Holy Costume Party Batman!

By on 3 May 2010

There I was, in the pub (as one should be on a bank holiday Sunday) when it was decided that we should head back to a friebatman  sharknd’s house where the beer was cheaper (well, free) and we could smoke indoors. After much debate we decided on ‘Batman‘ to take us through to Monday morning but instead of Burton‘s gothic, grease-paint laden tale I was faced with a feature length episode of the ‘caped crusader’ Batman I watched as a child. Despite my initial reservations within minutes I was laughing out loud at the tongue in cheek homour and the slapstick “kapow” action – I had literally forgotten how good it was. With inventions like ‘Shark Repellent Spray’ , bright lycra underpants over their tights and ridiculous one liners  (“Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb”) the movie was as far from Burtons fantasy of a dark crime fighter with mental health issues as one could get. Could these two films really come from the same basic character?

Burton himself watched the original, camp, TV series and loved it, but when the opportunity came to make a Batman film he didn’t want to remake the 1966 technicolour adventure. It was the psychological side he wanted to focus on, and not just of the hero – Burton says “The film is like the duel of the freaks (The Joker and Batman)…a fight between two disfigured people…Any character who operates on the outside of society and is deemed a freak and an outcast then has the freedom to do what they want”. Perhaps this core idea is what makes these films and the characters so appealling to many Goths, that and its’ overall noir-esque beauty. (ok, and it’s set in Gotham).

Unfortunately the subsequent Batman films starring Val Kilmer, directed by Joel Schumacher, did not have the same visual appeal compared to Burton, even though they did retain some of the split personality issues. Then Clooney came along and killed off the franchise with his dishy gentleman and all too wholesome looking self – him and Schwarzenegger’s awful Mr. Freeze. Batman had become too Hollywood, too mainstream and it lost it’s edge against the many other action movies at the time.  Many fans believed that would be the last of the Dark Knight but lo and behold Christian Bale beefed up to take the wheel in the Batmobile and a more realistic incarnation was created. With his millions Bruce Wayne used Bond style gadgets, supplied by Morgan Freeman in a ‘Q’ type role, to tackle crime and injustice.

Despite being reminded of the comedy, slapstick genius of Adam West and Burt Ward fighting expolding sharks, Michael Keatons‘ portayal will always be the favourite and the most accurate for me as Batman was always a dark and troubled hero. The antithesis of superheroes like Superman and Captain America (clean cut and conventionally handsome) the black clad DC comic character embodied a particular freedom, for me it was that you could be weird (and have an appreciation of bats) and still be strong, stand up for yourself and be a hero (cheesy huh?).

About Miranda Yardley

I'm Miranda. Bite me.

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