Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Saw the new Batman movie.  Loved the last one with Heath Ledger.  This one was okay but disappointing.  Sorry fanboys.  The villain wasn't fun and you couldn't understand him. Batman may save the day, but for my money, Anne Hathaway saved the movie.  She was a treat.

But instead of doing a long review (I'm sure there are now thousands of them on line), I thought I'd do a Batman post with a different spin -- why I've always loved Batman. 

My affection for the Caped Crusade dates way back to when I was a kid. I loved the Batman comic books. Most kids preferred Superman, but I had my issues. In the back of Superman comic books there would be an ad for Palisades Amusement Park, along with a discount coupon for admission. But I lived in Los Angeles and there was no Palisades Park here. I remember thinkin’, “Superman’s fucking with me. There’s no amusement park by that name. What kind of superhero fucks with a ten year old kid?” And if there wasn’t a Palisades Park, how did I know there was a real Fortress of Solitude?  The whole myth is a house of cards.

But Batman never advertised anything that didn’t exist. Sure, you could shoot your eye out with that Daisy rifle but it was real.

Most people who prefer Batman over Superman do so because Batman was mortal. Thwarting crime is less easy I’ve observed when you can’t fly and bullets don’t bounce off your chest.

That’s a valid justification, but it’s not my deciding factor.

What I loved about Batman is that he had a secret cave. This killed me as a kid. Imagine a secret passageway in your house that led to a cave fully stocked with the latest high-tech equipment and the world’s coolest car ever.

Your best friend has a secret. He just got the Prince Fielder baseball card. Yeah, well, big whoop. You have a fuckin’ CAVE!

Mom is looking for you. It’s time to take a shower and go to bed. But she can’t find you. Why? Because you’re in your secluded CAVE, which by the way, is fully air conditioned – not like the rest of the house.

Of course, as a kid, you don’t think these things through. Yes, it’s a secret cave but Bruce Wayne had to hire some construction company to build it. How long does it take to dig a cave? How many people? Steam shovels? Dump trucks? Are we to believe they all came and went unnoticed? For months?  And that none of them said anything?   What happens when the next guy wants a cave?  You can't say you have experience in that area? 

And how do you even approach the contractor and keep the cat in the bag? “I want the cave to be large enough to house a car, control panels, and hooks where maybe I can hang costumes."  What's the contractor thinking?   Either Mr. Wayne is obviously Batman or he’s just one sick fuck (especially when he see Robin, hanging around). Plus, just dealing with the contractors – the Penguin and Riddler are probably more honest.

I guess you could be cagey. You could tell him that you’re looking to build a wine cellar... that's the size of a football field – and while he’s down there could he also put in a gasoline pump?

What about city and state permits? 

Still, none of that mattered when I was a kid, and none of that matters now. Batman has a cave – it’s a necessary job expense. And I can still dream of having one too. Hi-tech control panels, a custom plane that can fly between skyscrapers (hope he doesn't clip Spider Man along the way), decent closet space. The only thing is – I bet I won’t be able to get phone reception or WiFi. Note to Batman: Go after AT&T next.


T. Thompson said...

Trying to deal with the contractors when remodeling your lair--reminds me of a sketch from Mitchell and Webb: http://youtu.be/VgX6JFoV0TM?t=1m56s

Donald said...

A typo:

"House of cards"---with an "r"

Pete G said...

Really Donald? You're calling out a typo? That's all you can come up with? If you've ever written a blog, daily or otherwise, you'd understand the amount of material Levine puts out is practically superhuman (hey, Ken, you could be "Blogman!"). So next time, please think of something truly constructive to say instead of point out the missing tile in an otherwise stunning ceiling.

Max Munro said...

The Batman movies are due a reboot already. I liked the first one, but I didn't think the second was all that interesting despite the hype.

They should look at the Arkham City video game for their style - http://youtu.be/Zc1NarI5aE0?t=3m30s

It would be nice to see a more creative vision.

jeff said...

Come on. Batman owes everything to the campy TV series of the 60s. It was a great stress reliever for us Vietnam avoidant college kids. And never dark like the movies!

Chris Santucci said...


