‘Batman’ films create next copy trend in Hollywood

There’s no telling how far Hollywood will go to pan the gold from every character, plot and theme.

I can’t decide which is worse: sequels approaching double digits or shoddy remakes of classic films that today’s demographics are too lazy to rent from Netflix.

Sure, it happens in every other industry. Eric Clapton made more money on “I Shot the Sheriff” than Bob Marley did, and Clapton’s was a cover song of Marley’s lyrics. Fashion moguls may claim “inspiration” from an exotic vacation for a new line of trendy clothing.

Even writers, I admit, are influenced by the canon of great literature come before them; how can they not?

But no author has humbly assumed the task of rewriting Shakespeare, Dickens or Tolkien in a guise to “update” the material; it’s nothing more than a guise that masks the cash flow.

But I can’t bash franchising all in one column.

No, this week’s rant awakens from the whispers of the latest trend in Hollywood: making darker, grittier superhero action films.

All signs to the Promised Land point to Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy. The filmmaker wowed comic book nerds and movie critics with his “realistic” and “darker” take on the Caped Crusader, although Nolan based much of his films on the source material of Frank Miller and Alan Moore.

Give the comic writers the credit, not Nolan.

But regardless of who deserves the praise, Warner Bros. has Nolan to thank for bringing an already immortal crime fighter even more prestige with three successful films. But, with Nolan’s announced departure from the “Batman” films, WB executives are sitting around thinking, “Where do we go from here?”

For my part, I’d give those money-drooling executives one piece of advice: find a director completely different from Nolan. There’s no use in copying the style of the departed filmmaker, because every other production company has already begun doing so.

Consider the first full-length trailer for “Iron Man 3,” due out in April 2013. It has no jokes, no tongue-in-cheek glances from Robert Downey Jr. and no blaring AC/DC music. Tony Stark is a more serious guy these days, apparently.

Keep in mind that this new direction goes against “The Avengers,” a $1.48 billion-grossing film that wasn’t afraid to let the cast crack a smile or two. When Marvel Studios makes that much money on one film, uprooting the philosophy doesn’t make a lick of sense.

Director Michael Bay also hopped on the bandwagon. He recently predicted his next “Transformers” film would be darker and grittier. I doubt Bay even knows what he’s doing, as his movies only fire up frat boys’ testosterone with more fast cars, explosions and hot girls who can’t act worth a dime.

This Hollywood turnover just seems to prove that movie franchises will change their very foundations for what’s currently trending.

Unlike these pretenders, the Batman’s core character is dark and gritty, and that’s what makes his movies a consistent success.

 

DAN KUBACKI

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