Theories of Batman
So, i was sort of waiting for the thunderhead of metacriticsm on Batman Begins to erupt and rain down dissipated erudition on a low-value target after joe budden took out his strap, but the internal pressures are weighing on my wordbladder so i’m going to go ahead and play the best ball, middle-school-staff golf tourney style.
Batman ^4 showed some of the hallmarks of being a bad movie, such as being 15 minutes long and having the kind of fight scenes that only stoned, nihilistic cinematographers could appreciate (shot from three inches away with oliver-stone-academy-of-nauseatic-filmmaking style quick cuts and mostly just whooshing noises and thumps to indicate who’s winning). these fight scenes are particularly foiled by the fact that everyone is wearing black and fighting in either the colorado springs ninja summer camp or a dank alley, or is batman and is supposed to only supposed to be like half visible. And the script was a bit clunky, etc, etc, there were some debatable marketing-related casting decisions (do they really have cockney butlers? aren’t butlers supposed to be classy? if you were a really good butler but you got real paid at age 70, would you continue to be a butler, especially if your only putative buttling charge was declared dead seven years earlier.)
aside from the observational humor, I had some important questions about the mythology of batman as applied to this movie. one, in the accepted Batman etiology, the Joker kills Batman Pere et Mere, and that sends Batman on his lifelong learning-annex approach to theories of criminology/guilt/definitions justice, and then he either kills or perpetually thwarts the joker, depending on the situation, but also discovers the big hole inside his brain that no amount of batmanning can fill, and then he spends the rest of the time being the opposite of clark kent, which is to say a capable, suave machosensual dude who is a beard for his depressive, arrested-development superhero alter ego.
This Batman goes more like this: Batman ceases to be a personal metaphor; there’s not a Batman inside each of us, there’s a larger group-rate United Batman of America, while the tibetan ninja school of criminal justice represents 1) illegal drugs 2) anti-depressants 3) the polar split in US political philosophy (the failure of the new left and the rise of doctrinarian, faux-spiritual conservatism).
I’ll sign off on this shit up to a point; i never really bought into any superhero other than Spiderman as a personal narrative; Superman is not actually about how the solution to injustice is a brother from another planet, Batman, for me at least, seemed really unsettling and awesome, because it’s about white flight and the siege mentality and living in the wreckage of hamiltonian urban democracy. metropolis gets attacked by Doomsday or corporate moral collapse once a week; Gotham City is always falling apart, Batman is just evening the score as much as he can, but it is a comic book, so he does have to work in bold colors, SVP. Which is why the ’90s Adventures of Batman cartoon on the WB cartoon thing had a lot of appeal to me, not because it embodied the kind of unpleasant roots of Batman but instead turned into like Weimar Batman.
The scarecrows’s bete noire is licorice? at least give him something scarier than worms (katie holmes) or bats (batman). like make him afraid of peer review or chiropractors or something. at the same time, you have commend whoever decided that if you were a crazy psychiatrist who wore a bag on his head and yelled “Scarecrow!” all the time, that if you got sprayed with your own crazy spray but were subsequently freed to wreak havoc, you would almost certainly find the first available horse, put the burlap sack on your head and ride around yelling “Scarecrow.” I mean it, that’s probably true.