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Screen Shots Episode 2 — Iron Man vs Batman

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SPOILER ALERTS AHEAD —

In this episode, William reveals that he has some kind of complex about being accused by others of being a “purist”, while Scott rescinds his comments about girly-men, but throws “little guys” under the bus. And somehow, through it all, they manage to spend a ton of time discussing the Iron Man and Batman trilogies. Which one do they think is best? You’ll have to listen to find out! Then let us know in the comment section below which you think is best! BUT TAKE CAUTION IF YOU DON’T WISH TO HEAR SPOILERS REGARDING: Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, The Avengers, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, and Star Trek Into Darkness.

Comments (14)

  1. Jas

    Wow, really nice job on describing what worked and what didn’t in those franchises. I agree with the ratings you guys gave–though sometimes I have a hard time contrasting The Dark Knight with the first Iron Man movie to decide which is better because they are doing such different things.

    I didn’t find Pepper’s reactions at the end of Iron Man 3 as off-putting as Will did I don’t think because she was giving voice to one side of a conflict that has shown up all along in those films. However the line about violence was written for a cheap laugh and I think the cheap cost probably was related to “cause she’s a girl.” The worry over dying though I didn’t have problems with, maybe cause that’s been shown to be something Tony also has but doesn’t deal with directly.

    Also the whole exchange between Pepper and Maya–really good and completely counter to the way women’s relationships with each other are usually shown.

    The second Iron Man movie I didn’t like nearly as much as the other two. As far as the character–the kind of arrogance Tony showed made me feel like–wait didn’t the first movie happen at all? And the weakness of the villain in this one (the Russian guy)–I actually found that true in Iron Man One too–the villain came across as kind of silly. I liked the explanation of the pseudo-villain in Iron-Man 3 as a way to kind of explain away some silliness.

    I think Will nailed the problem with the Batman franchise in talking about the Romance. I didn’t like that in either of the first two movies—though I did like the actress better in the second movie and she came across to me as a stronger character.

    I don’t have enough space to say what I didn’t like about the third movie. The second movie had going for it (among other things) very interesting thoughts about morality. I know I took a group of middle-school, high-school kids to see it, and it inspired a pretty in-depth conversation along those lines on the way home—which you have to think—it’s a pretty impressive movie that has that effect. But the third movie! As Will said, they used the occupy movement, plus throwing in some stuff about feminism and Islam—to create this bizarre amalgam terrorist threat. On the romance front—as soon as Miranda and Bruce get together—the complete lack of motivation there made me say—OK sooooo she’s the bad-guy. I thought Anne Hathaway’s Cat Woman was the only redeeming thing in the whole movie.

    In some ways, Iron Man 3 and Dark Knight Rises took opposing sides in their messages about the corporate world, rich and poor, and terrorism.

    • Jas

      Me and my big mouth 🙂 I forgot something. DC versus Marvel–I definitely think the idea that DC is more interested in Mythology is on target. I find that Marvel is more interested in psychology though or maybe was more so from its start and DC has become more so over the years. The psychology of being a super-hero, the marginality of it–is pretty central to X-Men, Spiderman and Fantasic-Four. Marvel also seems more interested in sociological issues (the Mutants as analogies for excluded groups). A good contrast might be found in looking at Neil Gaiman’s DC series Sandman versus some of the work he’s done for Marvel (“1602”).

      • Well, by “psychological” I really meant things like archetypes and existential struggles, and also DCs original explorations of criminality and detective work. (They weren’t called Detective Comics for nothing! 😉 But, indeed, as I noted with how emphasis on Bruce’s vow to his dead parents is relatively recent (somewhere in the 70s, I think, which, as you pointed out, is after Marvel started), DC has focused on things like Batman-and-Joker-are-actually-two-sides-of-the-same-sociopathic-coin only more recently, although I still think this is a different kind of emphasis on psychology than Marvel’s, which focuses on the psychological impact of special powers and secret identities.

        Heh… that’s kind of funny… even when DC decides to move away from lofty Jungian psychology and delve into something more immediate and clinical, it can’t be the normal every-day kind of psychology that Marvel’s good at. For DC, only abnormal psychology will do. 🙂

        As for sociological and cultural relevance, I, too, think it’s obvious that Marvel has always been ahead of DC in this area. Again, DC seems keen on exploring esoteric concepts more than current events, and battles of wits between a hero and his nemesis rather than the sociological and cultural realities of living and working in Metropolis, say.

        (None of this is to say that DC doesn’t explore relevant psychological, sociological, and cultural themes, especially today. I just think it’s fairly evident that it’s not at the heart of what they’re good at.)

        And for all of these reasons, DC tends to appeal to me more than Marvel, even as I appreciate that Marvel does a better job of telling stories that appeal in a direct and visceral way to “everyman”.

