They always travel in pairs

>> Monday, December 17, 2007

There's a new trailer for The Dark Knight out, and yes, it looks freakin' sweet. I don't care if Heath Ledger does sound like he's trying to channel Jack Nicholson in this clip. That's not totally a bad thing if he is. (The best Joker, in case you were wondering, is/was Mark Hamill, of all people, and you can go right to Hell if you disagree. And as good as Nicholson may have been as the Joker, know what? There's a good case to be made that he was actually the third best Joker after Hamill and Caesar Romero. Search your feelings. You know it's true.)

(Just how awesome was Hamill as The Joker? He was so awesome that he not only did The Joker's voice for all the WB animated shows like Batman and Justice League, but he also played The Joker's voice in the live-action series Birds Of Prey. Because only Mark Hamill's Joker was evil enough to shoot Batgirl in the spine; Nicholson's Joker would have tried hamming her to death. You heard me. Search your feelings. You know that's true, too.)

So I guess the point of the above, other than the fact that the thought of The Dark Knight fills me with warm, glow-ey feelings, is that Ledger has some pretty big clown shoes to fill.

I have high hopes about The Dark Knight, but I'm afraid it will be the last good Batman movie for a while. See, I was thinking about this the other day, and I noticed something. A pattern, a hideous pattern as compelling as the even-numbered Star Trek movies pattern. Think about it:

  • Superman--The Movie, Superman II, Superman III, Superman IV--The Quest For Peace...
  • Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman And Robin...
  • X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand...
  • Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3....

Notice anything? Any kind of pattern there?

That's right. It's not that quality goes down as the franchise goes on: in fact, in each of those franchises, the second movie is even better than the first one. But then what happens in the third? The quality doesn't slake off. Oh no. If only the quality merely diminished in the third movie. No, what happens after the second movie is that the rest of the movies turn out to be completely unwatchable shit.

Now, one might think that this is the result of a franchise's reins being taken over by a hack: Tim Burton replaced by Joel Schumacher, Bryan Singer replaced by Brett Ratner. But Richard Donner was replaced during the middle of Superman II, and more to the point, what the f--ing hell is Sam Raimi's excuse for Spider-Man 3?

If the Spider-Man franchise had been taken over by Uwe Boll, I think there would be a case for the hacks-taking-over argument. But the only explanation for the brilliant Raimi turning in a piece of garbage like Spider-Man 3 is... a curse. Probably something involving gypsies and the early days of Hollywood.

So, let's all enjoy The Dark Knight when it comes out next year: if history is a guide (and those who fail to learn history are doomed, etc.), it's going to be freaking sweet, and then Batman 3 will make us all vomit in our mouths. Don't say I didn't warn you.


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