Friday, July 27, 2012

The Nolan trilogy: Batman movies for people who don't like Batman.

Warning:This post contains spoilers on Dark Knight Rises.

So Dark Knight Rises has come, Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy is complete, and this particular incarnation of Batman is wrapped up. I suppose it's possible they could do still another sequel but given how DKR ends I can't imagine another sequel wouldn't suck a fat dick. So as I think back over this trilogy there is one thing about it that I didn't like, and it shows the most in this final movie. Now don't get me wrong, I by no means hate these movies, I don't even dislike them, I like all three of these movies, but I feel like these were Batman movies that didn't want to be Batman movies. They were almost too grounded, to the point that it seemed like they were ashamed of the source material.

So we started with Batman Begins. In some ways this is the most grounded and the least super hero-y for lack of a better term. But given how we were showing, in depth, how the very idea of Batman came along for Bruce this made sense. So being so grounded didn't bother me in this one. In fact the only problem I have with this movie is itssssss ssssssssoooooo sssssssslllllloooooowwwww. The first time I saw it that didn't bother me, but it gets harder to sit through every time I watch it.

Now this one to me is by far the best of the series, it is the most Batman of these Batman movies. While we still examine the ins and outs of how and why Batman operates the mere presence of the Joker makes this the most outlandish of these movies. And what's to be said about Ledger's performance as the Joker that hasn't already been said? It was simply amazing. But like the first one it is paced terribly and aside from the scenes with Ledger in it, it simply doesn't stand up to multiple viewings.

Now the other two films may have errored on the side of being a little too grounded, but this one goes way too far in that direction. This is the one that truly seemed like it was embarrassed to be a Batman movie.

Let's start with Ann Hathaway as "Catwoman" She is not once actually called Catwoman anywhere in the film (granted I went to the bathroom at one point so correct me if I'm wrong, but my friend I was with says 'Catwoman' was never said) Why? Is the artistic integrity of the film compromised by the utterance of the word 'Catwoman'?

And then there was this. Joseph Gordon Levitt played officer John Blake, a character who seems to be Robin like character. Why not call him Dick Grayson? At least nod to the source material. And at the end after Batman fakes his own death Blake inherits the mansion and is apparently going to be the new Batman. Also we reveal his legal name is Robin John Blake. Why make up a character, a cop who can act in the role of being Batman's sidekick without actually being a sidekick? Is there something about Batman taking a partner that is in and of itself stupid? Granted I don't want him wearing little green boy shorts or that fetish gear Chris O'Donnell had but still.

And what really strikes me is I don't think making things this 'grounded' does all that much to add to the realism. It just makes it more of a run of the mill action movie rather then a super hero movie. For instance after Bane cripples Bruce he throws him into a prison he runs out in Asia. Bruce manages to get healed despite having no real medical attention using some bull shit chiropracty ancient Chinese secret. "Realism" ladies and gentlemen.

I liked the Nolan movies, but in some respects I'm not sad to see them go. Maybe the next Batman we see on film can combine the over the top fun of Tim Burton's 1989 Batman with the depth of The Dark Knight. And hopefully the next Batman we see in the movies is a precursor to a Justice League movie.

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