Weekly Round Up: Batman, Mortal Kombat, Chris Rock

Weekly Round Up: Batman, Mortal Kombat, Chris Rock

The big news this week surrounds Matt Reeves’ The Batman. We’ve not heard much about The Batman for a little while now, beyond the fact that, much like James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, we know it’s different from other incarnations of the character because it starts with a “The”. Apparently, that kind of thing makes it… edgier? I don’t know.

Anyway, the Batman film will reportedly centre on a younger version of the Caped Crusader than we’re used to seeing in live-action form, and this premise was seemingly confirmed when news broke this week that none other than Robert Pattinson is in the running to don the cowl.

It would seem several “movie fans” haven’t watched many movies released the last decade or so, as this news upset certain corners of the internet because Pattinson is “that guy from Twilight”. Of course, Pattinson has actually spent the years since Twilight ending carving out a name for himself as something of a rather good actor, actually, with appearances in movies as varied and interesting as Cosmopolis, Maps to the Stars, The Lost City of Z, The Rover, and most recently in Claire Denis’ critically acclaimed sci-fi thriller High Life. 

It’s a shame that Pattinson is still seemingly most recognised as the sparkly vampire, because his work since the Twilight saga ended has been rather good. Personally, I’d be happy to see him take up the mantle from Ben Affleck, who, let’s not forget, also received a certain amount of backlash when he was cast, and I think we can all agree Batfleck was not the issue with those movies… right?

Batman has a long history of unusual and left-field casting choices, from Mr Mom’s Michael Keaton, way back in the Tim Burton era, through to relative unknown Christian Bale in Nolan’s acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy, and don’t forget how many people through Heath Ledger was an awful choice for the Joker. Look how that turned out.

Pattinson is yet to sign on the dotted line, though, and should he decide against it (I hope he does sign on, I think he’s an inspired choice) Nicolas Hoult has also been mentioned as a potential frontrunner. Hoult is arguably more of a left-field choice than Pattinson, but I’m not sure he has the right look or screen presence for the Batman role.

Speaking of left-field movie decisions, James Wan, the man behind Saw, The Conjuring and the surprisingly fun but incredibly stupid Aquaman movie, has signed on to act as producer for an upcoming adaptation of video-game classic Mortal Kombat.

Detective Pikachu hit theatres earlier this month to relatively positive reception, making it the first video-game movie to be recognised as Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. While a single movie is hardly enough to claim the tide is turning, Wan’s involvement in this movie certainly has me more intrigued that I would otherwise be inclined to be.

For those of you old enough to remember, the Mortal Kombat games have actually had live-action adaptations before, in form of Paul W S Anderson’s take on the material. The original movie was dumb but a lot of fun, and I’ll hold my hands up and admit that as a kid I loved the living hell out of it. But it’s sequel, subtitled Annihilation, was a disaster, and neither movie can honestly be recognised as great movies in their own right.

Not much is known about this new movie as of yet, other than that Wan is on board to produce, but I’m willing to hold out hope that this might be, at the very least, an improvement on previous attempts. If he brings the insanity of Aquaman to proceedings, we could just have something stupendous yet special on our hands. Here’s hoping for an R-Rating though.

While we’re on the subject of James Wan, it would seem that the movie that made his name – Saw – is heading in for the reboot treatment. Last year we were hit with Jigsaw, which was supposed to jumpstart a new series of Saw films but failed to make much of an impact. However, this new take has a peculiar trick up its sleeve.

Aside from the comforting news that Wan and Darren Lynn Bousman, the director of Saw II, Saw III and Saw IV, will be returning to the series, this week we also learned that, as weird as it sounds, comedian Chris Rock will be saddling up in the producer’s chair.

Rock is reportedly a long-time fan of the Saw movies and brought his own concept forward for this new iteration, and I’ll hold my hands up and admit that this news alone is enough to have me intrigued. Let’s see what else comes out of this in the coming months, as the movie is scheduled for an October 2020 release date.

Finally, John Wick 3 has officially knocked MCU powerhouse Avengers: Endgame off the top spot in the box office, debuting at number one on release.

This might not seem like much, and I liked Endgame as much as the next guy, but the fact that an original, R-rated action thriller, one that cost but a fraction of Disney/Marvel’s box-office shattering behemoth, should be the one to dethrone it fills me with an odd sense of joy. There’s hope in the world yet.

Oh, and I’m not going to talk about the Game of Thrones/Star Wars thing. Screw that. I’m fed up with both those franchises now.

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Alex Secker is a writer/director/editor. His debut feature film, the micro-budget thriller Follow the Crows, won Best Independent Film at the Global Film Festival Awards, while his stage-play, The Door, won the People’s Choice Award at the 2017 Swinge Festival.


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