Batman: The Unfulfilled Fantasy

“You won’t kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won’t kill you because you’re just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever.”

“Well. Not this time. The Bat is mine. And only mine.”


Joker loses his smile as blood gushes to the floor.

“And you Mr. J, are spoiling our fun time. Don’t look so surprised. I am the dark side of this dark knight my dear. Now, off you go. Hippity Hoppity Hippity Hoppity.”

She kicks him once, blows a kiss towards Batman, turns around and walks away. Batman looks on.

She called herself Fantasy. Batman had met his equal. His Fantasy.

“30 minutes from now?”
“Uh huh Mr. Man”, Fantasy vanished. Just like The Bat.

In the darkness just before twilight, Batman and FP are making out. The masks stay on.


Fantasy is dressing up.
“Time to go!”
“I can go for some more of the Prime time.”
“You never had a good sense of humor, did you?”
“Well. No. Traumatized childhood, you know.”
“Funny. You never spotted the opportunity.”
“But I did”

Fantasy smiled. And vanished. And Batman too.

Six Months Back
It started with the encounter with the joker six months back. Joker was becoming more and more innovative with his strategies. He had accomplices. And Batman was getting older. And slower. And rusted. Street crimes were fodder. They were not training him hard enough. And his encounters with Joker were becoming more and more laborious. And he missed Robin. He missed having a training partner. And an ally. Alfred just wasn’t fun enough. And Alfred didn’t prowl the streets with him.

She had showed up just as he was cornered. Badly.
“Need a hand. I am up for the job.” She said.
“There is no vacancy. Who are you?”
“Well then. Let me start my own ENTERPRISE. Mr. Man.”  The way she said it, it almost sounded like Mr. Wayne.

Fantasy moved like him. Precise, planned, gadgety without being crazy. Theatricality and deception are good weapons.

He had been trying to track Fantasy down, but there were no traces. There was no linkage to the crime syndicate. And the crime rates were heading south. Gordon was under pressure. Administration hated Batman and his flaming red haired partner. But like always, Batman was a step ahead of them. And Fantasy was a step ahead of Batman.

Seven such encounters later, he got his chance. This time, Batman was late. And Fantasy at risk. Bat saved the day, and brough Fantasy back to the cave.

“Remember Romeo. Anyone can be Batman…” She said as she faded. He left the mask be.

Six hours later, they made out for the first time.

“So, I can claim The Batman’s virginity.”
“And I can claim yours.”
“Don’t get ahead of yourself Bat. You’ve been around forever. I am the sexy intern. Don’t be so sure”
“… ”
“And don’t be so sore.”

Three Months Later
Gotham is a safer place. Earlier, the weed would find newer places to grow. This time, Batman cornered them, and Fantasy cured them. This worried Batman. For he was no longer the threat. Fantasy was. He could protect Fantasy, but he could not. Just as she could protect Batman, but not Bruce Wayne. And in a city like Gotham, you could never be sure. It attracted the worst scum of nearby places, and its dirt had spread to other places. He wanted to ask her. But that would break the pact. And that would increase the risk.

He was standing by the bat signal. He knew she would be there. Or should be there. She wasn’t.

And that’s how it ended. The bat still prowls around in the night. The city is safe. But the bat is not. Batman is not needed anymore. But Rachel is gone. And so is Fantasy. Some place else, Gordon is looking at his family photograph.

“The Dark Knight Rises” Falls

First up, before you all go up in arms against me, remember that you’re talking to a die hard fan who has just come out after watching two back to back shows of the movie (one at a regular PVR and the other at IMAX), who’s debated the ins and outs of all three movies with friends over the years (and hours). That aside, I think the facebook based endearment of TDKR has failed to resonate with me. It’s almost a series of fanboys (like me) who are afraid of saying that the movie is not even in the same zipcode as what Nolan delivers so consistently. The movie is strictly OK. Not an epic finale to an epic trilogy. Nolan has given us the Joker. And Inception. And Nolan has given us a lot more. And with that barometer, normalized for time and scale, this might be his worst outing ever. And Nolan’s worst outing being an epic finale, seems like a mindless conclusion to me. We know he is capable of better.

YES. I could not help but compare it with the epic greatness that Nolan and Ledger delivered the last time. The scale of story-telling, the characters, and the field of vision of TDK were at a different scale. And so were the action sequences. The first movie had Ra’s-Al-Ghul played by Liam Neeson, who torments Bruce Wayne/ Batman. You cherish his doubt. You loath his moral high ground. Second movie had Joker. ‘Nuff said. This movie has Bane. And Talia. And the biggest bane of Bane is that one moment where he is reduced to being a monster in love, and Talia is reduced to being a carrier of her father’s will. The motives, though aligned with the league of shadows, are petty. For you know clearly that the motive is not the league. It is revenge.

No. I did not find the action to be jaw-dropping. The first sequence with the airplane is OK. The stadium sequence is wonderful. The end action sequence with the scale of manhattan, is OK OK. Haven’t we seen destruction at a bigger scale in Avengers, or Transformers already? So, what’s the jaw dropping part? Huh? Come again? Huh? No, I don’t agree…

TDKR has too many long and indulgent dialogues. It seems like people are talking and talking and talking. Quite frequently, the conversation tries to be profound. Like we are used to them being profound when Nolan’s writing. But its only every now and then that it actually is. Beyond a point, it plays with your patience.

And beyond a point, the story started resembling Jigar. Remember that Ajay Devgan movie. Back broken, dude fights back. All for revenge. Or, the Ganga Jamuna Saraswati style Amitabh. Can overcome all physical odds and a broken vertebrae fixed through with a punch, like only pahalwans on Najafgarh Road can do. The fact that Ra’s Al Ghul was mentioned and not Superman’s dad as the reason why Bane/ Talia decided to go rogue does not make it a tight plot. People need their reasons, as Joker would remind them.

The high point is the absolutely crackling Selina Kyle. She delivers. As a vixen thief with a heart. And looks perfectly natural in the action sequences. Marilon Coutillard’s La Vie En Rose is a piece to remember her for. Not TDKR. The usual suspects are the usual suspects. Though I must say that I like Levitt’s balance in acting.

And yeah, Hans Zimmer’s background score is phenomenal. Again.

You know a problem with a performance appraisal system? When you ace it in an year, you also build an expectation. SO, when you fail it next year, your fall from grace is harder. I won’t say that you should not watch the movie. Even if you sleep through it or read only the subtitles that Mumbai movie theaters have graciously started showing for language noobs like me, TDKR is a lot better than subjecting yourself to a Cocktail or Rowdy Rathore. Or, Kya Super Kool Hain Hum.

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