Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Batman Perpetuated

In this movie we see more of the battle between Bruce Wayne and Batman. The film is also an examination of crime, justice, and punishment. As the movie starts, things seem to be going well. Batman has just apprehended crime boss Sal Maroni. Harvey Dent wants to prosecut him to the fullest extent of the law, but Commissioner Gordon wants to try to broker a deal with Maroni. They have suspicions that Maroni is actually in the employ of a much larger crime boss (Oswald Cobblepot) but they don't have sufficient evidence. Dent has taken to carrying the coin that Bruce gave him around with him, constantly playing with it. Dent proceeds to prosecute Maroni, but during one fateful court session, Maroni throws acid in Dent's face, scarring his left side. Some of the acid also makes it onto the coin, marring one of its sides. Dent is rushed to the hospital, but runs out before they can do any sort of reconstructive surgery on him. That night he breaks into prison and confronts Maroni. Maroni informs him that he is working on a deal with Gordon to give him enough information to implicate Cobblepot in exchange for complete immunity, and because of that Dent can't touch him. Dent replies that he'll let fate decide. He pulls out the coin and flips it. It falls damaged side up. Dent kills Maroni and escapes. Two-Face is born, and now Batman is forced to track down Bruce's friend and bring him to justice. Meanwhile in other parts of Gotham, the beautiful Selina Kyle, catburgler extrordinaire, is inspired by the heroics of the caped crusader and decides to take up her own version of masked crime fighting as Catwoman. Of course she does things her own way. She will break into the corporate safes and send the incriminating documents to the police, but she keeps the cash and jewels that are also stored there. She ends up teaming up with Batman, though their's is a strained relationship. He doesn't like her using crime fighting for her personal gain, and she isn't too thrilled with his no killing philosophy. The each end up knowing who the other person is in real life, but that only serves to complicat matters. Selina likes Batman, but thinks Bruce is a loser, while Bruce likes Selina, but cannot condone her actions as Catwoman. This movie is also the one where we get the Riddler. I've always thought that the Riddler seemed like a Joker wannabe, so I figured I would play with that idea for this movie. We get Edward Nigma (who might have been one of Joker's henchmen) who decides that since the Joker is imprisoned, he is the heir apparent to Joker. He leaves clues to his crimes, partly to taunt Batman, partly to prove that he is so brilliant, he can still outsmart Batman even with Batman getting clues. (I'm not sure what happens to him in the end. Maybe he joins forces with Two-Face, but that seems a little too Batman Forever for me. Maybe he tries to join forces with Two-Face, but Two-Face just shoots him. Either way, he is more of a minor villain here.) Meanwhile, Two-Face is busy tracking down all the people who he prosecuted but received a "not guilty" verdict, regardless of their actual innocence. He lets the coin decide if they live or die. Batman (with the help of Catwoman) tracks down Two-Face, and in the final confrontation, he kills Two-Face. I'm sure many Batman fans would be up in arms about this, saying that Batman would never kill anyone, but the way I see it, while Bruce Wayne would definitely never kill anyone, Batman would. Bruce is horrified with what Batman did (after all, he and Dent were friends). Catwoman tries to convince Batman that what he did was right. "Think of all the people he would have killed, had you not stopped him." Batman tells her to leave him and never come back. The end of the movie leaves us with Bruce almost gone; serving only as the shell for Batman. This is definitely intended to be the darkest of the films.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Batman Continued

With the new Batman movie coming out this summer, I thought it might be interesting to provide you, my heroic readers, with the direction I would take the movie series if I were running things instead of Christopher Nolan, though using Batman Begins as a starting point. I'm also trying to figure out how to work several mainstay Batman characters into this more realistic world. Unfortunately, I can't come up with a good way of completing my story arc in just two movies (creating a Batman trilogy), so we're looking at my own trilogy (though if my movies are any good, I don't think too many people would mind getting an extra one). This was going to be just one post, but since I ended up being more verbose than I expected, and actually fleshed out the stories more than I intended, you get three posts over the next couple weeks.

Batman Continued
One of the running themes of Batman Begins (BB) is wearing masks and identity, so that is something I plan to play with here. We get Jack Napier, newly escaped from Arkham, who already has a thing for jokers. In response to Bruce dressing up as a bat, Jack dons the persona of the Joker, putting on makeup to conduct his dastardly deeds. But, in a confrontation with Batman, he ends up falling in the infamous vat of chemicals, which fuses the makeup to his skin, permanently giving him the ghastly parody of a grin, and of course pushing him even further over the edge. Meanwhile, Bruce starts to build a relationship with District Attourney Harvey Dent, and has a working relationship with him as Batman as well. I figure they are introduced to each other by Rachel Dawes, who then becomes on of the Joker's first victims. We are also introduced to Oswald Cobblepot, a short, fat man with pointy features who is the second-richest man in Gotham (after Bruce of course) and has a thing for novelty umbrellas. His Penguin Industries is getting a recent surge in revenue (and is threatening to overtake Wayne Enterprises as the largest company in Gotham) due to his taking over a large part of Falconi's underworld empire. He is here more as a villain for Bruce and Lucius Fox than Batman. There is some sort of shady business deal that Lucius and Bruce thwart, though Lucius is finding it more and more difficult to contact Bruce since he is spending so much time playing Batman. Batman uses his detective skills to track down where the Joker's hideout is, and as he is consulting with Harvey Dent and (not yet commissioner) Gordon about the final plans of assault on Joker's base, Dent tells Batman that since Joker is a mass-murderer, clearly a homicidal maniac, he would have no problem if Batman just killed Joker instead of apprehending him. Of course Batman is successful in infiltrating the Joker's lair, and in the final confrontation with Joker, beats him to a pulp, more brutally than necessary. As Joker is lying on the ground with Batman looming over him, he says something to the effect of, "Go ahead, kill me." Batman stops the beating, says "I don't kill people," and drags Joker off to the authorities. Joker laughs the whole way. He is locked in Arkham while awaiting trial, and as we pull away from Arkham, he is still laughing. Dent is upset at Batman for not killing Joker when he had the chance since the law will not allow him to execute someone who is mentally ill. In an epilogue we learn that Gordon has been named the new commissioner, and Bruce gives Dent a commemorative silver coin as a gift. In BB, Bruce creates Batman to be a tool to do the things that Bruce can't, but in this one, we start to see the Batman persona start to take increasingly more and more of his time and energy, pushing Bruce further to the sidelines.