Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Thoughts On The Dark Knight Rises Trailer

It’s funny, when it comes to movies, I’m actually not that hard to impress.

While I consider myself well-versed in the world of film, at the end of the day all it really takes to peak my interest, is:

A): A decent cast.

B): A decent concept.

and C): The promise of people punching one another at some point in the movie.

In some cases that last one, if represented well enough, is the only excuse I need to see a movie, regardless of how dumb or crappy it is.

I rented the shit-fest that was Unknown purely in the hopes of seeing a handful of Liam Neeson related beat downs.

I saw Fast Five solely for the purpose of seeing Vin Diesel and The Rock (not Dwayne) bro-out and put each other through particle board walls.

Pictured: Either The Rock is about to get suplexed, or Vin Diesel's in the process of getting Speared. I honestly can't tell...

And when it comes to The Dark Knight Rises, as utterly incalculable as the build-up has, and will continue to be for the next 6 months or so, at the end of the day I will see it because it, unlike any other movie in film history; will deliver the long anticipated spectacle of Batman and Bane duking it out on the big screen.

That these 2 titans of comics are to be portrayed by capable actors such as Christian Bale and Tom Hardy respectively, is merely the icing on the cake.

I find this funny. Does that make me less of a man?

Christopher Nolan’s track record when it comes to cinematography and fight choreography suggests that the ensuing bout will be clumsy and edited through a meat grinder, but even so, I’ve been waiting to see this fight brought to life on the silver screen since I was 6 years old; and crappy or not, I will not be denied.

That being said, Batman and Bane grudge match aside, what did I think of the new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises?

Well, to answer your question, I felt it was quite good by most standards, but much too enigmatic and fractured in it’s presentation to pack the same visceral punch that the later trailers for The Dark Knight did.

Here’s a refresher in case you need it:

I’d prefer not to compare the 2, as it’s obvious the people cutting the trailers for these movies came at it from very different tonal and thematic standpoints; but I feel it needs to be said that, to me, The Dark Knight really did have some of the best trailers of all time.

Everything, from the shot selection, to the music cues, to the overall pacing of the trailers for The Dark Knight was absolutely spot on.

What’s more, thanks to the dialogue-heavy nature of the trailers, as well as his untimely death, an absurd amount of buzz was generated for Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker, (*Sigh* “Why So Serious?”) not to mention the overall plot of the film was made crystal clear.

Though it sounds silly in this cynical age of ours, in many ways I feel the catchphrases and buzzwords of The Dark Knight actually served to make it’s advertising campaign both effective and memorable on the whole.

The trailer for The Dark Knight Rises has a lot of neat shots in it, promising quite a few interesting set piece moments, however, perhaps due to the lack of dialogue, many of these shots are difficult to interpret from a purely visual standpoint.

Early on we see the reflection of a man with a cane approaching a shiny dinner platter while Alfred drones on about the Wayne dynasty:

Pictured: I have no fucking clue. Maybe a Ra's Al Ghul flashback?

At some point we see someone stumble onto the set of Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet:

Pictures: Ballrooms + Flower Petals = Hamelt. It's science.

Later, we see a bearded Bruce Wayne wandering around what appears to be the prison equivalent to Discovery Zone:

I know it's probably supposed to be a prison, but honestly, I kind of wanna' play on it...

There’s that French lady from Inception n’shit.

A FOOTBALL FIELD was just DESTROYED! WHY ARE YOU SMILING!?

There’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Pictured: Joseph Gordon "Still Not Sure Where To Put The Hyphen" Levitt.

There’s A SHIT TON of rappeling.

The Dark Knight Rises: A Story of Men On Ropes.

And then we have Anne Hathaway as a mean lady that may or may not be Catwoman.

Seriously, if you take into account the fact that maybe, just maybe, the people viewing this trailer haven’t been blogging about every step of the script writing process, or staring at leaked production photos for the past several months, (oddly enough, not me!) then this trailer basically offers no hint as to her role being that of Selina Kyle.

Oh wait excuse me, she’s wearing a mask at a masquerade ball that, if you look really hard, has cat ears:

Direct quote: "WHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!"

