Friday, July 20, 2012

The New Bat-Guy...

Tired GopherDave is tired...

Took the family to see the Dark Knight Rises last night. Many people around me thought is was excellent. I thought it was merely good. Here's why...

1) The core plot combines two of Batman's more recent comic story lines, Knightfall and No Man's Land. I love the Knightfall storyline, as it shows Batman coming back from adversity and defeating a foe that is a physical superior and an almost mental equal. I hate the No Man's Land storyline as it was rabidly stupid and no government would act the way the United States government was portrayed in that storyline.

2) I felt that while the movie was good, there wasn't enough Batman in it. A *TON* of Bruce Wayne, but not much Batman.

3) This movie really made me sit up and take notice about how discreet the DC Comics films are compared to their Marvel counterparts. Give the main situation happening in the film, I think Superman or Wonder Woman or Green Lantern, or even the Atom and/or Dollman would have dropped by and asked if Bats needed a hand.

To compare against another comic-book movie blockbuster...

The Avengers was a fantastic comic-book film. There was action, humor, tension, but best of all, the movie was fun to watch.

The Dark Knight Rises is an epic tale made with the tone of a (very) serious movie. It is a fine movie, and deserves the praise it is generating.

It just didn't seem like a superhero movie to me...

Your mileage may vary...

-- GopherDave


  1. I mentioned this on another board when discussing this, but I agree with Neal Adams (you will likely never see that phrase again).

    Dark Knight Rises and Avengers really aren't the same kind of movie. They superficially get lumped into the same category of super hero action movies, but their goals are completely different.

    The Avengers translated comic book super hero action to another medium. In other words, what was changed was changed to make it work as a movie, not changed because there was a problem with comic book logic or structure or tropes.

    For example . . . the plot is about a team consisting of two super spies, a scientist with super armor, a scientist that turns into a monster, a Norse god that is more or less an alien, and a guy from WWII that was thawed out recently, versus another Norse god that is kind of an alien that is allied with a race of alien creatures, as the team attempt so save New York.

    Nolan's Batman films are much more about telling a normal action thriller epic, and seeing if you can fit the traditional elements and symbols from a comic book into that paradigm.

    So in the Avengers case, you have a movie that is shaped to look like a comic book, whereas in Dark Knight Rises, you have a comic book modified to look like a movie.

    If that makes any sense.

    In fact, on some levels, if you shift all of the corruption in Gotham to being governmental, and you have the protagonist with a higher level of moral accountability, you can almost see V for Vendetta in this, with it's talk about inspirational symbols and fear and the like.

  2. As far as No Man's Land goes, I think that was almost like Denny O'Neil's equivalent to Raimi's Spider-Man 3. At the time DC was mandating a big Bat family crossover just about every year, and from what I understand, Denny wasn't thrilled with it.

    After coming up with really good ideas for Knightfall, Contagion, and Legacy, and, well, having an idea for Cataclysm, I think this was his "fine, here's your crossover for this year, whatever" moment. It was the last mega Bat family crossover he presided over before he retired, and up to that point, I think Denny O'Neil was a major boon to the Batman books as group editor (though it helped that he had writers like Chuck Dixon, Doug Moench, and Alan Grant for much of his tenure).

    Denny shaped the modern Batman, in my opinion, a lot more than Frank Miller did, despite the high profile books like Dark Knight Returns and Year One. But Denny was old school, and the I think the mega-crossover format just wore him down.

  3. I agree that it was good but not great. I've come to see Christopher Nolan as something of a magician. He puts on a good show, but if you see it repeatedly, you start to see what's going on. I've watched BB and DK at least a dozen times each, and while I still enjoy both, there are definitely plot holes in each.
    I was disappointed by DKR. It just wasn't as good. You raise a good point about lack of super-intervention, Dave. I think the part that stuck out to me was the final battle.
    *Spoiler alert!*

    When the army of cops faces off with the criminals and Batman wades in to find Bane, that seemed very "un-Batman" to me. Batman's a smart guy. I don't think he'd look for another face-to-face with a guy who crippled him. A hypothetical alternative to me would be that Batman sneaks around the back, uses the cops as a distraction and hits Bane in the mask with a batarang before he gets into a fight with him. I'll have to watch it again, but my first impression is that "Avengers" was the better movie, which I was not expecting.