I’m really torn about the news coming out of HitFix that Joseph Gordon-Levitt could be playing John Blake as Batman in the upcoming Justice League movie. I know he’d give a wonderful performance doing whatever he wants to do, but that’s not my Batman and it’s not really the Batman I wanted to see on the big screen.
I was really hoping for a giant established Batman universe to come out of Nolan’s films coming to a close. I thought it was quite nice that Batman got a happy ending and that it was all over, but no… NOPE! Now it continues.
I had visions of Batman flying the bat jet as Robin ran across rooftops chasing after an elevated sky train which was held by the likes of Clayface or Mr. Freeze. I saw him teaming up with the whole Bat Family in a Batman Inc type story line and seeing the super villains that I love return to the big screen.
I don’t think that under this kind of banner we’ll see that. It’d be too weird of a continuity flip. If John Blake is Batman then he’ll stay as a Nolan kind of Batman and that’s just weird to me. I don’t want to see THAT Batman fighting Mr. Freeze, because that will mean Mr. Freeze has to be brought down to earth in some kind of way, made realistic, drop the suit, no freeze gun… maybe he’s just pale… who knows.
Ugh… And this isn’t anything against JGL. I like the guy. I love his movies. I just bought The Lookout on Blu-Ray and I adore it. Brick is always at the top of my recommendations to people on Netflix, and I’d even like to see what the guy does as Bruce Wayne. But I don’t care about John Blake.
But there’s one crossover I can’t help but think absolutely needs to happen. I believe that Death Note and Batman need to have a 6 part “What If” story line where Batman tries to hunt down Kira. Batman is the world’s greatest detective after all, so having him go toe to toe with Kira would be rather fantastic. I mean really, Batman is L but with a bunch of cool tools.
If only some one at DC Comics would think of this.
Anytime The Dark Knight comes up some one says “Heath was so great… he’s the best joker” and all I can think to myself is that I still really really REALLY love Cesar Romero. I grew up on 1960s Batman reruns. My mom watched it as a kid and I did too. We both loved how goofy it was, the theme, the colors, the relationship between Batman and Robin was amazing… and then there were the villains.
Were all the villains good in 1960s Batman? Nope. The Penguin was great, Mr. Freeze was a bore, and every version of Catwoman the show had was sexy… but The Joker was iconic. Cesar Romero is the Joker to me. As much as I love what Mark Hamill did for the character, I really love Cesar Romero’s slapstick take on the clown prince of crime.
What I love most of all is that Cesar Romero was a person of color and nobody made a big deal about it. Nobody said “Oh but The Joker is white!” Today you can’t have Donald Glover play Spider-Man because he’s black… but nobody said anything about a Latino playing the greatest comic book villain of all time for YEARS. He set the standard for how The Joker should be, and would be portrayed for the next few decades. Until the 1980s rolled around, every version of The Joker was like Cesars. That’s powerful stuff.
I’m not trying to say Heath’s joker was bad. I like it as a performance, I think it’s just funny enough, just crazy enough and of course it’s stylish too. That suit is amazing after all. BUT, he’s played differently from every other Joker that came before him. Even Nicholson’s which was dark, was far funnier than Heath’s. That’s the thing about The Joker… His main goal isn’t to cause chaos for the sake of chaos… it’s to make himself laugh. It’s a twisted sense of humor thing… He thinks the world is a joke and he’s the punch line. That never comes across in Heath’s take on him.
These new photos of Heath came out… the ones all the posters from the Dark Knight were based on and that’s what inspired me to write this. Oh and by no means think that if you like Heath the most I’m saying you’re wrong. I can see the appeal of liking his performance… he won the Oscar for it after all. I guess it’s kind of like The Doctor on Doctor Who. Everyone has THEIR doctor… Everyone has their Joker too… and Cesar Romero is mine. (on a side note, he also rocked a bitchin’ mustache under the make up.)
