“Hey man, you seen The Dark Knight Rises yet?”
“Nah,” I replied, “I haven’t seen it. Been hearing good things about it, though.”
“You gotta see it. We should go this weekend.”
“Actually, I haven’t even seen The Dark Knight yet…”
“You haven’t seen The Dark Knight?” Incredulity.
“Nah,” I’d say. “Haven’t seen it.
The whole conversation sounded like a broken record.
In the circles I run in, the cross-over between geek and pop culture runs strong. Between the guys I work with, my one brother who lives with a comic book-obsessed illustrator, and my other brother who works in the film industry, the cultural and social impact of a film like The Dark Knight Rises is akin to a tempest. It is on the tongues and in the conversations of nearly everyone I associate with on a daily basis. It’s impossible to ignore, let alone hide from.
So, then, with a long weekend alone with my wife out of the house, I chose to join the crowd, to give into the rising, whirling winds. One a day, I watched the Batman Trilogy, immersing myself in Nolan’s envisioning of one of literature’s most tragic heroes.
[He's] little more than a rich man with a lot of toys.
I’ve long been a fan of Batman, first inspired by reading through my mom’s old comics from the late sixties and early seventies. Hell, I was even in love with the old Adam West Batman, wall-climbing, homoeroticism, paunch and all. Growing up, however, I rarely considered him to be my favourite superhero, usually citing Spiderman (who I could, you know, relate to, because I thought of myself as a bit of a nerd), or, oddly, Aquaman, and, if we really want to stretch it outside of Golden Age American superheroes, Astro Boy. I liked Batman, but was never impressed with the idea that he was little more than a rich man with a lot of toys.
An adult now, I see how I misinterpreted Batman’s strength and the true source of his ‘super’ powers. Like Astro Boy, Batman’s origins lie in tragedy, in trying to recover what was lost by refusing to let it drift away into memory. In vengeance. In anger. Sure, he has gadgets, and his near limitless pool of money gives him the ability to become a superhero, but its his inner emotional turmoil and utter belief in justice that gives him the power to accomplish amazing things. Continue reading