|“I’m just here so I don’t get fined.”|
To do this successfully, Nolan had to strip the mythology of its pulpish veneers and examine its thematic underpinnings. The Batman persona as a damaged man’s addiction, and the Batman symbol as archetypically representative of the resilience of the human spirit (“Why do we fall?”) as well as a philosophy of making the world a better place –populated one at a time by better people - by way of example. It’s a definitive martial arts principle, found anywhere from in the writings of Funakoshi, founder of Karate-Do, to Tsunetomo’s Hagakure and even Sun Tzu’s Art Of War. An appropriate detail for the subtext of a Batman story.
Two movies later, several non-fiction books and research papers by respected intellectuals, psychologists, philosophers, Batman has prevailed again in the marketplace and collective unconscious as, yes, a dark figure, but an inspiring one defined by a few simple traits: He hates guns, he is opposed to murder (the concept of vengeance exposed for its fallacies), and his resilience is uncanny.
Instead we got a continuation of the darkness arc. But not even the Batman darkness arc the title suggests would overshadow ol' Kal. The arc in question is the muddling of the ethos mentioned earlier. In Man Of Steel, Superman gets a pass for not essentially being Superman yet. After all, it was an origin film. However, In BvS, he IS Superman. He is Clark Kent working at the Daily Planet. He is the buff investigative reporter no one can recognize anymore once his glasses are on. He is, in a word, the guy we’ve a palette for Hope from.
Snyder swooped in like a flag-bearing champion. He described Superman as the “Rosetta Stone of all superheroes”, convinced us of his keen grasping of superheroes as modern mythology and set out to build a world where Gods lived among us. This brings us back to Shyamalan, who also is quite vocal and loquacious – skilled at selling you on his enthusiasm. What the two filmmakers have in common beyond their deep interest in the function of mythology in human behavior is an ego bloated enough that it gets in their own way.
Khalil Barnett is a martial arts practioner living in Florida, and is also a filmmaker, writer, producer and actor starring in the independent action drama series, The Way, and co-creator of upcoming indie action short, Santos. Visit the official Facebook page for more info.