Now as some of you may know, Christopher Nolan was giving creative control over the entirety of Warner Bros. DC cinematic line after the stunning success of The Dark Knight. Now I actually don't have that much against Christopher Nolan as a director. The man has made some very good movies with some very iconic imagery. Movies like Memento, that really told an interesting story and something I feel hadn't really been done before. At least not to this extend. I also really liked his take on Batman for the most part, I liked the way he updated the character to the modern era. Batman Begins remains to this day one of my favorite superhero movies out there. But it's exactly around the comic book movie thing my problem lies. Okay backtracking. When I saw the design for The Joker for The Dark Knight, I was honestly thrilled. I thought he looked very cool. I remember sitting through the movie, loving it. Great performances by the cast. The Joker was very cool and menacing, the effects for Two-face were great and the fight scenes were miles above the quality of Batman Begins. Here's where the ground starts shaking though.
|This take on the character was just a tad|
too realistic after my taste.
Nolan and I, we each have a very different vision for the DC universe. Nolan tends to go for absolute realism, I tend to hate realism. No seriously, I really hate realism in my superhero movies. In most of my fiction actually. I guess my problem with realism is that it takes the escapism out of it. Like it or not, comic books are escapist fiction. As much as we want to have a serious face while reading a comic book, thing is that realism isn't important to make it engaging.If you truly are mature and want to be considered as such, you shouldn't have to go out of your way to convince people that yes. You are in fact wearing your big-boy pants. This is a problem I had hoped we had gotten out of the way in the early 2000's, when fans realised just how stupid this industry can get when it tries way too hard to be taken seriously. Nolan is in the camp of "darker is better" which I used to be in myself. You know back when I was a trouble goth kid, and 15. Here's the thing though, Nolan's take on the DC universe sort of kind of works with Batman. Batman has a nuanced rogues gallery consisting almost entirely of loonies. Batman can go for realism and still be somewhat true to form.
This doesn't work for the rest of the DC universe. The thing you have to understand about the DC universe is that yes: The DC Universe is a very whimsical place where stage-act magicians are actually wizards and where a airforce pilot can get sent to the Earths core which just so happens to be a 80's style fantasy world similar to that of He-man. Oh and He-man is part of the DC universe as well, true story. Sure the DC universe has it's fair share of really dark darky darkness. Roy Harper is a sidekick to a Robin Hood take on Batman who gets addicted to cocaine, has a daughter as a teenager, then looses her AND his right arm in one fell swoop quickly becoming addicted to drugs again. Bit of a mouthful, innit? However, the DCU is still a fun place. Unlike over in Marvel land, the normal citizens actually act like decent human beings. Not resenting assholes over every little thing that's different. Let me remind you that Marvels ordinary people not only acts racist and bigoted, they elected the Green Goblin for president of America and J. Jonah Jameson for mayor of New York. DC isn't quite as crazy, not in that way at least.
So why am I bringing this up? Well. I just saw Superman. I mean Man of Steel. You can read my full review over on Kaiser Critics if you want to. Suffice it to say that I liked it, but once again we have this unnessesary scream of realism forcibly put where it just doesn't belong. Nolan and his creative partners obviously do not get Superman, or most of the DC universe for that matter. Giving a man complete creative control over ANYTHING before making sure the man actually understands what he's given is just the most stupid, money-minded mistake you can make. This goes for ANY intellectual property. Nolan has straight up said before that he doesn't care for the whimsical elements of the DCU. The DC Universe is almost ONLY paranormal. What Warner Bros. has essentially done, is give the keys to an autocamper, who then only uses it to drive to work. It just takes away a large bulk of the use. What makes me even more sad? Warner Bros. owns the rights to the entirety of the DC universe. They OWN DC. As opposed to Marvel who has sadly given away a lot of their movie rights before they started making movies themselves, Warner Bros. could have made ALL the DC universe related material they wanted to. Instead they wallow in Batman. They make Batman video games, Batman cartoons, and even stuff that has other DC characters somehow manages to still focus on freaking Batman. Injustice: Gods among us could have had SO MANY different characters in it. Warner Bros. and Nether Realm Studios could have used the game to showcase the lesser known names on the DC roster. What do they do? They fill up the roster almost entirely with Batman characters, and makes a lot the stages take place in Gotham. DC has so many iconic characters and areas, but Warner Bros. just doesn't have the guts to actually do something with it. Instead they're covering their asses, hoping people will buy things because of Batman alone. As a fan who grew up on Batman, and has loved the character and those surrounding him for the entirety of my life it just saddens me to see how he's become an example of such industrial cowardice.