“I’m Vengeance.” #DCFanDome

Okay look. I’ve heard so many times how people are sick of the dark and gritty. These are superheroes.

And with Superman, Wonder Woman, etc, I fully agree.

But not with Batman. I can genuinely say that I hate a light, goofy Batman. If your Batman dances in clubs and runs around with cartoon bombs and keeps shark-repellant spray on his utility belt, I’m out.

See here’s the thing… Batman’s origins are dark. He watched his parents get murdered in front of him. Then he took that and decided to dress up as a bat to run around a city beating up criminals.

Now granted, there’s a lot of political talk to be had, here, and from a Socialist perspective, I’m definitely not a fan of Bruce Wayne. All this money, and what does he do with it? Larp as a superhero beating up poor homeless people. He could sink his basically infinite wealth into, I don’t know… giving homeless people homes, a universal basic income, universal health care… but no. He gets himself a “magic tech” Batsuit and beats them up, instead. From a Socialist perspective, Bruce Wayne is terrible.

But from the perspective of a comics fan who started with Batman… I can’t not love him. But yeah… I’m sorry… I want my Batman dark.

I like it when Batman is brutal and unforgiving. I like it when Batman faces enemies that test his mental strength more than his physical strength. I want Batman stories to explore psychology as much as “bad guy vs good buy”.

Hell… I would love to see a movie that explores whether or not Batman himself is actually the problem… on the condition that it doesn’t end by saying he isn’t.

All that preamble is very simply to say that… yeah… I’m fucking hyped. This might be the darkest DC movie ever released. This kinda makes BvS look fucking happy in comparison. And that is exactly. What. I. Want.

Robert Pattinson is going to kill it here, folks.

I know I’m probably a minority here on FTB with this, but this is exactly the kind of Batman I want.

So without further ado…

Unrelated… that BotW review is coming, and I’ll be adding a part 3 to my “series” about whether or not Trump can become a dictator, as well. I just wanted to share my hype…

Also… is it just me, or does it seem like Hush might be the inspiration, here?


  1. says

    I guess this might seem like raining on your parade, but I just don’t like Batman. Or Superman. I think both characters are just awful. Supes is so powerful that any conflicts at all are stupid and unbelievable. Think back to the lauded Christopher Reeves Superman: at the end of the movie, he flies so fast he goes back in time.

    Okay, but even aside from the obvious question, “Why isn’t he always going back in time to tell himself things he needs to know to avoid traps and failures and their associated destruction and death and impacts on others?” there’s this: why doesn’t he just go so fast that people don’t see him coming and solve the problems before they happen?

    This is why they slow The Flash down on the TV show to several hundred miles per hour. There simply isn’t any believable conflict ever vs. someone who runs or flies faster than light.

    Likewise, Batman is just poorly conceived in most of his outings. If he has no superpowers, then he can’t get injured. But they want to be “dark” so they’re constantly having him get injured through his armor. Okay, but then as a normal human if he spits up blood in one scene then he’s still going to be unable to breathe in the next scene. But that’s not Batman. To me, they can’t do gritty right, because they can’t let Batman stay injured, stay hurt. But they can’t prevent Batman from being hurt either, because it’s not “gritty” if the armor stops **all** the damage, right? They’ve trapped themselves, and now they can’t help but create internal contradictions. Seriously, if we just learned that Batman had some secret mutant among his ancestors and he has a rapid healing factor, that would solve a lot of problems. But they won’t let themselves do that, because they’ve made it such an integral part of his character that he’s “normal” despite all the evidence that he’s anything but normal.

    It’s fiction, tell me anything you want and I’ll believe it so long as it doesn’t contradict something else that you’re telling me in the same work of fiction. DC just can’t resist contradicting itself. Batman and Superman are just the two characters who are most obvious about it.

    Marvel’s not immune either -- I love having powerful women characters, but I’m very worried about future Captain Marvel movies. They’ve got her flying faster than light and tearing apart huge, spaceworthy battleships with her hands. What will the conflict be? What reasonable conflict could there possibly be?

