The Legacy of Batman

Return of the Joker

Batman gets to work and interrupts a heist by the Jokerz; a new group we haven’t seen in the show.  There’s a spot of gentlemanly behavior, when he hesitates to hit the pair of girls.  There’s no such hesitation after they taser and kick him.  Of course, Batman stands out from other heroes and saves one of the girls when they start to plummet to their death.  Her twin sister rescues her.  Destruction is caused, but one of the Jokerz gets away with a computer component.  When they meet up with their mysterious boss later, it’s not enough.  When one of the gang members speaks out on his frustration with their current jobs for the mysterious boss, the boss shoots him.  Okay, this is something new…and made a bit worse by the revelation that the original Joker is back and he is ready to give Gotham a wedgie.

Back in the Batcave, Bruce can still throw a batarang with precision.  And his company has dropped “Powers” from their name, returning to Wayne Enterprises.  Bruce is taking more control of his company again.  He keeps an eye on his protégé and questions Terry’s decision to go out that evening; he’s sore and tired, but Terry quips back, “the night is young and so am I.”  That lasts all of a couple minutes once he hits the club with Dana; he falls asleep on her.  Later, at a Wayne Enterprises party, the Joker’s laugh interrupts the festivities.  Terry, as Bruce’s assistant, tries to head off some of the Jokerz gang.  Once Bruce is fine for the moment (he takes out one member with a cane), he tells his assistant to “go to work.”  A minute later, Batman swoops in to save the patrons.  The Joker rises out of the floor and causes mayhem, but ultimately escapes.  Terry grouses to Bruce later in the cave that he should have gone after the Joker, but Bruce reassures him he did the right thing by saving the people.  However, he won’t talk about the Joker.

Terry switches tactics and goes to Barbara Gordon; “what do you know about clowns?”  “In this town, they’re never funny.”  And she refuses to talk.  Terry comes back to the cave to see Bruce going over the Joker’s file.  He is listed as deceased, yet when Bruce runs an analysis on the voices from the archive and from the previous night, they are a match.  When Terry asks again, Bruce calls the man a psychopath and a monster; and he wants Terry to give back the suit.  He has no right to force this life on the young man, or anyone.  Terry disagrees; Bruce didn’t force the life on him, Terry stole the suit.  And they come from two different worlds.  For Terry, Batman is a way for him to make up for past sins (running with a gang, etc), this appeases his soul and is a chance for him to be a worthwhile human.

  “It’s what I want, Bruce.” 

“Stupid kid.  You don’t know want you want, none of you did,” Bruce retorts as he walks away.  Terry throws the suit as his feet and runs out.

With his new free time, Terry meets up with Dana at the club again.  Bright side, more time for her.  Bad side, less pocket money.  Their evening is interrupted when the Jokerz gang shows up and goes after Dana.  The two girls attempt to distract Terry while Dana is grabbed, but he fights them off.  Dana is hurt and Terry puts Chelsea in charge while he finishes off the gang.  He heads to Bruce, who has been working on Joker anti-toxin.  The clown himself shows up in the cave and greets Bruce “hello Batman.”  A gas fills the room.  By the time Terry arrives in the cave, the clown is gone, but he left graffiti and a mess.  Bruce is frozen on the floor, wheezing out a few words between a weird laugh.  Terry administers the anti-toxin in time and calls Barbara for help.  She finally opens up about what last transpired between Bruce and the Joker, still adamant that it’s not the real Joker, but Terry deserves answers. 

Dick Grayson had already left; Tim Drake was Robin.  He was abducted and she and Bruce spent three weeks searching for him before a clue was delivered.  The Joker and Harley Quinn had taken Robin to Arkham Asylum.  They decided they wanted a family of their own and decided to “borrow” one of the kids that Batman had lying around.  The Joker molded Robin into “Joker Jr” and not pleasantly.  He tortured the kid (and shows Batman a video) and now know who’s under the cowl.  Barbara goes after Harley, who falls several stories, though they never found the body.  Bruce goes after the Joker.  The Joker gets a lucky cut on Bruce and holds Batman up for Robin to kill.  Robin ends up shooting the Joker amidst laughing, then crying.  Barbara tells Terry they buried the Joker and Tim was able to put the events behind him after extensive therapy, but Bruce forbade him from ever donning the Robin costume again.  Tim eventually left as well.

