My hordes of faithful readers already know that I’m a pretty big fan of Batman. I know I’m not his only fan, and I don’t think I’m his number one fan, but I think Batman is cool as shit and I’ve followed his comic book exploits religiously since I was about eleven years old. I’ve even gone back to get reprints of older Batman comics so I could get the full scoop on this enigmatic multi-billionaire superhero–yes, even many of the incredibly shitty Batman comics from the 1950s where he hangs out with space aliens and crap like that. Turns out that my research was for nothing, since DC has rebooted their overall continuity more times than I care to remember, effectively doing away with Batman’s past right after the point that his parents’ lifeless forms crumpled in Crime Alley, leaving poor Brucie Wayne an orphan.
In 2012, the final movie of Christopher Nolan’s triumphant Batman trilogy comes out, and I am pretty excited about it. “Geeked out” would be a better term, as I’ve been on the internet speculating about this imminent film since before the last movie was even out of theaters. Of particular consideration was which members of Batman’s Rogues Gallery would be facing off with the Dark Knight in the last chapter of Nolan’s saga. Pretty much every name was thrown out, and several were derided and discarded by more vociferous fans as not being in tune with Nolan’s “realistic” portrayal of Batman. Among the villains assumed to be too weird for the movie were Poison Ivy, the Penguin, and Killer Croc.
Which criminal has been confirmed? Bane, that South American in a luchador’s mask whose mass increases by a factor of ten when he shoots himself up with specially-formulated steroids.
When Christopher Nolan said he wouldn’t brook any silliness in his Batman movies, I assumed this was only in contrast to the prior live action series directed by Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher. Because, to my mind, if you’re going to make a Batman movie, there’s going to be some silliness in there. Once you assume that one of the world’s wealthiest men would suit up as a bat in order to pummel criminals more efficently, then you can pretty much go wherever you want with the story. In actual reality, a man like that would be locked up and the key hidden in a stack of All-Star Batman and Robin comic books, never to be found again. I mean, the last movie had Two Face in it, for crying out loud, and featured a guy with half of his face burned off and an eye hanging out of its socket hopping out of his hospital bed to gain haphazard revenge on people who, you know, didn’t have half of their faces burned off. That fairly well stretches the limit of credibility, as far as I’m concerned.
Why Bane is a more sensible villain than, say, the Penguin is also beyond my comprehension. In medical terms, Bane’s existence (heh) is a load of grade A horse shit, while the Penguin is just a dumpy little guy named Oswald Cobblepot that has a lot of trick umbrellas. In fact, there’s no real reason a guy like the Penguin couldn’t exist, except maybe that an umbrella-helicopter wouldn’t actually work. Also, he’s alarmingly agile for a man with Danny DeVito’s body type. The more important question here is: why are we trying to make a “realistic” Batman movie? Sometimes realism can show all of your flaws, like in the live action Garfield movies. We knew he was a fucking annoying and lazy cat, but only computer graphics could show us how godawful ugly he is.
The very idea of a serious approach to Batman is patently retarded. “Finally! The truth can be told about the lonely billionaire who swings above city rooftops in his underwear.” It’s this same impetus that makes comics fans and creators alike such sticklers for continuity, as if consistency regarding these decades-old fictional characters means fuck all. What would Batman be like in the real world? Most likely, he’d be dead, tripped up by one of his own Bat-laces or felled by a well-placed bullet from the gun spray of some gangbanger. We love Batman, we don’t want him to die. So let him fight Poison Ivy and leave the realistic, serious criminals to that Jason Bourne guy.