Some interesting criticism of Batman

My last post was more dark that I like to write, although I feel it is necessary to write of the darker side of addiction, and occasionally my own nature (in the admission of my critical thoughts about a deceased friend, thoughts that are not politically correct to express). There’s a dark side to addiction, and I have a dark side too. I prefer to pretend it’s not there, but sometimes facing it is necessary. However, today is a good day to write about something light-hearted: my fascination with super heroes. It started in my childhood when I looked at the pictures in comics, then progressed as I read comics from about the age of seven in 1978 until I stopped reading comics in 1985, and now I watch super hero movies, reliving some of the best moments of my comic-reading childhood as I watch the heroes on-screen. Here I must express yet another politically incorrect opinion: my dislike of Batman. (Why it is politically correct to like Batman is perhaps something for another day.)

I read an article that contained some interesting criticism of Batman here. It’s worth reading, although I don’t agree with all of it.

For one thing, him being so dark is the only thing I do like about Batman. When it comes down to it, Batman is just a rich guy in a costume with fancy gadgets. The stories where he defeats enemies with super powers are contrived to the point of being silly. (Within the context of comic book stories. I can only suspend my disbelief when super-powered beings fight one another, but when a normal man can defeat them, it gets stupid.)

I hated The Dark Knight Rises. It was three hours of predictable drivel, which I sat through in boredom after predicting everything that would happen in the first half hour. And I predicted that shit even though I was high at the time. I don’t know why everyone else seemed to love that movie. Bane, in his goofy mask, was a clown of a villain, one whose backstory didn’t make sense after the twist in the plot was revealed… a twist that I guessed the minute I saw the new character… a pivotal character to whom Bruce Wayne turned for all kinds of contrived reasons. A pivotal character introduced in the third part of a trilogy, which made her true purpose obvious.

Some other criticism I had for that movie:

  • The way Bruce Wayne’s money is swindled from him makes no sense.
  • He has no one else to turn to but the new female character, the same one who didn’t exist until the third movie, and whose story does not add up. (Nobody else in the whole city, but the person who happens to be the true enemy in disguise?)
  • Bruce didn’t need two love interests. OK, one was the enemy in disguise, revealed in the otherwise unnecessary love scene where they linger too long on her tattoo, but there was no reason for her to want to sleep with him in the first place. Her plan had already succeeded and his money was gone. That scene was inappropriate and the character’s motivation to sleep with him was not explained. Just one of many things you’re supposed to forget about at the end of the movie.
  • At some point, I felt like I was watching Rocky II, where Bruce Wayne is the overconfident fighter who didn’t bother to train. All that was missing was the fucking music when he climbed out of that prison.
  • His back was healed by fucking magic.
  • Apparently he teleported back to Gotham City.
  • Bane reads a letter telling the truth about Harvey Dent… This is a known terrorist wearing a ridiculous clown-like mask. And everybody believes him?
  • Bane’s superior fighting skills are non-existent at the end of the movie. (Of course it was revealed that he was never even accepted into the League Of Shadows, during the plot twist, so his line “I am the League of Shadows” made no sense in retrospect.)
  • Batman evidently used his teleportation skill again at the end of the movie.

I truly hated that movie. (And it had so much potential! Christian Bale is one of my favourite actors, but that movie was poorly done. A similar story, one that followed on from his old enemy of the first movie, but of much higher quality and without so many mistakes in the plot, could have been produced. Instead we got this slapdash tedium that felt like an adhoc addition to the story.) Maybe guessing the plot twist right at the start made it even more tedious, but I don’t think so. It was a fucking boring movie. I think back to the Bruce Willis movie, The Sixth Sense, that I watched years ago… I guessed that plot twist right at the start as well, and it was still a good movie. I truly can’t understand why The Dark Knight Rises still has a high rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was a terrible movie. (That I watched once, three years ago, while high on crystal meth. If I watched it again now, clean and sober, I’d probably find even more wrong with it. But I’m not going to watch it again.)

