Monthly Archives: July 2015

Batman Syndrome?

This is hopefully going to be a lighthearted fun piece. One of the interesting things about following science-fiction and fantasy films is that the fan base for certain franchises can be strongly opinionated and people can tend to get nasty. I have noticed it with Godzilla, Star Trek and Star Wars fans and comic book superhero fans. That leads me to today’s topic. Another point I want to make is that although I grew up in the 60s and 70s reading comic books I do not read them that much any more although I have kept up with what is going on in many of them. One of the trends that is big right now is superheros fighting other superheros as apposed to fighting criminals and villains.

In light of next years movies, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Marvel’s Civil war…superhero battles are all the rage…pun intended. Therefore on many of superhero related groups on Facebook there are these hypothetical battles between these fictional characters and the most prevalent one is between Batman and Superman. Observing the passion on both sides between which superhero would be triumphant there is something I have noticed about Batman fans, which I am one, but these übber fans guys take it up several notches and have what is called Batman Syndrome.

Now I must confess I am biased. I am mostly a Superman fan and Batman comes in second place. Having admitted that, let me define Batman Syndrome. Batman Syndrome is the belief that Batman cannot be defeated and not only that, given enough prep-time Batman can defeat any superhero no matter how powerful they are. Superman has limits but it seems like Batman does not.

Why is this a problem for me? Well, as a Superman fan I do find it a little funny to think that a guy who can fly faster than light, lift a freight-train with one hand and have bullets bounce off his chest as if they were jelly beans can be beaten by someone with zero superpowers. But if you have Batman Syndrome you think beating Superman or any meta-human with powers can easily be done…any time and all of the time. Sure, Batman has his kryptonite which can weaken Superman and for those with Batman Syndrome that is all it takes.

But my problem goes deeper than that. Batman Syndrome fundamentally changes the essence of all the characters. Do you have superpowers? Doesn’t matter in the end because despite them you can be beaten. Then why have superheros with special powers? In the end, under Batman Syndrome, they’re worthless. The other and more important point is that it changes Batman the most. Part of the appeal of Batman is that he is a human being with no superpowers. He lurks in the shadows and the night and strikes terror in the hearts of criminals. Yes, he is a master of martial arts, he is extremely intelligent and has unmatched detective skills along with advanced gadgets and technology at his disposal. But when you turn him into a god-like being you take away his humanity and it is his humanity that made him a great character in my eyes.

The last thing that bothers me about Batman Syndrome is that it turns Batman into someone with questionable ethics. In my day Batman and Superman were friends with trust and a common goals of stopping crime and evil. A cynical Batman who doesn’t trust anyone and has questionable ethics doesn’t sound like a character that would even want to fight crime and evil.

I like Batman to be human and with limitations. I like all my superheros to have some limitations for it makes for great story telling. A human Batman is one to look up to and relate to as he embodies all the best characteristics of being human. Without that he is just another superhero and nothing really distinguishes him from the rest. As a mortal with no powers and with limitations is an exciting character.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, trailer review

This past weekend the full trailer for the movie Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was released. My first reaction was Holy Crap! Holy Crap meaning that was excellent! I am certainly not one that hated Man of Steel so I am greatly looking forward to this next movie. In my participation in various message boards and groups Man of Steel (MOS) does have its fair share of haters. Those haters of course ceremoniously also are sticking their noses up at this movie before they see it.

One of the reasons people tended to hate MOS was due to the rampant destruction. They seem to side with Holly Hunter, playing the part of a Senator that heads a committee holding Superman responsible for the destruction. Another reason the haters hated MOS was its failure to addresses the mass destruction issue. However, it looks like this movie will be addressing that very issue! Plus, we see Bruce Wayne, who was apparently in Metropolis on the day of the fight between Superman & Zod, and this is the impetus for the distrust and rivalry between the two Superheros.

I would like to comment on the main focus of the movie. The fight and rivalry of Batman & Superman. I grew up in an era where Superheroes fought other Super villains and not one another!!! I grew up in the 60s and 70s with the Super Friends cartoons and Batman and Superman were the best of buds and on the same side. From my participation in fan groups and pages dedicated to Superheroes (I even run one myself) having Superheroes battle one another is all the rage. Personally, I find it a bit annoying. Sure, some rivalry and bruised egos and distrust will make for some good story telling, and I don’t mind it going that far, but these out and out hatred and battles between them are not what I really like to see.

Reading the official synopsis of the movie does give me hope that this rivalry will not last long as a bigger threat arises forcing Batman and Superman to join forces against a bigger threat.

Two more points before I end this. I was on board when Ben Affleck was chosen as the new Batman for this film. You would think the internet had broken when so many fans had a meltdown when Ben was chosen. Haters crawled out of the woodwork! Today, I am happy to say that haters have dwindled in number to a very small few. The same can be said of the casting of Gail Gadot and Jessie Eisenberg as Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor respectively, as we view more pictures and trailers more and more prople are coming on board.

The tone of the movie looks good, it will have a lot of action and adventure with good drama and conflicts. I like the fact that Superman is not universally loved in theis Universe. It is like the real world. If someone that powerful did live among us, I am sure there would be those who did not trust him or did not like him.

Sky High: a review

Over the years as much as I try and stay up on movies coming out there are times one will slip past my radar. Sky High was one of those movies. I had not even heard of it before this past winter!

Here is a quick write-up from Wikipedia.

Sky High is a 2005 American superhero comedy film about an airborne school for teenage superheroes. It was directed by Mike Mitchell, and written by Paul Hernandez, Robert Schooley and Mark McCorkle. The starring cast includes Michael Angarano as Will, an incoming freshman at the school, Danielle Panabaker as his best friend and love interest, Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston as his parents, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as a popular senior, Steven Strait as Will’s rival, and Lynda Carter as Principal Powers.

This movie is a mixture of a teen comedy and a superhero movie. Basically, the premise is Will Stronghold is off to his Freshman year of high school and if that wasn’t stressful enough his parents are The Commander and Jetstream the world’s most powerful and best loved superheroes. To continue adding to the young Will’s stress is the fact that he hasn’t developed his superpowers yet so he may be regulated to “sidekick” status.

This movie is funny and fully of charm. Everyone is one their game. Michael Angarano is excellent as Will as he struggles with class status, the girls in his life, his loving but demanding father and finding a way to fit in while he wonders if he will ever get his superpowers. Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston as his parents are particularly great in this movie. Two actors that really steal the show are Dave Foley (no relation) as Jonathan Boy / All-American Boy. He is the Commander’s old sidekick but now works as a Hero Support teacher (aka Sidekick) at Sky High. The other scene stealer is Kevin McDonald as Professor Medulla, the bulbous headed Mad Science teacher. He gives me the most laughs.

The movie is lighthearted fun and never for a moment takes itself seriously. However, despite the tongue firmly implanted this movie has a lot of heart without being too sentimental or schmaltzy. In other words the movie strikes a perfect tone. Will learns what real love looks like and all the nerdy sidekicks, I mean those in hero support, get to find out what it means to be areal hero.

This is a fun, charming and entertaining movie that I cannot recommend enough for those that either like teens comedies, or for those who remember their teens years and its struggles…of, yeah this movie is also for those who love the superhero genre.