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Saturday, January 26, 2013 06:13 AM
The Dangers of Having a Comic Book Geek Dad
 by Fëanor

I can't remember where he got them (I think from my brother?), but Griff has small action figures of Hulk and Thor. Last night he suddenly got really excited about them and had them fighting each other. Then he decided that his Playmobil astronaut should join in on the fight. I pointed out that unless the astronaut had some omega-level mutant powers I didn't know about, he wouldn't be much of a match for Hulk and Thor.

Later he insisted on taking the Hulk figure with him into the bath, and he started swinging it around in the air, and told me he was flying. "Actually," I began. I told him the Hulk couldn't really fly, but he could jump really high and really far. The next time Griff started to say that the Hulk was flying, he corrected himself and said he was jumping. I nodded proudly and said, "Now that's canon!"

Griffin also insisted on taking the Hulk figure with him when he went to bed. This morning the first thing he said to me when I came into his room was, "Where's Hulk?" When we came downstairs, he demanded Batman on TV.

Ah, my little fanboy.
Tagged (?): Batman (Not), Children (Not), Comic books (Not), Griffin (Not), Hulk (Not), Parenthood (Not), Parenting (Not)
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012 09:35 PM
(Last updated on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 03:25 PM)
On the Viewer - The Dark Knight Rises
 by Fëanor

(Note: I think I managed to keep this review free of major spoilers, but if you really don't want to know anything about the movie going in, you might want to skip reading this until you've seen it.)

The Dark Knight Rises is the conclusion of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy and also of the story of Bruce Wayne. It plays with all of the same themes and moral questions as the other films in the series, but the stakes are higher and the stage is larger than ever before. This is a truly epic film where the metaphorical war for Gotham's soul that has been fought throughout the series becomes a literal and practically apocalyptic one. It is brilliant, stunning, and powerful - a great film on every level.

The movie opens, like The Dark Knight, with a big action set piece that introduces the film's main villain: the masked man known as Bane (Tom Hardy). What's happening in this scene (a daring and really rather insane kidnapping) doesn't really make a lot of sense until later, but you will at least immediately understand that Bane is another Joker-level bad guy: ruthless, brilliant, fearless, passionate, and with an army of devoted soldiers at his beck and call, ready and willing to lay down their lives for him. In fact, if anything, Bane is an even more dangerous enemy than the Joker. The Joker could out-plan and outsmart, and he knew how to attack the soul. Bane can do all of that, and is also physically overpowering. "You adopted the darkness," he tells Batman later. "I was born in it."

(Oh, and yeah, Bane is a little hard to understand. It's kind of a problem - maybe the movie's only real flaw. I look forward to getting the DVD so I can turn on the subtitles and figure out all his dialog.)

Back in Gotham, we find it's been eight years to the day since the events at the end of The Dark Knight. The best and the brightest of Gotham are assembled at the newly rebuilt Wayne Manor to celebrate a civic holiday known as Harvey Dent Day, where they remember the city's fallen hero. Thanks to a piece of legislation known as the Dent Act, which gave the police greater freedom, organized crime has been smashed to pieces and Gotham is experiencing a new era of peace and prosperity. But Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) is still tortured by the lie this peace is built on. And Batman, now despised as a murderer, hasn't been seen since Dent's fall. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), having lost his lover and, as he sees it, completed his mission, has nothing left to live for. So he's let himself go to seed and embraced the classic eccentric millionaire persona, holing himself up in his mansion, apparently planning to wait there until death takes him.

But the unexpected intrusion of a certain cat burglar (Anne Hathaway, easily shedding her good girl image to become a sexy, knowing, confident, dangerous Selina Kyle - who is never referred to as Catwoman, by the way) wakens Bruce from his slumber and gets him interested in the world again. He looks around and realizes that Gotham isn't as saved as he thought. Both it and Wayne Enterprises have been slowly rotting away from the inside. The poor in Gotham are poorer than ever. The dirt and evil and lies that he and Gordon buried underground are about to rise back up and destroy everything they built. With Bane's help, of course.

