I was afraid of this.
A few weeks back (I think it was before I went to DisneyWorld), I saw a report that Warner and DC Comics, inspired by the huge success of The Dark Knight, plan to push all their superhero properties to the darkest level their respective characters will allow.
Now I realize I am in the minority, but I didn't care for The Dark Knight at all. (And I got attacked for my opinion, too. If you want a good laugh read some of the comments on that review.) In my mind, the movie was way too dark. There was not even a glimmer of hope at the end of it. While I enjoyed Batman Begins, I will go out of my way to avoid seeing this movie ever again. And I had to go home and clear my mind with the nice theropy of Monsters Inc.
Now, I realize that Batman is a dark character and most of what I have seen isn't true to the character. Fine. I can live with that. I now know to think carefully before I injest any more Batman.
But let's think about some of the other characters this affects. Superman. Wonder Woman. Aquaman. I'd say the list could go on, but I don't know my superheroes all that well. The point is, dark isn't the word that comes to mind when I think of the characters I've just listed.
Furthermore, let's think about superheroes for a minute. They're designed to fit into our fantasies. We're talking wish fullfillment, really. Who wouldn't want to fly or make others tell the truth. This really isn't a dark place. When I think Superhero, I think light escaptist fun.
Yes, Superheroes need villains to fight. Otherwise, their lives would be boring and we wouldn't want to read about them/watch them. I get that.
Maybe I just need to actually read comic books. I must admit I have never done that. Most of my exposure to Superheroes comes from TV and the movies. And I know that this means I am not seeing the characters are the were created to be known. Fine.
But the first thing I think of with Superheroes is escapism. I'm not looking for morals about life. I'm not looking for darkness. I'm looking for your basic good vs. evil story where good triumphs at the end of the day. And the fact that I can predict the outcome isn't a bad thing as long as I care about the characters and enjoy spending time with them. But if I am going to leave the theater depressed, then I certainly won't care about the characters enough to ever come back.
So, please Warner Brothers, rethink your decision. Keep Batman dark. After this last movie, I won't be going back to him anyway. But don't take away Superheroes from me because you think everyone wants them to be dark. Some of us find real life dark enough and go to a movie for something fun and light.
(This post has been my entry in this week's Watercooler Wednesday.)