The I Can Do It better blog-a-thon, day 4

I’m sorry to report that for the final day of this blog-a-thon we have fewer contributions than yesterday, meaning you’ll have to content yourselves with my own entry.

2005 saw the release of two star-studded big-budget action films that were unrelated other than that they both told the story of how a troubled young man, trained in combat and philosophy in part by Liam Neeson, grows into a fearsome alter ego who wears a black helmet, black armor, and a black cape. One of them sucked, and the other, Batman Begins, kicked ass.

That’s not to say it couldn’t have been improved in a couple of small ways. When Bruce Wayne is doing his carefree playboy act and the maître d’ complains to him that the pool in which his gorgeous model dates are splashing “is for decoration,” I really wanted him to confide to the maître d’, “So are the women” (instead of his lame quip, “Well, they’re European”). Although come to think of it, “So are the women” could be taken to mean, “I am gay.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but while Batman Begins offered a fresh perspective on many aspects of the Batman mythos, ambiguity about his sexual identity would have been taking things a little farther than I suspect audiences were prepared to go.

Next: there is a point in the film when Jim Gordon arrives at Arkham Asylum, where Batman is busy rescuing Rachel from The Scarecrow. Gordon sees a bunch of cops standing around outside and asks the chief, “What are you waiting for?” The chief responds, “Backup.” Impatient to act, Gordon runs in anyway. A short time later, Gordon is with Batman when he hears the sound of a zillion bats approaching. He asks, “What’s that?” and Batman says, “Backup.”

Here’s the improvement: instead of “What’s that?” Gordon again says, “What are you waiting for?” to Batman (as Batman pauses for a beat after he’s given Gordon some marching orders for helping Rachel), and Batman answers, “Backup,” exactly as in the earlier exchange, and Gordon again does not wait for the backup to arrive before leaping into action.

But as I wrote to my sister a few months after seeing Batman Begins, the best improvement of all “would have been a scene with Batman rescuing Katie Holmes in real life.”


  TOM CRUISE and a spaced-out looking
  KATIE HOLMES are involved in heavy
  petting on the sofa in the penthouse
  suite.  Things progress until Katie,
  under Tom's Svengali gaze, obediently
  wriggles out of her panties.

          Tonight is the night.  You
          will conceive my child.

  Crash!  The door splinters from its
  frame under the weight of BATMAN's
  boot.  With a deft leap he swooshes
  his cape between the two lovers.  Tom
  falls backward off the couch, naked,
  in surprise.  Katie appears to snap
  out of a trance.


          This time you've gone too far,

             (dawning horror)
          You're "The Cruiser"?

  Tom seems about to answer, then
  launches himself feet-first into
  Batman's chest, toppling both men to
  the ground.  Tom rolls deftly across
  the room before Batman can recover.
  He grabs an item from a dresser drawer
  and whirls around with it.  A gun?  A
  knife?  No: it's the terrifying mask
  of The Cruiser, vicious arch-nemesis
  of Gotham's law-abiding citizens.

          Katie, get out of here!

             (donning mask)
          Katie, stay!

  Katie's paralyzed.  The Cruiser comes
  at Batman again, still naked but for
  his mask.  Batman defends himself but
  can't land a blow on his amazingly
  nimble enemy.  Batman manages to shove
  him across the room long enough to
  dash back to the sofa and shake Katie
  out of her paralysis.


  The Cruiser regains his feet and
  punches a hidden button.  An entire
  wall of the room rotates aside,
  revealing The Cruiser's secret
  laboratory -- and A DOZEN BURLY

          Cruiser Crew -- attack!

  Batman now has a full-fledged melee on
  his hands.  Far from fleeing, it's the
  best Katie can do to protect herself
  from the fists and bodies flying
  around the room.  In the confusion,
  The Cruiser grabs her arm and pulls
  her roughly into a concealed escape
  chute.  Katie fights back but is no
  match for the highly trained

          Stop it!  Stop it!


  Katie and The Cruiser, both still
  naked except for The Cruiser's mask,
  slide in tandem down a spiral chute
  leading from the top of the hotel down
  to the street.  The Cruiser presses a
  switch hidden in his mask,
  illuminating a strange glow in the
  mask's eyes.  He turns his masked gaze
  on Katie.  She immediately returns to
  her earlier trance state.

          You will conceive my
          child.  Now!

  Hypnotized, Katie swings a leg over
  The Cruiser's torso even as they
  spiral downward together.

  Unseen by either one, Batman drops
  through the center of the spiral on
  the end of a Batrope.  He tosses a
  Bat-grenade onto the chute,
  obliterating a long section of it.  At
  the sound of the explosion, The
  Cruiser looks away from Katie and sees
  the smoking gap, which they are fast
  approaching.  He abandons his efforts
  to penetrate her.

          Oh no.

  There is no way to stop, but that
  doesn't stop The Cruiser from clawing
  frantically at the smooth slide.

          No!  No!  Xenu!

  Batman dangles at the end of the
  Batrope just beneath the gap.  As The
  Cruiser and Katie sail into space, he
  deftly plucks Katie from the air and
  allows The Cruiser to fall.


  As he disappears into the darkness
  below, only the mask's strange glow
  remains.  Then a crash and
  silence... and the glow is gone.




          But how did you know that Tom
          Cruise was really The Cruiser?

          There were little hints
          everywhere -- the too-perfect,
          vaguely artificial good looks;
          the disproportionate power
          over women; the gay rumors
          designed to conceal the true
          nature of Tom's contacts with
          porn star Kyle Bradford, who's
          really a genius chemist in the
          criminal underworld.  And I
          knew that the chemicals that
          gave The Cruiser his powers
          would slowly destabilize his
          mind, just as we've all seen.

          What's going to happen to
          Katie Holmes now?

          She's been through a lot, and
          her rehabilitation is going to
          take some time.  Luckily I
          reached her before it was too
          late.  The police now have
          Bradford in custody and he's
          cooperating with Bale
          Enterprises to manufacture an
          antidote.  Plus Katie's
          strong, and she's in the care
          of the finest minds at the
          Bale Institute of Mental
          Health.  I think we'll be able
          to welcome Katie back to your
          show in no time. 

I know, picking on Tom Cruise these days is too easy and not entirely sporting, especially since Jonathan Coulton has done it better. Plus this is a bit more perverse than my usual imaginings. But what can I say? I just couldn’t keep this attempt at symbolism to myself:

Hypnotized, Katie swings a leg over The Cruiser’s torso even as they spiral downward together.

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