Nolan, Batman, some numbers and the Detective

Christopher Nolan's Batman movies are insanely popular, and no doubt entertaining. However when I think of the movies I always come back to one specific thing about his portrayal of Batman. To quote Amanda Waller in the JLU episode 'Epilogue', in reference to Terry Mcginess,

"There are similarities, but more then a few differences too, you don't have his magnificent brain for instance"

Which in a lot of ways describes my feelings on Nolans Batman, is it really Batman if you take away what he's best-known for?

Google of course has more than a few links to the scripts to Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, which between them has the word "detective" a total of 33 times, with only 4 of those actually being words of dialogue, all from the The Dark Knight, and never once in reference to Batman, the other 29 are used for describing scenes, or a character e.g. 'The Detective looks around as he...' . Ra's Al Ghul addresses Batman as 'Detective', in recognition of his intellect, and in a lot of ways their relationship is unique amongst all of Batman's rogues gallery, because more than anything else it's always an intellectual battle between them, as opposed to Batman's traditional physical conflict. When Ra's referred to Tim Drake as 'Detective' in Red Robin (the issue number escapes me) that was a pretty big deal for the character, essentially Batman's intellectual equal, Ra's, putting Tim on the same level as his mentor, a huge moment for his character, or any character in the DCU.

When adapting a story from one medium to another, there are always difficulties, some things that work in a comic or any written material just won't work on the big screen, and so a story often needs to changed, and that's fine, because at the end of the day it's not the events that your trying to portray, its the character, and a particular story which tells us something about that character, the world or even ourselves.

Batman is in a lot of ways synonymous with a detective, or at least in the comics he is, he defeats his foes by out smarting them, the martial arts, the gadgets, the cars, the planes, they're tools, nothing more. Yet, with Nolan's Batman this is not the case, he doesn't defeat Ra's by outsmarting him, it was never an intellectual or even moral conflict, Ra's was essentially a run of the mill super villain, who Batman eventually bests in a physical confrontation where upon he leaves him to die, similarly with the Joker, Batman had been following the trail the whole way through the movie but he didn't outsmart the Joker in the end, it was never a question of Batman putting the pieces of this scheme together and solving the mystery in the way that shows like House, Sherlock and Luther (Who's writers could make a pretty damn awesome Batman movie) seem to manage on a weekly basis, he just used some (morally grey) technology to find out where he was... and then he pounded him good. Sure a few times in the movies he examines a bullet and does a bit of CSI-ing but you never see the mind, the intellect that is so incredible important to Batman, a trait that can put a mere mortal on equal ground with gods, and supermen, a trait equally as character defining as the death of ones parents, a trait that when absent leads me to question if this is the same character we've been reading all these years. Or maybe I'm just insane...

22 Comments
22 Comments
Edited by RedOwl_1

Hey I actually never think about it, with so much darkness you really miss out the detective thing there, and there he really isn't that kind of skilled but with that perfect quantity of darkness they never gave us in any other real-life movie , we forgot that part

@feargalr: Ajem *cough Red Robin #12 cough* if I remember he beat up Ra's incredibly.... and so...*fan run away*

Posted by batshrine

Before I start I just want to say that I LOVE the nolanverse movies. So I have nothing against them and I am hoping the newest one gets multiple oscars.

But as far as this Batman goes, he lacks two features that I want to see in live action:

First of all his brains, most live action versions of Batman usually have him either have an assistant that does all the smart stuff for him, or he puts two and two together with no connection at all. What I would love to see is either Batman being the genius that he is...or have Batman orchestrate a plot that all comes together at the very end, kind of like Usual Suspects. I mean Batman is infamous for his "prep time" powers, so what would be more epic than a movie where Batman pulls all the strings.

Second and this might just be the goofy part of me. But all the movies make the Batsuit an armor, which makes total sense. What sucks is that the actual suit the actors use limits their movements. So I really want a portrayal of Batman that actually does Martial Arts. He is a martial arts expert, and some kun fu choreography out their is GORGEOUS, and with that cape you can do wonders. So I do hope that we see some form of that. Heres to more Bat movies down the line! lol

Posted by feargalr

@batshrine: I don't really have anything against his movies either, like I said at the start of my blog post, they're pretty awesome movies... just perhaps not the Batman I want to see in a movie if that makes sense.

Posted by batshrine

No that makes total sense! I totally agree with you. I mean batman is a complicated character with so many facets of his person. And in one story it is almost impossible to capture it all. Nolan I see is expanding on what batman is most famous for, his realism. Very realistic believable character (compared to other superheroes). He also touches on a lot on Batmans motivations. With those two being his focus he loses some other awesome aspects. Do not only am I hoping for the dark knight rises to be the movie of the century (or at least the highest grossing). But I also excited on the reboots that will touch on other features like his intelligence, scientific prowess, detective skills, physical ability, some mystery, sense of family, etc.

Posted by feargalr

@batshrine: To be honest I think the Avengers will beat it at the box office.

Edited by Onemoreposter

Yeah. The whole lack of detective aspect I would say is the number one fanboy beef with the Nolan movies (myself included.)

@batshrine: I would also like to see Batman in a more traditional suit. Something like in Batman Dead End would be perfect ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zn53yhjsDM there's the link for anyone who might've missed that gem)

@feargalr: Heh. 'never happen.

Posted by feargalr

@Onemoreposter: Have you seen Chris Hemsworths abs1?!? 10 billion at the box office easy!

