Tuesday 12 August 2014

Train-Loads of Spandex

It may or may not surprise you to know that I spent a fair portion of this weekend cruising around the back end of Lego Batman 2: DC Heroes, and that my copy of the game not only has a Martian Manhunter that can turn invisible (as he should), but it also has fifteen brand new characters, and some alternate versions of existing characters.

They were just sitting back there. Completely unattended. They looked so lonely. You should've seen the looks on their little, digital, plastic faces. There are other things back there too. Other things that I am still in the process of fetching out.

There can never really be enough characters in a DC game. I mean, Scribblenauts Unmasked, with its 2000 some characters, might suggest a limit to that statement, but for the most part you can just sort of keep piling people in.

This sort of superhero clown-car approach is the scene these days. Everyone who has a roster to milk is growing extra hands to fully exploit the udder.

This exploitation is kind of at odds with the contents of these udders.

DC can see what Marvel is doing with The Avengers, and they want that too. They want you to buy all of their Justice Leagues, and they want you to buy them now. This is why they've decided on the express route, and they're not really winning hearts and minds.

The last three DC films have been terrible (Green Lantern), boring (The Dark Knight Rises), and among the most tedious cinematic experiences in recent history (Man of Steel). Even the animated DC udder to which I usually turn for sustenance at times like these has begun to sour.

This is DC's scene. This is what they do best. There has been a lot of trend whoring, and DC have gone to great lengths to reassure the public that they will do pretty much anything going. Villains become interchangeable, Green Arrow becomes Batman (Arrow), and Batman wears any dress that Warner Bros. thinks might appeal to the customer. Camp in the sixties, grit in the naughties, and nipples in the nineties.

It all just starts to become meaningless.

What I'm suggesting is a sort of franchise fatigue.

Look, I love the DC Universe, but I get more excited at the prospect of re-reading their encyclopaedia, than I do at the prospect of watching any of their new films.

The problem being that the DC Universe is a finely balanced cluster-fuck of nonsense in which awesome stories of diverse scope are told. There is a lot of room in there for a lot of different things. Imagine a giant train, but it's like that song.

It's a crazy train.

Then you start selling tickets to interplanetary holy wars, a racially diverse Atlantis, Egyptian god-kings who turn out to be alien police officers who are stranded on Earth in an endless cycle of reincarnation, other space police with magic rings that were susceptible to the colour yellow, mood based power rangers, heaps of orphans, so many orphans, like every second person, and a beret wearing gorilla who's in love with a villainous brain in a jar.

And that's just the first couple of rows. By the end of it there is an immense amount of incredibly wild shit going down in every carriage of the DC crazy train. But it's balanced. It all makes its own sort of sense.

I guess what I'm saying is that when you make a Batman movie, and you at some stage want it to be more than just a one horse show, you are going to need to make sure that the world your Batman lives in has room for everyone else on the train. Who are made of milk if we go back to what I was saying earlier.

I guess it's an udder train of sorts.

In the meantime, if you have Lego Batman 2, and you want more guys in your game, let me know.

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