David Cronenberg Bashes The Dark Knight Films And Fans
“A superhero movie, by definition, you know, it’s comic book. It’s for kids. It’s adolescent in its core… That has always been its appeal, and I think people who are saying ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is, you know, supreme cinema art, I don’t think they know what the f**k they’re talking about… I think it’s still Batman running around in a stupid cape”
Cronenberg is wrong on many levels here. The reason why The Dark Knight Rises and the rest of the trilogy are such exceptional movies is the fact that they were able to step beyond the bounds of the superhero stereotypes that Cronenberg described. Heck, in Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne doesn’t don his “stupid cape” until the movie is fully into the plot. The Dark Knight films were able to turn what may be considered a kid’s story (though I believe at its core Batman comics are much darker than that) into films that I wouldn’t consider taking a young child to, by infusing them with a gritty, dark sense of realism.
I believe one of the most impressive feats for a filmmaker is to break the conventions of whatever they are doing in a way that improves the film, not just for the sense of being an “artist.” Nolan left the safety of cool effects and shallow characters and by doing so he took a genre that may have previously been mocked by all but children and fanboys, and turned it into something that appeals to the masses. I guarantee a good portion of even opening night audiences have never picked up a Batman comic.
Cronenberg did concede that the work Nolan does is very impressive technically, but threw a few extra jabs in with his compliment.
Christopher Nolan’s best movie is ‘Memento,’ and that is an interesting movie. I don’t think his Batman movies are half as interesting, though they’re 20 million times the expense. What he is doing is some very interesting technical stuff, which, you know, he’s shooting IMAX and in 3-D. That’s really tricky and difficult to do. I read about it in ‘American Cinematography Magazine,’ and technically, that’s all very interesting. The movies, to me, they’re mostly boring.
I’ve loved Memento since we watched it in my very first film class, my freshman year of high school. It is certainly a masterpiece, not only because of the deviation from tradition narrative storytelling, but because of the phenomenal story it does tell, and how well and completely the entire film is crafted. That being said, Memento is not Nolan’s best movie. An argument could really be made for any of his films to be his best, but the magic of the Dark Knight trilogy, and the absolute triumph of original filmmaking that was Inception, push Memento to number 5 on my list of Nolan films.
Cronenberg is obviously free to have his opinion, but this one is just ridiculous. Even those who weren’t the biggest fans of The Dark Knight Rises have to respect that it was an incredibly well-made film, and certainly the furthest thing from boring.
Am I taking this too personally or do you agree?