Batman Retires

The first two films in Nolan’s Batman trilogy were bizarre, dark, and fun. We got to see some interesting villains, some fantastic set-design, some exciting fight sequences, some compelling storytelling, and some fascinating ideas.

Why would someone dress as a bat, and beat up street thugs? What kind of training would he need? What kind of equipment would he need? How could he do it?

These are all easily addressed in the films. And thanks to Nolan’s commitment to realism, the entire idea of Batman seems much more plausible, and in turn, much more compelling.

Sadly, by the time the third film rolled around, it seems the well ran dry for interesting villains, fantastic set-design, exciting fight sequences, compelling storytelling, and fascinating ideas. Because while the third film does maintain the realism, themes, and characters of its predecessors. It’s boring as hell. Continue reading

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Batman Resurges

Batman, as a concept, isn’t very realistic. But in 2005, Christopher Nolan tried to change that with Batman Begins. He gave the character a logical origin story, and even explained where all of his gear comes from. A man, trained in ninjutsu, inspired by the death of his parents, and with billions of dollars at his disposal, takes down criminals with a persona mirroring his greatest fear: Bats.

It’s a little ridiculous, granted. But it’s a nice attempt. And while the whole thing seems unlikely, it’s also plausible.

The first film had a bit of a sci-fi element, with the introduction of the Fear Gas, and some of Batman’s gear. I’m pretty sure memory cloth doesn’t actually exist. But nonetheless these elements didn’t seem too ridiculous, or too far outside the realm of possibility. Unlike the Burton series, with the magic automated homing Batarang.

Okay, now you're just fucking with us.

In fact, you know what this reminds me of? James Bond. Now, I’ll admit I haven’t seen every film, because… fuck that. But every film I saw always had the scene in the MI-6 headquarters, where Q introduces 007 to all his gadgets. These were always great scenes. He not only introduces all the gadgets and show what they do, but often explains how they work. Like the invisible car; it has a camera on one side, and the image is projected on the other. It’s pretty cool, even though we actually know that it wouldn’t work since people have tried that and it didn’t. But it’s still pretty cool.

Anyway, in the new Batman films, Morgan Freeman is basically Batman’s Q. And that’s the greatest thing about these films; The fact that even though the gadgets are a bit fantastic, they still feel real, or at least on the cutting-edge. And it’s all thanks to Morgan Freeman, as he gives James Bat his load out. Only instead of a BMW, he gets a tank.

The sci-fi elements in Batman Begins even carried over into the design of Gotham city. Specifically, the designs of the Narrows, the monorail, and Wayne Tower.

I touched on this last time.

They make me think of the classic German expressionist film, Metropolis. (Admittedly, I still have to see that film.) It gives a bit of a how-the-past-thought-the-future-would-look feel. But this film takes place in the present day (I think), and we don’t design buildings like that. Though I wish we did.

Nonetheless, as amazing as the designs are in Batman Begins. For the sequel, Christopher Nolan decided to scrap all of that. Wayne Tower is redesigned into a generic skyscraper, and the monorail is gone. And I think, because of this, the first film had a much better aesthetic. However, that doesn’t really matter, because the second film had a much better everything else. Continue reading

Batman Reboots

The biggest, and most interesting thing about Batman is that despite his ‘superhero’ label; he has no superpowers. He’s just a guy with a lot of gear, fighting criminals. Because of this, he is also one of the most iconic superheroes in history.

I’ve talked about his history before. How his properties have fluctuated in tone, between comic and cheesy, to dark and bitter, and how I approve of both. However, it seems Batman’s most popular portrayals have taken the latter tone over the former.

For some bizarre reason, people, particularly Batman’s most vocal fans, have this knee-jerk desire to insist that Batman be taken seriously. See, they’re forgetting that he’s a superhero, a fantasy character. His closest allies include an Amazon with magical powers, an invincible alien with super strength and x-ray vision, and a fighter pilot with a ring that can conjure any object he wants. His most prevalent enemies include a woman who’s half plant, a seven-hundred-year-old immortal, and a man who can only survive at sub-zero temperatures. Yes, this is a franchise that is begging to be taken seriously.

The first four Batman films did fluctuate in tone, but even the dark and ‘serious’ ones floated on the border near fantasy and absurdity. After all, we have Catwoman coming back from the dead, and the Joker managing to create a toxin that makes people laugh to death.

Anyone who tries to take Batman seriously is obviously fighting a losing battle. Or at least they were, until 2005, when the Batman film franchise was given a fresh coat of paint under the direction of legendary filmmaker, Christopher Nolan. But this time, things were different. This time, Nolan got the franchise to strive for realism… and oddly enough, it worked. Continue reading

Dream a Little Dream Within a Dream

Dreaming, we all do it. But am I the only one who keeps forgetting them?

I hear if you wake up on your own accord, without an alarm, you’ll remember whatever you dreamed that night, but screw that, I got things to do, and a brain that just won’t cooperate.

But still, on occasion, I manage to remember a really good dream the next day. Those are always fun. The ones where I fly around town with Fluttershy and Twilight Sparkle as my wingmares. Yes, I know Twilight’s not a pegasus! Shut up! It’s my dream, not yours!

Anyway, dreams are great. They’re the only real time your mind truly runs free, unconstrained by reality or sanity. But the big problem with dreams, is that you really don’t get to share them with others. It’s a solitary experience.

Don’t you wish you and a friend could dream together? Experience the joys of running free in each other’s subconscious and share what you create? Social Dreaming! Wouldn’t that be fun? Wouldn’t that be exciting!?

Unfortunately, we can’t share dreams, it’s simply not possible. Unless we’re Ellen Page in Christopher Nolan’s epic sci-fi heist film: Inception. Continue reading