I’ve read/heard, this change was due to the directorial change, but Williams still got paid. Jones is a more than competent actor, and gives an interesting take on the character, but he didn’t do his homework. His version of Two-Face just seems like, as someone said, “a reincarnated Joker.” On top of that, the makeup wasn’t that great. I will say that the dual personality he exhibited was pretty close, could have been better, though, and he could have relied more on the coin. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Aaron Eckhart’s Two-Face in The Dark Knight is spot on with the source material, whilst Jones’ is a caricature of the character.

Jim Carrey is his usual self as The Riddler. The problem is that his flamboyancy doesn’t work for the character, yet at the same time it beings to mind Frank Gorshin’s take on the character from the 60s TV show. My real issue with Carrey being the Riddler has more to do with appearance. The red hair was too much of a departure for me as were the over the top antics. This was not the Riddler I know.

Everytime I watch this film, I wonder what it would have been like had Tim Burton stayed on as director, Michael Keaton donned the cape and cowl again, and Danny Elfman returned to provide the film’s score. Joel Schumacher is not a bad director, but he murdered this film. There was so much potential here, but his direction was too cartoony. Nothing wrong with cartoony, but in comparison to the darker tone of Batman and Batman Returns, it just doesn’t work. I’m a firm believer that a director should stay with a franchise from beginning to end, or else you get these different interpretations that don’t really work.

Danny Elfman’s score is solely missed here. Elliot Goldenthal’s score seems to be a recapitulation of the leitmotif for the entire film, rather than new material for each scene like we would get from Elfman, or any other competent composer.

The Batmobile, while doing some of the most interesting tricks in the film, has got to be one of the ugliest versions of the iconic vehicle ever seen on screen, with the exception of the current version used by Christian Bale’s version.

The best part of this film are Two-Face, The Riddler, and Dr. Meridian. For a film entitled Batman Forever, you would expect Batman to be the major draw, or at least Robin, since they went through all the trouble to bring him in. That is not the case. However, those art do enough to carry this film, despite having a weak Batman. Is there any wonder he was replaced? I wouldn’t suggest subjecting yourself to this film, unless you’re trying to watch all the Batman films, or are just bored out of your mind. That being said, it can be worth the time if you’re can get past the deficiencies.

3 out of 5 stars