After an online discussion earlier today about the relative merits of Burton versus Nolan’s concept of Batman, I ventured out of the sick bed in search of answers.
For my money, Burton crystallised and cemented the idea that comic book feature films could be as limitless and richly textured, as any other film genre. Burton took the idea away from straight warfare, and coloured it with humour and glamour and – in my opinion – the appropriate level of other-worldliness that fully encapsulates the power of all that is great about the comic book.
There’s something inherently right-wing about the comic book narrative. There’s usually anger and violence and a perpetual and ritualistic sub-agenda of conservatism and morality. Good V Evil. Revenge, a sentimental back story for “baddie” and “goodie”, explosions, explicit and implicit homoeroticism, and loyalty. In actual comic books they’re ink-drawn and replete with occasional females who may or may not be pivotal to plot, but who always have massive tits, arses and thumb sized nipples.
I felt that Burton offset some of the right-wing agenda with comedic devices, casting and offbeat direction. Nicholson was supreme. I feel, as great as Ledger was in The Dark Knight, he was no Jack. No one’s Jack, except Jack. The posthumous glory heaped on Ledger is moving, and he made a brilliant – different – Joker. But even taking those differences into account: there’s one Jack and he won’t be beaten.
Anyway, the Burton initiated franchise had its day with the Batman and Robin shite, and along comes Nolan with the re-think.
To be fair to Nolan, I think the intention was to make this trilogy darker and work with the concept of fear more acutely. It’s certainly been scarier. The problem with this rethink is that by removing some of the humour and glamour and “other-worldliness” of Gotham, one can’t help but notice the narrative.
Which brings me to The Dark Knight Rises.
I was entertained. I was properly entertained. It lasts two and a half hours and for the duration, I never once thought, “Please end.”
The principal bad guy was Tom Hardy from the Bronson film. And once again, he was phenomenal. Every scene with him in was a fucking showstopper. I’m sure the distorted voice and Hannibal Lector style facemask, aided this performance, but nonetheless it was intense and exceptional and commandeering.
Hathaway – surprise, surprise – was a fucking duffer as Catwoman. In actual fact the two main parts for women were brilliantly written, relatively empowered and the single most politically progressive element of the entire fucking film. And yet Hathaway STILL managed to fuck it up. Lines were written for her that were scene-stealers. Stunts were performed for her that were impressive. There was very little in the way of gratuitous nudity (aside from the ridiculous lycra outfit, but since the lads were in those too, fair enough). No, this COULD have been Hathaway’s big shot.
But the simper persisted. She was talking the talk, and not walking the walk. In the way that Pfeiffer completely used her body like a feline and had an unhinged quality in her original performance, Hathaway was reading.
Cotillard had a couple of impressive scenes, which redeemed a lacklustre start and final few seconds of screen time. I find it odd when non-English speaking actors are written in such a way that English is their first language though. It sounds rushed and you can miss the shit that’s important to the function.
Bale’s Bale. He’s my second favourite Batman and he does his bit in this really well. He’s a dark, humourless fuck. Which complements the dark, humourless film.
Lots of plot elements are sewn up nicely. Because all you big brave boys need a happy ending.
But the anti-communist. Fear of uprising. Necessary lies for the good of the people. Cops are good/ foreigners are shit bollocks, means Nolan’s only getting a 7 from me.