Tag Archives: The Dark Knight

Failed Critics Podcast: Episode 202 – AND IT’S LIVE!

202 live stream printscreen

Firstly, thanks to everyone who joined in on our live broadcast of episode 202 on our YouTube channel on Monday. We’re considering it a success – whether it was or wasn’t isn’t really up to Steve Norman, Owen Hughes and Andrew Brooker to decide! But people chatted to us during the show, we received messages via Twitter, and the live stream didn’t crash once. Huzzah!

This week’s podcast is pretty much a rip of the YouTube video edited into a more audio-friendly format. Jingles have been edited in, whilst the majority the references to stuff that happened visually that wouldn’t have made sense on an audio only podcast have been edited out.

What has been left in is our chat about this week’s film news, including another new Netflix movie acquisition starring Will Smith, directed by David Ayer, plus a set-top box that could potentially change the way we view cinema releases forever.

We’ve also got our round up of what we’ve been watching. Steve talks us through the generic but decent action film London Has Fallen; Owen discusses the first five episodes of the second season of Daredevil; and Brooker does his homework ahead of Batman v Superman by re-watching Nolan’s trilogy plus Man of Steel. Our new release reviews saw the team take in the safe-for-work porcelain doll horror The Boy, Ben Wheatley’s latest weird class-war narrative High Rise, and the thematic sequel to 2008’s monster movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane.

There’s even room for our regular film quiz and Steve’s reaction to Pudsey the Dog: The Movie, his booby-prize for losing last week’s quiz. Oh, and Owen’s mad rapping skills. Wiki-wiki-wild wild west…

Join us again next week as things return to normal for a review of DC’s newest blockbuster.

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Watch the full un-edited live broadcast of the episode (with webcams an’ all) on our YouTube channel.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Amazing-Spider-Man-2-Peter-Parker-Harry-OsbornSecond verse same as the first, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 makes all of the exact same mistakes the original did, burying the nugget of a great film deeper and deeper the longer it goes on for.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Did you see The Amazing Spider-Man from 2012?  Congratulations, you don’t need to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2!  You know, the lazier of us film critics like to snarkily dismiss sequels with the phrase “more of the same” as if that is inherently a bad thing.  Sometimes it’s very much a good thing, something that works happily repeating its formula in a “if it ain’t broke” manner.  Sometimes, though, it is a bad thing, the observation that the sequel hasn’t learnt from the previous film’s failings and the growing loss of patience on the reviewer’s behalf.  This film is one of that kind.  The second one.  I am not kidding, this film makes the exact same mistakes as the first one did with the exact same potential of a great movie permanently bubbling underneath the near-endless mess of bad ideas or poor executions or bad ideas with poor executions.

Ladies, gentlemen and others, this was maddening to sit through.  In fact, in lieu of a traditional review, I am going to dedicate my time and your time to a couple of case study examples as to how this film fails, in order to fully impress upon you, the reader, the way in which The Amazing Spider-Man 2 spends upwards of two hours taking a giant extended piss on its potential.  No, there will be no spoilers, nothing more than the trailers have shown off, but I feel that this is a far more productive usage of our time.  This film and its predecessor will be used by future, more intelligent generations who are less distracted by flashy and actually rather OK, all things considered, filmmaking as the basis of an entire class in film school on what not to do.  I’m just getting in on the ground floor.

First, let’s talk about the Tragic Villain plotline.  This is something that both this film and the original use as the basis for their villains, in an attempt to give them depth and something to do besides instructing the audience to comically boo their every appearance like we’re at a panto.  I am all for this, it adds a nice measure of moral ambiguity to proceedings and a level of depth and maturity to the superhero medium in general; not every villain is evil for the sake of being evil, after all.  The problem is not the fact that the franchise has used this idea for every single one of its villains so far and, in ASM2’s case, twice in one movie with Max Dillon a.k.a. Electro (Jamie Foxx) and Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan).  You can find enough spins on that formula.  The problem is that the films never ever follow through with it.