Terry decides to pay Tim a visit while in the Bat suit.  Tim is adamant that he knows nothing about the Joker’s reappearance and he as much as anyone wishes the clown gone.  Besides, he was so sick of the crime-fighting that he never wanted to see his suit again.  Terry goes searching for other clues, Barbara sitting in the chair in the cave this time.  She does suggest that Terry look up Nightwing for more stories if he wants.  Batman checks on a disgruntled Wayne Enterprises employee, thinking he’s behind it, but finds the Jokerz gang there, ready to waste him.  Yes, the employee had been in on the one attack, but the man behind the scenes decided to tie up loose ends, sending a laser weapon after the man and Batman.  Batman saves him, but is more than happy to turn him over to the commissioner. 

Bruce is up and around a bit more now and apologizes to Terry; he never wanted the young man to go against the Joker.  Terry notes that he is a completely different Batman, he never was a Robin.  And it’s then that they notice the only costume the Joker completely shredded was Tim Drake’s old costume.  And Terry puts together the parts he knows the Jokerz have stolen and they align with Tim’s expertise.  Bruce tells him to suit up, and take Ace with him.  The Joker is not pleased that Terry has figured it out shoots down the Batmobile. 

Between Ace and Terry, they take out the Jokerz gang.  Terry finds Tim face down, but then the man starts acting funny and feels unwell.  Soon his body transforms and Tim Drake is not just in league with the Joker, he is the Joker.  Or rather, as the Joker explains, the old Joker implanted young Tim with a chip coded with the Joker’s genetics.  Tim doesn’t realize he is the Joker.  His first order of business is to threaten to either go after Dana, Mary and Matt, or Bruce.  Ace attacks and the fight begins.  The Joker knows all of the tricks from Bruce’s peek and Terry is out of his league.  Bruce suggests that Terry tries to drown out and power through the Joker’s talking.  Terry has a different idea.  He likes to talk too.  He mocks the Joker; it was sad that he fixated on Batman in the past; the man wouldn’t know a joke if it bit him in the cape.  Oh, and Terry fights dirty.  Proof the Joker doesn’t know him.  Terry laughs, the Joker is pathetic.  “Not funny,” the Joker growls.  “I thought you wanted to make Batman laugh!” Terry calls down from the rafters.  “You’re not Batman!”  The Joker gets a good hit and Terry’s on the ground, the Joker trying to choke him.  Terry picked up a joy buzzer and burns out the chip on Tim’s neck with it.  Terry manages to get himself, Tim, and Ace out of the hideout before the laser (that has been running through Gotham) hits.

Terry visits Tim in the hospital alongside Barbara.  Tim thanks him and compliments that “Bruce couldn’t have chosen anyone better to put on the mask.”  Bruce actually shows up to visit Tim.  Before Terry leaves, Bruce corrects his earlier statement; “it’s not Batman who make you worthwhile, it’s the other way round.”  (On a funny note, Dee Dee, the twin girls from the Jokerz gang, have their bail paid by their grandmother, Nana Harley [Quinn]).  At the end, Terry stands over Gotham, in the suit, ready for work.  He slips on the mask and swoops into action.

