Illusion of Comic Truth

July 27, 2012

The Illusion (Of Comic) Truth

It took me a while to get used to it but I eventually came to terms with the fact that it takes a bit longer for movies to get their start in Germany. This delay has to do with the greed of movie distributors and the dumbfounding need of Germans requiring movies to be dubbed. While waiting I gather what I can about movies from critics, blogs and youtube. This is particularly tasty with all the block-busters trying to top one another — they need exposure more than ever. The only problem is, sometimes after I read about the film, I lose any desire to see it. Hence, I cut back on movie going and have gotten comfortable with the convenience of DVDs. But something changed in the spring and summer (2012). This change has nothing to do with the quality of movies, let me tell ya. I think it has to do with the weather. Yeah, that’s it. The weather sucks so bad in Germany that there really is nothing better to do.

Anywho.

Last night was the premier of The Dark Knight Rises in Germany. Surprisingly (or not) the theatre was empty. Wonder why? I’m not afraid to admit that I actually had an ill thought or two about going to see this film. People over here were even making jokes or smiling while waving the finger-gun when they heard I had tickets. I was eventually comforted by the fact that I now live in a place that is ruled by mendacity as opposed to living in a place where mendacity is systematically bringing it down. Another comforting thought is knowing that access to prescription drugs and military grade weaponry, stockpiling a small armory of munitions and booby-trapping an apartment with explosives, etc., might just be a bit beyond the average nutcase Eurowastelander’s capabilities. Unless, of course, one considers the Norwegian Anders Breivik. But Breivik seemed to prefer the great outdoors and not comic book characters with orange hair. And while I’m on the carnage comparison: considering other Colorado mass shootings, James Eagan Holmes might go down in history as an underachiever. But I suppose that’s neither here or nor there. For I quickly overcame my fears of being shot dead in a cinema because I wanted to pass a few hours with brain dead entertainment.

My son and I have been talking for weeks about seeing the new Batman movie. We’ve seen the first and second installment and our opinions differ as to the success of this newChristopher Nolan franchise. Plainly put, since Batman Begins, which I put off seeing until the DVD was released, I don’t like it. My son loves it. Of course, I have the advantage — or is it disadvantage? — of having grown up with Batman. I loved the original Batman, even the cheesy TV series. As far as movies go, the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher franchise was great. That’s why I feel fine claiming that all the rewriting that has taken place to make this classic comic hero appeal to a new generation — including the brilliant Frank Miller interpretation of the cape crusader — suck. Nolan sucks even more for ruining Batman along this vein. Obviously a Brit might not be the best choice for writing and directing something so quintessentially American but that might also explain turning this character into a corporate-loving blue blood. Also, Nolan failed to provide any worthwhile reason for re-interpreting Batman. Frank Miller did a better job and maybe he should have written the script for Nolan. Nonetheless, modern comic action films are sucking the life out of what they are based on. But then again, watching these big budget things with my son still takes me back. I’m reminded of days past when I borrowed and traded comics and listened to others wax poetic about heroes. Oh, how these days are gone and I do not wish to impose them on my son. Indeed, how things have changed. But for the better? Yes. Most things are better. Except Batman is just like Iron Man and Iron Man is just like Spiderman and soon they will all be just like Superman, etc. Indeed, these films are the same now. We are all lesser because of it. But we have lots of gadgets to consume the past with. Shame.

Don’t get me wrong.

I am not NOT recommending this movie. In fact, one of the things that motivated me to want to see this third (and hopefully final) installment is that the the Aurora shooter had one thing in-common with Heath Ledger, aka the Joker from part 2. Heath Ledger died from consuming a whacked out cocktail of pain killers galore — just after he played a killer who loved killing people. James Holmes is probably going to be put to death because he pretty much did the same thing. Yeah, baby. Drugs, guns — and movies that misinterpret things once great! And let’s not forget the Hollywood connection here. For you see, dear worst-reader, Hollywood has finally found a way to take illusion out of the fold. There is no longer a need  for verisimilitude. The illusion of truth in movie making, baby, has run its course. Characters, actors, directors, etc. are all now one with reality. I mean, James Holmes was trying to reenact something, or? Nomatter. These really expensive and money driven movies are action packed! Yet the theater I was in was practically empty on opening night. Anyone wonder why?

Oh. And before I forget.

verisimilitude |ˌverəsəˈmiliˌt(y)o͞od|

noun

the appearance of being true or real: the detail gives the novel some verisimilitude.

DERIVATIVES

verisimilar |-ˈsimələr|adjective

ORIGIN early 17th cent.: from Latin verisimilitudo, from verisimilis ‘probable,’ from veri (genitive of verus ‘true’) + similis ‘like.’

There was one other thing that excited me to go see this over-budget mediocre Batman extravaganza. I read that the Amerikan Pig-man himself, the great American’t voice that spews the life blood of a nation yearning for grievance, belonging and hate, the singer of the American’t way of life, the great Rush Limbaugh, had taken issue with this movie because the antagonist carries the name Bane. Yes, indeed, leave it up to political talking heads to turn to this. All because Bain Capital, the company Mitt Romney got rich off of by selling out Amerika, is a homophone to the word Bane. Only in American’t, baby.

Although a typical Limbaugh retraction eventually followed, Rush first commented that the character Bane was part of a left-wing Hollywood conspiracy that coincides with the occupy wall street movement. As I watched the film unfold, especially the characters of Catwoman and Bane, I realized that I had to give good’ole Rush L. credit for calling it. This film, as mediocre and mundane as it is, actually has a thing or two to say about the current state of American’t political affairs. That kind of threw me for a loop. Not leaving well-enough alone, some have tried to top Rush by saying that billionaire Batman with his skyscraper offices and corporation ownership is actually Mitt Romney. Wow, eh. Go Amerikan’t. What else is there to say?

But. Back to the film.

Christopher Nolan’s Batman has been a disappointment from the get go. Yet I have watched his trilogy and gladly recommend it — especially if you’re into so-called block buster action. Yet, what Mr. Nolan fails to realize — as he continues with what Frank Miller started — is that the Cape Crusader was something special in the world of super hero comics. He was special because he was, unlike all the other comic heroes, a regular guy without super powers. Sure, he had lots of expensive toys to help him along and they were all stored in the wondrous Bat Cave. But there were no radioactive spiders, no kryptonite blood, no steroid laden venom (for those who don’t know that was how Capt. America got his powers) and no cold fusion energy source that powers a suit. Unlike almost all other comic heroes there were no tricks or alien influence that made Bruce Wayne super. It was only his dedication and desire to help others that drove him. Also, the portrayal of wealth, power and money was never part of Batman’s persona. Indeed, it must be hard to make a film that is supposed to make billions of dollars that doesn’t somehow show our world as it truly is: A world of greed and selfishness. So I can’t help but admit that this mis-characterization of Batman hurts me a little. But it hurts even more that a nutcase like Rush Limbaugh was part of motivating me to see it.

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Rant on.

-tgs-