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Casual Saturdays: Why I Think Iron Man Is Better Than The Dark Knight August 23, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Casual Days, Other Random Stuff.
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A few days back, I posted this as a note on Facebook. It lead to a rather good discussion. The transcript is being posted here:

LOTRKing: Tired of justifying this on several occasions to several people, I’ve decided to put this here for all to see. Yes, I liked Iron Man better than The Dark Knight. I typed the following justification for the Iron Man vs. Dark Knight discussion board here on facebook:

Personally, I find it fairly easy to gauge which was a more enjoyable film to me. As several posters have stated, Dark Knight was surrounded by tons of hype and was about Batman, one of the most well known superheroes on the planet. Iron Man, however, was a lesser known superhero, and while people were expecting an enjoyable show, they weren’t expecting to be as blown away as everyone was. Add this to the fact that many kids (including my nephew) who had never even heard of Iron Man are now ranking him as one of, if not their top most, favorite superhero, and you can see which one was more of the “runaway hit.” On a personal level, I already read comics, and while both Iron Man and Batman are both interesting characters, I never before had the desire to read either of their comics. As soon as I saw Iron Man, I wanted more. Now, the new Invincible Iron Man is one of my favorite monthly comics. As entertaining as Dark Knight was, I still have no desire to actually start reading Batman comics. If a movie can get you that interested in a character, what does it say about the movie? Sure, Dark Knight was awesome, but it was largely because of the story line, I didn’t care too much about the characters. With Iron Man however, I think Tony Stark may have become of my favorite fictional characters of all time, and for a guy who loves reading books and watching movies as much as I do, that’s saying something.

Hopefully, this clears stuff up. Leave comments and/or arguments (of which I’m sure there will be many) below.

Tim: The concept behind Iron Man is one that you expect to be blown away, and from all the other hype about the movie that I heard from those who saw it, it didn’t blow me away like Dark Knight did. Two words: THE JOKER. You can’t compare any other villain to him. I don’t care much for Batman, he has no powers, only gadgets and limited martial arts, but the Joker made what I thought was gonna be another disappointment to the Batman movies an absolutely awesome flick. Granted, I haven’t seen the full of Iron Man, but at the same time, the Joker holds a special place in my heart, and that for me is enough. And are you really cheating on Marvel like that? I don’t read comics, I don’t have the time or energy, but a good movie is a good movie, and movies rarely reflect the book associated with it. That’s my opinion, the Joker rules and could totally pwn Iron Man.

p.s. Who else would like to see a movie just about the Joker?

LOTRKing: The Joker was certainly a an interesting character, but he was a disturbed, deranged. homicidal maniac. There are times when a villain is cool, and there are times when a villain is disturbing and scary. The Joker is certainly the latter. A good villain doesn’t think he is a villain, in his mind, he is doing what is right. The Joker just says “screw good, I wanna do evil for the fun of it!” While this lead to a darkly entertaining movie, I’ll take a noble villain over a blatantly evil one any day. Now, if you are tying to compare villains in movies, yes, The Joker was certainly a more interesting villain than Iron Monger, but Iron Man wasn’t about Iron Monger, it was about Iron Man, which is what made it so entertaining. Dark Knight, on the other hand, was more about the Joker than Batman. You say you want to see a movie about the Joker? You just got one. Jack Naper was the star of Dark Knight, not Bruce Wayne. So, while I don’t doubt Dark Knight’s high level of entertainment, (and it was certainly more artistic than Iron Man), I still found the greater level of entertainment to come from Iron Man.

Tim: That’s what makes him a great, possibly the greatest villain. Pure evil.

Shaun: You have some good points, Mr. Staples, [note: that’s me – LOTRKing] but I think that in order for the Joker’s character to justify his actions, he would have to be “blatantly Evil” instead of a Noble Villan.

Remember the talk Bruce had with Alfred when he wanted to quit? Alfred was talking (and a neat insight to HIS past as well) about when he was hunting thieves in the jungles of Burma. Remember the line “and some people just want to watch the world burn” kinda tied in the whole “Blatantly Evil” concept into understanding the Joker to some degree.
The Joker WAS more of a ‘traditional villan’ in more of a sense of his ego was more out of control than his actions. Think Al Capone. The Joker had to be the ‘best’, he had to one-up every other gang in his own twisted way, and throughout the entire movie he created power vacuumes and then filled them. I think his character is more believeable than most realize…

Evan: I definitely agree with you on Iron Man being a less known hero than Bat Man. You had to be burn around the right time to have any exposure to Iron Man at all. Iron Man definitely paved the way for the Dark Knight becaue Iron Man revived our faith in comic book movies.