In this film, that "class war" we hear so much about becomes a real war. Nolan has said he based the story on A Tale of Two Cities, and it shows. He's fond of metaphors writ large, and the figurative made literal. There is a lot of falling and rising of all kinds in these movies. In one of the most powerful sequences in the film, Bruce finds himself at the bottom of that well again that he fell in as a child, but this time he will have to rise out of it on his own with no help from his father. He has to rediscover fear, this time not as a weapon, but as an ally.

Masks and identity are again key. To Gordon, Batman's true identity has always been unimportant. He's Batman, that's all. (Although, as an aside, it's kind of funny how many people in these movies know Batman's true identity. He's pretty bad at keeping that secret.) And Bruce points out that Batman can be anybody, because anybody can be a hero.

Another recurring theme is redemption. Can a thief like Kyle put the dark things she's done behind her and get a fresh start? Can Bruce Wayne?

A new hero that rises in this film is a smart young cop named John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Marion Cotillard plays Miranda Tate, a business partner and love interest for Bruce Wayne. And Michael Caine returns as the wise father figure Alfred. He seems to break down crying in nearly every scene he's in, and he's such a damn good actor you'll find yourself crying right along with him. In fact, for me, at least, there was quite a lot of crying in this film, believe it or not. It's incredibly emotionally effective, especially at the end.

To put it simply, The Dark Knight Rises is nothing less than a masterpiece, and the perfect capstone to a fantastic trilogy of films.

UPDATE: I have more things I want to say about this movie, but they require me to include spoilers! So I'll hide them as white text. Once you've seen the movie (or if you don't care about spoilers), go ahead and highlight the text below to read the rest of my review.

The class war that's central to The Dark Knight Rises even extends to Bruce's love interests - Miranda and Selina. One is from the upper crust of society - a businesswoman, wealthy, lovely, altruistic; a companion in Bruce's mission to save the world. The other is from the lowest level of society - a thief, poor, pessimistic, aggressively self-interested; a liar and betrayer. But underneath her mask the upper-class woman is really a demon come from hell; her project to provide free power to the city is really a bomb designed to destroy it. She is the real betrayer. Meanwhile, underneath the lower-class woman's mask is someone decent at heart who's just looking for a fresh start away from the darkness. When the chips are down, she's the one who sticks by Batman. Bruce (and all his friends, for that matter) is taken in by the lovely society lady, but eventually learns to put his trust instead in the liar and thief - to believe in the possibility of her redemption - and thus they save each other.

For some reason, although I suspected Miranda was not to be trusted and was probably working with Bane, I was completely unprepared for the revelation of her true identity, even after the earlier revelation that Ra's al Ghul was the father of the child born in the pit (which also took me by surprise), and even given the fact that I knew from the comics that Ra's al Ghul's child was a woman: Talia. It's a powerful shock. Another wonderful surprise was Jonathan Crane's cameo reappearance as the judge at the French Revolution-style show trials. There's something fun about this lower level villain surviving the entire trilogy, just hanging on somehow by blowing with the wind and taking on whatever role is open to him.

I also didn't expect Bruce to survive. He seems to spend nearly the entire movie waiting to die, and in the climactic moments, he at last appears to have found a heroic way out. But it was wonderful to see him finally able to shed his Batman persona and become a whole person again, and it's wonderful that Alfred gets to witness it. Bruce's climb up out of the pit - fighting his way back up out of the darkness to rise up again into the light - has given him the strength to live again; given him back his fear of death. This is the satisfying completion of his journey as a character.

