Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dark and Stormy

It never was a comic book film. It was always the Jack Nicholson kind of movie that I thought we'd grown up away from in the 1980s. The thing that makes it deep is our cognitive bias — expecting a comic book but getting a dark and melancholy, violent, perhaps horrific piece of powerful cinema — this makes us impute extra value to it.

It is not your grandfather's Gothamite avenger, with his chirpy sidekick. It is the psychic residue of a hero who got darker and darker in his own little circle of hell as his writers Reichenbached him to a farewell.

The only versions of him I really liked, of all his latter-day incarnations, were Neil Gaiman's caped crusader and Jeph Loeb's madcap running-around-after-all-the-villains version. These were perhaps the furthest anyone should have taken the character as far as dark and stormy were concerned.

I've left out, of course, Frank Miller's on-the-verge-of-retirement classic version. I loved that one. But it's since become conflated with the no-man-is-an-island clock-ticking Hitchcock version. See first paragraph. Gah.

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