Bat-News

There was a small flurry of Batman-related news over the past month or so, so I thought I’d make a few comments….

“Gotham”

We have a new Ra’s al Ghul to look forward to, this time in “Gotham”. As you’ll remember, in the Nolan/Bale film trilogy, the character was played by Ken Watanabe and then Liam Neeson. More recently, Matt Nable played the quasi-immortal master assassin in several episodes of “Arrow”. While I respect the talent of all three actors, I felt those versions were… unsatisfactory. Part of it is the writers’ fault, of course, but none of them quite captured the essence of the character for me.

Siddig in GoT

The latest interpretation of the Demon’s Head will be portrayed by Alexander Siddig (5’11.75″,b.1965), most well-known for his role as Dr. Julian Bashir on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”. (Siddig has, of course, been in many other genre productions, including Kingdom of Heaven, “24”, “Primeval”, “Game of Thrones”, etc.) This is an intriguing choice. He (a Sudanese native) is much closer in ethnicity to Ra’s al Ghul (an Egyptian) than any of the previous actors, and he has played villainous characters before. On the other hand, I’m not sure he has the proper bearing (if that’s the right term) to portray this character correctly. While projecting a certain nobility/regalness, Ra’s is also a very physical person — martial artist / swordsman and often seen bare-chested. So, if they are planning on him displaying much physicality, Siddig had better be physically fit and properly trained.

We shall see. I just hope that they get the other visual aspects right this time, too — from the sometimes Wolverine-like hair & whiskers to his distinctive style of clothes (i.e., sort of a mix of Dr. Jekyll, Doctor Strange, and Doctor Doom).

The Batman

Among the latest news about the solo The Batman movie is that Ben Affleck may be trying to bail (no pun intended) on the role, apparently due to frustrations with Batman vs. Superman‘s reviews, development hassles, and pain-in-the-butt fans. As per Johnny Brayson at Outer Places,

“[S]ources claim that Affleck and Warner Bros. are currently in talks that would see him exit the role, and though he reportedly would like to leave before The Batman, the studio is apparently trying to convince him to stay on for the standalone movie before he takes his leave.”

Assuming any of this is true, you have to wonder if it’s a play for more money.

I know that some people are still very anti-Batfleck and would love to see him leave the franchise. I was skeptical but actually appreciated his performance in BvS and would like him to stay awhile. He is already in Justice League this November, and I would prefer to see continuity with him in The Batman (2018?) and the Justice League sequel (2019). After that, though, I would like to see a reboot with a younger Bruce/Batman. (I’m putting some story ideas together, which I will post in a few weeks/months.)

The other news on this front is that Affleck abdicated the director’s chair and a replacement has been named: Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Planet of the Apes franchise).

Nightwing

Among the better fan-made film shorts and web-series about superheroes is “Nightwing: The Series” (2014, 5 episodes). I only caught one or two episodes, but I thought they were pretty decent and had good fight choreography. There is also a new “The Nightwing” mini-series being filmed by another group this year. Fans of the Nightwing character who have been holding out hope for a feature film, though, may finally be getting their wish.

Just a couple weeks ago, Warner Brothers announced that they are now planning a live-action Nightwing film! It will be directed by Chris McKay (The Lego Batman Movie, “Robot Chicken”), with screenplay by Bill Dubuque (The Accountant, The Judge). Since this is just barely getting underway, little is known. An adult Dick Grayson / Nightwing would fit with Affleck’s 40-something Bruce Wayne / Batman, but we don’t yet know if there will be an effort to connect the two.

We do know, however, that McKay’s take on the character will probably be a bit lighter, less gritty than Batman, especially the Batfleck version. As he said in a recent podcast,

“Dick Grayson didn’t come from [privilege]. Dick Grayson came from a circus family. Essentially people who aren’t rich and they are self-made. They’re entertainers. They’re gymnasts. They’re people who live hand-to-mouth and that’s something that informs him and his attitude.

He’s a fascinating guy to me, because he had all the same things happen to him [as Bruce had]…. [Y]et he remains still a brutal fighter but he’s not a playboy, he loves people dearly. Those things are why I like Dick Grayson, why I like the idea of Nightwing as a movie.”

That sounds good to me and in line with the way Grayson is usually portrayed in the comics.

Ideally, I would like to see the evolution of Dick Grayson from young, newbie-hero Robin to independent Nightwing over several years. (This would be part of those ideas I’m developing.) But, if the powers-that-be are already planning a solo film, I have a feeling that I won’t get my wish. There just isn’t time to develop the character. I’m guessing it won’t be out until 2020 or later, but whether tied to Batfleck or independent, we may not know for a while. Wherever in the current DCEU timeline it takes place, I just hope (as usual) that the writers/producers respect and draw directly from the source material. Please, comic gods, let it be a faithful and fun ride!