And in fact, not only does Bruce live on, so does Batman. Batman, as we've heard time and again, is not just a man - he is an immortal legend. So someone else must take up his mantle now that Bruce has put it down. And that someone, as I suspected (OK, I wasn't entirely right, but nearly!), is John Blake - or Robin, as we learn in the final moments of the film, in a lovely and cheeky reference back to the source material. Blake is an orphan, like Bruce, and he goes through his own journey in this film, learning to despise guns and killing, and coming to realize that you can't always just follow orders, and sometimes the rules of law become shackles, keeping you from doing what you know is right. And that's when you need Batman.

UPDATE 2: I couldn't resist adding how incredibly powerful I found the scene in which Gordon finally realizes who Batman is. "Anyone can be a hero," Bruce tells him, "even a man who just puts a coat around a boy's shoulders and tells him the world hasn't ended." I'm getting choked up right now just thinking about it.
Tagged (?): Batman (Not), Movies (Not), On the Viewer (Not)
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Monday, July 16, 2012 11:51 PM
On the Viewer - The Dark Knight
 by Fëanor

I reviewed The Dark Knight for Phillyist when it originally came out; you can check out that article here. My opinion of the movie hasn't changed much since then, but I do feel like I saw more in it this time.

(A note: as before, this piece is loaded with spoilers.)

The Dark Knight opens with an absolute tour de force: a brilliant bank heist engineered and executed by the Joker, who will be one of the central characters of the film. We learn from this sequence that the Joker is fearless (he's stealing from the mob), insane ("Whatever doesn't kill you makes you... stranger"), a master planner and manipulator, a loner, and he has zero (really more like negative) regard for human life. He systematically eliminates everyone who helped him pull the heist, either by personally killing them or by tricking them into killing each other. He is, as he explains to Harvey Dent later in the film, an agent of chaos, but only insofar as he produces chaos. And it's always carefully directed chaos, created through intricate planning. Although he professes to hate schemers and planners and sets himself up as their enemy and their opposite, he is in fact the master schemer of all master schemers. He is the ultimate author of every major event in the film, with only one, maybe two exceptions. He likes to tell people the story of how he got his scars, but it's a different story every time. We never learn anything about his background or his true identity. He's an enigma; a cipher; a devil.

After introducing the Joker, the movie wraps up the loose ends from Batman Begins by having Batman find and incapacitate Jonathan "Scarecrow" Crane, who has since become a (crappy) drug dealer. We also get introduced to one of the other things that Batman has inspired, besides the Joker: copycats. It's a group of regular citizens who are dressing up like Batman and fighting criminals. One of these guys asks Batman an important question: what's the difference between him and them? What gives him the right? He jokes, "I'm not wearing hockey pads," but of course there are some pretty essential differences: they don't have his resources and they don't follow his code - they have no compunction about using guns. So he ties them up and leaves them for the police right alongside the drug dealers.

Batman and Gordon meet up at the scene of Joker's bank heist, but both of them misunderstand the threat the Joker represents and dismiss him as some random crazy. Instead, they're still focused on taking down the mob once and for all. They wonder if the new D.A., Harvey Dent, can help them do it. Dent is another central character of the film. He is Gotham's White Knight, a crusader without a cape, fighting crime fearlessly, but from within the system and according to the rules. In other words, he's the hero Batman has been waiting for - the man who can take his place, and make him obsolete. If Dent succeeds and destroys organized crime in Gotham, then Bruce can retire and spend the rest of his life with Rachel - or he could if it weren't for the fact that Rachel and Dent appear to be lovers, something Bruce is just pretending isn't happening.

Dent's introductory scene is wonderful. He's cocky, fearless, clever, funny, and a bad-ass. When his star witness, who was supposed to rat on his boss, suddenly changes his story, and then pulls a gun on Dent, he slugs the guy, disarms him, and gets legitimately upset when the judge wants to halt proceedings. Dent has the same passionate, unstoppable drive to defeat crime as Batman and Gordon.

When Lau runs off to Hong Kong with the mob's money, and takes with him their best hope of defeating organized crime in Gotham, Dent and Gordon turn to Batman to do what they can't do. Because they work within the law, they can't touch Lau. But an outlaw can. It's not the first questionable thing Batman has been asked to do in pursuit of justice, and it won't be the last.