As already stated, Terry McGinnis as Batman makes a few more appearances in the DC Animated Universe.  He shows up in an episode of Static Shock, where a young Static time-travels to the future, meeting old Bruce Wayne and the new Batman (and having to help break his future-self free from the Kobra gang).  He also appears as part of the two-part episode Once and Future Thing in Justice League Unlimited.  In the first half, Batman (Bruce Wayne), the Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman chase a thief named Chronos to the past, specifically, the Wild West.  They then end up following him to the future in the second half and there meet the older Static, Warhawk (who happens to be the Green Lantern’s son), and younger Batman.  Also featured are the new Jokerz gang that were introduced in Return of the Joker…with some upgrades.  The heroes manage to escape, after taking a beating and Batman leads them to the new Justice League headquarters, the old Hamilton Hill High School.  The Watchtower had been attacked and most of the members killed.  Old Bruce enters at that moment to keep everyone from dwelling on the bad; they’ve got a mission to attend to.  Bruce faces his younger counterpart and comments “surprised to see me?”  “A little,” original Batman remarks, though he’s more surprised to see he lived that long. Terry quips “Batman, Bruce Wayne, Bruce Wayne, Batman…or, have you met?”  They deliver “not now!” at the same time, so he gripes “what did they use to call it, stereo?”

The main issue is that the time line is becoming polluted, as original Batman notes, and Bruce responds that history is becoming fluid.  This needs to be stopped.  Batman writes a program to put an end to Chronos’s time travel belt; now they just have to find him.  Terry tries to warn Batman he doesn’t know the new town.  “Are criminals superstitious and cowardly [and we laugh because of the musical!]?”  “Yup,” Bruce responds.  They catch one of the gang and original Batman’s method of interrogation is to hang him over a building and tell him to talk before his arm gets tired.  Bruce hauls the criminal away and growls he can’t believe he was ever that green…his cane is a bit menacing in his hand, but he succeeds.  They can get to Chronos through his wife.  

There is a final showdown between the League and the Jokerz while time itself unravels.  Dee Dee pins Terry and electrocutes him.  We hear his cries of pain, then Bruce at the school shouts “Terry!”  Then silence.  But Green Lantern and Batman follow Chronos who wants to see the beginning of time and put a stop to the madness.  They end up back at the Watchtower from when everything started; the only ones to remember the events (and putting everything back in order).

Justice League Unlimited also brought us Epilogue.  We’re even farther in the future; Terry has bulked up and sneaks into Amanda Waller’s residence for some answers.  Apparently, Bruce needed a new kidney and Terry was found to be a perfect match.  The odds of that are suspicious, so he does a DNA test and discovers his DNA matches that of Bruce, not Warren McGinnis.  There is a scene where Terry confronts Bruce about it and also where he breaks things off with Dana, but these turn out to be just a dream.  Terry is mad at Bruce, thinking he meddled, but Amanda admits it was her doing; Project Batman Beyond.  She used project Cadmus (which, the Joker used on young Tim Drake in the flashback of Return of the Joker; Terry admits it was as low blow when he accused Bruce of it) and Batman’s DNA from crime scenes; then she overwrote Warren McGinnis’s reproductive DNA to that of Bruce and so when he and Mary had a son, Terry, he was in fact, Bruce’s son.  (This was a way to explain how both Matt and Terry have dark hair while their parents have ginger hair; Warren and Mary were selected since they had similar psychological profiles to Bruce’s parents.)  Amanda originally had planned that Warren and Mary would be killed while Terry was a child to mimic the tragedy Bruce underwent to become Batman, but the assassin backed out, arguing it was not what Batman would want.  So life continued unassuming until Paxton Powers had Warren McGinnis murdered and Terry met Bruce as a sixteen-year-old.  She urges Terry not to make the same mistakes as Bruce and points out that he is Bruce’s son, not his clone.  He doesn’t have quite the brilliant mind that Bruce does, but his heart is just as big, if not bigger. 

The episode ends up Terry contemplating an engagement ring for Dana, then helping Bruce out with his meds and vowing to continue to be Batman.  Bruce urges the younger man to eat something before attending to League duties.  Terry quips he’s stubborn, like his old man.

