Thursday, November 11, 2010

Supermen Seeking Women

More estrogen for the next "Batman" movie, and you can (maybe) soon add another good actor to your list of arguments as to why I should be pretending the "Spider-Man" reboot is a good idea. Details after the jump...

First-up,: Actress, singer and living trope Zooey Deschanel is apparently playing Betty Brant (J. Jonah Jameson's secretary, played by Elizabeth Banks in the previous 3) in "Spiderlight" -  at least so-sez not-terribly-reliable gossip site "Showbiz Spy." Deschanel had the title role in director Marc Webb's prior film, "500 Days of Summer." File the casting under plausible but not terribly likely; but if any of this is true to fact that Betty Brant is A.) in the film at all and B.) has an important role with "big plans" is the real story. In the comics, Brant was the first (short-lived) love-interest for Peter Parker, so if this pans out maybe now we know who's "Jacob" now that Mary-Jane is off the table. Also, her eventual boyfriend turned out to be Hobgoblin, which would be an elegant (if predictable) way for them to do the Green Goblin again without actually doing it again.

Analysis is... egh, why am I bothering at this point? Yes, she's a good actress, yes it'd be good casting. Y'know who else was good casting? Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy... and then the movie came out. At this point, yeah, it's clear that they're assembling a cast of good actors for this thing - albeit in not terribly surprising/interesting ways (Sally Field as an advice-giving matriarch? Gee, that's outside the box...) - but that really does very little to dispell how moronic the notion of the reboot is in the first place, how bad the "new" angle is (Spider-Man: The Degrassi Years) and how unlikely it is that a cheap quickie rights-holding production is ever going to be any good. Yes, it could work out. Yes, it'll get a fair shake. Am I holding my breath? No. Sometimes you really can, in fact, see a disaster coming a mile away - I didn't need to see or hear a single thing about "Transformers" other than the godawful mecha-designs and Michael Bay to be pretty damn sure that it was going to be just as bad as it turned out to be.

Meanwhile, back at Stately Wayne Manor...

Deadline sez that Christopher Nolan is casting TWO major female roles for "The Dark Rises" - one a love-interest, the other a nemesis. Whether or not they're being "cute" and the roles are actually one and the same is left unsaid. Shockingly "the list" of candidates looks an awful lot like the "the list" of candidates for every other major female role in existance right now: Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Blake Lively, Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway and Keira Knightley.

So... female bad guy and a new romantic interest. Obviously, everyone's first thought is "Catwoman" and... fine, whatever. It make sense, it's kind of a "must do," they'd all be varying degrees of hot in The Outfit and everyone but Lively is a good actress. If not.. who knows? Harley Quinn? Probably not. Poison Ivy? Maybe, but unlikely to be very interesting in Nolan's fantasy-free Gotham. Entirely new character? Wouldn't that be something...

There's also the dark horse candidate: Talia al Ghul, daughter of Ras al Ghul - the Big Bad from "Batman Begins." That'd be the one I'd most like to see, from a story perspective: TDK was great, but it's also about as far into "regular crime drama guest-starring Batman" as I'd prefer to go for awhile, and I'd enthusiastically support the series veering back into Batman Vs. Quasi-Magical Ninjas territory. On the other hand, it'd be FASCINATING to see how the Nolan Bros. handle Catwoman, a character based 100% on sexuality - the subject that thus far gets the least attention in their ouvre (nevermind the fact that having a multitude of stronge female characters would be new territory for them in general - let's face it, thus far The Nolanverse is a serious sausagefest.)


Ryan said...

"Everyone but Lively is a good actress"

I beg to differ, Bob. She was pretty good in The Town.

Drunken Lemur said...

Having watched the majority of the Batmen movies, I come to the realization that things never got to crazy. The craziest it got was probably Mr. Freeze's icing all of Gotham, followed shortly by the Penguins suicide penguins. Well that and Catwoman's semi-immortality.

Elessar said...

Ehhhh. I like the weird side of Batman and all but he fits better in gritty crime stuff. Let's be entirely honest with ourselves: The Batman films get progressively worse as they get weirder. Let's plot this out:
Batman: Pretty weird (death gas, joker, etc).
Not very good.

Batman Returns: Not as weird. Deformity, violent crime and unethical CEOs. Hell, even the Penguin suicide thing was based on something real (Bats being used to deliver bombs and mines).
Actually not bad. Kinda good.

Batman Forever: Getting kinda weird. Riddler stuff is really weird (not going into it)

Batman and Robin: Very weird. Mr. Freeze and his impossible weaponry and Ivy having out-and-out superpowers.
Completely worthless.

Batman Begins: Not very weird. Some kinda mystical stuff involving ninjas, and Scarecrow gets kinda odd sometimes, but both are explained away.
Really good.