    But to my mind, Marvel isn’t as bad at this stuff as DC. When they make Iron Man based on tech, they inevitably raise the question of actually manufacturing that tech, and how there’s no reason that Iron Man has to be unique. But they pick up that question and run with it. Thor is fast and flies and all that, but he doesn’t travel through time, and he’s a member of a whole race of gods, so you can challenge him by putting him up against another god. (Superman does this sometimes with Kryptonians, but it still does’t work for me b/c of the time travel thing, PLUS they don’t do this all the time: they keep setting things on earth with the primary antagonists being humans.)

    No superhero character escapes all this stuff, but I find DC to simply be worse at handling these issues than other comic creators, and Superman and Batman to be the worst of DC’s characters on these issues. If I was going to watch DCU movies, I’d much rather watch ones in which neither Batman nor Superman appear. (And, frankly no “Bat____” or Robin or Nightwing characters, and no Kryptonians either.)

    I am glad you’re getting a Batman movie that you want, and I’m not so pure and holy that I haven’t watched most of those big DCU movies (not all, but most), but none of them really work for me because my problems with the character are so longstanding that I can’t ignore them when I see them on screen yet again. So there’s no way I’ll see this in the theater. Maybe in 2022 on Netflix.

  2. sonofrojblake says

    Totally agree -- that looks great.

    I really respect the way certain former child actors manage their careers -- Robert Pattinson (along with Daniel Radcliffe and Kristen Stewart) could easily have taken the sell-out route, pimping themselves in Disney blockbusters (looking at you Emma Watson), or just retired to spend their winnings (Rupert Grint) or self-destructed with drink or drugs (list too long to be bothered with). Instead, they’ve made interesting choices to make smaller movies since they no longer need the money. (Swiss Army Man is *mental*). On the basis Pattinson has actually chosen to do this, I’m looking forward to it just on that alone. I trust his choice.

    I also trust you not to be obtusely humourless enough to deliberately take this clip as an insult when it’s obviously meant as an affectionate pisstake by a fan, to be appreciated by other fans in a spirit of not taking ourselves too seriously (I mean -- we enjoy the adventures of a billionaire who dresses up as a bat, ffs):

  3. says

    Crip Dyke @ #1:

    Actually, what you said about Superman is why he’s not one of my favorite heroes, TBH. He didn’t start out so overpowered. He was originally just a strong man who could jump really high. DC has overpowered him in the decades since his creation, and as a result have had to find ways to create even more powerful enemies, like Darkseid, and honestly ridiculous weaknesses, like kryptonite.

    By that logic I should also feel the same way about Batman, because I actually agree with you there, as well. Batman, despite being treated by fans as a “regular human”, is so obviously not. Although, luckily, they have actually explored it. In the comics there’s a whole arc called Knightfall. It might be my favorite Batman story of all-time, to be honest. Dark Knight Rises explored it, but didn’t do it that well, IMO.

    In the arc, Bane straight up cripples Batman by breaking his back (not just knocking some discs out of alignment, which is what the TDKR film claims), leaving him wheelchair-bound. He goes on a journey looking to heal while a guy named Jean-Paul Valley subs in. Jean-Paul Valley does not have a moral center like Bruce Wayne does, though (although he certainly tries to, at first), and basically turns Batman evil. Bruce, to be fair, gets his back heeled by magic (of course), and is able to return to fight Valley and get the cowl back. (Note: that the whole story is far more complicated than that… like there’s a good in-universe explanation for why Valley ends up going evil while he wears the cowl, dealing with brainwashing in his past and such. It’s just more than I want to get into here.)

    I recommend the Knightfall/Knightquest/KnightsEnd story if you can get your hands on it. Even better if you can get your hands on a comprehensive, chronological collection that includes all the other titles impacted by the arc, because it’s explored at least a little bit even in DC titles almost completely unrelated to Batman.

    If they ever revealed that Batman is who Superman was originally created as… a strong-man metahuman… I would honestly respect that a lot, because it’d make a lot of sense. I’m sure a lot of Batman fans would be upset, but I’d be like “think about it… dude can get stabbed and just keep going like it didn’t happen. This is exactly right.”

