1. Expecting that the follow-up to The Dark Knight is going to be a film adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns.
Michael Doran had a piece on Newsarama that started some of conversation about how the logical sequel to The Dark Knight would have to be an adaptation of Miller’s mini-series, in order to complete the three-act structure of the films. Which makes a little bit of sense, if you say it in a really authoritative voice (or, maybe, if you can mimic Bale’s bat-growl), but is actually kinda silly. One, the Nolan pictures aren’t a trilogy and don’t need to be. Two, one of the main things that made them work is the cast, which would have to be dumped entirely in order to skip ahead twenty years. And three, everything that makes The Dark Knight Returns work doesn’t exist for this version of Batman.
See, the thing that makes The Dark Knight Returns effective is the idea that, after a spectacular crime-fighting career, explored over decades of stories in the various Batman titles, he left an indelible mark on Gotham City and cast a huge shadow that’s still felt decades after his retirement. His return is a huge deal, something that rattles Gotham to its core.
But the Batman hasn’t had that kind of career in the Nolan pictures. He’s been at it for maybe a year, if you figure that he hadn’t caught the Scarecrow yet and Wayne Manor hasn’t been rebuilt after the first movie (just enough time for Rachel Dawes to change the way she looks entirely), and if he were to suddenly vanish, twenty years later it’d be, "oh, remember when there was a guy who dressed like a bat and fought crime for a couple months a really long time ago? That was fucked up." You have to have the context of Batman as a legendary figure who changed the city forever for his return to be a big deal. Otherwise, he’d be running around opening shopping malls and struggling to get press. Twenty years is a long time.
And you can’t just set it earlier, maybe five years down the line, when his name’s still familiar and you can keep the cast, because it wouldn’t have any real impact. It’d be like Jay-Z coming out of retirement a couple years after The Black Album and underwhelming everybody. People would think he just, like, got busy and forgot to fight crime for a while.
And all of this leaves aside the fact that most of the major characters in The Dark Knight Returns don’t even exist in Nolan’s films. There’s no Robin, no Catwoman, no Superman, no Ronald Reagan… You’re left with old-guy Batman beating up old-guy Joker. There’s no point. The Dark Knight is hurtling toward half a billion dollars at the box office- there’s going to be a sequel, and it’s going to be pretty conventional. It’ll star Christian Bale as Batman in that nebulous late-20’s/early-30’s stage, he’ll fight a villain who hasn’t been in the series yet, and it’ll make another gazillion dollars.
2. Spamming LiveJournal political discussion groups with vaguely-coherent rants intended to convince people that their stereotypes of Russia are wrong.
So, like, Russia fought a war this weekend, and it was backed up by a dedicated set of blogging troops, out to win the war over the hearts and minds of the people of the world. Mostly on LiveJournal, because LiveJournal is owned by a Russian company and is the number one blogging service in the country. And those bloggers wanted the rest of the world to know that their troops were peacekeeping forces out to stop the genocidal Georgians from slaughtering the South Ossetians at George Bush’s command. But if you’re trying to convince the world that Russians are not the propaganda-spouting antagonists that much of the Western world has seen them as, spouting propaganda about the "peacemakers" actually serves to work contrary to your point.
And while it’s frankly delightful to see the nuttier online conservatives get a chance to kick it like it’s the 80’s again with big bad Russia as the enemy- seriously, it’s like the online political ranting equivalent of the Police’s reunion tour, playing venues that didn’t even exist when they were on the charts- I do feel it’s probably necessary to remind right-wing bloggers who are unable to see any amount of nuance in a situation like the one between Russia and Georgia that neither side is the hero or the villain, because it’s the real world and that shit is complex. So while I hesitate to interfere at all with their Red Dawn fantasies ("Wolveriiiiiiiiiiines!"), it’s probably for the best that this whole thing seems to have come to a relatively stable conclusion, at least until the next one.
3. Releasing an iPhone app for $1,000 called I Am Rich.
Well, mostly it’s just in bad taste, but boy, is it in bad taste. Like you’re not conspicuously consuming enough just by waving your iPhone around, you need to have a useless application to prove how little you value money? That dude should have created one called I Am Feeding Starving Children and donated the money to charity if he wanted to get his name in the news. At least then it might have been good press.
(cross-posted to dansolomon.com)