Graphic Novel Movie
Gotham City. The fictional world of matte paintings and intense shades of grey. It looks just like the old Batman serials of the 1940s, feels just like an LA Thriller, and reads just like an old comic strip. There are shadows everywhere to intensify the hand combat between criminal and vigilante, and mist always appears whenever said vigilante is lurking in the darkness.
The first we see of Gotham is a couple of crooks who talk about the “bat” who breaks out criminal heists. They then are stopped by a masked crusader dressed in black who assaults each of them in one of many well put together action sequences. He says just one thing to them, “I want you to tell all your friends about me: I’m Batman.”
Just who is Batman? Well, from what I could tell, he is a spooky figure who is mysterious right from the first entrance, complete with a calm voice that strikes fear into whoever underestimates him. Even his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, is tricky to figure out. Michael Keaton had the honor of portraying this vigilante, and played it off with such an obscure awkwardness, which makes it subliminally clear that he is always hiding something. If you want to learn more about this man Bruce, you’ll have to take a look at his manor: filled with security cameras for every corner, with stairs leading from one oversized room to another. He hosts fundraisers that involve lots of gambling, and his ideal thing to do after taking a girl home is to hang upside down from an exercise tool in his bedroom. These visual cues alone could work to paste together who he really is.
Yet for every seemingly invincible vigilante, there’s a contrasting foe who always wants his name out there. The Joker, once Jack Napier, adds a new definition to crime with the level of fun he has with each act of social offense he commits towards Gotham. Whether if he’s burning someone alive with a joy buzzer or unleashing poisonous gas within a full museum of guests, each of his acts are quite fun to watch, which just makes them all the more surreal and discomforting. Jack Nicholson could not have been a better choice for the role, as he completes the part with his homicidal laugh and delivery of his twistedly humorous one-liners. The more you love this artist of crime, the more you fear him. It all pays off when he leads off the pulse-pounding climax with nonstop amusement.
Then for every crusader against every terrorist, there is a romantic interest who gets caught between the two of them. The naturally stunning Kim Basinger plays journalist Vicki Vale. While she receives the typical damsel in distress treatment, she still serves as an appropriate anchor between Batman and Joker that helps grounds viewers back into reality, giving a more easily relatable perspective on the otherwise unexplainable events.
However, one thing still confuses me about this story within Gotham: who’s the story about? Certainly not Batman, as we’re not in his shoes as often as the title says. It’s not Vicki, as she’s never goes through much of a traditional character arc. It’s definitely not the Joker, for obvious reasons. Maybe all three of them were intended to share the lead role together, but their respective events are too oddly arranged and unmotivated for clear progression.
But it doesn’t matter a great deal to me, as this is who Batman was always intended to be: a mysterious figure of the night who knows a whole new side of crime that even the police don’t know. He has gone through some major alterations over the years, some for better, some for worse, but this right here, with his own gothic, twisted sense of fun, is Batman.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Goldberg, Matt. Michael Keaton Says He Wanted His Third BATMAN Movie to Be a Nolan-Esque Origin Story. Digital image. Collider. Complex Media Inc, 7 Jan 2013. Web. < http://collider.com/batman-3-michael-keaton-origin-story-christopher-nolan/>.