    I think liking Batman is mainly a nostalgia thing for me, because I grew up with Batman. My mom’s dad was obsessed with Batman, so we shared a lot of that. It’s good memories. But he would not like Batman the way I like Batman. He loved the 60’s dancing hippy Batman, and I hate him.

    sonofrojblake @ #2:

    I actually disagree with you about Emma Watson. If it hadn’t been her, it would have been someone else. And honestly, even though I hate Disney and felt that movie (which I did see because my mom loves the original and wanted to see it) was a cash-grab on a classic animated film I also don’t like, Emma did a good job with the role. (My mom actually agrees with me… she came away from it wondering what the point of it even was besides a cash-grab. Felt the same way about the Lion King, although I haven’t seen that.)

    I would put Emma alongside Daniel, Kristen, and Robert as managing their careers well, and I actually respect Rupert for stepping away and just coasting on the success of the Harry Potter films and franchise. As for the child stars not doing well…

    I would argue that the fault for that can be laid at the feet of society. Celebrity culture in the US (and I’m assuming across the entire world, honestly) is absolutely disgusting. Personality cults, parasocial relationships… children cannot handle that. I fully understand being a fan of someone’s work (obviously), but the way we treat celebrities here, from the Paparazzi (which I believe should be declared “not press” and heavily regulated if not outright banned… fuck TMZ… they have directly contributed to the unfair and unnecessary destruction of so many people) to fans calling these people whom they’ve never met “my friend!”, is so disturbing.

    Just look at Britney Spears. I’ve been learning a lot about her situation and holy shit the poor woman… she is quite literally being held prisoner by her own dad, and has been since she was a kid. She was groomed by her dad and an incredibly abusive “manager” since she was a young child to be a celebrity. Everything she’s done (the hair, the accent, etc) has been a straight up cry for help. People have heard that cry for help, BTW, but her dad and other handlers will not let anyone help her. She is literally being abused (at least emotionally and mentally), even now, by greedy, selfish people who care more about the money she makes than her as a human being.

    I actually might write a post on her, to be honest. It’s heartbreaking.

    Another one is Jake Lloyd. Playing Anakin Skywalker in “The Phantom Menace” literally ruined his life. He was bullied to the point of being suicidal for playing that role, and all his acting out (including his rap sheet, drug addiction, etc) can be laid directly at the feet of his role in that film and the way people reacted to it.

    I genuinely have a lot of sympathy for child stars in this society. The ones who end up managing great careers are, to me, nearly superhuman, because I genuinely believe that we as a society want them to crash and burn… we revel in the ones who do. And that’s not fair… that’s not fair at all. If there was a way we could end our obsession with celebrities, loving their work, but not attaching anything other than that to them, I think we’d have a lot more like Daniel Radcliffe and a lot less like Lindsay Lohan (another one who I think was ruined by society because of our need to idolize then destroy celebrities).

    As for the clip, I’m not remotely offended. I unironically agree with it. Like I said… from a Socialist perspective, Batman is straight up the worst. I could take it even further and say that Batman is what every cop in the US wants to be, just with the added killing. There are many legitimate social and even economic reasons to shit on Bruce Wayne and Batman, honestly.

    I love him despite all of that.

  4. says

    I’ll be the advocate for campy batmans in the commentariat. Bring on the Batnipples! But in earnestness, given Pattinson’s looks, I’d have rather seen a take that went for a more elegant aesthetic -- like Castlevania art or something. A more romantic take. No dice here, not likely ever.

  5. sonofrojblake says

    @Crip Dyke, 1:

    Superman’s being overpowered is, as Nathan points out, a later addition -- “leap tall buildings in a single bound” was him, originally.

    Also, not wishing to rain on any parades, but it’s always worth reminding oneself when considering comic books (as well as Doctor Who, and Star Wars) that they’re not supposed to be literature, they’re (at least originally conceived as) wish-fulfillment power fantasy aimed at the kind of adolescent boys who get bullied by jocks. That they can crowbar any kind of moral complexity into that is a miracle in itself.