        • Although, I’ll also add that the phrase “such-and-such character is more relatable” is a relative one. For example, I relate more to Clark Kent than just about any comic book character, because he was raised by Methodist parents on a farm, just like I was. (In fact, until Donner placed Smallville in Kansas in his 1978 film, Smallville and the Kent Farm had been located in many places, the very first specific locations being somewhere in Appanoose County, Iowa as established by The Adventures of Superman radio play in 1947. Appanoose County is just two counties south from the county I grew up in.) Clark’s powers, and even his alien origins, don’t take away from the fact that I recognize him as someone I might have gone to church and school with. Conversely, I relate less to Peter Parker who was raised by his aunt and uncle in New York City. But I imagine people who can relate to a city kid like Peter aren’t bothered by the fact that he’s also a science genius who’s a mutant. Furthermore, stories that examine Clark’s psychology may not be very compelling to someone who doesn’t relate to a Methodist farm boy, but those stories are very compelling to me – so, to me, they seem every bit as “deep” psychologically as some may find Peter Parker’s stories to be.

          The point I’m conceding above is that DC tends to – or classically has tended to – ignore the mundane, at least in comparison to Marvel. I don’t mind this, personally, as I really like mythic tales with grand themes. But I do understand the appeal – even the broader appeal – of more down-to-earth stories.

          • Jas

            Interesting. I wonder if some of that direction in DC come from the fact that it’s older. I’m thinking about not only Detective Comics but things like Weird Tales (not DC I don’t think but of the older time period).

            The first comic series I read and the one that really got me interested in comics was “Doom Patrol” which has some odd similarities with X-men (to the point where you wonder whether there was some influence of one on the other–they’re both created in ’63). They are both a team of outcasts led by a genius in a wheelchair. But I think “Doom Patrol” has more of the DC angle that you’re describing. Both villains and heroes are very much about mind/body, or human/non-human divisions and questions of identity. The villains are extremely strange in that pulp fiction way–a disembodied brain, a super-intelligent gorilla. I think the one I identified with most was “Negative Man”–the hero is a jet fighter who becomes exposed to nuclear radiation and must spend the rest of his life encased in lead bandages to avoid killing others. His heroic aspect is “negative man”–a radioactive being that he can control and which springs from his body–but which can remain separated from him for only a short period of time or both will die. They are not the same person though–in fact the radioactive energy does not seem to be a person at all. And the man (Larry Trainor) often feels alienated from the heroism of negative man in that he “does” nothing (his body lies inert while his body controls negative man). One of the other heroes, Elasti-girl, had some interesting commentaries on gender at the time because one of her main powers is to grow enormously large and act as the “muscle” of the group (though she can also grow very small) and the fact that this runs counter to what women are supposedly like is commented on in the series (mostly showing that the men who have this expectation are jerks in some way).

  2. DominaLuna

    Will, I thought you were the one who had an issue with midgets? 😉

  3. Re: Doom Patrol

    I don’t know why it’s never occurred to me before to use DC’s Doom Patrol in a comparison to Marvel’s X-Men as an ideal way of comparing DC and Marvel more generally. I guess it’s because I’ve never really known that much about Doom Patrol.

    • Jas

      Yeah, it’s pretty interesting to consider. The names for instance–“X-men” always made me think both of genetics and of the fact that they lie outside the human. “Doom Patrol” is both a kind of allusion to “Dawn Patrol” and the obvious sense of their heroism as tragic in some way. The Doom Patrol members are not born with powers, but become heroes through accident and illness–both connected with the fact that they were all risk takers before the event which changed them. One’s a former race-car driver–after a crash his body cannot be saved, but The Chief is able to place his brain in a robotic body. Negative Man is born out of radiation accident with some flying experimental aircraft, and Elasti-girl was an explorer who catches a rare disease which makes her able to grow and shrink. It’s interesting that both the male characters have no way of coming in physical contact with the world (one has no body, the other has a body that must always remain covered), and the female character has power through control of her body.

      • Right. I think Doom Patrol was kind of an answer to the Fantastic Four, who also got their powers from an accident.

        Yeah, the names almost say it all.

        Marvel: “Fantastic Four”; “Uncanny X-Men”

        DC: DOOM PATROL

        😀

  4. DominaLuna

    I agree the romance between Bruce and Rachel was so pivotal to the plot and his motivation, it really did not work to switch out Katie Holmes mid stream. (I also felt that this motivation was not very compelling.)
    Maggie Gyllenhaal is an accomplished actress. I loved her in Stranger Than Fiction and think she can pull off a romantic role. But those actresses are so different in both looks and style, she came off as a completely different person to me. I had the sense that Gyllenhaal was constrained in her performance because she was probably directed to emulate Holmes’ performance to an extent. She wasn’t at her best and it just came off flat. The director, the screenwriting and the cinematography really did nothing to help her out. I feel like Rachel was treated as a throw away role and I don’t know anyone that could have successfully pulled it off.

    • Agreed. But they didn’t really have a choice once Holmes decided not to do it. For Rachel to be a surrogate for Bruce’s parents, she had to know Bruce’s parents. If they’d just given Bruce a new love interest, she would have also, somehow, had to know Bruce’s parents and she’d have had to know Bruce as he was growing up and… that also would have been jarring to the narrative. So even though I’m sure Nolan knew how problematic the switch was going to be himself, he didn’t feel as though he was in a position to do anything other than what he did. And I think he was right. The mistake, really, was in having Rachel serve this purpose in the story to begin with.

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