Sarcasm deployed, mystery solved.

Much like Aaron Eckhart’s Two-Face, unless you’ve been following the production or are familiar with the Batman universe, chances are you’d never know Anne Hathaway was supposed to be Catwoman in this trailer.

Indeed, I’m curious to know what this trailer meant to people who aren’t familiar with Batman outside of the movies.

In many ways, when I watch this trailer, I feel my perception is skewed by the fact that I already have an attachment to and understanding of many of the characters based on their comic book equivalent.

When I think “Bane,” I already have an image in mind of what I expect from him.

When I hear Tom Hardy speaking through his mask I say to myself:

"I can see how people could find that hard to understand, but goddamnit that sounds like Bane!"

When I see scenes from the trailer like the prison break, I think to myself:

"Nice. That looks straight out of Knightfall!"

To the average Batman virgin however, I’d imagine imagery such as this would be provocative, but purely in a “oh, so that’s gonna’ happen at some point” kind of way.

Hell, I’m willing to bet the average Bat Virgin doesn’t have the slightest clue as to who or what Bane even is.

What I think I’m trying to say, is that the style of editing and presentation of this trailer is enticing, as anything with a budget and pretty pictures can manage to be, but at the same time I feel frustrated by the numerous vagaries it throws in my lap.

As you can probably tell, I’m not a fan of the J.J. Abrams-style marketing.

It’s not that I prefer my trailers to spell their plots and structure out to me, I simply value coherence and context over sound cues and pretty pictures.

Much like all of Christopher Nolan’s blockbusters, The Dark Knight Rises appears to be an audio-visual powerhouse, though in some ways it appears a little less so at this point.

The set pieces looks suitably big, but the color palette appears more gray-ish and natural than The Dark Knight and Batman Begins, and curiously enough, despite it being an almost comical trademark of his, there’s not a single (gorgeous) overhead shot of a cityscape.

Instead he decided to pull a 180 and do an INVERTED overhead shot for the poster!

That last part troubles me, as I’m a big fan of Nolan’s wide open establishing shots, particularly in outdoor scenes, and though it may just be the editor’s doing; there are none to be found in this trailer.

Perhaps the strangest thing though, at least to me, is the fact that they re-used the mood building drone AKA The Joker’s theme from The Dark Knight in this trailer.

I always thought of that particular piece of music as “belonging” to The Joker, which made it somewhat puzzling to hear played over a trailer for a film that, almost certainly; won’t feature him.

Despite everything I’ve said about this trailer, both good and bad, at the end of the day it’s a very good piece of advertising for a sequel that, unfortunately, benefitted from some of the best advertising and pre-release buzz in recent memory.

Not only that, it’s only the first trailer, for a huge movie that isn’t dropping until late in the summer.

As good as the advertising for The Dark Knight was from the get go, the 2nd trailers for it, Iron Man, and Inception were all MONUMENTALLY better than the first, which leads me to believe the same will likely be the case with The Dark Knight Rises.

In addition to this, one also has to consider the fact that virtually all of Christopher Nolan’s blockbusters up to this point, while heavily advertised, also did well to avoid showing a great deal of the major story beats and action set pieces.

I mean hell, neither the teaser nor the trailer saw any mention of Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox, nor any of stuff from the prologue sequence that made the rounds through theaters last week.

I don’t know about you, but up until it’s release I really thought the “truck flip” from The Dark Knight trailer was going to be the climax of the movie.

Instead, the entire skyscraper based finale of the movie ended up playing that role, while never once being hinted at in the trailers.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that though I may seem overly critical, in truth I’m just a fanboy hoping for the best.

In the meantime though, as weird as it seems, I think I actually liked the almost universally panned teaser for The Dark Knight Rises somewhat better than the trailer.

True, most of the footage was borrowed from Batman Begins.

True, Commissioner Gordon’s dialogue was hard to understand.

True, virtually nothing Commissioner Gordon had to say was even worth hearing in the first place.