First, my thoughts on Return of the Joker; I think it’s a great continuation of the Batman Beyond story and a reasonable way to bring back Batman’s greatest enemy.  Because who would have ever expected that the Joker was hiding in Robin?  And the showdown between Terry as Batman and the Joker is great.  Terry is a different Batman and he doesn’t have a history with the Joker.  I wouldn’t say he’s not emotionally involved in the fight, because this man did harm his mentor (I’m sure running down to find Bruce gave Terry flashbacks to finding his father).  Terry also shows that he’s not a brash teenager any longer; when Bruce doesn’t want to talk about something, he does back off, same with Barbara.  But he is correct that he deserves answers.  Also, Bruce doesn’t waste time telling Terry off for suspecting Tim; Bruce trusts Terry’s skills.  And he tries to help during the showdown with the Joker, giving Terry advice.  And I think it’s a bit sweet that Barbara fills in for Bruce after the Joker’s laughing gas attack.

And the irony of Mark Hamill aka Luke Skywalker voicing the Joker will never not be funny (and it will always be funnier that he voiced Fire Lord Ozai in Avatar: The Last Airbender)

As for the Justice League episodes; Epilogue at least gives us a proper ending to the series (as does Return of the Joker; Unmasked was pathetic and lame).  And I agree that it gives us a reasonable explanation to the family non-resemblance Terry has with his parents.  On the one hand, it’s sweet that Bruce has a biological son, though in the lore, he adopted Tim Drake (apparently Dick Grayson was a ward, which had some standing; I reiterate, Batman lore is not my strong suit, I just like this show).  Terry will continue his legacy not just as Batman, but potentially as a Wayne (he’d have to find some way to explain that to the public pending circumstances).  And as Amanda points out, Terry is Bruce’s son, not a clone.  He is not Bruce Wayne, he’s still just Terry.  His decisions were his own.  On the other hand, there is a more compelling story of Terry being Batman with no blood connection to Bruce.  I’m glad the episode ended well nevertheless.

As for Once and Future Thing, Terry is hilarious at times.  I’m a bit sad to realize he was essentially killed at one point, though relieved that it was erased.  It’s a satisfactory story, though I mainly watch it for the “Batman meet Bruce Wayne” bit.

This was one series I explored fanfiction early on.  I have several recommendations that I repeatedly re-read:

Katfairy has “Beyond Knightfall” where Terry lands is a spot of trouble and his friends have to help him out (though I wish it would be completed), and “Divine Secrets of the YoYo Sisterhood.”  It has a good mix of drama and humor.

“Virus” by ChampagneWishes could be another episode in the show.

Bumpkin has some good little scenes in “Welcome to My World,” “An ‘Inside Peek’ into Mary’s Mind,” and “Nelson’s Wake Up Call.”

Tomy’s “Reparation” is excellent and “Reclamation” is good as well.

Jadeling has a whole series of stories, most especially “Lover, Friends, and Family.”

And if you want a hilarious crossover joke, try “Ron Beyond” by speedster.

Next Time: Batman Forever and Batman and Robin with Chris O’Donnell.

One Hundred Strong

One hundred posts…wow. I had no idea when I started this exercise that I would carry it on this long (seriously; I originally figured less than a year, then I finally laid things out and understood what all was invovled). I am blown away by the reading response I have built up and the fact that I have over fifty followers – thank you all.

Yes, my posting schedule has lessened a bit, but I am also trying to work on some other writing projects. I’d love to write some short stories to enter in contests to get published. And I have a massive fantasy series that needs laid out…when my brain cooperates. Right now it likes to play around with fanfiction and in turn focus on like the fourth and fifth generation of characters rather than background and world building. And my books also beg my attention; they cry to be read.