The reason why The Dark Knight gets this right whilst The Amazing Spider-Man series doesn’t boils down simply to the fact that the former commits to the tragedy inherent to the plotline.  In fact, sod it, this paragraph is going to spoil The Dark Knight.  So, if you haven’t seen it and still want to, just jump on down to the next paragraph, you shouldn’t be missing too much if you do so (and if I’m doing my job right).  See, Harvey Dent’s slide into the man known as Two-Face works because his motives remain understandable and relatable.  He still has the same goal, to clean up the streets of Gotham and wipe out corruption in the GCPD, but his methods are now harsher.  The point is that he has snapped mentally and now no longer cares about working within the law to get his goals.  He’s not evil for the sake of evil, he’s just had his hope crushed and now he’s willing to do anything to reach his otherwise noble end goals and it’s the way the film commits to that falling that the plotline works.

Contrast this with Max Dillon.  When he starts the film, he is a weak loner.  He has an important job at Oscorp but he is constantly pushed around and harassed and put-upon by the world because he basically lets it.  He has no backbone, no social skills and no life outside of his work and this makes him miserable, even emotionally disturbed.  He just wants someone to notice him.  Then, out of the blue, Spider-Man saves him from an oncoming truck and gives him the usual Spider-Man speech of “you are a somebody because you’re somebody to me”.  This gives Max a reason to live and a reason for us to care about him, even if he becomes hopelessly obsessed with the man.  It’s what’s supposed to make his fall into the electro-chamber sad and painful because it’s the world’s fault, not his.  It’s why the public triggering of his powers is supposed to carry real emotional resonance as he finally gets the attention he craves from the public at large and his obsession, Spider-Man.

Pity the film is only an hour in by this point.  So, because the film is only an hour in, the emotional arc of Max is very quickly wrapped up and the tragic side of his schtick is almost immediately dropped in favour of “I will do evil things because I am evil”.  This would have been majorly disappointing… had the film actually handled any of this well to begin with, because they play pre-accident Max for laughs.  Jamie Foxx pitches his pre-accident performance to absurd wet-doormat extremes and his every scene is backed by bouncy silly music so you know that you’re supposed to find events on screen funny instead of saddening.  It undercuts the emotional groundwork and comes off as mean-spirited, overall.

In fact, before I move on, I want the name of whoever decided on the music that should back Electro’s action sequences and I want to make sure they never work in this field again.  Why?  Because his theme is dubstep.  Nearly every shot of electricity is accompanied by dubstep wubs that are severely out of place with the rest of the film’s score.  But that’s not why I am calling attention to this.  No, there’s also the fact that his music contains whispers buried in the background.  Whispers that go something like “Hate… destruction… kill… I hate him…. I hate him…”  This kind of crap might have been cool to a teenager in 2001, but to me in 2014 it’s the equivalent of backing his action scenes with “Batman’s Untitled Self Portrait” from The Lego Movie.  It’s embarrassing is what it is.

Harry Osborn gets a better treatment on the whole Tragic Villain angle but the film falls down by again just not committing to keeping his goals sympathetic and relatable to the end.  Him and Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield, still deserving of so much better) used to be childhood friends (because everybody is connected to everyone for cheap and easy drama in amateurishly written scripts).  He’s dying of the same disease that’s killing his father and, therefore, desperate for a cure.  His cure may involve Spider-Man and, when things don’t go his way, he goes a bit off the deep end.  That last part would be fine… except that it involves him turning straight crazy evil so that we can have a two-part action finale.

The failure of the Tragic Villain plotlines, the same reason it failed in the first film with Curt Connors and his sudden obsession with creating an army of lizard men, is twofold.  The first is the lack of faith from the screenplay that the audience will be completely behind and invested in the proceedings if they don’t know who to cheer and root for.  And since Peter is still kind of a huge boring dick in this one (more on that in a bit), the film cops out on its moral ambiguity and emotionally heavy stakes by reverting to “these bad guys are evil because they’re eeevilll!!” which squanders the depth previously built up and the groundwork laid beforehand.  The second is the fact that this is just a bad screenplay, in general, with both villains’ switches to straight-up evil-doing boiling down to the switch on the back of a Krusty doll.  I guess you could salvage such a behavioural switch but it requires far better writing and handling than what’s on display here.  It’s amateur work.

