Friday, February 15, 2008

We Can't Wait #9 The Dark Knight

Directed by Chris Nolan (Memento, The Prestige, Batman Begins )
Featuring Christian Bale, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Eric Roberts, Cillian Murphy, Anthony Michael Hall, Nestor Carbonnell, Michael Jai White, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger
Synopsis the further adventures of Batman, begun
Brought to you by Warner Bros & DC
Expected release date July 18th, 2008

Nathaniel: I count Batman Returns as my favorite entry in this multiple personality franchise but I understand... to a degree, why people got so hot and bothered about Batman Begins, the reboot.

In this new entry Christian Bale faces off against two villains: Harvey Dent/Two Face played by Aaron Eckhart, so far mostly missing from the brilliant ad campaign but we hear he is actually the chief foe; Heath Ledger plays The Joker and commands all the powers of the ad campaign (thus far)

Answer me these questions three...
  1. Who is your favorite Batman thus far? (West. Keaton. Kilmer. Clooney. Bale?)
  2. Which Batman character are you still hankering to see in a movie or do you think they've tapped out the rogues gallery since The Joker and Two Face are now on repeat?
  3. If you wore a utility belt to the movies what gadget would you make sure it held?
MaryAnn: Favorite Batman? Tough one: it's a tossup between Keaton and Bale. My moviegoing utility belt would include a gag to shut up those people who talk reflexively during a movie: "Oh, look, he's got a gun!" "Oh, no, I hope he doesn't get hurt!"

Glenn: Batman Returns is most definitely my favourite, but I think Bale was my favourite Batman. Can't really explain why, I just preferred him is all.I can't exactly say I'm in the comic universe so I'm not sure what villains haven't been used. Michelle Pfeiffer could still fill in that Catwoman costume though surely, so bring her back!

I would like to ask a question though, if you don't mind. Is it just me or anybody else getting a bit sick of these big "summer" (they're winter for me) blockbusters going all dark on us? I worry for The Dark Knight because everytime I think about it I get big giant flashing warning bells in my brain. Warning bells that scream "SPIDER-MAN 3! SPIDER-MAN 3!" eep

MaryAnn: I like that the summer blockbusters have gone dark. Batman/Bruce Wayne is a dark character. I don't want to see the return of Adam West.

Gabriel: You're reading my mind, Glenn...sometimes I sit in a movie theatre and say "enough with the weak plot points and the hipster dark overtones!" (Sometime I'll have to tell you about the moment halfway through Cloverfield where I realized I might prefer to have my brain scooped out with an ice cream scoop than watch it all the way to the end.) But the Bat-Franchise is best when its's a tale of broken people trying to do great things, and that isn't a narrative that leans toward Joel Schumacher proved when his candy-colored vision nearly destroyed this series. (Strangely enough, though, I think my favorite caped crusader might have been George Clooney. He's a natural born superhero. It's a shame he got saddled with the absolute worst of the Batman films.)

As a child, I was a Batman fan, but the truth is, I was a Joker fan, so I'm thrilled to see how Chris Nolan interprets comicdom's greatest psychopath. As for my utility belt for the movies: if there was an electromagnetic pulse that would render all text-messaging cell phones dead, I'd be in heaven.

Joe: So we're all ignoring the elephant in the room, then? Okay.

My favorite Batman changes with the time of day; sometimes I think we still haven't seen a truly perfect one. I think today I'm in a Val Kilmer mood, but tomorrow who knows? Not Adam West, though. I don't know if I'm totally sold on Christopher Nolan's version of Batman yet, but I'm willing to hear him pitch it again.

As for BatVillains, I have very little knowledge of the greater landscape of the comic books, but I'd maybe like to see someone take a run at the Riddler. Or perhaps another female villain that viewers can love to hate. Besides Katie Holmes.

As for my utility belt, it seems too easy to request any number of weapons to slice, bludgeon, and pepper spray theater loudmouths to death with, Maybe something that prevents people from showing up five minutes late with a group of seven who all want to sit next to each other? Something in a force-field orb of some sort.

Glenn: The "elephant in the room" will surely be discussed plenty more in the coming months - and I'm sure in the comments section of Nathaniel's blog - so I think for now it's best to play dressups with the batsuit (sans nipples, of course).

Gabriel: Since Joe sees some aversion in our conversation so far of Heath Ledger's untimely and sad passing, let's discuss it. Beyond it being a marketing challenge for The Dark Knight, I don't see it as a major problem artistically. In fact, people will probably elevate the performance to some degree...I'm guessing if critics have problems with the movie, they won't blame them on Ledger.