With the…current situation, I do have some more free time, so we’ll see how everything best fits in. I do apologize for the breaks that have occurred and I cannot promise that they won’t happen again. When not watching movies for this blog, I’m keeping up with the current MacGyver series (some of the episodes this season have been excellent), the final season of Supernatural (which will end in tears, when it finally does end…my guess is that both boys will die) and also working my way through the original MacGyver series (there are times it is hilarious; though personally I prefer Lucas Till to Richard Dean Anderson, that may be based on my age). Also catching up on Outlander (I finally read the first book; along with the first book of Game of Thrones; both are good, but I kind of prefer the show so I can see the full scope. I prefer the earlier seasons of Outlander, when it is more based in eighteenth century Scotland [a time period I like to study].)

But, I still have a huge collection of movies (one of these days, in a few years hopefully, I will have a place of my own and space to display and organize all of them) and I am looking forward to the upcoming genres. Next are musicals, which I love. Then action/adventure films (another genre I am more fond of) which will phase into the superhero genre (yep, I will attempt to tackle a good portion of the MCU…that’s going to be practically a year on its own). And I will finally get to some of my favorite series, like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and nearest to my heart, Lord of the Rings and Hobbit, and How to Train Your Dragon. And once we get into some newer and more popular films, I can add in the various fanfiction stories that I have read (and keep re-reading…which is how I distract myself from reading proper books).

Let me know what you think and here’s to another hundred!

One Year In

It has been one year since I began posting blogs. I have over sixty posts (I’ve managed that despite taking a month off here and there due to often posting twice a week). That number staggers me at times, because I have barely scratched the surface of my eclectic love of movies. Yes, we’ve done Disney. But I love musicals as well. And action movies. And movie series. I’ve planned out the next couple of months, about until I may break for the holiday season. And I’ve only gotten two categories laid out and doing some rough math…oh boy, there’s still more coming! I originally thought this would be a project for a year. Nope, gonna be more like three. Wow!

After Eragon, we will continue with historic movies, then historic-set romances. Some more modern romances or rom coms (not a long category). Musicals (that’s gonna be a big group). Action/adventure, always fun. The superheroes, including the Marvel cinematic universe. And the pieces that I really want to discuss: Star Wars, Lord of the Rings/Hobbit, Chronicles of Narnia, How to Train Your Dragon, Harry Potter; those expansive series.

In the meantime, enjoy a quick update on some other movies I fit into my life.

Since I got into Game of Thrones and came to love the character Jon Snow the best, I decided to try some of Kit Harington’s other movies. So far, I’ve seen Testament of Youth and Pompeii. Both of which I want to own. I don’t want to give too much away and I know they may not be widely liked films, but I enjoyed them. Well, the second half of Testament of Youth not too much; it made me cry. But it takes place during the First World War, so you can guess why. But Kit’s character is a dashing, charming young man who likes literature and poetry and my heart melts. I’d love a happier tale, of a young lady falling in love with her brother’s friend; that doesn’t end in heartbreak. I should see if more exist. That part reminded me a bit of Jane Austen. And the lead female character is at Oxford. Me being the nerd that I am, was fairly drooling looking at the library. And realizing this takes place at the same time as Tolkien (brilliant movie, I want it as soon as it’s available. We’ll cover it once we get to the two trilogies).

I was surprised I liked Pompeii; as disaster movies are not my cup of tea. The storyline is not the most original, but it was well done. The action is stupendous and Kiefer Sutherland is surprisingly in it; they timed the opening credits well so his name comes up just as he turns around and you realize, oh, that’s him. This made me want to watch Gladiator. And I was disappointed. I dozed off half an hour into the movie and towards the end, I was fast forwarding, begging it to get to the point. What is a bit frustrating is that I like other Ridley Scott films. And I deeply enjoyed his film starring Russell Crowe again in Robin Hood.

If anyone has any suggestions or recommendations on movies or shows to watch, I will consider. I am in no way promising to watch, partly due to, as I’ve stated previously, I am into enough shows and movies and fandoms as it is. My bookshelves plead with me to return to my first love.