The Dark Knight: Not weird at all. Completely 100 percent gritty crime.

There are a bunch of reasons for this, that I'm saving for me (I need content too) but I think you get my point.

Dave said...

@ BOB It's pretty easy to see a disaster coming a mile away when you have a vested interest in it BEING a disaster.

I just love your assurance that the new Spider-man movie, which you have done your very best to make sure everyone preemptively hates will get a fair shake...just not from you. I'd bet money you've already got a good third of your review planned out in your head. More if you intend on lifting from the myriad post describing how spider-man is an abomination unto the lord Raimy and all infidels must be killed. I'd bump the estimate up to a good 80% more if you intend some self serving prologue about how you are aware of the controversy but are trying to be objective but Raimy was screwed and the films sucks regardless based on that merit and that is in no way logically inconsistent! At that point all you need to do is plug in some plot details, a non sequitur about an actress you want to bang or people beat you up in grade school. And then some random comment about how the movie makers are secret nazis or something.

@ everyone else

Just thought of something...Does anyone else really want to see an edit of Batman and Robin using the sound effects of the 60s show as well as the onomatopoeia flashcards during fights? That sounds like it could turn a crappy movie into an awesome one.

a.k.a.A.M.V.P said...

If a killer clown can make it into a "serious crime drama", why not a killer ventriloquist? I'd like to see Scarface in it, at the very least as a Scarecrow-esque side character.


While at this point I'm on Bob's side about how good the movie will be, I sympathize with your aggravation. Complaining about a movie so far ahead of when it comes out is pretty futile (unless enough people do it and stop production; I'm not sure if that's ever happened) and ensures that when the time comes for your verdict to finally be delivered, regardless of how accurate it is, it will fall upon deaf ears. Personally, I'd just avoid talking about it in general for the time being.

As for B&R, I'd look up the Nostalgia Critic review of it: he does pretty much exactly what you proposed.

Dave said...

@ Elessar

I disagree. I think its a dangerous precedent to just assume the relative realism of a work makes it good or bad. Look at the animated series. The more gangster oriented episodes are usually some of the worst and most boring. Where TAS really shined was in taking the more fantastical B and C list bat villains and making them not suck. Take Mr freeze. The Ahnuld version is actually truer to the comics than you'd think. Same with two face. Both were one note gimmick villains until people gave them serious rebooting. Mr Freeze was originally a catchphrase spewing gimmick. TAS gave him the tragic backstory and treated him with respect.

An interesting bit of trivia is that Batman forever is one of the most heavily meddled with films in modern memory. 30 minutes and an entire subplot were cut out. As was the original opening whihc had two face kill a guard, and write 'the bat must die' in his blood on a wall. All those boring flashbacks? Actually part of a subplot where Bruce believes he is responsible for his parents death ala begins and only later in the movie realizes it wasn't his fault.

Schumacher wanted the film to be like the comics....zany AND serious simultaneously. But the overtly sexual content of returns made sponsors skittish to warner had them cut most of the adult material out of Forever, with most of the scenes I described only being visible in U2 videos.

There's talk every now and then of a DC but apparently warner wants those scenes dead and buried. I saw a really cool interview with Schumacher over all that stuff.

He also formally apologized for B&R. Classy.

Blowshimselfupdude said...

Yeah you had Bay (a shitty director) and shitty mech designs to tell Transformers was going to suck. You have NOTHING to go off of with Spider-man except your hard on for the Rami Spider-man's. This has a good director and a solid cast. You have literally nothing else to go on. Hell the writer has done some damn good movies (one of which is an emmy winner I believe). Any and all news about this movie you turn around and make an attack on the movie "Hey they might do this thing that's straight out of the comics" "Well wouldn't that just be predictable". Know what else would be predictable? That this movie comes out and is largely liked by fans, not talking about teeny boppers here actual comic book fans, or lets even say it's regarded by fans to be the equivalent to the Nolan films as a successful and true reboot and you still compare it to Batman and Robin simply because you are determined to hate this film no matter what.

Elessar said...

And now, for all of you who read my comment and disagreed violently or found it interesting, a more in depth commentary:

Yell at me over there, let's not clog up Bob's comments.

Popcorn Dave said...

Yeah, I have to wonder how Nolan would handle Catwoman. He doesn't seem too interested in sexual or romantic themes but you can't really NOT do that stuff with Catwoman. Maybe they would have to reinvent the character completely, for better or worse... let's hope they don't just make a generic angry villain and slap the name "Catwoman" on her.

Talia al Ghul sounds like a good choice as well though, especially since her family has already had a decent role in the story.

Foxed said...

