7 Reasons why Christopher Nolan’s Batman Movies Suck

The upcoming “The Dark Knight Rises” has many movie lovers in hysterics. They can’t seem to stop oohing and aahing over the trailer and singing the praises of the most recent Batman franchise. Amidst all this ruckus, I have to bring some sanity back here.

I’m a rabid Batman fan. Have been for most of my life. I’ve done my duty and run through an obscene number of DC comics and have read all the famous (and not so famous) story arcs in the Bat universe. So you can say that I “get” Batman. I know what he’s all about. Sure, it’s unrealistic in so many ways but it’s an awesome fantasy. A normal human being able to achieve the things he does. It just gives you a high.

But Batman movies? Not so much. I always found that they pretty much suck big time. I respect the character of Batman too much to see him mutilated. Which is why I hate the recent Batman series by Christopher Nolan. What surprises me is that everyone raves about them as if they’re the awesomest movies ever made. Sure, they’re probably better in comparison to the Joel Schumacher version, but that doesn’t make them good. In fact, I find them awful.  And here’s why:

Batman’s Appearance – The “Helmet”

hate Batman’s appearance in Christopher Nolan’s universe. There are so many things wrong with him that I don’t know where to start. He’s not menacing enough. He just looks like a funny guy in a suit. The suit itself is a horrible wreck, looking like a clumsy piece of armor rather than something flexible that can be moved easily in. And before the fans start shouting “It has to be realistic!”, let me assure you that Batman as a concept isn’t very realistic at all. But more on the “realism” aspect later.

He’s not scary. At all. Just look at his “mask”:

Batman's Horrible Mask

Batman’s Horrible Mask

That’s a helmet! He doesn’t look in the least bit scary. His mouth and lips are “squeezed” into a gap, making it bunched up. No wonder Bale talks with his lips parted so often! Next up – the eyes. Why, oh WHY can’t Batman movies make the eyes white like they are the comics? Dammit, this guy actually has makeup on his face around his eyes. MAKEUP! It makes me want to cry when I see what Nolan has done to my favorite comic book hero.

For reference, here is how Batman’s cowl should look like:

How Batman should REALLY look

How Batman should REALLY look

 

See the difference? Now that is scary. THAT is a sight I wouldn’t want to see at night swooping down at me. The guy in the first picture? Some loony clown on drugs wearing a costume. Pchaah!

Crappy Armor – Horrible Cape

I don’t even know where to start. I mean look at that suit. It’s a bunch of disjointed pieces fitted together haphazardly. It’s not uniform or elegant. It just looks shoddy. There we go again with that whole “realistic” mantra that Nolan loves to try and inject into this character. Please Nolan huh? Go make movies of Superman or something and leave this guy alone – please.

Batman’s cape has always been part of his effect. And yet it does nothing for him in the movie. It doesn’t even merge in color with the main suit! It’s a deeper shade of black that ruins the “solid” effect of night that is Batman. It breaks the illusion that this is one gigantic bat – almost supernatural. Instead, it tells us that this is just a costume worn by a guy for unknown reasons – since it’s clearly not scary. Here’s a nice shot of the real Batman style:

The genuine Batman style

The genuine Batman style

Let up with the voice huh?

We all know that Bruce Wayne disguises his voice as Batman to make it scary as well as to keep his identity secret. Works great in the Batman animated series, so why can’t Nolan give us a real crackling voice huh? In various media, Batman’s voice has been compared to “stepping on broken bottles”. In some comics, Batman literally uses his voice as a weapon to scare criminals into submission whenever he can.

And once again, Nolan turns Batman’s voice into a joke. You can barely understand squat of what he’s saying. It’s obvious that his voice is fake and put on. And coming from that squished out mouth of his, it just makes you want to puke. Someone needs to tell Nolan’s Batman to shut the fuck up.

The Batmobile

Ok – I get it. You were trying to compensate for the “blue lighted” batmobile in the Joel Schumacher movies. But come on! That’s not a batmobile – that’s a tank! Where’s the “bat” in it? It’s not stylish, it’s not elegant. It doesn’t make a statement. And remember that Batman is all about style. That’s why we really like him so much. More about that in the “realism” section.

Gotham

Gotham city is an integral part of Batman. It provides the setting, the atmosphere and sets the mood of the comics. It’s even called Gotham city for a reason. Because it’s gothic. Nolan’s Gotham is a ghastly departure from what Gotham should be. Where are the soaring cathedrals? Where are the gargoyles? Where is all the goth? He’s just gone and turned Batman’s city into Chicago! What the hell was he thinking?

Here’s is Nolan’s Gotham – aka Chicago:

Nolan's "Gotham" city

Nolan’s “Gotham” city

And this is the “real” Gotham:

THIS is Gotham City

The REAL Gotham City

Poor Fighting Style and Posture

Everyone knows that Batman is one of the greatest martial artists of the DC universe. He’s the master of hundreds of fighting styles. He’s agile, knows his reach with mathematical precision and conserves the minimum amount of energy and movement while fighting.

And yet, Nolan’s Batman fights like a thug. There’s the scene in a pub which I cringed while watching. He’s like a boxer, even taking up a stance to fit. He looks ridiculous:

Batman Fights Like a Thug

Batman Fights Like a Thug

Notice by the way, how his cape is of a darker color than the suit. It doesn’t mesh. It breaks the continuity and looks just like just another piece of cloth. Not a part of him. It just looks funny. Here’s how it should look:

Authentic Batman Style

Authentic Batman Style

Notice how the cape drapes, how it “merges” into the cowl. Also see how Batman covers up his eyes. It makes him look scary instead of just a guy in a suit. Remember how cool Ironman’s mask looks when his eyes light up? Why the hell can’t we have the same thing for the bat?

