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Frank Miller Can’t Watch ‘The Dark Knight,’ or Any Other Batman Movie

Frank Miller is a man with specific ideas and interests. That fact is plainly clear in his work on comics like The Dark Knight Returns, 300 and Sin City.

Given his singular vision of how certain characters should and should not be rendered, Miller finds himself unable to view certain movies — like, say, anything featuring Batman.

In an interview with Playboy, timed to the release of his new movie, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Miller spoke about the experience of seeing characters he’s worked on make the leap from the paneled page to the big screen — characters like Daredevil, Elektra and Batman, for example.

“When people come out with movies about characters I’ve worked on, I always hate them,” he said. “I have my own ideas about what the characters are like. I mean, I can’t watch a Batman movie. I’ve seen pieces of them, but I generally think, No, that’s not him. And I walk out of the theater before it’s over.”

Yes, that includes Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series. Indeed, “it includes all of them.”

“I’m not condemning what he does. I don’t even understand it, except that he seems to think he owns the title Dark Knight,” Miller laughed. “He’s about 20 years too late for that. It’s been used.”

Miller’s Sin City sequel arrives in theaters this weekend.

(via CBM)


  • samuel

    Makes sense to me. Reason why I can’t read Geoff Johns Justice League or the dozens of Batman books (I only read Scott Snyder’s Batman)

  • Michael Pullmann

    Really? You’ve worked on Justice League and Batman?

  • Drew

    I think he means he doesn’t understand it, or get it

  • JasonMBryant

    How does Nolan “think he owns the title Dark Knight”? has he gone on a rant about inventing the title or claimed that nobody else is allowed to use it?

  • Norville Rogers

    Fair enough. I certainly couldn’t watch Miller’s THE SPIRIT either, ’cause I sure didn’t recognize that character at all.

  • AirDave

    :) Ha!
    I feel the same way about some Batman movies – “No. That’s not Batman.” The Dark Knight Rises had a few things that just seemed out of character. In monthly comics we never question the “never-ending” battle…so why is that a question in nearly every Batman movie?

  • Dan Trudeau

    It’s astonishing how little self-awareness this guy has. By the way, Frank, Bill Finger came up with the Dark Knight name. I don’t remember Nolan ever claiming he owned it. Sorry if you find him threatening for whatever reason.

  • samuel

    I have my own ideas about what the characters are like and what I see in certain books doesn’t work for me so I can’t read them

  • M. Walsh

    This is pretty rich coming from the guy that gave us All-Star Batman & Robin.

  • MxDx

    Oddly enough, I can’t bear to read “The Dark Knight Strikes Again” or anything else with Frank Miller’s name on it post 1987….

  • green_manalishi

    He sounds like a bitter moron.

  • Michael Aguiar

    Man, That sounds like me when I watched “The Spirit” and “Robocop III” “Nope..Thats not him”, and walk right out of the theater..

  • Dan Wheeler

    What a stupid old man.

  • Walt

    Fade away Frank… Just fade away.

  • adam

    yeah. he’s still probably mad the spirit was a bomb. oh wait the movie was awful.

  • Baron

    Miller’s “Spirit” was not only a total bastardization of the character, but made it totally obvious that he did absolutely no directing of any kind on Sin City, as I’m sure was the case on the new one. The cast was flailing like kids in a train wreck of a high-school play, and its because there was no director in the room, just a sad old man pissing on the work of another creator.

  • Lanos

    I can totally agree with him its the same way a lot of TMNT purest protested the new turtles flick because it wasn’t the turtles they wanted. At least he said he’s not condemning what Nolan does. Thats more than I can say for TMNT, X-Men, Deadpool, Daredevil, Spider-man, and fantastic four fan-boys/girls

  • dayfan

    Years from now, we’ll be able to point at this interview and say, “This is the interview in which Frank Miller started behaving like Alan Moore”

  • Eric

    What time is it? (looks at pocket watch) Oh look, it’s Miller Time.

  • Jon Seaford

    i thought Miller only wrote Robocop 2?…even then other people messed with it. not too long ago i was a Robocop graphic novel based on his original script .. or written by him, not sure which. i hope it’s good.

  • Irabbit75

    I’ve felt the same way but I always put those pieces of film in a little box that says ‘alternate universe’ to keep myself from just getting angry at every movie I see.

  • ameen

    he is not threatened.CHristpher Nolan gets way tooo much credt as he made Batman realstic and coool.But it was Frank Miller who did that.

  • Josiah Silas Michael

    He’s a writer that can’t appreciate different iterations? Odd. What did he read before he was writing for Batman? non-Batman comics? I doubt it.

  • tombo

    I remember reading in some book about comic history that Miller invented the term “Dark Knight” as a nickname to replace cape crusader, then being surprised at finding 70s back issues that used the term.

  • thedude82

    agreed. I used to get super mad at movies based off comic characters, but this attitude is how I was able to enjoy x men dofp.