And a thank you to all the followers and all the people who have read this blog! I didn’t realize I would enjoy it the way that I do. It combines my love of movies (and talking about movies, because I find them fascinating) and writing. Happy movie watching and happy reading!

fun movies
Look what was waiting for me when I got home! (The first movie will be covered during the “historic” segment)

There’s Always a Twist

I wrote this originally directly after the episode aired, but held off posting due to spoilers.  Read now at your own peril:


Because I need to work through my feelings on the finale of Season 14…

I’d say three words, but I shouldn’t swear online.  Though now I’m debating, who was the bigger dick?  Metatron or God/Chuck?  We thought God was cute; we thought God was our friend.  Nope.  I mean, it sets up the last season well.  My feeling is he’s unleashed a whole bunch of the monsters Sam and Dean got rid of (Bloody Mary, that freaking creepy clown).  They’re surrounded by zombies or something, fighting, which is what they excel at.

Episode turned out completely different than I thought it would.  Jack has never been my favorite character.  I was sad when he died originally, but he just fits an awkward spot.  The last half of the season has been Jack-centric and how many ways can we twist this around.  But when it came time to get rid of him; him talking to Cas made me sympathetic.  Yeah, when Dean was holding the gun, I was more concerned with “don’t hurt Dean.”  ‘Cause he can’t die yet, but that means nothing.  I literally sat up on the couch the scene before the commercial when Sam grabbed the gun.  And now I want to punch God in the face.

So, I feel bad for Jack, though I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him.  He looks to be in the Empty, with Billie.  Not sure what that exactly means.  God is a dick.  And I worry about my boys.  And as always with Hellatus…we have to wait like six months!!!  (Gives me plenty of time to finish re-watching The Road So Far, and read a couple books)


Always willing for a Supernatural discussion

Spots, Spots, and More Spots

101 Dalmatians

The movie is based on a book, which I had forgotten, but that’s on par for most of Disney’s first movies. I am not a pet person in general and not a dog fan (I like the bunnies that visit my backyard; they’re cute, but I don’t have to take care of them), yet I like this movie. The dogs act so much like humans and are far kinder than half of the humans. As a child, I found it particularly amusing that the dogs often resembled their owners. It’s adorable that they refer to their human owners as “pets” and Pongo is incredibly self-aware to realize that the bachelor life is not all it’s cracked up to be. He’s smarter than most humans and manages to successfully pair his pet Roger up with Anita, and gaining her Dalmatian Perdita as his mate.

101 dalmatians title
The cover I remember as a child

As dogs are prone to, Pongo and Perdita are due to have a litter of puppies an indeterminable amount of time later. Anita’s “devoted schoolmate” Cruella de Vil stops by demanding to see the puppies, for some reason. Once again proving that animals are smarter than humans (hmm, sounds like Snow White), Perdita is far more fearful of Cruella than her owners. Cruella stops by again once the puppies are born and offers to pay for them, but Roger smartly refuses, causing Cruella to vow to get even. (Again, not entirely sure why; obviously once one is familiar with the story, we understand, but it’s not explained within the timeline. Her true desire is hinted with her comment that she “lives for furs,” but that tends to go over children’s heads).

The next scene is a parent’s nightmare; men break into the house, distract Nanny, and kidnap all the puppies while the two couples are out for a walk. Pongo and Perdy take matters into their own…paws when the human avenues are getting nowhere. They send a message out through the dog chain in London, finally reaching a farm in the country where Captain (a horse), Sergeant Tibbs (a cat), and Colonel (a dog) reside. The trio had noticed activity at Hell Hall, the old De Vil place and decide to investigate. Sergeant infiltrates and discovers not only the fifteen missing London puppies, but an additional 84 Dalmatian puppies. They send word back to Pongo and Perdy who immediately head off to rescue their offspring.

