Which character do you like best?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chase Meridian - Batman Forever

Sorry this one is late guys! Midterms and all of that nonsense-

Next up: Chase Meridian
AKA Eye Candy

What is there to say about Chase Meridian, a character invented for the franchise film of the 90s, Batman Forever. Out of the entire Franchise, she lasted a single film. From today's standards (behind which the movie, made in 1995, should be judged, let's not dispute that point) Chase is a vapid nympho bubble. She spends the film Vacillating between being in love with Batman (who is, lets face it, a fairly disagreeable man in a rubber suit with silly nipples on it) and Bruce Wayne (a Billionaire who tries to take her on nice dates... to the circus?). Funny story, they're really the same person, and Bruce spends the love plot getting dumped because Chase decides she wants his other persona. Twice. She dumps Bruce Wayne for Batman, and then at the end Batman for Bruce Wayne. CHASE, THEY'RE THE SAME DAMN PERSON. I can't really say her character wasn't believable; I know of many vapid young women who hide behind the guise of sex appeal to forgo actually being an interesting person, and Nicole Kidman played one of these to a T. Her acting was actually quite good, considering the quality of the film, and her only issue stemmed from her playing a character as complicated as the plot of Fifty Shades of Grey (hint, there is no plot in Fifty shades- Like Chase Meridian, it only pretends to be complicated by putting on a sexual front). However, I did believe, as I watched it, that a person like Chase could exist.
Score: 5/10