  • Dave Geek

    I gotta say I was expecting a lot more vitriol from Frank here. The points he makes here are actually some of the more reasonable things he’s said of late. I mean it still comes off more than a little prima-donna (especially letting Nolan know the Dark Knight thing has “been done”) but overall not as bad as it could be. Kind of too bad as I generally look forward to eye-rolling at Frank Miller.

  • Dave Geek

    In Alan Moore’s defense, at least what he is talking about are his own actual creations for the most part. I mean he still sounds like a bitter crank but still…

  • Kuma

    Oh poor Crazy Frank….. He thinks we care two shits about what his racist, mysoginistic ass has to say at this point…. He is nuts…

  • Irabbit75

    Haven’t seen DoFP yet (though it’s driving me crazy that I have not) my prime example, Harry Potter. I loved the books and, for the most part, I have enjoyed the movies because I can put…certain aspects into the alternate universe box. However, some of the ways they changed the characterization of the players (specifically Dumbledore) really made me want to break the 4th wall over their heads!

  • Kuma

    All-Star GODDAMN Batman & Robin LOL

  • disqus_8uTkp82LAz

    Frank Miller is an idiot. He hasn’t done anything great in a long time and then makes these types of comments. Sorry, Franky, but the new Batman movies are different than what you did. Get over it. I’m glad they’re different than your Dark Knight sequel (what a pile of crap).

  • Kuma

    At least Moore deserves being allowed to be pissed, in the end he made the characters, Miller didnt create Batman

  • John

    This doesn’t even make sense…so why not just kill every character in every comic out there and not let anyone have their own interpretation of them?

  • Chaplain_Charlie

    Batman has been the “Dark Knight” since 1940. I adore Frank’s work, but this is one of those cases where I have to seperate the man from the medium because he gets a little screwy somtimes.

  • Mecha_the_Hedgehog

    What not enough hookers and women abuse or racism. God he’s such an ass it such a shame I used to have such respect for him. Seriously he acts like he owns or actually created these characters. I can understand him walking out if they fully adapted one of his stories but all they did was take a few elements they never stated there straight adaptations.

  • JasonMBryant

    I can think of quite a few Alan Moore books featuring characters he didn’t create. “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”, “Marvelman”, and “Lost Girls” to start with. He also originally intended Watchmen to be based off licensed characters.

  • RunnerX13

    Does Miller know he didn’t create Batman? I wonder if he can sit through the Spirit?

  • JasonMBryant

    I don’t agree with everything Miller said, but I do see his overall point.

    When Peter David finished the last volume of X-Factor, he said that some of the character’s had become so close to him that he’d never been able to read someone else’s version of them. That wasn’t a slam against any other authors, he just meant to show how strong those voices had become in his head and how much he cared about the characters. I think this is largely the same thing.

  • Disco_Magic

    Holding firmly to certain specific ideas prior to actual observation and critical thought. Isn’t that just about the exact definition of prejudice? Certainly explains his hatred of everything that doesn’t fit in his tiny, skull-shaped box.

  • Grimace

    Wow…bitter much?

  • Grimace

    Be glad you didn’t. That movie was AWFUL.

  • Farnham Bailey XTmD

    Truly, does anyone care whether he likes these movies or not. We all have access to them whether he enjoys them. I care not a fig. Why would one choose to be indignant over another man`s taste when it is only one`s own palette that matters.

  • Dan Trudeau

    I have nothing but respect for what Frank Miller did for Batman in the 80s. That said, he does sound very threatened. The comment about the Dark Knight name is ridiculous.

  • DXW

    Other than Batman Begins, the Nolan Batman movies are garbage.

  • Convoy

    All joking aside. It looks like he really is.

  • Jay

    Yeah, I think Chris Claremont said something similar about the X-Men..

  • Jeffrey M Magwood

    The only lasting original character Moore created, that I can think of, is Constantine. He’s done interesting work with other writers’ creations, but rarely created his characters.

    Interesting, considering how acidic he is towards others’ interpretations of his work, which is really an interpretation of someone else’s work.

  • Arguman

    Goddamn All-star Batman and Robin

  • Arguman

    In retrospect, Batman in TDKR wasn’t very realistic. And Miller wasn’t the first to make Batman/Bruce more grounded in “reality”. It started with Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams/Jim Aparo and continued with Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers

  • Lou

    I kind of agree. We have not really had a real Batman movie. All we can say is “Wow, Nolan did a great job compared to the past.” But unlike a lot of the Marvel movies, DC movies are totally stand alone with little (or no) thought to the comic book source material. Sure, the characters are named the same. But their heart and soul are completely changed to suit a director’s unique vision.

    I would loved to have heard Snyder say “I’m going to make a totally faithful ‘Dark Knight Returns’ movie.” Had he said that, I think I might have been able to get past Bat-fleck…maybe.

  • astrognostic

    sounds very small minded.