Tim: i reread that, and noticed something. The Joker is doing what he thinks to be right, by creating anarchy. He loves chaos, and that, to him, is right. His law is that there is no law, and he dedicates himself to that cause. Just because he thinks outside the normal realms doesn’t mean he doesn’t do what he does for a cause. the trick is being able to empathize with him. The only flaw i found in the movie is that we know nothing of his background in it. i would love to see more of his back story.

Tommy: Ok good points all around but the simple matter of the fact is a man likes what he likes. Both movies in their own right raised the bar of the comic book movie forever. Batman gets the point for the movie aspect for the simple fact that not onlydid it set the new record for openning weekend sales but it also set a NEW standered for the ganera. It was not the carbin basied copy that Iron man was( by this I am refering to the same old story line that Good comic book movies have. You know hero has power(Such as spidermans bite giving him his powers, or in this case toney starks knowledge for wepons) and finds out something bad has come foruth from using this power(obvious). And than takes it upon himself to set things right and in doing so than incounters a villan which genraly is someone he already knows personaly in some way and has to defeat him.) Think about it that just Discribed Spiderman 1, The Incredible hulk(2008), Iorn man, and the fantastic four. Now i will give Iorn man the prize for best film visualy and in referancing to the later sequal. However Batman was not the typical movie. It was dark and scary and in all matters of the form not sutible for Children. But it also should us the intesity that the first batman (Batman begins) should us with a Realistic Forum of Batman.As for the villian, A villian in litterature is generally of a mission to prove, change, or in other terms disturb the balance of reality so that it benifits him. Which insadently describes Batman from Batman Begins. Which is why the Joker was in any sence of the word Perfect. The balance had already become disturbed in Gotham and he only wanted to push it Further( the unstopable force meets the unmoveable object). He is the ultimate villan because you don’t know what he going to do next. he has no visible weakness, he (as staited before) just wants to watch the world burn.

Tommy: Now for the BLOWING AWAY.
Iorn mans poularity was not as established as others did blow audencese away in the fact of , How come I didn’t know about this?
Ofwhich it is unfair to judge aganst the “blowing away” aspects of Batman because they were to different thigs. One established a Charecter while the other simply took things to a lvl we weren’t anticipating.
My Ending point being that as far as standereds go The Dark Knight not only pushed the envelope but it gave us a new view and stadistic view of a charecter that we all know.
While Iorn man did push the envelope as far a visualy, and givning us a look at the wise guy anti hero, alcholic, womanizer that is Toney Stark.
So in conclusion they Gave us the same things in different ways. It is up to the individual to decide who gets the prize.

Tim: ironically enough, batman disturbed the balance, the joker in such a sense is trying to push it back the other way. never thought about it that way. does that make him a little good, as far as social stability is concerned?

LOTRKing: As Tommy said, good points all around. In response to Tim: the Joker knew what he was doing was wrong, but he thought it was fun. He enjoyed playing with his “food,” this doesn’t mean he thought what he was doing was for the greater good. To Shaun: the Joker was certainly believable, many of his actions and statements reminded me of purely evil men such as Hitler and BTK. To Tommy: while the basic plot of Iron Man may have been somewhat generic it was still presented in a fresh way, and the characters (especially Tony) are what stole the show. The Dark Knight wasn’t one hundred percent original either. Villains making the heroes choose between two equally undesirable outcomes, and heroes making large sacrifices for the greater good are two elements that are used throughout the genre (not that they weren’t used extremely well here). Furthermore, you mentioned that Batman was already a well known character. This is true. But as I mentioned, Dark Knight didn’t make me want to go out and buy Batman comics ASAP like Iron Man did. Dark Knight had a great plot and was full of suspense and action. But Iron Man had much more entertaining characters. So as you mention, it really is a preference: which do you enjoy more from fiction, a great story, or great characters? For me, story is extremely important, but if you want me to love the piece, make me love the characters. As pulse-pounding and cinematic as Dark Knight was, I didn’t develop a “love” for any of the characters. It probably doesn’t help that Batman wasn’t even the main character, the Joker was, then probably followed by Harvey Dent. Batman comes in third. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved the Dark Knight. But at the end of the day, Tony Stark, the star of Iron Man, is more awesome and likable than the Joker, the star of Dark Knight, and this is why Iron Man is 5 stars in my book, and Dark Knight is only 4.5.

