Super Podcast Ep 60 – Comic Book Movies of the 90s

Download HERE [Running Time: 01:38:46m]
Welcome to Episode 60 of Super Podcast, your co-hosts Super Marcey and Bede Jermyn are back with special guest Matches Malone from Reels, Racks, Records and Rants podcast! For this 60th episode special we decided to rediscover the 90s and comic book films by discussing comic book films of the 90s! Were they good, bad or forgettable? Tune in to find out!
Highlights Include:

Marcey and Bede would like to thank Matches for taking the time out to join us.
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2 thoughts on “Super Podcast Ep 60 – Comic Book Movies of the 90s

  1. Alright this is going to be a fucking long post, so you’ve been warned. Okay, let’s do this…

    I remember loving the Addams Family movies as a child, and again, more so the sequel than the original. Hearing you talking about the films brought back so many memories. Those films were incredibly cast, especially Angelica Huston as Morticia, Christina Ricci as Wednesday and OF COURSE Raul Julia. Raul Julia is such an amazing actor and it still saddens me that not only was his career tragically cut short, but that the last film he did was Street Fighter. Also I cannot believe that neither of you discussed what was the best part of Addams Family Values – the thanksgiving play where all hell breaks loose. It’s a pretty big call for a mainstream family comedy to be so forthcoming about the atrocities that America is built upon.

    Batman Returns. I fucking love this movie. It is actually my favourite of all the Batman movies, as you should know Marcey. One thing that needs to be said about Tim Burton’s Batman films is how well he balanced the over-the-top campy comic-book world aspects of Batman with the darkness and psychological depth and dysfunction befitting his world. I could talk about this movie forever, so I guess I am going to try and keep things brief, but I do have a few things I want to point out.
    – Matches, shame on you for not liking Michael Keaton. It isn’t all about the eyes, although they certainly help. When it comes to the Batman of the Tim Burton movies, you have to think of him as a different interpretation; one that is not so much interested in examining Batman as a hero, but in deconstructing Batman as a severely psychologically disturbed individual. This is EXACTLY what Batman Returns is about in a very expressionistic sense. The claustrophobic gothic dark-deco design of Burton’s Gotham is an extension of Bruce’s mind-frame, shadowy and full of internalized psychological torment and the fascistic elements in the film’s design also reflect Batman’s own semi-fascist vigilante tendencies. As for the villains overshadowing Batman in the Burton movies, Burton’s approach was to try and make Batman as shadowy and mysterious a figure as possible because he wanted to present him as a tortured misfit who felt most comfortable in the shadows and not really having to be out there; this is why the Joker overpowers him in terms of screen-time; Batman is a reclusive, tormented introvert who lurks in the shadows; the Joker is a loud, flamboyant, attention-craving narcissist who wants to steal the limelight. In Returns, the villains themselves represent the core split identities of Batman himself; Penguin the rejected, orphaned child who wallows in his own pain; Catwoman the fragmented vigilante getting even with a world that has let her down; and Max Schreck is a corrupted version of Bruce Wayne the industrialist, the public face that everyone sees and by extension; the least sympathetic and least human of the three villains.
    – Again Matches, Catwoman wasn’t brought back to life by cats licking her. She wasn’t dead; her fall was slowed down by her falling through the awnings. It says so in the script. She didn’t have nine lives. Furthermore, the ‘resurrection’ scene makes more sense when you view it in terms of the images being metaphorical for her internal state of mind; she has reached breaking point as Selina Kyle; she has extremely low self-esteem, her life is constant bitter disappointment and nobody gives her any love or appreciates her for who she is; there is a lot of rage and raw sexuality she has repressed and this is the moment where this dark side is starting to come out; going with the animal motif of the film, the cats seem representative of her hidden animal self; they are the totem of her repressed anger, waking her up and changing her. I could go on about this for ages because Selina Kyle and her journey to find who she is and her identity crisis is my favourite aspect of this movie.

    Batman Forever is one of those strange movies. I hate a lot of aspects about the film; the neon, Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face (more on that later), but I think you have to give Joel Schumacher and writer Akiva Goldsman a hand at successfully balancing the story between Batman and the villains, and giving both sides equal screen-time. I know you guys complained about Chris O’Donnell as Robin, but I think the way that the Robin storyline was handled was one of the best parts of the movie; they managed to update Robin’s traditional origin and reiterate its mirroring of Batman’s own origin and tying those together to explain why Batman would take in another person like him. Maybe the (perceived) loss of Selina Kyle at the end of Batman Returns after trying to appeal to her and find someone else like himself was an impact on that. Hold on, did I just infer some homo-erotic subtext in Batman Forever? Hold on, this is Batman Forever, what subtext? That movie is seriously queerer than a three dollar bill. Speaking of which, I think one of the film’s major issues is its inability to balance seriousness with camp. Although it succeeds in giving equal screen time to Batman and his enemies, nevertheless the tone is very uneven and we go from zany action sequences with cartoonish sound effects and bright neon colours to attempts to explore Batman’s inner demons that almost succeed but don’t quite (probably because of how heavily cut down the film was by the studio – I would still love to see the director’s cut if it’s ever pieced together).