Go ahead and draw your weapons now: I wasn't as big a fan of Ledger's as some around these parts (Nathaniel and Joe both wrote beautiful elegies last month, extended over the course of multiple posts). And I wasn't emotionally devastated by his death (not the way I was for, say, Ossie Davis). And I didn't bond with Ledger in Brokeback Mountain (I think Gyllenhaal did the heavy lifting in that movie, personally. Insert midnight-in-the-tent joke here.) So when it comes to The Dark Knight, I'm not more or less excited now than I was a few months ago...I still think Ledger was a fine actor, and am intrigued to see what he'll do with this difficult, challenging character.

Joe: Well clearly it's not going to affect the film artistically since the film is completed. I guess I'm more interested in the mechanics of marketing film than most, but I'm also interested in the ways Ledger's death is going to affect the way we (the public) are going to consume the film. It's not the new Batman movie anymore, it's the Heath Ledger movie (even moreso than it was already going to be, given the marketing). I think seeing as it's Batman -- already a dark and moody character/aesthetic -- it won't be quite as jarring as it could be, but I know speaking for me personally it's going to be a challenge to separate the man from the movie when I go see it. And it's completely affected my enthusiasm for the film (this was way higher on my anticipated list a month ago).

MaryAnn: I was flipping around the TV last night and came across the 2005 Casanova, which I love. And I couldn't watch it: it was too sad seeing Heath Ledger. I hope I feel less like that come The Dark Knight, but I know it will be impossible for me to see this movie in quite the same way I would have were Ledger still alive...

Glenn: I think the more interesting piece of the marketing puzzle will arise when the cast take to the talkshow circuit. They'll certainly have Bale and Eckhart out there, and maybe Maggie Gyllenhaal (to erase the stink of Katie Holmes) and you just know what the very first question is going to be about. It's unignorable. I just hope they treat it with dignity. Unlike the Entertainment Tonights of this world which moved straight from dragging Ledger's name through the mud to discussing the exclusing images of Jessica Alba getting a juice!

Taking a cue from MaryAnn I think I'd like a utility belt gadget that could send an electronic pulse throughout cinemas so that people wouldn't be able to play with their god damned phones in the dark cinema. grrr!

Nathaniel: Your turn readers. Favorite man in the cowl? Favorite movie in the series? Your fantasy bat gadget? And which Bat enemy do you think they're really missing out on movie-fying?

<-- Sister Aloysius prays for your wicked soul if you haven't been reading the "we can't wait" countdown #1 Synecdoche, New York / #2 Burn After Reading / #3 Australia / #4 Milk / #5 Blindness / # 6 Doubt / #7 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button / #8 Revolutionary Road / #9 The Dark Knight / #10 Sex & The City: The Movie / #11 The Lovely Bones / #12 Wall-E / #13 Stop-Loss / #14 The Women / #15 Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince / Introduction / Orphans


ryansumera said...

eckhart actually looks bruce wayne-ish. hmm

Anonymous said...

I understand that the Nolan Batman films are going for a more realistic approach, but nothing beats the Burton films, especially Batman Returns which is quintessentially Burton-esque in so many lovely ways!!!

Anonymous said...

Bale is by far the best, then Keaton, then West, then Clooney. Kilmer doesn't count.

I love me some villainesses. Let's get Harley Quinn, Talia, and the returns of Catwoman and Poison Ivy.

Anonymous said...

I actually though Batman Returns, Pfeiffer aside, was totally forgettable. But then, I think Burton is totally hit or miss.

Begins is my favorite, and Bale my favorite Batman.

I could never get into Keaton as Batman. I was always thinking, "Mr. Mom? Really? Beetle Juice?" And don't get me wrong, I loved him in those roles, but the persona didn't transfer.

Anonymous said...

Hello! How 'bout Harley Quinn? She's arguably one of Batman's most famous nemeses, so why haven't they used her yet? Has she even been rumored at this point? Hmm...


P.S. Keaton, 'Batman Returns,' and that poisonous gas the Joker used to silence obnoxious loud-talkers.

Kurtis O said...

I never thought the man behind the cowl was of terrible importance. I was always more interested in the world created around him - story, setting, stakes, love interests, and of course - villains.

Apart from the X-Men, who have enough varied heroes for films to b e made through the millenium, the villains are always the most colorful and interesting things about superhero movies.

For that reason alone (though other reasons come to mind as well), Batman Returns is my favorite. Though I'm nowhere near as big a Pfeiffer fan as Mr. Rogers, her Catwoman is one of my all-time favorite screen villains, and maybe even screen perf's in general.

Since Nolan and co. are ignoring the previous films anyway, I say any Batman villain is fair game. Eckhart is already going the Two-Face route, and any of the other previously incarnated baddies could be reimagined with the awesome grittiness this new franchise seems to be striving for. I'd love to see some hot young actress (Emily Blunt?) put a dark, grounded twist on Poison Ivy (Sorry, Uma, but Batman and Robin is one of THE ABSOLUTE WORST movies I've ever seen. That great character deserves some cinematic justice.)

