Sunday, September 30, 2012

Batman Live review; a Joel Schumacher style waste

All pictures used in this post were taken by me
I have been looking forward to this live-action experience for 6 months now.  Batman Live started in London about a year ago to rave reviews.  Fans of the superhero were delighted to see a live-action show with a new spin on some familiar characters.  I rarely review anything outside of movies, so I'll follow the same format I always do on this on.  Let's go...

What I liked about the show:
The Set Pieces
When watching a live show, it's obviously very different from a movie.  The sets are constructed and torn down, right before our eyes.  They have to logistically make sense for the actors, as well as the crew behind the scenes.  The set pieces are big, colorful and full of life.  This really is the best part of the show.  I watched the show at the famous Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.  That being said, there was a ton of room for the cast and crew to strut their stuff.  I especially love the Joker face that was about 15 feet tall.  Very cool stuff.

The Variety
Although I don't have a lot to say about this, I think it's important to note the variety that the show has to offer.  Of course you're going to see some action, but there's a lot more packed into the 2 hour show.  The story of Dick Grayson/Robin is told with a look at the characters' beginnings.  Especially his family's work with the circus.  The show uses acrobats, a magic show sequence, and wonderful CGI animation.  Speaking of the animation...

The Transitions
The backdrop to the stage is actually an approximately 100 foot wide screen.  Between scenes, transitions from one setting to another is projected on the screen with some amazing animation.  The screen is also utilized in the story telling.  There is an entirely CGI sequence of the Batmobile racing through the city.  Really cool stuff here.  I've never seen anything like it at a live show of any kind.  The best part for comic book fans across the globe?... some transitions used were comic book pages right out of famous Batman stories.  I recognized a lot of the stories used, and some I did not.  Loved this aspect of the show.

The Costumes/Make Up
I loved the various characters in the show.  Primarily the villains.  Batman is such a popular character, and his rogues gallery has a lot to do with that popularity.  The characters are dressed and made up differently than we've seen in past iterations.  But I do have to say, they closely resembled the Joel Schumacher style of camp we saw in the two films he directed in the 90's.  They're bright, colorful and just funny enough to keep kids engaged.  Don't expect to care too much about the characters though; but I'll get to that in just a moment.  The show is high energy and fun to look at.  By the way, the worst costume in the show was that of Batman.  Big, bulky nonsense.

What I didn't like about the show:
Everything else (action)
I didn't like anything else about the show, but I'll start somewhere in my explanation.  The action is so weak, I've seen better in a home made movie.  I don't know if the cast and crew were just off on this performance, but nothing worked.  The wire work in the show was just down right awful.  The actors playing Batman and Catwoman got tangled in the wires so many times, it became a distraction.  The fights were so lame, that performers were falling over seconds before the Batman actor could even swing his arm.  This is a show based on a superhero, you'd think the action would be much better than what it was.

There is no attempt to dive into the characters at all in this play.  In fact, characters like Two-Face and Riddler do little more than recite a few lines of dialogue and then just get out of the way.  I understand wanting to pack as many familiar faces into the show as possible, but come on.  If they don't add to the story, don't put them in the show.  These characters are so great, so rich with stories to tell, it's a shame they didn't do more with them.  Instead of focusing 70% of the story on the Joker; the writers should have included other characters.  Mainly Bruce Wayne/Batman!  Who I felt was barely in the show.  And if he was, it was to bicker with Dick Grayson/Robin.  This really was a dumb show folks.

The Verdict:
Just rent Batman & Robin instead
The show was bad, everyone.  I'm sorry I have to say it, but it was awful.  I feel so gypped.  Tickets to the show are NOT cheap.  Try $100.00 per person for lower-level seating.  It really did feel like a Schumacher directed play.  I know Christopher Nolan has better things to do in the future; but maybe he can come in and create a reboot to the show.  That helped me forget about Joel Schumacher once before.

Check out the video below.  It's a compilation of pictures and videos I took at the show.  It's probably better than the show ;0)

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