Monday, July 22, 2013

Watching the Detectives: Beware the Batman Ep2 "Secrets"

Ready for 6 Degrees of Batman? So last week was “Watching the Detective”, an unsubtle pun on the Elvis Costello song and Batman being the World’s Greatest Detective, but since Jim Gordon will play a larger role than last week’s 3 sec sound bite in the series, I might as well succumb to the change. Watching the Detectives is a 2007 direct to video film starring Batman Begins’ Cillian “Scarecrow” Murphy. Lucy Lui’s character can be seen as the magic pixie dream girl who, according to film critic Nathan Rabin after seeing Elizabeth Town, is “that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” While I think Lucy Lui’s character in Watching the Detectives gives off that vibe, she’s also into playing mental S&M with the film’s male protagonist. Objectifying women kinda ties in with this week's episode. Another couple of degrees; Kristen Dunst from Elizabeth Town starred in the equally awful Spider-Man 3 with the actor who played the most annoying character in That 70s alongside Kurtwood Smith, voice of Jim Gordon. Smith also played a baddie in Robocop, and the title character, Peter Weller, went on to voice Batman in animated version of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns.

For a significant amount of less name dropping join in after the break.

Magpie is the villainess femme fatale of the week. Created in 1986 by John Bryne; a man whose comments on women and many other things leave a disgusting aftertaste in your mind for enjoying his talented artwork.

“Shiny, Shiny” Magpie is a kleptomaniac super Winona Ryder.

Property of Miskatonic Psychiatric Hospital stapler at the crime scene. Miskatonic University is a fictional school in fictional Arkham, Massachusetts, created by H.P. Lovecraft.

After being accused of hitting a girl, “No, I just hit a criminal!” Batman is an equal opportunist. Still think Anthony Ruivivar is well suited as the voice of Batman.

Magpie wants his utility belt, so Batman takes out cuffs. Foreplay/fighting ensues.

Magpie action figure comes with Lady Deathstroke style talon nails.

Barbara “Batgirl” Gordon’s first spectacles wearing appearance, mentioning a mom at an “early meeting” serving breakfast to (correction from last week) Lt. Gordon. Gordon’s wife has never been seen in previous series, including the live action 60s Batman. Barbara was created in 1967.

Adorable juxtaposition of geeky cute little Babs with her hulk of a dad. Trying to talk shop with Jim and score an intro with Batman, she might be the producers’ fantasy version of a fangirl.

“Batman is not a hero.”       : (   So this time around or as of now Jim and Bats aren’t friends. That’s in keeping with Denny O’Neil’s take on a the relationship, as seen in the superb novelization of Knightfall.

Nice detecting done by Gordon. Kurtwood Smith’s performance is better than I expected. He’s able to embody the character well enough by the end of the episode that I don’t picture his That 70s Show’s bald character.

Tatsuo “Katana” Yamashiro was created in 1983 as a member for the Batman operated team the Outsiders. In this series she’s Alfred’s goddaughter, but the show seems to be subtly playing with Bruce’s objection to his father figure Alfred bring home a woman who could provide a feminine motherly influence and perspective to his angst testosterone filled world. As a potential love interest… well Bruce actually used to date Alfred’s daughter in the early 80s.
At the first chance she objects to Batman’s clothes and antisocial behavior. After a lifetime of devoted lifetime to spoiling Bruce, Alf tries to defend the boy by saying that at least he’s doing better than those noisy Arkham kids in the neighborhood. By changing tactics and claiming that basically she shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover when referring to her new job he’s able to peak her interest.

“Hope I’m not interrupting.” Bruce doesn’t want his dad’s affection diverted from him so he precedes to interrogate the new lady staying in the manor.

According to Alfred, Tetsuo is “more than capable of being your bodyguard and driver”. Bruce has a history of finding paternal figures in those who work for him or can provide some other needed service besides devotion, such as Alf, Leslie Thompkins, Gordon, and Morgan Freeman.

Batman has time to stop graffiti taggers?

Predictable red herring with Dr. Ravenclaw. Not like

"Strange stirrings in my utility belt" Adam West once said

With the over the butt shot of Magpie, I guess it’s a good time to talk about the costume. I don’t know how many female fans their hoping to win over with the street walker look. Of course the world of Batman comes with it plenty of healthy fetishistic aspects, but it seems to work best when kept to an elementary school Gotham playground with Batman chasing after girls who try to kiss him.

Another cheesecake shot of Magpie’s Vampirella rise after falling

Lunkhead is actually from the comics? He debuted in Arkham Asylum: Living Hell #2 in 2003 by the guy who body swiped Doc Oc and Spidey.

In a coma for two months? Are they channeling Frank Miller on Saturday morning?

To their credit, they keep things from skating over into grim gritty with… chocolate bars!

Margaret Sorrow, a name change for the better from Margaret Pye. Get it?

Bruce being so grateful his new employee for driving him around town, “Don’t be late!” Stern Batman voice included.

Don’t check urban dictionary for marshmallow! Did the creators mean for their Japanese lead to call Bruce what is apparently thought of by some an ethnic slur? It also means a bore. Side note; in Batman: The Animated Series they almost had the Joker refer to Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy as something other than “busy little bees”.

Ink blots and Batman seem to go well together. See Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth and the underappreciated Batman Forever.

Who else wants to hear Alf do more of his southern drawl?

I, like Fox Mulder, am a little color blind. Does Bruce have green eyes? In the comics they’re traditional blue like almost half of the white characters in comics.

Is the A on the key foreshadowing a little Anarky to come?

I can’t recall seeing Batman ever punch a woman on camera in the face!

Batman’s a chump and let’s his guard down with the femme fatale doing the vulnerable act.

Curare is a poison used in South America. Batman’s made a career out of getting dosed with criminal drugs from Joker Toxin, Scarecrow Fear Gas, and other acid trips that have helped to explain his era of fighting giant robots and aliens in the 50s thanks to Grant Morrison.

Like most villains, Magpie doesn’t bother taking off the mask while Batman’s in a deathtrap.

Cool animation of his cape draped over his front and covering most of his form.

In the comics, Magpie wore a wig too.

“Two personalities in one body”, but hardly living in harmony. Like the best of his rogues gallery, Magpie can reflect a distorted mirror version of our hero. Last week reconciled Batman and Bruce Wayne being one and the same, but he must always be aware of the danger of straying too far in one extreme.

“Bird Girl.” Robin is commonly referred to as Bird Boy by the criminal underworld.

You don’t need to be Freud to see Batman getting his belt back as reasserting his manhood.

Props to Bats for trying to help the tragic villain, and hopefully in the future offer a chance at redemption, and for pointing out the flaw in the system of putting repeat offenders back into jail. Not that he would or should ever advocate capital punishment.

Next week, beware of "Tests" if you haven't studied.

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