Now let’s move onto the issue of serialisation.  Do you want to know why the Marvel Cinematic Universe get away with doing things the way they do?  It’s because when their films end, they feel like they’ve ended.  They’ve told a complete story, all of the plot threads are wrapped up and the character arcs are completed.  They may leave an uncertain future or a sequel tease but they can do that because it doesn’t feel like story is being held back for future instalments.  I could hop off after pretty much any of MCU entries with the sense of completion.  That is why Iron Man is allowed to end the way it did, that is why The Avengers was allowed to end the way it did, that is why Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier are allowed to end the way they do.  Some had some plot threads hanging, others blatant sequel teases but all felt complete because everything important is wrapped up and all character arcs have concluded.

Much like its predecessor, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 does not do that.  In fact, despite running over two hours and even having a clear stopping point ten minutes before the end (even if, yes, it still would have failed to wrap up several big plot threads and character arcs so I would still be having this rant anyway), it actually has the gall to not have an ending.  The Amazing Spider-Man 2 stops.  It just stops.  At roughly two hours and nine minutes it goes “OK, that’s all the time we have!  Come on back in two years and we’ll pick this up again!”  So, no, the conspiracy stuff with Peter’s dad Richard Parker (Campbell Scott who plays the role like a gruff William Shatner and is awful here) again does not get a payoff, Peter still doesn’t seem to learn anything from the events of the film (and the incredibly rushed final five minutes do not serve to fix this problem) and Harry Osborn remains a threat who even starts up his latest scheme as the film wraps up (and, no, not in the sense of “I’ll get you next time, Gadget!”).

There’s no resolution here.  I don’t feel like I’ve been told a full story.  I feel like I’ve been told half of a story, at best.  There’s no payoff.  Just a whole bunch of clumsily handled foreshadowing and set-up work for the endless sequel parade to possibly payoff down the line in the future maybe who knows?  The Man In The Shadows from the mid-credits stinger of the first film makes a reappearance at the end because reasons, Harry’s assistant is called Felicia (as in Felicia Hardy because that’s just how subtle this film is in regards to going “THIS CHARACTER WILL DO SOMETHING IN A FUTURE INSTALMENT”) but she doesn’t do anything and, surprise sur-f*cking-prise, there’s a conspiracy at Oscorp that is left totally unresolved at the end because of-f*cking-course it is.  The point of a film ending is that it is supposed to have told all of the story it needed and wanted to tell but such a thing is clearly not the case for ASM2.

Speaking of, Peter Parker is a boring dick.  Andrew Garfield is trying so very, very hard to make this character work (he has a lot of natural, easy-going charisma and he is great at the better parts of Spidey’s mid-combat snark) but his character spends most of the film in the background and, when he does actually get to wrestle control of his own film back to him, he’s actively dislikeable.  He’s a dick to everybody almost all the time, primarily because his character arc is almost permanently stuck on the cusp of the transitional period from “dickwad hero” to “noble figure for hope and justice” and he doesn’t actually start that transitional phase and learning lessons until ten minutes before the end of the GODS.  DAMN.  MOVIE.

And the stuff with Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone, deserves better).  Oh, Maker, how I hate all of the material with him and Gwen Stacey.  It’s predicated around the fact that Peter loves Gwen but the promise he made to her dying father to stay away from her is causing him to feel guilty about that love.  Good, fine, you can do stuff with this.  You can do good, non-crappy stuff with this.  Except this manifests as Peter being a dick to her at all times but his love for her leads to him stalking her (again), putting her in danger (again) and begging her to give up her own wants so that they can be together happily (again).  Hell, a better movie would make parallels between his obsession with Gwen and Electro’s with Spider-Man, but that movie wouldn’t allow a big loud action sequence with a hint of tragedy, apparently, so it’s nowhere to be found and their romance is played as true love that’s futile to deny.  Credit to Stone and Garfield, they have excellent chemistry, but the material is awful.

Those are just a few of the major problems with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 that were also present in the original (well, admittedly, the original at least had the decency to attempt to come up with an ending).  I’d go on for more, but I’m running out of time here and I need to wrap up.  This a bad film.  It is a bad, bad film.  But it is going to make hundreds of millions of dollars and we are going to be up to our eyeballs in sequels for however long the shared-universe superhero bubble manages to avoid bursting.  And it will do so because it is not a badly made film.  The surface level sheen is great.  The performances are mostly great (Dane DeHaan still makes time to put in excellent work even as he seems to be voluntarily flushing his career down the toilet between this and Metallica: Through The Never), the film is nice and pacey which at least didn’t make me feel like I had been dragged through a sloggy bog watching the damn thing (*coughcoughDivergentcough*), the effects are great and the fluidity of them fits the hyper-reality of the film’s universe, and action scenes are shot like every action scene in every Western action movie ever (shakily, busily, nearly incoherently at points) but may at least seem exciting to less jaded viewers.

