Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The whole thing was whose idea?

Are we going to talk about Superman? No. We'll leave him and his iconic "Is it a bird, is it an plane, its Superman!" catchphrase alone. Superman is too awesome, just a tad too much for anyone to relate to. In fact, that is why we don't quite find a father-figure for Superman.

While on the other hand, Spiderman did have Uncle Ben; but then Ben wasn't there long enough. He gave Peter good advice like, "With great power, comes great responsibility". It is a pity that Uncle wasn't there when Spiderman became what he was, nevertheless, it was a necessary sacrifice. But of course, every superhero must be motivated by something; and if it doesn't come to the slinky teenager, the death of some close person ought to do the trick.

Or, that is what the comic artists thought perhaps. So, who else do we know who has motivation, is a vigilante and the guidance of a fatherly figure?

Ok, I'll cut to the chase and start the topic already. Batman & Alfred !

I'm NOT a Batmaniac who has read all the comics over and over again, but I sure am a Nolanite who has watched BB and TDK over 20 times each and went to TDKR twice on successive days! I may never read the comics, but I am content enough. Batman is my favourite superhero. To the fellow junta who share this sentiment, I am sure you'll agree to what follows.

So, why suddenly? After all this while? Only now, did I see all 3 movies together, reverse chronological order. Among the 3, Begins is probably the Dark Knight. The wonderful setting gives Batman, an ideal setting to become the most loved superhero. There are a few things about Batman Begins, subtle and often missed.

First, a superhero movie is not always about the superhero. It is also about that fellow who is behind the mask. I, for one believe that so much as the heroics are attributed to the superhero, the sacrifices ought to be attributed to the man behind the mask. Begins explores the evloution of Bruce Wayne from an insecure scaredy-cat to sort of like The Scarlet Pimpernel, who pretends to be a banal, but merely has donned a visage that hides true colours.

Second, it deeply conveys the bond between Alfred and Bruce Wayne. Alfred is as faithful as one can possibly be. He is also as tolerant as one can possibly be. Over the course of the trilogy, the relationship between Alfred and Bruce has evolved in a phenomenally wonderful manner.

In Begins, Alfred still treats Bruce as a child, being cynical about his manners and driving; perhaps a tad afraid that once the initial momentum gives way, Batman would become something like one of those uncouth few of the Watchmen ( no offense, but that movie sucked! ). Alfred, the old-school headmaster, has a hard time making transition between Thomas Wayne's view of helping the city and Bruce's. However, when priorities clash, without Alfred, Bruce would've been a lost kitty.

In The Dark Knight, Alfred is that explorer who has taken an arrow to the knee, but still, has enough wisdom and experience to mitigate the crushing burden placed on Batman placed by The Joker. Once again, without Alfred, Bruce would've been a lost kitty.

In Dark Knight Rises, however, it is Bruce's time to repay. The scene where Alfred confesses his feeling when Bruce had gone missing, is one of true affection and care. Priceless indeed !

"I never wanted you to come back to Gotham. I knew that there was nothing for you in here, other than despair and suffering. I've always wanted the best for you. I still do."

 Bruce, unwilling to put Alfred through anymore torment than he's already been because of the danger that "Batman" places on "Bruce"( though it is entirely Bruce's choice ), most tearfully separates himself from Alfred.

"I won't bury you. I've buried enough members of the Wayne family."

That climax, is probably one time when Alfred can be in true peace. Maybe now, he can drink his Fernet Branca in peace.

The Batman trilogy was always more than just a superhero franchise. It was an alleviating experience. It was joyous just to keep watching the movie, again and again..... and again; never bored ! For such a reason, Nolan's Batman trilogy will always be special. The ending has been perfect. As perfect as one could hope to be. The 3 movies have launched Batman to an entirely different league than the comics could ever could. The magic touch of Christopher Nolan indeed! There is definitely more to a superhero than supervillians and stunts. I think that I will continue to see those movies for many more times.

A few months back, I thought that if I were to make a speech on Nolan's Batman trilogy, I would never make it because I would never finish writing that speech, if I did write one. Today however, boredom of exams kindled the writer in me to blog about one of the best things in my life.

A silent guardian. A watchful protector. The best butler.