Doctor Strange – Movie Review

IMAX 3D almost had me actually believing in magic.

Doctor Strange is the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the 2nd movie of Phase 3. It tells the story of an arrogant, cocky, and egotistical Surgeon who loses the ability to use his hands, thereby making him useless at his job. To find an answer, he turns to mystical forces and ends up becoming a skilled practitioner of magic.

This actually meant a lot going forward for the MCU. For one thing, Strange is another B-list superhero (like Ironman was before 2008) to now become a huge part of this universe. The main thing was that magic was now being introduced to the MCU, which adds another layer to the scale of power among our heroes. So far, we’ve really only seen “magical” things from the Asgardians and the Infinity Stones, with most of our heroes having some connection to science instead (building suits, gamma rays, serums, genetically-altered spiders, etc). To have the kind of magic that Strange practices be introduced and to now have it there to play a big part going forward gives the storytellers another dimension (pun intended) to work with, and that’s exciting!

Now I’m not going to sit here and lie to you, despite that last paragraph…this is still your above-average introduction/set-up movie that we’ve seen in the MCU before. With all the new things we’ve been seeing recently like heroes against each other, villain team ups, the government getting involved, it was only a matter of time before we went back to formula: Dude has personality flaw, dude gets powers, dude learns something, generic villain, funny parts, entertaining scenes, set-up for next movie, done.

Fortunately…the Marvel Studios team just knows how to do this damn well by now that they could probably do it with their eyes closed at this point.

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First things first, the VISUAL EFFECTS IN THIS MOVIE ARE AMAZING. I’ve never watched a movie in IMAX in my life, and after seeing what the pre-release reviews were saying about this film, I took the recommendation and put on those 3D glasses..and I’m so happy that I did. Look, I never learned all the technical camera work and I know very little about the special effects side of a movie. What I can tell you is that the effects in this movie were jaw-dropping, and since its actually watchable unlike most movies known for great effects (looking at you, Transformers), it all adds to the cinematic experience. I HIGHLY recommend seeing this movie in 3D.

As far as the cast goes, no problems here either. Benedict Cucumber Cabbage Patch portrayed the character of Stephen Strange very well, as an asshole who isn’t exactly a charming one like Tony Stark is. Tilda Swinton* also did a great job as the Ancient One, the Sorcerer Supreme who teaches Strange and plays a large role in the story. I’d like to mention Mads Mikkelson as well, he was actually great as Kaecillius. It just sucks that we got disposable MCU villain #508789,  I wish he got a better story and was in the movie more.

*Look, I’m bummed that they didn’t cast within the ethnicity too, but she did really well and it didn’t feel like any sort of appropriation or BS at all. In fact at one point she was teaching Strange something that I recognized as the main lesson in the Bhagavad Gita (Hinduism) and she actually said it correctly…trust me, I’d know. The fact of the matter is, a Tibetan character would’ve lost Marvel and Disney millions of dollars in overseas sales and would’ve pissed off China, aka where a significant part of production is outsourced. I know I’ll probably catch heat for this but I’m just going to point out that so far the MCU has been cautious about this kind of stuff and isn’t trying to offend anyone. Examples just off the top of my head: I read that Elizabeth Olsen was promised that she would never have to wear the comic-style Scarlet Witch costume, which is basically just underwear and a cape, so that the character wouldn’t be sexualized. Plus, if you haven’t seen Luke Cage yet, Marvel definitely held it down for a huge minority group and did it really well . Look, all I’m saying is just give the movie a chance before you judge it off of ONE bad casting decision if you like the MCU, you’ll like this. Okay *sigh* moving on!

I will say that the movie is really exposition heavy, but doesn’t give too much on some of the stuff you’d want to hear more about. By the time you get to the last act, there is some stuff the audience potentially could still be fuzzy on, which I think could’ve been solved by giving more on Kaecillius as I previously mentioned. The character of Mordo is set-up very well and I’m excited to see more of them, so I will give props for that.

