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10 December 2008 @ 04:49 am
The Knight is Darkest...  
So, I have The Dark Knight in my hot little hands. So, after I slept the entire day away (these ten hours shifts will be the death of me *whimpers*), I simply had to sit down with my hot chocolate and pop it in. It was just as good as in the theater. While I still have fond childhood memories of the original, goofy Adam West Batman, I enjoy and appreciate a darker, more adult version as well. Mind you, I think DC comics have allowed things to get too dark in current story lines, and Frank Miller should never have been allowed within a thirty-five mile radius of our Dynamic Duo, but those are rants for another time. Over all, I enjoyed Nolan's ride. I liked the story line; Bale's wry Bruce is endearing in his dual roll, especially how he uses other people's expectations and prejudices to hide his identity. I loved this version of Harvey Dent-- not normally a villain I express much interest. Michael Caine is the perfect Alfred, and the wry dynamic he has with Bruce hides the deep affection they have for each other. If you'd asked me if Gary Oldman was a good choice for Gordon, I'd have said no-- but boy, is it nice to be wrong. ^_^ And, of course, Ledger's Joker makes my skin crawl. That's a compliment.

Rachel Dawes annoys the hell out of me, but that's hardly surprising. She lands in the already well-populated category of 'female character adored for no apparent reason', joining Lana Lang and Mary Jane Watson. It's a personal thing.

I do, however, have a legitimate narrative bone to pick, both as a fan of the comics and as a feminist. And that bone is Barbara Gordon. More specifically, how mercilessly she was cut from the story line. Here was the perfect opportunity for the writers to set up a strong foundation for her adult passion for justice. Here was where we could begin to understand why the daughter of the commissioner could turn to being a vigilante, and continue to hide it from her father. Batman's crusade against the Joker's "human experiments" and Gordon's comments about hunting Batman because 'he can take it, he is Gotham's guardian' are the early experiences that could easily sketch the relentless, courageous Batgirl (and later Oracle) we see in the comics.
What did we get instead?
Some boy-child, the holy patriarchal son, conjured up from nowhere to be Jim's 'most beloved-family member'. Why, Nolan, why? I can understand the bad writing behind Rachel; some of it is plot-driven (in order for Bruce to fully dedicate himself to Gotham, she must always be out of reach), some of it is just the fact that a lot of male writers seem to have trouble writing fully-fleshed female characters.

(Not to get sidetracked here, but I do apologize for the generalization. There are men out there who write amazing female characters. Joss Whedon, is an awesome example. Stephen King is another. Theodore Sturgeon wrote amazing, subtly strong females in a time where "handing the action to the girl" was no accepted. But sometimes, I think guys-- particularly in the sci-fi/fantasy genre, just don't get it. Do I have to bring up 'Samantha Carter' from Stargate? I didn't think so.)

Anyway. I can handle Rachel-- she's very useful dead, I will say that. But I just don't understand why there was any need to create a whole new random character to be threatened, when it would have been so much more in keeping with DC canon for Gordon to have a close relationship with little Barbara. It would have been great, to see a young Babs staring after Batman as he flees from the very people he's worked so hard to help. What an easter-egg for comic fans!

God, it just makes me crazy. Maybe you'll think I'm paranoid, placing the gender-swap at the feet of the patriarchy, but it seems justified. That's always been the assumption: that sons are more valued by their fathers than daughters. (Hell, it was certainly true with mine. ^^;;;) But I'd just loved to have seen a close bond between Barbara and her dad. I love her comic character so much.
Just... disappointing.

Maybe I'm picky. *rolls shoulders* But I had to get that off my chest.
-Meredith
 
 
Emotional Temperature: annoyedannoyed
The Band Plays:: "Perfect Situation"-- by Weezer
 
 
 
Amberminttown1 on December 10th, 2008 03:01 pm (UTC)
I'd say it's a legitimate complaint. My only addition is that, rather than the obvious idea of sexism, it could have simply been Nolan's snobbery about many aspects of the Batman story. He's already said he'd never use Robin in a movie, presumably because Robin's too campy or somesuch. I wouldn't be surprised if he wants to distance himself from Batgirl, too.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: dcgirlsgarnettrees on December 21st, 2008 09:34 am (UTC)
My only addition is that, rather than the obvious idea of sexism, it could have simply been Nolan's snobbery about many aspects of the Batman story.
See, I hadn't heard about that quote-- now there are some obvious omissions that make more sense. Still, I think Nolan is really cutting off his nose despite his face. I adore Robin-- especially Richard Grayson. In his desire to make a dark-and-real Batman, Nolan is missing out on a really wonderful character.
Men. *rolls eyes*
-Meredith
Insufferable Know-It-All: [sw] no damselladyaeryn on December 10th, 2008 04:34 pm (UTC)
The portrayal of female characters is probably my most significant complaint about the Nolan Batman flicks, which I otherwise love.

Rachel doesn't actively annoy me like other 'damsels;' I can understand Bruce's fixation on her, with their childhood emotional connection, and I actually thought the Bruce/Rachel/Harvey triangle was pretty well handled. But she's still little more than a plot device to motivate the male characters. Which is at least more than I can say for the likes of a certain Weasley damsel. She doesn't serve any other purpose, or have her own journey like Bruce or Harvey. Hell, even the lady cop who betrayed Rachel, who got maybe five minutes of screentime, had more of a personal agenda than she did.

My knowledge of the comics is somewhat sketchy, but I knew about Gordon's daughter having a significant role - so I was somewhat surprised on the focus on Gordon's son too as opposed to her. Maybe Nolan on some level is aware of his weakness on female characters? Thank goodness he never touched SW; I'd hate to see him take on Leia or especially Padme. (Though some of his comments have already proved he doesn't 'get' SW anyway - giving Vader a 'weakening' sympathetic backstory is totally not the same thing as if the Joker had been given one. If you're going to make SW/Gotham comparisons, then the Joker would be more Palpatine, who George didn't give a backstory to, and Anakin would be more Harvey/Two-Face.)
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: frozengarnettrees on December 21st, 2008 09:42 am (UTC)
The portrayal of female characters is probably my most significant complaint about the Nolan Batman flicks, which I otherwise love.
You said it, and so eloquently, too. I loved Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, but I was jarred more than one from their storylines because they take place in a distressingly all-male world. There are no 'real', flesh-and-bone female characters. Maybe that sort of skew is believable for guys, but it stretches my suspension of disbelief. *shrugs*

Which is at least more than I can say for the likes of a certain Weasley damsel.
Aeryn, what on earth are you doing in my brain? I can't tell you how violently I agree with this.

If you're going to make SW/Gotham comparisons, then the Joker would be more Palpatine, who George didn't give a backstory to, and Anakin would be more Harvey/Two-Face.
Wow, Nolan really doesn't 'get' it. A backstory for Vader is no more a weakness than his eventual redemption-- in fact, it is the rosetta stone that makes his fall and return to grace comprehensible. The Joker is unable to be saved in the same way Palpatine is-- that's why the Joker's shifting backstory is so striking. He's lying about the only thing that could make him human.
-Meredith
moonspinner: avatar: katara: water bending master!moonspinner on December 10th, 2008 08:09 pm (UTC)
Well if you're too picky so am I because I had the exact same reaction. I'm actually suprised that so few comic book fans picked up on that when they watched the movie.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: zoegarnettrees on December 21st, 2008 09:43 am (UTC)
Ah, reading your entry made me feel so much better. I was overjoyed to find a link to the article about the 'Mo Measure' test, as well!
-Meredith