Aaaah! The more I see of the upcoming Suicide Squad movie, the more excited I get. I’m even more pleased with this trailer than the first. It shows a little bit more of the humorous aspects of the movie while still keeping the “gritty edge” that DC Comics seems unwilling to let go of for any of their movies.
Supervillains are historically inseparable from their superhero counterparts. Batman has the Joker, Superman has Lex Luthor, Joe Biden has Nixon’s Ghost. However, as comic movies keep getting bigger, and as the MCU sucks up the world’s supply of white dudes named Chris, the villains are increasingly left behind. These guys fall into a few tidy categories, and alive or dead, find themselves forgotten when the credits roll.
Somehow, the greater realism applied to superheroes, the less room there is for supervillainy. Instead, we’re left with a handful of tropes, with only a few bad guys able to break out of the box. This dynamic is crucial to the ways our current crop of superhero blockbusters reflects our wider psychology. We ache for something bigger than ourselves to believe in, and assemble the Avengers. We question that ache, and begin the Civil War. But when it comes to evildoers, we haven’t figured out what we want. Sometimes it’s just exaggerated versions of the bad people in the world, sometimes it’s faceless alien hordes, sometimes it’s pure evil, given the nasty explanation of “mental illness.” In contrast to the depth we’ve given our heroes, our villains keep falling short.
The Batman mythos certainly holds a special place in my heart. I daresay it’s one of my more favorite comics out there. Sadly, for a story about people suffering from various disorders, both mental and physical, Batman does a pretty shoddy job at actually portraying disabilities. In fact, it in many instances actively encourages violence against people with disorders, instead of delving into what those disorders actually are and how best to respond to mental illness.
I suppose this doesn’t surprise me. I highly doubt that Batman would be as enjoyable if it wasn’t about a violent vigilante and the various criminally insane rogues he fights. It leaves me feeling torn. On the one hand, I’m insulted by how the narrative handles mental disorders. On the other, I’m still in love with both the story and the characters.
Enter fanfiction. And a trigger warning for gore and self-mutilation under the cut.
If you haven’t heard of Black Butler (aka Kuroshitsuji), first of all, you should check it out. While it definitely comes with some heavy trigger warnings, it’s a dark and awesome story about the shenanigans of a young noble and his demon butler in the heyday of the Victorian era, and the manga art is basically just gloriously pretty. It also has multiple characters of color as well as queer and trans characters—laying waste to the assumption that non-cishet non-white people only just started existing recently. (If you are interested in checking it out, actually, I’d skip this post, as it does play fast and loose with spoilers for the first two seasons.)
Well, since I’m still awaiting the release of Justice League: War and am currently too lazy to start my Arkham Asylum reviews, I figured it was time to get around to talking about Under the Red Hood, which is probably my favorite comic book animated feature to date.
Under the Red Hood is a dark and twisted movie that’s really not afraid to show a more sinister side to the Batman mythos, and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s hard to do a movie about the second Robin, Jason Todd, without some mention of the macabre, and I doubt the story would be as powerful without it either. Jason’s drama comes from a dark place, so it makes perfect sense that a movie about him would be just as dark and violent; it’s wonderful that this story doesn’t shy away from that.
Spoilers for Under the Red Hood after the jump.
I just finished reading Batman: The Black Mirror. If you’re a DC Comics guy, I suggest you pick it up. It delves deeply into the concept of family and the inherent evil that comes from Gotham City. Also, it introduced me to a truly scary man in James Gordon Jr.
Batman is widely considered to be the superhero that is the most doable. All one would need is billions of dollars in equipment and years of martial arts training.
Oh, and your parents have to be violently shot down by a mugger.
Now, for the purpose of this piece, I’m going to go with Joe Chill as the mugger. I know there are versions where it’s the Joker or another person. Those versions are wrong. It’s Joe Chill. Moving on.
When Chill guns down the Wayne’s in cold blood, it is the first piece toward making Bruce Wayne into Batman. Let’s be honest, most superheroes are made because of a serious tragedy in their life. Superman’s planet had to explode and his people had to be wiped out. Comparatively, Wayne got off easy.