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May 18, 2005

Kick-Ass: Batman Begins Training Montage

I swiped the below Venn Diagram pic from Demure Thoughts, but I think that's okay, because I can link to something even better: her link of training-sequence footage from Batman Begins.

They finally got it right.

I got so psyched for the Michael Keaton Batman back in 1989 (was that the year?)... but it sucked.

I'm getting psyched for this one. And I don't think I'll be much disappointed.

Everyone praises Tim Burton, but he shot a lame script and used over-the-top theatricality and cartoonishness to create what some mistakenly call a "dark" version of Batman. It wasn't dark, any more than a Vegas show is "dark." It was a self-indulgent exercise in production design run wild (and run towards the silly and campy-- precisely what he claimed he was trying to avoid).

It distanced the audience from the film. I've said it before and I'll say it again: For a superhero film to work -- really work -- the director/producer/screenwriters have to take the myth of the superhero seriously. Not spoof or camp it up. If the filmmakers don't believe the ridiculous premise, how can the audience suspend their disbelief?

Movies that took the genre seriously-- the first two Superman movies, both X-Men movies, both Spider-Man movies. And they worked, more or less.

Tim Burton and, egads, Joel Schumacher did not take the Batman story seriously, and they turned it into a big gay-camp costume revue. I didn't believe for a second I was watching a movie about real people in a real situation (okay, an implausible one, but whatever). I was aware at all times I was watching a movie, and a movie that continuously called attention to the fact that it was, in fact, a movie.

Now, of course, some movies take the superhero premise seriously and still are pretty damn bad -- Daredevil, The Punisher, The Hulk. Taking it seriously -- and I don't mean grimly seriously or without humor; I just mean taking the basics of the story seriously and not seeking to undermine the suspension of disbelief by archly spoofing the very story you're telling -- is a necessary element of a good superhero movie.

But not a sufficient one. Another necessary but not sufficient rule would be "No f'n' Ben Affleck."

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posted by Ace at 05:12 PM

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