Come back Adam West, all is forgiven! Though I doubt TV’s Batman would find much of a home in the new, brutal, unrelenting Batman movie, The Dark Knight. Perhaps he could be beaten to death as a pretext for another set-piece, but beyond that – No. The Dark Knight is not a movie that would welcome West, Burt Ward, or anything fun. I know I’m going against the grain – against doctrine – to say I didn’t like The Dark Knight, but this movie is to summer what a chain-saw is to a daisy-chain. The idea that its primary audience is children and young teenagers (it carries a PG-13 rating in America and a 12 rating in Britain) is pretty bloody depressing.
This movie isn’t environmental propaganda. It isn’t satire, either. Nor is it bleak. I feel I should start off my review with a quick précis of what WALL•E isn’t because WALL•E’s been made to sound… arty. And anytime an animated movie sounds arty I start thinking of Belleville Rendezvous and I wonder: is it actually any good? Because Belleville wasn’t good; it was bitter. It looked like the kind of nightmare Hieronymus Bosch might draw inspiration from and it played sloooooow, and frightening. WALL•E isn’t anything like Belleville Rendezvous. It’s more like Manhattan. It avoids satire because – against hope – it believes in people. It’s the most uplifting movie of the year, and the best date movie.
The grudge movie is a simple concept: you take a movie you wouldn’t want to watch in a million years and you go to watch it, grudgingly – because it’s something your partner wants to see. For millions of women across the world, this summer, the official grudge movie is Hellboy II. For millions of men, the grudge movie is Mamma Mia. Though these two movies have little in common at a surface level, they share a common bond of inducing terror in the opposite sex and – while not being good movies – they are also both hugely enjoyable (provided one isn’t compelled to watch them under duress).
Superheroes should be top of list as far as Stuff White People Like; they’re mostly rich; neurotic; obsessed with crime; they practically live at the gym; and they’re kinda nerdy. Even the concept of a superhero is white; it’s not enough for them to be heroic, they have to be super-heroic (talk about an exaggerated sense of self). Black superheroes are almost an oxymoron given this definition. That’s why Hancock comes as such a relief. It’s not exactly that he’s a role-model when we first meet him, but… he’s not preppy, fretty Peter Parker either. Hancock looks (and acts) like a superhero that has sex once in a while; he likes a drink and he swears with authority. Screw Spiderman.