Again, as a child, I didn’t fully grasp what skinning puppies meant, aside from bad. Most of the time, Cruella simply refers to it as “the job.” Sergeant Tibbs knows he must get the puppies out, the sooner, the better. Pongo and Perdy arrive just in time to turn the tide and they begin their trek back to London. (There’s a memorable scene where Captain kicks Horace and Jasper into the hay – I cheer). At one point, they take shelter in an old dairy barn where the maternal cows coo over the puppies. Their next stop the following day is a village where they hope to hop a ride back on a truck, but Cruella, Horace, and Jasper are hot on their trail. The puppies give them the idea to disguise themselves as black labs by rolling in the soot. It works, until melting snow reveals their true coloring. Cruella drives like a maniac, attempting to knock an innocent man off the road (I will agree in this case with the truck driver’s derision of female drivers); all for a fur coat. She eventually collides with Horace and Jasper and the Dalmatians safely return home. Roger’s big hit; the only song of the movie really, “Cruella de Vil” will allow them to move to a “Dalmatian plantation” so they can take care of all 101 Dalmatians.

The late nineties had a brief animated series based on the movie, that I don’t think I ever watched, and an animated sequel in 2003 (I will save my rant on Disney sequels for later; my bare memory of the movie is that it did not live up to the original). There was a live-action remake of the movie in 1996 with Glenn Close as Cruella de Vil. That version explained that Anita worked for Cruella as a fashion designer, clearing up Cruella’s interest early on in the puppies. Roger was a video game designer instead of a musician and I clearly recall Cruella caught by the police, covered in molasses. There was a follow-up to that movie, 102 Dalmatians, that included Ioan Gruffud (Mr. Fantasic, or Horatio Hornblower, depending on your taste) and her final result was being baked into a cake.

Overall, an enjoyable film; I’d watch it if it was on television and it’s a welcome break from fairy tales and princesses. It’s a good mix of action and adventure and family for kids. My heart races a little when Cruella is searching for the puppies and they’re loading onto the truck. This movie and Mary Poppins gave me my first taste of London (though I haven’t been yet). The remakes are…alright; I enjoy the hijinks.

Questions? Comments? Are you a dog person?  Cat person?  Bird person?

Next Time: The Sword in the Stone

Off to Never Land

Peter Pan

Based on J.M. Barrie’s play, it does have a sequel: Return to Never Land and Tinker Bell has a whole slew of movies. And today’s little ones can meet some of the characters in Jake and the Never Land Pirates. The writing of the play is the basis of the Johnny Depp film Finding Neverland, and Steven Spielberg directed Robin Williams, Julie Andrews, Maggie Smith, and Dustin Hoffman in Hook, which takes place decades after the original tale (and fun fact: Dante Basco, who voiced Zuko in Avatar: the Last Airbender, was Rufio, a peer of Peter Pan). As a child, I liked the animated movie for the adventure and variety of characters. Re-watching it as an adult, I get a different view.


The movie opens on a night in London and introduces us to the Darling family; Mrs. Darling who believes that Peter Pan is the spirit of youth, sons John and Michael who act out stories starring their hero, eldest daughter Wendy who is the “supreme authority” on stories of Peter Pan, and their father, Mr. Darling, who prefers to be practical and believes that stories of Peter Pan are poppycock. Because he’s tired of the nonsense, he informs Wendy that it is high time she grows up and it will be her last night in the nursery. When the parents leave for their function, Peter sneaks into the house to retrieve his shadow (which is apparently its own free entity and somehow became separated from Peter). He makes a racket, waking Wendy who starts babbling. Peter reveals that he enjoys visiting the Darling house because he likes to hear the stories about himself that Wendy tells the boys. And making perfect sense to a child, Peter decides that Wendy should come back to Never Land with him so she can share her stories with the Lost Boys, which also prevents her from growing up and ending the stories. Michael and John wake up and want to join in; then they’re off, exclaiming “We Can Fly!” with the help of “faith, trust, and a little pixie dust” to “the second star to the right and straight on till morning” (because that’s an accurate way to travel).