As for the utility belt, I'd have Starbucks on tap. If morning push-ups didn't do the trick, an extra bold dose of Sumatra would surely get me amped up to hunt criminals.

PS: There was a character in the '60's TV show called Sheba, Queen of Diamonds. I don't know if she's a legit villain from the comics, or if a film could make her anything but ridiculous, but it's a thought.

RJ said...

Jake wasn't even half as good as Ledger in Brokeback. Period.

Anyway, I want Harley Quinn

Anonymous said...

Have the films ever attempted to resurrect King Tut, played in the campy TV series by a large-and-in-charge Victor Buono?

Anonymous said...

i miss kate winslet

Jason Adams said...

Where did Kate Winslet go?

Harley Quinn would be a great way to follow up The Joker into the next film, since she's his gal. And I agree that Poison Ivy needs to be done justice to after that train-wreck in B&R... she and Harley are friends in the comics, so they could be a tag-teaming girl-gang in Part 3!

Kurtis O said...

OMG, the tag team of Ivy and Harley would be soooo great if it was handled well. That was one of my favorite episodes from the animated series.

Anonymous said...

Calender Man! C'mon! Calender Man!
It'd be awesome!

Glenn Dunks said...

Okay, Jason just got me officially pumped for a teamup between this Quinn lady and Poison Ivy. They need a female villain for the next movie, surely. And I never got to the Poison Ivy part of Batman and Robin because I turned it off after about 20 minutes so it's like I haven't been tainted.

Anonymous said...

Batman and Robin is so bad it's good. Camp as its finest. And... Uma... oh Lord. Almost as hot as Kidman in Batman Forever. Seriously, she is so unbeleviably hot in that film, probably because she has a fuller figure

Jason Adams said...

I will admit that I have watched B&R more than once, because it does fly right on off into insane camptasticness that's pretty goshdarn entertaining when you're, say, intoxicated. We used to watch it here and there back in college and scream some of the truly terrible zingers at each other. "RUBBAH LIPS ARE IMMUNE TO YOUR POISON, IVY" being my personal favorite. But like The Joker, Poison Ivy could be a genuinely creepy villain if handled the right way.

And yes, Uma's hot. And I'd totally even forgotten that Nicole Kidman was in a Batman movie! She was in Batman Forever? That's one I haven't seen since the first time, I do believe. Was that Kilmer?

Man, my brain's seen better moments.


confession: i once played uma thurman as poison ivy on Halloween. It was hot. I even did the horned hair.

the movie is terrible but at least it's over the top terrible

and isn't it still so weird that Batman Forever --imho, the most forgettable entry in the franchise -- got the most Oscar Nominations 3 !!! of any of the Batman movies. It's like huh???



p.s. i don't really think Chris Nolan is the villainess type. I wouldn't hold your breath

in fact, of today's most acclaimed and still relatively young filmmakers (the Andersons, the Finchers, etcetera) I'd say he's just about the least interested in his female characters.

Anonymous said...

Harley Quinn was never in the comics she originated on the Animated sries and Nolan is following the comics.


The Jaded Armchair Reviewer said...

I can't decide on who was the best Batman but Val Kilmer was definitely the best Bruce Wayne for me.

Batman Returns is also my favorite.

And bless Uma Thurman for being the only one to realize how awful Batman and Robin was going to be and overacted her little heart out.

Problem with Poison Ivy+Harley Quinn is that their characters aren't "great" enough to be the main storyline of a live movie. After all, didn't they basically team up as a way of protesting their "B"-level villain placement in Batman's rogues gallery? Maybe a female director can handle their storyline's intergration into the franchise better.

Anonymous said...

Aw Kidman as Ivy! please!

Glenn Dunks said...

I actually liked Batman Forever when I saw it upon it's initial release, but I can't imagine what I'd think of it now.

Robert said...

Harley Quinn was a creation of the TV show, but was so popular she was eventually introduced into the comics.

I know that the filmmakers have been in trouble because The Joker was supposed to appear in part 3. It would be interesting if that part were re-written to be Harley Quinn

redheaded1 said...

And now, I shall state for the record, that the absolute nadir of all Burton Batman moments, and there were many many to choose from was: Nicole Kidman in a close-up love scene *HAVING SCARLET LIPSTICK ON HER TEETH* that nobody thought to stop and wipe off or remove in post.

I've been dying to type those words on the internet for years. I now have really, nothing else to live for.


but Kimberly, that's not one of the Burton movies. He only did the first two.

but nevertheless, i'm glad i don't remember that. ;) fumbles like that make me crazy