I have stated before that Hollywood is like a wood chipper – throw any source material in there, good or bad, and it’s instantly turned to crap. Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, you’re up.
Haven’t seen Batman V Superman yet, but I will. I just wanted to post something about it right away, and maybe I’ll write a second post on that same topic after I have actually seen the movie. For now, here are my preliminary impressions.
They seem to have rubbed out my favorite character: Carrie. Why? It makes no sense. Look at all the Millennial stuff out there: The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Shannara Chronicles – new trend now is to have strong female heroines. You even have Cinderella in Space, a.k.a. Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I’ve got nothing against Girl Power, but why scrap the one strong female character that’s already present in the source material? Carrie is right there, DC, she’s right under your nose!!!
Good God almighty, this is painful.
I loved Carrie since I first read that book. She is awesome, and the only “hopeful” character in an otherwise grim and depressed world. Come to think of it, The Dark Knight Returns is kind of her story. Parts 1 and 2 make up her origin story. In parts 3 and 4, you sometimes get the impression that Bruce keeps going simply because Carrie is looking up to him and he’s the only decent father figure she’s ever had in her life. And that’s beautiful.
They’re deleting all that, and throwing Wonder Woman in the mix just to be able to check that “strong female” box.
When there is no strong female character in the source material, they go ahead and invent one, like Tauriel in The Hobbit. And when there is a strong female character in the source material – well, they ignore it. What a damn shame.
The second thing I love in The Dark Knight Returns is the passage of time, as Alan Moore put it in the Foreword. Ten years have gone by since Batman retired. Bruce is fifty-five. Jim Gordon is seventy. Alfred is eighty-something. Clark haven’t aged a bit, but he’s the only one.
Having seen the trailers, I can say that the “passage of time” is not an element here. We are suddenly back in the heyday of superheroes: Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, in “the perpetual limbo of their mid-to-late twenties”, to quote Alan Moore again. In one of the trailers, Affleck says he is “old”, but he’s not fifty-five, no way. More like forty. And Alfred is certainly not eighty.
The “big blue boy scout” ain’t big enough or blue enough for my taste. And where are Two-Face and the Joker? And what the hell is Zuckerberg doing in there?
It is NOT really The Dark Knight Returns, anyway. I can see that now. They just borrowed the book’s main premise – two heroes squaring off against each other in quite a dramatic way – and threw out the rest. Superman might still intercept a nuclear missile, yes. Batman and Superman might fight for a while, sure. But they’ll become friends soon enough and unite their efforts to rid the world of a greater evil: Facebook.
How come the source material never seems to be good enough for the big screen? Hollywood cut out the huge “alien” monster from The Watchmen. Hollywood replaced Galactus with a big black space-smudge in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. That is like those big studios saying to comic books in general, “You’re no good. You’re not screen-worthy. We will use you as raw material – but you need some fine-tuning.”
Fuck the source material. That seems to be Hollywood’s Prime Directive these days.
No Boy Wonder because it’s kinda gay. No Carrie alongside a hunk like Affleck, because that would be creepy. Let’s stick Wonder Woman in between Batman and Superman – between the bad boy and the clean-cut dude –, just like Bella, you know: will she choose Edward or Jacob? Mainstream. Recipes. They work.
What do Katniss, Tris, Princess Amberle and the other “Millennial” heroines have in common? They’re all ass-kicking teenage girls. But now, you get a VINTAGE ass-kicking teenage girl from way back in ’86 – and you just pass on that?
I’m still gonna do something I didn’t do for any of the Hobbit movies or the new Star Trek movies or Indy 4 or The Force Awakens – I’m going to actually walk into a theater and see Batman V Superman. Then (maybe) I’ll come back here and blog a bit more about all the hoohah, whether I liked or hated the film.