(*homocinematically inclined)

Monday, November 20, 2017

Dearest Review: The Dark Knight Rises

2017 has been a busy year for The Batman.

The Lego Batman Movie:
Will Arnett’s growly Caped Crusader was the breakout character of the super-cute Lego Movie three years ago, so it was a no-brainer to spin him off into his own animated feature. Just as deliriously over-stuffed as its predecessor, this Batman Movie is filled to the brim with bat-references, including appearances by pretty much his entire Rogues Gallery and plenty of clever nods to his previous live action cinematic adventures. The family friendly plot finds our plastic hero facing off once again with his old foe the Joker (voiced by Zach Galifianakis), who recruits an army of special guest villains from such other Warner properties as Gremlins and Harry Potter. Holy synergy, Batman! (7/10) Now available on DVD and Blu-ray and streaming on HBO.

Ladies and Gentlemen: The Dynamic Duo

Batman & Bill:
The most tragic Batman story of all didn’t play out on the comic page or movie screen but in real life. Everyone’s favorite cowled crime fighter made his four-color debut in 1939, with Bob Kane credited with creating the future superstar superhero. However, Kane didn’t do it all by himself. A large part of what makes Batman the Batman we know today is thanks to writer Bill Finger, who was denied his proper credit (and all the money and acclaim that goes with it) by the fame-hungry egotist Kane (who deserves the Bat-Villain name Credit Hog). The bittersweet story of how Finger’s legacy was rightfully restored years after his lonely death makes for an engrossing and ultimately uplifting must-see for any true Bat-Fan. (8/10) Now streaming on Hulu.

Kane and Abler

Justice League:
Of course, Batman (as played by Ben Affleck) is one of the big guns brought together for the long-awaited first big screen adventure of DC Comics’ “World’s Greatest Heroes”. He and Gal Gadot’s kick-ass Wonder Woman recruit Jason Momoa’s ├╝ber-hunky Aquaman, Ezra Miller’s geeky Flash and Ray Fisher’s high tech Cyborg to stop an encroaching global alien threat… oh, and also to resurrect Henry Cavill’s Superman, who was killed off in last year’s widely derided Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Learning from their mistakes from that one and capitalizing on the wonderfully received Wonder Woman from earlier this year, JL has been lightened up considerably (even ol’ Bats cracks a smile at one point) and is blessedly devoid of the dark tone that has made most of DC’s own “Cinematic Universe” such drudgery to watch.

In a League of Their Own

Racked by production problems and overshadowed by perennial rival Marvel’s ongoing dominance of the genre/flooding of the market, JL is far from the great superhero epic it certainly had the potential to be, but it’s still fun, with some cool fight scenes and enough positive hints toward future chapters/spin-offs to give at least this longtime DC "super friend" some hope for the future. (7/10) Now in theaters.

Coming soon: reviews of this year’s other superhero flicks, including Logan, Spider-Man: Homecoming and, of course, Wonder Woman.

Reviews by Kirby Holt, Movie Dearest creator, editor and head writer.

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