VOLUME TEN: THE BIG SUMMER CATCH-UP

CATWOMAN: AKA KITTY LITTER

I would have to say that one major flaw in the film is the complete reinventing of a character made famous in the Batman mythos, and for some inexplicable reason, completely disassociating this new version completely from that mythos. Suppose, just for shoots and grins, that this Pitof fellow, the fine mono-named director of this tripe, decided to do Superman. But, in this version, it's not Clark Kent, its, oh, lets say Timmy Tucker. And he doesn't come from Krypton, he comes from, uh, Tierra del Fuego. And instead of that tired ol' red and blue suit deal we dress him up in, oh, don't know, howz 'bout a fuzzy G-string and a feather boa. You gettin' where this is going?!?! You don't just arbitrarily alter a character, its a huge disservice to Bob Kane, rest his soul. It flies in the face of what DC Comics and Warner ought to be doing, which is protecting the sanctity of their characters, the integrity of the mythology AND THE FAITH AND PATRONAGE OF THE FANS!!

With the new Batman Begins movie less than a year away, I am totally confused as to why DC / Warner would have green lighted this mess. Halle Berry is fine, she's a looker, no doubt. But this movie uses her, and she allows it, in the worst way. Everything about her performance seems premeditated to appeal to the worst stereotypes of the male comic book consumer. "Well, we've totally screwed the character and the story so let's put Halle in next to nothing for clothes and the comic book dweebs will never notice!" Doesn't it just feel that way? Next, the story reeks. Try and follow Halle's character arc. Meek graphic designer, decides to travel alone at midnight to a building to turn in art work. What, no email??? Find building locked, manages to worm her way in, BLAH BLAH BLAH....gets dead....resurrected by, and this is a major hoot, resurrected by an ancient Egyptian mystical cat!!! Than she starts manifesting all the better known traits of cats; walking on the backs of furniture, landing on feet when falling, fighting crime, playing basketball...... WHAT THE F---!! Playing basketball?!?!? Where in hell did that come from? Really, it just goes on and on, from bad, to worse, to total suckfest.

At least Batman and Robin, for all its near ruining of the Batman Franchise, maintained a tongue in cheek nod to the damn 60's TV show. Problem was, that was not what the fans wanted to see again. This Catwoman movie is not giving a nod to anything, takes itself seriously, and runs the risk of foiling the much needed upward movement of DC comics in the Big Screen world. Look at Marvel now, they're kickin' butt on screen, but it wasn't that long ago that ALL the Marvel films blew chunks! Remember? DC comes dangerously close to this level of disaster with Catwoman. There, I've said it, and now I'll graciously turn your attention to….......

SPIDER-MAN 2: THE BEST SEQUEL OF THE SUMMER

Look, I’m not gonna’ spend a lot of time on this one, it’s good; REAL good. It is not as good as the first Spider-man, for a number of minor reasons, but it is thoroughly enjoyable on it’s own merits. Good things about the movie? Spider-man is cool and Raimi has once again totally captured the comic book fluidity of the characters movements. The fight scenes are top drawer; the swingin’ through the city scenes are fabulous; Aunt May is one hell of a brave ol’ lady. Now this brings me to my first real criticism of the flick. In one early scene, it might be the first confrontation between Spidey and Doc Ock, Aunt May gets drawn into the fight, carried up an 80 story building, dropped, not once, BUT TWICE, gets snatched and saved, gets belted by Doc Ock and finally gets to hang perilously by her ol’ lady fingertips from a building ledge. Let’s see, she’s in her 70’s and in the last film she was put a friggin’ coma by just the SIGHT of the Green Goblin. But in this film, she goes through the aforementioned carnage with barely a whimper. Man, she’s been working’ out in the off season I guess. Check it out, and see if you don’t agree with me that this particular scene in the movie is laughable. Now, back to some good news.

Doc Ock’s awakening scene is pure Raimi at his best. It’s the best scene in the film. Now some weird stuff. After suffering a catastrophic lab accident that kills his wife and fuses a ghastly set of bio-mechanical arms to his central nervous system, Doc Ock basically goes the “I’ve been driven insane by tragedy” route. Vowing to continue his experiments in secret, he needs to commit crimes in order to finance his lunatic scheme. So he rampages through the city, robs banks, fights Spider-man, terrorizes citizens and the like, all the while “talking” to his mechanical arms. Hmmmmmmm? BUT, as crazy as he is through the movie, it only takes a 30 second plea from Peter Parker near the end of the film to make the crazy Doc abandon his plans for world dominance and help to end the apocalyptic circumstances that he has spent the whole movie putting into motion. Sheeeesh, whatever happened to being committed to a cause?!?

