The trailer for Venom: Let There Be Carnage was released earlier today. A lot of people on Twitter are really excited. Personally, I have no idea what to make of any of it. Apparently, this is not really an MCU film except that maybe it is. It’s like sitting in this sort of “Made in Association with Marvel” limbo. Who knows? The first Venom film drove my ADD crazy, though I should add that the film itself was liked by quite a few people here at the Shattered Lens.
Tom Hardy’s really cool. That’s the important thing, as far as I’m concerned. Tom Hardy is credited with coming up for the story for this film so hopefully, that means that the film’s plot will be kind of dark and cynical and odd and yet unexpectedly sweet and sentimental, like the Tom Hardy who regularly shows up in interviews. Regardless, it’s nice to see Tom Hardy taking ownership in the franchise. It reminds me of how Ryan Reynolds not only stars in the Deadpool films but obviously enjoys them as well.
Anyway, Venom: Let There Be Carnage will be released on September 24th. “Only in theaters!,” according to the trailer and I have to admit that I was happy to see those three words. Theaters need a shot in the arm.
In the comics game, second issues are almost as tricky a thing to pull off as first issues — sure, debuts have to grab you and all, but the follow-up has to give you a reason to stick around. And in the case of a rather tightly-defined humor strip, that task is amplified to an even greater degree, because it’s incumbent upon a cartoonist to prove that their concept can keep on being funny even though readers already have a pretty good sense of the general gist of things.
That being said, the swamp is one of those locales that’s always offered more sheer storytelling possibilities than most other places — just ask Walt Kelly. Or, if your sensibilities run more toward comic books that strips, ask Alan Moore or Steve Gerber. And while we’re at it, we can add Robb Mirsky’s name to this list of luminaries.
One day, while defending Gotham City, Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) learn that there is a plot to abduct Commodore Schmidlap from his yacht. Quick! To the batcopter! Flying over the ocean, they locate the yacht but it turns out that the whole kidnapping plot was a ruse for a shark to attack Batman!
“Holy sardine!” Robin exclaims!
With the help of porpoise who bravely sacrifices its life to protect the Caped Crusader, Batman manages to escape. Back at police headquarters, Batman, Robin, Commissioner Gordon (Neil Hamilton), and Chief O’Hara (Stafford Repp) wonder which member of Batman’s rogue’s gallery of villainy could have been responsible for the ruse.
Batman says that it was pretty “fishy” what happened and that could possibly mean The Penguin (Burgess Meredith) was involved!
Robin points out that it happened “at sea” and C stands for Catwoman (Lee Meriweather)!
Batman then says that the shark was “pulling my leg” and that might mean it was working for The Joker (Cesar Romero)!
Chief O’Hara says that it all adds up to “a sinister riddle,” which can only mean one thing: The Riddler (Frank Gorshin)!
“The four of them,” Batman says, “working together…”
“Holy nightmare!” Robin exclaims!
As you can probably guess, the tone of 1966’s Batman: The Movie is far different from the tone of more recent Batman films. That’s because Batman: The Movie was based on the light-hearted 60s TV show that made Batman a household name even while transforming the character from being a shadowy vigilante to being a comedic straight arrow, a proud square who regularly lectured the citizens of Gotham about respecting the forces of law and order.
Batman: The Movie was released after the conclusion of the first season of the Batman televisions series and it featured nearly the entire cast of the show. (Lee Meriweather replaced Julie Newman in the role of the purring Catwoman.) The movie feels like an extended episode of the show, still using the same famous music and featuring scenes of Batman and Robin running in place with a street scene projected behind them. The attitude is one of affectionate parody, as opposed to the more cynical campiness of Joel Schumacher’s infamous films from the 90s. Adam West expertly deadpans his way through the main role while the underrated Burt Ward energetically plays the naïve and easily amazed Robin. Of the villains, Lee Meriweather is a sexier Catwoman than Anne Hathaway and there’s never been a better Riddler than Frank Gorshin. (Of the many actors who played Batman’s villains on the TV series, Gorshin was always the only one who seemed to understand that he was supposed to be playing someone dangerous.) At 104 minutes, Batman: The Movie runs out of steam before it ends but there’s still much here to entertain fans of the television show.
Of course, when I was growing up in the 90s, there was no easier way to lose credibility with most diehard Batman films than to admit to liking anything about the television series. The Batman TV series was widely blamed for people thinking that comic books were only meant for kids. Tim Burton was a hero for treating Batman seriously. Joel Schumacher was hated for taking the opposite approach. Batman and Robin was criticized for being too much like the TV show, right down to George Clooney doing a poor man’s Adam West impersonation in the main role. Despite the acclaim that greeted Batman: The Animated Series, It wasn’t until Christopher Nolan took control of the character that the cinematic Batman truly returned to his grim roots.
Since the conclusion of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, there have been several versions of Batman. Ben Affleck took over the role for two films. Young Bruce Wayne and his doomed parents briefly appeared in Joker. Robert Pattinson is set to take over the role in The Batman. Now that everyone knows Batman as a grim avenger and countless actors have bragged about how they prepared for their roles in the Batverse by reading either The Killing Joke or The Dark Knight Returns, it’s easier to appreciate the more light-hearted approach of something like Batman: The Movie. After two decades of grim and serious Batmans being used as a metaphor for everything from PTSD to the surveillance state, the sight of a paunchy Adam West trying to find a place to safely dispose of a ridiculously oversized bomb can be a relief.
“Sometimes,” Batman says, “you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”
To be honest, I’m neither a huge fan of Bon Jovi or Young Guns II but Blaze of Glory is still a rocker of a song, one that both makes the film it appears in better and which can also stand on its own. Jon Bon Jovi captured the feel of a great western with this song, in a way that he tried too hard and failed to do with Dead or Alive.
Of course, the video is full of footage from Young Guns II. It’s not only a good music video but it’s a good trailer as well. The only problem is that it almost reveals the plot of the entire movie.