Fake “Realism” in Nolan’s Movies

I’ve saved the worst for last. Nolan and many of his fans excuse all the above mistakes by saying that this is a “realistic” take on Batman and Gotham. I call bullshit on that claim. Because even as depicted, Batman is horribly unrealistic. You want realistic, get rid of the cape. It hinders you, can get caught on stuff, and you can trip over it. The marginal utility of being able to slow your descent and hide some stuff in it is heavily outweighed by the disadvantages. Even Nightwing has remarked that a cape cramps one’s style too much.

But yet we keep it. We have to keep it. Why? Because it’s about image. Because it makes Batman what he is. It’s about style. It’s about maintaining the atmosphere. Even Nolan can’t get rid of the cape without destroying Batman. Moral of the story – this is a comic book. Style and atmosphere trump realism. And I’m just scraping the surface here. Superman is in Batman’s universe as well! Talk about aliens and unrealistic in the same breath?

Spare me the junk realism please. Give me something that for once stays true to the comics. Two great movies I’ve seen that replicate the mood and the style of their respective comics perfectly are “Watchmen” and “Sin City”.

Can we please have a Batman version of “Sin City” for those of us who appreciate what Batman is really about? We’ll gladly leave the Christopher Nolan’s fans at the altar alone.

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Comments

  1. Daniel Nguyen says:

    I think Jason Bourne would make an awesome Batman. Nolan’s Batman fighting scene is a joke. My 90 years old grandpa has better moves.

    Reply

  2. Aside from the movies utterly failing to show how awesome Batman was in other mediums like comic books or the 90s animated series, I think Mr.Nolan played it too safe with the choice of actors. I would agree Commissioner Gordon was spot on. Gary Oldman looks the part and fits the part. Even with the lame script writing. Remember him in Batman Year One? When he takes on the crooked cop and says something like ‘it’s been years since I took out a Green Beret. Still he needs a handicap..’. That was cool. Katie Holmes spewing out lines like ‘Your father should be ashamed of you’, with that normal as it could get Katie Holmes face (no emotion watsoever) and smacking Bruce Wayne for thinking about shooting Joe Chill at the courthouse trial was so bland and dry. It was like nobody’s character had any soul into this project trilogy. Everyone wanted to play it safe. And the butler in the movie was just as bland and like a robot too. ‘Do you know whose house this belongs to bla bla bla.’ Remember the old butler in the animated series? There was Bruce Wayne’s true butler/friend with the indirect sarcasm that supported Wayne so well while he wasn’t Batman. Just throwing millions of dollars with actors and actresses who did great in other movies (not Katie Holmes!) doesn’t make a good movie.

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  3. Um, you do realize that every live-action Batman starting with Keaton has had the black makeup around the eyes right? Except Clooneys which were a dark metallic blue to go with the blue of his suit. So…on that one particular note…fail.

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    • In reply to Tom

      Hey, I never said that the Keaton movies were anything particularly great. Stylistically better than Nolan’s films for sure, but still not up to snuff.

      Reply

  4. That and he cut Robin out of the picture entirely.He had combined all the robins into one person an never had him as a sidekick.He got demoted to being a random police officer. Yes,Dick Grayson was a police officer during the day when he became Nightwing but he still worked with Bats.Plus Grayson stayed mostly in Bludhaven during that time.Then there’s Nolan’s catwoman,she sucked.That costume was a rip off of a 60’s catwoman.As in from the series Adam West was in.All they did was raise the neck line and remove the belt and necklace. She was also poorly written. Two face also was not done any justice in Nolan verse.Ledger Joker got the cruelty right but the rest of the personality wrong.Burton did better with Joker,to a degree,and catwoman.Nolan’s Batman is horrid.

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  5. Malcolm B says:

    You forgot one more important aspect. The logo! The new batman logo is just plain wrong and hideous. The batwings should go right down to the bottom not stop way up in mid air like that. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

    You are right, Gotham looks nothing like Gotham.

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  6. i want real batman says:

    finally, i found a website that reveals true face of nolan batman.
    bane sucks – he is hispanic asylum inmate, not retard from deep hole in morocco with retarded mask
    joker – crazy enough, but rest of personality completely wrong
    catwoman – um….who is catwoman exactly? that thing that was played by anne hathaway? hell no. not even close
    tumbler – batman drives the batMOBILE, not the ugly ass battank
    bale’s voice – no comment
    batman logo – personally, i ve always prefered yellow logo. black logo from animated series is also very good. bale’s logo- whata hell is that?
    gotham – nolans gotham sucks. what is exactly gothic in it? burton stomps here
    ras al ghul – 600y old assassin, not 60y old grandpa with inherited name
    scarecrow – could have been much better presented than that wiseass with silly bag on his head
    two face – i didnt actually notice his split personality, nolan didnt nail this one. and…..realistic? i dont think so
    batman worlds greatest detective? – nolans batman certainly not. What did he investigate? how many time he spent studying his opponents? where are his cool gadgets?
    batsuit – if you remove cowl, you cant even tell if its batsuit or swat suit
    i could go on, but i’m tired of writing…..

    Reply

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