No one would want to spend more than five minutes with Batman.
Put your empty yogurt container in the wrong recycling bin, and he’d punch you in the kidney. Fail to come to a complete stop at an intersection, and he’d run you off the road with the Batmobile. Jaywalk and he’d swing down from a rooftop, grab you by an ankle and throw you in the Dumpster behind a Popeye’s Fried Chicken.
He spends his free time as a mopey billionaire, whining about his personal tragedies. And all the while he’s dating supermodels, driving in fancy cars with supermodels and sleeping on mattresses of money with supermodels.
And that voice — “Commissioner Gordon-grawr-rawr-justice-grawr-rawr-Alfred-fetch-me-my-slippers-grawr-rawr.”
Yeesh. Ease off the death metal, bro’.
But Batman’s appeal has survived six movies — two with director Joel Schumacher and his bat-nipples — and it’s not because we wanted to spend all those hours in a dark room with a grim avenger of the night.
We bought tickets — and before that, comic books — because of Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, the Penguin, the Scarecrow, the Riddler, two Two-Faces, two Jokers — and now two Banes and two Catwomen. (Three if you count Halle Berry, and we don’t.)
Evil equals box office. It’s a universal truth especially applicable to summer movies. What would May through August be without the shark from “Jaws,” the White House-destroying aliens from “Independence Day” or Darth Vader from “Star Wars”?
A box-office hero can’t be great without a truly despicable nemesis. Look no further than last year’s $250-million megaflop “Green Lantern.” It pitted one of the coolest comic-book heroes ever against a giant splortch of space diarrhea. Or consider the truly terrible “Spider-Man 3,” where the web-slinger fought an oil slick and a pile of sand.
Even our favorite heroes need to have a dark side. We want Johnny to lift Baby above his head. We might even take a look at Minny’s recipe for chocolate pie.
Luke Skywalker? No thanks. Han Solo shoots first.
Never has this been clearer than in “The Avengers.” The malevolent Loki declares war on Earth, only to be opposed by an arrogant demi-god, a smug billionaire, a monstrous green rage-aholic, two murderous assassins and a World War II-era goody two-shoes super-soldier.
Hey, nobody’s perfect.
It’s the opener to a dastardly season at the cineplex. Soon we will be bombarded by wicked witches, mysterious aliens and undead confederates.
What follows is our guide to the summer’s most wanted — the bad, the worst and the truly heinous.
Enjoy. Or, as a great movie villain might say, “Mwah-ha-ha.”