No one can argue the box office success of Nolan’s Batman films. Collectively the three films have brought in over a billion dollars. His non-Caped Crusader films are critically and commercially lauded. There are film fans who worship at the alter of Nolan. Personally I’m not one of them. I think he’s a decent director, who has a unique style, but I don’t think he’s quite as good as his hype. I googled Nolan, only to find sites stating he’s “God” or “the new Kubrick”, and while I have enjoyed his films, they are not without their flaws.
I know it may seem a bit hypocritical, a person who writes articles reviewing comic books getting pissed off at someone judging whether something is art or not, I get that, I do. I try to review things I like or enjoy, and generally attempt to keep a somewhat positive spin on my reviews. Why waste time on something I don’t enjoy. To say a piece of art is “real” or not belies a failure to understand what art truly is. I’m of the mindset that all attempts at art are genuine, it’s what the viewer of the piece takes from that art. I can watch Tommy Wiseau’s The Room and still take something from it, as mind bogglingly bananas that film is, it’s still something that elicits a response from me. Will I have the same reaction to watching it that I would Giusepe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso? No. Of course not. They are a completely different type of viewing experience, but I love them both. Cinema Paradiso fills me with a joy of film and art, while The Room… well The Room is The Room. And in that sense there is room for Marvel's light popcorn superhero movies and Nolan's darker, moodier Batman films.
It seems a trivial thing to get upset about (not that we fanboys aren’t known for our over reactions), but I get perturbed when someone discounts a person’s work because they choose not to see it as art. Art evokes and seeks to make the viewer respond emotionally, sometimes they are successful in their intent, and sometimes they fail, but to say that it isn’t “real” because you dictate it to be so shows a real arrogance that doesn’t sit well with me. Nolan has stated that he does not intend to return to the superhero genre, and that’s probably for the best. Despite the success of his Batman movies, it always seemed an uncomfortable fit for Nolan, with rumor stating that he didn’t want to return for the latter two films. Be that true or not, Nolan can go back to making his so called “real” films and I’ll gladly go back to my not-real movie with the talking tree and gun toting raccoon.