At the New York Comic Con, I happened to find myself at one of the DC Comics panels. And I couldn;t help but hear a most entertaining conversation behind me, before the panel began. Turning round, I met Lucy Noonan. And now you get to meet her too…
Recently I attended the Arrow panel at New York Comic Con and was shocked to discover that a “Nolan-esque” adaption of comics to the screen is something film and television show makers are trying to live up to. This was especially surprising coming from Marc Guggenheim, who is not only the executive producer of Arrow but also a comic book writer. I seem to be one of the only people in the world who walked out of Christopher Nolan’s latest Batman movie ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ absolutely horrified.
Now I am not a huge Batman reader and far from an expert on him but it seemed to me that Nolan missed even the fundamentals of Batman’s character. The first appearance of Batman was in ‘Detective Comics’ #27 which should really be your first give away that Batman is so much more than his car or what is in his tool belt. He is the world’s greatest detective. It is this, not the fact that he has no actual super powers that sets him apart from the majority of other superheroes. However, in 3 movies (which took up over 7 hours of my life) Batman/Bruce Wayne was never shown as being more than a guy with cool gadgets who can fight. This is best demonstrated in the latest movie with the Bane/Talia ‘twist’. Perhaps if it had been better concealed I could’ve believed that Batman couldn’t figure it out but there were multiple points where it was obvious Bane could not have been the child who climbed out of the prison.
I still could have survived the final instalment as I had with the rest, just accepting that they are good movies and not interpretations of Batman. The tipping point for me was about half way through when Alfred left. This is a character that has been by Bruce Wayne AND Batman’s side for nearly 70 years and has only ever been separated by death. I understand of course, that different writers might have different interpretations of characters but I found Michael Caine to be the most true to the comics and him leaving to be totally out of character. Not only did he leave Bruce Wayne and the Wayne Manor, he completely disappeared until the end of the movie when he appears at Bruce’s funeral – the first time I actually felt something for a character in this trilogy. I felt for the Alfred I know and love though, the one from the comics who would never have left the man who was basically his son. I also felt glad that they killed off Batman (and no, not just for the fact that it meant the movie would finally be over) because it was the most truthful Batman moment. Here is a man who would do anything to save his city, here is the man the three movies should have been about. The real Bruce Wayne and the real Batman who have both suffered immensely and carry that pain with them every day of their lives and do something exceptional with it – they use it as their fuel to stop anyone else ever having to feel that pain. I cannot express how disappointed I was when I saw Bruce Wayne in Florence. Of course I want him to live happily ever after but that is not his lot in life and in the end it’s not really what he wants. Bruce Wayne spends every day of his life avenging the death of his parents by bringing down the bad guys but in this trilogy I felt like Bruce was over it during ‘Batman Begins’.
These are characters that have been around decades longer than Christopher Nolan has been alive. They have developed through pain and love of every kind so much so that they are no longer characters but people that any comic book reader can attest to caring about. However, in this trilogy they were brought back to being merely characters surrounded by explosions – characters that I didn’t really care about and I even wonder if Nolan does? When you can simply through in at the very end that John Blake’s real name is Robin John Blake you really can’t possibly care about the history of these characters. In the end Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy is a best a set of good action movies but they are not as I have heard a disturbingly large amount of times ‘the best interpretation of Batman ever’. I encourage the people who believe this read the comics and actually have a think about the characters you know and love, are these the characters you see in these movies? I also encourage future superhero film and television makers to not take inspiration from Christopher Nolan but from the comics that fans know and love!