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305. Batman Begins – Batman Day 2022 (#126)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guests Alex Towers and Phil Bagnall, The 250 is a weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released Saturdays at 6pm GMT.

So this week, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins.

Following the death of his parents, billionaire Bruce Wayne finds himself struggling for a way to make sense of the world. Studying under the mysterious Ra’s Al Ghul, Wayne vows to devote his life to a war on crime itself. However, on returning home to Gotham, Bruce very quickly discovers that something very sinister has taken root in his home city.

At time of recording, it was ranked 126th on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Escapist Column! On the Forgotten Nineties Pulp Superhero Boom…

I published a new piece at The Escapist this evening. With the looming release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at Sam Raimi’s first superhero movie: Darkman.

Darkman is notable because it belongs to a wave of early nineties superhero movies that were heavily influenced by the pulp heroes of the thirties and forties: Batman, Dick Tracy, The Rocketeer, The Shadow, The Mask, The Phantom. This is a fascinating and often overlooked trend in the history of what would become the biggest genre in Hollywood. It’s interesting to look at these movies collectively, to place in the wave of a broader cultural nostalgia for the pop culture of the era.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

277. The Batman – This Just In (#67)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guests Graham Day and Niall Glynn, The 250 is a weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released Saturdays at 6pm GMT.

So this week, a new entry: Matt Reeves’ The Batman.

Bruce Wayne is in the second year of his war on crime in Gotham, and things are not improving. Indeed, the city is thrown into anarchy when a new villain calling themselves the Riddler begins targetting city officials and threatening to unmask the city’s darkest secrets. Can Bruce survive what is coming? Can the Batman? Can Gotham?

At time of recording, it was ranked 67th on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Podcast! Your Feature Presentation – “Ranking the Live-Action Batmen from Worst to Best”

The Escapist have launched a new pop culture podcast, and I was thrilled to join Jack Packard for the sixth episode. Jack and I get to rank the live action Batmen, in preparation for the upcoming release of The Batman.

New Podcast! The Spookies Podcast – “The Dark Knight And The Joker “

I was thrilled to be invited to join the wonderful Michael and Stephanie Black for an episode of their new podcast, The Spookies Podcast.

It was a fun conversation, in which I got to chat a little bit about The Dark Knight, one of my favourite blockbusters ever. The nominal topic of the conversation was the Joker himself, but it was a broad and wide-ranging discussion that ended up touching on everything from modern fandom to Christopher Nolan to the state of modern auteurism. I hope you enjoy.

You can listen directly to the episode below or by clicking here.

New Escapist Video! On the Myth of a Grim and Gritty Batman…

So, as I have mentioned before, I am launching a new video series as a companion piece to In the Frame at The Escapist. The video will typically launch with every second Monday’s article, and be released on the magazine’s YouTube channel the following week. This is kinda cool, because we’re helping relaunch the magazine’s film content – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

With the release of the latest trailer for The Batman, it seemed like a good time to delve into a recurring debate among Batman fans, the argument over whether portrayals of the character are too dark and gritty. It’s a strange argument, given that the only solo Batman movie in the past decade has been The LEGO Batman Movie, so it’s worth unpacking.

New Escapist Column! On “The Batman” and the Obsession with a Grim and Gritty Caped Crusader…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist yesterday evening. The latest trailer for The Batman has reopened a familair debate within fandom around a sensitive topic: the question of a grim and gritty Batman.

Certain fans react strongly against takes on comic book characters that do not match their own particular tastes. In particular, there’s a tendency to react strongly to interpretations of the Caped Crusader that emphasise the character as grounded and pulpy, to act as if these takes exist at the expense of others. In reality, there is a rich variety of takes on the Dark Knight in popular culture, of various shapes and sizes. There is a Batman for all seasons, and often these arguments feel less about trying to argue for more diverse takes on classic characters and instead about arguing that there is only one right take.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

242. Captain America (-#65)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney and with special guest Scott Mendelson, The Bottom 100 is a subset of The 250. It is a journey through the worst 100 movies of all-time, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Albert Pyun’s Captain America.

Polio sufferer Steve Rogers is selected for a dangerous experiment that could turn the tide of the Second World War, being reborn as Captain America. When a mission behind enemy lines throws him into conflict with the Italian supervillain the Red Skull, Steve Rogers ends up trapped in the ice. However, he awakens just as his country needs him most.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 65th worst movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Escapist Column! On “Cruella” and Overly Determined Origin Stories…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Cruella in theatres and on Disney+, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the trend towards overly deterministic origin stories.

The origin story has arguably always been around, even if the term itself only really entered the mainstream through comic books and then making the leap into film criticism with comic book movies. Nevertheless, the recent trend of overly-determined origin stories betrays something frustrating about the state of our collective imagination. One of the most disappointing aspects of Cruella is the way that the film takes a simple but weird figure and paints an origin that is completely and predictably by the numbers.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

226. Zack Snyder’s Justice League (#86)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guest Graham Day, The 250 is a fortnightly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Zack Snyder’s Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

Following the death of Superman, Batman sets about putting together a team of superheroes to fight a threat that is charging at Earth from across the cosmos.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 86th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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