Like any job, writing about the latest news in the world of entertainment can wear on you after long enough, so you gotta appreciate the little pearls of amusement where you can get them. Personally, watching the latest solo Batman project fall apart in slow motion has been a perverse thrill over the past couple of months: star Ben Affleck was gonna direct (maybe) the film titled The Batman, then he was definitely gonna direct it, then he backpedaled a little bit, then he requested that people stop asking him about it, then he face-planted onto the sidewalk with the costly flop Live By Night, and then look at that, he wasn’t taking the director’s chair after all. The indignities kept coming, as Warner Bros. ordered sweeping rewrites to this floundering project before landing Planet of the Apes remake maestro Matt Reeves to fill the directorial vacuum.
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Since announcing that Ben Affleck would no longer be directing the upcoming standalone The Batman film, Warner Bros. has been in a full-blown crisis mode, working overtime to find a talented new director and prove all those “Is the DC Cinematic Universe doomed?” articles wrong. Back in January, Forbes reported that the Warner Bros. shortlist featured several interesting names, including George Miller, Denis Villeneuve, and Matt Reeves. And now, less than two weeks after The Batman lost its director, it appears that Warner Bros. has settled on its replacement.
The LEGO Batman Movie, now playing in theaters (and Palace Cinema LEGO sets) everywhere, works perfectly well for any audience, regardless of their familiarity with Batman, LEGO or otherwise. For viewers who do know the nearly 80-year history of its title character, however, the film is a treasure trove of references. Following his debut in the pages of 1939’s Detective Comics #27, Batman quickly became one of the most famous heroes in all of comics, and eventually spawned television shows, movies, toys, video games, and countless pieces of merchandise, almost all of which get referenced in Chris McKay’s LEGO Batman Movie in some way, shape, or form.
These are dark days for the Dark Knight.
Darkness. No parents. Continued darkness. The opposite of light. Black hole. Curtains drawn. In the basement. Middle of the night. Blacked-out windows. Other places that are dark.
Batman made his first comic book appearance in 1939, but it wasn’t until 1972 that the Mego Corporation got the bright idea to mass-produce a line of toys featuring the superhero and all his gadgets, vehicles, sidekicks, and adversaries. Ever since then, the character has been a staple of the toy aisle, even during the years when his comics weren’t selling so well.
Have you ever seen those movie ads on TV filled with gushing quotes from critics and thought to yourself, “I saw that movie; it was terrible. Where did they find these positive reviews?” If you have, you’re not alone — and you’re going to love ScreenCrush’s newest series, Critics Are Raving!, which balances the cinematic scales with trailers full of slightly more accurate (and slightly more negative) lines from reviews. Real critics. Real quotes. Really bad movies. That’s what’s Critics Are Raving! is all about.
In the tradition of ScreenCrush series like You Think You Know Movies and You Think You Know TV comes a new YouTube series: Top Five! Every two weeks (or so; we’ve got a lot of other stuff going on), ScreenCrush editor and critic Matt Singer will count down a particular topic from the world of movies (and probably write these introductory posts in the third person).
It’ll be a cold day in hell when Batman joins the ranks of Arrow, Flash, Supergirl or Legends of Tomorrow on The CW, but LEGO has a way of bringing everyone together. See for yourself, as a new promo features the CW stars voicing their LEGO counterparts opposite Will Arnett’s LEGO Batman as part of a weeklong promotion.
Remember that part in The Dark Knight when the Batman knock-offs all pop up in the multi-level parking garage to help the Caped Crusader dispose of some European gangsters, but they just end up getting in the way? They tell the Batman that they were just trying to help, and Wayne chides them for facing men with guns while wearing hockey pants. This may ring some bells for you, but Stephen Lawrence, the subject of the curious new documentary short Being Batman, has evidently forgotten that brief bit. (I’d guess he’s also glossed over the part in The Killing Joke wherein writer Alan Moore suggests that a man would have to be insane to dress up as a bat and fight crime at night.)