Lastly, I will commend the movie for doing one thing I was looking for. Obviously, Strange is very new to sorcery, talented or not. To have the villain in this film be masters and people who have done this better/earlier than he has makes it so that Strange is the inexperienced underdog. What I was worried about was that the movie would just go “Well, he’s Dr. Strange. So he’s really good. Boom. Hero. Villain down”. What actually happened was interesting, because at the end of the day Strange used his quick wit and intelligence (something he had from the start) to end up saving the day, despite still not being as powerful as his comrades and his enemies. This now gives him a few movies worth of off-screen time to master his abilities and be ready to bring the mystical hammer down in the next Avengers movie, and its cool that they didn’t just overpower him right away (well…I mean he is ridiculously powerful, but that’s just the magic. Like I said before, they’re adding a new layer to the power scaling. He will get better too, so if you watch this movie and his abilities seem to be a bit unfair, just remember that its different! And besides…just wait till we get Carol Danvers…ooh boy.)

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All in all, Doctor Strange couldn’t top the thrills we received in Civil War, but did its job well and is a great transition into the new stories we’ll see in Phase 3. Strange gets a 7.5/10

As always, I’d appreciate any follows, shares, likes, comments, whatever works!

That’s all for now,
Soggz out!

What Hurts the Modern Comic Book Movie?

From the 70s-90s, DC reigned supreme on the silver screen with their Superman and Batman movies, which captivated audiences everywhere. Fast forward to the early 2000’s, and the world was blessed with two X-men and two Spiderman movies, showing everyone that comic book movies could be amazing summer blockbusters, be entertaining and well-done, and be a gold-mine for Hollywoo (that’s not a typo, watch Bojack Horseman). Unfortunately, we were then hit with a barrage of horrible comic book movies that never seemed to end: Ghostrider, Daredevil, Elektra, Fantastic 4, Green Lantern, etc. In 2008, we were all blown away by DC and Marvel as “The Dark Knight” gave us Oscar-Worthy performances, and “Ironman” took a B-list superhero and propelled him to greatness (we can excuse the small hiccup of Ironman 2). Now we are in 2016 with three major cinematic universes for comic book movies. Comic book sales have been bumped up by new and eater readers. Its safe to say that Comic Book movies are here to stay and have become a major part of our pop culture.

So what makes a comic book movie “bad” nowadays? I’m not talking about the dry argument of “they’re formulaic, they’re all the same, I don’t like them”. I truly believe that we’re past the absolutely atrocious films (excluding the 2016 “Fantastic 4″…oh my) that are so poorly written and done, so what mistakes are being made in the modern Comic Book Movie? In this piece, I’m going to hit a few points that I’ve noticed in my long history of watching these movies. [MILD SPOILER WARNING] for the movies I use as examples, even though anyone reading this has probably seen most of them or (at this point) shouldn’t care about getting them spoiled.

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Already accepting that I’m going to sound like a butthurt fanboy for the duration of this piece

1. “Spiderman 3 Syndrome”

Yes, this is a term I just made up, but I’m going to tell you why. Think back to “Spiderman 3” and where the first two movies left off. All the major events that have moved the plot forward have culminated into Harry Osborn being the villain. However, for some reason this movie decided not only to have Harry and Peter’s conflict happen, but to include the entire fiasco involving the venom symbiote, AND add in the subplot of Flint Marko being accused of Uncle Ben’s murder and turning into Sandman? It sounds a little ridiculous to put all of that into one movie, and it was! Especially when you throw in more MJ/Peter drama (which felt like the same fight that they’ve had for the past two movies), Gwen Stacy, and inappropriate jazz choreography. When it comes to the flow of the story, Spiderman 3 can be simply described as a trainwreck.

Other examples include:

Dark Knight Rises: They tried to have Bane, Catwoman and Talia be important and have Bruce Wayne suffer a broken back, heal a broken back, and return to Gotham to fight his nemesis, save the day and name a successor. Despite still being a well-done film, it ends up being the least compelling of the trilogy with parts of the movie that felt too slow and other parts that felt too rushed.

Suicide Squad: I didn’t speak about this too much in my Suicide Squad review, but dear lord what a sloppy movie. Upon rewatch, when they introduced Katana in about 30 seconds, I definitely had my hands in my face. She’s such a cool character that we’re probably not going to see again, and her presence didn’t really hurt or add to the movie. There’s just too much in this movie that the audience ends up disregarding. Side-note: When you spend literally 5 seconds on Slipknot’s exposition, we all know that he’s totally going to die within the next few scenes.