Seriously though, the advertising campaign is off the hook, plus this.. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/avengers-new-trailer-itunes-record-chris-evans-robert-downey-jr-296562

Also, the box office figures for The Dark Knight had a lot to do with Heath Ledgers death, not to sound heartless but it was the perfect storm of advertising. DKR will do really really well I'm sure, but beating the avengers is a pretty tall order. Also the avengers is out a lot earlier in the summer. Im a huge fan of Christopher Nolans movies don't get me wrong.. but it doesn't have a shot at beating the Avengers.

Edited by Onemoreposter

@feargalr: We shall see mein freund.

Posted by feargalr

@Onemoreposter: If Im wrong, Ill buy you a pepsi

Posted by Deranged Midget

@feargalr said:

@batshrine: To be honest I think the Avengers will beat it at the box office.

No chance, but it'll be close.

Moderator
Posted by Onemoreposter

@feargalr: It's a bet then.

Posted by feargalr

@Deranged Midget: We'll wait and see guys... they'll prob be within 200 million of each other, but the avengers is going to come out ahead. Those last 5 movies have built up a lot of momentum, plus the avengers has the transformers factor... No point talking too much about it anyway, we'll have to wait and see :)

Posted by batshrine

Ya lets go back to the original topic. There is no point on discussing the avengers fall compared to dkr. Let's talk about the detective not being so much the detective

Posted by feargalr

@batshrine: Exactly, it's a quality that's always been under represented in the movies, not just Nolans, although to be honest his are the ones where its most disappointing, he's a great film maker, he should be held a higher standard. It's also especially surprising given the myriad of genius detective shows on television at the moment.

Posted by Joygirl

*Count Rugen voice* Well spoken.

Posted by Deranged Midget

@feargalr: Indeed.

Moderator
Posted by DeathpooltheT1000

@Deranged Midget said:

@feargalr said:

@batshrine: To be honest I think the Avengers will beat it at the box office.

No chance, but it'll be close.

Avengers will make more money, but Batman will win more fans, also you have to think that Avengers is a team of Superheroes, is pretty bad that Marvel need 8 guys so they have a chance to beat Batman.

Batman = 8 Marvel Heroes.

Posted by Deranged Midget

@DeathpooltheT1000 said:

@Deranged Midget said:

@feargalr said:

@batshrine: To be honest I think the Avengers will beat it at the box office.

No chance, but it'll be close.

Avengers will make more money, but Batman will win more fans, also you have to think that Avengers is a team of Superheroes, is pretty bad that Marvel need 8 guys so they have a chance to beat Batman.

Batman = 8 Marvel Heroes.

I highly doubt that. If anything happens, it will opposite of what you said. Marvel has created their characters to be easier to understand than what Nolan did. And to new readers, Batman is much more confusing to read than Cap or Thor.

Moderator
Posted by DeathpooltheT1000

@Deranged Midget said:

@DeathpooltheT1000 said:

@Deranged Midget said:

@feargalr said:

@batshrine: To be honest I think the Avengers will beat it at the box office.

No chance, but it'll be close.

Avengers will make more money, but Batman will win more fans, also you have to think that Avengers is a team of Superheroes, is pretty bad that Marvel need 8 guys so they have a chance to beat Batman.

Batman = 8 Marvel Heroes.

I highly doubt that. If anything happens, it will opposite of what you said. Marvel has created their characters to be easier to understand than what Nolan did. And to new readers, Batman is much more confusing to read than Cap or Thor.

Just becuase people understand the chraracters more, dont mean people will like them more, Nolan has made more fans that any director in the last decade, big part is becuase he is pretty good at making characters.

Also Avengers will be more easy to understand, that is the reason why it will make more money, only something like being a lame movie will make the Avengers make less money that Batman and i mean very, very lame.

Posted by Deranged Midget

@DeathpooltheT1000 said:

@Deranged Midget said:

@DeathpooltheT1000 said:

@Deranged Midget said:

@feargalr said:

@batshrine: To be honest I think the Avengers will beat it at the box office.

No chance, but it'll be close.

Avengers will make more money, but Batman will win more fans, also you have to think that Avengers is a team of Superheroes, is pretty bad that Marvel need 8 guys so they have a chance to beat Batman.

Batman = 8 Marvel Heroes.

I highly doubt that. If anything happens, it will opposite of what you said. Marvel has created their characters to be easier to understand than what Nolan did. And to new readers, Batman is much more confusing to read than Cap or Thor.

Just becuase people understand the chraracters more, dont mean people will like them more, Nolan has made more fans that any director in the last decade, big part is becuase he is pretty good at making characters.

Also Avengers will be more easy to understand, that is the reason why it will make more money, only something like being a lame movie will make the Avengers make less money that Batman and i mean very, very lame.

Yes but simply because more people like Nolan's Batman doesn't mean they'll like the comic counterpart. People tend to want more of they just saw and are usually turned off when it's not similar.

Moderator
Posted by DeathpooltheT1000

@Deranged Midget: Most of Batman fans dont buy Batman comic books, amazingly Batman has a huge fanbase outside the comic book nerds, many people buy more the graphic novels or the compilations of Batman best comics, that are more like Nolan movies(Saddly comic book nerds dont want to notice that Batman is better when we dont think about the lame guys with powers), also the reason why Marvel decide to make their movies so damn easy to understand to the point that are to soft for my taste, is so more people go and see the movies.

Marvel knows that if people dont care about the comics, it will be to much job to do movies so they buy comic books.

Posted by feargalr

As much fun as it was to sign onto comic vine to 12 notifications, this probably isn't a productive line of converstaion.... so if we could get back on topic........