Saturday, July 29, 2017

Have You Seen DUNKIRK? BTW, the Batman Movies Sucked

Dunkirk. a magnum opus, was an incredible use of Christopher Nolan’s bag of tricks. If you like those tricks, you’ll love Dunkirk. Fun with time relativity, action set pieces that pose as works of art, heavy themes that tug at the edges of the narrative, and a refusal to show a handsome man’s face. Dunkirk shines a light on something most Americans are woefully ignorant about, so it’ll probably be history teachers’ new lazy-day film pick. Verisimilitude in motion, it makes everything seem so real it reminds me of idiots telling me how realistic his Batman movies were.

It’s the director’s finest film with hardly any missteps. It reminds me how much I dislike his Batman movies.

His turn at Batman was obviously a genius held captive by a cadre of fools demanding he finish a trilogy for trilogy’s sake.

“Can I please shoot a film on 35mm about a space crew stuck in black hole time warps?”
“Not until you give us another Batman movie!”
“Can I please make sweeping epic about the evacuation of Dunkirk shot on 70mm?”
“We’re going to need another Batman movie!”
“Bloody hell!”

So what did we get? A military Batman who blows things up with military weaponry and unilaterally extradites foreign nationals. Anyone who says they’re set in a more realistic world is delusional. It’s a militaristic world, and after 2001, that’s what film execs thought we wanted and would accept as “real.” One can see his obvious talent, but we already knew he was special with his previous films.

To me, Batman is either the smartest man alive and the world’s greatest detective, or campy and cool. Campy and cool is hard to pull off, but it’s worked before. The greatest detective, smart-guy stuff is harder, but there're tons of comic material ripe for adaptation. Anyway, he was never a super soldier, and only a shitty studio exec would ask him to be.

Anyway, fuck those Batman movies despite their fleeting moments of brilliance. Yes, there are plenty of moments evidencing Nolan's genius; that doesn't make the movies great. Even an iconoclastic, career-defining performance by Heath Ledger does not a great film make.

I love Dunkirk, by the way. I think it's one of the best things I've seen in a theme I'm actually so bored with I almost didn't go. Do we need another movie about the second world war? Maybe not. But Christopher Nolan's voice is certainly worth listening to, and I think it'll go down as one of the better examples of the genre. 

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