WASDuk’s resident critic-of-everything has just finished the 13-episode Daredevil series, which is now available on Netflix. Over the next few days, Chris Patton will analyze what the hoi polloi, or common man, should learn from the series.
PART 2: The New DC Universe is Stuck in the 90’s
One of the most incoherent takeaways from Ben Affleck’s 2003 Daredevil film, aside from the horrible CGI, was the unnecessary imitation of Tim Burton’s earlier Batman films from 1989 and 1992. When Ben Urich (played by a terribly miscast Joe Pantoliano) suddenly throws his lighter on the ground to reveal a blazing “DD”, the audience I was a part of began to chuckle, and my good friend, Matt, who is a die-hard Daredevil fanatic, screamed, “Why the f%^k is Marvel copying DC, and why are they ruining the vision of the comics?”
Fast-forward 12 years and the glaring weakness of the Daredevil TV series is the final episode where Matt Murdock dons his official suit and weapons for the first time. It’s out of place with the rest of the episodes, and the simple early costume that was a solid black with an eye-less head cover seems even more amazeballs once we see the official “horned” get-up. Aside from that, there’s not much to complain about with the wonderful TV series.
However, again, seeing the standard costume that looks exactly like the 2003 costume leaves a bitter taste because it seems to once again be imitating the Daredevil film we all want erased from memory, which was imitating the schlocky Batman franchise that obviously peeked with Batman Returns, and only got phenomenally worse under the guidance of Joel Schumacher.
So, why should DC worry?
Many of their recent character choices are direct imitations of Marvel or all things 90’s. Therefore, it’s fair, like Matt didn’t before you, to say, “Why the f$%k is DC copying Marvel and the 90’s, and why are they ruining the vision of the comics?”
CASE 1: RAY PALMER IS TONY STARK OR HOW THE ATOM BECAME THAT ONE SCENE FROM THE FIRST IRON MAN FILM OVER AND OVER
The world knows the scene and it was funny. Stark is experimenting with one of his early suits, and his joy at being able to hover for the first time goes sideways when his “rocket boots” sling him into the wall. Unfortunately, the DC’s TV-verse thought it would be a good idea to morph Ray Palmer from a genius scientist with no money that can shrink into an idiot with a ton of money, and who is played by Brandon Routh (aka Superman #FAIL).
Instantly, Arrow’s Green Arrow can’t leave his lair and the Flash is injured. Why? Because the Atom is funny! Look, he flew into a wall again. Oh, wait, Atom is flying over Central City again. And… he flew into a (yawn) car. Again? He can’t even shrink?
Yes, the Atom is now a kind of Iron Man in that he has money and a robotic suit and repeats that one scene from the first Iron Man film constantly, but at least Iron Man had the decency to give off the impression that Stark was a troubled genius. DC’s TV version of Ray Palmer is just a facade that requires Barry Allen (aka Flash) and Green Arrow to tell him what to do. When the Atom says lines like, “Oh, right. Fire my lasers. Yeah, FIRE MY LASERS,” then it just takes away from every story he’s involved in and, unlike Tony Stark, Ray Palmer has thus far been only troubled. He’s not a genius by any means. He’s annoying.
These are two instances where DC stopped copying Marvel, and started focusing on the 90’s, a time when they were more dominant at the Box Office. First, if you are a hard-core Injustice: Gods Among Us mobile player, then you’ll know how OP Static is as a unique fighter in the game. The big question though is why he looks exactly like Whoopi Goldberg, darling of the 90’s.
Then, there’s the recent reveal of how the Joker will appear in The Suicide Squad film, and it’s safe to say that Marilyn Manson is the clown prince of crime. The beautiful people, the beautiful people…
CASE 3: THE NEW BATMAN SUIT IS FROM 1997
In 1997, the paperback version of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns was released. The collection is largely considered to be ground-breaking yet it’s unnecessary sequel will forever remain in comic-lore as one of the worst comics ever written. The overall series turns Batman into a one-note brute who doesn’t really think anymore so much as go on instinct. In short, even if you’re innocent, then he’ll break you. Especially if you’ve ever committed a crime. He knows how to shatter the spine of any jaywalker in 12 different places!
Yes, the dialogue where Batman tells off Superman is stunningly cool, but Batman had no chance of beating Clark without back-up from other heroes who fear Superman’s juvenile loyalty to the U.S. government.
So, Marilyn Manson is the Joker, and Batman’s new suit is nearly two decades old. In 1996, Marilyn released Antichrist Superstar and one year later we got the anti-Superman bat-suit, or whatever. Perhaps, WB/DC should rename the upcoming film Batman v Superman: Tonight We Gonna Party Like It’s 1990 Something
For Marvel, the Netflix Daredevil series set-up the upcoming Iron Fist series very well. Matt will have his back-up.
For DC, we evidently have to presume that Batman doesn’t like Superman for some reason, but without back-up there’s no way Batman can take on Superman. Maybe that will be the big reveal. Maybe Batman will bring the gods among us, open a boom-tube, and Wonder Woman and Aquaman will jump out to help take down Clark. Either way, there better be some kind of plan, because the 90’s are lingering again and DC wants everything Marvel to be DC.
Last, the Daredevil series forged The Man Without Fear into a Batman-type that everyone likes. He does research, he’s versed in the law, and those that do wrong in Hell’s Kitchen (DC wants it to be Gotham) feel the wrath of his fists. This means that DC was forced to retro-fit Batman into a much darker, no-holds-barred Frank Miller take that was amusing in 1997, but that may now just seem both off-kilter and vastly outdated.
This may all end badly.