I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be more than one villain in a Comic Book movie. I’m even open to having more than one sub-plot that’s also taking place. But when a movie tries to rely on bringing multiple iconic characters and scenes to life in the same movie, often times the characters and their motivations become overshadowed by other poorly executed sub-plots. What was originally a selling point in the trailers becomes a weak point in the overall story structure. If you want to see a movie that did this right, “Captain America Civil War” made it work by focusing everything back to the central conflict.

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Lord have mercy on my soul

2. Set-Up Movies

Remember when Sony had claims to a Spider-Man Cinematic Universe? It felt like they were trying to give Disney and the Avengers a huge middle finger, and they announced a slew of Spider-Man movies, including a “Sinister Six” and “Venom”. One of the big reasons that “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” just wasn’t a great movie was because they spent so much quality run time trying to establish a cinematic universe that they didn’€™t really accomplish anything big in the movie itself. When movies get so caught up in the big picture, we lose quality in the standalone film that we paid 10 dollars to go see, leaving the audience feeling somewhat empty and unfulfilled.

Other examples include:

Any movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe that sets up an infinity stone or feels like a glorified advertisement for a new Avengers film. I’m looking at you, “Thor: The Dark World”.

Fant4stic: I’m not joking when I say that this movie is about 90% exposition that leads up to nothing notable and keeps acting like there are 4 sequels confirmed to follow it. It feels like you’re in stasis for a good 100 minutes only to be slapped in the face at the end.

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Apparently, we only start after 3 set-up movies

3. Crossing into the realm of obscurity

This is something I’ve only really noticed recently. Casual fans of comic books, think back to “Batman V Superman” and be honest with me. Did any of you fully understand what was going on during Bruce Wayne’s dream sequence when some guy in a portal started yelling something at Bruce about Lois Lane being the key? I’d be shocked if any of you did. It’s always nice when filmmakers throw in a nod or two to the comic books, but sometimes it just leaves the audience even more confused than they originally were.

Examples include:

Batman V Superman: The “knightmare” sequence was undoubtedly a cool and well done scene on the cinematographer’s end. However, If I leaned over to my Dad and whispered “Psst, this is a nod to the Injustice series. Also that’s Darkseid’s insignia and those are Parademons from Apokolips”,, his head might’ve exploded on the spot.

X-Men Apocalypse: I watched this one with a friend who’s seen the other X-men movies, but isn’t a comic book fan by any means, and he didn’t really know how to react to a few scenes. It’s great that you wanted to give us Caliban talking to Mystique and then Apocalypse, but to most of the audience, he’s just a guy that looks weird. Not only that, after the post-credits scene revealed that Nathaniel Essex was going to be a part of the big picture now, some guy in my theater yelled out “Does anyone get that?” and the rest of the theater erupted into laughter.

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Casuals be like: Darkseid confirmed! (no, seriously, who the hell is Darkseid?)

4. “3Edgy5Me” Syndrome

This is another phrase I tend to use that no one else does, but I can explain! I love Nolan’s Batman trilogy…but I also hate that other creators said “Holy tragic story, Batman! This is so successful, maybe we could do this with every superhero!” Unfortunately this led to an onslaught of superhero stories that are described as “Dark and Gritty”. Most of these were so ridiculous that I’ve reached a point where I laugh when I hear those two words because I just know that the movie is going to be bad to an extent. It is a given that the protagonist of a film faces struggle and adversity constantly. However, when an uplifting character is turned into a tragic character, it tends to be forced and poorly executed. Not everyone can be Batman or Daredevil, that’s why unique and different characters are created so that more audiences can relate! Being edgy just for the sake of being edgy is just dumb, the movie doesn’t need to be dark to be compelling.

Examples:

The Amazing Spider-Man: Did anyone find all of that “untold story” nonsense about his parents and finding subway tokens in his dad’s calculator to be memorable at all? Throw in his romance with Gwen being “so wrong but so right” or whatever they were going for. I swear when I was watching both these movies I got Deja Vu from the “Twilight” series (I promise we can make fun of the fact that I’ve seen more than one of those later). At the end, it felt like the only reason they killed Gwen Stacy off was to have something bad happen to throw Peter into a depression that eventually gets out of in about 5-10 minutes of run time.

Arrow: This obviously isn’t a movie, but ever since season 1 of the show, people kept commenting about the odd similarity to Batman. I had an open mind, but I just had to point out that in season 3 they LITERALLY tried to make him Batman. Almost everything that happened to the character in season 3 of the show was derivative of Batman. The two were about as different as “A New Hope” and “The Force Awakens”. It was just so odd, I watch Arrow because I want to watch Arrow. I don’t watch Arrow to get a poorly-done version of any given Batman vs Ra’s Al Ghul comic.

