Posts Tagged ‘Batman’

The Year of Batman Doing Things Batman Wouldn’t Do

(mild spoilers)

People complain that the theaters are filled with super hero movies. Well, 2016 had three theatrical releases with the same super hero: Batman.

Batman Vs. Superman

The Killing Joke

Suicide Squad

Most people didn’t care. The Killing Joke had such a limited theatrical release that it didn’t blip on too many people’s radar screens, and the people it did were happy to have more Bat for their bucks. Suicide Squad wasn’t technically a Batman film. And, finally, he had to share the first one with the big blue boy scout.

However, in each of these three movies, Batman did things that were very un-Batmanlike.

Much has been written about Batman’s murderish thuggery in BvS. In Killing Joke, he crossed the line with Barbara Gordon. In Suicide Squad, he kissed Harley the way someone using roofies would. He also endangered a child when bringing in Deadshot. (Although, it could be argued that he was scaring his daughter to make sure she grows up right.)

Other Worlds cover

It’s true that comic book characters get trapped into never changing for decades. Sometimes, radical changes are forced upon them. But some things are just a part of them. Sure, there are articles showing a bunch of times that Batman used guns. And sure, he killed people even in his first appearance. But after 80 years, with multiple appearances every month during the last few decades, if you can only count on a handful of times that he did those things, then those are the anomalies, not the true character. They were probably lapses in writing, or times when the character hadn’t been fully developed yet.

Heroes should make mistakes. However, these were mistakes Batman wouldn’t make. It makes you wonder who at DC approved these parts of the scripts.

The refrain I keep hearing from viewers is that they were surprised The Dark Knight Rises wasn’t super great.

This is different from the disappointment fans had when Spider-Man 3 just didn’t work for them. This was more about having unrealistic expectations.

The Dark Knight was arguably the best comic book movie ever made. If any movie was expected to best this, it would have been Dark Knight Rises. It’s not that part 3 was bad. No one seems to be saying that. They’re just saying it’s not terrific.

Maybe there needed to be more Batman in a Batman movie.

Maybe it was more of what a friend said that it was big on a comic book scale rather than a real life scale. In the last movie, it was about people and the decisions they make. There wasn’t a Macguffin threatening to blow up the city.

But really, I think it comes down to audience expectation and the inability of the creators to ever live up to that.

 

An editing mistake in Dark Knight Rises:

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/a-mistake-in-dark-knight-rises/

 

Why it doesn’t matter if the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are mutants:

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/why-it-doesnt-matter-if-the-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-are-mutants/

 

Being an editor, I wind up noticing the silliest mistakes.

It wasn’t continuity. Or a plot hole. Or “Batman wouldn’t do that…”

It was spelling.

When Bruce Wayne is researching Selina Kyle on the Batcave computer, he has a bunch of newspapers up on the screen. One of them has “heist” spelled “hiest.”

Mr. Nolan, you’re a great writer, but not a great speller.

 

 

You Can’t Compare Batman 3 to Batman 2:

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/you-cant-compare-batman-3-to-batman-2/

How to make a Wonder Woman movie:

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/wonder-woman-movie-ideas/

And now for something completely different: A video game spoof of Twilight:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncjwZ2CJoTQ

Megan McCafferty, an of young adult novels, was speaking today to students at Central Regional High School, where she graduated. She said that she came up with what she thought was a great idea for a picture book.

Her agent declined it because there wasn’t enough potential for a stuffed animal to come out of it.

“Wow,” said an English teacher behind me, sadly.

Christopher Nolan was told by the film studio to make his Batman movies more “Toyetic.” Now, I suppose, books need to be.

This should come as no great shock, really. Everything is merchandised.

But two things make this worse. The first is that here’s this New York Times bestselling novelist, and she doesn’t have the muscle to get a non-toy book published. Secondly, marketing toys to children when you’re trying to get them to read is a downward slope. Reading should open doors to more reading, not to buying commercial products.

My wife and I were in Toys R Us and were surprised to see Fancy Nancy and Pinkalicious dolls. Reading is a very private thing, most of the time. And despite the popularity of these series, we just never thought of the idea that hundreds of thousands of kids read them. Hundreds of thousands of potential customers.

I saw a Splat the Cat at Barnes and Noble. I almost got it, but I didn’t because:

  1. I’m cheap
  2. My daughter has enough stuffed animals already
  3. I don’t think she’d play with him the way she’d play with her other toys. Maybe I’m wrong about this.

 

This is depressing. But I guess you have to think of it in terms of children’s TV shows. There isn’t any children’s program on TV right now that isn’t trying to sell you something. Except maybe the public broadcasting shows. But if Sesame Street is any indication, with Elmo’s face on everything, the other shows will have marketing potential too. A quick Google turned up Word Girl (My favorite PBS show) costumes.

So, I guess we just have to live with it. Books aren’t just for education or entertainment anymore. The main thing they teach us is how to be a consumer.

Sometimes writers like to pile on the villains, and somehow they think this makes it better.

I believe I’ve said it before, that the thrill you get when a character shows up is no substitute for them actually doing something.

This X-Force “Angels and Demons” story I just read has Donald Pierce and Cameron Hodge and a host of others. It’s kind of cool for that, but at the same time, enough already.

Also, if you pile on the baddies too much, they become generic. In Robin: Year One (I think) Robin single-handedly takes on Mr. Freeze and two other A-listers, maybe Joker and Poison Ivy, I can’t remember now. But individually, Batman’s top villains are a danger to him and any sidekick, and you mean to tell me that this kid is going to take them all on in one of his first adventures? Besides, why would all these villains team up anyway?

I guess part of it is fatigue. How many times have you seen a huge villain team-up? It has to mean something.

So, the lesson here is if you team up multiple villains, make sure of the following things:

1. They have a good plot. A bunch of villains all coming together for one big fight is not a plot.

2. They’re personalities are accurate. They can’t just ignore their eccentricities and interpersonal issues in order to streamline the story.