Being unable to decide between a man and his alter ego, despite one being dressed entirely in rubber with little nipp- ok I think I've finally killed that joke. Batman and Robin wear rubber nipples. We get it. Other flaws... lack of centrality to the plot? Lack of personality? Lack of character growth? Personally my favorite questionable moment of hers occurs when she the Bat first meet. Bruce tells her, much to her excitement, that he has read her work and found her to be naive. Instead of being offended, this further impresses the airhead, because she is too busy ogling him in the shadow of a thousand moving lights to notices she has just been insulted. What's horrifying is that Bruce ends up ogling her as well, not minutes after disavowing her ability as a psychologist.
Score: 1/10
Stealing the Bat-Signal for her private use (something they barely ever comment on, despite that signal being an emergency beacon, not a toy). Wearing short revealing clothes, and attempting seduction in the lamest possible manners for a film this expressionistic. Pointing out the obvious-- no, seriously. To cover for her lame seduction attempt using the Bat-Signal, Chase tells Bruce the huge and shocking revelation that Two-Face's Achilles heel is his coin. In addition it turns out that she is something of a Batman stalker, collecting tons of files and pictures of him, none of which Bruce finds the least bit concerning. It would be like if one of those boys from New Direction (Andrew, Master of All Knowledge has pointed out to me that the band is in fact called One Direction. He has said leaving it as is makes me sound like an 80 year old with three hip replacements and varicose veins (his words, not mine) trying to up my status with the local youngins  and get with the times. For the Record, I am in my twenties. He also mentions that New Directions is the name of that Glee club on that aptly named Glee Club show, Glee. To him I say, neither one is really any good at music, so does it really matter which fan-base I offend? To which I say this:) started dating a fan and was ok with finding her bedroom plastered with posters of him, the mouths of which are all slightly warped from sad preteen kissing practice. No one wants that...
Score: 2/10
Personality type
To be fair, I can see what they were trying to do in regards to her personality. Batman, as a concept, was constructed during the era of film noir. As the film genre got popular, certain tropes were formed, and as women in the 30s and 50s were being told to stay at the home, the characters reflected that. However, this iteration of Batman seems to be trying to use more of a style of 1940s Film Noir, when women in the work force showed promise. World War II was upon us, and the films of that generation often placed women in working situations. For example, Chase's occupation as a psychologist, would be an example of an educated woman outside the normal family model. The 40s were some of the most liberating for the women of noir, and the basic femme fatale of Double Indemnity was replaced with the working woman of Laura. At best, what the writers of the film were trying to do was combine the liberated working woman of 40s noir with the sexy femme fatale of an earlier noir era. The only problem, of course, being that the two tropes combined have a tendency to counteract one another, especially when you are trying to go all out with both options at the same time. The women of 40s noir, if not desexualized, were certainly masculine in dress, and often had more difficulty choosing between her work and her mothering nature than is seen in Chase, who's entire career is added as an afterthought to appease an audience that would not except a "weak female". They show the character practicing self defense, and use snappy sexualized language to try and make her strong, while at the same time ignoring any sort of character arc for her to go through to give her depth. She becomes neither the Redeeming woman nor Femme Fatale of the 30s and 50s, but nor does she become the working beauty of the 50s. She is left as a vapid reference to all, muddled and useless.
   Working Beauty Laura           Dangerous Femme Fatale                   ... Chase Meridian.
Score: 4/10 for effort
Well, we can't call Chase entirely insane. Her only apparent fear in the film was being dangled in an air tube over a pit of metal spikes (Two face calls it a 'watery grave' which, until you see a small amount of water near the base of the spikes, makes absolutely no sense... Of all the puns he could have made, he went with watery? How about a pun with piercing? swords? Hell, she tries to be sexy often enough- we could have thrown a nice innuendo in there about Batman's penis. But no. "Watery"...). That cold metal death trap would scare pretty much anyone. And other than that, this woman shows no fear-- not because she's a strong female character, but because she is too bland to have a phobia...
Score: 3/10
Position of Power within the Story:
She doesn't even equate to the level of power chick within the five man band set up. She is, through and through, the love interest. And not even a very interesting one at that. However, she does have a small purpose in the plot (although her part could easily have been filled by a lamp), and Batman is 'forced to choose' between Chase and Robin. Not really much of a choice as he is easily able to save both, despite using the bat hooks that should, in theory, pull his limbs out of his sockets.
                                   See? Chase could be replaced by a lamp, and we would care just as much. 
                                                                      Maybe more: "Two Face, how dare you ruin a perfectly
                                                                                              good Lamp like that!"
Score: 2/10
Who does she love? Batman? Bruce Wayne? Clinging rubber latex? She's about as deep as her hair color.
Love plots:
Oh good, we have reached her entire purpose in the movie, being a love plot that creates her own problems by being unable to decide between Bruce Wayne and Bruce Wayne. Despite 'love interest' being her whole job description in the film, she just isn't very moving. She has no character of her own, spends the film trying, pretty much in vain, to be sexy. Nicole Kidman, although not my favorite actress, has proven that she can play complex characters and although this film is fairly early in her career, they give her almost nothing to work with. She even lacks a death that would at least put her character to rest-- She clearly does not appear in the sequel, Batman and Robin, (now starring George Clooney as Batman), it is clear she was not a successful character. So why wasn't she bumped off? As stated above, she exists solely to create this 'tough choice' for Batman at the end of the film, where he must choose between Robin and a lamp his woman. Honestly, instead of trying so hard to save both, he should've just let Chase fall into the pit. No one would cry over a broken lamp. It's only slightly higher on the list of things people care about right between spilled milk and The Jonas Brothers breakup.
Score: 2/10
Female Power and Subversion
The one thing we can say for Chase Meridian is that they tried to make her a subversion to the Noir Heroine despite failing immensely.  They show her practicing martial arts, let her retain a female sexuality- even in the 90s, rare for a mainstream film- and give her a job that requires a higher college and graduate school education. However instead of being a new Buffy Summers, Chase Meridian never uses any of her skills- not her degree in psychology, not her self defense-- except for her interest in Batman sex, to help further the plot. The ending tacks on a small moment where she visits Edward (The Riddler) to determine his psychosis, but the entire scene is entirely unnecessary. The writers have taken a character that could have been interesting and flawed if they had chose to make her so. Instead, they ran with a character who's sole purpose is to titillate the prepubescent boys that would describe the film as "the best movie ever" as opposed to those who see it as a cult classic akin to King Kong, The Devil's Carnival and the original comics, all in one. They have given Chase's character the requisite background to be interesting, but failed in the execution -- most disappointing considering she does not exist within the comic's cannon universe, and therefore cannot even claim to be a shout-out with a known back-story like other under utilized feminine characters in other superhero films (such as Gwen Stacey in Tobey McGuire's Spiderman. Also let's not get into a Marvel vs DC fight here. Those Spiderman Films had their own flaws, Gwen Stacey is just not one of them, I would argue).
                                                -And Gwen still had more of a personality than Chase does...
Score: 4/10
Over-all Complexity
I've said it before and I'll say it again; Chase had a lot of potential as a character, but frankly was limited by the nature of this film. The film is campy, and fast paced, and time for character development was not taken into account for any of the characters; even Batman and Robin's bonding and the deaths of their families were only barely talked over. Given this nature, Chase had no chance of becoming more interesting than she was. This film is not intended as a dramatic master-piece, and frankly, developing these characters would have turned a hilariously bad film into just a bad film. When considering just her character, however, Chase is horribly under-utilized, under-developed and needs more interesting underwear (considering how flamboyant everything else is, her skivvies are drastically boring...). Within the context of the film, she plays a stereotype expected of the film genre. The fan-base itself seems to think of her similarly to how I do. The occasional person loves her character, describing Nicole Kidman's acting with multiple exclamation points while most of the population has said she was a character with potential, being performed by a talented actress, which fell flat on the screen due to vapid dialogue and a lack of any on screen character development. It's ok, Nicole, it really isn't your fault.
Final Score: 2.6