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So there’s my humble opinion on what common errors are made in the modern era of Comic Book Movies! As always, let me know what you think because I love discussion and help a nerd out by sharing!

That’s all for now,
Soggz out!

Suicide Squad – Movie Review

Never before have I seen a movie that is more perfectly described by the phrase “Hot Mess” than this one.

“Suicide Squad” is the third installment in the DC Cinematic Universe and introduces us to a team of criminals that are brought together by the Government to save the world. The group is DC’s “band of lovable misfits” trope, and the movie looks like it was meant to be their answer to Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”. The movie is really fun, and many aspects from other Suicide Squad stories are present and accounted for. There is no absence of action scenes, and the tone is much more lighthearted than “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman”. Despite any of the good things that the movie had going for it, the reality of the situation is that this is one really messy production.

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A few things are obvious to most of the audience after watching the movie. One is that some scenes are clearly re-shoots and that a lot of footage is left out or replaced. If I were to re-watch the trailer, I could point out many parts that looked really cool that didn’t even end up in the final product. I remember hearing (anyone is more than welcome to fact check me if I’m wrong) that new scenes were re-shot after the success of “Deadpool” to make this movie funnier. Even if that is pure speculation, its very believable seeing as how some of the dialogue and “jokes” felt forced or poorly written. When it comes to the editing, it almost feels like the scenes in each act were just thrown together while someone hit the “shuffle” button in hopes that it would work.

Another thing that didn’t work for the movie was that it was really difficult to care about the main conflict. The entire plot and most of the action became predictable and felt like it had no consequence. Even when looking at it as part of a bigger universe, the events don’t really have an effect on what we know to be coming in the DCCU. There is a connection that is eventually drawn to the Justice League, but I was hoping that we could’ve seen more emphasis of the bigger picture: humanity taking reckless action against super-humans out of fear.

The acting and portrayal of some of these characters is actually one of the pros of this movie. Will Smith has done a fantastic job of playing Deadshot, and audiences are able to feel his personal conflict between his job and his family. Margot Robbie did very well, and a nerd could see that she took some of Harley’s behavior from “Batman: The Animated Series”, which is never a bad thing. I feel like enough people aren’t talking about how Viola Davis is exactly what Amanda Waller is supposed to be, and gave a stunning performance of this shady, ambitious, and bold character. Jared Leto played the most interesting Joker I’ve seen but I feel like any critic can’t make too much of a judgement because (apparently) a big chunk of his scenes were cut. Regarding everything I saw, I’ve definitely never quite seen in a Joker before, and that made me happy and eager to see more. Lastly, my honorable mentions for a cool character go out to Joel Kinnaman and Jay Hernandez as Rick Flagg and Diablo, respectively.

Truth be told, I recommend seeing this movie in a theater. Know that it is flawed and know that there will be moments where you find yourself very entertained, and go see the movie for yourself! Its no abomination, its worth the money and time. So now that the first part of my review is done, lets dive in to spoilers!

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[SPOILERS START HERE]

So we’re introduced to our squad members via exposition from Waller. I could tell they were going for a more compact movie and that some characters were to be more important than others, but I feel like this could’ve been done a little better. The scenes we get of some of the squad members being apprehended by heroes are fantastic (Ben Affleck is a gift from the Comic Gods and I shall hear nothing bad about him as Batman), and even Flash shows up! We’re introduced even further to characters like Rick Flagg and June Moone aka Enchantress. We get a reveal where Waller is able to control Enchantress, and we find out June and Flagg are romantically involved…and hilarity ensues! Just kidding, its obvious at this point that Enchantress is going to lose control and be the villain and Flagg is going to be conflicted.

