Sunday, December 10, 2006

Superman Vs. Batman

I finished watching Superman Returns on DVD and the whole time I'm watching it, I couldn't help but compare it to Batman Begins. Both were a redo of sorts. Batman had been pissed down the tubes thanks to Joel Schumacher (why that guy is still making movies, I'll never know). The same could be said for Superman. Christopher Reeve wrote Superman IV and got a bit carried away with things.

This time Bryan Singer directed the new Superman. Not sure why Singer has been pigeonholed as the comic book director. The Usual Suspects was brilliant and the first and second X-Men showed promise but didn't quite hit the mark. This time back Superman is much more serious. And thoughtful. The problem is that he's too familiar. The new elements of this movie are better special effects and Spacey as Luthor and then everything else is memory lane.

Once again, Lois Lane (this time played by Kate Bosworth) is head over heels for Superman. And he is for her. Most of the movie seems to be centered around Superman saving Lois from one snafu or another.

Once again, Lex Luthor has a sinister plan again (this time to create an island that would eventually destroy the United States and kill billions).

Once again Luthor's assistant (Kitty played mildly by Parker Posey) had know idea of Luthor's plan and does what she can to sidetrack it.

And once again, Luthor taunts Superman with Kryptonite rendering him helpless.

I have to admit, I loved the scene where Superman floats above the world and listens intently to hear where he is needed next. This felt like new territory and answers the age-old question where does Superman hang out when he's not saving the world? But everything else felt like Superman 1 all over again.

Batman Begins on the other hand went in all new directions. Christopher Nolan seems an unlikely director for this and at first I worried that Batman could go the way of Ang Lee's The Hulk. Thankfully it didn't. Quite the opposite. Nolan uses new eyes on the franchise and finally captures the fear and rage that drives Batman (a main element that Burton seemed to forget). At the beginning of the film, Nolan shoots Batman much like someone would shoot a horror movie. We hear bumps and we see shadows. Batman is a fricking scary mother and should be treated as such. More importantly, Nolan shows us the man behind the mask. There was a scene early on when Christian Bale gets out of bed and we see bruises all over his body. No one had caught this before. That this was a man who could be hurt. And was hurt. It was a 10 second scene but it said boatloads about the character. And if Nolan can make the Scarecrow a good villain everything else is cake.

So while I can't wait for Dark Knight (Batman 2), I can wait for Superman: The Man of Steel (Superman 6?).

SCORE
Batman 1

Superman 0

8 comments:

3rdMARTINI said...

I think one can only refer to the graphic novel (which you so thoughtfully loaned me) "Kingdom Come" to show a Bruce Wayne that has designed himself an exoskeleton to deal with the extreme amount of abuse his body has taken over the years to show how Batman overall is way more badass than Superman.

I'll admit that I haven't seen all of Batman Begins, but I can agree with your assessment of Wayne's/Batman's fear and rage that drives him to do the things he does. Those driving forces create a character that is more compelling and identifiable by us mere mortals.

Jane said...

I LOVED "Batman Begins" and my reaction to the latest Superman was "eh." I don't care whether there's ever another Superman movie, but I really hope the Batman franchise continues from here (and "The Prestige" doesn't count, despite the major casting overlap).

Justine said...

Batman is just so much cooler than Superman. I mean just look at what they wear. Superman - just a bit on the girly side. Batman - all guy. Even George Clooney's rubber nipples were cooler than anything Superman ever wore. Also, Batman has a cave. Excellent. Superman? Seriously. A phone booth. Batman relies on his cunning, strength, and seemingly unlimited funds. Superman was BORN with his powers. Not as impressive. Batman also has a cool car. And butler. Maybe Robin isn't cool, but he's more of a groupie/wannabe anyway.

Piper said...

3rdmartini is right on. When Superman orginally came out, it was billed as "you'll believe a man can fly." The first movie was more about special effects. In this day and age of Lord Of The Rings special effects, that's the price of entry. Now it has to be about characters. And Batman is someone we can identify with.

Piper said...

Thanks for the post Justine. Robin is supposed to be in the next Batman. It will be interesting to see how he's handled.

garrett said...

Here's my idea for Robin. Hopefully its not too cliche.

Robin is an accountant for Wayne enterprises. He's been passed over a few times at work but he's a very hard worker and usely doesnt get the credit he desrved for the big projects. Robin is also having confidence issues with women. Bruce notices Robin's frustration over a sandwich at the local deli. Decides to let Robin in on kicking ass.

kramer said...

Supermans too greatest weaknesses as a film are: 1. He's nearly indestructible, so you never fear for his safety. So the human element gets killed. 2. LAME villians. Batman has two face, joker, scarecrow, himself, etc. Spiderman has venom, sandman, dr. ock, the various goblins, etc. Superman has...uh...Lex fricken Luthor... yawn...

Anonymous said...

Wont disagree with any of you that Superman the movie sucked but if they made another movie about the death of Superman with Doomsday or something like it like in the comics Im sure it would be great, so I have to disagree with "kramer" there are various villains for Superman as well they just need a good story.