Alex Reviews Launches!

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They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and my better half, Alex, is every bit of an enthusiastic pundit on toys and cartoons as I am, and far more charismatic. This month, I have published the first in a series of reviews from my seven year-old protege and anticipate many additional videos to come.

12814678_10154794990203438_312857545901260308_nThe opener is a review of the Batman ’66 Mr. Freeze toy by Figures Toys Co. Included in the review is a short comic book history lesson and a quick sketch of the character’s first appearance. Please take a look and spread the word.

Cheers.

Two-Fisted Trailers for Batman V Superman

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The superhero movie genre continues to rule the cinema world. From the wish fulfillment of childhood to the mythology of the modern world, superheroes aren’t just commercial properties, they have deeper meaning to the general population, not just comic book fans. Two of the most iconic characters in comic books are undeniably Batman and Superman. Batman is the self-made man, an embodiment of vigilante justice while Superman is the super-powered hero of the people. The upcoming feature film will pit these two legends against each other. This will be the first time these two titans have shared the screen.

It’s also the first time (to my knowledge) that a comic book creator has received creator credit in a trailer.

Pro-Superman trailer

Pro-Batman trailer

Following the events of an alien assault that left devastation in its wake, Batman blames the Man of Steel for the death toll and is determined to make Superman pay. Armed with an impressive array of weaponry, the Dark Knight pits himself against the Man of Tomorrow who has nearly unimaginable power. An intense all-out action film that also will introduce the entire Justice League with Wonder Woman as a co-star and cameos from Aquaman, the Flash, Green Lantern and Cyborg.

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE is in theaters March 25, 2016

Should we prepare for a decade of Ben Affleck as Batman?

As the comic book world is still shrugging over the expected disappointment of the Fant4stic Four, some unexpected Bat news arrives.

batman_BatsignalAdam West, Michael Keaton, Kevin Conroy and Christian Bale may have new competition for the definitive Batman with Ben Affleck possibly being offered the role of the dark knight for an unprecedented decade of movies. Ben-Affleck-Batman-GogglesVia ComicBook.com

According to rumors from Warner Bros. insiders, the future of DC Movie slate will now center around Ben Affleck’s Dark Knight. The sudden (but really, unsurprising) pivot came after an early cut of Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice was shown to a small group of Warner Bros. executives. The big wigs were reportedly so impressed with the film, that they gave it a standing ovation.

And much of that applause was for Ben Affleck and his performance as Batman. The executives are so impressed, in fact, that they are reportedly trying to get Affleck on-board for three stand-alone Batman films. Affleck’s Batman, and these movies, would reportedly become the cornerstone of DC’s other movies, with one Warner boss reportedly calling Affleck the “definitive Batman.”

Including the Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad, the two-part JLA film, and three solo movies, that’s 7 films spread out over the next ten years. With no director lined up, it is difficult to guess what the theme and feel of a new Batman trilogy would be. But it’s a safe assumption that it will be darker than octopus ink.

Opinions?

“There are worse things out there than the Ripper.”

Whitechapel, 1888. Jack the Ripper stalks the streets but he too is hunted by a mythical monster who strikes fear into the hearts of the guilty, the Batman. The dark knight detective faces what could be his most challenging case in this unusual period horror drama that fits the perfectly.
Batman_RipperTrailer

Heavily influenced by the graphic novel Gotham by Gaslight by Brian Augustyn and Mike Mignola, ‘Ripper’ is a fan film brought to life by James Campbell and Adam Bouabda. But this is not your standard fan film. It utilizes legitimate actors from television and film and features an impressive score not dissimilar to Goblin and Tangerine Dream (which is pretty atmospheric and cool).

Like the idea? Get involved!

Indiegogo promotion video

Is the Boy Wonder Already Doomed in the ‘Snyderverse’?

The upcoming Batman V Superman film directed by Zack Snyder will lay the groundwork of the DC Cinematic Universe by introducing Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, Cyborg, Lex Luthor and possibly more. In addition, it is possible that not only will Robin be introduced but he’s already dead!

(I wrote an article about the history of the boy wonder – and DC’s obsession with killing him – that may be worth a read)

The brief appearance of a glass case storing a Robin costume covered in graffiti hints at the demise of Batman’s sidekick at the hands of his nemesis the Joker (as seen in Death in the Family). Even more interesting is the rumor that Robin will be seen in a flashback.

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Via IGN:
As the Comic-Con trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justicerevealed, Robin exists in this new DC cinematic universe. Or did exist since we see his costume, riddled with taunting graffiti, hanging in the Batcave, presumably because Joker killed him.

But will we actually see the Boy Wonder on the big screen?

According to Heroic Hollywood, we will and they also claim to know who plays him.