After all the exposition and interactions we get the main plot of the villains (oh yeah, there’s two now!) which is *drumroll*…A FACELESS ARMY WITH A GIANT BLUE BEAM IN THE SKY!!! Yes, really. They went with the biggest cliche in the modern comic book film when it has already been cliche for years now. This is why there appears to be little consequence in this movie’s action. Anyway, the squad is assembled and all receive bombs in their necks in case Flagg or Waller deem it necessary. Here we get lazily introduced to even more minor characters like Slipknot and Katana, the former of which is literally here to demonstrate that anyone who disobeys orders will die. I’m not saying that his death didn’t need to happen, I’m saying it just didn’t matter because they already establish how irrelevant Slipknot is, which makes it no shocker that they kill him. While Amanda Waller speaks about how expendable these people are in this movie, its funny because some of these characters are expendable to us, the audience, and their presence didn’t affect the story at all. Its as if the characters of the team are placed into tiers: “Important”, “Sort of Important”, and “Meh”. Additionally, barely any of the characters build relationships with each other aside from snarky comments and death threats. Deadshot and Harley establish a friendship, Deadshot and Flagg end up as frenemies, Diablo shows a little humanity, and Captain Boomerang shows his love for pink unicorns…that’s about it.

So after a scene where Joker tries to escape with Harley and gets his chopper shot down (which no one believed was actually consequential for one second), Waller gets kidnapped by Enchantress and more stuff with little explanation happens. The bar scene where all the characters “give up” and drink is actually really cool, and Diablo gives us his story that ends up being one of the only compelling parts about this movie. Flagg shows up and the Squad decides that they’re gonna go through with the mission, and then we get this crazy, Tranformers-esque battle scene with a whole mess of CGI and explosions. The movie wraps up with Joker breaking Harley out of Belle Reve, and Bruce Wayne striking up a deal with Amanda Waller so he can do Justice League things in a future movie.

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There really isn’t much to this whole movie in terms of substance, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t at least having some fun. If you want to see a well done Suicide Squad movie, I highly recommend checking out the animated film “Batman: Assault on Arkham”. As for the movie in question, Suicide Squad gets a 5/10.

So those are my thoughts on Suicide Squad! As always, I would appreciate all of your likes, shares, feedback, comments, etc.
That’s all for now,
Soggz Out!

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Ultimate Edition) – Movie Review

The ultimate edition of BvS fixes the issue of a messy story and provides a more wholesome movie.

NOTE: This review is for the ULTIMATE EDITION of the movie, aka the director’s cut. I wont be going much into the details of the plot because it came out in March, this one is mostly a comparison of the theatrical and extended cuts of the film.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was one of the most anticipated films of 2016, with hype building up among fans well before the release date.However there was a slight hiccup with the movie…it was a mess. I was excited to see the movie that the Warner Bros. executives had given a standing ovation to, but somehow I didn’t feel like that was the movie I got to see. Fast forward to summer and the release of the ultimate edition, I finally realized that the movie we all saw in theaters wasn’t the original movie, and this is one of the few cases (for me, at least) where the extended cut is the only version of this film I would watch.

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When it comes to the theatrical cut, I had positive things to say about the cinematography and I had gripes with certain story elements. I didn’t think that it was so horrible that it deserved a 27% on rotten tomatoes, and I hate that on the internet you’re only given the options to worship it or despise it. I thought it was “okay”, and my biggest problem was the poor editing, a choppy flow, messy story structure, and the fact that it was trying to accomplish so much in 2 and a half hours. To me, the worst kind of comic book films end up being the ones that are so concerned with expanding their universe (see: The Amazing Spiderman 2), and since this is only the 2nd film in the DC Cinematic Universe and they wanted to try and hit the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s popularity that was built up for 12 movies…its no wonder that BvS fell flat on its face at some point. Essentially, there were 5 different movies all jam-packed into one, and that let to discombobulation.

After really thinking about it and changing my rating about a billion times, I gave Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Theatrical Cut) a 5.5/10

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Since I really wanted to like this movie, I’m pleased to say that the ultimate edition definitely fixed this issue I had with the film. This version, simply put, felt like a wholesome movie. It wasn’t choppy anymore, it actually flowed, so many things that initially raised a question mark finally came full circle. Due to the nature of this review being comparative, I’m going to make it easy on my readers and talk about things via a list.
[SPOILERS BEGIN HERE]

1. Lex Luthor’s plan makes a little more sense: It was still extremely convoluted and complicated, but that’s how Luthor is supposed to be. There were some scenes added where other characters uncover secrets and Luthor’s motivations/activity become clear.

2. Superman is more likable: We get scenes of Clark Kent being an actual reporter, we get to see him unravel the mystery of Batman all for himself and reach the point where he starts to view Bruce as the villain. Basically, we got the other side of this story in the extended cut instead of seeing more Batman than Superman.

