EPISODE 524: TWENTIETH CENTURY SUPERHERO MOVIES

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  1. 1. David, Jessica Jones. It’s a 7 out of 10 series to watch, but my respect for it is more at a 9 level. One of the reasons is that it has the kind of villain that in most films would want to rule or destroy the world, but instead he wants what a normal person might want. His villainy is a normal human kind of villainy, amplified by his ability. The series also does a great job of making him seem extremely dangerous. Also? It starts off as a pretty obvious neo-noir, especially in style, but when the story no longer needs to be that, it doesn’t stay married to the form. Unlike Daredevil, it does not have an obligatory fight in every episode. They just happen when they happen. Relationships are very interesting too. It is well done in the particular ways most comic movies/series are not.

    2. The Crow is, indeed, a brilliant picture, yes, despite the dialogue, which many of the actors manage to make work.
    The Crow tv show seemed to have intended to fit into that Xena/Hercules area of television, with known properties done on the cheap, but hopefully creating b-movie levels of fun. From what I saw of it, the whole show took place at noon, and had a relaxed pace. Those are some pretty big stylistic divergences. What was weirdly well done was the casting. Mark Dacascos played Eric Draven, and he did a surprising job of channeling Brandon Lee, especially in the quieter moments. An actress named Lunda Boyd pretty much nailed the character of Darla, little Sarah’s mother. Somehow, they managed to cast people who were near spiritual replicas of the cast of the original The Crow, and were also not half bad actors. I was never drawn to keep up with it, or even watch a full episode, but when I ran into it, that stuck out to me. The show runner came off of Lois & Clark, and, episode connection, produced The Making of W*I*L*L*O*W in 1986.

    3. Chris is right about Nolan’s Joker. The most essential thing about that character over time is that he has always been an evangelist for anarchy. I was initially disappointed in how Nolan demythologized Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins, and then again when Ledger’s look was revealed, but once he was on screen, it was clear that he was as Jokery as he should be, still unpredictable, creating chaos, much more than just a darkened version, but one with the essentials amplified. The Dark Knight, which over time I have come to see as probably a perfect film, I think rewarded us for putting up with so much reality grounding with Two Face, whose ‘make-up’ was even more fulfilling than it was unbelievable. His character has always been at its most interesting when the stories are about his psychology rather than his criminality, so he had just the right amount of screen time for a three film series. The Dark Knight Rises actually redeemed Batman Begins for me by making Ra’s al Ghul a sort of posthumous antagonist, rendering the movement into more than a mere historical gang of terrorists, and restoring some depth and power to the League of Shadows. I know we’re in the “It wasn’t all that good” phase with Nolan’s Batmans, but I’m not on board. They bear up and improve under close examination, and I think that as a complete trilogy, it works very well.

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