The site reports that BvS director Zack Snyder’s 19-year-old son, Eli Snyder, portrays Robin in a flashback depicting his death at the hands of Jared Leto’s Joker.

“Eli Snyder is quite the athlete. He is 6’0″ and weighs 174 pounds. As the starting quarterback, Eli put up good stats at Maranatha High Varsity Football. Watching Eli’s senior highlight reel, he certainly has the youth, athleticism, and physicality to be Robin in real life!,” says Heroic Hollywood, which also posted the photo below of Eli Snyder.

The young Snyder is no stranger to being in his dad’s movies having previously played little Leonidas in 300 and young Rorschach in Watchmen as well as a solider in Sucker Punch.

UPDATE, July 23: BvS set photographer Clay Enos shared Zack Snyder’s Instagram photo below of him with his son Eli. The caption coyly hinted at the aforementioned casting rumor: “Boy wonder?”

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So what do you think? Can this film get any darker?

Batman hijacks Suicide Squad movie

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What started as a ‘huh?’ movie is quickly escalating to a possible blockbuster. The next film in Warner Bros/DC Entertainment’s schedule after Batman V Superman (out March 25th
2016), Suicide Squad is focused on a gang of criminals. The inclusion of the Joker played by Jared Leto raised a few eyebrows. Ben Affleck rumored to be on set as Bruce Wayne/Batman was even more interesting but the confirmation of the dark knight’s daring car chase makes it official.

Suicide Squad is a Batman movie.
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Suicide Squad is based on the comic book created by John Ostrander in 1987. The concept is simple, a group of super criminals forced to work together by a secret government organization on covert operations with a reduced sentence for success and certain death for failure. The comic was a hit back in the day and even appeared on the Justice League cartoon and an animated feature ‘Assault on Arkham.’

The upcoming movie seemed an odd choice at first (and the initial images look like little more than bad cosplay) but it is quickly gaining ground as an important movie.

Fans have spotted sequences in which the Joker and Harley Quinn argue followed by a car chase scene as the Batmobile trails the Joker in a cherry red race car. More recently, Batman was seen riding atop the Joker’s car through the streets of Toronto.

While fans of the caped crusader have wondered when they would next see a new Batman film, it appears that we may be seeing him very soon.

Directed and written by David Ayer (Fast and the Furious, End of Watch, Fury and Street Kings) and starring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jared Leto as the Joker, Will Smith as Deadshot, as well as several other actors playing super villains such as Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang, Katana and the Enchantress, Suicide Squad opens August 5, 2016.

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Batmania Revisited as a new dark knight emerges

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Many of us think of Batman as a mainstay of pop culture. We know him from the 90’s cartoon, the Burton films, the Nolan movies or even the comic book and think of him as possibly the most important comic book character. But the truth is that his popularity has come in waves with little to no interest shown toward the world’s greatest detective in between each ‘era.’

In 1939, Batman was a major hit. Combining pulp detective sensibilities and dark stories more at home in a horror novel, he was a cult creation. In print his success but slumped in the 1950’s when superhero comics fell from grace (yes, there was a time when superhero comics were not popular). In 1966, the Batman TV series revived the caped crusader for prime time viewers before dissolving into camp obscurity. In 1989, Batman returned more powerful than ever in a gritty blockbuster movie that returned the hero to his roots (only to meet his demise in a very very poorly made toy commercial masquerading as a movie). 2005 saw Batman obtain a new lease on life in the decidedly dark trilogy directed by Chris Nolan. But after its conclusion, Warner Bros. wondered what was next.

Batman_ProfileWe have officially entered the latest stage of the dark knight’s life as Ben Affleck dons the cowl in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, a movie that will see the two titan square off for the first time on the big screen.

At 42, Affleck is an unusual choice to play a new Batman. Usually the studio wants to select a younger actor for such a high profile physically demanding role. In this case, the decision was to present Batman as an older and more established crime fighter who is challenging Superman as a new threat. Rumors abound regarding plot details such as Batman avenging Alfred’s death in the battle of Metropolis but we will have to wait and see.

This Batman is much more of a brutal fighter than a thinking man’s tactician, as the trailer shows his Batplane, Batmobile and armored suit all looking capable of fighting a small war. With the only line of dialog so far ‘Do you bleed? You will.’ directed at Superman, this could be the toughest Batman to date.

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While future Batman films seem inevitable, Affleck has already been spotted on the set of the Suicide Squad film, confirming rumors that Batman will make an appearance alongside the Joker played by Jared Leto.
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SucideSquad
Directed by David Ayter, Suicide Squad (which has an August 5th, 2016 release date) will feature Adam Beach (Slipknot), Jai Courtney (Boomerang), Karen Fukuhara (Katana), Cara Delevingne (Enchantress), Joel Kinnaman (Rick Flag), Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Will Smith (Deadshot), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Killer Croc) and Jay Hernandez (El Diablo). The squad is an elite strikeforce of criminals sent into deadly action where death is almost a certainty. While not a Batman movie, it will flesh out the new Batman world and give fans their first look at the latest version of the Joker played by Jared Leto.
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It’s important to note that this image of a tatted-up Joker is not the final version of what we will see on film and has been established as an homage to the character’s anniversary. Mmm-hmm. Sure. Personally, I think that the image was released online to test the waters and when they were found to be turbulent the studio doubled back.