All right dear readers, now it is your turn to join in on this discussion. Leave your agreements/disagreements below, and I’ll try to think of good responses. I’m also going to provide a link to this post on my Facebook, so if my friends want to continue this discussion, they can do it right here. Oh, and just for good measure: here is my Iron Man review, here is my Dark Knight review, and taking off the serious gloves (Why so serious?), here is a link to my post which jabbed some humor at both of them. Have fun!



Batmania: Batman Meets Marvel and Other Silliness July 19, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Stuff.
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Yesterday’s release of The Dark Knight has inspired me to present the following material.

First off, a absolutely hilarious video examining all the hype surrounding the release of Dark Knight:

Second, a short story I posted a few months ago (the original post can be found here) starring Batman … in the Marvel Universe! And yes, it is humorous also (at least it made me laugh, but I’m easily amused, and my humor seems to impress me the most. Arrogant? Or Narcisisstic? You decide.)
Anywhooz, for those too lazy to click on the above link, here is the post in its entirety:

So the other day, I was bored, and I had some time on my hands. These two are never a good combination. I ended up writing a script whose main purpose was to make fun of Batman. Eventually it evolved to make fun of everyone featured. So, like any good blogger, I decided to post it here. To those who get angered easily, please keep in mind that I stereotyped EVERY character involved, in fact I stereotyped them on purpose. So yes, I realize these are not very good representations of the characters, so please don’t get mad at me if your favorite character was not represented well. That said, let’s have some fun, and dig into this thing.