More importantly, there is still the spark of a great movie and a great franchise in here.  No matter how badly the series so far has tried to snuff them out, there are still nuggets of potential littering The Amazing Spider-Man 2.  This could be a fantastic superhero movie in a fantastic superhero franchise but it, like its predecessor, keeps making all the wrong moves at the worst times and in the crappiest possible manner whilst, all the while, never openly sucking.  This is not an outwardly and plainly bad movie; its badness simmers underneath beneath a protective sheen of great performances and well-made filmmaking, but still ruining everything.  It’s why I cannot tear this film to shreds.  I should do, it is terrible, but that potential is still there and I am adamant that if people who actually knew what they were doing were given creative control, this series would learn from its mistakes and subsequently realise that potential.

Consider this a staying of execution, then.  I am prepared to give The Amazing Spider-Man franchise one more chance to realise that potential and learn from its mistakes.  If I come back here in two years’ time to find a sequel that again wastes that potential and makes the same mistakes, I will consider this series officially devoid of all hope and the resulting review will be merciless.  In the meantime and nevertheless, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a bad film.  You should not go and see it.

Callum Petch run on the track like Jesse Owens, broke the record flowing without any knowing.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

Failed Critics: Episode 14 – The Dark Knight Rises BATMAN SPECIAL

Holy half-baked opinions Batman! This week our very own Rogues Gallery of Villains (Gerry – The Joker, Owen – The Riddler, James – The Penguin, Steve – Catwoman) not only review The Dark Knight Rises, but also tackle all things Batman in a bumper 2 hour Batman Special.

THWACK!

In the opening section we discuss our randomly-allocated Batman films of the past – including Gerry’s near-breakdown over the 1966 movie and Owen looking for the positives in Batman and Robin. Plus Steve puts us all to shame with his tales of heroism. Well, sort of.

BIFF!

This week’s Triple Bill sees the critics giving us their favourite performances from the actors that have played the Caped Crusader in the last 25 years.

CRACK!

Then finally (at 1hour and 19 minutes if you want to skip) we review the most anticipated film of the year. Does it live up to expectations? Was it a worthy conclusion to the Dark Knight Trilogy? Could we understand a word Bane was saying?

We’re away next week, but will return on 7th August with a review of Ted and our favourite sporting movies.

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BATMAN WEEK – Holy Adam West!

Today I read an article in the New York Times  that suggested that we make all of our important and meaningful friendships in our teens and early twenties. I made one of mine at an even younger age.

If you are British, reading this, and of a certain age you’ll like have a favourite portrayal of The Doctor from Doctor Who, and it will probably be the first one you saw as a child. Sure, I enjoyed the work of David Tennant, I love the maverick genius of Tom Baker, and Matt Smith may well be the best Doctor I have ever seen – but Sylvester McCoy is my Doctor. The gruff, paranoid time-traveller with a Scottish twang that mesmerised me as a 7-year old will always be my favourite.
So it goes with Batman. While Christian Bale may be an the ultimate Caped Crusader for Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, my Batman is, and always will be, Adam West.
My memory is almost certainly playing tricks with me – but all I remember watching during my summer holidays between the ages of seven and eleven was Batman. The Caped Crusader dishing out justice 25 minutes at a time to some of the most outlandish villains I had ever seen. Cesar Romero’s Joker thrilled and terrified me in equal measure (although it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I discovered he didn’t shave off his moustache, and simply painted the greasepaint directly over it), while my first guilty carnal fires were stoked by Julie Newmar’s Catwoman.
Everything about the show blew the mind of a young man growing up in a small Devon village. From the opening blast of the iconic theme music, which I’ve now discovered as an adult is brilliant fun to blast out when driving – to the explosion of colour onscreen in almost every frame. The plots are downright hokey at times, but the charm and charisma of Adam West meant that even some of the worst detective plotting went unnoticed by my tiny little mind.
My favourite has to be from the 1966 movie:

