I have been a fan of Batman for as long as I can remember. As a young kid, I watched him in the various incarnations of the Super Friends. I had the action figures from the Superpowers team line and everything. Then, in 1989, I saw the Tim Burton Batman film. It is still an amazing film (flaws and all); but at the time, I was completely pulled in. Shortly thereafter, I began buying comics (A Death in the Family was the first... I bought it in trade paperback form). Batman started my whole interest in comics, which spanned years of collection and reading. Eventually, my interest in comics waned (then came back, then faded for good).
However, I still enjoy the occasional graphic novel (I can't read monthlies anymore), and I still enjoy a good comic book based movie. Of course, the Nolan Batman films have been among the very best comic adaptations put to film. Nolan haters be damned- Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are indeed the best adaptations ever. Don't get me wrong, I love X2, Iron Man, and the like. But, Nolan's Batman has been something SO different, so unique... and despite the liberties Nolan takes, he is respectful to the "core" of the Batman characters. Let's take a look at the previous 2 Batman movies, and then let's look at the possibilities for The Dark Knight Rises...
Batman Begins took me by surprise in 2005. The truth was, I didn't know that much about it going in. I had never seen a Nolan movie (though my brother swore by Memento at the time). I knew Bale from American Psycho, and I figured he'd be good. I knew that the guy from 28 Days Later was Scarecrow (weird casting at first glance), and that Liam Neeson was playing "Ducard", a mentor figure, and leader of the League of Shadows (though his mustache look like Ras Al Guhl- hehe! Ras was never a favorite of mine, though this movie went a long way to change that). So, I went to see it... and I was blown away. I loved it. The casting was pitch perfect (even Katie Holmes was good). The movie showed Bruce's journey from innocent rich boy to scarred teen to bitter adult. The theme of fear is prevalent- how fear (in various ways) has hurt Bruce, "Ducard", Gordon, Alfred, and Gotham itself. The film is about controlling your fear, and not letting it control you. This is absolutely clear as Bruce trains under "Ducard"- Bruce refuses to murder a criminal- Bruce wants to "get back" at criminals, but not by murder. Thus, Bruce breaks from the League of Shadows, determined to become symbol, Batman. The movie also does a great job of showing a Batman semi-grounded in reality. People think Nolan is "too realistic"... I think his world is like ours, but not quite... In any case, Batman Begins was great, and I was hoping for another from the same team...
Of course, in this time of hope, the Joker emerges to ruin it all. I need not go into Heath Ledger's Joker- suffice to say that even though he's skin isn't scarred and he doesn't use "Joker-weapons" like in the books, his "core"- wanting to ruin or corrupt everything that is good and decent while creating enormous mayhem and suffering- is absolutely perfect. He is very much the vision of the Joker from The Killing Joke. In TDK, his "mission" is to stop Batman from saving Gotham, by corrupting it's heroes- pulling them down. What ensues is a deadly game of cat and mouse, with the clock ticking. You can literally feel the tension build with every scene. Batman makes incredible sacrifices here, both moral and physical, and Bale shines as Batman. The movie ends with the Joker SO nearly succeeding, with Batman and Gordon pulling a last ditch "trick" to save Gotham from disappointment and despair. The last lines of that movie gives me chills still. To save Gotham, Batman must give up the chance of being a heroic symbol. Batman is on an uncertain path, and so is the audience. A fantastic way to end a fantastic movie.
Of course, we knew we'd have another movie. They announced the third, and final movie. There was all kind of speculation as to who the villian(s) would be (I never thought Johnny Depp should be The Riddler. Not a chance). Then, they announced it would be Bane and Catwoman. I'm not thrilled on Catwoman, as she was never a favorite of mine.I loved Bane in the Knightfall storyline. It was one of my all time favorites years ago. I even have Vengeance of Bane and Batman #497 autographed. However, I was unsure how Nolan would bring Bane to life.
|Best. Poster. Ever|
IMAX scene, and my knowledge of Bat-lore:
Until next time Chaos fans...!