RP2: In the sky!
RP3: What the heck is it?
BATMAN: Why it’s the Bat Signal, of course!
RP1: The what?
BATMAN: The Bat Signal! It signals that Batman is needed to help fight crime!
RP2: Who the heck is Batman?
BATMAN: Why I am, of course!
RP3: Are you registered with the SHRA?
BATMAN: Holiday Hooby-Whatey?
*enter IRON MAN*
IRON MAN: Costumed vigilante! You are commanded to cease what you are doing and present proof of Initiative Membership!
*BATMAN reaches to Bat Belt*
BATMAN: All I have is this. *hands card to IRON MAN*
IRON MAN: What is this? This isn’t an Initiative license!
BATMAN: Why it’s the Bat Card of course!
IRON MAN: This isn’t Government Issue, where did you get it?
BATMAN: From my Bat Belt of course! The source of any item I ever need!
IRON MAN: I’m sorry, this won’t do, I’ll have to escort you to the 42 Negative Zone Prison!
*enter SPIDER-MAN*
SPIDER-MAN: Black Panther! Your skin! You’ve pulled a Michael Jackson! (At least you still have your nose!)
IRON MAN: This isn’t Black Panther, you idiot, it’s …. erm… Catman!
BATMAN: Batman!
IRON MAN: Whatever. Nonetheless, unless you sign the SHRA and submit to training, I will have no choice but to incarcerate you. Spidey, that goes for you to!
SPIDER-MAN: Not unless I take him with me to the secret hideout of the New Avengers!
IRON MAN: Dude, I read New Avengers Annual 2, you don’t have a secret hideout. It was destroyed when the Hood’s gang attacked, and Dr. Strange, your most powerful member, has quit, so unless you have an invisible army with you, I’m taking you both in.
SPIDER-MAN: Ha! You’ll never be able to take me and him at the same time! I’ll get away, and you’ll never find me, because you don’t know my secret identity anymore! So nyahh!
IRON MAN: Of course I do you’re ….. wait a minute, who are you? I know we used to be friends, but I suddenly can’t remember your name! It’s like someone retconned everything that has happened to you over the last several years!
SPIDER-MAN: Yup, it got retconned along with my marriage, my best friend’s death, and my sense of responsibility. Now I’m a jobless loser, who’s never been married, and still lives at home, while whining about how poor I am, and borrowing money from my dead best friend who isn’t dead any more!
BATMAN: I hate to interrupt, but that story sucks way too much to be believed. Are you sure you just didn’t have my pal Superman just use one of his infinite amount of powers, and erase his memory?
SPIDER-MAN: Of course not! The writers of my story are convinced that it was one of the best stories ever written!
BATMAN: *to himself* They must have somehow stolen some Bat Weed from my Bat Belt, to delude themselves like that!
IRON MAN: What was that?
BATMAN: Nothing.
IRON MAN: Whatever. Now I am taking you both in, you have two choices, you can come quietly or–
*DR STRANGE materializes out of nowhere*
DR STRANGE: Not so fast!
BATMAN: Who are you?
DR STRANGE: By the Vishanti! You know not who I am? I am Dr. Strange!
BATMAN: What a Strange name! *everyone groans at the horrible joke* And what can you do?
BATMAN: Oh! A magician, eh? I once played one of those. Except it wasn’t really me, rather the same actor who played me in a movie (did I mention I have 5 movies? How many do you losers have?) and was also in a movie called–
DR STRANGE: No, real magic.
BATMAN: There’s no such thing, it’s just your lame excuse for not wanting to explain how you –
DR STRANGE: By the Sons of Satannish, you shall become a goat! *BATMAN turns into a goat, then turns back* Not so lame now, am I?
BATMAN: *who still has a goatee* Ha! At least everything I can do is of my own creation!
IRON MAN: *silently* Computer, record the following discussion for records of SHRA identification. *out loud* And what can you do?
BATMAN: Why, I have no powers, but I can still kick your butts any day, with all of the handy dandy utilities on my Bat Belt!
IRON MAN: Ha, all I would need to do is fry you with my –
BATMAN: Before you could even finish, I would disable your armor with my Bat EMP Emitter.
IRON MAN: Ha! I can detect EMPs before they happen, and shut down my systems before they happen!
BATMAN: Then I would simply use it in conjunction with my Bat Block Iron Man’s EMP Detector Machine, also conveniently found on my Bat Belt! And I could take out your buddies here with my Bat Webbing Dissolver, and my Bat Magic Blocker! Then, if I got hungry, I could have some Bat Spam!
IRON MAN: How could you possibly have those items, especially since you didn’t believe in magic up until a few minutes ago?
BATMAN: My Bat Belt is equipped with everything I could possibly need (all of which I invented) and it is still extraordinarily light!
SPIDER-MAN: That’s impossible! And you think my story sounded stupid? At least I didn’t have Deluded Creators!
IRON MAN: I’ve had enough of this, I’m going to take you both in and get some help, and – wait a minute, Dr. Strange, what exactly are you doing here? I thought you took vacation time at a very inopportune moment in order meditate, and do other boring things, to fix you’re magic skills!
DR STRANGE: You’re right! I don’t know what I’m doing here. It must have just been one of those moments where I appear out of nowhere to fix a situation that I wasn’t even involved with in the first place! You’re on your own Spider-Man; I’ve got boring magic fixing stuff to do. *DR STRANGE vanishes into the air*
IRON MAN: Good, now that he’s gone, I’m calling in the reinforcements. Sentry! Your presence is required immediately!
*The SENTRY flies in*
SENTRY: Hi guys! I’m CRAZY!
BATMAN: That’sssss ……. nice.
SENTRY: How can I help you Iron Man? (I’m CRAZY!)
IRON MAN: Well, I need to arrest these two, but I can’t detain both at the same time, so I need you to –
SENTRY: No need to say more! (I’m CRAZY!) I’ll just fly this guy into the Sun, and you’ll have Spidey all to yourself! (I’m CRAZY!)
*SENTRY grabs BATMAN and flies off into space*
IRON MAN: No wait! *but it is too late* Alas poor Batman, we barely knew him! Batman has passed on! He is no more! He has ceased to be! He’s expired and gone to meet his maker! Bereft of life, he rests in peace! If he wasn’t thrown into the Sun, he’d be pushing up daisies! His metabolic processes are now history! He’s sleeping with the fishes and has gone to Davy Jones’ locker! He’s kicked the bucket, he’s shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain, and joined the bleeding choir invisible! This is an ex-Batman!
*SENTRY comes zooming back into the atmosphere*
SENTRY: Well, that was easy! (I’m CRAZY!)
BATMAN: I’m not dead yet, I’m getting better!
BATMAN: Simple, once I heard he was going to fly me into the Sun, I simply pushed the Bat Cloning Button on my Bat Belt. He only flew my Bat Clone into the Sun.
SPIDER-MAN: I once had a clone, and then he thought he was me and I was him, and everybody hated it, and it has never been referred to since.
*awkward silence*
BATMAN: OK then.
IRON MAN: Batman, you could become a nuisance here really quick!
SPIDER-MAN: I’ve got an idea how to get rid of him! Oi! Mephisto!
*MEPHISTO appears*
SPIDER-MAN: I’m ready to make another deal; you wanna retcon this Batman guy out of existence for me?
MEPHISTO: Of course, but the price will be that all that has happened in the last few minutes will also be retconned away too.
IRON MAN: You mean anyone who read this will have wasted their precious time by reading something that never happened?
MEPHISTO: That is correct.
SPIDER-MAN: I can live with that! Do it!
MEPHISTO: OK, but before I do, I want to tell you something that will make a small part of your souls suffer, even if you won’t remember. I’m going to tell you something very important, that you will now never know because I will erase having told you. Iron Man: YOU are the Skrull!
MEPHISTO: *laughs evilly* HA HA HA HA HA! I love doing that. *MEPHISTO pulls off his face, which is revealed to only be a mask, JOE QUESADA is revealed to be underneath*
JOE QUESADA: Ah, nothing like the smell of a good retconning in the morning!




