#MIDWEEKMOVIES: It’s Batman Day/Week/Season. Everyone is celebrating. We are joining that Bat-Party!
I love the character, lore, imagery, music, variety yet cohesion of interpretation, clash of worlds and classes from Gothic to gangster, high vs low life, loner against the world/ oddball against the odds, lost romantic ideal. So many things to embrace and appreciate with BATMAN. Hence that very elongated opener!
The film series kicked off my love for the cinematic artform, as way into the influences and crafts which Tim Burton and yes, Joel Schumacher, deployed in their Bat-movies. I remain a fan, today. Here are the moments, for me, which stand out, FOREVER!
In no particular order..
- OPENING CREDITS / BATMAN ’89
We take the manipulation of studio logos into movie titles somewhat for granted. And I don’t think BATMAN was the first to do this. That said? Here is such magic and mystery and majesty in one set of credits! Genius. We are sent around a series of what look to be stone caverns? The sky? A monument? Amidst the dark blue background and THAT epic march from Danny Elfman, the final reveal is of the Bat symbol. That’s right. They made the shield /logo an event, a thing, a work of art and entertainment. Metaphor for the movie itself. BRILLIANT!
- LEAVING WAYNE ENTERPRISES / BATMAN FOREVER
It was a trailer shot that said it all: this is a bigger, glossier, sci-fi edged vision for Batman, so replacing the Gothic vibe of 1989-92. At the same time though, that sense of pace, mystery, visual experimentation and epic ambition were in place. Doubly so in a trailer which still used Danny Elfman’s score and indicated some link to the Tim Burton movies (he received nominal producer credit, with Joel Schumacher as director). And look at how cool, sleek and magnetic VAL KILMER is in his movements here. Even taking off a jacket is done with flair and style. That’s what you call a ‘movie star’.
- Café..IN FLORENCE../ DARK KNIGHT RISES
If BATMAN can enjoy an happily ever after? Then we ALL can. Am I sentimental about this scene? Sure! It was and still is 2012 (great companion piece to James Bond’s SKYFALL) in a snapshot. Love, personified, in a single scene. But it’s not all sugary sweet. There are debates as to whether the whole thing is in Alfred’s head as opposed to the actual reality (such as it is) of the story. IE: Batman died? And even if it is real and everyone lived? The setup remains bittersweet. Bruce (Christian Bale) has come to the happiness relatively late in life, having risked everything repeatedly and perhaps needlessly, before finally meeting Selina / Catwoman (Anne Hathaway). There is also the implied loss of status and rank in the city he helped save and the pervasive risk in handing the Batman mantle to a possibly more vulnerable successor. And any ending is sad. Even the happy ones! But all in all? A spectacular, rousing, adorable scene. THAT score from Hans Zimmer helps it along.
- TRAINING MONTAGE / BATMAN V SUPERMAN
I don’t care that the film itself is flawed (unfocused; countlessly simple missed opportunities displaced by pseudo erudite hubris; very silly plot holes; dark for dark’s sake; Lex Luthor..). I still think there are frames in the BVS picture that capture the comic book visual idiom on film, better than many other iterations. One such example is THAT training scene, for BATMAN (Ben Affleck). It summarises both the relentless dedication and skill as well as gigantic hubris to the character. On one hand: a truly impressive workout, backed by Junkie XL’s thundering music. On the other? A truly tragic display of delusional obsession. Bruce: if you need Kryptonite bombs to disable Superman, then what difference, really, does banging a tyre and throwing around a few dumbbells make, in the scheme of things? This is a man on a mission. He is all of us in that scene at our best and worst and those very human bits between.
TUNE IN AGAIN NEXT WEEK. SAME BAT-TIME! SAME BAT-CHANNEL. MORE MAGIC BAT-MOMENTS ON FILM! 🙂