Thank you for joining the minority with your distaste for the latest "Batman" flick. My wife and I shared our own reservations, but they were drowned out by a loud collection of applause as the ending credits started.

I've asked numerous people their thoughts and none could ever explain the dozens of plot holes. They simply forgave the apparent faults with the story, structure and weak characterizations.

You have earned another brownie point with me!


RCP said...

It's kind of embarrassing to admit I've never thought about how the Batcave was built and stocked - even as an adult.

Donald said...

A typo:

"House of cards"---with an "r

Not if you're a Kennedy.

Johnny Walker said...

I quite enjoyed it. I thought Bane was very entertaining, and heard everything he said pretty clearly. (Good cinema?) That said, apart from the ending, it felt easily the weakest of the three. The first one is still the most enjoyable to watch by my books.

I wish I had enjoyed it as much as other people, but it just didn't grab me.

Charles H. Bryan said...

Forget contractors. In the TV series, the cave was powered by a nuclear reactor. Gotham City had one hell of a Home Depot.

According to the definitive source of all Batcave knowledge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batcave), no contractors are listed. I think Bruce Wayne and Alfred did all of the work; who would hire a Gotham City contractor? Jesus, you'd end up dealing with a psychopath in a costume who called himself The Nailer.

"Holy Hardware, Batman! We're plumb getting hammered by that lumbering knave!"

"You're right, old chum! Something here is definitely . . . not on the level!"

On the other hand, when The Nailer threatened to rob a bank on a certain date, you could catch him three months later when he'd actually show up.

Anonymous said...

Batman was the only 'super hero' whose comics I read regularly. I think it was the darkness and the fantasy-life angle that I liked as a kid. He just seemed 'more real' to me and more interesting because of that. And it didn't hurt that he had to fight cat woman.

Breadbaker said...

I lived in Michigan, but when we went to the New York World's Fair, we went right by Palisades Park. So I knew it was real.

Disneyland, on the other hand, was just a myth until I was an adult.

Mike Carlin said...



Chris said...

Friday question: any thoughts on Lisa Kudrow's Web Therapy? Very original approach, but not as high concept as community.

Hilarious and simple.

basura said...

Palisades Park was cool and I went there at the great age of 6 or 7. I purchased a lizard or chameleon there. I remember finding it weeks later under a couch, all dehydrated and flat as a pancake (flatter actually).

Later saw TV kid host Claude Kirschner and his clown CLOWNY there.


Ish K. Bibble said...

I knew Palisades Park was real because Freddy Boom Boom Cannon sang about it. Did you ever notice that the intros to Palisades Park and Crocodile Rock are almost identical?

Cap'n Bob said...

You got it backwards, Ken. First you find an existing cave, then you build stately Wayne Manor over it. All Batman had to do was install a hidden entrance and maybe an elevator. To assure silence he killed the workmen who installed the elevator when they were through. A small price to pay for eternal vigilance in Gotham City. All of the computers and gadgets were probably Heath kits, purchased a few at time.

Pat Reeder said...

Batman was also the only superhero-type comic I was ever interested in as a kid. Mostly because the superpowers thing didn't appeal to me. I liked that he was just a regular guy who relied on exercise, training, intelligence and technology, not some magical mumbo-jumbo. Not that he appeared not in "Batman" comics but in "Detective" comics. Showed the connection with my other favorite character, Sherlock Holmes. I guess I was born to be a skeptic long before I was old enough to actually join a skeptics group.

Other than that, the only comic books I read were things like "Archie's Joke Book," which gave me a thorough grounding in every dusty one- and two-line gag that had been kicking around since vaudeville.

BTW, "Saturday Night Live" also did a funny sketch back in the Dana Carvey days, about a James Bond villain having to deal with all the incompetent contractors hired to build his lair in a dormant volcano.

Pat Reeder said...

Correction to above: "NOTE that he appeared...," not "not." I know how anal some people are about typos. Sorry: "typoes."

Dbenson said...

Did you ever catch "Thunderbirds," the British scifi marionette show? That raised even more questions than the Batcave, what with -- among other things -- a swimming pool that slipped aside, water and all, to allow a spaceship to launch from underneath.

pumpkinhead said...

