Batman and the Big Screen OR How I learned to love the Reboot and ignore continuity.


Movie Reboots, some are justified, others not so much. There comes a point and time when a stories progression does not go any further. A new angle must be portrayed about it, a new perspective to renew the masses interest. This is why fiction works so well, re : Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The only way this would work for non-fiction is getting someone elses viewpoint, essays on how this has influenced what, etc, etc.

Batman is a favorite character of mine to read, in all forms of written and graphic story form. The different interpretations of the modern day Prometheus/Vulcan through the tragic character of Bruce Wayne have literally sold tonnes of comics. So lets look at Batman on the screen shall we?

Adam West, portrayal of all things 50/60’s and ideallic optimist melodrama, playing the most upbeat camp version of the Caped Crusader. Love it. It’s camp and brings so many influences to other popular pulp heros in decades to come. If you don’t believe me, just look at your main protagonist, and see when they exclaim for effect only.
(And yes, I’m missing some of the original black and white serials, as well as animated, just go with me on this.)

When they finally announce they are going to do a Batman film, I’m in high school. And everyone is wearing the t-shirts, listening to Prince’s soundtrack, it’s hip and cool. Finally I get my peers around me interested in the stories that I have been reading for years. I get to see the film, and it’s dark and twisted as Tim Burton can only tell. I’m seeing art-deco skylines of Gotham city. I’m loving it, as Keaton is portraying the Worlds Greatest Detective. I even had a neighbor ask me if I saw the film first, I replied no, and he asked, ‘So you know who batman is, right?’ Yeah, in all the forms ans stories.

Next try at the films is Kilmer, in another incarnation, but influenced from both Keaton and West, as the Caped Crusader. Battling for ideals set to soundtrack from U2 and Seal. Is it Bruce Wayne behind the cowl, or is it Batman trying to strive for normal life? Or is it just another reason to put more money into a franchise? Think we know the answer on this one.

And Clooney, it wasn’t his fault. This was high action Caped Crusader built for mass marketing. There is a real life rant happening if you catch me at it, and I’ve had my Vitamin B Calm complex pills. All I can restrain myself was that when the idea of putting nipples on Batmans outfit became a concern, the story telling was put way off to the side. Any film maker who has got themselves involved that much into the look of a movie, should go back and tattoo the script to the inside of their eyeballs to get their focus done right.

Then the gap, the inevitable ‘what did we do?’ So the fans waited. And waited. Executives pitched, no one was buying it. Eminem as Bruce Wayne? (Yes that was pitched at one point and time.) No, they finally got what was important to the fans. For years, fans speculated how it would be done, who would play the best batman, what script. Who’s batman would this be? I’ve always wanted Millers’ future history of the Dark Knight Returns, but without the background or history established, it would not be a hard hitting story on film.

And thus came the reboot.

Justification for reboot always, always comes from the fan base. Nolan was not so much of a reboot, but more of returning the series to the roots of the primary readership. He was giving the fans what should have been done in the first place. Nolan took all of the graphic novels that he could get his hands on and incorporated als much mythos into his interpretation of the Dark Knight. He should win more awards for doing this. He’s honored not only every writer who has penned Batman, but also every reader. And the most important part of his story writing strategy, it’s what every Batman fan would do themselves.

So which strategy do we go with? Which Batman, because there are so many different flavors. From the written/drawn material, it’s just a matter of which writer is portraying them. The Caped Crusader was more for marketing material and adjusted from the original source due to content and comics code. A hero that would base his whole actions on the fears and superstitions of criminals? No! We can’t have that, it’s too dark and grim, he must fight the good fight in the daylight. It was the only way that the story could be told for that time period. Later 70s to 80s moved away from that towards better storylines, mysteries, and thus Batman grew into the title of Worlds Greatest detective. These days however, we require our characters to be realistic. We want to see sweat stains, bad breath, aching muscles. Why? It makes them human and identifiable. Worlds Greatest Detective is hard to portray unless you have a compelling mystery. Caped Crusader works good for a younger audience. But Batman, the Dark Knight, weighing and spending billions on vigilante gear so he can deal with the survivors guilt. Bruce Wayne, dark and brooding in the cave, on the Gotham skyline with a cape that’s 80 feet long. That you can get a lot of material off of, spend years writing about.

Frankly I’m of the opinion that the current term of movie reboot is quickly turning into nothing more than a marketing gimmick for pitching a movie. It paid off in the past, so we tweak it and resell it. This is dangerous if it isn’t handled correctly. There have been quite a few failed reboots that no one wants to talk about. There have been recent rumors of Rebooting the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series. Without the main best brains behind it. Gee, can we get Kilmer to play Giles? Oh wait, are we just doing this for the money? Or for telling a story in film format?

But I’ve learned to love the reboot. The recent return of Star Trek to the original series was a brilliant move. The latest movie honors the old series and changes the whole story universe. A federation without the Vulcans as a large influence? The Vulcans as an endangered species? Why hasn’t Q shown up yet and fixed this whole mess? When done properly, it gives the fan base enough to discuss amongst themselves and gather new fans to support or try all the different versions. Thats another reason why I love it, it renews interest, it revitalized the following, and it helps make people passionate about proper storytelling.

Do these series as a whole break continuity? Yes. Will I keep watching them? Yes.

What about the glaring plotholes? You ask.

I reply, ‘If the story is well told and it has captivated you, then ignore the plotholes. It’s allowed Doctor Who to continue as long as it has. Why do you want to stop enjoying a series?’

However, if you reply something about nipples on Batman outfits, I’ve got a few choice words to share with you.

I’m still here,
Pearce

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s