Meet the New Bat-Guys

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Keith_F:
I'm getting a little tired of comic fans of a certain age group dumping on everything that came out of comics in the 90s.

True dat. The Nineties even at their most cringeworthy were far preferable to the decades that gave us Bat-Mite and the Krypto the Super-Dog.

Uhm, Bob I think the big question is WHO CARES ABOUT PLEASING FANBOYS? I think Nolan has yet to let us down with a GOOD MOVIE, which is more important than fanboys.

Powerman88:
Uhm, Bob I think the big question is WHO CARES ABOUT PLEASING FANBOYS?

Absolutely.

SamElliot'sMustache:
Great point. I think Mr. Chipman's reading of Nolan's films is off the mark. The 'chaotic feminine' influence can only really extend to Following, The Prestige, and Memento: like you said, Inception doesn't count since it's Ellen Page who helps DiCaprio with his mental problems, while Rachel Dawes was key to Bruce Wayne becoming a hero in Batman Begins, and Hilary Swank was the moral center of Insomnia.

Counterpoint: Aesthetically, "female" and "feminine" aren't necessarily analagous in visual storytelling. Ellen Page is either "dressed-down" or dressed to de-emphasize feminine traits (re: hair-up, business-wear, etc) for most of Inception; while Mal (re: personification of disorder) is a vamp. Rachel Dawes' presence in arguably complicates Batman's mission several times in "Begins," and she unquestionably complicates "Knight" by being in-between Wayne and Dent. Just an observation: I'm not "bagging" on Nolan for this, it's not like he ivented it - man = mind = order / woman = heart = disorder is as old as Adam & Eve.

As for the whole 'no sexuality' part of this article, did he even watch Nolan's movies? Sex factored into Following and The Prestige pretty heavily, Robin Williams' character in Insomnia certainly had feelings for the girl he killed, Guy Pearce and Carrie Anne Moss did the deed in Memento, and while nothing about Bruce Wayne's love life is made explicit, his use of 'playboy billionaire' as a cover isn't something that Nolan kept in accidentally (also...what does Bob think Harvey and Rachel are implying with those meaningful lines and handholding in The Dark Knight? That they play checkers together?). Inception I could maybe see where he's coming from, but that's it. Hardly the 'asexual' filmmaker that we're being led to believe.

"Sex" and "sexuality" are different things, aesthetically speaking, in film. Sex - rather, sexual relationships drives a lot of his films as it drives most adult dramas, but it's not part of the visual-landscape. Putting it as "cleanly" as possible, there's nothing... "arousing" about his films. Ever. Again, NOT a criticism, just an observation. On the list of reactions he's interested in eliciting from his audience, sexual-arousal doesn't seem to be one of them. The closest he gets is Johansson standing around in Prestige because... well, some things just "are."

It's not like he's alone in this: Spielberg and Lucas don't "do" sexuality for the most part, either - or when they do, it's "about" something else.

BobDobolina:

misterprickly:
[Hathaway]

She's spent too much of her career playing "safe roles".

Again, by this logic, no Heath Ledger Joker.

[quote]No offence to her or her fans but... She's built like a tree trunk!

Sort of dirty pool picking the most unflattering photo you can find:

image

Stacks up just fine compared to Kitt or Pfeiffer -- who in any case were both memorable in the role because of their acting, which is something chicks do from time to time.

Incidentally, there is apparently another female role in the works for DKR: Talia al-Ghul. That should be interesting, they must still be screen-testing that one.

How would Ledger not have played the Joker? He's played UN-safe roles before; Unlike Hathaway.

As for the photo... I didn't pick and unflattering photo... I picked one that shows what she actually looks like.
If they have her playing Catwoman (and not just Selina Kyle) then they'll win an award for the costume!

SkullCap:

annoyinglizardvoice:

SkullCap:
Bob,

Concerning Bane I see a possible action for Nolan: Being together with Rachel was a major driving force of Bruce's desire to fight crime and restore Gotham to its original glory. Now that Rachel is gone all that he has going for him is the sense of personal duty to be the city's Dark Knight. However, being human like any of us and hunted throughout the city, this is wearing thin for him. He's tired of being Batman. This is where Bane enters the story. Remember the imitators in DK?

There's a high possibility of Bane being one of those imitators that adores Batman. What if he notices that Batman, his idol, is faltering with cleaning up the streets? A fan seeing their hero fall from their pedestal is devastating. He wants to fight crime just like Batman so bad that Bane would think that HE should take Batman's place. In several comics he's known to be somewhat of a genius. Maybe create an exoskeleton that increases one's strength ten-fold, but how can any normal human being last that long in such a physically demanding suit? Perhaps Bane creates a compound (VENOM) that drastically increases his body's endurance, stamina, and strength to handle the suit. Now he's going through the streets at night and taking out the crime everywhere. This garners Bane the love of the public perhaps. The majority of Gotham citizens still think Batman killed Harvey Dent, but here comes the new hope: Bane. The Joker nearly broke Batman in DK, Bane is here to finish it. Maybe not break him physically as in Knightfall, but mentally.