Meanwhile, the Joker has made his move. In one of the greatest scenes of the film, he walks in on a meeting of mob bosses and proposes that they hire him to eliminate their real problem: the Batman. At first they refuse, but when Batman returns Lau to Gotham to rat them all out, they get desperate and set the Joker loose. But they, like Batman, have misunderstood and underestimated the Joker. They think he's like any other criminal: that he's motivated by money. But money doesn't interest him at all. As Alfred explains, "Some men just want to watch the world burn." What the Joker wants is to poison the soul of Gotham. He wants chaos and torture and death and despair. He wants to show that no one is as good as they think they are; that when the chips are down, people are nasty and cruel at heart, and they will only act in their own self-interest, even if it means killing someone else. Batman's actions are founded on the idea that deep down, people are good, and can be saved. The Joker's actions are founded on the idea that deep down, people are evil, and aren't worth saving. The Joker is inspired and completed by the Batman. In the Batman he has found his perfect opponent in the battle for Gotham's soul.

The Joker goes about proving his terrible hypothesis via a series of cruel ethical experiments and moral challenges. He says people will die every day until Batman reveals his identity and turns himself in. And indeed the Joker does start murdering people - powerful and important people - and the police and Batman are powerless to prevent it. The Joker is always two steps ahead of them. And if Batman's code says that he must not kill, is he betraying his code through inaction? Must he give up to save lives? Alfred tells Bruce that Batman has to be strong enough and terrible enough to take this - to go on in the face of death, and not give in. But Bruce is only a man after all and decides he must give in to the Joker's demands. Dent is also beginning to snap under the pressure and starts stepping over the boundaries of the law to try to stop the Joker, even kidnapping one of the Joker's hired thugs and torturing him for information. Batman stops him, pointing out that Dent cannot do things like this. He can't stoop to the level of a criminal, or even of Batman, or all the good he's done will be swept away, and Gotham will fall back into corruption. Dent must remain clean.

But Dent also can't let the Batman turn himself in. So he claims to be the Batman himself, in the hopes of drawing out the Joker so the real Batman can finally take him down. Dent's plan seems to work, but in fact the Joker is still two steps ahead of all of them. He planned to be captured, and meanwhile orchestrated the kidnapping of Dent and Dawes, to give Batman another terrible choice: if he can save only one of them, which one will he choose? Will it be his lover or Gotham's White Knight? Batman chooses Rachel, but the Joker has rigged the game again. Batman finds himself saving Dent instead. But in truth neither Rachel nor Dent survive the ordeal. Harvey is left mutilated inside and out by the physical and emotional trauma. Meanwhile, the Joker has escaped with Lau. He seems to have already won, but he has more games to play.

When Coleman Reese threatens to expose Batman's identity on live TV, the Joker announces that if Reese isn't dead within the hour, he will blow up a hospital. (The Joker doesn't really want Batman's identity revealed, you see; he's having too much fun with him.) It's another test, this one performed on the citizens of Gotham. Will they murder an innocent man to save their own loved ones? Indeed, a few try, but Batman and the police manage to keep Reese safe. Unfortunately, during the chaos the Joker is able to unleash something far more terrible on Gotham: the transformed Harvey Dent, who, after a short talk with the Joker, has now become the avenging Two-Face, obsessed with fairness and fate. His trick coin, which once had two heads, each identically clean and shining, was damaged in the explosion that killed Rachel. Now one side is burned and scratched, just like Harvey himself. He seeks out each of the people he feels were responsible for Rachel's death and his own destruction, and a flip of the coin decides whether they live or die.

Like Bruce, he listened as his family was killed right in front of him, and he could do nothing. Like Bruce, he was shattered by the event, and sought a mission, a way to fight back. But unfortunately for him, his mentor in that moment was the Joker, and his response to loss and crime is to blame everyone, and kill or not based on random chance.

