I'm not going to lie, you guys: I'm getting more and more excited about Batman Live, the live-action stage show making its debut in England this month, with every piece of news that comes out about it. Mostly because every new bit of information makes it seem like the most insane interpretation of Batman that has ever existed.
That's definitely the case with this sneak preview where Batman drops down from the arena's ceiling straight into neon-soaked psychedelia, in which Dick Grayson being imprisoned in a clear plastic hamster ball is the least crazy thing he's confronted with. Check out the four-minute video, featuring day-glo fighting sticks, Batman's truly ridiculous abs and a Joker head made from people!
With the show opening in a mere two weeks, it looks like there still might be a few minor bugs to work out. For one thing, Batman himself seems to have a little trouble freeing himself from the line he rides down to the arena floor -- though admittedly, having a safety catch that's difficult to undo is a heck of a lot better than having an arena full of children traumatized by seeing the Caped Crusader fall to his death if the line comes loose too easily.
Also, while the camera does a nice job of zooming in to try to hide it, they may want to iron out the snags that led the Joker's lead goon to break his bo staff/glowstick in their pre-fight kata/dance routine.
Speaking of the fight itself, it loses a lot from being oddly quiet, which is probably the reason that the sticks are even there in the first place. The clack-clacking of the sticks hitting each other is a little more satisfying than the whiff of Batman pretending to backhand a clown, after all, even when it's the result of some pretty slow stage fighting.
At the very least, it does give us the chance to see Batman in a full-on strut.
The centerpiece of the preview, though, is when the actual background splits in two and a giant Joker-head emerges. This isn't unprecedented at all; if comics have taught me anything, it's that the Joker loves having replicas of his own head on stuff, from canes to an actual house. But then there's the fact that, since the background is meant to be an actual set, reality itself is opening up to give birth to a surreal, Dali-esque horror, in which oh my God the teeth and eyes are actually people.
That's pretty darn weird and creepy, even before you get to the part where the Joker walks out of his own head after it vomits an army of clowns. And I kind of love it.
I have a little less love for the part where the Joker threatens to kill someone if Batman says "one more word" -- the guy hasn't exactly been a chatterbox up 'til this point -- but I'm willing to let it slide because it brings the suspense.
I mean, I don't know about you guys, but I can't wait to see if Batman stops the Joker from killing Finn from Glee.
Batman Live opens on July 19 in the Manchester Evening News Arena in Manchester, England.
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