Saturday, June 21, 2008

I haven't seen The Dark Knight, yet. I hope it doesn't go like this...

Comic book movies are predictable. Take, for example, Batman Begins. I know, everyone loved it, but I found it to be very predictable. It seemed to use every action movie cliche in a dragged out way that reminded me of someone's grandparent trying to use slang words at the mall. Each step of the way felt like a boring rendition of this action movie formula:

  1. Include tedious back story for hero
  2. Hero's parents die, he grows up an empty shell of a man who likes to fight.
  3. Let the hero be trained to fight by someone who invokes the hero's own daddy issues during a training montage (even though the hero can already fight, anyway)
  4. Allow hero to make mistakes during his early crime fighting, but use another montage to show him getting better and improving his costume. Even though he beats people up every day and has been trained as a ninja, he needs to start over when fighting deadbeat criminals. (Hint: It's OK if your film is a montage of these montages)
  5. Use lessons learned in previously mentioned training montage to fight an enemy at the end of the film who falls to his death, ensuring that anti-death penalty viewers will understand that the villain's death was not the hero's fault.
There's the formula, and Batman Begins exploited it to death. Now, here are some things that comic book movie sequels always do, and I hope this new film avoids them.

1 - Have the hero expose their secret identity - We saw this in Spiderman 2 and Superman 2. The secret has to get out. Apparently.

2 - The villain invades the hero's secret lair - Found in X-Men 2 and Superman 2, I hope the Joker doesn't wander around in the Batcave in a move that Christopher Knolan will try to make original.

3 - Superhero loses his powers - I know, Batman doesn't have superpowers, but there is bound to be an equivalent plot device, like Bruce Wayne hanging up his batsuit because it's just not working out. Like it the Fantastic Four:Rise of the Silver Surfer, Superman 2, and Spiderman 2.

4 - Multiple Villains - Like in Spiderman 3, Superman 2, X-Men 2, Fantastic Four:Rise of the Silver Surfer, Batman Returns, Hellboy 2...for some reason, we don't want to see our hero fight just one guy, anymore, it's got to be more than one villain. I really don't know why.

That's it. I really hate Batman Begins because it's as exciting and predictable as watching a Van Damme flick. I hope the sequel does better.


  1. Adam, it cracks me up every time I get a scathing review from you of a movie which I happen to like! Matrix, Tombstone, and now Batman Begins. What's next - Maverick!? Say it ain't so!

  2. I will never trash Maverick. In fact, I rarely say negative things about Richard Donner's work.

    "Hi, I'm Burt Maverick...I'm mean, Bret Maverick..."

  3. I share your sentiment that Batman Begins was not as awesome as everyone likes to say. But then again, I don't think the original Batman (not the sequels) was as terrible as everyone likes to say, either.
    I am optimistic about this sequel, though.
    - Jared

  4. about your action formula:

    on point 1:
    Generally, an action hero or superhero needs to have background explained in order for the audience to relate to him/her. It's kind of a necessary evil

    on point 2:
    The is part of the original Batman story dating back to 1939. (his origins were penned in #33, Nov. 1939 (according to wikipedia))

  5. That doesn't make it less boring when it looks like every other film to me.

  6. Just pointing out that they were actually staying true to an original character trait there that dates back to a time before there were any other comic book movies.

  7. I know that, but no matter how we define it, the movie still puts me to sleep.

  8. I have no comeback for that. hehe