And the Joker still isn't done! (So much happens in this movie, and there are so few pauses for breath, that it's truly exhausting - it's one of the movies few flaws.) He sets up yet another moral test for the people of Gotham. Two ferries, one loaded with prisoners, the other loaded with random citizens, each end up stranded in the harbor. Each ferry is wired to explode, and the passengers of each have the detonator for the other ferry's bomb. Both ferries will explode at midnight, unless one set of passengers decides to blow up the other ferry. Will the prisoners kill the citizens to save themselves? Will the citizens kill the prisoners to save themselves?

Desperate to find the Joker and end all this, Batman again chooses to do questionable things in his pursuit of justice, and sets up a city-wide spy network using everyone's cell phones. The technology is questionable, but the metaphor is clear: Batman will do whatever is necessary to get his man. He is no White Knight, but a Dark one.

The gambit succeeds and he finally captures the Joker. And he defeats the Joker in a larger, metaphorical sense, as well; in one of the most powerful sequences in the film, the people on the ferries choose not to kill each other. For the first time, the Joker has failed. People were better than he'd planned for. Gotham is worth saving.

But the Joker's final and worst weapon, Harvey Dent, is still on the loose, and he's kidnapped Gordon's family. As in the climax of the first film, Batman once again breaks his central code against killing to defeat the final villain. He pushes Harvey off a ledge and kills him to stop him from murdering Gordon's son. Again there are extenuating circumstances: maybe he didn't really mean to kill Harvey, only to push him out of the way, and his death was an accident. Or maybe the Joker really did win, and Batman was forced to realize that sometimes in his pursuit of justice, he will face an impossible choice, and will have to kill to stop killing. And maybe Batman can do even that, if that's what he's called upon to do.

Regardless, Dent has fallen, both literally and figuratively, and Gordon and Batman have to decide what to do about it. Batman already knows Gotham couldn't survive the blow of learning the truth about Dent's corruption. The White Knight's perfect image can't be tarnished, or all his work will have been in vain. So Batman will have to take the blame for Dent's actions, and Gordon will have to hunt him as an outlaw and a murderer. Batman becomes whatever Gotham needs him to become so that Gotham can survive. And because Batman is more than a man - because Batman is a Dark Knight, a legend - he can take it.

As I said in an earlier post, I believe the final film in the trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, will focus on the concept of Batman being more than a man, and will ask the question, if Batman must be superhuman and immortal, than what happens if the man embodying him is defeated and incapacitated? Can Batman survive that? Can Gotham survive it? The answer would seem to be right there in the title, with a nice continuation of the falling and rising imagery that's been at the heart of all the films. But we'll see.
Tagged (?): Batman (Not), Movies (Not), On the Viewer (Not)
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Monday, July 16, 2012 02:12 PM
On the Viewer - Batman Begins
 by Fëanor

I'm going to see the conclusion of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, tomorrow, so in preparation I decided to re-watch Batman Begins and The Dark Knight last week. I already loved the films, but watching them again made me appreciate them even more. They're not only a deep and insightful examination of the character and legend of Batman, but also a thought-provoking analysis of various complex ethical quandaries.

(I think everybody's had enough time to see Batman Begins, so the below is absolutely riddled with spoilers. If you haven't seen it yet, go watch it immediately, then come back. I'll wait.)

Batman Begins, appropriately enough, focuses on the stumbling beginnings of Batman. The central question is, how do we respond to crime and loss? Who do we blame? At first Bruce blames himself, but later he shifts much of that blame onto the man who actually did the deed: Joe Chill. Bruce decides to seek personal revenge and murder Chill. He's on the verge of doing so when someone else does the job for him. When he tells Rachel Dawes, the woman he loves, what he'd planned to do, she shoves him off this dangerous path and onto a new one. She slaps him and tells him his father would be ashamed of him, which hits Bruce hard, as he realizes it's true. His father believed in redemption. He was trying to save Gotham, to rebuild it. When Bruce fell in the well and met the bats, his father descended from the light above and lifted him up. "Why do we fall?" he asked Bruce. And he answered, "So we can learn how to pick ourselves back up." The fallen are not lost. They just need a helping hand.

