By feebadger 17 Comments
Good comic book stories are destined to be held up as Holy Grail's; forever exalted as all subsequent stories using the same characters are sworn at and called names by fan boys everywhere.
The same holds true for comic book movies, it seems and, possibly the most feverishly praised is the Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale 'Bat-trilogy'. Having reached it's conclusion and with the controversial re-boot on the horizon with Ben Affleck taking on the cowl and Matt Damon playing Vicki Vale (nah, not really, but it made you think didn't it?) it is a certainty that people are going to look with even more fondness on the previous work and use it like a baseball bat against the new Batman's head.
Certainly, we would all be well within our rights to have doubts. Affleck's track record is far from exemplary, Zack Snyder's work has proven to be shallow and lacking in suitable tone and the Superman crossover is far less exciting than it should be after the controversial and baffling plot choices made in the recent relaunch of the Man Of Steel.
"Why even bother???", the fan-persons cry (no geek sexism here!) "Why not just leave well enough alone??" They holler (somewhat redundantly as, you know, we understood their point from the first question).
And the answer is... well, the Nolan films were... not that great.
Now, before you start getting your bat-knickers in a twist, i really love the Nolan films, but i love them purely as that; films. I don't love them as 'comic book' films and i certainly don't love them as 'Batman' films.
Of course, Heath Ledger was a revelation and Christian Bale was Broody-tastic (sullen-rific?), but there was something... an element missing that stopped them from really being an amazing Batman movie experience.
There was something missing from Batman.
The great thing about Batman, probably about all great pulp characters is their adaptability. Take the Joker for example; Grant Morrison theorised that Joker suffered from some form of 'super-sanity'; a condition which causes the Joker to adapt his personality to whatever benefited him the most. A kind of Tabula Rasa, or blank slate which enabled him to swing wildly from the madcap Joker, to the homicidal lunatic we know and love today.
And in that 'super sanity' theory, you have the essence of the Batman.
To me, the campy Adam West Batman is just as legitimate as the Animated series. The 'super hero' version of the Justice League is just as authentic as the Super Friends variety.
Batman adapts to the world around him and his world is us; the audience. Just like James Bond or Dracula or Tarzan, Batman can be adapted to the needs of each generation, so solid are the foundations of the character. With this in mind, i think there are still yet Batman's to be seen on film (or in comics for that matter) which will still ring true.
The one, i think we are yet to see, is a truly wild Batman.
Let's face it, even in his most intense interactions with Joker in The Dark Knight were pretty lame compared to what we have seen in the comic books. Just take a look at Miller's Dark Knight returns, the aforementioned Morrison's Joker in Batman R.I.P or Scott Snyder's latest run. These are WILD comics with bizarre and melon twisting turns.
And THAT'S an aspect of Batman which has rarely been touched on in the film versions.
Let's face it; his whole operation is weird! His villains, his motive, his drive, his city, his friends, his sidekicks, his car... they're all weird.
Sure, he's noble and brave and strong and all that crap, but what i love, the fuel which my favourite Bat stories run on are the ones that highlight the strangeness of this world, the WILDness of it.
Batman's world ain't Superman's, hell, it isn't even Green Arrow's. It's unlike any other playground in comics.
And THAT'S the world i'd like to see portrayed. That goes for new Joker's in film and new Bane's and new Alfred's and Scarecrow's and Catwomans...
There is a whole lot of different and relevant versions of these characters which can resonate just as strongly as the Nolan versions.
Will Zack Snyder's versions be these 'wild' ones I'm looking for? Will Jared Leto's Joker touch on it.
Who knows. I'm sceptical, but who knows.
The point, if i have one, is that i'm excited to find out.
And if this one doesn't work, then i'll be excited to see the reboot after that.
Isn't that the joy of being a comic book fan?
There's always another reboot just around the corner :)