Friday, April 10, 2009
Batman is really your only choice.
Sure, the gunslinging days of yesteryore hosted a whole slew of characters you may have admired. The Lone Ranger with his black/white morality, Captain America with his one-dimensional patriotism, Superman with his flawless shiny American perfection. These heroes were what we needed when the world was simple and morality was a binary system.
But we don’t live in that world anymore. Ethics and truth get muddled into a soupy mess until the only thing left to do is create a community, value experience over logic, and start building up an ideology again from that experiential foundation. Of course I’m pretty vocal about the ideology I hold true --- God loves me but I disobey Him, and that injustice requires a payment which Christ paid, making it possible for me to have a relationship with God again, whew--- but I find the way I talk about the Bible with a 20 year old is different than the way I talk about the Bible with a 60 year old. The Bible hasn’t changed, and certainly God hasn’t changed, but we approach the truths from a slightly different angle (we in the postmodern generations). But I’m sidetracked… back to Batman:
Batman is really your only choice in a postmodern world. Movie heroes nowadays are relatable first, admirable second. And while a simple anti-hero might have satiated the appetites of audiences in the 80’s and 90’s (I’m looking at you, Hulk), the modern audience clings to the conflicted. I mean, just go back and watch a film from the 1950’s. The men and women fall perfectly into the stereotypes established for them. Now how about a movie from 2009?
Here’s what happens at a party:
*Lone Ranger, Green Lantern, The Shadow, the Flash. These men of the 1940’s sit in the corner, rasping stories at one another about the “good old days.” While it’s okay to say hi to one of these guys, I certainly don’t want to be cornered by any of them, forced to listen to stories that drone and only barely pique my interest. Besides, their cigar smoke is giving me a headache.
*Slick-haired Superman is talking with Wonder Woman by the punch bowl. They’re hovering over an old copy of the Gazette, and, argh, they won’t move more than three feet from the punch bowl because they’re waiting to grab your shoulder and pull you into the peppiest, happiest, shiniest conversation you’ve ever been a part of. Partygoers who liked the 1950’s will flock to the punch because, simply put, in their stories the good is the goodest good possible.
*Gambit, Wolverine, the Hulk are too cool for school. Their 80’s style feels cramped in such a still-standing environment. Psh, they don’t need all these old fogeys, they need to grab a piece of vanilla cake in their fingerless gloves and race out into the summer wind. They have no clue who James Dean was but wow do they drive like him.
*Spiderman is here too, proudly sporting the 90’s. Meh, I have no real complaint against Spiderman. He’s a cool enough guy, just can get annoying sometimes. Regardless, a friend always gives him a call and so I can’t really kick him out unless I make a big scene… meh, which isn’t really worth it.
*And then there’s Batman! Everyone loves him. He doesn’t try to be the life of the party like frat guy Superman, instead he moves around the partygoers, asking quite genuinely how you’re doing and always giving good insight on your struggles. He adapts with the times, has a noble but also dark side, and even though he wrestles with his own demons there is no sense of whiney-self-absorbism. Batman’s the guy you call when you’re throwing a huge party, or when you’re grabbing a couple close friends for a cup of coffee.