Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I'm Bateman. (Or, One of Many Reasons Why I Will Never Be Allowed to Write Batman)

I just finished rereading Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho the other night after watching the film adaptation again a week or two back. This was my second time reading the book and, I dunno, fourth or fifth time seeing the flick. (I also watched The Rules of Attraction and am currently rereading it. I'm in an Ellis mood.) Watching the movie and reading the book again reminded me just how disappointed I was with Batman Begins.

Now, I tend to avoid superhero flicks because, well, I don't care. I find them tedious. It's always the same sort of story--which is a story I've read dozens of times in various forms--and I just can't be bothered. Batman films, in particular, annoy me because they always feel the need to give the guy a love interest and I don't see the point beyond "Hollywood thinking," which just isn't a good enough reason for me. But, I did see Batman Begins when it was on The Movie Network here in Canada for one reason: Christian Bale and his performance as Patrick Bateman in America Psycho.

Am I the only one who watched that movie/read that book and thought, "Hey, wouldn't Bruce Wayne kind of act like this?"

Note that I said Bruce Wayne, not Batman. Obviously, the characters are different, but replace the homicidal tendencies of Bateman with the crimefighting tendencies of Batman and they're not that different. Hell, Bruce Wayne is recognised as a performance put on that WOULD match up with the way Bateman acts in public. Drinking and meaningless bullshit talk with the guys, treating women like walking vaginas and, basically, obsessed with money.

Actually, American Psycho made me ask various questions: wouldn't 1980s Bruce Wayne have done an inordinate amount of cocaine while socialising with Gotham's upper crust? How would he feel about illegal immigrants working as servants for his friends? What about gang-banging a hooker?

Would Batman have to break the law as Bruce Wayne in order to keep up the facade?

See, to me, that's where a lot of interesting material lies in the character: the disarity between Batman and Bruce Wayne.

And, man, Batman Begins was just a disappointment in that regard. I know, I know, they couldn't have a children's hero snorting cocaine before fucking two prostitutes, but going from Bale as Patrick Bateman to him as Batman was just such a depressing experience. There was no edge, none of the craze I had expected. I dunno.

That said, it was an enjoyable film overall and I'll see the next one, because, as far as superhero flicks go, it was top-notch. Still, am I so wrong for longing for scenes of Bruce Wayne "powdering his nose"?