I grew up loving comics. Still do, but since I've grown I call them Graphic Novels. Makes me less embarrassed.
Anyways, growing up I loved all sorts of comics. And especially the "What if..." comics. What if Captain America ran for President? What if Aunt May had died instead of Uncle Ben? What if indeed. It's fun to think about these things. What series of events would have followed. Would Peter Parker still be Spiderman? And although I don't read those comics anymore, I still like to play the What if... game.
I was watching Sin City last night and every time I see that movie, I appreciate it a bit more. I think maybe when I first saw it, I may have hyped it a bit too much. So I was originally disappointed by it, but impressed by what it had done visually. Seeing it more makes me appreciate the stories being told and the writing. Especially the story "The Big Fat Kill" with Mickey Rourke playing Marv.
Marv: I'll stare the bastard in the face as he screams to God, and I'll laugh harder when he whimpers like a baby. And when his eyes go dead, the hell I send him to will seem like heaven after what I've done to him.
I also enjoyed "That Yellow Bastard" with Bruce Willis.
Hartigan: An old man dies. A young girl lives. A fair trade. I love you, Nancy.
So gritty. So surreal the images and the dialogue. It's not the way people really talk, but you wish it were.
So this time when I watched it, I paid less attention to the visuals and more to the writing and I couldn't help but think of The Dark Knight series also written by Frank Miller. Miller borrows a lot from himself. Marv and Hartigan are two sides of Bruce Wayne, the failing old man and the rage that still keeps his heart ticking. And so I played What if...
What if Rodriguez and Frank Miller had done the Dark Knight series. How fucking cool what that have been? The same look and dialogue, ripped literally from the pages. Man that would have been something. I didn't go as far with What if... to decide who would have played Bruce Wayne, or the Joker.
So if Rodriguez and Miller would have made The Dark Knight it begs the question - what of Tim Burton's Batman? It was good at the time, but it's dated now. The Prince soundtrack doesn't hold up, and the movie never aspired to be anything more than a comic book movie. Nicholson as The Joker was a master stroke, but I think his persona took away from the overall creepiness of the character. In the end Batman wasn't dark enough.
And then what about Batman Begins? It was better. Much better. Nolan captured the fear and rage of the man behind the mask. And he made him real. A lot more real than Batman did. In Batman he was a comic book character. In Batman Begins Bruce Wayne was a real man. More along the lines of the struggling character of Miller's Dark Knight. And not only does Batman Begins play well as a comic book movie, it plays well as a movie. You don't have to love comics to love this movie. So What if...
What if we could go back in time and change things? Rid the world of Batman and Robin? Absolutely. But risk the chance of Schumacher not screwing up the franchise only for Nolan to come in and save it all over again? I'm not sure. But to see The Dark Knight on the big screen the way it was on the page. What if...
That really would have been something.