End Of The Road For ‘Batman,’ Sophisticated Comic Book Flicks?


Director Christopher Nolan has made modern “Batman” films the gold standard of comic book movies. Will we have more “smart” adaptations to look forward to?


The Rolomite | Daily Girth

Once upon a time, Tim Burton made great Batman movies. Nothing near as good as Christopher Nolan’s films, but Burton’s two pics were something to be proud of.

Batman was profitable and accepted by the public. Comic books nerds had to give it up for the Burton masterpieces. Then, Batman was assassinated. Not literally, you can’t kill an icon like the Dark Knight.

Batman was assassinated by nipples on the Batsuit. Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey acted like fucking idiots. Robin and Batgirl dragged the whole crime fighting gig down. What was once a dark, respected series became some campy circus with bright lights and strange villains and nipples on the Batsuit.

Seriously, who thought nipples would be a good idea?

Nolan has made his Batman trilogy the gold standard for comic book movies. Nolan himself is a go-to director for anything now. “Inception” is in a league of its own, how many other movies are like that?

This week, Nolan’s film chapter in the Batman trilogy, “The Dark Knight Rises,” raids the theaters. This is sure to rake in at least $1 billion worldwide, and has a very good chance of surpassing Hollywood’s last billion-dollar film, “The Avengers.”

Thankfully, “The Avengers” and presumably, “The Dark Knight Rises,” aren’t mindless entertainment. These are solid movies by excellent filmmakers who respect the material. Sam Raimi made two very good “Spider-Man” flicks (let’s pretend the third never happened). Raimi was a huge fan of Spidey. But even if you aren’t a fan of a comic book or TV show, you can still respect the work, do some research and put your best effort.

Nolan had always wanted to direct a big blockbuster and he got his chance with “Batman Begins.” Now, he could have one of the biggest Hollywood productions of all time, depending on how well “The Dark Knight Rises” performs.

The second film, “The Dark Knight,” was the best movie I had seen in 2008. When the Oscars were handed out in 2009, the top movie of 2008 wasn’t even nominated. “Slumdog Millionaire” won and the other films were good (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Frost/Nixon,” “Milk” and “The Reader”), but none of them were on the level of sophistication “The Dark Knight” was.

“The Dark Knight” was far superior to those films. I still consider it to be the best comic book film of all time with “The Avengers” a close second. Only the newest incarnation of Batman can leap over “The Dark Knight.”

I have purposefully avoided reading too much about the new film. I want to be surprised. Apparently, David Letterman spoiled the ending. Maybe on his show. I couldn’t tell you, I didn’t want to dig into that story for fear of hearing a spoiler.

Here’s what you need to know: the good guys return and now they have to deal with Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) and Bane (Tom Hardy). Bane seems to be less muscular and much more cerebral, even blowing up a football stadium or bridges, at least according to what we see in the trailers.

Nolan regulars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard join the cast. It was secretive as to who they were, but as a Batman fan, if Cotillard isn’t Talia al Ghul, daughter of Ra’s al Ghul, I’d be shocked. Ra’s taught Batman everything he knows — at least in this trilogy — and it was the Dark Knight who ultimately killed Ra’s at the end of “Batman Begins.”

Gordon-Levitt, I’m not so sure of; maybe Robin?

However this plays out, I know I’ll be pleased. At the same time, I’ll be bummed, who knows if we’ll get quality comic book flicks like these again?

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