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BATMAN THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS PART 1 Trailer Comes Out Of Retirement
The first trailer for Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 has premiered online, and it’s obvious that the people putting this together have a lot of love and affection for the source material.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 (I’m just calling this Batman, from here on it, because fucken writing) is the latest offering from DC Comics direct-to-DVD line of animated films adapting some of their more popular comics. The track record has been, frankly, a bit hit and miss, in my loud and slightly odorous opinion. My favourite of the bunch that I’ve seen (and I’m sure I’ve missed a few) has been the animated Wonder Woman movie they put out, which was essentially an original feature that combined a bunch of story elements from different comics, and synthesised them into something more – sort of a Batman Begins for Wonder Woman. And even that flick wasn’t without its problems.
For those not in the know, Batman etc is about Batman getting old and coming out of retirement to fight crime in a dystopian future Gotham. It’s considered one of the pinnacles of superhero comics. And it is pretty damn good.
Heck – just watch the trailer for what you came here for – Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 (I typed that all just for you, sexy reader).
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What did you think? I’ve noticed reactions have been pretty positive. And there’s a lot of reasons why they should be. RoboCop himself, Peter Weller, is playing the aged Batman in this one, and he seems to be a pretty good choice. They’ve definitely tried to pay slavish attention to the comic in adapting it. But, I dunno, it just doesn’t do so much for me, y’know?
I’m not trying to be Pre-emptive Peter, or a Surly Susan (although perhaps I’m a Managed-Expectations Martin), but I find it weird that comics fans are unlike a lot of fans of other forms of art in that it’s like we feel we need to have the works we love legitimised by being adapted. And I just don’t really get that, y’know? Fuck, I get more excited about new Batman films than anyone, I had a boner for four years after The Dark Knight came out (don’t worry – it eventually just fell off – they grow back, right?), but why do I want these stories, so many of them which were already told in their ideal format, to be translated in a way that will almost certainly fall short of the mark? If they’re too slavish, they lack heart or creative flourishes which might tap into something new; if they change too much, people get irritated as to why they didn’t just do something original. It’s a lose-lose proposition, which is why even when these films are just mediocre, people go ape-shit, because really, the likelihood of even that is so low.
And with these word-for-word adaptations, I always find myself cringing at line readings, what’s emphasised and what isn’t. See, when I read stuff, I can normally iron out some of the hokey dialogue in my brain with how the characters in there deliver it (my brain is nice like that). But on a film like this, there’s no luxury like that. The Mutant Leader sounds so horribly generic and boring. There is no menace there. No reason to take his voice seriously. Turns me right off. And Peter Weller was hit and miss here, too.
And I hate the fetishistic attention thrown at putting iconic images from the comic in there, like Batman jumping across rooftops with lightening behind him. When Frank Miller wrote the comic, he didn’t know which images were going to be the most iconic, the ones that would stand out the most. He can’t control how long we pay attention to certain things. And these adaptations don’t seem to get that. It’s not like they’re trying to tell the same story in a different medium, it’s like they’re trying to translate the experience of reading the comic to another medium, if you get the distinction, and that is the exact wrong way to do these things.
Fuck, I’m torn. I want to check this out, but this trailer just confirmed all the stuff that puts me off on these things.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 is released September 25th.