Rachel points out that Joe Chill is just a symptom of a much larger problem: organized crime; the corruption at the heart of Gotham. In a nice allegorical touch, she literally takes him underground to see the rotting roots of the city, and to show him that killing one man won't solve this problem. Rachel gives Bruce someone else to blame for the death of his parents: crime lord Carmine Falcone, and by extension, all crime in Gotham. Bruce also realizes guns and killing can never be his solution. Were he to kill with a gun he would only become the thing that destroyed his parents. So he throws the gun away and gives himself a new mission: to defeat Crime, to cut the corruption out of Gotham, without killing.

His first step is to get to know crime and criminals, so he goes out to walk among them. He even finds himself sympathizing with them. And he tries to teach himself how to fight them. He makes some progress, but is still a bit of a lost soul when he is found by Henri Ducard and invited to join a secret society known as the League of Shadows. It's Ducard and the League that give him the training, the methods, and the tools he's lacking. They teach him to use theatricality and fear as weapons. And they also point out that no single man could possibly pose a threat to Crime as a whole. To fight crime, he will have to become more than a man. He will have to become legend.

But Bruce and the League disagree on two essential points: who is to blame, and what to do about it. Ducard gives Bruce a new person to blame for his parents' deaths: his father. Ducard proposes we blame the victim - that his father should have been stronger, fought back, attacked the man who was attacking him, despite the odds. Ducard and the League also believe that they can stand as judge, jury, and executioner; that a criminal can perform an act so heinous that they have the right to kill him; that some people are beyond redemption; that you can fall so far that you can never rise again. In fact, they believe the same thing about cities: that a city can become so corrupt and overrun with crime, that it must be destroyed. And they intend to do just that to Gotham.

Bruce does not and cannot believe this. Gotham has fallen, but it can rise again. It can be saved, and he can help save it. He still has faith in justice and redemption. He will fight crime, but he cannot be the arbiter of life and death. This argument with Ducard only helps solidify Bruce's own position and make his mission clear to him. So of course, even knowing the threat that Ducard presents to him and his city, he does not kill him, but risks his life to save him, and escapes.

Back in Gotham, Bruce finally gets down to the nitty gritty of becoming the ultimate warrior against crime. To make himself a thing to fear, he becomes the thing he fears the most: a bat. He knows he cannot work alone, so he recruits helpers - really, a foster family: Alfred (father figure, medic, general assistant); Lucius Fox (armor, weapons, other equipment); the only honest cop in the city, Jim Gordon; and, to a lesser extent, Rachel Dawes. After a little trial and error, he starts having some success. But he meets an enemy who, like himself, also uses fear as a weapon, and in a far more potent, direct, and dangerous way than he does: Jonathan Crane. And ultimately he comes into direct conflict with his old friends, the League of Shadows, who have arrived to realize their old plan of destroying Gotham; or rather, of starting a chain reaction of fear and violence that will cause Gotham to destroy itself. Ducard reveals that they had actually tried to use the weapon of economics to destroy Gotham years ago, but the deaths of Bruce's parents had galvanized the city and kept it alive. The Waynes have always been deeply tied into the health of the city, and have always worked to save it from within; Bruce's great-grandfather ran a portion of the Underground Railroad through the caves under the mansion - the caves that are now Bruce's Batcave. So Bruce is really only upholding the family legacy, and taking over the family business - its true business. This is another question he's having to answer throughout the movie: how can he honor his father and his family? Is it all right for him to tarnish the family name by day, pretending to be a drunk, womanizing jerk in his playboy persona, if he honors his family's legacy by night in the form of Batman? The answer seems to be yes: it's what we really do, not who we appear to be, that defines us.