I’m a Superman fan, because as a child I started out liking super heroes that actually have super powers, but I have mixed feelings about the upcoming Batman versus Superman movie. If Superman really wanted to defeat Batman, he could do so from a considerable distance with his heat vision, for example. But we all know that the real purpose of the movie is to introduce the Justice League, so why all the stupid Batman versus Superman hype?

To be fair, Man of Steel was also not a great movie. I enjoyed it though. I liked what they did with Krypton, and I liked the new Superman costume. I thought Henry Cavill played the part well, and was glad that at last someone has taken up the mantle from Christopher Reeve. I liked the non-stop action, and I could suspend my disbelief since it was about super beings fighting one another. However, others have pointed out the many faults of that movie, the worst of which was the cardboard-cutout villain of general Zod. His motivations became less believable as the movie progressed. I liked that there was no Kryptonite though, but of course there will be in the upcoming movie. I’m still looking forward to it, but hope that it will not be the disappointment I know it might be.

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Weekend grab-bag of unrelated bits

This heat-wave in Johannesburg is quite terrible. I hate warm weather under normal conditions, so this is ridiculous. Since I can’t seem to fall asleep, even though I don’t have enough for a full post, here are some unrelated bits and pieces…

Our mannerisms and noticeable character traits – do we learn them or inherit them?

I just spent the week with my son staying here… It was sad to drop him off at his foster mother earlier, especially after he twice mentioned that he wished it was still last Saturday. But this arrangement won’t be for much longer.

But one thing about him that I noticed before, and now have seen many times in the last week, is that he has some peculiar mannerisms, that I don’t believe he has learned, but rather has them in common with his biological mother.

They could be perceived as negative, but may not be completely so, so it’s more the case that they’re just mannerisms he has… parts of his personality that define who he is and how he behaves under certain conditions and in specific situations, so I don’t see them as good or bad. He is incredibly stubborn – so after spoiling him for a few days and giving him Coca-Cola, when I refused to give in to his demands for more, he spent hours refusing a glass of water even though he was thirsty. I didn’t give in of course, and eventually he did drink water.

He moans, nags, and overdramatizes things to extremes. Like if he has a little bit of pain, he will hop around the house shouting and exaggerating, just like his mother. Well, not just like her… She does the same thing, but in an adult way… although I learned to see through her attention-seeking behaviour years ago. He behaves just like her, except that he expresses himself as a seven-year old, of course. But otherwise, there are so many reminders of her, it’s quite amazing. I’ve always been of the opinion that nurture is stronger than nature. Now I’m not so sure.

Scarlett Johansson makes an interesting Pinocchio

We watched a couple of movies and I purchased a couple of DVDs this weekend, mostly for my son, but I also picked up Under The Skin. (The link points to the trailer.) Quite a surreal and interesting movie, and not many actors could pull off the role the way she did, although I can’t make up my mind if I enjoyed it or not. It was quite strange, and is more or less an adult version of Pinocchio, played by Johansson who wants to be “a real girl”, minus the happy ending.

(Just to clarify: The quoted reference to her character wanting to be “a real girl” is my own reference to the animated Pinocchio wanting to be “a real boy”.  So it’s my own little attempted allusion. I wouldn’t want to give anyone the wrong impression.)

Cure your ailments with magic socks

I love reading about science based medicine, and I love the Science based Medicine Blog and it’s debunking of nonscience nonsense. To think that somewhere in the civilized world, “experts” in a naturopathic university advocate the healing of all your ailments with magic socks (also known as cold wet socks taken out of the fucking freezer). The mind boggles! Read the thorough debunking by an actual medical doctor here. (My brief version: Naturopaths come up with some solid sounding sophisticated pseudoscientific nonsense… some hand-waving and the child having to maintain homoeostasis while wearing freezing socks all night kick starts the immune system. But according to the author, naturopaths’ feet fixation does not end with magic socks.)

By the way, if you believe in magic socks, I have just the thing for you. Send me your banking details (please attach permission for me to debit your account) and physical address, and I’ll send you the secret to infinite riches, along with some magic beans.