Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Another Open Letter To Warner Bros. Pictures

Dear Warner Bros. Executives,

I read recently that you have decided not to bring Katie Holmes back as Rachel Dawes in the next Batman movie. As I felt her character was essentially a low-key Harvey Dent with breasts, I won't be shedding many tears.

I did have to shake my head, though, when a Warner Bros. source was quoted as saying, "The next romantic interest will be a much stronger actress."

The next romantic interest.

Guys, Batman doesn't have a romantic interest. Batman doesn't *need* a romantic interest. The closest it ever gets is sexual tension with Catwoman. And I'm all in favor of that. But Batman, and Bruce Wayne, isn't really the dating type.

It works for Superman because he's the home-grown country boy in the big city, and Ma and Pa are expecting flying grandkids some day. It works for Spider-Man because he's a nerd hopelessly in love with the girl next door. Clark Kent and Peter Parker are regular joes.

Bruce Wayne is not a regular joe, and neither is Batman. The former's a rich playboy, and the latter is a grim vigilante. Neither of those is likely to earn him any points on The Dating Game. "Bachelor Number Two: If I was a naughty girl, how would you punish me?" "I'd swoop out of the blackened night sky like a demon from the darkest bowels of your imagination. If you weren't reduced to a gibbering mass of terror, I'd disorient you with a sonic grenade, knock any weapons you might have out of your hand with a bat-shaped shuriken, and render you unconscious with a nerve pinch known only to myself and the Yakuza's greatest assassin, who slew the last of an ancient order of monks who had kept the secret safe for generations. After finishing off any accomplices, I would wrap you in a secure monofilament rope tested to 1500 pounds and deposit you at the local police precinct with a cryptic note addressed to the commissioner." Now, you can probably find a woman for whom that's a turn-on, but she probably insists on being paid by the hour. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

My point, and there is one, is that the character doesn't really lend himself to romance. You could say the same thing about James Bond, true, but Batman's asexuality runs even deeper. Bond may not be the sort to form a lasting relationship ("You Only Live Twice" notwithstanding), but he still enjoys the nookie. Batman? It's not really a consideration. He's got a woman already: Gotham. He loves her, protects her, does his best to be the kind of man she deserves. Any other woman in his life will have to deal with always being second fiddle to her. Vicki Vale, Catwoman, Wonder Woman, any woman, period. I can't think of any woman I've known who would be able, or even willing, to do that. Your scriptwriters knew this well; they had Rachel "dump" Bruce at the end of the movie, instead of wait until the sequel to explain that she got tired of being the other woman. (Notice, by the way, that it's always Alfred who brings that up.)

I understand Hollywood convention. Hell, I even understand the need to deflect allegations of homosexuality and/or BDSM fetishes. But this is one time when art should win out over marketing. Do the right thing, and let Bruce live the "functional eunuch" lifestyle he's chosen.

Now, let's talk about Robin...

Shopping For Bat-Scientologist Repellent,

Michael

1 comment:

Joe Rice said...

Gotta say I really disagree. Batman as asexual doesn't work for me. He's one of the more aggressively heterosexual superheroes out there. He may not like that fact, but I think it's one passion that he doesn't control all that well. Selina, Talia, Vicki, Diana, Silver, Bruce really IS a playboy. I think the "Bond girl" mentality for a Batman franchise works. He'll not settle down for a long time, but he's not about to deny himself, either.