U2: “Even Better Than the Real Thing”
I saw The Dark Knight Rises last Friday. As I thought about the film over the weekend—along with the poster for The Bourne Legacy and the trailers for Man of Steel and Skyfall—I got to hoping for a move away from all this realism. Not that I have a problem with realism. It’s just been co-opted by all and driven into the ground—which is what happens with anything successful these days. Plus—specifically in regards to The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel—the source material is of the fantastic. Why does it have to be so real?
One of the issues I’ve heard from friends and read in reviews and comment boards is the lack of explanation concerning how Bruce Wayne, at a specific point in the film, gets from this one place to another in a short period of time. The easy answer is, “He’s Batman.” But in the uncompromisingly-realistic world Christopher Nolan’s created with The Dark Knight Trilogy, that doesn’t work. “He’s Batman.” is a fantastic explanation. This is a hole and it’s an example of what happens when someone like Nolan imposes realism on the fantastic.
While watching U2’s “Even Better Than the Real Thing” video, a day after seeing the film, I was thinking about the supposed reboots already in the works for Batman, to be produced by Nolan. Bono said about the song, “It was reflective of the times [the band] were living in, when people were no longer looking for the truth, [they] were all looking for instant gratification.” While I don’t think the lyrics really get to that idea—it’s more about reconnecting with a lover, reaching the divine through the body—the video does with its bursts of text, picture-in-picture, wax icons, amusement park revolutions, black light, and—someone correct me if I’m wrong—impersonators playing the band for the public in a glass cube. I thought, We’re still looking for instant gratification but, with this realism, in action films as well as in the onslaught of reality television, are we also still not looking for the truth, just saying we’ve got it with these insignificant morsels? So instead of rehashed takes of gritty realism, why not gratify ourselves and seek a little truth in something even better than the real thing?
Holy Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me! Am I asking for a reboot of Batman Forever?