|Batman (1989) - Joker (Jack Nicholson) defacing Museum|
Director David Cronenburg said he would never do a superhero movie, because he thinks Batman is "running around in a stupid cape."
When asked if he would ever direct a comic book film Cronenberg said, "I don't think they are making them an elevated art form. I just don't think it's elevated. Christopher Nolan's best movie is Memento, and that is an interesting movie. I don't think his Batman movies are half as interesting though they're 20 million times the expense. The movie, to me, they're mostly boring."
Can superhero films ever rise to the ranks of art films?
What is an art film? Wikipedia describes it as a "serious, independent film aimed at a niche market rather than a mass market audience." Is that what we would really want?
He's right on one point. Memento is a brilliant study into the nature of man and the fluidity of memory. But, you can't really compare it to a blockbuster like The Dark Knight Rises. The goals are different.
He's wrong on another point. He said that the problem with comic book films is they're for kids. "A superhero movie...it's comic book. It's for kids. It's adolescent in its core. That has always been its appeal, and I think people who are saying, 'you know, Dark Knight Rises is, you know, supreme cinema art,' I don't think they know what the f**k they're talking about."
Kids have been the intended audience for comic books since the beginning, but does that mean they have to stay that way? Some surreal comic books could make artistic films. Would they be worth watching? I don't know.
Ang Lee tried to make the first art house comic book film. The director of Sense and Sensibility tried to take the genre in a new direction with the 2003 film Hulk. "I don't think the Hulk is a superhero," Lee said. "He's the first Marvel character who is a tragic monster." As an art film it was successful. As a comic-book film it flopped.
So really, Cronenberg's probably right. We'll never have an art house superhero film and frankly I couldn't be happier.
Batman is a 1989 American superhero film directed by Tim Burton. Based on the DC Comics character of the same name, the film stars Michael Keaton in the title role, as well as Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle, Billy Dee Williams, and Jack Palance. The film, in which Batman deals with the rise of a costumed criminal known as "The Joker" (Nicholson), was the first installment of Warner Bros.' initial Batman film series. - Wikipedia
Hulk (also known as The Hulk) is a 2003 American superhero film based on the fictional Marvel Comics character of the same name. Ang Lee directed the film, which stars Eric Bana as Dr. Bruce Banner, as well as Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott, Josh Lucas, and Nick Nolte. The film explores the origins of the Hulk, which is partially attributed to Banner's father's experiments on himself, and on his son. - Wikipedia
The Dark Knight Rises is a 2012 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, who co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Jonathan Nolan and the story with David S. Goyer. Featuring the DC Comics character Batman, the film is the third and final installment in Nolan's Batman film trilogy, and it is the sequel to The Dark Knight (2008). Christian Bale reprises the lead role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, with a returning cast of Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Gary Oldman as James Gordon, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, and Cillian Murphy as Dr. Jonathan Crane. The film introduces two main characters to Nolan's series: Selina Kyle (played by Anne Hathaway), a cat burglar whose appearance in Gotham City sets in motion a chain of events that leads Batman to come out of retirement; and Bane (played by Tom Hardy), a mercenary whose objective is to destroy Gotham with a nuclear fusion bomb. - Wikipedia
What do you think? Can comic book movies be high art? What comic book film would you like to see become a art house film?
[Image Source: screenmusings.org]
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