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Old November 13 2010, 07:09 PM   #109
Lapis Exilis
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Re: The Dark Knight to have a female villain?

Myasishchev;4522707
wrote:

Well, not to put words in anybody's mouths, but I think the sentiment was "why bother having token females, if all you're going to do is use them as someone the protagonist attempts to fuck/save"?

I agree with your point, that there ought to be female characters who aren't there just to do that. The problem here is firstly with the source material and secondly with how Nolan's run the franchise.
Honestly, I disagree with this - while Rachel was pretty much reduced to sacrifical victim in Dark Knight, in BBegins she did have much more of a purpose than just a woman to fuck/save. Acting as Bruce's conscience made her one of the strongest female characters in Batman history, and certainly one of the best love interests that the character has ever had.


Catwoman is actually a pretty decent character, but on the other hand, not really a villain to hang a film on, because she's not opposed to Batman, really, they just kind of get in each other's way. Also, there's not much thematic power in "big buy beats up a woman who likes to steal shit." Fetish material, yes, but no thematic power.
Nolan has radically reimagined several characters I wouldn't have considered worth a decent story, so I'm pretty sure he could do the same with Catwoman. There have been times when she's been quite a good villain and she mostly gets weakened when they try to make her "bad but really good", or focus too much on the romance angle.

After that, I'm at a loss to think of any female Bat-family characters that are suitable. Poison Ivy was mentioned, but let's not kid ourselves, she's fundamentally a B-list Bat-villain. B+, at best. Her power set also fails to fit into the gritty/realistic/frankly uncool Nolan interpretation of the Batman mythos.

Harley Quinn? Yeah, the Joker's obnoxious sidekick ought to be able to finish the trilogy on a high note.

Sasha Bordeaux? You don't even know who that is. And neither do I. Nor do either one of us care. Also she wasn't a villain.

I literally couldn't think of any more, so I went here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman_villains

The first female villain I even recognized was Lady Vic. And I'd bet a dollar I'm the only one who knows what she looks like, and that's only on account she was in Secret Six.

But she did remind me of Lady Shiva, who would come off pretty much identically to Talia, outside the larger context of the comics, in the narrower scope of film portrayal. Except she'd also be a racial stereotype. Keen!
Always possible they'll invent a new character for the film. I'd like to see that, actually.

I still say Azrael or Bane, or both. They're the only foes that would 1)fit in with Nolan's take on Batman in general and 2)have enough conceptual strength to carry a film.
I'll never get the interest in Bane. He's never seemed much of a character to me. Azrael - there's a lot of backstory there, not sure how they'd work that into a movie.

*On the other hand, maybe Talia in the Nolanverse wouldn't be too bad. It might be better than in some of the comics she's been in, since her portrayal in the upcoming film would, by default, not be a portrayal of Talia that didn't reduce her to "that chick Bruce Wayne banged back in the 1980s, and who finally had his son twenty years later"--that is, essentially a plot device. Seriously, I just read Batman and Son and for its few strengths, Morrison's Talia is just... painfully bad. Painfully sexist and really just unpleasantly pointlike in how many dimensions she exists in there. (Also, note to aspiring terrorists: you can't make the British Army disband its garrison on Gibraltar because you kidnapped the PM's wife. That's just fucking stupid.)
The main reason I don't care for Ra's and Talia as villains is their plans always seem remarkably dumb - the very epitome of overly convoluted, cliche comic book villain crap complete with pompous, posturing monologues.

Myasishchev wrote: View Post
Admiral Young wrote:
How is Morrison's Talia sexist exactly? I think he's written her as being arrogant, superior, elitist and she is all of those things. I detected no difference in his Talia than how she's been written anywhere else.
Obsessed with being with Batman, to the point of mania. It was dreadfully off-putting.

Now, bear in mind I'm basing this off what I've read in the Batman and Son trade. Her brief appearance in Batman RIP wasn't much of anything substantial. My collection of Morrisonian Batman is patchy, largely because I keep trying to like it (because Morrison is, ordinarily, the shit), but I keep failing to do so.

Anyway, some sample lines to show you what I mean:

"You know I always get what I want, beloved. And what I want is you. I want us to fulfill my father's wishes and be a family [...] Join me and I promise I'll never threaten civilization again."

And Batman brushes her off and:

"Then it's war. And you're responsibile. My dear detective, my mad, bilionaire, brilliant genius with your secret hideouts [did Grant Morrison think we forgot which comic we were reading? shit, I thought this was about that guy from Krypton with the glasses, and further unnecessary description], your double life and your Justice League membership... it's not over."

Like, seriously? This is what all those cyphers in masks are going to die for? Talia al Ghul's loneliness? That's horrid.

Is she like that everywhere? Jeez.
Pretty much. Traditionally Talia has existed entirely for men. She generally has no motivation or thought process of her own and runs around either doing dirty deeds for her father, even when it supposedly tortures her own conscience, or runs around trying to seduce or entrap Bruce into a relationship. Early on, even though she was her father's right hand, he worked to likewise trap Bruce into a relatinship with her so that he could have a male heir because a daughter simply wouldn't work! Why she at that point didn't tell Ra's to go screw remains a mystery.

For a brief period they crossed her over into Superman and she took over LexCorp and she got interesting for about half a minute - then they went for this Batman and Son business, retconned back into continuity one of the worst stories in Batman's history (the one in which Damian is conceived) and she's right back to being an obsessive cliche with the emotional maturity of a jilted adolescent who can't conceive of life without her beloved to the point that she'll go psychotic to get him.

Which is not to say I couldn't see her being reimagined much the way Ra's was for the Nolan-verse. Make her a competent villain out for revenge for her father (who I am firmly convinced is not dead in the Nolan-verse - we never saw a body...), a skilled assassin with all the ninja skills and even more devious than either Ra's or Bruce and she could be very interesting.
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