If you’ve been watching the cinema in the last few years, you may have noticed a blurring of lines between films – or perhaps even between genres. Case in point: the new Batman movie, which features a cast of celebrity cameos, includes a scene where the Caped Crusader (Mr. Wayne) battles the King of Fashion (Mr. Pattinson), who happens to be dating Mr. Wayne’s girlfriend at the time, Vicki Vale. This sort of mashup allows for some fascinating questions about the nature of pop culture, and in particular, the interplay between high and low culture.
Who’s The Boss, Anyway?
The biggest challenge for any superhero is trying to figure out who is the real boss – who controls the ropons, the machines or the chemical weapons? The answer, of course, is “not actually either of them.” It’s the fans. And in the case of Batman, the fans have spoken. For decades, they have demanded that the Dark Knight match wits with a variety of famous faces. And now, having waited decades for this particular cinematic dream team-up, Batman’s followers are finally going to get their wish.
Because it’s Hollywood, this particular fantasy has a slightly different spin. While Batman’s rogue’s gallery usually features classic villains like the Joker and the Riddler, in the new movie, the bad guys include a fashion critic (Willem Dafoe), a rich playboy (Jason Momoa), a race car driver (Chadwick Boseman) and a king (Freddie Mercury). These aren’t your neighborhood psychopaths. And yet, by combining these famous faces with a fashionable caped crusader, the overall impact is rather unnerving. And perhaps even a little bit terrifying. Although, I’ll have to admit that I had a bit of a fun time watching this scene, I can’t help but wonder how this was all decided upon. It’s like a dream come true for Batman fans, and yet it seems a little bit like cheating. Like the Joker, this was the sort of scenario that Batman had always envisioned, and now that it’s actually happening, he’s having a bit of a hard time adjusting.
What Is This, A Dress Rehearsal?
Although it’s an interesting concept, putting famous faces in weird combinations just to see what happens, it’s rather odd to see this practice taken to such an extreme. After all, it’s not like the various A-listers who suddenly found themselves wearing an outfit that once belonged to Marilyn Monroe, or that they were fully aware that this was a dress rehearsal. But seeing familiar faces mix it up with legendary bad guys is, apparently, what the fans want, and Hollywood is more than willing to oblige.
Is Fashion A Separate Kingdom From Entertainment?
There is, in fact, an entire subculture that has sprung up around this very topic. On one hand, you have fashion, a highly complex system that has many different facets. On the other, you have entertainment, a world of varied offerings that can sometimes blur together. For example, pop music and fashion have become so intertwined that some people actually refer to today’s fashion as “pop fashion.”
The fashion world and the entertainment world both have a place in this new Batman, and in fact, this is more than evident. While the Dark Knight has always been a bit of a fashion icon, his choices have been more related to his no-nonsense, “bad-ass” attitude. This time around, the fashion choices are more in line with the cultural zeitgeist, which is something that Mr. Pattinson seems to get, making for a much more interesting encounter between fashion and cinema. Perhaps even more so, given that most of the people inhabiting the fashion world are men. Who would’ve thought that a woman scorned would’ve turned out to be such a fierce competitor?
Can Fashion Be A Means Of Self-expression?
Fashion is, at its best, a form of self-expression; a way of showing the world who you want them to see you as. In today’s world, where everyone’s a critic and very few things are as they seem, this sort of auteurism is more important than ever. And in the case of Batman, the fashion choices provide a deeper, more provocative meaning for the Dark Knight – one that has very little to do with his reputation as a crime-fighter. It’s something to do with the way that he wants the world to see him, and it’s a question of identity: Who is Robert Pattinson, and what does he want the world to know about him?
In the scene where the fashion critic (Willem Dafoe) and the king (Freddie Mercury) go head-to-head, we get a fascinating glimpse into this complex relationship. Fashion and entertainment are both deeply-rooted in this scenario, as the match-up of these two powerful icons is, quite literally, something to behold. This isn’t just a matter of putting famous faces in costumes – this is much more profound, and it raises some interesting questions about the nature of identity and popularity.
This isn’t the first time that Batman has fought a designer, and it certainly won’t be the last. For those who have followed the character for years, this particular scene will trigger a flood of memories – both happy and sad. For those who have recently discovered the Dark Knight, this is definitely one to check out: an opportunity to see a character they might’ve never really gotten a chance to experience.