Man vs Bookshelf

Man vs Bookshelf: Nolan’s Batman

This entry is part 78 of 104 in the series Man vs Bookshelf

The funny thing about stress is I’m feeling it.

Maybe you’ve experienced it — the swollen pulsing ball that sits in the pit of your stomach sending waves of discomfort to your throat.

Well, I don’t have a pit in my stomach. It’s full of food.

I bring it on myself. I get up five minutes later than planned; I hate myself. I don’t do the words I wanted to do; I hate myself. I do do the pages I wanted to do, but I rushed them because I just wanted to get it done, so they’re crap, so I hate myself.

The deadline of my novel looms, and I’ve not finished it. I’ll get there, I’m sure, but will it be good enough?

It’s a sequel, and people seem to be enjoying the first one, so that’s added pressure. Though book two is always weak – look at Chamber of Secrets.

It doesn’t help that I’m doing this series. Man vs Bookshelf. My girlfriend and mother tell me I should take my foot off the gas on that. Read fewer pages a day or, worse, take a few months off.

I can’t do that. I look at my stats, see I’ve read 3.3 books a week, and I desperately want to keep that up.

The only option is to press on. To continue feeling sick to my stomach as I fight to get through this, then I can change.

Come January, I will release this book, and I will change my schedule, give myself longer to complete each draft of each book. A regular output is essential for an indie author, but it’s no use if everything you output is shit.

Come the middle of next year I want to have finished this challenge, and not having to read 2-3 books a week will make a huge difference, buy me a massive amount of time.

Maybe my productivity stress will be over by the end of next year. Until then, I’ll keep plugging on.

And so –

Chris Nolan and Me

That’s how they’re described – as Chris Nolan films, but it’s important to mention, regarding their creation, there are two more hugely essential people.

Davis S. Goyer co-wrote the first film. He was one of the first to create a successful movie franchise around a B-list comic book hero with the Blade Trilogy and, as well as the Batman films, was also heavily involved with the Superman equivalent Man of Steel and it’s sequel.

Jonathon Nolan co-wrote films two and three. Jon being the lesser known Nolan brother, which seems a little unfair considering he co-wrote The Prestige and Interstellar with his brother and wrote the short story on which Nolan’s first hit film, Momento, was based.

Of the Nolan directed films I haven’t seen Following, Memento, Insomnia, Inception or Dunkirk. But I have seen all three Batman films, The Prestige and Interstellar and loved all of them.

Nolan seems to have the ability to draw all-star casts in whatever he writes, and this is presumably because the quality of his (and Jonathon’s) scripts are so high.

For me, though, my first experience with Nolan was Batman Begins.

Nolan’s Batman

I spoke about the quality of Nolan’s scripts and that, I suppose, is why I felt the need to purchase the Batman scripts.

As has been discussed before, I like to study successful scrips because one day I would like to write one, and there can’t be many scripts better to consider for excellent screenplay writing than those by Nolan.

When I was a kid, I watched the two Batman films by Tim Burton and the two by Joel Schumacher, and I liked all of them. Yes, really.

I loved them, but they always felt very much like comic book films. Though the tone was very different under the two directors, they were both exaggerated and lived in their own world.

That’s what most superhero films were like, and I think the Marvel films of today still suffer a little bit from this.

Things started to change with David S. Goyer’s Blade films. These were supernatural – duh – but felt more like serious films based in a realistic world.

Batman Begins – and it’s sequels – took things another step forward.

What I love about these films is you can watch them, and although the main character dresses like a bat, it feels real. You can completely buy the films (not just literally). Disappear into them and not think you are in a comic book.

This was no doubt helped by the fact there are no superpowers, just rich men who are good at fighting and madmen who are good at fighting and or are just smart.

But it goes further than that.

Take, for example, the Batmobile. In older iterations of Batman, this was pretty much a magic car. It looks stupid, and it did all kinds of cool stuff, but where did he get it? Who built it? What mechanic would work on it?

In Batman Begins, we get a car that doesn’t look or act quite so farcically, and which also has a reason for existing we can believe. The army commissioned the car before dropping it cause expensive. Batman paints it black, but it doesn’t look like a dumb prop. It’s the same for his costume. The body and cape are both designed for the army but never used, while the bat mask he built from two different parts and ordered in bulk from China to avoid suspicion.

At least we’ll have spares, Bale’s Wayne wryly notes.

It’s the same with the Batcave. In the older films it is this fantastic cave that looks like the base from a bond film, but how was this built? Who built it? How did he get away with it?

In Batman Begins the Batcave is an underground cavern with a desk and a computer – plus a waterfall. None of which is beyond the realms of possibility.

They even explain the secret passage behind a bookshelf as having being built by Wayne’s grandfather to help freed slaves escape North.

A lot of people will be looking at me now thinking – you’ve picked out all the boring crap about the film. The stuff we barely noticed.

But you’re wrong. You enjoyed the film all the more because it was built on the basis of reality and believability. Because it all feels right and slots together nicely.

The beautiful writing and directing slides all this in naturally, makes it part of the story, and it’s what builds the base for these films to be so brilliant.

That’s what makes the gaping plot holes in the third film so jarring. Forget, for a moment, the exaggerated plot of the nuke etc. It’s the ridiculous implausibility of some of the events of the film.

For example, Bruce escaping from a pit in the middle of the dessert on the other side of the world from Gotham with no money and somehow making it back home in time to save his city. He does all this AND recovers from a broken back in the space of five months.

Or, even worse, how upon arriving back from Gotham, during a time-pressured situation, he spends god knows how long drawing a huge bat on the side of a skyscraper with oil, so that he can light up as a cool looking symbol he has returned.

It looks good, sure, but Gordan was seconds away from dying when Batman arrived to save him.

Maybe sort your priorities out, Bruce?

But these are minor points. What we had in this trilogy was a series of gritty, incredibly written stories featuring some amazing leading characters and three outstanding villains.

They were gripping, exciting, and won’t soon be matched.

Next Time

Next up we dig back into a series  with Discworld – starting with a collection of articles written by the great Terry Pratchett himself, then looking at the first five Discworld novels. 

See you then.

Series Navigation<< Man vs Bookshelf: Jonothon FairfaxMan vs Bookshelf: Discworld (1-5) >>
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International worst-selling author Mark Ayre has been writing since before he could pick up a pen (somehow). An author of mystery and suspense novels including the James Perry Series of mysteries.

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