BUT, at the very end of the teaser, there is a single, barely 2 second shot that made it all worth it:

Pictured: All I needed to see.

Batman in the rain, taking a deep breath, while Bane slowly approaches from the foreground.

The whole thing was crap up until then, but that last shot instantly sold me.

The trailer, while bigger and much more coherent, didn’t have this shot or even a suitable equivalent.

True, it featured a few shots of Batman and Bane throwing down in the snow, however I felt the subtlety and dramatic implication of the teaser shot did more to appease the fanboy in me than the entirety of the full trailer.

That’s just me though.

Do I ever need a reason to post this? Didn't think so...

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Moon Knight, Thank You For Being So Freakin’ Crazy.

Marvel Comic’s Moon Knight is fucking badass.

Until recently, Moon Knight was always just a niche hero to me, a cheesy Batman clone with a cool costume and D-List villains to go with his D-List superpowers.

Moon Knight's gadgets range from a spermicidal bodysuit, to a portable stripper pole.

By the way, his “powers” consist of augmented strength in synch with the phase of the moon.

Oh yeah, and his “powers” don’t work anymore.

And his fighting technique is described as “hurting peoples fists with his face.”

Kind of like these guys.

So why is it that I like Moon Knight anyway?

About a month ago, I read my first Moon Knight story, and I’m kicking myself for having waited so long to do so.

It wasn’t until November 2009, when I saw Jerome Opena’s incredible interior artwork in the current “Vengeance of the Moon Knight” series, that I made the conscious decision to find a nice jumping off point to start reading Moon Knight.

Yeah, it's cheesy, but goddamn I love it!

Hell, I figured that, if the art was that good, Moon Knight had to be doing something right over the years.

My first Moon Knight story came in the form of the Charlie Huston’s 2006 relaunch of the series, “The Bottom.”

“The Bottom” was a violent and gritty character study of Marc Spector AKA Moon Knight.

Marc Spector: The Avenging Hobo.

Let it be known, that when it comes to “violent” and “gritty,” David Finch’s artwork is a perfect match.

Oh yeah, make sure to add “stylish” to that pile of adjectives too, ’cause yeah, Mr. Finch does stylish, and he does it well.

Even when he’s drawing stuff for that pile of ass-fuckery, X-Men: Messiah Complex.

Pictured: Messiah Complex.

Seriously, fuck Messiah Complex.

Fuck it with fire.

And rhinoceros cock.

And a dental dam.

Hmm, sexual....

ANYWAY, “The Bottom” begins with Spector crippled and dispirited due to horrible injuries inflicted on him by his lifelong nemesis, The Bushman.

You see!? THIS is what happens when you give cocaine to Joe Pesci!

The Bushman and Spector were originally partners in crime in a mercenary unit during the Gulf War, (in the original, 1970’s version, they were in Southeast Asia) however due to moral differences, they’ve been at each others throats ever since.

In any case, Bushman throws Moon Knight off a roof, shattering his legs in the process.

No way in hell this guy didn't get paid to take this photo. Douche-Rocket...

Despite this, Moon Knight manages to stay in the fight long enough to, literally, cut Bushman’s face off.

"I want to cut his faaaaaace... Off."

Did I mention that Moon Knight was badass?

It was moments like this that cemented my love and appreciation for Moon Knight.

That and the fact that Moon Knight is perhaps the only “superhero” I’ve ever read, that was completely bat-shit crazy.

I mean, check out his bio:

He’s a former mercenary that hated his father, got shot to shit in the Middle East during the 90’s, then found himself brought back from the dead to serve as the earthly avatar for Khonshu, the Egyptian god of the moon and, apparently, vengeance.

At least that’s what he thinks anyway.

As Moon Knight, Spector is unforgivingly brutal and over-the-top in how he handles criminals.

Trust me, that red shit ain't strawberry jam...

Early on in The Bottom, Spector makes a side-comment regarding his status as a street-level crime fighter, something along the lines of:

“Someone has to do this, someone has to do the fun stuff.”

That sums up Moon Knight pretty well.

He’s the living embodiment of vengeance.

