Frank Miller View on Batman In the Movies
When you talk about Batman there are a few names that come to mind that are influential when it comes to the iconic super hero and one of those names says the focus needs to be on the mission.
Batman was created by Bob Kane in 1939 and other than Superman is one the few iconic super heroes of all time and over the decades many people have worked on Batman leaving their mark on the character whether its been in the comics or the many incarnations we’ve seen on big screen and television.
In the 1960’s we got Adam West’s campy take on Batman when the successful television show made a movie for theaters. In the late 80’s and early 90’s we got Tim Burton’s darker take before Joel Schumacher nearly killed Batman.
Then in 2005 Christopher Nolan gave us a grounded realistic take of Batman that movie fans had always hoped for with “Batman Begins”, “The Dark Knight” in 2008 and “The Dark Knight Rises” in 2012, but four short years later director Zack Snyder brought yet another version of Gotham’s savior when Ben Affleck put on the cowl in “Batman v Superman”.
Frank Miller who wrote one of the most influential Batman comics “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” in 1986, recently sat down for an interview with Variety and was asked if he had his way, where would he take the Batman movies.
See what Miller had to say in the Variety interview below when it came to Batman.
Your work is very influential all over the world; you re-invented Batman with the groundbreaking “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” book in 1986, which influenced every ‘Batman’ movie ever since. If you had your way, where would you take the “Batman” movie franchise today?
“My dream would be to make it much smaller. To lose the toys and to focus more on the mission, and to use the city a great deal more. Because he’s got a loving relationship with the city he’s protecting. And unlike Superman his connection to crime is intimate; it has been ever since his parents were murdered. And he defeats criminals with his hands. So it would be a different take. But it will never be in my hands, because it would not be a good place to make toys from. There wouldn’t be a line of toys.”
Is this how you approached it with Darren Aronofsky on the Batman movie project that Warner Bros never made?
That screenplay was based on my book “Batman: Year One,” and yeah it was much more down to earth. In it a fair amount of time is spent before he became Batman, and when he went out and fought crime he really screwed it up a bunch of times before he got it right. So it was 90-minute origins story.
Have you seen the movie “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”?
And what did you think?
I’ll just say: ‘Thanks.’ What can I say? — he laughs — no, actually I’ll withdraw that; I’ll say: ‘You’re welcome!’
I can’t argue with Mr. Miller’s position when it comes to Batman. I’ve always been a huge Batman fan when it comes to the comics and the movies with a few exceptions of course.
Unfortunately movies like Star Wars when it debuted in 1977 has changed the way the movie studios think and market their movies especially when it comes to franchises like Batman or any super hero movie. When you get the big tent pole movies like Batman v Superman or Star Wars that could draw a large kid audience the studios will always look to sell as many toys as possible.
As a kid I wanted as many Star Wars toys as I could get for Christmas or my birthday, it was the greatest movie I had ever seen, even if I was only six years old. As an adult I can see where miller is coming from as the studios seem more worried about how many toys can be created and sold then making sure you have a great story first.
I’m sure there is a balance out there that can give you both a great story and the toy factor for the kids with out loosing either, but exactly what that is I don’t know. The Nolan trilogy might come the closest when it comes to Batman.