The more I’m hearing about Matt Reeve’s The Batman now that people are starting to see it the less interested I am in doing so myself. The Riddler has gone from a criminal who likes to show off how smart he is through clues to his capers nobody can solve to yet another “serial killer out to prove society is the true evil”, and some stuff I heard in a podcast this morning sounds like Riddler (bet he isn’t Edward Nigma) has his own reverse Court Of Owls. Catwoman is now bi according to her actress, who probably never read the comic and only evidence is “has a roommate”. Apparently Robert Patterson plays a good Batman but a terrible Bruce Wayne because we have another instance of “he has to learn how”…WHEN THAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT OF BRUCE TRAVELLING THE WORLD TO GAIN THE SKILLS HE NEEDS TO BECOME BATMAN! His early years as Batman should be about honing those skills and learning to use them in practice, not to use them at all. Then there’s the race swapping but I’ve long given up on Hollywood caring about a proper adaptation, especially for those silly little comics that the entertainment industry only cares about if they don’t have to come up with characters or a plot.
Basically, bringing out Batman’s detective side and making the Batmobile a car instead of a high-speed tank seem to be the only things he’s gotten right. Even the Bat-suit has the rather weird gun thing for the symbol that just looks weird to me. Every time I see it I want someone to finish drawing it.
However, he was supposedly influenced by some very beloved Batman comic stories. Supposedly. Owen of Owen Likes Comics goes over the history of those influences. No spoilers but I do have thoughts.
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I’m starting to think Frank Miller is overrated. The Dark Knight Returns is overused as inspiration. The art isn’t that great, Miller SHOULD BE BARRED FROM EVER WRITING SUPERMAN AGAIN!!!!!!!!, and I’ve seen other last Batman stories that I’ve found more interesting. When it comes to Year One, I really don’t hear much about it. Oh, I hear people talk about it existing, but this is also the story where Jim Gordon’s cheating on his wife, Selina Kyle is a prostitute at the beginning, and outside of the scene where Batman first reveals himself to the mob over their dinner…that’s honestly all I know about this story. For all the praise the story itself isn’t talked about nearly as much as other famous Batman stories with or without Miller on writing duties, just various scenes people liked or disliked. Is it really that good if that’s all anyone cares about?
Besides, Miller keeps getting credited for bringing Batman back to darker roots, ignoring what Dennis O’Neil and his team was doing at the Bronze Age of comics because nobody seems to remember the Bronze Age existed, as if it went from the Silver Age right to the Dark Age of the post-Crisis DC Universe. That’s getting annoying as someone who came into comics during the Bronze Age.
I kind of want to read The Long Halloween or even just see the animated movie because it sounds like an interesting story. Even with what little I know about Holiday, he and the Riddler are not the same character type and I already gave my thoughts on Riddler earlier. Riddler doesn’t kill to make a point and not all of his crimes even involve murder unless there’s personal revenge in mind. It’s a game to him, come up with the clues and see if he can be caught. If they get the clues wrong, he wins. Batman and various members of the Bat-Family (usually Barbara or Tim Drake) are up on their trivia, which gives them the edge over most of Gotham PD which is why they win.
I reviewed the first issue of Batman: Legends Of The Dark Knight with the first part of “Shaman” before. It was okay. However, I’m noticing the pattern that’s become the problem with modern Batman stories, namely the focus on deconstruction and trauma. There’s more to Bruce than trauma.
There’s no doubt that seeing his parents murdered in front of him by a random mugger (and please stop trying to paint this is as “revenge on an evil Thomas Wayne”, it was dumb when Telltale Games did the same thing, though if the company hadn’t gone under later games may have also shown this was a frame-up) had an influence on his psyche, but his goal is to keep another him from being created, to give the citizens something to rally around, see criminals as a “superstitious, cowardly lot”, and to cut their proverbial power so the people will push back and further derive crime of their influence. This only fails because writers keep wanting to make Gotham worse for the sake of their stories, to get darker and more violent.
From there you have the addiction to deconstruction because modern comic writers don’t understand why Watchmen worked and keep failing to recreate the magic so they’ll get the same amount of praise. I’d rather see a reconstruction. We’ve analyzed these characters to death, now it’s time to just have them be who they are and tell those stories again. I’m sick of deconstruction. I know these characters can’t exist in the real world, and sometimes for reasons these deconstructions miss. That’s not fun for me, that’s not entertaining. Just give me a good Batman story where he uses his detective skills, his stealth and fight training, and his wits in general to solve a crime and bring a criminal to justice. A story exploring Batman himself is fine now and then, but at some point I just want to see Batman being Batman, not watching him become Batman for the upteenth time. He who controls the origin has the power, but not if all you do are origins. Just let Batman be Batman.