Name one Bruce Wayne that has nailed the vulnerability of the character.
The thing about superheroes is that at the end of the day, they are all sad children created from some terrible trauma. Before I get on a rant about superheroes and heroes in general, I want to focus on Batman, because he is the best example of childhood trauma. More so than Superman. Arguably, he’s the definitive template for the myth of the American superhero.
Now each actor has brought out something unique about the Dark Knight, and if I was to pick my favorite, I’d say that no one could touch Michael Keaton and Kevin Conroy. I think they really understood the game of trauma. I know that everyone is drinking the Nolan Kool Aid, but lets be real for a goddamn second–his movies were a failed deconstruction. Batman is Nolan’s “thesis” for the American superhero, but it isn’t until the third movie that he accepts the inherent ridiculousness of Batman.
And that’s all well and fine for those of you that love Nolan. But I love Batman, so fuck you. If you go to a superhero movie expecting soul-crushing realism, don’t see a movie about an orphan who fights crime in a bat costume.
Now Christian Bale.I have the utmost respect for his Batman. Even his scary bat-voice. In my head, I always thought that Batman would whisper through a voice changer and affect a British accent to throw people off….but that’s just me. Anyway, Christian Bale did a good job and he looked good, but I don’t think he saw the dark humor of Batman. I don’t think he really sold the pain. The anrgy young man still crying for his parents. His Bruce Wayne was rather cardboard in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I get what he was doing, but to say it explicitly, I don’t think he was doing anything different from Val Kilmer. And I really liked Val Kilmer. I saw nothing really new. However, put me in from of Dark Knight Rises and I may just eat my words….because this was a far more interesting Bruce. This was a Bruce who continued to damage himself, damned to a hell that he built. I would kill to see more of that Bruce…
Okay this is officially a rant. I think Ben Affleck, will be great. Mostly because he’s a fan of this shit and he knows what we want to see. I’m happy to see an American back in the underroos for starters. I think that he’s got that Michael Keaton edge. I think he can play the damage. I think he can find the macabre humor. I think he can convey fallibility and the obsession that goes with being an aging hero. A human hero.
I am a notorious Daredevil apologist. I love Daredevil and think it’s unfortunate that Fox tried to duplicate Spider-Man. Watch him in it and edit out everyone else’s scenes. He’s fucking Bruce Wayne. Look at how pointless his crusade is and how obsessive he is. He could have been a great Daredevil, but I digress.
I think we still have alot to learn about characters and how they’ll tick on screen, but I do think that we’re starting to get it with Batman. Batman is the good devil the raises hell. Batman isn’t living–he’s dying. He’s mortal. He’s a sociopath. He’s a broken boy, and he’s a bitter old man. One of the most underrated story arcs to really get to the meat & potatoes of who Batman is is Broken City, by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Rizzo. That’s my dream Batman. A Batman so consumed with grief that some days he totally slacks on putting on his armor. He’s obsessed with figuring out the mystery. For once in my life, I think we could get a Batman who doesn’t stop to shave his 5 o’clock shadow. I want a Batman that I feel bad for. I think Ben Affleck will do that. Thank GOD he’s older though. I’m tired of 20 year olds dominating the super screen.
I can’t wait for you nerds to jump on the bandwagon. You’re the same motherfuckers that said there were no conflicts in Superman. Yeah. Right.