He regards the very concept of it as spiritual, holy.

To him, busting heads and cutting bitches, no matter how inconsequential or petty, is like going to evening mass.

Mr. Ike Turner here knows what I'm talkin' 'bout.

I gotta’ say, it feels sick of me to think it, but I love reading Moon Knight, because deep down I know his moral compass, his concept of justice, are both totally fucking wrong.

Try saying that about your average superhero.

"Superman, you're WRONG! You're... Oh, I can't stay mad at you Christopher Reeve. You handsome devil, you."

In “The Bottom,” Huston cleverly makes use of the fallen (and still faceless) corpse of The Bushman to serve as a representation of Khonshu’s influence on his thinking.

Think it as an homage to the “Jack” character in An American Werewolf in London.

Oh Jack, you were alive what, 10 minutes of the movie?

Spector’s interactions with Khonshu serve as a highlight to the story on many levels.

From them, we learn that Spector is conflicted with his identity as Khonshu’s servant, as well as the fact that Khonshu may or may not be a manifestation of Spector’s own mind.

From what I’ve read, Marc Spector was originally written as having multiple personalities, and in many ways, I feel that Charlie Huston managed to do more by simply alluding to this, than in actually implementing it as a plot point.

In The Bottom, we learn that Spector’s support system, his Alfred Pennyworth and Barbara Gordon, have left him due to his “retirement” and general lack of self-worth.

And if THIS is the only way you know these characters, you can go right ahead and continue to suck cock.

If you don’t know who either of those two characters are, get the fuck off my blog.

Seriously folks, it’s fucking Batman.

If you don’t know FUCKING BATMAN, then congratulations, your life has been a big waste.

Anyway, back to Moon Knight…. Yah, bunch of retards.

For the most part, I was very impressed by Charlie Huston’s handling of the ancillary characters in Moon Knight’s universe.

From his use of them, I felt I got to know them, and their respective histories with Marc Spector, without them ever having to come into play in the main storyline.

By stories’ end of course, Marc Spector again assumes the mantle of the Moon Knight, leading to a confrontation with a stunningly original villain, The Profile, who has the ability to literally “read” people with pinpoint accuracy.

Now THAT, is one sketchy motherfucker. Seriously, he looks like a cross between Hunter S. Thompson and Donnie Brasco. Oh wait, that's Johnny Depp.

Oh yeah, and the always enjoyable Taskmaster also makes an appearance as during the climax of the story in a rare, action-heavy role.

Goddamn, Taskmaster is pimp...

Despite the bombast of the Moon Knight’s return to ass-kicking form, the ending ultimately turns out bittersweet for our hero, as he finds himself still under Khonshu’s thumb, friendless and without even himself to trust.

Unlike THIS GUY. THIS GUY knows EXACTLY what he's doing...

“The Bottom” was a riveting experience that goes all too well with my collection of MAX Punisher and Thunderbolts books.

Violent, and full of questionable morals and stellar artwork to boot, Moon Knight is fucking awesome.

These days I’m reading “Midnight Sun,” the second volume in the 2006 Moon Knight series.

And so far, I’m still loving it.

Charlie Huston drops off as writer after this volume, as does artist David Finch, so I’m not sure the series will retain it’s quality after this point, but even so, I’ll be happy with just the two books regardless.

My “Moon Knight Plan” after reading “The Bottom” was always to read Huston’s work, and then move on to the first arc of the brand new “Vengeance of the Moon Knight,” then maybe give the new Secret Avengers a try.

After all, “Vengeance” apparently deals with the resurrection of The Bushman via the combined efforts of The Profile and The Hood, so I guess by the time I start reading that, I’ll be all caught up anyway.

Yup, it's true, nobody stays dead in comics.

Anyway, enough gushing and comic bullshit, have a good night everyone.

Hopefully we’ll hit 500 hits tomorrow, that’d be a milestone worth celebrating, right?

With that, I leave you with this awesome (and officially published!) Moon Knight cover in which our heroes battles a pair of Luchadores.

In a word: AWESOME.

Filed under: Comics, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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