Four Letter Nerd

In Defense of Darren Aronofsky’s Batman


Since I was a little kid, I have always loved movies. The first movie(s) I really remember being amazed by were Star Wars. I can’t recall the first time I saw Star Wars, but I do understand how much of a difference it made in me. It changed me, and I think it shape my imagination and played a role in my love for comic books (one of my first comics just happened to be a Star Wars comic). But, as I got older I began to find other movies that helped shape me into who I am; A Clockwork Orange, American History X, Pi, Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan… If you notice the last three just happen to be by the same director. A New York based filmmaker named Darren Aronofsky.

The first time I heard about Aronofsky was actually from musician Henry Rollins. I talked to him after one of his spoken word shows and he told me I should read Requiem for a Dream by Hurbert Selby, Jr. and there was an introduction by Aronofsky about his film. I read this book and it destroyed me, honest it was a really hard book to get through, I have never been that wrecked by a book. Then I watched the movie and it f—ked me up for a few days. I remember my really good friend Lauren telling me I would need a “hot shower to wash the filth off you.” That was the best description of how that movie makes you feel. I knew from that moment I had found a director that really spoke to me, and I was feeling something, truly different, that I didn’t feel from other films.

Recently Darren Aronofsky got some attention when his idea for a “Bat-Man” film came out. This was after the wonderful god-awful film Batman & Robin. Warner Brothers (WB) wanted to remake the Batman franchise and turn it into a successful franchise again, and their idea was to hire Darren Aronofsky after the success of his breakthrough film, Pi. Now, this is where things begin to become a little controversial.  There is one thing that I think everyone should know about Aronofsky to better understand his film. He likes to make you feel something, anything. He wants you to buy a ticket to his movie and when you leave he wants you to feel some sort of emotion. When you watch “Pi” you are confused and disorientated, when you watch “Requiem For a Dream” you are heartbroken and disgusted, when you watch “Black Swan” you feel gross and creeped out, contributor Stephen Andrew also said “Horny?”


Sick freak.

Now, how does all of this come back to comic books and why the hell does this matter? Well, according to fellow contributor Darren was going to “ruin” Batman and completely destroy his origins story. Now, this is where I come in! Lets look at how Darren wanted to make a Batman film.

  • Bruce Wayne loses his fortune.
  • Bruce Wayne doesn’t have Alfred anymore, instead an African-American “adopts” Bruce, and he refers to him as “Big Al,” and his son “Little Al” becomes Bruce’s new Alfred.
  • This is more of movie based on Bruce, rather Batman. (similar to Batman Begins)
  • Paul Dini wrote the scrip for the movie (He also wrote the Batman Arkham Asylum/City games.)
  • The Batmobile is a Lincoln Continental and Batman’s suit consists of a Hockey Mask and a cape.
  • Frank Miller, who wrote Batman: Year One was also part of this creative team.
  • Batman gets his name from leaving a “bat” shape bruise on his enemies. A ring with a T and W leaves the bruise on it, which has to stand for Bruce’s father Thomas Wayne.
  • The movie would have been filmed in Japan and that would be our backdrop for Gotham.
  • Darren Aronofsky wanted Clint Eastwood to play Bruce/Batman.

The kick-ass batmobile

Now, Does this really sound that terrible? Look how over saturated the comic book movie theme is. Every Superhero has their own movie or is in some other team-up film (its just a matter of time before The Watcher gets his own film). Every superhero movie is practically the same; we are introduced to the character, we get a origins story that we all know, the hero essentially has the same story as in the comic books, and the villains are the same, we think the hero will lose the this villain and them in the last minute he wins and we all leave the theater happy and with grins on our faces waiting for the sequel to see what we just saw. (Sorry if this is bitter or redundant but all superhero movies are the same.)

Darren Aronofsky and Paul Dini wanted to change the character of Batman, and after the disaster of Batman and Robin, it was much needed. They wanted to give the character a new story and knowing Aronofsky, he wanted to stir the pot a little bit. I think this film would have done just that. I believe that because the movie was so far out, it would never make it. Batman IS Detective Comics biggest character, and they won’t risk having such an origin altered with. And as much as I’m a fan of Darren, the movie would have really hurt the publics veiw on Bats.

Now, I want to make a simple argument. If it wasn’t for the failed Aronofsky, I highly doubt we would have seen the Nolan trilogy like it was. In Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises we saw a modern, more realistic, Bruce Wayne and Batman. That was something that people really enjoyed about the series and I think that gave such a more honest and real feel to Batman. The Aronofsky Batman was dropped and Christopher Nolan picked up Batman.  I believe that Nolan kept the real and honest Batman but still kept him as a Superhero and also left the origins story unaltered.

I think it’s also important to say that Darren Aronofsky also was originally picked to direct the movie Wolverine, in which Logan moves to Japan and trains with samurais.  Darren eventually left the production team and James Mangold ended up directing the movie. It would have been a very different movie if Darren directed it but it would be AS crazy as his idea for Batman.
I would have loved to see Batman by Aronofsky, it would have had to been “R” and I think people would love to see an R rated Batman, a more adult themed and violent with darker tones. Hopefully one day, we will see this movie…

Be sure to check out the new Darren Aronofsky film “Noah” in theaters everywhere on 3/28/14 staring Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Hopkins.

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Bill Clark

32 CommentsLeave a comment

  • A…different idea to say the least. But, in the historical context of that era of Batman films, it’s so much better than everything else they were trying to do.

  • Definitely agree with Ryan. If they had released his version after Batman & Robin, it would have been ground breaking. I really love this guy’s (Aronofsky) work.

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