The first denizens of Never Land we are introduced to are the pirates, under the command of Captain Hook. Except they’re disgruntled by the lack of traditional pirating, instead stuck in Never Land pursuing Peter. The boy that thought it was a fun prank to cut off Hook’s hand and feed it to a crocodile. Their fearless leader isn’t so fearless; he becomes a quivering mess when he hears the tick-tock from the crocodile. Yet he also shoots one of his crew and fires a cannon at Peter and the Darling children. Tink, jealous of the attention Peter is giving Wendy, flies ahead to his hide-out to warn the Lost Boys of an approaching enemy, a giant “Wendy bird.” They attempt to shoot her down, but Peter manages to rescue her at the last minute and banishes Tink for a week for “high treason.”

Peter takes Wendy to visit the mermaids and the boys “Follow the Leader” to fight “Injuns” (this movie is also filled with horrible racial stereotypes). It’s usually a game of the Injuns and Lost Boys capturing and letting the other group go, however, the chief’s daughter, Tiger Lily is missing. Captain Hook and Smee have Tiger Lily and are willing to drown her in an attempt to get the location of Peter’s hideout. Peter does rescue the maid, after he’s reminded; he’s too busy having fun and showing off. Yet he’s honored by the chief and we sit through the degrading “What Makes the Redman Red” song.

Captain Hook has a new plan; use Tink’s jealousy of Wendy and persuade her that he is leaving the island and will take Wendy with him to “save the lad from himself.” He’s of course, lying, and gets around his promise to not “lay a finger, or hook,” on Peter, by lowering a bomb wrapped as a present into the hideout. Wendy has figured out what sort of boy her idol is and wants to return home. She reminds her brothers of their mother and the sentimental song causes the other Lost Boys to want to return with her, so they too can have a mother. Peter refuses to grow up and lets them leave. They’re captured by the pirate crew and offered the chance to join, or else walk the plank. Wendy still believes that Peter will save them, even after the Captain reveals his actions. (Tink saved Peter, racing back to knock the bomb away. Peter’s forced to face the fact that he had ignored her and declares “you mean more to me than anything in the whole world”) He does fly to the rescue and duels Captain Hook, even promising to not fly away. He manages to outsmart and trap the Captain, forcing him to mock himself as a codfish. The crew escaped, but now have to out row the crocodile who once again is chasing Captain Hook. The Lost Boys take over the ship and with a lot of pixie dust, they take off for London.

The Darling parents return home to find that Wendy has agreed to grow up, while her father has changed his mind to let her stay in the nursery. She begins to tell them about her newest adventure and they catch sight of a cloud, shaped as a pirate ship. It’s familiar to Mr. Darling; something he saw when he was very young.

As an adult, I have to realize that this movie is a representation on how children think (well, I had a little help; a friend pointed out the idea to me, but watching the film now, it makes sense). They are playing; in play, pirates are fun. Danger is not real; those who die can simply come back to life the next time they start up. Hands aren’t really cut off, but if it was, wouldn’t it be funny to feed it to a crocodile? Peter is the essence of a young boy; girls are silly and his interests flits between whoever can stroke his ego and gain his attention. He leaves Wendy alone more than once (and she is a typical girl with a crush, simpering for his attention) and seemingly tosses aside his oldest companion, Tinker Bell aside because someone new and shiny has come into the picture. Funny, as a child, I thought she was mean, but as an adult, totally get it!

I realized that this was the first time I have watched the original animated film since I’ve watched Once Upon a Time. Vastly different characterization [Warning: Spoilers Ahead!] Pan is an evil…I don’t know what to call him, but I want to wipe that smirk off his face; Tiger Lily was once a fairy as well, Tink retains her spunk, and Captain Hook is devilishly handsome. Totally prefer Colin O’Donoghue as Hook dressed in black leather to crying codfish Captain Hook.

ouat capt hook

As always, questions? Comments? Do you view Peter as a hero?  What’s your view of Captain Hook; diabolical villain, or a codfish?

Next Time: Sleeping Beauty