Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Choosy Kids Choose Batman[s] Like Kids

"Man - did you see that weirdo?!"
"The one next to Batman?" "Yeah."
In 1988, we found out, to our horror, that comedian Michael Keaton was going to play Batman. My Batfan  buddy Pat Miller was outraged. He liked that Jack Nicholson had been cast for the Joker [brilliant!] but MICHAEL KEATON? Mr. Mom? Heresy! [Steven Seagal was who we would have choosen.]

The movie was blockbuster, of course. I credit Anton Furst's design and Danny Elfamn's score for adding so much to the film, but I did notice something else: while Keaton was not the smooth millionaire and brilliant detective of the comic - he was obsessive and very sharp-witted. He did good. He did good. Still, my bud was not satsified. "Did you think he was a good Batman?"

"He was the best Batman Michael Keaton could be," I replied diplomatically.

A pause. "I can accept that," he said. Being wrong takes some time to swallow, I guess.

Well, that was then. Keaton donned the suit once more, then it was Kilmer, then Clooney, then Bale and now it is Affleck.

Ben Affleck, Of Gigli and Chasing Amy, is going to play Batman in Batman v Superman. You knew that, of course. I just wanted to say it out loud as a reality slap. :D

The hate from the fanboys has been burning for months since the news hit. "Batfleck" is the snide term of dismissal. And why not? The fans were disappointed with him on Daredevil and he'd been taking hits in the industry... until the film Argo, that is. Until he did a quiet, stoic, heroic figure that outwits the Iranian government with his team to escape with their lives.

He got an academy award for that. So, as it also did for Keaton this year with Birdman, his star began to ascend in Hollywood, and he was set to be the next Batman.

That's how Hollywood works: you're popular and liked and in seconds it is "Can you play this character? Yes? We're set. Here's $15 million."

That's a gross simplification, but it ain't too far from the truth.

"Guys - do you think this will harm
my career in any way?
Oh, nooooo... well, a little."
Back to the Keaton-hate. Do you know what killed it? I mean overnight back in the 80's?

That pic of him in the new armored Batsuit next to the new Batmobile.

"Oh," we said. "Well, that might be alright."

Do you know what is killing all the Batfleck hatred right now?

Batman. In an armored suit. And since these days we have broadband connections, we all get to see the trailer clip of him speaking. Of BATMAN growling at SUPERMAN: "Do you bleed?"

"Oh," we say now. "Well, that looks good."

So typical, so common... silly.

It is nothing new. It is what we do as humans.

King David was dissed. The apostle Paul was dissed. And Jesus was truly dissed. They were judged by external appearances, first looks, and then, over time, proved their detractors wrong. Dead wrong.

David was overlooked because he was a boy. In fact, his dad did not even call him in at first. Read here:

Paul was overlooked because his appearance was not impressive. According to one source he was short, bowlegged, had a long nose, a unibrow, and large eyes.

And Jesus? Too many to list.He finally says in John 7:24: "Do not judge according to appearances, but judge with righteous judgment."

You'd think we'd learn as humans to not judge by external appearances so quickly. You think we'd understand it is lazy and childish to do that. We need to see the work and the effort and all the rest that goes on underneath. The soul and heart of a person. In art, the actual performance in context, not just how they look or what they did years ago.

Even Yoda knew better. [Watch above]

My suggestion to you today is simple: save the critique until after the performance.

You might be surprised.

Because we have all been wrong before. Dead wrong.

Just to show you how badly everyone can be wrong, let me share this link to The 25th Anniversary Celebration of Batman.

It seems that The Producer of All Films Concerning Batman, one Michael Uslan, was a blue collar kid from New Jersey who bought the rights when no one wanted them in the late 70's.

You heard me. No one.

Oh, and as for Keaton? He's THE quintessential Batman for the last 25 years according to the current crop of fanboys.

Watch what you diss, kids.

Watch what you diss.


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