3. Lois Lane isn’t as annoying: She gets a purpose in the extended cut similar to Clark doing his research on Batman, except she’s doing her research and uncovering things about Luthor. It doesn’t feel like she’s there because she “has to be” or because of the star power of Amy Adams.

4. Arkham Asylum: I still have no idea why they couldn’t just put this in the theatrical cut, it would’ve been an extra 20 seconds that would’ve been a cool name-drop. Basically Batman visits Luthor in his cell (my stars, what a scene) and Luthor still feels accomplished and that nothing will happen to him. That’s when Batman drops the bomb that he’s being transferred to Arkham Asylum and the shrewd smile from Luthor’s face vanishes. It was awesome.

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Despite this huge issue of horrible story flow being fixed, here’s what didn’t change that I didn’t like. Less detail will be given here because these are still the same complaints from the theatrical cut, but you can always ask me for specifics outside this review!

  1. Jesse Eisenberg….what are you doing? I’ve heard a lot of people try to defend this one, I just can’t get behind it. I’m all for different interpretations of a character, but it just didn’t work in this case.
  2. Wonder Woman is still a tacked-on part of the movie. I really would’ve loved it if she had more screen time.
  3. Someone had to have realized that certain references they were trying to make weren’t going to stick. Look, I know what a motherbox is and I know that Darkseid is the future villain of the DCCU. That doesn’t mean everyone is going to know these things when you shoehorn them into the film. Despite the now 3 hour run time, its STILL too much content for one movie.
  4. The Justice League is revealed because of an email. This might be the laziest way to introduce a future part of a cinematic universe that I’ve ever seen.
  5. Unfortunately, the 30 minutes that were cut didn’t include any of the fight scene. Its still only an 8-minute fight with sub par action. Batman beating up the goons in the warehouse is still the best part of the movie when you only take action into account.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Ultimate Edition) is an improvement, and gets a 6.5/10
For fun, here’s how the other two studio’s comic book films of the summer ranked for me:
1st Place – Captain America: Civil War, 9/10
2nd Place – This movie
3rd Place – X-men: Apocalypse, 5.5/10

Those are my final thoughts on BvS, as always I’d really appreciate shares, followers, likes, dislikes, discussion, etc.
That’s all for now,
Soggz out!

Batman: The Killing Joke – Movie Review

The Killing Joke only gets to the anticipated source material after an unnecessary tacked-on “prologue” and messy transition. Fortunately, the memorable pages of the graphic novel are brought to life and presented well.

The highly anticipated animated adaptation of the popular graphic novel is finally here! Unfortunately, it also came with a few issues that left me feeling pretty conflicted. For those of you who don’t know, “Batman: The Killing Joke” is a one-shot by Alan Moore that ended up being so popular that many adaptations of Batman consider the events official canon. It is the exploration of how the Caped Crusader can’t be defined without his greatest enemy, and the analysis that they are two sides of the same coin. Its your typical “we’re not so different, you and I” trope between the detective and serial killer, and its done extremely well. The story also serves as the Joker’s backstory, where readers actually end up feeling somewhat sorry for the guy.

Since the graphic novel isn’t very long, more content had to be added in order to make this a 90-minute movie. The turning point of the story features Barbara Gordon, aka the Batgirl and daughter to Commissioner Gordon. Due to this major event, it was decided to add more content that featured Batgirl to the movie. It becomes obvious that the purpose of this “prologue” was to establish her important relationship to Batman, so that when “the thing” happens, the tension is higher. So what kind of tension did the writers decide to go for?…the easiest one to write that also ends up being the most frustrating one…sexual tension. Here we go…
[SPOILERS START HERE]

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Just to get the easy stuff out of the way first, the actual “Killing Joke” part of the movie was great. The artwork, music, and voice acting (Conroy, Hamill, and Strong did exactly what you’d expect) all helped bring this sadistic story to life. The Joker’s song that he performs while Gordon is going through the ride was absolutely fantastic, and was genuinely eerie.

