The Dark Knight.
The Dark Knight.
I'm so sick of hearing how The Dark Knight is the best comic-book movie ever. I watched the same thing everyone else praised to death and didn't see the hype. Heath Ledger was the only thing worth watching. Christian Bale, who is supposed to be going for a deeper, more complex take on Batman, barely registers on film.
For a film about Batman, much like during the Tim Burton/Michael Keaton era, the attention always seems to go towards the villain. For a character that isn't the perfect boy scout that Superman is often stereotyped as, Batman doesn't seem to get the same kind of love from Hollywood. Mostly the problem with making a good Batman film is that people refuse to learn from the 1978 Superman film.
At the time the film was being made, it was done mostly for the same reason superhero movies are done now -- for money. You had the comic books and all of the merchandise being sold all over America, why on earth would you need a film series? I'm sure this isn't the complete reason this was done, but i'm going to take a shot.
Comic-book films, much like anything that is based on something already made, already have an interested audience. Fans of the character adapted get to see whether the filmmakers properly adapted the source material and fit a proper budget to make the world of the comic book character come to life. Up until the 1978 Superman film, comic-book movies were seen as a waste of studio funds and often made iconic heroes no more than cardboard cut-outs..
With Richard Donner directing, Tom Mankiewicz doing the script and John Williams scoring the film, a possible piece of crap of cinema became a celluloid masterpiece. His Krypton days, his days on his adopted parents farm in Smallville to his realization of his purpose on earth as a champion on the people were all given special attention so that people who had never read a Superman comic book would actually realize why the character is important to American culture.
If you base the original Superman film franchise as a whole, the sequels don't match up to the original. As a film on it's own ignoring the sequels, the original Superman film stands as being the Citizen Kane of the comic book film genre. Batman, which is supposed to connect with the less positive side of life, isn't really given the same sort of treatment.
Even Tim Burton's take on Batman didn't go heavily into the character's origins. Basically you are left with the idea that he grew up with a set of well-to-do parents who suddenly got killed by some random thugs and left the young Bruce Wayne with a tainted idea of how the world is. As an adult, and as Batman, that doesn't really change -- except for the fact that he now wears a suit.
Unlike Superman, Batman doesn't really have anyone that understands him. Alfred, his butler, is his only family and the only one that understands him. Outside of that and his rather quirky nomad lifestyle, there isn't really much for him.
I understand why people like Batman as he is more of a regular Superhero. I just would think that Batman would get a better movie where he is actually the focus, not the secondary character. Until that happens, The 1978 Superman film still stands as the best of the superhero genre.
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