I try not to fight the internet on what it likes to do. I’ve learned over the years of being online that you’re just going to have to accept that some people have weird fetishes and in some cases you have to fight for their right to have said fetishes. You also have to just understand that fans of fiction want certain relationships to happen and sometimes you can totally see why and in other cases it makes zero sense but it doesn’t really effect you so who cares… then there’s Batman and Robin.
Batman and Robin have a rather strange relationship that comes out of a place of innocence from decades and decades ago. In fact Robin first appeared in 1940, 72 years ago. That’s older than most people. When he came onto the scene in 1940, Dick Grayson was 8 years old. That’s right… 8. He’s not the teenager most versions portray him as now. Bruce Wayne helped him solve the murder of his acrobat parents and then basically adopted him and became a father figure.
That’s where the relationship gets awkward for me. So many people seem keen on pairing Batman and Robin together in a gay relationship and I don’t get why. I understand that yes it’s a little odd for single man to adopt an orphan child and then raise him as a crime fighting machine, but we are still talking about comics for kids, and in the 1940s. Robin was a boyhood dream for kids reading about him. He was the side kick super hero, who gets to hang out with the greatest literary character of the past 100 years. It’s no different from little orphan Annie, except there’s even less of a father relationship and the character is inspired by Robin Hood. So why ship them?
If some one can answer this please do. Why do certain fans want Batman and Robin to be a couple? And because some people will wonder what my motives for asking are I’ll simply say this. It’s not that I don’t think Batman or Robin can’t be gay. Green Lantern is gay now and I’m all for that, and if some one wanted to write Batman or Robin being gay, that’s fine too… but there’s an incredibly perverse theme going on when Batman is adopting an 8 year old boy, raising him, dressing him up in that outfit, nearly getting him killed for years, and then taking him to bed at night. That’s something I don’t understand.
Technically Batman is about 22 years older than Robin, and I’m not saying relationships with large age gaps are a bad thing either, but 22 years is quite a bit and… like I said… it’s being warped into an incredibly perverse Father/Son relationship.
I’m not writing to capitalize on what’s happened in the past 24 hours. That’s not the kind of person I am. I’m more just trying to get my feelings out and discuss how I feel about Batman as a character, what these past three films mean and how impactful they are on the public or could be.
There are a few legitimately strong lessons in Nolan’s Batman films and the strongest of which is “Why do we fall? So we can teach ourselves to stand back up.” This is a theme that resonates through the entire trilogy. With Bruce falling with the death of his parents and Batman standing in his place, then Batman falling so that the reputation of a good yet twisted man may stand up, and then Gordon falling for the same reasons as Batman, but morally feeling broken. This is a lesson not only of self reliance but of relying on other people to help you when you need them.
The second biggest theme is Batman’s disgust for guns. They ruined his life when one took his parents, then the love of his life is disgusted at him for even thinking that a gun could solve his problems when he wants to murder Joe Chill, and then, while stretching the idea further, he refuses to even kill with a sword when ordered to by Ras Al Ghul.
Even in the sequel, The Dark Knight, Batman has a chance to shoot The Joker or at least run him down on the Batpod and doesn’t do it, nearly killing himself in the process.
Batman and Bruce Wayne’s stance against using guns has been criticized by readers of the character over the decades and while Batman used guns when he started it’s been a sticking point that he not use them. From The Dark Knight Returns, Batman snaps a rifle in half and states, “THIS is the weapon of the ENEMY. We do not NEED it. We will not USE it.” and “A gun is a coward’s weapon. A liar’s weapon. We kill too often because we’ve made it easy… too easy… sparing ourselves the mess and the work.”
In the Dark Knight Rises there are multiple instances where characters have issues with guns including Batman who tells Selena Kyle (Catwoman) not to use a gun, Joseph Gordon Levitt’s character John Blake not liking the results of defending himself with deadly force and more. There’s a joke involving a character being killed with brutal fire power that undermines the message for the sake of a big laugh, but it fits the tone of the film.