Ultimately, with the help of his family, Batman defeats Carmine Falcone, Jonathan Crane, Ducard, and the League. He keeps Gotham alive, and by his example, he even inspires it to begin lifting itself back up out of the darkness. He has struck the first blow against Crime. He even has hope that one day, when Gotham is strong enough to take care of itself, Batman will no longer be needed, and he can set his mask aside and just be Bruce Wayne again. Rachel gives him hope that on that day, she'll be there to take his hand. But she points out to him that the mask he wears as Batman is not his true mask. It's the mask he wears by day as Bruce Wayne that's a false face. He has become Batman - that's his true identity now.

Meanwhile, Gordon warns Bruce of a new threat brought on by his actions: escalation. A new class of criminal has arisen to fight Batman on his own terms - passionate, clever, resourceful, determined, more than a little crazy. The first of this new class of criminal calls himself the Joker. And of course he will be the subject of the next film, and the creator of many more moral quandaries for Batman and Gotham.

I have only a couple of problems with Batman Begins. The first is its uneven tone. Most of the movie strikes a good balance between self-important solemnity and silly humor, but every once in a while it dips too far in either direction. There's a particularly weird and out-of-place moment during Batman's first big, successful strike, when he takes down Falcone. Inexplicably, despite the fact that a huge gunfight was going on right beside him, a bum is just hanging out there, eating some food. Batman sees him, recognizes him as the bum he gave his coat to years ago when he first set out to become Batman, and tells him, "Nice coat." I guess Nolan wanted to make a fun callback and lighten things up a bit after all the darkness and violence, but the scene is just confusing and odd and I'd much rather it weren't there.

My other problem is more central, as it has to do with the film contradicting its own themes at the very climax of the film. The central conflict between Batman and the League of Shadows - the moral hinge upon which the whole character and story rest - is that Batman does not kill. That's a decision he made early on, and it's what defines him in many ways. But in the climactic moment of the movie, he essentially kills Ducard. He says he's not killing him, he's just failing to save him, but come on, that seems like a huge cop-out. He's trying to have his cake and eat it, too.

Interestingly enough, something very similar happens at the end of The Dark Knight, but there it feels less like a cop-out and more like a deliberate change in the nature of Batman. I'll talk about that in my next post...
Tagged (?): Batman (Not), Movies (Not), On the Viewer (Not)
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Friday, June 22, 2012 04:16 PM
A Dark Knight Rises Theory
 by Fëanor

I feel like I should record for posterity here a theory I have about The Dark Knight Rises, in case it turns out to be right. I guess if it is right I'm spoiling the movie for you, so to the extent that you think I might be able to correctly predict the movie's plot... spoiler warning!

It seems clear from the various trailers (the most recent one is here) that the movie is adapting, at least to some extent, the storyline from the comics called "Knightfall," in which the villain Bane breaks Batman's back. Here it looks like not only does Bane leave Batman severely injured, but also unmasked, his secret identity compromised.

In the comics, of course, Batman eventually got better, the way comic book heroes do, and that was that. But Nolan's interpretation of Batman has always been a pretty realistic one, and if he shows us Bruce getting his back broken, I don't see Bruce just getting over that. I think Bruce Wayne is going to have to quit being Batman after his encounter with Bane. But Batman isn't just one man; Batman is an idea, and that idea can't be allowed to die. And the movie isn't called The Dark Knight Falls, it's called The Dark Knight Rises. So Bruce will pass on the torch to someone else. The most likely candidate, it seems to me, is Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character. He pops up in the trailer a lot, but his purpose in the story is obscure. All we really learn about him is that he's a cop and he seems interested in Batman returning. He must play an important part in the story, and I think this is it: he's the next Batman.

Or maybe he's Robin? Or maybe Bruce gets over having his back broken by having Lucious Fox build him a mech suit? I dunno. Guess we'll see.
Tagged (?): Batman (Not), Movies (Not)
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Friday, April 27, 2012 04:33 PM
Recyclotron
 by Fëanor

I didn't have time to do my usual thorough examination of the entire internet for this entry, but I figure I'll post what I have now and maybe add more later, we'll see.



