ByTim Mitchell, writer at
I'm a devotee of the horrific, the fantastic, and the absurd who has decided to contribute perspectives on my favorite genres, based on almo
Tim Mitchell

They've finally done it. The first picture of Ben Affleck in his superhero suit for the upcoming [Batman vs. Superman](movie:711870) movie has just been released (see above). For months, this suit has been rumored to be a game changer of sorts--in particular, Kevin Smith was ecstatic about it. However, the suit appears to me to be a full-tilt flashback to Frank Miller's comic book miniseries from 1986, The Dark Knight Returns. Here's an example for comparison:

Look, I enjoy Batman. He's a great character with 75 years worth of great superhero stories. But could we please stop using Frank Miller's work as the gold standard for Batman stuff?

Just about every Batman movie and TV project since 1986 has been obligated to reference Miller's work as some sort of proof of legitimacy. Articles about the 1989 Batman movie frequently mentioned how Tim Burton used Miller as a source of inspiration for the look and feel of the film. Various Batman cartoons from the last 25 years have made overt references to Miller. Christopher Nolan featured nods to Miller throughout his Batman movies, from the titles of the second two films (they were "Dark Knight" flicks, as opposed to "Caped Crusader" flicks) to the plot of the third film, which was a mash-up of Dark Knight Returns with the Knightfall story arc. With so much studio and fan fealty towards Miller, one would think that nobody but Miller ever wrote a good Batman story.

The look of the "new" Bat suit for Batman vs. Superman is an obvious nod to Miller, although I'm not sure what it's supposed to accomplish outside of obvious fan service. The new movie will not be a direct adaptation of Dark Knight Returns, so why taunt Bat-fans with nods to Miller's story (e.g., Batman having fisticuffs with Superman) when it’s not an actual, 100 percent commitment to pure Millerism?


Should non-comic book Batman projects keep following Frank Miller's work as the standard?


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