02 May 2010

Sunday 7: Can BATMAN 3 Be Better Than THE DARK KNIGHT?

We're sticking to our guns and making good on our brave promise:  we're going to answer the question everyone will be asking now until July 2010, when Christopher Nolan's next Batman film hits theaters on Friday, July 20th.  Can Batman 3 ever hope to be better than The Dark Knight, the current undisputed king of superhero cinema and the benchmark for every comic book flick coming down the pipeline?

For our answer, we drew upon our recent experience at one of Springfield's famous pie judging contests.  The crowd was terrible, almost chaotic -- which we've heard is par for the course with Springfield's many Pie-Off's, but especially so when the pies being judged are blueberry pies -- yet somehow, miraculously, we managed to make it to the front. So we were close enough to see each judge's face as they tasted pie after blueberry pie, savoring each sizable bite even as they committed to memory their opinion of the locally-baked dessert in question.  This eating and judging frenzy went on for a good hour, and tension was mounting so palpably that someone must have panicked; sirens whined in the distance, arriving just in case things got out of hand.  Sometime around 4pm that afternoon, all the pies had been tasted and each of the nine judges had finalized their decisions as to the Pie-Off's winner. So you can imagine our surprise - and the shock of disbelief that rippled through the massive crowd behind us - when the lone lemon custard was declared the victor. A terrible and unfortunate riot then followed.

Nolan's Batman 3 doesn't have to be better than The Dark Knight to be better; it just has to be sufficiently different -- unique.  Some of the difference is already assured: new actors will portray new villains, and there will likely be a new female lead (replacing Maggie Gyllenhaal) if not other new and unforeseen additions to Batman's cast.  But those changes are, in writing terminology, story-driven elements. It's the plot of Batman 3 that will require the subtle alterations, where the feel and style of the sequel will be so sculpted as to separate it from its Oscar-worthy predecessor.  

Food for thought and for further elaboration, but at a later time. Can Batman 3 be better than The Dark Knight? Absolutely. But it also doesn't have to be; it just needs to be as good. And it needs to be different.

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