Fëanor pours the entire internet into the Recyclotron, and only the best links come out the other end for you to enjoy.

Tagged (?): Animals (Not), Animated GIFs (Not), Art (Not), Avengers (Not), Batman (Not), Celebrities (Not), Comedy (Not), Comic books (Not), Fantastic Four (Not), Fringe (Not), Hayao Miyazaki (Not), Language (Not), Links (Not), Movies (Not), Music (Not), News (Not), Photography (Not), Recyclotron (Not), Sesame Street (Not), TV (Not), Twitter (Not), Video (Not), Video games (Not)
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Wednesday, March 7, 2012 11:06 AM
Recyclotron
 by Fëanor

Fëanor pours the entire internet into the Recyclotron, and only the best links come out the other end for you to enjoy.

Tagged (?): Animals (Not), Animated GIFs (Not), Art (Not), Avengers (Not), Batman (Not), Books (Not), Captain America (Not), Cartoons (Not), Celebrities (Not), Comedy (Not), Comic books (Not), Craft (Not), Food (Not), Game of Thrones (Not), Iron Man (Not), Links (Not), Mike Mignola (Not), Monty Python (Not), Movies (Not), Muppets (Not), Photography (Not), Politics (Not), Products (Not), Recyclotron (Not), Scooby-Doo (Not), Sherlock Holmes (Not), Simpsons (Not), Song of Ice and Fire (Not), Star Trek (Not), Star Wars (Not), Street Fighter (Not), Thor (Not), Toys (Not), TV (Not), Video (Not)
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Thursday, January 26, 2012 11:40 AM
Recyclotron
 by Fëanor

Fëanor pours the entire internet into the Recyclotron, and only the best links come out the other end for you to enjoy.

Tagged (?): Art (Not), Avengers (Not), Batman (Not), Books (Not), Celebrities (Not), Comedy (Not), Craft (Not), Fairy tales (Not), Harry Potter (Not), Links (Not), Lists (Not), Monty Python (Not), Movies (Not), News (Not), Recyclotron (Not), Tarsem (Not), Video (Not)
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012 03:39 PM
Recyclotron
 by Fëanor

Fëanor pours the entire internet into the Recyclotron, and only the best links come out the other end for you to enjoy.

Tagged (?): Animals (Not), Art (Not), Batman (Not), Celebrities (Not), Clothing (Not), Doctor Who (Not), Hellboy (Not), Links (Not), Mashups (Not), Movies (Not), Music (Not), News (Not), Photography (Not), Recyclotron (Not), Shirts (Not), Song of Ice and Fire (Not), TV (Not), Video (Not), Video games (Not), Warren Ellis (Not)
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Monday, December 19, 2011 12:21 PM
(Last updated on Monday, December 19, 2011 01:49 PM)
Recyclotron
 by Fëanor

Hey, remember when I used to post things like this to this here blog?? Thought I'd try it again, just to see how it goes. Enjoy!

Fëanor pours the entire internet into the Recyclotron, and only the best links come out the other end for you to enjoy.

Tagged (?): Advertising (Not), Aliens (Not), Art (Not), Avengers (Not), Batman (Not), Boardgames (Not), Comedy (Not), Commercials (Not), Craft (Not), Food (Not), Gaming (Not), Holiday (Not), LEGO (Not), Links (Not), Lists (Not), Mashups (Not), Movies (Not), News (Not), Recyclotron (Not), Song of Ice and Fire (Not), Star Wars (Not), Tolkien (Not), Toys (Not), TV (Not), Video (Not), Web comics (Not)
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Welcome to the blog of Jim Genzano, writer, web developer, husband, father, and enjoyer of things like the internet, movies, music, games, and books. For a more detailed run-down of who I am and what goes on here, read this.

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