I’m a comic-book geek and I love super heroes. Maybe not as much as my sister does, but I like the idea of super heroes. Or maybe I like superhero movies and I love the villains. I think if I had to be in a comic book movie, I’d want to be the bad guy. They always seem to have more fun.
The first super hero movie I remember watching as a kid was Superman: The Movie, followed by Superman II. Those films were awesome for their time (and still are today) and not only did Lois Lane make me want to be a reporter, I loved how the comic came to life on the big screen.
Then came Batman and that changed everything. And I’m talking about the classic Batman movie directed by Tim Burton, which for the flaws that it had (such as the fact that Batman never swooped, flew, jumped around, crouched or turned his head) was an awesome film. The sequels, like most sequels were OK, but not as good. Batman Forever had potential, but it was too colorful and too loud and campy with the villains, Two-Face and The Riddler trying to outdo each other. (And let’s just pretend that Batman & Robin never happened, alright?)
And now we have the Christopher Nolan movies. I liked Batman Begins. It told a good back-story and set things up for future movies, but The Dark Knight, as good as Heath Ledger was as The Joker, was more flawed that Burton’s Batman. For all the people who criticized Tim Burton’s version, they seem to not want to mention that Nolan’s interpretation was more of a crime drama with a guy who paints his face and another guy who runs around in a bat costume.
In the comics, The Joker came to be because of a chemical accident, not as a bank robber who uses war paint to scare people. Losing a huge part of the back story of one of the greatest villains of all time was a mistake. And the fact that Gotham City looks too much like Chicago (they made little or no attempt to hide the fact that Gotham has a Chase Bank and Starbucks on LaSalle Street… just like Chicago does) took away from the “escape” factor that Burton’s Batman had.
In the 1989 Batman, Gotham was a creepy, art-deco city with looming buildings and hardly a trace of sunshine. It set the tone for a comic book movie and raised the bar. And I know that Nolan is/was going for a more realistic version of Batman, but it’s still a comic book movie and there should be that element in it.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m looking forward to the new Dark Knight Rises movie, but I’m also looking forward to the eventual reboot of the series again. Bringing in a new director, new look and keeping it closer to the Batman from the comics, complete with creepy gothic Gotham City, a Joker whose back-story is told like it is in The Killing Joke (one of the best graphic novels ever written, by the way) and the true escape into a living, breathing comic book feeling that a super hero movie should have.