Enough with the Batman Movies Already

Robert Pattinson will apparently be the new Batman. But do we really need more Batmen?

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May 17 2019, 5:24pm

Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images

We live in a world of endless possibility, a world in which thousands upon thousands of ideas battle constantly to be realized, to emerge from potentiality and ascend into recognition, appreciation, creation. But somehow, presented with the opportunity—the privilege—to take from that boundless well any idea they choose and bring it to life, the greatest minds of Hollywood have decided to make—sigh, sigh, deep, heavy sigh—another Batman movie.

Yes. Unfortunately, it is true. Because Batman (1943), Batman and Robin (1949), Batman (1966), Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995), Batman and Robin (1997), Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Dark Knight Rises (2012) were not enough, director Matt Reeves is giving us a Batman movie again. It is called The Batman, and it is due out in 2021. Robert Pattinson will star.

This is absurd. This is shameful. This is the nadir of Hollywood's creative bankruptcy, a crime against originality and free thought.

Before I get into all that, let me first make something clear. I love the Batman movies; they are exceptionally good, for the most part. The Dark Knight trilogy was a towering achievement: Christopher Nolan indelibly changed our conception of what a superhero movie could be, cast aside the tropes and the pitfalls and elevated a pedestrian, commercial genre into something more. Something important. Something you might even call—when you look at an endlessly re-watchable movie like The Dark Knight—immaculate.

But this is the point: He already did that. It is over. It has been done literally ten times, it has been done better than anyone has ever done it or will ever do it, and it is time to move on.

Why are we always remaking when instead we can simply make? The artists of this world did not look at Picasso's work, declare it perfect, and endlessly imitate it; they took that work and built something off of it—they gave us Dalís, de Koonings, Pollocks, Lichtensteins, paving a path down which new masters like Warhol and Basquiat could walk. Elvis gave us The Beatles, who gave us David Bowie, who gave us Nirvana, and so and so on, into infinity. Why then has Batman given us Batman, and more Batman, and Batman again, and now—thirty years after the first Batman movie came out—yet another Batman?

Can we not aspire to something greater? Has Hollywood lost its drive to innovate, to create something new? A Star Is Born was wonderful—but we already did that! Three times! Avengers: Endgame was probably good, but I refuse to see it because it has already been done, the final, merciful end to a 20-film saga, the same movie over and over again, tweaked for minor adjustments in plot and character and fed to the moviegoing public like corn to cattle, only for more Marvel movies to come down the pipeline, superhero after superhero after superhero.

We deserve better. We deserve more. If millions of our dollars are going into this corporate machine we call Hollywood every day, we owe it to ourselves to demand something greater for what we're paying—which, by the way, goes beyond money. We are investing in these movies with our time, our emotional energy; we are allowing them to shape our cultural fabric and dominate our everyday discourse. We are giving life to the laziest, cheapest ideas Hollywood can come up with and throwing billions of dollars at them—ideas like: What if we did Batman again?

So enough with the Batman movies, already. Enough with the reboots, remakes, and origin stories, the retellings and the reimaginings and revisitations. Give us something new, Hollywood. Give us the same feeling we had back in 1949 the moment the lights in the theater went down, the reel started spinning, and—for the first time—we saw Batman, and gasped.

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