My cut off for a Mary Sue is a 3.0, and Chase Meridian fits this score. She is not over powered, not over indulgent and not even particularly annoying. In fact, as she is acted, she seems fairly normal-- too normal for the messed up world of Gotham. She is one of those Mary-Sues who is a badly designed character because she is simply bland, uninteresting, and a stand in character for any female watching. She lacks a distinctive personality, and it is her lack of characteristics and flaws which make her uninteresting. She is a pair of tits and an ass to be used as a plot device, nothing more.

Stay tuned later today for Two Face, and tomorrow, to finish out this week's film, The Riddler. Tomorrow next week's film will be revealed- Those interested can refresh themselves on the film or watch the movie for the first time.

Over and Out!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Dick Greyson AKA Robin - Batman Forever

Continuing with:

Dick Greyson
Aka: Robin

beleivability: What a product of the 90s... I am very glad that within dialogue they physically mention Dick Greyson being a college student, because at first, my one problem with the boy wonder was that he didn't really make sense as the orphaned youngster the comics portray him as. His scooter, for one thing, looks like a full fledged Harley. Interestingly, as a gymnast, he was entirely believable. From the very beginning of the film, you meet his family, you see the circus, and you witness the killing of his parents. He starts out entirely believable as a do-gooder, as he saves the entire circus tent (including Bruce Wayne) from exploading by selflessly going after a giant cartoony balloon bomb and shoving it out of the tent (and somehow into a pool near the top of the tent... maybe I missed that part when I was off staring at the spinning colored lights everywhere). He was another actor that acted surprisingly well considering the tone of the film. He played college bro with a tragic history forgoing most of his douchy brofests to prove himself a good person. His vengeance plays off like an all talk fratboy about the prank of stealing the opposing teams mascot before a game, but it oddly fits his character. Admittedly, while watching it, my roommate and I kept pondering the signifigance of the one earring, only to remember that during the 90s, wearing one douchebag earring on the left was not a symbol of latent homosexuality, but technically a hip fashion statement. Though to be fair, Batman is a full grown man who runs around in spandex and keeps a teenage gymnast in his basement... Still, not a bad rendition of Robin, if off from the normal interpretation. (This is Tim Burton after all).
Score: 7/10
Flaws: Not as many as you would think. Although driving the batmobile and not getting himself into dumb gang fights with the painted ladies of Chalkzone may be some of his failures... Considering how often he actually succeeds with what he is doing, you almost wish he would have more.
Score: 4/10
Abilities: flying through the air like a gymnastic squirrel. Er, robin. Rocking a single earring. Simultaneous angst and laid back attitude. Choosing to ignore Batman's wisdom. Getting past the Alfred radar. He does however, get points for being just as acrobatic as you would hope. His physical feats were nothing short of well done. Also another fetching round of rubber nipples on his Robin Suit. (and should we talk about that codpiece bulge he has going? I bet the joker would get in on that moment-

Score: 7/10
Personality Type: I suppose my earlier analogy to a frat boy about sums up my feelings on his personality. I hate to say it, but I don't particularly take him seriously-- maybe its the moment when he makes out with a girl while pretending to be batman, maybe its still that damned earring, reflecting the light of a thousand rotating gobos, but he seems like the type of person I would smile at, be friendly to, and pat on the head, scratching behind his ears when he has done something good, and throwing a bone to every once in a while. Good intentioned, strong, but not exactly intelligent.
Score: 4/10
Fears: Dick's fears were consciously addressed by the filmmakers, however, it wasn't really Dick's own thoughts that manifested the fears, but Batman's prodding in the right direction that made him seem to realize he may want to consider the repercussions of killing people. The fact that it took him as long as it did to understand heroism was a tad odd, considering the selfless act he performed at the beginning of the movie, but he got there eventually. Speaking of that selfless act, it seems one of Robin's fears has little to do with death, considering how often he rushes headlong into it. Kudos to him for approaching a giant bomb, silly looking though it was.
Score: 4/10
Position of Power: The Lancer. I wouldn't really call Dick Batman's muscle, but he does possess strong abilities, and he spends the entire film trying to convince Bruce of his value as a partner. In many ways, it seems as if he is really just training for his future pursuits as a superhero in his own right. High five to the writer for adding in that reference to Nightwing when Dick was exploring sidekick names.
Score: 5/10
Conflicts: Well, it may just be a small thing, but Harvey Dent did just kill his entire family (sortof) in front of him. Revenge for your fallen kin seems a pretty big motivator. It's only a shame that the different directions of this plot motivator were largely ignored. Going the obvious route in this film, however, may have been the right choice, what with crazies like Jim Carrey-- sorry "The Riddler" and Tommy Lee Flamboyant running around.
Score: 6/10
Love Plots: Well, there was that chick he made out with one time in Legend of the Hidden Temple land... and possibly Batman? I'm still unclear on what he means by 'partner'