So lets dive in to what disappointed. This whole “prologue” part felt like a lifetime drama, and Barbara’s dialogue might as well have been “Senpai, notice me please!” Basically, Batgirl messes up, Batman fixes it and scolds her, Batgirl vents to her gay coworker about an older man she’s “seeing”, Batgirl tries to fight villain, horrible villain does something stupid, repeat about three times. This wasn’t a Father-Daughter relationship, this wasn’t a relationship between partners, this wasn’t a teacher-student relationship. Honestly, I wouldn’t even consider it a romantic relationship. The closeness of the two characters is established when they bang and have some typical “I’m Batman” dialogue from Bruce that later serves as the transition to get him to confront the Joker (this was also handled poorly, connecting those dots was a stretch).

But here’s my real problem with it. Before I move on, let me just say that as a straight male, tackling this part of the review might be a tough area, but i’m doing it anyway. (If any of this is offensive or insensitive, PLEASE message me and I will clean it up right away).the-killing-joke-animated-movie-barbara-gordon-batgirlBatgirl is somewhat demeaned in this story. It seems like her purpose in the movie is to be hyper-sexualized and fetishized to the point where it becomes a little ridiculous. We get this villain that keeps making sexual advances at Batgirl, and Batman deems him “too dangerous” for her because of this. Seriously, this guy’s entire identity as a villain is that he’s horny for Batgirl, and she’s shown as visibly affected by it. The Batgirl I know could kick this guy to Bludhaven and back, no problem. This is a girl that has spent her whole life experiencing her POLICE COMMISSIONER FATHER dealing with criminals that are much worse, so this shouldn’t have been a problem. Furthermore, why did the villain need to be like this? We could’ve just as easily had a villain instead maybe, oh I don’t know, threaten her Dad who’s a public figure? That’s enough motivation for a female character to want to bring someone to justice that doesn’t involve the creepy villain fantasizing about her constantly, right?

Look, all we needed were awesome scenes with Batman and Batgirl as partners kicking butt and taking names together , and if you really wanted to go the romantic route maybe throw in a scene where there is mutual interest and affection. What we got was Batgirl as a love-struck teenybopper with the most irrational “overly attached girlfriend” complex, and that’s pretty insulting to her character and to her fans. Conflict happens with Batman and his partners, but why is it that Jason Todd got “conflict of ideology regarding the justice system” whereas Batgirl gets “I have a crush on you”, despite her being older than the male characters who have been Robin? Its especially hard to believe that the girl that ends up as Oracle, Batman’s right-hand technology genius, is reduced to this level of immaturity. At one point in this movie, Batman LITERALLY says “We’re not equals”. I get that he probably didn’t mean it in a “Man vs Woman” context, but why is Batgirl getting treated so badly only to get paralyzed by the Joker anyway?

I really wish they did this differently. I really wish we were shown how well the two work together and their chemistry, with subtle hints on how they feel about each other. That would’ve made it even more devastating when she gets shot by the Joker. Showing Batgirl constantly complaining and Batman as the stern voice of reason, then showing them having sex was poor execution and, in my opinion, very insulting to her character.

Batman: The Killing Joke gets a 6.5/10
Reviewed Rating: 5.5/10

Those are my thoughts on The Killing Joke. Please let me know what you think, I welcome discussion and would love to hear what others have to say.
That’s all for now,
Soggz Out!

Pilot

Holy first blog post, Batman!

Hello everyone! Welcome to Soggz Blogs, a blog for nerds written by a nerd. My name is Sagar Kamnani, and I’ve started this page because one of my favorite things to do is to talk about geeky things. Admittedly it was tough to write throughout college, but I took some time off and here I am ready to bring you opinions and thoughts about movies, TV, video games, etc.

A little bit about me: When I was younger, I wasn’t exactly the best at making friends. To a lonely kid, the best company was coming home right after school to watch what shenanigans my favorite characters were getting up to that day. Batman Beyond, Digimon, Pokemon, Spongebob, etc. was all I really had to help me understand the world. Fast forward through my adolescence and to my 18th birthday, and superhero stories were still my escape. I finally read my first comic book (The Killing Joke, in case you were wondering) and drowned myself in more hero stories to help me adjust to my first year in college. Another fast forward to 21, and the best part of my year was attending the red-carpet premier of “Captain America: Civil War” thanks to a friend of mine who thought of inviting me. My love of these things comes from a very real place, nerd culture is a huge part of my own personal story, and has helped me through the toughest of times!

On this blog, you can mostly expect reviews. Occasionally, I’ll also do opinion posts and “what if” story edits of already released content. I greatly appreciate support of any kind, and I guess we’ll see how far this goes!

That’s all for now,
Soggz Out!