Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Dark and Stormy Knight.

A couple of things, mostly in relation to The Dark Knight and it's release.

Firstly, in regards to Christian Bale and his recent domestic dispute with his family. The celebrity cult culture seems determined to railroad everything into a 'Dark Knight Curse' or the like, with shades of the Crow all over this production. Personally I think it was a guy trying to deal with the emotional strain of losing a friend so suddenly and senselessly having a moment of human weakness, but of course we'll drag it out and dissect it from all angles and try to slap a convenient label on it. 'Cause that's what we do.

Was also reading reviews online of the film on the CBC website and it seems that the consensus from the Eloi seems to be that the film lacks a certain innocence about it, that it's sacrificed it's comicbook roots for a more 'serious' tone that drains the fun out of things. Check out the review here, and a despairing look at the characterization of the Joker here. I think if one digs beneath the layers of bemused condescension one can find a desire on the part of each reviewer to have 'their' version of Batman on the screen, the one that appealed to them. Ms. Onstad seems to favor the Burton version whilst Mr. Lishinski seems to favor the era of Caesar Romero and the bam, zap, pow! of the 1960s Batman television series. Neither point of view is without merit, as each successive vision of Batman has always had an appeal and a charm.

But the point seems to be that in trying to create a film that took it's subject matter seriously(or at least as seriously as you can take deformed killer clowns and people dressing as giant bats anyway), Nolan and his crew somehow took away some of the 'magic' inherent in the Batman mythos. Which to me reads that they dared to take something so declasse as a comic book and made it a challenging piece of entertainment. No, worse than that--they dared to make it approach art(pop art maybe, but still art). And comics are trash after all, a disposable medium meant solely for children. I mean, everyone knows that right? How dare those comicbook fans get notions of leaving their ghetto and be accepted by the mainstream? Gives them ideas, doncha know.

Meh, I could just be in a cranky mood. All I do know for certain is that The Dark Knight was as perfect a film as I've seen this year, and from all indicators the next adaptation to watch for is Zack Snyder's take on Alan Moore's Watchmen. It's a good time to be a fan of genre, and an even better time to be one of comics. Here's hoping for glories to come.


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