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Meta Questions

As much as I am enjoying the current crop of comics-based, live-action, prime-time series, sometimes I just have to point out (potential) plot holes or other unanswered (yet somewhat important) questions. So, here are a few I’ve been pondering of late….

SPOILER ALERT!

Gotham:  Det. James Gordon has been gaining popularity (with some big collars) and power (with his recent rise to union rep) in the Gotham City PD, including gaining knowledge of corruption among city officials and occasionally being a thorn in their collective side. This has included current Police Commissioner Loeb, who tried indirectly to get Gordon killed or to quit the force, when he pointed him toward the “Ogre” case. So, I wonder, if Gordon is such a threat to the status quo, why hasn’t Loeb and/or other corrupt officials made more of a concerted effort to eliminate him? Even the mob bosses have been “patient” with Gordon. (Though, from a couple brief conversations, we know that Falcone and Gordon have a mutual, grudging respect for one another and their parts in staving off more bloodshed and/or anarchy in the streets of Gotham. Falcone also had a friendship of some sort with Gordon’s father once upon a time, which also affects his relationship with our hero.) It just seems like Gordon’s bold, sometimes reckless, efforts to clean up Gotham — and he’s just getting started — should have put him directly in the crosshairs of more Gothamite baddies by now.

Door to meta-prison

Door to meta-prison in “The Flash”

Flash:  How is the work at Star Labs (Central City) financed? My guess is that the facility was initially built & financed with the backing of a combination of private investors and the U.S. Dept. of Defense (as evidenced my Gen. Eiling’s involvement in the Grodd project and maybe others), which also would have covered the salaries of the employees. (If something like this was mentioned in the show, then I missed it.) I initially assumed that, after the disaster that partially destroyed the facility, it was decommissioned and Wells et al. were essentially “squatting”. But, that didn’t make sense, especially since the police knew about them working there. So, I’m thinking that Wells is still under contract to do research at the facility, despite being blamed for the whole fiasco. His team seems to be the only one working there now, too.

Wells has pretty nice digs, so I’m assuming he is/was either very well-compensated or he (i.e., the real Wells) was wealthy. (Maybe he developed and sold some sort of tech prior to working for Star Labs?) Even so, and I have mentioned this before, who is paying for the construction and maintenance of the “meta-prison” within the defunct particle accelerator? (For that matter, who feeds, monitors, and cares for the prisoners? Is there plumbing in the cells?) With Wells now revealed as Thawne to the rest of the team, I am also wondering who pays their salaries? If Dr. Wells is in control of that, then why don’t the others seem worried about having no income now, assuming Wells/Thawne cuts them off? [Note: I haven’t watched the final 2 episodes of the season, yet, so forgive me if any of this is addressed in them.]

Arrow:  This one is similar to my “Flash” question, but I’ll keep it shorter. How can Thea and Oliver afford such a modern and spacious loft? Didn’t they lose all of their family fortune? (And where did Ollie crash after they lost the company/money and before his sister asked him to move in with her?) Is someone still running the club? Who pays Diggle’s salary? How did they afford new weapons and other equipment in the “Arrow Cave” after losing Queen-family funding? Is there a trust fund that I’m forgetting about?

Supergirl:  This is the issue that actually inspired this post. Yeah, I know the show won’t even debut until November, but the extended trailer was released the other day, and I noticed something that’s been bugging me. (OK, there was more than one thing, but I generally liked what I saw/heard.) We know that Kara and Kal left for Earth at roughly the same time, shortly before Krypton exploded. Somehow, baby Kal arrives years before tween/teen-age Kara does, with neither having aged appreciably during their respective journeys. The show seems to remain faithful to these “origins” facts, as seen when an adult Superman delivers Kara to her foster-parents, the Danverses.

I can accept that Kara’s ship was somehow delayed and that both she and baby Kal were “preserved” by the systems on their ships. That’s not my question. But, here’s the problem… As the trailer shows young Kal and Kara rocketing off, Kara’s voiceover says “Twenty-four years ago, my planet was in peril…” If Kara is roughly 12-14 Earth years old at the time of her journey to Earth, she should now be in her mid- to late-30s. Yet, we also know (from series descriptions and from casting of Melissa Benoist) that Kara is supposed to be in her mid-20s. If the “twenty-four years ago” statement had been made by tween/teen Kara shortly after she arrived on Earth, that would make sense. That would also make Kal/Superman roughly 24 at the time and in his mid- to late-30s “now”. But, if it’s a 20-something Kara doing the voiceover, the number of years should be larger (e.g., “Thirty-four years ago…”).

On a side note, at what point does the aging/maturing process slow to a crawl for Kryptonians under a yellow sun? It’s gotta be well after puberty, else Kal and Kara would both still look like kids in their early- to mid-teens for quite awhile. Just wonderin’….

Can anybody help me out, here?

Meantime, in case you haven’t already seen it, click here for the fan-made, condensed version of the Supergirl “first look” trailer (as well as the full, 6 1/2 minute original). Great work!