Slowly overexposure to the VENOM compound slowly deteriorates Bane's mental capacity and he starts killing the criminals. Now Bane's view of justice is drastically black/white. No mercy, no matter what the crime. This would allow Batman to reevaluate his purpose for the city. He just began considering his purpose at the end of the Dark Knight it would be great to see him expound on that.

Maybe thats just me.

I can see that working.

I'm a little disapointed that the rumors about David Tennant playing the Riddler turned out to be false, but I'll still give the film a try.

WHAT? This is news to me. You mean there was a rumor going around that the 10th Doctor might have fought Batman??? That would've been amazing! I too thought the Riddler was the next choice, because the Riddler being the master at nearly impossible riddles would go great with the WORLD'S GREATEST DETECTIVE. Y'know get the audience engaged trying to figure out along the way. Oh well...

I think I first heard the rumor here. It turned out that Tennant had said he was hoping to play a super-villan soon, and folks jumped to conclusions.
I think a cool way to have the Riddler appear would have been for him to start out as an analyst helping the police find Batman after the way the previous film added. He creates the whole Riddler persona and commits a few minor crimes as a way of getting Batman's attention in a controlled sernario so that he can gather more evidence. Realising that he's getting more respect and acknowldgement as the Riddler than as a civilian, he goes of the deep end and ends up becoming a serious gangster.

I'll be interested to see how the new version of Bane turns out. I feel the current version of Batman has been lacking enemies who pose much of a physical threat to him.

Yeah, I'm pretty much just hoping there's a third, less stupid villain they haven't announced yet.

Maybe it's unfair to say this, as film is of course a visual medium, but a lot of this seems like quite shallow interpretation of both Nolan's work and Batman's history.

As has been said, it doesn't seem fair to boil down every female character in Nolan's work to "chaotic feminine influence." And yes, I read the comment about the separation between female and feminine, but that's where it reads as shallow- these characters cease being feminine because they aren't appealing to the viewers or their masculine counterparts in overtly sexual ways? Carrie-Ann Moss' character's subversion of Guy Pearce's character's violence for her own purposes in Memento is very arguably feminine, as is Ellen Paige's character's vulnerability as she learns the workings of dreams in Inception. The persistant "chaotic feminine influence" thread is also very questionable; the supposedly "chaotic" female characters in both Inception and The Prestige arguably serve much more as mileposts of how much the male characters have lost as they went about the pursuit of their own obsessions in their supposed "no-nonsense male professionalism". That thread is far clearer and more arguable, including in the new Batmans. Is there any suggestion in any of Nolan's movies that feminine influence was the sole or even leading cause of the male characters' self-destructive behaviors?

I also see both Catwoman and Bane far differently. Catwoman's sexuality is only part of her interest and appeal; if you read older DC comics, you clearly see every villain from Lex Luthor to the Joker as the perpetuators of ridiculous and over-the-top crimes that were far more likely to be about pulling a bank vault out with a clown-themed gadget or extracting a ransom on a litter of puppies as anything genuinely sinister. Gradually each villain has become far more genuinely menacing and violent, from Luthor's connections with politics and the corporate world to the Joker's pin-point violence against those the main characters care about most. Despite the prostitution baggage some authors saddle Kyle with, her "anti-hero" status in part comes from her remaining a product of that time, someone who was "just" an incredibly competent thief with some stylized trappings. In a world where murder has become common and trivialized, her steadfast refusal to take lives (with one notable, and carefully observed, exception) makes her stand out.

Bane is also notable for what he is and is not. Super-villains are often saddled with an "everything looks like a nail" mentality; if they fit into the large and physically powerful profile, they must needs frequently be mentally deficient (see Solomon Grundy and to a degree Killer Croc.) Putting Schumacher's bullshit aside, much of what makes Bane terrifying is not his physique but his intelligence. He didn't simply overpower Batman in a frontal assault, but wore him down by making him take on a succession of Arkham Asylum's worst. His past also makes him oddly pitiable; unlike many of his Gotham counterparts, the sense of Bane is that he was never offered other than two choices: become ruthless, or die.

And to make a small aside: after nearly a decade of retconning and grim, shallow, barely-disguised "Batman is making everything worse by failing to kill these psychos" tripe, suggesting that Bane and the Nightfall arc are anything like the worst Gotham has seen is a narrow view indeed.

I am more than willing to believe that Nolan has made both his character and his casting choices with great care and consideration. He's more than earned the benefit of the doubt, and if some tiny self-described "real Batman" fanbase has a problem with his choices, I don't see a whole lot of reason any of the people who have enjoyed the movies should bat an eye.