Review of The Dark Knight (4.5 stars) July 17, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Other Random Stuff.
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Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Intense is the word for Dark Knight. Without a doubt, it was the most terrifying, suspenseful, and dark superhero movie that I have seen. While this is its greatest asset, it also serves as its flaw. Yes, we get tons of violence, tons of jump moments, tons of scenes keeping you on the edge of your seat, but this dip into the world of dark gives viewers very little chances to “come up for air” as it were. Maybe I just enjoy humor too much, but this entire movie had a rain cloud hovering, if not down pouring, for almost the full two-and-a-half hours, with not but a rare short ray of sunshine (and most of the humor was dark humor anyway). Despite this, it was still very satisfying to me as a general movie-goer, and as a comic book fan.

If you do not want SPOILERS, READ NO FURTHER. If you want my spoiler-less review, go here.

First off, I was worried that the Joker might be a little over-the-top cheesy. After all, he’s the Joker! But not only was Heath Ledger able to perfectly play his character, the Joker came off as believable. The entire persona was that of a crazed murderer, who was anything but funny, and definitely frightening. It’s only once in a very great while that you see someone acting in a role they were born to play (superhero examples include Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man), but that was exactly the case here. It is therefore very unfortunate that this was Ledger’s final role. I’m sure the Joker will be in the next Batman movie, like the Scarecrow was featured here, but no matter how good the replacement, I highly doubt they will be able to recreate the insanity that Ledger brought to the role.

Speaking of role changes, Maggie Gyllenhaal successfully replaces Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes. While the “torn-between-two-men” scenario displayed here is certainly not new, especially to superhero lore, it is told here in a believable way. Perhaps most tragic is Bruce’s belief that she will wait for Batman to “save Gotham” and then unite with him, when in reality she knows that he will never forsake the Batman persona, and therefore intends to marry Harvey Dent. While this movie had many shocking scenes, her death tops the list. Of course, the Joker’s trick which leads to her death further shows that despite his chaotic manner, there lies a true criminal mastermind underneath, one with the perfect brain for creating maximum emotional torture.

Yet the most surprisingly good character progression was that of Harvey Dent. Despite not knowing too much DC-lore, I knew that he was destined to become Two-Face. But as we got to meet his character, I felt more and more that he wasn’t going to be able to believably transfer from the unashamed do-gooder that he was to a merciless villain. I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong. The death of his beloved Rachel, the severe disfigurement of his face, and the city-wide emotion of absolute-terror seemed more than enough to cause his already weakened mind to snap.

But what about Batman himself? This movie certainly decided to take the “symbol more than a person” route. As such, we mostly just see Batman reacting to situations, and going to any measures to stop the spread of evil. While this provides a lot of entertainment, we don’t get to see too much of the man behind the mask. And while I can appreciate the heroic and sacrificial themes of the movie, I really wish this movie would have been more about Bruce Wayne, and less about virtually everyone else. Indeed, Bruce himself seemed more like a supporting character rather than the main character. Still, despite minor complaints, this movie is certainly a must see.