Of course Anne Hathaway saved the movie. She's awesome!

Paul Duca said...

I understood that Superman's creators--two nice Jewish boys from Cleveland--imbued him with powers to represent triumph in a world that was particularly hostile to them.

HogsAteMySister said...

The cave. The car. The bat-a-rang. They all did it for me. Sad, but I will now forever associate Batman with tragedy.

Kev said...

hey ken what do you think of Gotham Writer's Workshops and other workshops like that? worth that money?

Jayne L said...

Little chance of Batman clipping Spider-Man; I can't imagine Marvel letting Spidey anywhere near DC airspace (and vice-versa).

Now, Wonder Woman's invisible plane, on the other hand...

Friday question: I have never seen an end-credits scene on Frasier that didn't have the theme music playing over top, muting the dialogue. Seems a bit of a waste of effort to write dialogue that no one will ever hear, so: was there scripted dialogue for those scenes, or did the scripting stop at the gist of the scene, and the actors left to ad-lib based on the premise?

chalmers said...

Though now it's mostly high-rise apartments, Palisades Park was most definitely real.

As noted, Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon sang the song of the same name, but the song was written by a pre-Gong Show Chuck Barris.

chalmers said...

Though it's now mostly high-rise apartments, Palisades Amusement Park did definitely exist.

As noted, Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon sang the song of the same name, but it was written by a pre-Gong Show Chuck Barris.

Kirk said...

Jayne L said:

"Little chance of Batman clipping Spider-Man; I can't imagine Marvel letting Spidey anywhere near DC airspace (and vice-versa)."

Actually, there's been quite a few DC/Marvel crossovers over the years, going all the way back to the 1970s. I don't know that Spider-Man's ever met Batman, though. Usually, it's Superman meeting (or fighting, until finally finally joining forces with) Spidey, as both characters are the most popular superheroes for their respective publishers. Batman did meet the Hulk back in the 70s, and in the mid-'90s, fought, then joined forces with Captain America. There's probably been other pairings I'm unaware of.

Mike said...

He may have built the cave himself, or perhaps Wayne Sr had it built, or maybe the house was built over a cave.

Zappa The Unholy said...

I personally don't understand the local review I read nor many of the comments on here. I thought it was the conclusion that needed to be done. The local newspaper reviewer said he had three complaints.. 1. Too long (didn't think so, they had alot to wrap up, and I'm a smoker and thought it went by quick). 2. Couldn't understand Bane (I've been to counteless heavy metal shows.. usually in front of the speakers, and I made out every word). 3. Story was too complicated (I'm a moron and I was able to follow it even though they didn't put "2 months later" title cards. I know people like to dump on popular movies when they should be dumping on popular tv shows or music (american idol on both counts) but Nolan and company did this franchise very well and should be rewarded for their creative efforts. As far as associating it with Colorado.. many will. But then again I associate the Bible with violence in a far more realistic and intimate way. Time for everyone to grow up. That's my 2 cents and I'm not giving any change.

Paul Duca said...

I have another Batcave story for you, Ken...when ABC cancelled the series in early 1968, Twentieth Century-Fox negotiated with NBC, and got them to pick up the show. However, by the time they did, the Batcave--the main standing set--had been dismantled, and it wasn't economically feasible to rebuild it. But Fox did have a deal for 26 half-hours, and gave them THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR instead.

Anonymous said...

Couple thoughts.

Not being bale to understand Bane.

I guess I could maybe understand this if you were in a packed theater with people munching popcorn and moving in their seats.


But really, if you were paying even half attention to the screen his dialogue was quite understandable, in fact there was only one line that I couldn't understand.

But apparently these days, people are perfectly willing to shell out $20 for a ticket/popcorn/soda/candy and then spend the entire movie texting on their fucking cell phone.

If you do that, then go get fucked, you DESERVE not to be able to understand the dialogue AND you don't get to complain and whine and blub about it.

I caught a 10:00 AM showing on Sunday and the theater was 7/8 empty.

I thought the movie was ok, but like Prometheus there was some stuff that just screamed BULLSHIT, especially the climactic fight between Banes thugs and the cops.