Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Batwoman Pilot Episode - Plot Recap and Review

batwoman tv show wallpaper image picture poster screensaver

If Superman's cousin can have her own TV show, how can Batman's not?

So we have Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) donning the cape and cowl. The episode starts off with a voice over by Kate. She is handcuffed and has to make her escape from being drowned in icy waters. This reminded me of Bruce Wayne's training scene with Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson) in Batman Begins.

Back in Gotham, Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott) runs Crow Security and has taken the role of protecting Gotham. Where is Batman? - you might ask: As per the writers, Batman has been missing in action for about three years. Of course, no one observes that Bruce Wayne is gone too. But, I digress..

Jacob is in charge of a public ceremony, being presided over by the Mayor Akins (Chris Shields). He wants to shut down the Bat signal. But disaster strikes and Crow's Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy) is abducted. Sophie also happens to be Kate's former lover.

batwoman lesbian superhero wallpaper image picture poster screensaver

Kate's step-sister Mary Hamilton (Nicole Kang) informs her about the situation. Using her deductive skills and the footage from Bruce Wayne's security, Kate deduces that the gang has taken Sophie to the Burnside Orphanage.

We run into Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson), the son of Lucius Fox. And just like his dad, he becomes the Q to our soon-to-be self-anointed superheroine.

The movie charts the steady descent of Arthur into madness and perhaps unsurprisingly, we get to see Joaquin Phoenix in literally each frame. 

Kate rushes head first to rescue instead of listening to her father. After a showdown with the gang members, Kate is overpowered and taken to their leader, Alice (Rachel Skarsten). 

Alice knows much more about Kate and her family than a stranger would. It is also revealed that her primary target is not Gotham or Crow Security, but Kate's dad himself. But instead of killing Kate, Alice has her deposited somewhere else..

batwoman luke fox wallpaper image picture poster screensaver

Kate decides to take things into her own hand and re-visits Wayne Manor. This time, she hits the jackpot and discovers the Batcave. She also learns that Bruce Wayne/Batman has spent years trying to figure out why he could not save her sister and mother from the fatal car crash which was supposed to have killed them.

Kate has Luke re-design the Bat costume to fit her. Donning the new suit, Kate aka Batwoman takes on Alice and her gang and rescues Sophie.

Despite her successful debut, Kate is still disturbed with the fact that Batman could not help save Beth, her sister. Finally, it dawns on her that Beth is still alive and is in fact Alice.

The episode also sets up another plot line - Sophie is now married to Tyler (Greyston Holt). But clearly, she is still deeply in love with Kate.

batwoman sister beth villain wallpaper image picture poster screensaver

This was an ok pilot episode. The acting was passable from every one except the lead actress. Ruby Rose seems to be overacting. She is not alone though. Rachel Skarsten as Alice/Beth also chews the scenery as an over-the-top villain.

Dougray Scott and Camrus Johnson do their best with their roles of caring father and the nervous geek respectively. So does Nicole Kang and Elizabeth Anweis in their roles as the naive daughter and status conscious wife.

The only actor to make an impression is Meagan Tandy as Sophie Moore. She manages to convey the intimate connection that her character shares with Kate.

The series is heavily influenced by the Chris Nolan movies. As I mentioned before, the training montage was similar to the one in Batman Begins. The Wayne Tower itself too has been lifted from the same movie. Plus, the night time shots of Gotham also reminded me of those from The Dark Knight.

Click on the link below to buy your copy:

On the other hand, the only scene featuring Batman looked to be shot on a shoestring budget. Granted this was the pilot episode.. still that scene could have been shot better.

Recommended watch to fans of DC Comics.

Click here to read all my posts related to DC Comics.

Image Sources: Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television

Monday, October 7, 2019

Joker (2019) Movie - Plot and Review

joaquin phoenix joker wallpaper image picture poster screensaver

This post contains spoilers and readers are recommended to watch the movie before proceeding further.

The (purportedly) standalone origin story stars Joaquin Phoenix as the Clown Prince of Crime. Todd Phillips (Old School, The Hangover trilogy, Due Date) has directed the picture.

Check out the trailer:

Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is a clown for hire and an aspiring stand-up comedian. Arthur has some psychological issues and is on medicines. He laughs out uncontrollably when under stress and carries a placard asking onlookers to ignore his outbursts. Arthur also has a gaunt physique to match his fragile mindset.

The movie charts the steady descent of Arthur into madness and perhaps unsurprisingly, we get to see Joaquin Phoenix in literally each frame. 

joker mother penny fleck wallpaper image picture poster screensaver

Torn between his career ambitions and personal duty to take care of his ailing mother, Penny Fleck (Frances Conroy), Arthur looks up to Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro) as his mentor/role model. Arthur also has a crush on his neighbor/single mother, Sophie Dumond (Zazie Beetz).

Arthur is regularly picked on by bullies and street punks day in and day out. Randall (Glenn Fleshler), one of Arthur's colleagues, provides him a gun for self-defense. It does not help that Murray himself makes fun of Arthur.

As the final nail in the coffin, his state sponsored therapist informs him that their sessions will be over soon, due to lack of public funds.

joker subway train scene screenshot wallpaper image picture poster screensaver

All this inner rage and frustration boils over, when Arthur is bullied by three Wall Street types. Using the aforementioned gun, Arthur turns the tables on his tormentors and becomes the poster child for the oppressed/downtrodden sections of Gotham.

From then on, it all goes downhill as Arthur discovers the truth about his troubled childhood. He then goes to murder his mother, his colleague and finally Murray himself.

This was one of the darkest cinematic experiences I have had so far. At a time, when mass shootings are happening in a disturbingly regular basis, making and releasing this movie seems to be a very poor choice in judgment by the director and the studio.

todd phillips directing joaquin phoenix joker movie wallpaper image picture poster screensaver

Acting wise, Joaquin as expected gives his all and has delivered an absorbing performance. De Niro looks to be miscast as a popular host. Speaking of the female leads, both Zazie Beetz and Frances Conroy have limited scope to perform and are pretty much one dimensional characters.

The movie excels in the technical aspects. The production design by Mark Friedberg and cinematography by Lawrence Sher are top notch.

While the lead actor might win acting awards and the movie will make lot of money for the studio, thus taking forward the director's career much ahead, there is also the matter of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The movie has been well made and scores on both acting and technical fronts. But does the DC supervillain really need an origin story, that humanizes him and in a way justifies his crimes?

That is the moot question.

joker black girlfriend wallpaper image picture poster screensaver

Looks like Todd Phillips wanted to make a Martin Scorsese type NYC based gritty movie set in the 1980s and since Warner Bros is always looking to make money using the DC Comics based characters, an unholy alliance was made. A truly disturbing decision was made to turn Travis Bickle/Rupert Pupkin into the Joker.

We DC Fans deserve better. 

Despite being a lifelong fan of DC Comics, I cannot recommend this movie. For great Joker performances, I would suggest the readers to check out either The Dark Knight or Batman (1989) or  Batman: Under the Hood or Batman: The Animated Series. I would take any one of these far superior ones over this version.

Click here to read all my posts about DC Comics.

Image Sources: BRON Studios, Creative Wealth Media Finance, DC Comics, DC Entertainment, Joint Effort, Village Roadshow Pictures, Warner Bros.