In any case, we are entering a new age of the Batman. One where Batman is older, grimmer and his villains far deadlier and numerous. This version of Batman will also exist in a world of superpowered threats and aliens rather than just gangsters. It’s quite a departure and a major gamble on Warner Bros.’ part.

Will this be another successful Batman or will it be a dud?

Batman Returns (again)

I have dreams of owning one of the amazing replicas produced by Hot Toys. From Star Wars to the Avengers and beyond, these replicas are stunning. Based on the second Michael Keaton Batman film, this model uses the redesigned costume complete with art deco touches
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Hot Toys takes collectors back to 1992, and the cinematic world of Tim Burton, with the unveiling of its 1/6th-scale Batman and Bruce Wayne collectible figures from Batman Returns.

These are actually two releases, one the Batman figure and the other the Batman and Bruce Wayne set. The former boasts three interchangeable lower faces that capture Michael Keaton’s expressions, nine interchangeable palms, a batarang, grapple gun, two napalm packets, a line launcher, a Batmobile remote control, a signal jammer, and an LED light-up figure stand.

The Batman and Bruce Wayne set, naturally, comes with two figures, with this Dark Knight also equipped with a broken cowl. His tuxedo-clad alter ego, meanwhile, comes with eight interchangeable palms, a figure stand and “movie-accurate” facial features, although some collectors are already questioning the latter (if you squint, it kind of looks like Michael Keaton).


Both releases are targeted for the third or fourth quarter of this year.

Via Robot6

This item can be pre-ordered here

The Ogre terrorizes Gotham

The latest DC Entertainment TV series Gotham has established a horrifying crime-riddled world. But apparently the worst of the worst is yet to come. The deadliest and scariest villain will be revealed for the season finale… and he is called the Ogre.
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The Ogre, played by Milo Ventimiglia, will make his debut in “Beasts of Prey,” the April 13 episode of the show, and drive the series as it heads toward its finale. As the video explains, he’s a serial killer who has managed to avoid capture by targeting the loved ones of cops who’ve investigated him in the past, but that’s not enough to scare off Gordon (Ben McKenzie).

“This extremely dangerous man will do something terrible to someone that Jim loves — and there’s going to be hell to pay,” McKenzie teases. But with Morena Baccarin, who plays Gordon’s current love interest Leslie Thompkins, reportedly on board for the show’s second season, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a death is in the future — or, at least, not Leslie’s death.

Gotham returns with new episodes April 13 on Fox.

Via THR.com

I have been pleased with Gotham so far and feel that it has a strong presence on the small screen alongside the more lighthearted Flash (though that can be intense too). A prequel that establishes Gotham before Batman sounded like an odd idea on paper, but the writing and strong cast has made it entertaining.

A character over 75 year old, Batman has many different iterations, each with its own tone. The current comic book by Scott Snyder seems to be influencing the TV series with its gritty and violent feel. While Gotham has been criticized for delving into the caped crusader’s rich history for ideas, the Ogre is all new. It will be interesting to see what kind of lasting impact this latest villain has on the city and the legacy of Batman.

Visit the most happening nightclub of the 60’s, Wayne Manor

Stately Wayne Manor…
Wayne-Manor
Was never like this!

The hottest place in the San Francisco suburb of Sunnyvale is Wayne manor, named after Batman’s straight self, Bruce Wayne. At the Manor, the Dynamic Duo of Batman and Robin are painted in throbbing colors on the walls, and villains cackle in fluorescents. Behind a plate-glass screen girls dressed like Robin lead the crowd in the Batusi. Batman sells tickets at the front door, the maitre d’ is the Joker, and drinks are served by Wonder Woman.

I was clearly born in the wrong decade. A nightclub built in an old bank, Wayne Manor was initially created as a South Bay Whisky A Go Go. The owner Joe Lewis’s son suggested a Batman theme (listen to your children, nightclub owners) and he went all out with wild colors on the wall, costumed staff and such. It became a huge hit when the 1966 TV series launched a year later and soon attendees were doing the Batusi!

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Things like this just blow my mind. While today superheroes are marketed to young and old alike (with varied results), to hear of a nightclub based on the caped crusader is just amazing. But what better time than the 1960’s? Musical acts included Sly and the Family Stone, Music Machine and the Coasters.
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Batman and Robins

For more info and images, visit this site.