I don’t even know where to start here, gang. This isn’t just a true confession of, say, having hung onto my copy of Thundercats #1 long past when it was worth something. Yeah, I had the huge Alan Davis Excalibur poster on my wall from the day it came out until I moved out of my parents’ house in 1997. I own the ugliest action figure of James Hudson as Guardian ever produced:
Yes, his man-cleavage is both molded in and painted on, and I still think it’s great.
I own a god damned Alpha Flight action figure, and that’s not even the full depth of my personal fan depravity.
No, this is True Geek Heresy. Steel yourselves, because I’m about to go to the place most all of you will find utterly indefensible.
I don’t like the rebooted Batman film franchise. Specifically, I hated Batman Begins so violently that I’ve never even bothered with The Dark Knight, and I’ll be glad when the entire thing is over and Christopher Nolan’s retired to roll around in a Joker-shaped swimming pool filled with sweet, sweet cocaine.
I know. This is not even remotely acceptable in greater Batman fandom. This is on the level of not liking the early Miller years, of wholeheartedly enjoying Batman Forever. It’s just not done. And yet…
I really, really hate Batman Begins. I saw it in the theater on the strong—nay, effusive—recommendation of normally-apathetic Department associate Chris “Slarti” Pinard. Chad and I went in expecting… well, Chad was apparently expecting something like Iron Man, only three years too soon. I just wanted something that was a solid Batman movie.
Something that wasn’t that stupid, to be sure. Something that didn’t substitute “assaultively loud moments with Cillian Murphy in a fright mask” for plot development.
Something where Katie Holmes had more to do with that meager acting talent of hers.
Something where Christian Bale didn’t ruin everything with his Cheese-from-Foster’s-Home delivery. “Duhhhh, I’m the goddamn Batman. I have scurvy. I have dandruff. Here’s my Batmobile. I’m gonna be John Connor.”
(Speaking of Mr. Connor, “Christian Bale Really Does Ruin Everything” is a corollary to this confession that will have to wait for another day. Suffice to say that he’s the realization of all that horror fans have whenever Nic Cage announces that he’d like to be Superman– except, unlike Cage, Bale really does get those roles. And ruins them. Utterly.)
I came out of that movie theater feeling like I’d just been bashed over the head with a truckload of Batman continuity, then had the remains of my face scrubbed over it while Christopher Nolan held my legs so I couldn’t escape. I’ve had worse theatrical experiences– Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and Matrix Revolutions come to mind– but none that actively set me on a path of direct opposition to all extant $TOPIC fandom like that. I knew that, somehow, whatever reboot spell Nolan had woven over most of my friends, I was immune.
My reaction to Batman Begins was so bad that I checked with my friends to make sure we’d seen the same cut of the film– it’s not impossible for a projectionist to screw up, a print to get built wrong, for something to happen that would mess up the experience. Alas, that wasn’t the case; my hatred was honestly forged against the final cut. There were exceptions, of course; Gary Oldman is great as Jim Gordon, and Morgan Freeman is at least entertaining as Lucius Fox. Overall, though, I wanted something… less frenetically noisy, less Christian Bale-tacular… in my Batman movie.
Also, no one strangled a camel or got hit with a car battery, and, really, isn’t that all any of us want from Batman?
Many thanks to Alert Nerd for this crossover event!