Commissioner Gordon: It could be any one of them… But which one? Which ones?
Batman: Pretty *fishy* what happened to me on that ladder…
Commissioner Gordon: You mean where there’s a fish there could be a Penguin?
Robin: But wait! It happened at sea… Sea. C for Catwoman!
Batman: Yet, an exploding shark *was* pulling my leg…
Commissioner Gordon: The Joker!
Chief O’Hara: All adds up to a sinister riddle… Riddle-R. Riddler!
Commissioner Gordon: A thought strikes me… So dreadful I scarcely dare give it utterance…
Batman: The four of them… Their forces combined…
Robin: Holy nightmare!

The camp 1960s Batman may look ridiculous now. You barely see a punch connect in the fight scenes, and every cliff-hanger leaves Batman facing certain death only to escape 20 seconds into the next episode with a deus ex machina that would put Matrix Revolutions to shame (my favourite being the Batrepellant for sharks in the movie – compounded by the fact that the Batcopter has 3 other repellants designed for different dangerous sea creatures). But none of this mattered when I was in primary school. All I knew was that Bruce Wayne was an honourable gentleman who quoted poetry, and Batman always beat the criminal with cunning, panache, and a great line in quips.
He was clearly a liberal as well, with his belief that criminals could be rehabilitated (although maybe he was just trying to get into Catwoman’s pants) and he never carried a gun or killed any of his adversaries. He always seemed to turn the other cheek, and had a lesson for us all. The TV show taught me everything I need to know about morals, justice, science, and wooing woman. If Jesus wore a cape and drove the coolest car I’d still be going to church every Sunday.

One of the great pleasures in life is watching the Blu-ray of the 1966 movie and listening to the commentary by Adam West and Burt Ward (who played Robin). At one point West even talks about Batman as being ‘the theatre of the absurd’. It’s great to hear an actor talk so fondly of the role that both launched and effectively throttled their career. He doesn’t seem to have changed a bit. It’s a shame the world has.

BATMAN WEEK – Batman Begins Here

In honour of this week’s release of  The Dark Knight Rises, Failed Critics is going quite literally Batshit mental as we devote the site for one week only to the Caped Crusader. Today our very own Gerry McAuley gives us a brief summary of the main influences on Christopher Nolan’s trilogy from the comic book world. So you can seem knowledgeable to your friends on the way in to the cinema, obviously!

I’m sure we’re all familiar with Batman – after all, D.C. Comics’ flagship superhero has infiltrated popular culture quite successfully in his 70+ years of life. Film adaptations since 1989 have revived the franchise and put a new spin on a hero who for most people was previously associated with the annoyingly camp and light-hearted original series (and 1966 film) starring Adam West as Bruce Wayne/Bats.

What fewer are aware of though is that the darker interpretation which began with Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989 and was continued 16 years later by Christopher Nolan (I prefer to forget the Schumacher films in between) reflects a shift in tone in the comic world too. In 1986, Frank Miller – who would of course go on to write Sin City and 300, both of which became hugely successful films – wrote The Dark Knight Returns, the gritty tale of a jaded 55 year old Batman who was forced to come out of retirement and save Gotham again.

The gap between The Dark Knight and the sequel would seem to be based on Miller’s story, as Batman has been chased out of Gotham for eight years after taking responsibility for Harvey Dent’s crimes. Of course, Tom Hardy’s Bane first gained prominence in the Knightfall story arc in the early 90s, so Nolan’s universe is hugely reliant on recent Batman interpretations. As will be seen later, another Miller title, Batman: Year One, is a major influence on Batman Begins.

Another huge name in comics had also helped revive Batman in the late 80s. Alan Moore is probably known to most film fans through adaptations of his work: Watchmen, V for Vendetta, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell are all based on his publications, although Moore dislikes all film interpretations of his comics/graphic novels. Just a year prior to Burton’s film being released, D.C. published Moore’s one-off graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke, a dark examination of the Joker’s madness that interspersed his origin story with his twisted attempts to drive Commissioner Gordon insane. The disturbing tone of the story, which involved the Joker shooting Gordon’s daughter in the spine and paralysing a character who was also Batgirl, explored the morality behind the Batman/Joker battle and was undoubtedly a huge factor in the performances of Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger in their respective film roles. For instance, the Joker has varying memories of how he came to be:

“Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another… If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!”

Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight famously provides differing accounts of how he got his scars, which his comic book counterpart does not have – just one example of the different ways the Batman mythology can be interpreted.

The strongest influence on Nolan however seems to have been Batman: The Long Halloween, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s 1996-1997 epic. So strong was that influence that Nolan and David Goyer, the co-writer of the trilogy, provided an introduction to the latest edition of the graphic novel. Although taken from an interview in 2006, just before principal photography began on TDK, both men cite the influence Long Halloween had on both movies and surely the third instalment too.

“When you’re putting together a Batman film, people always ask, ‘Are you looking at this comic book or that comic book?’ And the truth is you look at all of them. As a filmmaker, though, The Long Halloween was one Batman story that really drew me in in terms of cinematic potential… to integrate the more fantastical elements of Batman, most notably the villains, within the context of the real world, strike a balance that felt credible [The Long Halloween] was a great inspiration to us in terms of tonality.”

And with that, allow me to make some suggestions for those of you who are curious about exploring the Batman legend further. Nolan’s trilogy is so epic in scope that one cannot help be drawn in to that world; given that, it seems appropriate to focus on the more recent interpretations which have that gritty, realistic feel.

The place to start is Frank Miller’s Year One, which tells the origin story better than anything else and was recently voted the greatest Batman story ever by IGN. Goyer cites it as one of the three main influences on him in Batman lore and this is clear in Begins. There are various versions of the book around and crucially for those of you who don’t find comics appealing, an animated film of the story was released in 2011 which very faithfully follows Miller’s original.

The next stop should be The Long Halloween, which takes place early in Batman’s career and takes in a staggering number of the rogues gallery of villains our hero faces. If Year One is the basis of Begins, this is obviously the foundation of TDK. Harvey Dent’s story will be very familiar and the Nolan interpretation is largely faithful to Loeb’s story. Furthermore, the subtle differences between the two will give a new appreciation of Nolan’s skill – for instance, he plays with the viewer by having a gun pulled on Dent in the courtroom, a threat which Dent confidently disarms; in Long Halloween, this is a much more pivotal moment which I won’t spoil here. Needless to say, familiar Batman fans had a different moment of suspense and surprise with that particular scene.

Moving on, The Killing Joke is utterly brilliant and really gets to the heart of how small the differences are between good and evil, exploring how our reactions to difficulties can shape both our lives and the world. Yes, there is much more to Batman than you might think. As an aside, there’s a book called Batman and Philosophy which highlights just how many issues are present in the Dark Knight’s struggles against evil.

Once you’ve seen how the Joker began, it seems logical to look at his first battle with Batman – step forward The Man Who Laughs, which takes place in the same early years as Long Halloween, seemingly straight after Year One. Then we can move away from these early Bat adventures and look at something totally different in style. Arkham Asylum: A serious house on serious earth is another journey into madness and the fine line that separates good from evil, as Batman enters the asylum to save the staff from the villains who are holding them hostage. Those who have played the game of the same name will find this familiar territory but the presentation is astonishingly different. This is as close to art as Batman gets in my view and is essential reading. More on the games in a forthcoming article by the way…

With a view to The Dark Knight Rises, the main villains could do with a look too. Bane, as mentioned, appears in Gotham in the Knightfall trilogy and Hardy’s version is apparently much more true to the original than the horrible portrayal Schumacher had Robert Swenson give in Batman & Robin. For Catwoman, choices abound and both Long Halloween and Year One feature a certain Selina Kyle. Hush is the most recent title to have an interesting portrait of Bruce and Selina’s complex relationship and is visually stunning.

To finish off, of course The Dark Knight Returns is a must. I’ve already spoken about the content and the impact of the story but it bears repeating that this is far, far more than ‘just a comic’ as many tend to dismiss Batman stories – as if comics cannot be a serious medium. Hopefully, reading some of the above will correct that impression and give you the added bonus of really knowing what you’re talking about when watching the films with your mates, rather than just blagging it based on the info I’ve given you.

Gerry will be discussing this article as well as a myriad of other Bat-things on this week’s Failed Critics Podcast Batman Special.