Larger Than Life Movie Villains Revealed!

May 9, 2013 at 8:19 am

Movie Hype: Larger Than Life Villains Revealed!


If I may quote Mission Impossible 2:

“Every search for a hero must begin with something which every hero requires…  A villain.”

We all love great villains.  They are the reason our heroes are called to action in the first place.  Throughout history we have been blessed with iconic and unforgettable villains.  The Wicked Witch of the West, Hannibal Lector, Darth Vader, Auric Goldfinger, Nurse Ratched, The Joker, Norman Bates, Freddy Krueger, Verbal Kint, Biff Tannen, Bill the Butcher, Doc Ock, Tommy DeVito, Alex DeLarge…

Movie Hype: Larger Than Life Villains Revealed!

Dramas, horror, thrillers, comedies…  Every genre has it’s classics but no group faces more scrutiny that the Summer Blockbusters.  Big franchises, sequels and the unstoppable force known as the comic book movie.

It’s the first question we all ask when a giant blockbuster is announced.  Whether it’s a new franchise or a sequel we all want to know who our favorite heroes will fight next.  How will these villains look?  Sound?  Move?

Fans crave every detail leading up to the movies they cannot wait to see.  I remember staring at this image wondering what Christopher Nolan’s Joker would be like.

Movie Hype: Larger Than Life Villains Revealed!

The Joker was brilliantly realized by Nolan and wonderfully portrayed by the late Heath Ledger.  However, by the time the movie arrived, we had several trailers, clips and more that took away at least a little of the mystery. Is that a bad thing?  I don’t think so.  We live in a different time.  I suppose the question is…

Can you keep a big villain secret?  Should you?

I wonder how much scrutiny Darth Vader would face if Star Wars was released today.  A world where studios preemptively release images from sets in order to beat the spies to the punch.  Every time a movie shoots an exterior scene, images shot on cell phones pop up online.  We live in an age of social media.  An era where promotion is 24/7 and fans are closer than ever to the development process.

Now, I don’t want to sound like a spoiled brat.  Here I am, discussing my relentless craving for new villain reveals while complaining that we know too much before they are unleashed.  I just appreciate the evolution of the villain reveal.

We may have 4 or 5 trailers for each big blockbuster these days but I could choose to avoid them.  I just don’t.  I simply cannot resist pressing play and envisioning the adventures that await on the silver screen.

There are filmmakers out there who work tirelessly to keep their big projects a secret.  J.J Abrams immediately comes to mind.  When he and his team produced Cloverfield, it nearly broke the internet when they unveiled the mysterious trailer.  What the hell did the Cloverfield monster look like?

Cloverfield awesome monster movie

Personally, it drove me nuts for months.  The director repeated this tactic when he created Super 8. It’s a proven way to generate interest in a film.   Super 8 was actually my favorite movie of 2011.

He’s doing it again with Star Trek Into Darkness.  Who is John Harrison?  Is it really Kahn?  The answers are coming.

Movie Hype: Larger Than Life Villains Revealed!

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Honestly, I can’t decide which side I’m on.

Do I prefer the shroud of secrecy and the anticipation it ignites?  Or do I want a constant stream of updates and risk burning out before the lights dim?


In the last few weeks, we were treated to new trailers that revealed Superman’s enemy Zod and Thor’s next challenge Malekith.  Both look incredible.

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We were also given a glimpse of Jamie Foxx as Electro in next summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2:

Movie Hype: Larger Than Life Villains Revealed!

Would you rather wait to see the villain?

I’m not sure if you can argue one way or another which approach is better.  Secrecy is frustrating but could ramp up the hype to impossible heights.  On the other hand, transparency invites discussion online and the promotion never stops.  There are pros and cons to both.  Sometimes too much secrecy can be seen as a weakness or a lack of faith in the studio.  Sometimes, a villain is revealed and hardcore fans tear it apart in vicious blog posts, tweets and parodies.

Yet sometimes, magic can be captured in the imagination of a film fan’s curiosity.  The same blogs and tweets can also be overwhelmingly positive.  Take Electro for example.  I think he’s going to look awesome on the big screen.  I can’t wait to see what he looks like with added effects.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how or when a villain is revealed.  Whether it’s a year out or opening night, the only thing that really matters is…  The story.

The next generation of heroes and villains are coming.  Which ones will claim their place amongst the greatest of all time?  That’s a search that will never end.

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10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time

September 21, 2012 at 7:29 am

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review


I loved The Dark Knight Rises.  Many did.  I thought it was a worthy conclusion to The Dark Knight trilogy.  Coming out of the theater I felt like the third installment came close but ultimately did not surpass 2008’s The Dark Knight.  However, I saw that film three times on opening day.  It took a little while to finally see Bane torment Gotham again but I’m happy I did.  It’s an incredibly ambitious tale.  It has it’s flaws but it was so much fun to watch and that’s what summer blockbusters are all about.

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I decided to compile a list of 10 things that stood out watching the film a second time.

Honorable Mention: I want to play through Arkham City again.

10. “So that’s what that feels like.”

A lot of people raved about Anne Hathaway’s performance as Catwoman.  I’m one of them.  I think this is by far the best Catwoman we’ve ever seen on screen.  I laughed when she disappeared on Batman leaving him to ponder how people feel when he disappears on them.  Catwoman added a completely different energy to the series that worked.  I wasn’t a big fan of her up beat music though.  I didn’t think it fit with the rest of Hans Zimmer’s brilliant score.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

9.  A subtle mention of The Joker would have been nice.

There is a novelization out there that claims that The Joker is the sole inmate in Arkham during the events of The Dark Knight Rises.  It also hints that he may have escaped.  Either way it would have been nice to reference where the legendary villain was after The Dark Knight’s credits rolled.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

8. “No one cared who I was until I put on the mask.”

Bane vs The Joker.  Who had the better introduction?  Overall, I think The Joker’s intro was better but Bane wins for sheer brutality.  Tom Hardy’s performance is tremendous as his eyes tell the story of a violent and ruthless man.  I’m so happy they fixed his voice.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

7. I wish Alfred was in it more.

I understand why he doesn’t play a larger role in this film but Michael Caine was brilliant as Alfred throughout the series.  It would have been nice to see him in a couple more scenes.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

6. Bane is ruthless and it’s awesome.

“Search him.  Then I will kill you.”

I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be that nameless henchmen who knows there is nothing he can do to escape Bane.  It’s not like he can sulk and apologize to the man.  It’s a terrifying thing to tell someone and that’s what makes Bane a fantastic villain.  Tom Hardy’s delivery here is awesome.  He’s so calm about it.  I loved that scene.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

5. Gordon looks hilarious climbing in and around that truck.

Come on.  Tell me you didn’t find it a bit humorous watching Gordon climbing around that armored truck as it speeds down the road?

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

4. They really never found the Bat parked on that roof?

I wish Batman hid The Bat somewhere else.  I just can’t see people missing it.  I suppose we were just meant to go with it.  Much like Batman suddenly appearing in Gotham after climbing out of The Pit.  If it’s so difficult to get out of the city how is it any easier to get in?  And when did he find time to make an elaborate fiery design of the bat symbol on that bridge.  Again, it’s just a movie, so I went with it.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

3. Bane’s death was WAY to abrupt.

A villain is only as good as his final moments.  The Joker’s final moment was incredible with his maniacal laughter echoing as he dangled above the city he tried so hard to corrupt.  Ra’s Al Ghul’s final moment with his eyes closed was fantastic as well.  Here we don’t even get to see Bane go down at the hands of Batman and it came out of no where.  It’s a shame.  I don’t know if there is a better way for him to go down without hurting the story but I was disappointed.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

2. “The shadows betray you because they belong to me.”

Bane vs Batman was incredible.  Their first encounter will go down as one of my favorite fight scenes in any movie.  Period.  The reason is because of Bane’s constant taunting.  Exposition has never been so much fun.

“Let’s not stand on ceremony here.  Mr. Wayne.”

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

I remember back when Batman Begins was released and people were complaining about the fights being to frantic and shot with too many closeups.  I didn’t have a problem with them but this fight was so different.

“I am The League of Shadows.”

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

It all leads up to an iconic moment from the comic books in which Bane breaks Batman’s back.  Expertly choreographed fights can only take you so far on the big screen.  Add in incredible characters and you raise the stakes to amazing heights.  Watching Batman fight Bane was worth the wait.

1. Is this the last great Batman movie?

One of the greatest trilogies we’ve ever seen is over now.  This is the last time we will visit Nolan’s remarkable vision of Gotham City and the Caped Crusader.  I loved that the third film was so closely connected to the first.  Everything came full circle.  Batman was meant to inspire others.  Anyone could be Batman.

We will never get a Robin movie staring Joseph Gordon-Levitt but it doesn’t matter.  The Dark Knight’s legend lives on in Gotham.  (How bad ass was that statue by the way? I’ll bet that thing is in Christopher Nolan’s basement right now.)  Even though the ending felt rushed, (which is a compliment considering the film’s epic length.) it was a fitting end to the story.

So the question remains…  Is this the last great Batman movie?

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

Who will rise up and take over the franchise when it inevitably reboots in a few years.  Will we respond to a different set of rules?  What kind of Batman will we see next.  People will line up regardless.  I know I will but it remains to be seen if they will reach and exceed expectations like Nolan’s trilogy has.

Time will tell.  Thankfully, we will have Batman Begins, The Dark Knight & The Dark Knight Rises forever.

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The Dark Knight Rises Is The Blockbuster We Need & Deserve

July 20, 2012 at 11:57 am

The Dark Knight Rises Is The Blockbuster We Need & Deserve | The Dark Knight Rises Review 2012


I woke up yesterday morning with a smile on my face.  After years of anticipation, The Dark Knight Rises had arrived.

Earlier in the week, I realized that my work schedule and free time only gave me one opportunity to see the film before next week.  Waiting a 7 days was simply unacceptable.  I had to know how the legend ended.  I was beyond excited to see how Christopher Nolan would conclude his epic and incredible Batman trilogy.  So, I raced to a computer and picked up the only two remaining seats in a nearby theater and waited until my 12:01 am screening. The first available showing.

Finally a sequel to The Dark Knight.  One of my favorite movies of all time.

Movie events like The Dark Knight Rises reminds of me how much I love to go to the movies.  It’s such an amazing experience to follow a project for years and finally get see the results on screen…

The Dark Knight Rises Is The Blockbuster We Need & Deserve | The Dark Knight Rises Review 2012

That is why I’m so saddened today.

This morning I woke up intending to write a review about why I love going to the movies.  But instead I was greeted by a tragic headline that changed everything:

38 shot and 12 dead when a gunman opened fire in a movie theater near Colorado…

A midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises…

This review is no longer about how much I love to go to the movies but rather, how lucky I feel to have the opportunity to do so.  I can’t even imagine what those people and their families are going through today.  One person decided to do this horrendous and evil act, depriving people of the simple joy of watching a movie they couldn’t wait to see.  I don’t get it…

For the last 2 weeks, I’ve read just about every movie review I could find that didn’t contain spoilers.  I was jealous that people got to see the movie before me and I couldn’t wait to get my review online.  But how do you make the transition from a terrible tragedy to whether or not the film measures up to it’s predecessors?  How many people are afraid to see the movies today because of this?

My thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this senseless and cruel act. 

Going to the movies is supposed to be a wonderful experience.  That’s why I fell in love with movie theaters and the endless adventures they provide.  Blockbusters like The Dark Knight Rises take that experience to new heights and pushes your imagination into overdrive.  The movies we love…


The Dark Knight Rises Is The Blockbuster We Need & Deserve | The Dark Knight Rises Review 2012

(Super mild spoilers ahead)

I pride myself on being a movie nerd.  Going into the screening, I felt so excited I could barely sit still.  I even stopped drinking liquid ahead of time so I would make it through the nearly 3 hour run time without missing a single moment.

When the movie began, I thought about whether the third and final chapter could live up to or even surpass The Dark Knight.  How could it?  Honestly, I don’t think it did but that doesn’t mean I didn’t absolutely adore the movie.  The Dark Knight Rises is an unbelievable end to a trilogy that may never be matched in the comic book world.

Which is strange because Batman isn’t actually in the movie that much.  At first I found it disappointing.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized this was never Batman’s story.  It was Bruce Wayne’s story.  From the beginning, Bruce Wayne wanted to be a symbol for the people of Gotham.   A way to inspire people to take back their city from the criminals who corrupted it.

Through three films, villains have aimed to ‘save’ the city by destroying it.  The Dark Knight Rises delivers on the promises made by Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins.

Gotham falls.  The Dark Knight Rises.

At the center of it all is Bane.  A fierce and ruthless villain who is determined to burn Gotham to the ground.  Bane is truly a bad ass in this movie wonderfully portrayed by Tom Hardy.  I think his first battle with Batman will go down as one of my favorite scenes in the entire trilogy.

“The shadows betray you because they belong to me.”

Unfortunately, I feel like he gets lost in the sheer size of this movie.  The stakes are so impossibly big that it’s impossible to really dial into the people Bane is terrorizing.  In The Dark Knight, we are given two boats and a choice.  In this movie, the whole city is at war.

It’s ironic that the agent of chaos was responsible for a much more relatable and suspenseful threat while his successor brings Gotham to it’s knees.

The Dark Knight Rises Is The Blockbuster We Need & Deserve | The Dark Knight Rises Review 2012

“When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die.”

Bruce Wayne is beaten down and stripped of everything in this movie.  I loved the journey he takes.  Christopher Nolan uses Batman as a window into the psychological effects of pain and suffering.  It’s a symbol of what it takes to overcome what you fear the most.  So many times throughout the movie, we are reminded that Bruce Wayne chose to be a hero instead of succumbing to the anger he feels.  But that choice has a cost and so we find a broken man 8 years after Harvey Dent’s terrible crimes.

It’s this journey that makes the 3 hour film feel like it was two hours too short.  There is so much story to tell.  I think that may turn off a lot of people because the movie is so big and it’s full of huge ideas and themes.  Bruce Wayne’s story is so compelling that you forgive the lack of the caped crusader to a certain extent.  In between the scarce Batman sightings we get to experience Bane’s surprisingly deep history and Catwoman’s quest for a fresh start.  We follow the bravery and sacrifice of Commissioner Gordon and a heroic and selfless cop named John Blake.

Indeed, there is a lot going on.  Lost in the shuffle is Alfred but Michael Caine still gets a couple fantastic speeches in the film.

In the end, The Dark Knight Rises is still a Batman movie and the action doesn’t disappoint.  While the film’s final act feels rushed and certain story lines are wrapped up far too quickly, it’s still a thrilling end to the story.  For me, nothing tops the first clash between Batman and Bane but there are still many ‘wow’ moments.

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For example: The Bat flying over buildings avoiding missiles, giant armies battling in the streets, huge explosions, car chases and so much more.  This film actually felt more like a comic book movie that Batman Begins and The Dark Knight combined.

I liked The Dark Knight better but I still loved this movie.  I’m looking forward to catching an IMAX screening in a few weeks…  But  just writing that sentence reminds me of what people lost in Colorado last night.  Millions of movie fans around the world will be experiencing this blockbuster with smiles on their faces.  The people in that theater deserved that same experience.

It’s heart breaking that someone could make the choice to do something so awful.  Indeed, everyone should appreciate the blessings they have and cherish those they love.

Top 10 Moments: The Dark Knight

July 13, 2012 at 9:17 am

Top 10 Moments: The Dark Knight | All Time Best Countdown


If you’re good at something never do it for free.  I remember this scene being one of the clips they released prior to The Dark Knight’s release.  I must have watched it 50 times leading up to the midnight screening on opening night.

Put into context, this is the moment when the criminals of Gotham realize they unleashed the wrong clown.


What a great way to end one of the coolest movies I’ve ever seen.  Commissioner Gordon sums up what Batman means to Gotham perfectly.

8. HIT ME!

Batman’s code is tested.  This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.


One of the most memorable moments from Batman Begins was Batman’s first appearance when he pulls Falcone out of the limo and states:

“I’m Batman”

This is The Dark Knight’s equivalent as the Joker finally comes face to face with the Caped Crusader.


This is more of an editorial pick you might say.  I love that Nolan chose to mute the scream and include a faint score.  It’s a powerful moment as Harvey Dent realizes what he’s lost and rips off the bandages screaming.  Great stuff.


They flipped over a transport!  That’s what I love about the tone of this series.  It’s ‘grounded in reality’ but transports can still lift off the ground.


If you’ve never read The Dark Knights screenplay give it a shot and then watch this scene.  What Heath Ledger did with those masterful words is nothing short of brilliant.


“Nothing in his pockets except knives and lint.”

I love the mystery surrounded this force.  This agent of chaos is also a terrific storyteller.

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I remember watching this movie with my Dad.  I really hyped it up after seeing the film 3 times on opening day.  When the Tumbler’s left front wheel started spinning he didn’t know what to expect.   Then the Bat-Pod emerged.

“Whoa.  That was pretty cool.”

And that is why Christopher Nolan and his creative team are a big bunch of loveable super awesome genius people.


Now that’s an entrance!  As I mentioned above, I saw The Dark Knight 3 separate times on opening day and people applauded this moment every single time.  One of my favorite characters introductions in movie history.

People love that moment but you can’t help but feel for the guy with the pencil rammed through his eye socket.

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The Athletic Nerd On The Dark Knight

July 13, 2012 at 9:16 am

The Athletic Nerd On The Dark Knight | Over 20 posts about Christopher Nolans Batman Trilogy


I decided to go back and check out some of the many times I’ve written about Batman on this blog.  It turns out, I enjoy Batman!

Batman Begins

Batman Begins A Screenwriting Rewrite

All Time Best: Meaningful Movie Quote

The Dark Knight

Movies That Changed Everything: The Dark Knight

Blockbuster Repeat Viewings

10 Flicks: Best Film Editing Oscar Losers

10 Flicks: Unanswered Movie Questions

10 Flicks: Awesome Looking Movie Villains

10 Flicks: Great Action.  Great Stories

10 Flicks: Movies With Awesome Opening Scenes

10 Flicks: Box Office Favorites

10 Flicks: If I Could Only Own 10 Movies

10 Flicks: Movies I’ve Seen In Theaters More Than Once

All Time Best Movie Villain

Movie Power Rankings: #15-1

The Dark Knight Rises

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Gotham Falls, The Dark Knight Rises


Christopher Nolan

Director Wars: Christopher Nolan vs M. Night Shyamalan 2

The Art Of Title Design & Christopher Nolan Talks Directing

The Athletic Nerd On The Dark Knight | Over 20 posts about Christopher Nolans Batman Trilogy

The Dark knight rises is only a few days away so if you would like to build on the excitement even more then why not watch first and second installments of the Nolan franchise. If you join the LOVEFiLM trial then you can watch free movies online which include both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.