    Matches, I am surprised that you liked Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face. I’ve always had a problem with his interpretation of the character – mainly because I think he gave Two-Face no depth whatsoever, and saw the prospect of playing a ‘comic book villain’ as a chance to camp it up as much as possible when for all intents and purposes, by that stage, Two-Face had developed into a rather serious character, and perhaps one of the better developed of all of the Batman villains. What is most important about Two-Face is the fact that he represents for Batman one of his greatest losses and also a flipside of what he could be – like Batman, Harvey Dent was an upholder of the law who through unfortunate circumstances went through a traumatic event that unleashed something in him; in this case an eternal struggle between his noble intentions and his darker, violent impulses. This conflict is completely absent in Tommy Lee Jones’ portrayal of Two-Face, something which is partially his fault for not taking his character seriously enough (seriously, he goes through the whole film trying to camp it up like Jack Nicholson’s Joker, but where that sort of zany-ness works for the Joker, it doesn’t for Two-Face who in the comics has often been portrayed as a grim and rather stoic in his internal conflict), but I also blame the writers of the movie for completely underwriting and mistreating one of the most tragically complex and interesting characters of the Batman universe. Not to mention the fucking awful makeup job and the purple zebra-stripe suit. How are purple zebra-stripes on one half of his costume supposed to make him any more intimidating and frightening? But then again this is a kid’s movie and I suppose Joel Schumacher wanted to lighten things up and didn’t want to scare children with a self-loathing psychopath who has one of his eyes almost falling out. Wow, that part of the rant went on much longer than I had expected, but then again Two-Face is one of my favourite Batman characters, and its always going to sadden me that I am never going to see Tim Burton’s take on the character.
    Also Bede, they didn’t change the killer of Batman’s parents from the Joker to Two-Face. Bruce was merely telling Robin that they are similar in that their parents were both killed by deranged lunatics, not the same deranged lunatic. But I guess that is easy to confuse in a film that is as haphazardly written as this. (Also, fun note; Sugar and Spice’s names in the original script were originally Leather and Lace, but they were forced to change the names because of how sexually suggestive they were).

    Batman & Robin. Euuuggh. Nuff said. Actually it’s interesting that they were at one point going to actually make a sequel that was going to try and re-darken the franchise, featuring Jeff Goldblum as the Scarecrow and Jack Nicholson returning as the Joker in Batman’s fear-toxin induced hallucinations. That and they were going to recast Robin with Vincent Kartheiser mooted to be the new boy wonder, which I actually think could’ve been awesome because Vincent is a great actor and kinda nomz (when he’s not Pete Campbell).

    Blade = Awesome. This film was my teenage years. It totally reinvigorated my love for vampires and ignited my obsession with them and probably my massive adolescent goth phase which made me the man I am today. Oh, and Stephen Dorff = nomz.

    Anyway, I’m still only halfway through the podcast, so I will post more when I’ve listened to more, most likely. It has been excellent so far. 😀


    P.S. – R.I.P. Michael Gough. 😦


  2. Part 2. Not as long as Part 1.

    The Crow has the best fucking soundtrack this side of the entire collected soundtracks of Gregg Araki’s filmography. I’ve never seen any of the Crow sequels, thankfully. I’ve heard about how terrible they are. Speaking of terrible, don’t get me started on Judge Dredd. As I understand it, the point of the original comic book series was to be an ironic deconstruction of shitty Hollywood action movies and american style anti-heroes that shoot first and ask questions later. The movie just ended up being everything that the comic books were making fun of.

    Mystery Men is intensely underrated. Great cast, hillarious! I haven’t seen the Rocketeer, which I feel bad about, because it’s diesel-punk, pulp novel, golden-age comic book style looks like something I’d totally get behind. I liked The Shadow as a kid also.

    I don’t remember Dick Tracy at all. Or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films. I was about 4 when the Secret of the Ooze came out and I only remember my dad having to carry me screaming and crying from the theatre because Shredder terrified me. It was one of many future instances of him having to drag the child version of me out of movie theatres because of things scaring me. Nevertheless, I LOOOOOVED the turtles as a child. I had so many of the toys way back when. I think I sold them all. Bummer.



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