Friday, March 24, 2006

The Dark Knight... misrepresented

Mr. Wayne, can we talk?

Bruce, I'm concerned. Concerned with your image. Your alter-ego is one of the most well-know superheroes on the planet. Of course your comic books have been wonderful, at least on the average. You've been the star of a successful live-action television series. You've starred in many, many cartoons. Some of these were good, such as the ones directed by Paul Dini, and the new series too. Some were not so great. You really need to avoid working with teenagers who don't wear a mask. And stay far, far away from the comic-relief talking dogs. There was a good radio drama starring you and Mr. Grayson, and you even had an off-Broadway show.

But you know which media outlet really matters, right? That's right. Movies.

And those have all missed the mark.

Ok, that wasn't entirely fair. The 1966 film wasn't bad. The new one didn't suck, although there was a complete lack of you using your mind. You're supposed to be the World's Greatest Detective. Lucius Fox doesn't explain Ra's Al Ghul's plot to you, it works the other way around.

But the films from the late 80's and the 90's... oh, Bruce, how could you?

Now, among your fans, it's generally accepted that the second two of those films were terrible. Joel Schumacker will never be allowed to touch another superhero without fans being in an uproar. We know this. But even the holy grail, Tim Burton's Batman, seriously missed the mark.

Now, it did do the thing I complained that Batman Begins was missing. You were smart. God, were you smart. You figured out the Joker's plot in half a minute. Go you. Visually, Burton made Gotham look absolutely perfect. But there were two serious, serious flaws in this movie, and they were deal breakers for me.

No, not the costume. Or the fact that it was hard to imagine Michael Keaton as being able to do anything physically impressive.

The first flaw was the Joker. Or rather, Jack Nicholson. Jack is a great performer and entertainer. But he plays Jack Nicholson. Always has. And this was no exception. He just happened to be Jack Nicholson with a bad complexion and a fixed grin. But hey, I'm a fan. I can overlook this. It was close enough.

But Bruce, you killed. You killed a lot. And not accidental deaths, or failing to save someone, but deliberate acts that you had to know would kill people as a result. You couldn't even be content with small acts of murder, like throwing someone down the center of a bell tower (although you did that too.) But you blew up a factory. Blew it up. While at least a dozen or so guards stood outside the Batmobile you used as a murder weapon. And that's not counting the people who worked elsewhere in the factory.

Dozens, if not hundreds, of deaths on your black-leather covered hands. I could accept this from V, but from you? Tsk tsk tsk.

Oh well, maybe someone will get you right one of these days. For now, I guess I'll just content myself with the knowledge that there was one movie starring you that was done absolutely right. It was animated, and it starred Kevin Conroy as your voice, but we got one.

So, we'll give Nolan another chance. But for now? I'm going to go watch Mask of the Phantasm again.


Anonymous ender said...

YES! i just finished posting about B:tas ... and i LOVE that movie ... easily the best batsy movie ever.

(and i LOVE that book, too)

9:59 PM  
Anonymous AbbyL said...

Hmm. I dunno man, a smart Batman would have realized that a microwave ray that vaporizes water would vaporize the water in human bodies as well.

5:59 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...


Well, yeah. But that just proves that they didn't make Ra's or Lucius smart enough either. -grin-

Again, we must turn to the animated Batman to find the right mix of smart and action hero.

Or the comics.

8:13 AM  
Blogger Al B Here said...

It amazes me how often the "Powers That Be" in Hollywood manage to monkey around with characters that have stood the test of time... as you've pointed out, they've bungled Batman for years now. But unfortunately, this mistreatment isn't restricted to just Batman.

Look what they did to Homer's Iliad in that monstrosity "Troy"... I would have thought that an epic that's held the imagination for thousands of years would have been pretty good as-is. Evidently not.

What about the Kingpin in "Daredevil?" Perhaps it's time to trust the vision of the writers and creators of the characters for a change. After all, it worked in Sin City, didn't it?

12:25 AM  
Blogger BigKilla said...

In the Batman comics made in the last 15-20 years, Batman has killed tons of people. He's even been imprisoned in Arkham Asylum for murder. I thought he was a bit of a pussy in Batman Begins.

11:43 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...


I've been reading comics pretty hardcore all my life. I can't think of a comic written since Crisis where Batman has willingly killed anyone.

Can you give me an example? I'm happy to be proven wrong, but I really can't think of even one comic where Batman has made the choice to kill anyone (other than the comic book adaptation of the movies).

6:51 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...


You're absolutely right that Batman isn't alone in being bungled by Hollywood. The horror that was Daredevil is going to get a post here someday when I'm feeling masochistic enough to watch it again.

"How do you kill a man with no fear?"
"You put the fear in him."

Really? Because I always figured that if you shot him, he'd die, whether he was afraid or not. Shows what I know. -grin-

Sin City was really excellently done. And Rodriguez gets some serious credit for sticking by Frank Miller's work.

6:54 AM  

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