Score: 1/10

 Masculine Power: Well, he certainly thinks he has a lot of power, but he's quite the meathead. Muscle with no thought at all. "I'm really batman, I just forgot my suit, ok?". Cause everyone buys that, Dick. Clearly we know that you were named for your where your brain is.
Overall Complexity:
There are definately parts of this Robin I liked- it was interesting to have a situation where we physically watched this fairly carefree boys life go to smithereens. In fact, I felt he was most likable at the beginning of his appearance, as what happens to him is purely tragic. Even his mild angsting is fine, as it fits his mood, and how he may have reacted under such circumstances. When he saves the day but sees his family dead below him, I would say that, even with the camp surrounding the movie, we all felt some pain for the young man in the rafters. However, once this moment is complete, his character development sort of unravels, as he starts playing with Bruce's toys (unintended sexual moment win) and only uses cursory lines to unconvincingly remind us of his intent of killing Tommy Lee Fushiasuit. His performance is less than convincing in these moments, which detracts from the overall character, as you know from the outset that Robin will never murder Two Face. This detracts from the main drama of the plot, and feels as if the director were going through the motions. However, this is not a serious drama in any sense, so perhaps these stronger emotions would have detracted from the intention of the film entirely.
Overall complexity: 4.6/10

Stay tuned tomorrow for Chase Meridian... 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Bruce Wayne AKA Batman - Batman Forever

This week:

Selections from Batman Forever, produced by Tim Burton, directed by Joel Schumacher
Coming as no surprise to anyone who has happened to glance into the windows of a hot topic during Halloween and been overwhelmed with the shear amount of Jack Skellington merchandise (much of it embellished with everything from spikes to sequins),  Tim Burton's adaption of the 'lovable' pseudo-furry known as Batman (hey, he does dress up  like a bat an awful lot), is filled with smoke machines, camp, decadence, and an extraordinary number of rotating gobos (some of which are in odd places: Chase Meridian's love nest, a crime scene, ect.). The film even contains one of the most  ridiculous bank heist ever, from the helicopter used to lift a several ton safe from inside a building to Batman's ability to put back said safe in the same position it left despite a one in a million chance, while drowning in acid coming from pretty much nowhere. Even the guy stuck in the vault with him knows enough to pull a line straight from STARWARS: It's a trap! Just like starting this film thinking it might be a serious thriller.

But how do the characters live up as full entities by themselves in this film?

note: this review will not draw on previous sources- Only to be considered are the cannon of this film series by its own... merit.
Scale 1bad-----10good

Bruce Wayne:

Aka: Batman
believability: despite the fame of the recent
franchise starring men of well known report (Yes Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, we mean you), it was actually a nice change to see a funny (if not witty) portrayal of the brooding billionaire. His lines such as "I'll get drive-through" combined with a dry sense of humor played well with his personality, making him troubled but not sulking or childish. The character, although lacking the sentimental, cathartic track of Bale's later batman, seems believable in his reality (which is saying something if you have seen Burton's Gotham City). Some of his feats of strength and ingenuity (can we say jumping directly into holes from thousands of feet up?) have so crossed into the realm of the insane that the joker wouldn't attempt it, but the actual man, when speaking to a earring clad Dick Grayson, are rooted in a reality and solidly defined.
Score: 8/10
Flaws: Bruce in this film is not exactly stupid, per-say, however he is a tad careless when it comes to the obvious. For one thing, he hires an extremely emotionally unstable Jim Carrey-- sorry-- Riddler to work for his company, and is very easily tricked into a trap by both a young Drew Berrymore and a flamboyant Tommy Lee Jones (Two Face). He, similarly, lacks an air of superiority, and, especially where Nicole Kidman is concerned, acts like a puppy waiting to be given a treat. Not ineffectual, but not highly interesting.
Score: 3/10
Abilities: Apart from being able to withstand an excessive amount of rotating colored lights (yes I'm still obsessing over those damn gobos), this incarnation of Batman possesses the unique abilities of Jumping into small spaces from excessively high places, not breaking his limbs when using the grapling hook, and not having a gravelly voice of a 75 year old smoker. Some of his abilities are borderline superhuman, many entertaining as hell. 
Score: 5/10
Personality Type: As mentioned earlier, this batman possesses some qualities of a puppy, and while often serious has a dry humor to him that makes him human. In addition, he is firm in his beliefs of being against killing, but respectful enough of Dick to let him make his own decisions. I wouldn't mind catching a drink with that guy, despite the serious hilarity of his rubber suit possessing perfectly shaped rubber nipples.
Score: 7/10
Fears: I know batman is supposed to fear bats, but this film takes the fear and turns it into more an odd fixation. His real fear stems clearly from the murder of his parents as a child, and shows to have given him some real trauma. Val Kilmer doesn't overplay this trauma too much, and for much of the movie you forget about it. However, it does lend some real credence to his conversations with Dick Grayson that serve to move the plot forward, even if the character development is minimal. 
Score: 4/10
Position of Power: The Hero. We don't really see too much of batman's gritty antihero side in this film-- odd only because Batman is often thought of as one of the original anti-heroes.
Score: 1/10
Conflicts: Gotham's going to shit. Dick Grayson keeps trying to be his friend. Alfred isn't very good at being observant (lets Dick get away with the Batmobile, opened the door to not one but two super-villains...). Morgan Freeman isn't there to rock his world or narrate his life (We all know tha'ts what Bale pays him for). All in all, an average day.
Score: 5/10
Love Plots: Oh no, there is only one woman in the film, and ah shit, its Nicole Kidman. Oh well, we will make do. Cue a vapid romance with a women entirely too obsessed with men wearing rubber bat costumes. But hey, Bruce Wayne got laid, and really, no judgement here.
Score: 2/10
 Masculine Power: Throughout the film Batman felt fairly in control as the dominant power. Even when it came to Nicole Kidman's character, it never seemed as though Bruce felt out of his league really, and the viewer's impression of the batman never faltered. He never seemed to suffer any castration anxiety or a threat by a female power (perhaps due to the lack of a femme fatale (quite a shame, considering Batman's roots in film noir and the many versions of the trope within the comics)). Homoerotic subtext lingered like a fine mist throughout the film, but was more noticeable in Dick Grayson's constant attempts to be linked with Bruce as a "partner" than any act Bruce did of his own accord. The two men did seem to like each other, and it sure did look as though Bruce admired the boy's acrobat costume even before it went from spandex to Alfred-vamped.  (side note: fake rubber abs... really? on everything? and what is the purpose of the nipples?) However, they never even get close to addressing the issue-- a reading I would love to see filmed at some point. The man does keep a teenage gymnast in his basement, after all.
Overall Complexity: It is hard to separate Burton's Batman from his source material counterpart. The complexity of one tends to inform the other, and knowing more because of multiple sources makes the result look more complex than he is. However, in this cannon, this batman still receives a fairly favorable pass. He is not the most interesting variation, and although he does feel some pain from his childhood, he seems well adjusted enough (relative to other Batman from different universes) to at least give Dick Grayson some sound advice. However, lets remember that we are still talking about a man who dresses up like a bat to fight crime in a city filled of gangs that use black-lights to make their skin light up. So well adjusted in Gotham is really quite relative.
Overall complexity: 4.4/10

This Bruce Wayne has not quite reached Gary Stu level, however, he's nearing the border. What saves him is his dry humor, and, quite frankly, the level of camp in the film that make the movie not about being a serious drama, but about being something moderately hilarious. It is a dark comedy, in reality. The psychoses, unlike in Nolan's Batman trilogy, are not meant to be creepy and relatable enough to freak you out. They are intended to be campy and fun and frankly stupid. This movie knows what it wants to be and wants to do. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to waste a few hours for a few laughs with some friends.

Followup later to see the scores of some other beloved characters from the film.

Stay tuned for Robin, Two Face, Riddler, and Chase Meridian all explored.

Over and Out

How This Blog is Going to Work

Hello and Welcome to Boobie Toob, the busty girl's blog on characters in film, television, video-games, books and movies and their status as a character. 

Mostly what this means is I plan to calculate their level of solid character to their level of MarySue/GaryStu, using a solid mixture of criteria, and info to support it. 

In addition, we will look at flaws in the plot around these characters and a variety of facts about them. Characters can be taken on request, but I'll pretty much be posting characters as I feel like it.


- believability
- flaws
- abilities
- personality type
- fears
- position of power within the story
- conflicts
- love plots
- (For women) Female power and subversions
- (For men) Masculine power and subversions
- over all complexity
- fan-base thoughts
- my thoughts
- Gary Stu/Mary Sue final judgement

Included will be examples of the character - photos, videos, cosplay and more