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New Podcast! The Movie Palace – “Batman! (1966)”

I’m currently caught up in the middle of the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival, but it’s not all festival coverage this week.

I had the pleasure of joining the great and generous Carl Sweeney on his excellent classic Hollywood podcast The Movie Palace. Recovering a bit from last weekend’s Oscars, Carl decided to take things a bit lighter this week, and so invited me on to talk a little bit about Batman!, the classic Adam West adaptation of the Caped Crusader, and one of the defining images of the Dark Knight in popular culture.

The discussion was quite broad, covering everything from the origins and appeal of the Caped Crusader to the charm of Adam West, and the lasting impact of the various “special guest villains” on later interpretations of the characters. The whole thing was a delight from beginning to end. It’s always a pleasure to talk films with Carl, but especially to talk Batman.

You can listen to the episode here, back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.

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The Batman Archives, Vol. 1 (Review/Retrospective)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

This is where it all began. The Batman Archives collect the stories originally published in the Detective Comics anthology series that introduced the Caped Crusader to the world. It’s interesting to look back at these initial adventures featuring the character, as you see artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger really figuring out how the character and his world should work. Although there’s quite a lot of generic plotting, and some bizarre Golden Age craziness, it’s fun to watch the creators establish the elements that would define the character and the world he inhabits. From the sleazy corruption of Gotham City to the supervillains to the Boy Wonder himself, these stories provide an interesting template for the evolution of the Dark Knight.

Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na…

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Batman: The Dynamic Duo Archives, Vol. 1 (Review/Retrospective)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

It’s very hard to believe, but there was a time when both Batman and Detective Comics were on the verge of cancellation. While the character had been one of the first major superheroes to emerge, and had a profound impact on many who followed, the fifties had not been kind to the Batman. When changes in the market forced the publisher to move away from the traditional crime stories, they tried to tell science-fiction epics. This approach actually worked quite well on Superman and Action Comics, as Superman leant himself to stories about aliens and other dimensions, but these elements felt somewhat out of place in a Batman comic book. In a last ditch effort to save the titles, editor Julius Schwartz was drafted in to revamp the character and his world, resulted in a “new look” version of the Caped Crusader who would inspire Adam West’s version of the character, but felt like something of a return to the character’s roots.

Na na na na na na na na…

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Batman: The Dark Knight Archives, Vol. 1 (Review/Retrospective)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

I figured, what with Christopher Nolan releasing the final part of his Batman trilogy this month, it might be worth going back and taking a look at the early days of the Dark Knight. DC have done a rather wonderful job collecting classic material featuring their iconic heroes as part of their “Archives” line, a line that seemed to have died last year, but I am very glad to see undergoing a resurgence. The idea is that each archive edition collects roughly a year’s worth of classic comics. The premium format pays for the restoration of the material, with DC then making it available in more cost-effective packaging, like their paperback “Chronicles” line that collects every appearance in order, or their “Omnibus” line, which collects larger chunks.

Batman: The Dark Knight Archives, Vol. 1 doesn’t collect Batman’s very first appearance in Detective Comics. However, it does collect the first four quarterly publications of his self-titled Batman comic book in 1940, each collecting several stories of Batman’s crusade against crime.

Batman Begins in six panels…

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The Caped Social Crusader: The Dark Knight Rises and Batman’s History of Class Warfare…

With the leaked second trailer for The Dark Knight Rises, showing in theatres in front of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, it seems like we have a theme for the movie, something to connect Nolan’s final Batman film to the terrorism and liberty metaphor that underscored The Dark Knight. Giving our first real look at Selina Kyle, who I sense might be far more important to the film than Bane himself, despite her relative lack of exposure, it seems that the film will play into the sort of resentment and class divide forming in global society – the type of movement spawning the “Occupy Wall Street” and the “We are the 99%” campaigns. “You think this’ll last,” Selina taunts Bruce, in a scene that conjures Tim Burton’s underrated Batman Returns. “There’s a storm coming Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches. Cause when it hits the city you are all gonna wonder how you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.”

It seems like a fascinating avenue for Nolan to explore, especially given that Batman is one of the “1%”himself. Still, it’s an angle rich for exploitation and with considerable history behind it.

The Bane of the upper classes?

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Gotham After Dark: Batman Noir

We’re currently blogging as part of the “For the Love of Film Noir” blogathon (hosted by Ferdy on Films and The Self-Styled Siren) to raise money to help restore the 1950’s film noir The Sound of Fury (aka Try and Get Me). It’s a good cause which’ll help preserve our rich cinematic heritage for the ages, and you can donate by clicking here. Over the course of the event, running from 14th through 21st February, I’m taking a look at the more modern films that have been inspired or shaped by noir. Today’s theme is “comics noir” – noir filtered through comic book panels.

More than any other mainstream superhero, Batman is strongly linked with the film noir tradition. Dating back as early as his first appearances, straight through to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, the Caped Crusader has always inhabited a world which seems as fragile and broken as any noir protagonist. Just because he trades a trench coat for a cape (which, you’ll note, he makes a point to wear around him rather than just behind him) and a fedora for a cowl, don’t underestimate Bruce Wayne’s flirtation with the darker side of cinema.

The Dark Night?

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