Frank Miller is known for being a writer that commands an almost “genius” status. His work on Daredevil back in the 80’s is the stuff that legends are made from and his Sin City and 300 comic book properties have been made into movies that are jaw-droppingly beautiful and stylish – artistic in all of the right ways. In other words, when Miller speaks, many people listen, and with good cause. His recent remarks regarding one of the most popular characters that he has worked on, however, may have a few fans scratching their heads.
Speaking with Playboy in a recent interview, Miller revealed that he is not a fan of movies that have been adapted from his work:
“When people come out with movies about characters I’ve worked on, I always hate them. I have my own ideas about what the characters are like. I mean, I can’t watch a Batman movie. I’ve seen pieces of them, but I generally think, ‘No, that’s not him.’ And I walk out of the theater before it’s over.”
Does this include Christopher Nolan’s theatrical ode to Batman, a character that Miller famously handled VERY well?
“It includes all of them. I’m not condemning what he does. I don’t even understand it, except that he seems to think he owns the title Dark Knight. [laughs] He’s about 20 years too late for that. It’s been used.”
Really, is Miller the man who people should listen to when it comes to comic book adaptations? Yes, the man has a hefty comic book history under his belt and his Dark Knight series was even the backbone of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and the Miller’s Dark Knight run may even lead the way for Ben Affleck’s take on the Caped Crusader, if rumors of an older, beaten Batman in Batman v. Superman are true.
However, his talent on the page has not lent itself successfully to the screen as of yet. 1990’s Robocop 2, with which Miller held writing duties, wasn’t great. Sin City, which he co-directed with Robert Rodriguez, was successful both with critics and audiences alike, but how much was Rodriguez and how much was Miller? Let’s not forget that Miller helmed 2008’s The Spirit, his first attempt at directing a movie on his own, and that movie was a disaster. He has taken the reins as director for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, which hits theaters this weekend, and fans can see just how he handles the property on his own but given his history on screen, expectations are not high.
Just like most geniuses, Miller doesn’t look for adoration or confirmation with his work; he simply lays it all out for the public and lets them take from it what they will. Also like most geniuses, Miller has an air of arrogance that cannot be denied. Not everyone considers Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy a masterpiece and there are certainly issues with each one of the movies. That being said, the trilogy was the best adaptation of the Bat to date and Miller avoiding the series just because he feels he handled the character better than anyone ever possibly could is pure hubris. Batman & Robin, ok, that’s understandable, but many would argue that The Dark Knight is one of the best Batman adaptations to hit the screen and was handled with respect for the character.
As mentioned, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For will hit theaters this weekend and will give audiences another taste of what Miller can do as a director. Hopefully, it will live up to Miller’s opinion of himself.