One of the things that puzzles me about the popularity, both of Batman Begins and — we all know, the Dark Knight, it’s gonna be a hit, there’s no way around it — is that comic books, they are actually, they have a very logical visual structure, and it surprises me that comic book fans don’t demand more, visually — in terms of visual storytelling — from comic book movies. Now, there are already some fanboy reviews of The Dark Knight, and people seem to really love it…
Mysteriously, inexplicable as our behavior appears to Zacharek, we do seem to love it. As for all the undemanding comic book fans, I’m sure DC Comics wishes everybody who saw The Dark Knight was a comic book reader. But just as a very small percentage of moviegoers have ever read the novels on which movie adaptations are based, I’m guessing the vast majority of people who go see The Dark Knight never bought a comic book in their life.
I have no problem at all with Stephanie Zacharek being bored by anything she she dislikes. But there’s no need to waste a lot of puzzled speculation about what’s wrong with the rest us who do like it. Seems a little condescending and presumptuous, don’t you think? “Those undemanding comic book fanboys” — fanboys like Claudia Puig, Manola Dargis, and Maitland McDonagh. 66-year-old fanboy Roger Ebert and 62-year-old fanboy Kenneth Turan. (All of those fanboys predictably gave TDK a perfect metacritic score of 100, except for fanboy Manola Dargis who gave it a 90.)
Then there’s pimply 80-year-old fanboy twerp, Andrew Sarris, Columbia University professor [nerd alert!] and author of seminal fanboy manifesto, “The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929-1968” (heh-heh, I said “seminal”). That geek Sarris had this to say:
I previously have had my own auteurist doubts about Mr. Nolan‚Äôs work, even though he has been much honored for his stylistic innovations in Memento (2001) and The Prestige (2006). But after The Dark Knight, I may have to rethink my past reservations about Mr. Nolan‚Äôs place in the 21st-century cinema.
(video of Stephanie Zacharek’s puzzled befuddlement)
How about a friendly treaty. I agree not to be puzzled about why Stephanie Zacharek doesn’t like every single movie the rest of us do, if she’ll try not worry to herself about why we don’t “demand” the exact same things she expects from the kinds of movies that she doesn’t like in the first place. The last thing we need from a critic is daydreamy advice to a genius filmmaker about how to improve his movie that 90% of moviegoers believe to be sheer perfection.