Hah, really? Talia is "the dark horse candidate?" I'm pretty sure there was speculation about Weisz playing Talia in TDK, so why would speculating about that in TDKR be the dark horse?

It's probably going to be Catwoman as the love interest and Talia as the nemesis. I'd like to sub out Zatanna for Catwoman to be, you know, interesting (stage magician out for revenge instead of themed cat burglar out for sexings?), but it's going to be Catwoman (Dogs? No... Cats, maybe).

Christopher said...

@Ryan: I agree, Bob have you not seen The Town? I mean shit, it's practically worshiping your hometown as it fabricates a really good crime drama. Actually, I'll go on to say it's the best realistic heist film since Heat, and in many ways it surpasses Heat. Lively (as well as the rest of the cast) gave a great performance, so I'm fully well aware that she'll do just fine under Nolan's direction. The fact that she looks rockin' as hell is just icing on the cake. Still my favorite for a role in this movie would be Naomi Watts

Mr_Tinq said...

I'd like to see Szaz come back, they never did resolve his disappearance and he's a freaking Serial Killer in the comics. (For those not in the know, he was a line-less wonder sent from prison to Arkham in "Begins"). I don't want him as the main villain, obviously, but he'd work as the recognizable threat Batman still works to clean up.

Talia Al Ghoul could be fun, but as Qui Gon told us in Begins his wife and daughter died. Her coming in and being all "But He Had Another Daughter!" would cheapen his mission and also make Raz into "The Last Son Of Krypton" - that is to say one of many from his line.

Harley Quinn would also be another nice minor threat, but I don't see it working. Poison Ivy without the whole talking to plants could be cool, especially if she were tooled in more of a aggressive-feminist-turned-assassin vein.

But, yeah, it's probably cat-woman. Hopefully she's sympathetic.

Jwillx70 said...

According to

The two roles being auditioned for are Julie Madison and Sara Essen. Since its a good bet that one of the plot points in the next movie is going to be Batman vs the GCPD, I think that means that the "nemesis" role is Essen, and the "love-interest" is Madison.

Also, in regards to Tom Hardy's character; the main villain of the picture be Ra's al Ghul. I know that Nolan is still trying to keep the movie as grounded in the real world as he possibly can, and that means no Lazarus Pits...

But is Ra's al Ghul immortal?
Are his methods suppernatural?
Or just cheap parlor tricks to hide his true intentions?

Just some food for thought.

Jonathan said...

First it was "“It won’t be Mr. Freeze”
Then it was "it won’t be the Riddler"

I'll guess that the next one will be "it won't be Catwoman"

Given the "arc" of this trilogy started with the League of Shadows, it would make sense to end it with the League of Shadows, and an al Ghul or three.

Sophie said...

first yes... moviebob kind of is pre-lobbying anti-spiderlight resentment...BUT... he is right in the sense that ... we so far don´t really need that movie as a remake again. Personally, my initial reaction was " wait a minute...AGAIN?"... Why not waste the effort on something yet-to-be made like a movie version of the Transmetropolitan? or something like that... as for the Twilighty angle..don´t know how true that is...but if it is... okay, spiderman does not get bitten by a spider to go twilight... that is what we have high schools for. So I get the pre-release complaint that much. We´re talking about a movie here that no one really asked for at the moment with a media-phenomenon-copy-plot that... nobody should ever ask for. However, that is as much as the pre-critique should right now go. Don´t blame others for the directing of someone else.

As for Batman. favorite Villain would be Harley Quinn... just to make up for the tv-series Birds of Prey..and it would make sense as to avenge the joker or almost-successfull plans of getting him out of jail plotwise... as for the casting list... somehow I am not excited, do most of them are good actresses... I haven´t seen the town yet, so I am not saying anything about Lively ... yet.

Dave Kraft said...

"Harley Quinn? Probably not. Poison Ivy? Maybe."

Jesus, Bob. Have you listened to a goddamn thing Nolan and Warners have said about this trilogy?

NO SUPERNATURAL VILLAINS, ONLY VILLAINS WHO CAN BE MADE APPROPRIATE FOR A GRITTY, REALISTIC GOTHAM. Translate that to "no women with giant plant monsters, yes psychotic psychiatrist femme fatals".

In other words, don't expect Harley Quinn, bimbo jester lady with face paint. Expect Dr. Harleen Quinzell, plain-clothed psychiatrist set to burn Gotham to the ground.

The female villain is Quinzell. That much I'm pretty certain about. The female love interest is up in the air, possibly Selina Kyle or Vicki Vale, the former would require Catwoman in the film as a misguided vigilante/high society gal/cat burglar, and Catwoman has neither been confirmed nor denied.

Damn, I totally spaced on drawing Dr. Quinzell Nolan-style for you all. Gotta get on that by next week.