Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wow, actual Batman 3 news! The Dark Knight Rises will be 2D, with no Riddler.

Maybe it's because I'm getting older, or maybe because the rumor mill has gone into hyper-drive over the last few years, but I've spent quite a bit of time rolling my eyes at the nonstop onslaught of false rumors and non-news regarding Chris Nolan's third and theoretically final Batman picture. Some random blog posts a random rumor, and every other site runs with it and offers their subjective commentary before said rumor is debunked. So, when actual news turns up, straight from Chris Nolan himself, it is a somewhat noteworthy event. Long-story short. Chris Nolan revealed in an interview with the LA Times that the third Batman film will not be shot in 3D. It will not feature the Riddler. And it will be titled The Dark Knight Rises. Oh, and there's looking for a female lead of some kind, but that's not really news.

First things first, for all the random theorizing over the last 2.5 years, Chris Nolan never actually stated that he had any intentions of using Edward Nygma as the primary antagonist in the third Batman picture. Granted, Nygma was really the highest-profile villain remaining that could support his own picture, but it was never even hinted at by Nolan or anyone else actually involved. So now that we know that the villain will not be the Riddler, and it won't be Mr. Freeze, it's just a question of wild speculation without a real center for the rumors. At least we'll see an end to the various blog posts that start with 'riddle me this...!'

Will Tom Hardy be playing Black Mask, will he even be playing a villain at all? Will the film be a Bruce Wayne-driven narrative with several C-list villains showing up at various intervals? Will the would-be female lead be Catwoman, Talia Al Ghul, Poison Ivy, or (one hopes not) just another random female for Bruce Wayne to hit on? Will Nolan actually choose not to take a villain from the comic books? The last one is quite unlikely, as there are plenty of rogues that could be custom-fit into the 'real-world Gotham City' that Nolan and company have crafted. Pure speculation is of course great fun. It's fine and dandy, as long as the various film blogs don't go around pretending that their guesses are tantamount to news.

The whole 'no 3D' news isn't really a surprise. Chris Nolan has stated before that he's not the world's biggest fan of 3D, while going out of his way not to begrudge others who disagree. Warner Bros' willingness to cancel the 3D-conversion of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part I shows that they don't want to get a reputation for exploiting their crown jewels with 3D gimmickry. Point being, the call on 3D or 2D was always Nolan's to make. The studio eats out of Chris Nolan's hands at the moment, and since his 'one for me' project was a critically-acclaimed action picture that grossed $800 million worldwide, he's kinda got bargaining power.

As for that title... it's kinda terrible. It feels like a last-minute choice plucked out of thin air to meet some arbitrary deadline after spending the weekend before on a bender ('umm... quick, we've got a title due in four hours for the licensing companies!'). It utterly fails at differentiating the three chapters as three unique motion pictures, but rather turns the trilogy into Batman Begins, plus The Dark Knight parts 1 and 2. Sure, we all had our favorite theoretical picks (I was pro-Shadow of the Bat from day one), but I'm pretty sure no one expected such a lazy choice.

And, worst of all, it will lead to nonstop speculation that Two-Face will somehow return from the dead, since Nolan said on more than one occasion that The Dark Knight title referred to the character arcs of both Batman and Harvey Dent. Never mind that if Dent were alive, it would negate the whole 'Batman takes the rap for Harvey's murders and becomes a feared and hunted fugitive' cliffhanger, it seems that unless someone's head explodes onscreen, half the audience will assume that they will be back in the sequel. Even cutting Darth Maul in half wasn't enough to get geeks swearing that he would be back in Attack of the Clones.

So for now, we have a title, a major actor (Tom Hardy) having been cast, and random utterances about a female lead. The film is just under two years away, so there's plenty of wild speculation masquerading as news to sort through between now and July 20th, 2012. Maybe it's because I'm getting older, maybe it's just a shift in my prerogatives, or maybe it's because The Dark Knight was that one Batman movie that I always wanted (a gritty and serious crime drama starring Jim Gordon and The Joker), but I just don't care as much this time around. And, frankly, the choice of such a lazy, tossed-off title seems to imply that Chris Nolan may feel the same way. As always we'll see...

Scott Mendelson


Rick said...

It's nice to have actual news about batman from chris nolan instead of a blog trying to score hits. That being said, nothing really surprising about "no 3d, no Riddler". I couldn't imagine Riddler in Nolan's works (nothing against him, but he juts doesn't fit the tone the movies set up) and I figured Nolan would go with his Hi-Def/Imax mix again (why fix what's not broken?)

As for Hardy, my wish fullfilment guess has him playing Thomas Elliot/Hush, because that would be awesome. (stellar argument, i know) And it would be nice to get some of the Batman ladies in the action, so hopefully they pick someone good instead of a replacement love interest.
Till 2012

Blackfish said...

I agree, 'The Dark Knight Rises' is an awfully lazy name.

However, bringing Harvey Dent back from the dead would be a good decision as far as I'm concerned. Two-Face was fascinating enough to merit his own movie, not crammed into TDK as a sub-villain to the Joker. Gotham could still think Dent was dead so I'm not sure why that'd invalidate the cliffhanger.

BigNoseDog said...

I think it's silly to criticize the title of a movie when you don't yet know exactly what it means. The Dark Knight seemed like a lazy title to me when I first heard it. Batman is known as The Dark Knight. So why have a movie whose name is basically another name for the main character. And then I saw the movie. It's only at the last moment when Gordon gives his monologue about Batman that the full meaning of the movie's title becomes clear.


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