September 24th, 2012
Silly pointy man-nipples.
The season preview will be out either tomorrow or more likely Wednesday. I was trying to finish something else up before I got started on it, and it ended up having a rather large number of last minute fires to put out. But thankfully, I at least am all but done with both things… besides a few more fires.
Ah, DKR. Miller’s gritty, dystopic, noir, blocky Batman. While not the most popular or well-received thing at its release, it did pretty much kick off (or at least herald the beginning of) the 90s rise of the brooding, angsty superhero movement. There’s also Carrie, aka Jailbait Robin. The less said there, the better. At least they took away her corny slingshot. Okay, enough of the history lesson.
Unfortunately, the adaptation really fails to capture almost any of the dark humor or grittiness of Miller’s comic… or even the entire noir style of it. Granted, it very obviously isn’t trying to, but without it, the whole dystopia thing doesn’t work so well. Batman’s inner monologues being completely absent are of particular note since they’re such a big part of his characterization in this version, especially in showing how age is slowing him. Instead, everything is very clean and whitewashed. It doesn’t need to be full-fledged brooding, but instead of the closeups of him as he remarks on ribs being broken or making internal snide comebacks when taunted, appropriate directing (shading and coloration in particulr) to get it across, there’s just nothing. Nothing at all. It doesn’t feel like he’s any older or a different Batman from the usual at all. Even the infamous mud-brawl scene is disturbingly clean. Heck, the little short from the old 90s animated series did a better job capturing the stye than this did, and it was airing on Saturday mornings for the kids.
Which isn’t to say that it’s all bad. The animation for the fights against the Mutant Leader were quite well done and appropriately brutal, and some of the music was spot on. Not all of it, mind you, but it frequently sold the darker parts when the artistic style didn’t. Some of the dark humor was still there too, but just a fraction of what existed originally. Peter Weller (Robocop) also makes for a very strange Batman. It’s still an okay watch, but it’s just missing almost everything about The Dark Knight Returns that really made it The Dark Knight Returns. It will be interesting though to see how they handle the Joker and Superman fights to round things out though.