Batman: The Dark Knight’s Best and Worst – Live Action Edition!

By Jonathan Morris,

(Note: I had planned to have this up last week, but after learning about the terrible events in Colorado, I though it best to wait a few days.  Though it should go without saying, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, who were not only members of our greater American community, but fellow moviegoers and Batman fans.  Though far, far, far from the most tragic aspect of this horror, it’s still somewhat unfortunate that it will forever be associated with Batman; as a figure in popular culture, the Dark Knight has always stood as a symbol against guns and gun violence, as well as an idealization that hope and light can someday arise from great tragedy and darkness.  Hopefully, as a nation and a society, once we’ve mourned and grieved these events – and learned from them – we will find our own way onward, toward hope and light.)

Though Batman used firearms in his first year of existence, he has since stood as a symbol against guns and gun violence.

Continue reading “Batman: The Dark Knight’s Best and Worst – Live Action Edition!”

Batman: The Dark Knight’s Best and Worst – Animation Edition

By Jonathan Morris,


Well, you just knew this was coming, right?

So yes, thanks to our ever more crowded summer movie season, it’s already time again for another survey of a famous character in popular culture…and they rarely come more popular than the one and only Batman.  Whether you think of him as the gritty, vengeful, and brooding Dark Knight, or the noble, altruistic, and exciting Caped Crusader, the Guardian of Gotham City is an indelibly ingrained part of our popular culture, an American icon (though not always in a positive way), and the definitive urban avenger. I also don’t think it’s unfair to say that Batman has long surpassed his contemporary Superman as the world’s most famous superhero, and he’s arguably the most consistently compelling and undeniably the most commercially successful superhero of all time.  For me, though, and I think for any observer of popular culture, Batman should also be considered among the most fascinating.

As times go by, many famous characters are reinterpreted and recreated for each new generation, inevitably drawing upon the various tastes and subtexts of that given moment in time. Bob Kane’s Batman, though, perhaps more than any other character I have ever seen anywhere in media, has demonstrated an astonishing ability to be readily transformed and transfigured to any given era without ever subsequently becoming an anachronism.  It’s not that Batman is timeless – though he is – it’s that he’s somehow always timely. It’s an amazing attribute, and one that makes the Dark Knight not only distinctive in the history of comics, but in world literature and media as well. Continue reading “Batman: The Dark Knight’s Best and Worst – Animation Edition”

Our Marty…

Ernest Borgnine (January 24, 1917 – July 8, 2012)

Today, sadly, we lost another link to the days of Classical Hollywood with the passing of Ernest Borgnine.  I don’t typically write obituary pieces here, because I’m honestly someone you’ll typically find disdaining the hoopla that often surrounds the death of major celebrities. However, Ernest Borgnine probably won’t have every detail of his funeral plastered all over 24 hour news channels, nor likely have his death and life fetishized beyond all boundaries of good taste by special commemorative issues of People or Entertainment Weekly, so I feel confident that eulogizing him in my own way will still fall firmly on the side of good taste. Continue reading “Our Marty…”

“The Amazing Spider-Man” – The Antiscribe Appraisal

While undeniably the least anticipated of this summer’s trio of big-time, tent-pole superhero movies, The Amazing Spider-Man, beyond any discussions about its quality or worth, has become the latest test case for an ongoing pop culture debate – how soon, exactly, is “too soon” to do a reboot?  Is there even such a thing as “too soon,” anymore?

Last week, while composing my epic-length overview of Spider-Man in various media I presented my argument that Sony was right to kill off their still nascent Spider-Man franchise after the debacle that was Spider-Man 3, even if that left me with the prospect of a new Spider-Man movie I felt more obligated to see than excited to.  Of course, I understand, from the corporate perspective, the reason for the shortened turn-around: if Sony hadn’t kept their license active, than the lucrative film rights to the character would have reverted to Marvel/Disney.  But still, a completely new version after only ten years and two months – to the day – since the first film, let alone only five years since the last film, even in our much more accelerated culture, surely seems a little hasty. Continue reading ““The Amazing Spider-Man” – The Antiscribe Appraisal”

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