Monday, April 1, 2013

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Should Bale return as the Batman in the upcoming JLA feature film (if in fact it manages to survive the many perils that have somehow sent many other DC projects to development hell)?

It’s a tough question. I’m of two minds about this one.

On the one hand, I really like Bale as Batman. He’s a good actor and he brings a lot of depth to the role. And frankly, I think the gravelly voice is a nice touch. It really kind of distinguishes Batman from Bruce Wayne and it actually seemed plausible to me that people WOULDN’T connect the two because they sound so different.

Along those same lines, keeping Bale as Batman would keep that in-universe feel that we just love, right?

Personally, I sort of adore the idea that every comic book character has ONE Hollywood counterpart at any given time. Ultimately, this can’t stay constant. Tobey Maguire can’t (and isn't now) be Spider-man forever and Ryan Reynolds is playing the field as Deadpool AND Hal Jordan. But the Avengers really started something. Sure, we’ve gone through three different Bruce Banners in ten years but the point is Sam Jackson IS Nick Fury, Robert Downey Jr. IS Iron Man, Scarlett Johanson IS the Black Widow. It all worked and it felt so cool. There’s no reason DC can’t give their characters the same treatment.

Now, I suppose the only argument against Bale being Batman is sort of synonymous with an argument for why he could be Batman. Well, to get right to it what I’m really trying to say is this: I think if Bale returns as Batman it will tie the JLA films closely to Christopher Nolan.

That doesn’t necessarily mean I think Nolan is going to end up directing the JLA film. It just means that Bale’s presence conjures that kind of stark, gritty and realistic feel that Nolan is known for.

Now, that’s not necessarily what I imagine for a JLA movie. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t be a good JLA movie if it was done in that style. I mean, Nolan is already taking a crack at aliens and such in Man of Steel (despite only producing). And actually, I think his kind of spiritual, down-to-earth seriousness is going to make it a pretty stellar movie.

It isn’t that Superman is an alien that makes the character interesting; it’s that he’s an alien who happened to be raised on a farm in a small town in Kansas. That's what makes Superman Superman and the very human aspect of the character is what I think Nolan is tapping into. And why the film is going to be freaking awesome. But that’s besides the point.

What's the point here? Even if Nolan doesn’t direct the movie (and indications are that he isn't), you’d be likely to see a very stark, realistic action film. Part of me thinks that this might not be a good move, because when you think JLA you think superpowers galore. You think over the top spectacle with faster than light speed and shape shifting martians and all that jazz. So it might not be a good idea. On the other hand,a very serious, simple and powerful action movie filled with spiritual and moralistic themes done in Nolan’s style might just distinguish the JLA from the Avengers and give DC a little something to put on the screen that Marvel hasn’t yet.

I mean, okay, all of this is predicated on the basis that Bale’s presence conjures Nolan’s presence, which you are welcome to disagree with. But if you DO agree with me, the question becomes: should the tone Nolan set become the baseline feel for DC films? Or is DC better off spreading out so to speak and trying to give each of their movies a little something different to distinguish it? Thoughts?

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