Ron Rosenbaum

I Won't Go See Batman Because I Can't Stand " Super-hero Movies

Sorry, I don’t care how “dark’ and “deeply sophisticated” pop culture critics” call it, how deeply darkly and darkly and deeply serious they want us to believe it is, so they can reserve both their aura of intellectual sophistication and their pop cult street cred, . I don’t care how “iconic” comic book heroes have become. At a certain point even super aware cultural critics like myself who revel in rock and tv have to draw a line, however lonely it is on this side of it. I’ve always thought one sure way of spotting a pseud when it comes to cultural critics is the over-praise he or she devotes to comic book super hero movies.

Have you ever in your life seen alleged cultural critics mimic each other or try to out do each other in terrifiedly telling us how horrifically dark the new Batman: The Dark Knight will be. (it opens today). Why it even has “dark” in the title Knight(Knight=night, get it) for the clueless, but the air off over-over excitement, over statement, over-gush that has preceded this film is vritually sickening in its athletic self mimicry.

Oooh. it’s a comic book franchise but it’s like, really, really dark. Scary kids! But (don’t tell the kids) it’s really made for subtler sophisticated adults like us our nations staunch and hardy pop culture critics who can look into the heart of darkness and see…Batman.

Oh right, it’s got Heath Ledger and he plays a scary clown. Whoever would have thought of it before, a scary clown. Clowns are suosed to be funny! So ironic!! He’s already been handed not just a posthumous Oscar but pretty much a Nobel prize for Scary Clowns.

Jeez. go read a book or something (remember them). or see a brilliant smart, truly dark movie (Double Indemnity, Chinatown again. It’s sad to see desparate critics so undernourished by crap international CGI fare and super advanced cartoons that they clutch for dear life onto something that is marketed to them by clever studio as “dark”. You could watch the advance hype build and the suckers all climb on the choo choo to “darkness”. Sad that one has to depend on something like this to be the intellectual high point of your (writing) summer. At least the audiences have, you know, lives. It’s not their profession to take this seriously. (That’s dark.)

But it goes beyond just this film, which by the way, I’m sure is very, very dark. It probably makes Dostoevesky look like Archie&Veronica. But why not give the big D. himself a try first, (or at least Conrad) then you might get a sense of proportion. Wouldn’t be blown away by a comic book movie.

Still I must admit that it’s not just Batman or super hero movies: I hate all super heroes in general, in particular the cult of super hero comics as Something More than they are, fun for kids. Don’t get me wrong I read Superman comix as a kid, but the only thing I took away from it that was anyway original or thought provoking was the concept of “Bizarro world”–the badly drawn, cracked mirror image of the comic book “real world”. In Bizarro world super powers are all a joke.

Let’s face it we all livein “bizarro world”. That’s the way the real world is! That’s the thing that those who worship the “darkness” of really, really, really, “dark” Batman movies won’t admit. That the movie I’d like to see.

If I want truly scary this summer I’ll go see the Abba movie. Meanwhile the only super hero movies I’ll watch are the ones (re)done by “Mystery Science Theater 3000”. Anybody seen their Santa Claus Versus the Martains? Unbelieveably hilarious. Far more brilliant than any Batman movie you’ll see even if they take dark to the nth power. I won’t spoil the ending for you.