    Regard Batman’s ability to take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’ -- I don’t necessarily regard that as a problem. I’ve had occasion in my life to encounter some superhumans -- British Special Forces and recreational fell runners mainly. People (mainly, but far from exclusively men) who run up a three thousand foot mountain in torrential rain and gale force winds for fun, before breakfast. People, moreover, who can do so scant days after sustaining the kind of injury that in any other sport would end a career. They’re rare, but they’re out there. I’ve always rationalised Batman’s imperviousness to injury as simply the product of that kind of fitness, physique and mindset combined with just a bit of suspension of disbelief.

    (I met Billy Bland on a fell once. He is NOT a normal human. https://trailrunnermag.com/snowball/kilian-smashes-bob-graham-record)

  6. says


    I think liking Batman is mainly a nostalgia thing for me, because I grew up with Batman. My mom’s dad was obsessed with Batman, so we shared a lot of that. It’s good memories.

    That makes sense. (And, of course, the same is true for me of other characters significant to my childhood. I’m not saying I’m “better” or “more rational” about what I like. Just Batman & Supes don’t work for me and though I can also say why, I can further admit that if I was raised with Batman & Superman comics that I probably wouldn’t feel that way.)

    It should go without saying, but in case it doesn’t: I don’t mind other people liking Batman, the concept as played out on film just generally doesn’t work for me.


    Superman’s being overpowered is, as Nathan points out, a later addition — “leap tall buildings in a single bound” was him, originally.

    I did know that much. I suppose I might be interested in seeing the serialized versions from the 1940s, for curiosity’s sake. But as you say his overpowered nature is so much a part of the character now that they’ve had to invent foils like Darkseid just to keep plots somewhat relevant.

  7. brucegee1962 says

    Someone mentioned Darkknight Rises, so I had to put in my 2 cents about my favorite ridiculousness of that movie.
    Back in the days of the old tv serial (which was great, I don’t care what anyone says), Batman and Robin would get tied up and put in a deathtrap. The villain would then set up some kind of bomb or other plan which would be set to go off in five minutes. It would take B&R exactly 5 minutes to escape from the deathtrap, and they would then show up just in time to defeat the bomb.
    In Darkknight Rises, the bad guys set up a bomb that will go off in six months. They then put Batman in a deathtrap. It takes him just six months to escape from the trap and makes it back to Gotham — not a day before the bomb, not a day after — on the very day he needs to in order to stop the bomb.
    It kind of shows up the entire trope, is what I’m saying.
    Not to mention the entire GCPD getting locked up in the sewer system for that entire time without either dying or figuring out a way to escape…

  8. brucegee1962 says

    I kind of think that the Rupert Grint exit from showbiz wasn’t exactly his Plan A. I believe he shopped himself around for a while, but nobody was terribly interested. Neither his looks nor his talent…
    Oh wait, I’m doing the thing everyone was just talking about in the comments, wasn’t I? I’ll stop.

  9. says

    Oh Rises is, 100%, the worst of Nolan’s trilogy. I love the Dark Knight, but even that movie has its problems. Honestly, in terms of the least glaringly obvious problems and tropes, Batman Begins is really the best, with Dark Knight being elevated above that thanks to Heath Ledger’s Joker. But they all have their problems. The fight choreography, for one, is pretty bad across the three films. Both Dark Knight and Rises had real trouble with keeping time, as well. Begins, thankfully, wasn’t so bad at that.

    As for Rupert… I hadn’t heard that he looked for more work. I heard that he didn’t want to be an actor in the first place, and after collecting enough money to retire super early, he just backed out after Harry Potter ended. Perhaps I’m wrong, though…

  10. says

    I’d heard he was having typical “child actor” problems, including drinking and drug use, and that it was bad enough that there were at least discussions (don’t know how serious they were) about switching him out for another actor in the last couple movies.

    So that supports the idea that he might have trouble getting work if he were looking… but I haven’t heard that he was looking either.

    Whatever his experience, I hope he either has gotten himself together or soon does. Addictions can really fuck a person up and I don’t wish that on anyone.

  11. sonofrojblake says

    I do hope you come back now this movie is finally out, to give us your thoughts.

    In the meantime, if you’re not already aware of Laszlo Buring, I think his work is right up your street. As an example, here is “Comfortably Numb”, that well known Dire Straits song…

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