I watched the new Batman flick the other day. You know, the new one with Team Edmond or Edward or Emmett or Everett or whoever the vampire guy was. I was pleasantly surprised and disappointed all at the same time.
Now, I must confess up front, that I am a Batman fan. Always have been. Speaking of Team, I have always been Team Bats and not Team Supes. Batman could take Superman. And he was just a regular guy with gadgets who wasn't actually bulletproof. Also, a dang rock in the same room wasn't going to hurt him unless somebody threw it at him. Because of it, yes, I have always had pretty strong thoughts on the Batman movies.
So, on my day off last week, I sat through the new flick. Knowing that Vampire Guy, who I'm going to just call Vampy from here out, was the title character, I went into the movie with no expectation other than Vampy was going to ruin it. I've never liked the guy. Something about him has just always bugged me. To avoid a total tome, here are my abridged thoughts on what I watched.
His Batman character was really good. I think Vampy did a good job there. I really liked some of the changes that they made to how Bats did things. His costume looked kind of like a tactical uniform. He had modern gadgets he could utilize. They didn't seem to want to keep the character in 1950. Or even 2005. They actually showed him doing the Clark Kent in the phone booth thing, too, as he'd duck into a closet with his backpack to turn into Bats. He was what I would have expected Batman to be if he was just a normal guy. He could even get hurt. He wasn't a character I would call Bats, but he was definitely Batman.
His Bruce Wayne character sucked total monkey butt. Somehow he managed to make him all emo without dressing him in all black with black eyeliner. Bruce Wayne is a billionaire playboy that has money to burn and doesn't mind flaunting that fact. In my opinion, his treatment of Bruce turned him into a whining, sniveling man-child. I almost got the idea that he was not only embarrassed to be so wealthy, but he resented it. In thinking, however, that have been due to modern society's young people loudly proclaiming that the 1% are evil because they have no lack of money, and they can't have the protagonist of the movie being evil for that reason. Bruce Wayne, in that movie, was a loser. SPOILER ALERT: Before I realized who the villain in the movie was, I honestly thought that Bruce Wayne was acting more like I always envisioned Edward Nygma would act (notice I didn't say The Riddler). Not really sure why because Jim Carrey and that guy who played him in Gotham didn't play him that way, and their versions I think are great. Vampy's Bruce Wayne wouldn't've been a motorcycle rider. He would've driven something like a 2003 Corolla that was missing at least one hubcap. I know there are different DC universes, and I haven't read all of them, but I don't Vampy portrayed Bruce Wayne. He portrayed his long lost cousin who introduces himself as "Kamran...sounds like Cameron with a C but mine's spelled with a K, 1 M, and 2 A's...Kamran."
Speaking of alternate universes. SPOILER ALERT: I also didn't like the way they portrayed Thomas Wayne as less than honorable. I know it was the bad guy's that were mostly doing it, but Thomas Wayne was never a bad guy. He was always an upstanding citizen trying to make Gotham the best place he could.
That brings me to Selina Kyle. I never was a big fan of this character prior to Gotham. The girl that played her there did a bang up job and totally changed my mind about Selina Kyle. When the movie started it was pretty obvious from the get-go who Zoe Kravitz's character was even before anyone mentioned her name. I was initially super skeptical. But she did a great job in that role. She was the standout character of the movie to me.
Then there was Alfred. Poor, poor Alfred. The Alfred character here fit in with the Bruce Wayne character. This is already getting too long, so I won't bore you with details, but this was not Alfred. This was Bruce Wayne's creepy Uncle Al. In my opinion, as far as movies go, Michael Caine will always be Alfred. He is exactly as I had always imagined him to be. This guy that played Vampy's caretaker was not.
The antagonist in the movie (SPOILER ALERT) was The Riddler. It was not my favorite version of that character, but he kept my attention. I'm not sure if I like Jim Carrey's very comic version (riddle me this, riddle me that, who's afraid of a big black bat) or the character that was on Gotham, but, although not a bad Riddler, the one in the movie wasn't as good as either of those I didn't think.
