You Don't Invite Batman To Thanksgiving

As part of a long interview about the Avengers and his other work, Joss Whedon discussed Batman and Batman movies:

I think “Batman Begins” is certainly my favorite Batman movie I’ve seen.

Huh, not “The Dark Knight”? Most people would say “The Dark Knight.”

“The Dark Knight,” for me, has the same problem that every other “Batman” movie has. It’s not about Batman. I think Heath Ledger is just phenomenal and the character of the Joker is beautifully written. He has a particular philosophy that he carries throughout the movie. He has one of the best bad guy schemes. Bad guy schemes are actually very hard to come up with. I love his movie, but I always feel like Batman gets short shrift. In “Batman Begins,” the pathological, unbalanced, needy, scary person in the movie is Batman. That’s what every “Batman” movie should be.

You pitched a Batman movie at one point. Was that your vision for it?

It was different, but similar in that it had to do with the fact that he’s not okay. He’s not a guy who knows how to live like a person. That’s one of the great things about Batman. Everyone knows don’t invite Batman to Thanksgiving. That guy, he’s gonna be dark and weird. And that’s a great character.

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While I don’t think Batman Begins was nearly as good at delving into the dark and unhinged character of Batman’s psychology as Whedon thinks, I would love to see the Batman movies he is imagining.

Oh, and by the way, have you seen the intriguing Dark Knight Rises trailers yet?

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • John Morales

    From the linked piece:

    Again, I think “Watchmen” was slavishly adherent to the comic, and that sometimes is almost as bad as completely ignoring the comic and just using the title.

    Hm. I like his work, generally, but I dislike such weasel-talk.

    Me, I think that the truer a movie version of a book or a comic is to its source, the better it is.

    Dan:

    While I don’t think Batman Begins was nearly as good at delving into the dark and unhinged character of Batman’s psychology as Whedon thinks

    You write as if Batman were an actual person; such character as an imaginary character (heh) has is either what its creator intended it to be (and in this case, it’s an amalgam of multiple authors) or what the consumer imagines — what it ain’t is objective.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      You write as if Batman were an actual person;

      No, Batman is a concept and there are ways to get to the essence of the concept which are better and ways which are worse. Or, alternatively, Batman is a concept which can be developed in several different directions and some are more interesting and truer to reality and others are less so. There are coherency conditions which make some turns a character makes more authentic and others less so. There are ideas which are more illuminating about reality and others which are less so.

    • John Morales

      Thanks for the clarification; my perception of what you wrote has been modified accordingly.

  • http://justdfacsmaam.wordpress.com MarkNS

    I agree that Batman Begins was the best Batman movie for the same reasons Joss cites.

  • peterh

    “[Ledger's Joker] has a particular philosophy that he carries throughout the movie”?

    In his own words, “I just do things.”

  • http://raisinghellions.wordpress.com/ Lou Doench

    Or, alternatively, Batman is a concept which can be developed in several different directions and some are more interesting and truer to reality and others are less so.

    Exactly, to take that a step further, Batman isn’t even really one single character or concept. He’s several, and they each have their own validity in their own way. For instance, lets answer Joss’ implied question, “Who invites Batman to Thanksgiving?”. Well that depends on which Batman. The campy Adam West Batman goes to Commissioner Gordon’s house for Thanksgiving (and has to foil a plot by the Penguin to poison all the city’s turkeys.) The Batman that I grew up with in the 80′s and 90′s, he has Thanksgiving with Superman and Wonder Woman at the fortress of solitude (Wherin they all foil a plot by Braniac to turn all of our turkeys into animated monsters). The Dark Knight character that Frank Miller inflicted on us does have a cold and lonely Thanksgiving, because Frank decided that Batman has to be a sociopath (a stance I disagree with). But that’s only one aspect of the character and I’m disappointed that Joss Whedon has fallen into the habit of that being the only way to portray him.

  • Robofish

    Hooray, Joss shares my opinions on Batman movies! He just became even cooler.


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