Tag Archives: Batman

Is Gotham Worth Saving?

Steven Greydanus talks Dark Knight and other superhero movies.

The dialogue between God and Abraham, in which Abraham pleads for the city, is echoed most directly in Batman Begins. “Like Constantinople or Rome before it,” intones Liam Neeson’s Ducard, later to be revealed as Ra’s al Ghul himself, Gotham “has become a breeding ground for suffering and injustice. It is beyond saving. … Gotham must be destroyed.”

Bruce tries, like Abraham, to negotiate: “Gotham isn’t beyond saving. Give me more time. There are good people here.”

But the battle for the city doesn’t actually end.

New Batman Writer Is Ex-CIA

Tom King joined the CIA in response to the 9/11 attack. After several years as an undercover operations officer, he returned home, began to work on writing, produced this superhero novel, and now has landed a job with DC Comics to write Batman.

“Batman gets close to the insanity of Gotham, to the craziness, to what drives that city mad, and not be driven mad himself—or at least most of the time he isn’t,” says King. “That’s most like the mission of the CIA. We get into the heads of our enemies without becoming our enemy. I’ll use that experience to tackle this character.”

The Best and Worst Batman

Peter Suderman explains how Frank Miller created the best version of Batman and also the worst.

The influence of Miller’s Dark Knight, however, extends far beyond this one movie. The four-issue comic permanently redefined the character of Batman, and is arguably responsible for making him the pop culture sensation he is today. Today’s Batman, from Christopher Nolan’s austere Dark Knight to the gothic hero of Scott Snyder’s contemporary Batman comics, is inseparable from Miller’s vision of Batman and, in some sense, from Miller himself.

But in the years since Dark Knight, Miller has continued to work with both the character and the brooding sensibility, with increasingly unpleasant results. And in the process, he has squandered much of what made the original so great. Miller gave us the best Batman — and the worst one, too.

View post on imgur.com

Critic Steven Greydanus says on Twitter this article aptly describes what he calls the Frank Miller worldview, “a nightmare world of antiheroes, brutal villains, whores, femmes fatales, sickening violence—lots of visual impact, no human interest.”

“Miller’s rather pathetic Superman was a logical extension of Miller’s Dark Knight universe—the right Superman for that Batman’s story.”

As Suderman says it, “Miller positions Superman as Batman’s true rival, a polite water carrier for ineffectual elites and authority figures, a symbol of weakness and civil decline to which Batman provides the antidote.” An antidote that feels as bad as the sickness.

I hope we see a new, hope-filled Superman, a Captain America-style Superman, by the end of this decade. Maybe we’ll see that in Wonder Woman.

Crime Fighting, Old and New

“For me, Batman has the most spiritual narratives. I’d venture to say that, in general, D.C. excels Marvel in exploring the hero’s soul, and no soul is darker than Bruce Wayne’s.”

Smoking GuyBrad Fruhauff talks about his appreciation of Batman’s character and storyline, and he’s probably right. Batman wins by sheer force of will, despite the flood of evil he faces.

Turn the page. Author Christopher West says the Chinese were telling the equivalent of police procedurals far before anyone in the West.

A genre known as gong’an began in the Song dynasty (960 to 1279): the term means a magistrate’s desk, and the modern equivalent would be police procedural. Stories would be narrated by wandering storytellers or in puppet shows, and usually told of upright officials exposing corruption and cover-ups. No examples of these stories have survived, however. The oldest gong’an tales come from the next dynasty, the Yuan (1279 to 1368).

Turn another page. For a limited time, BBC Radio 4 is airing a production of an unfinished work by Alfred Hitchcock, The Blind Man. “The world premiere of Alfred Hitchcock and Ernest Lehman’s unfinished screenplay, the follow-up to North by Northwest, now completed by Mark Gatiss” stars Hugh Laurie and Kelly Burke.

“Set in 1961, a famous blind jazz pianist, Larry Keating [Laurie], agrees to a radical new medical procedure – an eye transplant. The operation is a success but his new eyes are those of a murdered man, and captured on their retina is the image of his murderer. Larry and his new nurse, Jenny [Burke], begin a quest to track him down – before someone else dies.”