Thursday, August 16, 2012

Batman and Robin meet Colonel Klink (And I'm Still Irritated About It)

The Golem Universe: Batman and Robin meet Colonel Klink

No. No. No. Don't do this! (Image via The Golem Universe)

Am not sure how to rectify the "world's colliding" aspect of a character from World War II meeting Batman and Robin the then-current 1960's. I suppose a remarkably well-preserved Klink could have been cleared of any war crimes, and settled nicely in a Gotham city luxury apartment on the interest from looted Nazi gold... but how to explain the inference, at the end, that he still has Colonel Hogan imprisoned?
I remember the first time I saw this as a kid about 7 years-old, watching both Batman and Hogan's Heroes in syndication on primitive 1970s-era TV with a chunky UHF dial and a clicky VHF dial. (Or the other way 'round. It's been a while.)  I remember being irritated by it then because it made even less sense than all the other stuff about Batman that didn't make sense. It was end of my enjoyment of the show.

My 6 year-olds like the show and we DVR it during the week so they can watch it during, what in my day, was the Saturday morning cartoon block. This episode was on TV again the other day, it came up for us again on Saturday, and I've been steaming about it since. They've never seen Hogan's Heroes, and don't know much of anything yet about WWII and the Nazis, so it didn't bother them, but man, I just can't let it go.

I mean, there's a time travelling Nazi on the loose in Gotham and the Dynamic Duo don't think that's a serious enough problem to stop and deal with!  "Good luck keeping Hogan and his men imprisoned throughout eternity you time travelling Nazi bastard, we've got a guy here trying to steel cattle from the state fair to track down, or something."

Damn you, Batman. You suck.


As long as I'm talking Batman, now's as good a time as any for my day late, dollar short review of TDKR. Spoilers ahead, in case you care.

It made a bit more sense than the old TV show, but guys, c'mon, not that much more. The best review I've seen of it, and I forget where now, was that it was philosophically incoherent. Was it about Occupy? Not really. Was the whole trilogy a sly critique of the superhero genre, pretending to be about Big Themes And Stuff to trick pretentious idiots into paying for the privilege of being talked down to without their knowing it? Maybe. But if it was, nobody except maybe Cronenberg got it.

Don't get me wrong. I had a blast watching to see how Bane and the League of Shadows would be defeated and if Batman would die at the end. He didn't, by the way, you guys who were, evidently, confused about that.

There is just no way you can say that this was an important movie, or anything more than a stylish, somewhat darkly entertaining thrill ride.

It did, to some degree though, at least address what I felt was the thematic collapse of the second movie. I really liked that movie, too, until the very end when I hated it.

Gordon and Batman turned out to be insufferable pricks at the end of TDK, deciding for the citizens of Gotham -- who had just defeated the Joker by deciding, in the only true acts of heroism in the movie, not to blow one another up at the Joker's instigation -- that they couldn't handle the truth about Harvey Dent. They had just proven they could! Ugh.

Alfred and Blake had the only sensible lines in the whole dizzy affair: Alfred when explaining to Bruce Wayne the appropriate use of his resources and abilities to promote justice; and Blake when chastising Gordon for keeping the truth about Dent covered up. Had Wayne listened to Alfred, and had Gordon been as principled as Blake (in that moment, Blake later plays along), then the institutions of Gotham could have been in a position to deal with the threats facing them without the need of superhero. But then you wouldn't have a blockbuster movie either, so that's a dead end.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if Nolan intended for Blake's rejection of the stultifying structures of city government and law enforcement, along with his misplaced paternalism when dealing with the kids from the group home on the bridge, to show his need for self-styled heroes to give up on societal institutions and save the rest of humanity while placing themselves above, or outside, of it? I get the sense Nolan wants it both ways: he wants to argue government institutions can achieve just outcomes if they deal honestly with challenges and are accountable to the public; but, at the same time, he wants to make blockbuster movies that sell the Great Man Theory to those of us with more energy than sense. I bought a ticket, so I guess the Batman Theory wins.

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