I was with you till the end, but the solitary reason that Spiderman 3 sucked was Sandman. If you pulled him out and spent all the scenes involving him and all the in-series ret-conning with proper fleshing out of the characters and relationships, then the movie would have been able to stand tall.

I think Nolan's choices thus far have worked. His main villains have all been proper matches for Batman in one way or another. Ra's was Wayne's original mentor, capable of matching him physically and intellectually, differing from Batman only in the approach to morality and justice. Joker was Batman if he looked into a broken mirror, a savagely intelligent but critically insane sociopath who wanted eliminate order for no discernible reason. Bane, now, this is different. I can see Bane being a worthy foe all around. Peerlessly intelligent, fiercely dominant, and the first villain yet seen who is not just a match but MORE than a match for Batman's physical prowess. Exceptionally formidable.

You say you can make a good movie out of any starting premise, I say you can make a round character out of any starting premise. Being born in the nineties' iconoclastic storm does not preclude a character from excellence.

I think Nolan's picks are not that surprising to me.

If you pay attention to the type of roles of the villains play, you start to see a pattern. I think Nolan loves to dive into the struggle of the human psyche.

Ra's Al Ghul, represented Bruce Wayne's personal struggle of choosing between justice and revenge and what justice should look like.

The Scarecrow represents fear and the things that lurks in our subconscious.

The Joker represents chaos and exposes the fact that we truly are not in control even though we think we do.

Two Face is obvious. He represents the everyman's internal struggle between good and evil.

Catwoman blurs the line between what is good and evil. What exactly does it mean to be good and what does evil really look like? It's great that she is hot and sexy because she also acts as a temptress (or a gateway drug) into evil.

Ban represents pure unadulterated rage and the temptation of absolute power.

My feeling is that Ban will come really late into the movie just like Two Face did OR he could do a complete reworking of the Ban origin story. Would be interesting to know how Nolan plays this. Both are excellent choices IMO.

A Curious Fellow:
You say you can make a good movie out of any starting premise, I say you can make a round character out of any starting premise. Being born in the nineties' iconoclastic storm does not preclude a character from excellence.

I couldn't have said it any better.

Hmmm, well I think the arguement here is based on a misunderstanding of Nolan's work. Let's be honest, his version of Batman does not involve as much "gritty realism" as people think. The guy has an exoskeleton (as was mentioned), Lucius Fox is a genius who created the ultimate information hacking device, The Scarecrow had his special fear gas, and other things which head into the realm of science fiction. The gadgeteering is intact, however characters like Mister Freeze and Poison Ivy who possess bona-fide super abillities (well sort of in Mister Freeze's case, the idea of him surviving at that body temperature and needing a cool suit to live is pushing it). Honestly the idea of Venom fits right in with the way Christopher Nolan is doing Batman villains, and that's probably why he used it. It's a science fiction exagerration of steroids, the way a lot of other things are exagerrations of various things that also exist.

As far as Catwoman goes, Batman is still dressing up as a Bat for reasons very similar to the comics. Catwoman could be given a serious motivation, and honestly it could be done for the same exact reason that it is in the comics when you cut through everything: it looks good. She does it to make an impression when she's seen.

All comments about Frank Miller's prostitution fixation aside, understand that kinky people do exist, and women do dress up to look attractive. If Catwoman is done "right" personality wise, I don't think we are going to exactly need a whole heck of a lot of justification. She's not supposed to be "the girl next door" so to speak.

That said, I don't think it takes "Fan Dumb" (TV Tropes referance) to bring Christopher Nolan down. I think this is his first real test in creating a movie of of Batman. With the first movie it's reception was kind of lukewarm, the sales being high because it was Batman and had some decent people attached. Really, a lot of people were being very critical of it for a lot of the reasons mentioned here. With the second movie, we had the death of Heath Ledger who was himself being idolized due to his politically correct movie making, that and all of the hype coming from the "OMG, The Joker is the first super villain to kill someone IRL". Like it or not I think Heath's death had a lot to do with the success of that movie, and the popularity of that version of The Joker.

I could be wrong, but I half expect this one to fail also, his leading man is viewed as being a jerk, he so far doesn't have any special hype for the movie like he got from Heath's death, and really the "OMG, a new version of Batman" just isn't there.

If it does "fail" though, I expect it to still have a decent opening weekend, and it will make money, it just won't be the blockbuster people are hoping for.

Rocketboy13:

MB202:
Funy how you associate Spider-Man 3's failure with Venom, because everyone seems to love Venom and the only thing they hate about Venom in the movie was not so much that he was there, but because he sucked in that movie.

http://comiccritics.com/2010/01/31/insert-brand-new-day-joke-here/

Ah, yes, well... That certainly makes sense.

Speaking from the perspective of someone who hasn't read any Batman comics but loved the 90's animated series, Bane isn't that bad of a villian. If they go along the lines of that Bane they could do something good with him.

Just burn Batman and Robin from your mind. Or do the opposite as a warning of what you get if you mess up.

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