Archive for Two-Face

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

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The Dark Knight

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2008 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In Gotham City, the Joker robs a mob-owned bank with his accomplices, whom he tricks into killing each other. That night, Batman interrupts a meeting between the Chechen, a Gotham mobster, and the Scarecrow, but suffers wounds from the Chechen’s dogs, allowing the Chechen to escape and prompting Batman to re-design his batsuit. Batman and Lieutenant James Gordon contemplate including new district attorney Harvey Dent in their plan to eradicate the mob, as he could be the public hero Batman cannot be. However, Batman wonders if Dent can be trusted. Bruce runs into Rachel Dawes and Dent, who are dating, and after talking to Dent he realizes he is sincere and decides to host a fundraiser for him.

Mob bosses Sal Maroni, Gambol and the Chechen meet with other underworld gangsters to discuss both Batman and Dent. Lau, a Chinese mafia accountant, informs them that he has hidden their money and fled to HongKong in an attempt to pre-empt Gordon’s plan to seize the mobsters’ funds. The Joker arrives unexpectedly, offering to kill Batman in return for half of the mob’s money, an offer the mobsters refuse. In Hong Kong, Batman captures Lau and delivers him to the |Gotham City police, where Lau agrees to testify against the mob. In retaliation, the mobsters hire the Joker to kill Batman and Lau. The Joker issues an ultimatum to Gotham, stating that if Batman does not reveal his identity to the public, people will die each day. When Commissioner |Gillian B. Loeb, Judge Surillo, who was presiding over the mob trials, and Gordon are murdered, Wayne decides to reveal his identity. Before he can, Dent announces at a press conference that he himself is Batman and is arrested as part of a plan to draw the Joker out of hiding. The Joker attempts to ambush the police convoy carrying Dent, but Batman and Gordon, the latter whom had faked his death, intervene and capture him. In recognition of his actions, Gordon is appointed police commissioner.

Later that night, Dent and Rachel disappear. At the police station, Batman interrogates the Joker, who reveals that their police escorts were on Maroni’s payroll, and have placed them in warehouses rigged with explosives on opposite sides of the city — far enough apart so that Batman cannot save them both. Batman leaves to save Rachel, while Gordon and the police head after Dent. With the aid of a smuggled bomb, the Joker escapes police custody with Lau. Batman arrives to save Rachel but instead finds Dent. Batman successfully saves Dent, but the ensuing explosion disfigures Dent’s face. Gordon arrives at Rachel’s location too late, and she is killed when the bomb detonates. In the hospital, Dent’s grief drives him to madness. Aboard a tanker, the Joker burns Lau to death atop a pile of the mob’s money and has the Chechen killed, before taking control of his men. The Joker goes to the hospital and convinces Dent to exact revenge on the corrupt cops and mobsters responsible for Rachel’s death, as well as Batman and Gordon.

After sparing the Joker, Dent goes on a personal vendetta confronting Maroni and the corrupt cops one by one, deciding their fates with the flip of a coin. The Joker announces to the public that anyone left in Gotham at nightfall will be subject to his rule. With the bridges and tunnels out of the city closed due to a bomb threat by the Joker, authorities begin evacuating people by ferry. The Joker places explosives on two of the ferries—one ferry with convicts, the other with civilians—telling the passengers the only way to save themselves is to trigger the explosives on the other ferry; otherwise, he will destroy both at midnight. Meanwhile, Batman locates the Joker and the hostages he has taken. Realizing the Joker has disguised the hostages as his own men, Batman is forced to attack both Gordon’s |SWAT team and the Joker’s henchmen in order to save the real hostages.

Meanwhile, the Joker’s plan to destroy the ferries fails after the passengers on both decide not to destroy each other. Batman locates and subdues the Joker, but refuses to kill him. The Joker acknowledges that Batman is truly incorruptible, but that Dent was not, and that he has unleashed Dent upon the city. Leaving the Joker for the SWAT team, Batman leaves in search of Dent. At the remains of the building where Rachel died, Batman finds Dent holding Gordon and his family at gunpoint. Dent judges the innocence of Batman, himself, and Gordon’s son through three coin tosses. As a result of the first two flips, he shoots Batman in the abdomen and spares himself. Before Dent can determine the boy’s fate, Batman, who was wearing body armor, tackles him over the side of the building. Gordon’s son is saved, but Batman and Dent fall, and Dent is killed. Batman and Gordon realize that the morale of the city would suffer if Dent’s murders became known. Batman persuades Gordon to preserve Dent’s image by holding “Batman” responsible for the murders. Gordon destroys the Bat-Signal, and a manhunt for Batman begins.

REVIEW:

Before I begin this review, let me say that I am a Batman fan from way back and that the Joker is my favorite member of his rogues gallery.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let me say that while this is a really good film, it is overrated. I’m so tired of hearing people talk about it like its the best thing to hit the big screen since films went to color.

Christian Bale isn’t the worst Batman, but he’s not the best either. AS Bruce Wayne, he’s a total douche. This deviates fro the comic and I would be willing to be dollars to pesos he had something do with Bruce being that way on film. On top of this, what is up with the voice thing? It’s ok that he wants to give Batman and Bruce Wayne separate voices, but keep talking like that and he’ll end up pulling something. Now Bale is off to ruin the Terminator franchise.

Heath Ledger give the performance of his life. That’s quite fitting seeing as how this was his last role. There are those that have said his take on the Joker freaked them out. I don’t see how, other than the tongue thing. For me, he was just another villain. His performance is an excellent one. whether he deserves to be nominated for an Academy Award is debatable, as is his place among on-screen Jokers, but one thing for sure, he made the character his own.

Aaron Eckhart may very well have been the best and most accurate part of the entire movie. In the comic, Harvey Dent is a dashing young D.A. who gets his face scarred by acid. For the film, they changed it to him being burned. I can live with that, but what makes him most impressive is that he looks dead on like he does in the comic. It’s like they lifted him from the books and put him on the screen. No offense to Tommy Lee Jones, but Aaron Eckhart just knocked the role of Two-Face out of the ballpark.

Maggie Gyllenhaal could have been used more. I’m not saying that just becuse I’m a fan, but becuse I feel that if you’re going to change actresses, then you need to give the new cast member time to show what they’re made of. If you’re going to kill her, then keep the original actress. Still, she did a much better job as Rachel than Tom Cruise’s zombie slave, Katie Holmes.

Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine round out the cast in their supporting roles as Lucious Fox and Alfred, respectively. Both show why they’ve been in this business for as long as they have with masterful performances.

For my taste, this film was too dark and  just not entertaining. Granted it was better and kept my attention more than Batman Begins, but that’s not saying much. I think my issues with this film lie in my distaste for Christian Bale and the fact that I’m not a fan of Christopher Nolan’s vision for Batman. I know he’s dark character and all, but this was just too much.

Judging by the amount of money this film has made, there many out there that loved it. Do not count me in that number. I won’t deny that this is a pretty good picture, but it’s not my cup of tea. I can only say that you shouldn’t go strictly on my word, but rather rent it and make your own decision. Maybe you’ll agree with me and maybe you won’t.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars