I want to see Batman make someone bleed. Is that too much to ask?
With Kick-Ass 2 in theatres now, the conversation about violence in comic book movies has jumped back to the fore, helped along by co-star Jim Carrey's refusal to promote the film. (Really, Jim? This is the one you have second thoughts about? Not The Incredible Burt Wonderstone?)
Carrey has washed his hands of Kick-Ass 2 because he thinks the movie is too violent. Ironically, that's exactly why I'm dying to see Kick-Ass 2.
Superhero flicks of the last decade or so have tried very hard to shed some of the inherent silliness of dudes in leotards fighting villains in funny masks. Director Christopher Nolan wanted us to take Batman very seriously in his Dark Knight trilogy, Marc Webb's Spider-Man is considerably less campy than Sam Raimi's, and Zack Snyder made the most unlikely hero of all - a superpowered alien boy scout in a red cape - somewhat grounded and relatable in Man of Steel.
But there's still some grit missing. If these superheroes are laying beatings on their foes - or having beatings laid upon them - I want to see it and feel it and practically taste it, the way we did when poor Dave (Aaron Taylor-Johnston) got his ass kicked in the original Kick-Ass. Why can't we have more R-rated superhero movies?
I'm not saying every superhero movie needs to ratchet up the snapping bones and spraying blood. The Avengers was great just as it was, and any attempt to make it more grim would have gone against the film's wonderful, Joss Whedon-y tone.
And of course an R-rating (or your regional equivalent) doesn't automatically make a comic book movie good, that's true. Watchmen was a bit of a mixed bag; I loved the moodiness, but I could have done without Dr. Manhattan's giant blue schlong being on screen so much that it deserved its own billing in the credits.
Still, there's a great opportunity now for Marvel, in particular, to take some risks, with Daredevil and The Punisher back in the Marvel/Disney studio fold. The Grey director Joe Carnahan had been tapped to do a Daredevil reboot for Fox before the project fell apart, and was going to approach it with a '70s cop movie sensibility. I urge you to Google the sizzle reel he created, splicing together bits of Serpico, panels from Frank Miller's comics and a few shots from Ben Affleck's awful Daredevil movie to get his idea across. I think it would have been spectacular.
And while not everyone loved Thomas Jane in 2004's The Punisher, search out the independent, ultra-violent The Punisher: Dirty Laundry short. Based on that, I would watch the HELL out of a Punisher sequel with Jane reprising the role.
But it comes back to Batman. Ruthless, fearless, tortured... when Batman is turned loose by Hollywood and we can see some of the crunchy, ugly, bloody bits that have made the character's comic book evolution so fascinating, that's when superhero movies will have finally come of age.
Jim Carrey probably wouldn't see it. But then I won't see Ace Ventura 3, so I'll consider us even.
ON THE RADAR:
The always-reliable National Enquirer reports Hugh Jackman has been offered $100 million to reprise the character of Wolverine in four more movies. But unlike Jackman, Wolverine never ages.
Though the Paranormal Activity franchise is on the wane, the allure of low production costs with still-respectable box office profits means we'll see Paranormal Activity 5 next Halloween. Someone call a freakin' exorcist already.
To the stars
We liked the Dark Knight movies just fine and all, but it's exciting to hear that director Christopher Nolan has begun shooting his upcoming sci-fi flick Interstellar (in Alberta!), starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway.
Leaving his mark
Russell Brand is on a cross-Canada tour right now, if you enjoy his brand - ha ha! - of humour. We loved him in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but his DB quotient seems to have risen dramatically since then.
Maybe we're just suckers for hype, but the home invasion horror You're Next, opening this week, looks kind of creepy. People in animal masks watching you from the darkness? Yikes. Of course, it'll probably be terrible.
Boffo box office
For all the doom and gloom about the movie biz sputtering, Variety reports this summer is shaping up as the best-ever at the domestic box office, thanks to sequels like Iron Man 3, Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University.
Shark Week is over up for another year, but Discovery Channel's annual celebration of toothy ocean predators took a huge bite out the ratings, scoring the highest numbers in its 26-year history.
Had money riding on the Body Break duo of Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod winning The Amazing Race Canada? Yeah, so did we. But the fitness gurus' dreams ended earlier this week with their elimination. Thanks for participating!
Stop the bleeding
True Blood is wrapping up for another season, and as much as we like vampires, drama and boobs (especially Anna Paquin's) we kind of lost the plot about three years ago. Is it still any good?