All the periphery cast (Lt Gordon, etc) were just there. I can't say any of them really stood out for being good or bad.
Overall, I mostly enjoyed the movie. It probably ranks low-middle in my Batman movie rankings. Not bad. Not great. But I'm sure I'll end up watching it again.
There's a term that I first heard several years ago that always made me laugh. I actually saw a couple of folks talking about it online the other day and reminded me of it. Never thought it applied to me. Still don't. But somebody asked me recently if I was one. The term is "blues lawyer."
I've always thought that a blues lawyer was someone that had arrived at a certain stage or position in life, had plenty of expendable income, and bought really expensive gear because they could. They may or may not play the gear they buy. They may or may not play out, but they probably play mostly at home than anywhere. And, when they play, they only know 4 or 5 licks in the minor pentatonic box 1 and don't really work to expand out of that, but they play their 12 bar worth of licks as if they were a local guitar hero. If you listen to the naysayers, they're, also, the ones that are keeping the various Custom Shops and boutique makers in business. Also, a blues lawyer doesn't actually have to be a lawyer.
I have never felt like I fit that role. Several reasons why. I own more budget gear than I do expensive gear. I work to get beyond those 4 or 5 licks, and work to someday be able to consider myself an actual musician. Most of the gear I have gets played on a pretty regular basis. I don't own enough boutique gear to ever be accused of keeping anyone in business, and I own exactly nothing from a custom shop.
Those accused of being blues lawyers often get a bad rap. It is said that they drive the price of gear up, especially vintage gear. They're sometimes accused of being cork-sniffers because they buy the nicest gear and don't/won't buy anything less than the absolute best.
But imho, there's room in the music world for them. The beauty of music is that you can do with it what you want to do. If a blues lawyer sits in their little home studio and has fun playing the same lick over and over ad infinitum, then that makes them happy. Who am I to, in the words of Jayne Cobb, damage their calm.
As well, look it from this perspective. It may be that they have that Custom Shop Strat playing through a Dumble amp. So what if what they paid on their guitar and amp would make a nice down payment on a house. It may've been their dream to some day own a guitar and amp like that. They worked hard, put in the hours, eventually managed to see some return on their hard work, and so they decide to buy their dream gear. Who am I to say that they don't deserve what they bought, and they should, instead, buy a Squier Strat and play it through a cheap amp.
I'm going to unfairly generalize here, but it seems that often those that criticize the blues lawyers are those that wouldn't admit it, but would trade their gear with them in a heart beat. For whatever reason, they haven't attained the status in life that the blues lawyer has. They may be much younger and just starting out in their career. They may be well into their career, but haven't been able to accumulate the kinds of disposable income it takes to buy expensive gear. They may be ragging on them because it's the cool thing to do. They may even just be taking part in the current rage against the upper class because they have more money. Doesn't change the fact that they wouldn't hesitate to play the same gear as the more fortunate if they were given the chance, and they wouldn't even hesitate to do it.
The one asking me if I was a blues lawyer did so for 2 reasons. They found out that I have a closet full of guitars, and they found out that I have a Klon (even though it's a KTR). I'm not a blues lawyer. Although I think that those that are should change the narrative, and wear the badge proudly. In the words of my best bud's dad growing up, just because you're a blues lawyer doesn't mean that you've got more money than sense. It just means that you can afford to buy what you want. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Some people drive Porsches, and some people drive Yugos. Some people drive what they drive by choice, and some do so out of necessity. The guitar community isn't any different.
Snarf is a wannabe musician who currently resides in the great state of Texas. His wife is his favorite. He believes chocolate milk made from milk that is anything less than whole milk is basically water and deserves to be dumped down the sink so nobody has to suffer through it. He hates having to shop for clothes. But he has a thing for really cool bags, and, consequently, has more gig bags than guitars and a closet full of messenger bags and backpacks. He still misses his dog who was taken by cancer 5 years ago. Check out his Reverb shop and see if he has any gear he's trying to get rid of.