So we have this message through Batman’s history. This idea that we can be above guns, that we don’t need them to solve our problems and yes there are grey areas with Batman using guns in his past but that’s not the current message of the character…
The most impacting moment for me involving this topic came over a decade ago and involved the first 5 minutes of Batman Beyond. Batman is an older man and when trying to stop a kidnapping/ransom he holds a gun to a criminal and that’s when he knew that he couldn’t be Batman anymore. He had to hang up his cowl and go into retirement. You can watch that clip HERE.
I’m not trying to make a point about gun laws or politicize what happened in Colorado with this post. I feel horrible for the people involved and hurt by what one man did. I do feel that the man should pay. The deaths of 14 people is a huge deal and I understand that a lot of people don’t feel safe this weekend. The movie theater is supposed to be one of the safest places in the world and when that safety is torn away and we’re left with the horrible actions of one person ruining the lives of dozens, it’s hard to comprehend.
I feel like I needed to get this all out on the table because these are the ideas rattling around inside my head right now. I sat through 9 hours of Batman films and the two lessons that I pulled away are in direct contradiction with what one awful man did and I think that says something. I think those ideas of falling and getting back up, and guns are powerful and that they mean something. What? I don’t know. Maybe we’ll find out in the coming weeks.
Years ago, I mean YEARS ago I was at my local comic book story looking to buy some dollar bin comics and I saw a statue of Batman with a girl version of Robin. Robin was aiming a sling shot and Batman was guiding her, pointing off at the distance as if to pick out her target for her. I loved this and it wouldn’t be until years later that I finally read The Dark Knight Returns and learned all about this statue and how it was made to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of that book.
Well I finally wanted that statue for myself. I go online to find them and to my surprise they’re actually rather cheap. Only 125-150 bucks. “Not Bad” I say to myself as I look around ebay and other places and then I start to look closer… This is simply not what I remember.
Yes the pose is perfect, the figures themselves are pretty well made and considering the thing came out in 1996, a whole 16 years ago when that kind of item wasn’t as common place as it is today it’s not a bad design… but the paint job is sloppy.
Every single one of these things has a garbage paint job. The edges where clothes meet skin are tacky, with paint spilling over into each area, parts of the base they’re standing on are the original plastic color from never being painted properly, the eyes on Batman are muddy and smeared and the symbol on his chest is not uniform at all.
I’ve seen bargain bin action figures with better paint than this. Was it just the era? Was 1996 just a bad time for limited edition statue paint jobs? I mean they only made 4000 of these which is why I still think it might almost be worth getting, but at the same time for 125 bucks I could get a replacement Invincible statue, since mine fell and broke (Still super sad about that).
Oh to compare, the statue I got with Batman: Arkham City is actually bigger and painted better and cost less. Maybe technology in the world of figure painting has really gone up over time. I don’t know.
I love Robin. I don’t care which version of Robin we’re talking about, or which actor is playing whatever version… I just like Robin. I love the idea of the kid who’s taken in and given an amazing life. Maybe it has something to do with Dick Grayson being adopted and how I’m adopted… I don’t know.
So when I saw the football scene in The Dark Knight Returns trailer and spotted (right away) that the R in the Gotham Rogues logo was the same R stitched to Robin’s costume I got excited. Then I saw the large explosion, the stadium ground drops out and this football player is running while everyone else is dropping into the rubble, he makes a touch down, turns around and his jersey says WARD.
NOW I’m such a nerd that I thought this was a reference to the guy who played Robin in the 1960’s TV live action TV show and who voiced Robin in the late 1970s cartoon. I couldn’t be more wrong. Apparently this is Hines Ward a real football player who has since retired and is now on Dancing with the Stars.
What’s weirder is that I actually like my train of thought better. I don’t give a fuck who Hines Ward is. I don’t care at all in fact. I really wish that this was just Nolan being thoughtful enough to put homages to Robin in his film more than just an R on a sign.