Family is not a bad thing to focus on, it’s what these films have been doing for the past two to mixed results. Bad Blood takes it that one step further into expanding the family and giving us some well needed time with Dick Grayson, since he was more of a side character in the first two. Though as we know by the many franchises that thrive on family as a core theme, it doesn’t always make a film an instant winner to see more in house drama. We have dealt with father and son dynamics for the past two films, and now Bad Blood wants to add in two more characters into the bat cult with their own origin stories. I understand the fact that they want to flesh out the mythos and other “bat people”, but does it make sense to add in two characters that need to be situated in with two other characters they still need to flesh out?
Usually when a sequel tries to do the exact thing its predecessor does, it gets panned for it. What happens however if the predecessor was bad? If the sequel manages to fix the wrongs with the previous film and right most of the issues that plagued the original? Does that immediately forgive the sequel for retreading similar territory? While watching Batman vs Robin these were the questions swarming my head. After the previous film involving Damian Wayne and Batman, it kind of looked like all was lost with the character in this DC animated universe. With one sequel, can the right the wrongs of the previous by doing roughly the same thing but better? I mean it’s a tough question to answer, especially with numerous sequels telling us that the answer must be no. Though this one could very well beat those odds.
How does one screw up the introduction of a character into a beloved mythos? Well allow Son of Batman to show you how with three easy steps! First you make sure that they have no likeable traits, make them a bloodthirsty psychopath that’ll endear him to the fans. Secondly you make sure he has that persona throughout all of the film, can’t have him showcase pesky things like kindness and growth right? And finally the third step is to make sure he only has one goal throughout the entire film and have the father figure beat you over the head with how bad that goal really is. That is how Son of Batman manages to handle Damian Wayne’s entrance into the Batman animated mythos and believe me it only takes a few scenes to prove how annoying he can get. The question I think best fits this film is that when the main character fails to entertain, does that mean the film itself is inherently bad?
For those wondering, ATM was a slasher film that starred Josh Peck. Where the killer had people trapped and every known trope and cliché of a slasher film, and all the tricks involved with the technical side of things was exploited. There is a difference between that film and this film though, one was funny and the other one was just cruel and stupid. Don’t Hang Up is one of those modern day slashers that doesn’t understand that while being technically proficient, it still doesn’t mean your movie is good. Revenge films often fall prey to their own hubris that people will enjoy them for the simple fact of people not liking the characters and hoping to see them get what’s coming to them. The simple fact of torturing people out of a source of entertainment has merits if there is a point to all of this, and not just any point oh no…it needs to be a good point to make us sit through watching people suffer greatly over a prolonged period of time. So where did Don’t Hang Up fall short where ATM still manages to be watchable?
So I have been recommended and asked by a lot of people this year to watch Train to Busan. I bought it (from a closing store) because I realized that I should give it a shot at some point. And there it waited and waited, until finally after watching Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse made me realize how much I needed a new good zombie movie. Hence why I finally decided to sit through it and I think by the title you can see that I liked it. I think the better question is why did I like it because by all accounts this isn’t something that we haven’t seen before. Zombies on a train? Oh there is Resident Evil Zero or even one could say the claustrophobic creature feature could also be filled by Snakes on a Plane. Social commentary within a zombie film? Please refer to Romero. That being said, this film with a simple set-up and execution ultimately won me over when so many other zombie films and series lost me.
Ah wish fulfillment, the easiest thing to really sell any narrative on. I mean we get a lot of that every now and again and only sometimes will we be reminded of the ones that permeate the pop culture know how of the modern day. Most times it boils down to having outsiders who becomes heroes and win the really hot girls in the end. People enjoy underdog stories or sometimes people enjoy seeing the average person win for a change instead of some macho man. I mean a lot of films thrive on that very notion and even some of the more notable television series do the same thing. It can be done well if there is meaning behind the wish fulfillment however, but most times that isn’t the case. Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is one such movie that is unabashedly wish fulfillment that it is kind of hard to really recommend it to the average viewer or even zombie fan. Does that mean however it’s a terrible movie or purely just a forgettable one?
Just a warning that at one point in the look at this movie, I will be going over some of the more disgusting jokes which sound worse in words but look even worse when you see it executed.
There is a decent amount of horror films that attempt to deconstruct the subgenres or flat out destroy convention within recent memory. Where there is a slasher film, there is Scream. Where there is a vampire film, there is What We Do in the Shadows. Now where there is a hillbilly setting, there is Tucker and Dale vs Evil. A horror comedy that attacks the tropes of the setting, such as The Hills have Eyes or Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The type of films that go after our sense of judgement, creating terrifying situations from a side of life not many of us know much about. Tucker and Dale vs Evil attempts to deconstruct our thought process about this type of setting and reverse our thinking on judging another person simply because they are different. While that is an interesting idea for a film, does it effectively reach that level of understanding as a horror comedy?