Christopher Nolan Calls Modern Comic Book Films “Engines of Commerce”

Indiewire reported on a promotional tour filmmaker Nolan’s taken for a book detailing his career, and he seems all but oblivious to whether Bruce Wayne’s origin in Batman films was ever dealt with before. Come to think of it, he hints he hasn’t read enough of the comics either:


“It was the right moment in time for the telling of the story I wanted to do,” Nolan said. “The origin story for Batman had never been addressed in film or fully in the comics. There wasn’t a particular or exact thing we had to follow. There was a gap in movie history. Superman had a very definitive telling with Christopher Reeve and Richard Donner. The version of that with Batman had never been told. We were looking at this telling of an extraordinary figure in an ordinary world.”


Let’s see, I’ve read an archive collecting the early Golden Age Batman stories starting in 1939 (in Detective #27), which had the origin where Bruce’s parents, medics by profession, were gunned down in front of his eyes by the thief who was later revealed to be Joe Chill. It was short, yes, but still to the point. Even the 1989 movie directed by Tim Burton made use of this origin, and here we have Nolan dampening the impact of his 3 films by suggesting he’s no more fully versed in history than any other modern PC advocate.


With no pre-existing template to follow and with comic book films not an established genre yet, Nolan said he was able to develop the “Dark Knight” trilogy “with a lot of creative freedom and show the studio this is what it can be.” As a result, developing the “Dark Knight” trilogy came without the studio interference that often meets comic book films these days.


Umm, is anybody literally required to follow an existing template sans creative liberties in filmmaking? He might want to consider whether it’s the other way around: publisher’s interference, in the form of editorial mandates that brought about company wide crossovers, among other distasteful elements in mainstream superhero book fare, which have since brought down comicdom, as the publishers were going out of their way to make the comics look more like the movies. That may not be as noticeable a problem now as it was when the X-Men film came out in 2000, but it was the beginning of many modern letdowns in comicdom, not the least being less creative freedom than before.


I’d decidedly blame the movie tentpoles for leading to this situation, because in the past decade, all this commercialism and commoditization led in part to the current situation, as did heavy handed obsessions with politics brought about by the SJWs who infiltrated the companies. But, that hardly concerns filmmakers who care more about their own craft than what they’re adapting.



And since when weren’t comic book films established as a genre? They’d been around in some form or other since Donner’s 1978 Superman film starring the late Christopher Reeve set the ball rolling, and Blade was the first Marvel movie to give them a foothold 20 years later, so to say it wasn’t established seems awkward at best.


“The other advantage we had was back then you could take more time between sequels,” Nolan added. “When we did ‘Batman Begins,’ we didn’t know we’d do one and it took three years to do it and then four years before the next one. We had the luxury of time. It didn’t feel like a machine, an engine of commerce for the studio. As the genre becomes so successful, those pressures become greater and greater. It was the right time.”


Be that as it may, I’ve got a feeling that now, it’s bound to recede sooner or later. One thing’s certain, though. As practiced today by major studios, the genre has come at the expense of many other action genre products. And Marvel’s coming slate, if it’s ever released, looks to be taking up social justice propaganda tactics. If any genres could wane in popularity after a while, then obviously, the same must hold so for comic movies, and if they’re going to take a lurch into political territory, that’ll only ensure that in time, they decline in popularity. Which is just as well, because it’s not a hard guess filmmakers like Nolan, despite any argument against commodity approach, don’t have much affection for the zygote material.



Originally published here.

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Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1