Okay, I can forgive this lil’ bit of character shallowness but what I cannot forgive, will not forgive, and will never understand is….WHY THE F*** DOES EVERY HOLLYWOOD SUPER HERO MOVIE FEEL COMPELLED TO MAKE THE HERO REVEAL HIS SECRET IDENTITY TO NEARLY ANYONE AND EVERYONE?!?!? Comic books have survived for nearly 70 years without having to compromise this basic foundation of the super hero. But movies have some sick need to destroy the most compelling character conflict the hero has. In Spider-man 2, he reveals his secret identity FOUR, count ‘em, FOUR times!!! This is incredible. Once to Mary Jane Watson, once to Harry Osborne, once to Doc Ock and once, and this is the kicker, once to an ENTIRE TRAIN LOAD OF NEW YORKERS!!!! Where. I ask you now, is the tension gonna’ come from in Spidey III since Harry Osborne now knows who Spider-man is and is being set up to take over as lead villian??? I can’t wait to see how they write themselves outta’ this mess. But as I said, it happens in every super hero flick. It’s a critical mistake, in my opinion. If next years Batman Begins (a film I am already assuring you is the best Batman movie ever made!) reveals his identity, I’m gonna’ jump off a friggin’ building. Really. And speakin’ of jumpin’ off buildings, I may be waiting in a line behind fans of the long awaited………….

ALIENS V.S. PREDATOR: THE BEST TEAM-UP SINCE FVJ?!?

I’ll level with ya’ right up front. I am not one of the horde of fanatics that have been tirelessly lobbying the film industry for over a decade to make this movie. In fact, I have never really had any interest in following the exploits of these characters outside of the films that featured them. I didn’t get the comics, I didn’t get the graphic novels, I just didn’t get it. Get it? So I went into this film with no preset expectations and I must say, the movie managed to meet them. Frankly, I liked the movie. It was a fine bit of Sci-Fi stuff. The Predators were cool, the Aliens were cool, the fights between them were cool. It was just a cool lil’ flick. Was it the super monster match up that Fox hoped would repeat the mega success of last summers Freddy v.s. Jason? Hell no! FVJ was bitchin’! It single handedly revived both of those ailing franchises. I don’t think I can say the same for AVP. However, I’m not a big fan, so I don’t have the fan’s perspective. You gotta’ see it of course. It’s been talked about for too long for you to not go. So, go on, get up off yer big ol’ butt and check it out. Then you let ME know what YOU thought of the film. Especially if yer one of the rabid, mega fans that has been praying at the alter of Dark Horse comics for years. I’d be real interested to hear what ya’ think.

TOPPLING TOYS: THE AGONY OF DELUXE ACTION FIGURES!

Okay. I’m a sucker. Yep, that’s right, on some issues in some areas, I’m a rube; a mark; an easy take. Ya’ see, I’m a collector. I collect Batman stuff. I didn’t start out consciously trying to be a collector. I was just a dumb kid in the 60’s who liked Batman comics and then that show came on. The show that would begin a cavalcade of merchandising that would last for 40 years and take me right along with it. Yep, I got me some Batman stuff. If ya’ doubt it, take a look at some of the photos of my basement area posted here on the site. It’s okay though, I’m alright with it. It’s kinda’ fun, keeps me off the streets. So the business of collecting has become just that; THE BUSINESS of collecting. DC Comics has started in recent years issuing their line of DC Direct Collectibles. They are, for the most part, really high end action figures in the vein of Todd McFarlanes work. They issue new sets and pieces nearly each month. I get the Batman stuff. Now these things are not cheap. The typical two figure set cost around $40.00. That’s $20 bux each! But they make ya feel like it’s worth it by actually putting out a good product. Thank God for small favors. Here’s my gripe though. With some of these figures, in fact, most of them, especially the female figures, you will spend endless hours trying to get them to stand up!!!

Sheeeesh, their made for display and yet they are equipped with so many joints that it becomes a friggin’ balancing act to get each figure in just the right position to stand for any length of time. Worst offenders are the DC Deluxe Silver Age Catwoman, the Hush Series Poison Ivy, and the World’s Finest Superman. That last one there, Superman, comes with jointed ankles. That’s right, I said jointed ankles. Now I don’t know about you, but even if I was playing with the damn toy I don’t think any of my scenarios would be ruined by the fact that Superman couldn’t stand on his tip toes!!! With the Catwoman figure, it’s like she was raised in West Virginia; one leg is shorter than the other. (HEY! STOP RIGHT THERE! My whole family is from West Virginia, so don’t start makin’ with the emails givin’ me crap about that!)

Not only that, but here darn ankles are so thin, and she’s wearin’ stilleto heels, that you’ll swear yer in the 6th ring of hell when you try to stand her up. Now the Hush Poison Ivy, this ones really a hoot. It’s her hair. Yes, her deluxe head of super detailed flowing red hair. It looks great, really it does. It also weighs in at about, oh, I don’t know……. maybe, TEN POUNDS!!!! I’m not kiddin’, her hair weighs a ton, which makes her impossible to stand up. Literally, I have to stand her up every day that I go into my office. She’s either fallen down behind the computer, leaning up against my Batman books, leaning over onto the Hush Joker, (which you can’t knock down with hurricane force winds. Those damn Joker figures stand up good!) or she’s laying over on her side with her damn heavy head of hair stuck to the shelf. Ya’ know, when I spend $20 to $40 bucks on a TOY, I have a right to expect minimum satisfaction. Since I am a collector, I like to display my collectibles, and in order to do that, they need to stand up. Now I ask you………………… is that really so much to ask from a deluxe toy? Hmmmmm?

HEY YOU! Got an opinion? Shoot me an email and let me know what you think.

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