  • LanternAtomika

    The Goddamned Batman and Dick Grayson, age 12

  • Alister Hooke

    Every comic book creator puts his/her own unique stamp on Batman and is entitled to new and different interpretations which expand, but don’t violate, the essential mythology. The same goes with movie directors. Not being able to watch/read someone else’s work because it deviates from some arbitrary fixed point of view seems a bit precious and anti-creativity. Miller is a great creator but I’m surprised at the apparent backwardness of his viewpoint. On the other hand… Elektra was a travesty.

  • Greg Sanders

    I think we all have our own spirit of these characters. I love Batman, but the only work I actually own from Miller is Year One, and that’s primarily because of the beautiful art by David Mazzucchelli. But I can honestly say I’ve never been a particular fan of Miller or his interpretation of Batman, Catwoman and others. But I also feel that the films, none of them, have ever put MY Batman on screen. And that’s my right. For me, my Batman is Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Alan Burnett Beyond that, Jeph Loeb. So, basically, I really have no sympathy for Miller or his ego.

  • a boy and his blog

    Frank Miller comes off like a pompous douche in all his interviews. Dark Knight Returns was good and all, but he hasn’t done anything decent in 20 years. And BTW, he acts like he coined the phrase The Dark Knight, when it has been used since the 40’s.

  • Sturgeon’s Law

    Frankly, I don’t think Miller has the right to dictate how Batman is portrayed. Yes, his “Dark Knight” did present the character in a new and distinct light (or dark, if you prefer), but he neither invented nor controls this iconic figure. He is free to view or ignore anything he pleases, and free to express his opinion, but he hasn’t the right to condemn the vision of others just because it differs from his own.

  • Sturgeon’s Law

    Hahahahahahahahahaha! You know, that was my first thought also. “Who is this guy, Alan Moore?”

  • The Goddamn Batman!

    Batman and Daredevil were well established long before Frank Miller came around. The Dark Knight Returns goes completely off the rails in the second half and his Daredevil run also doesn’t deserve a modicum of the praise it receives. If it wasn’t for Year One he could be written off completely.

  • Larry Oliver

    Hey, washed up Frank Miller, you didn’t make up the Dark Knight ( see Detective Comics #40, 1938). And Robert Rodriguez didn’t create the look of Sin City. You should be happy that more people want to read Bat man comics thanks to the Hollywood movies.

  • R.

    “Dark Knight” comes from “Darknight Detective”.

  • bean

    Miller’s Batman was completely off, so his opinion of the character is moot.

  • Lokai

    Given how badly Miller brutalized The Spirit, I don’t think he’s in any position to talk about others abusing characters.

  • Diggle

    Except that Alan Moore has a long list of great work.

  • Joe Smith

    Sorry but I don’t agree with you on the DD topic. While I agree with you on some of Miller’s batman stories (and some other famous batman stories that are way overrated), I love most of his DD stuff.

  • AtomR

    To be honest it seems like HE thinks he owns the characters he’s worked with, to have such an unbreakable opinion of the characters.

  • WNew

    When I try to read Frank Miller’s All-Star Batman, I think, “No, that’s not him,” and close the book.

  • sethbdeadwood

    Ugh, Frank Miller…
    I’ve had friends with that kind of attitude towards comics, that they’ve got their own special version of the character in mind and anything else is a travesty. I get it, but it feels like a sad way to process art. Sad in the sense that you’re missing out on so fucking much by drawing these arbitrary lines in the sand. These characters change all the time. They have to have they want the mythology to still be interesting 50+ years later. If you’re not pleased with one incarnation of the character, wait a few months/years and a better one should be along eventually.

    I think seeing BATMAN & ROBIN at a young age really helped me get so zen about the whole thing. The first Batman movie was pretty much what got me into comics in the first place, and the 4th one was a cold, hard dose of reality. The reality that Hollywood doesn’t give a fuck about my expectations, so I’d better lower them. And sure enough, Christopher Nolan came along a few years later, and made things better. Not nerd perfect, I know, but close enough for the time being.

  • Michael Aguiar

    Couldn’t agree more, the spirit did for Frank Miller’s directing career what Blade 3 did to Goyer’s. Both good comic book writers that can’t direct a movie to save their fn lives. and no Im not comparing Goyer to Miller although his JSA run with Johns was amazing. I always felt that he only got the “co director” credit because Robert Rodriguez was geeking out over having Miller there..

  • ResurrectRider

    A lot of hateful comments towards Frank Miller here…not completely undeserved. But, keep in mind that he is beginning to feel the effects of age creepin up. He’s also a recluse, and a lifetime pessimist. His stories definitely reflect his persona…dark, complex and very bleak. I’m not saying i condone outwardly condemning films based on previously well-established comic book characters, just that i see his comments have more to do with his state of mind, rather than an actual critique on anything.

  • MEOW!

    All debate about his work and everything else said aside, as a decades long Batman reader, the “Dark Knight” movies are way off the mark. Frank Miller is right, the Nolan movies redefined Batman for modern audiences in a way that is just not Batman. Now modern movie fans only (fans that don’t read the comics) think that’s what Batman is and now unfortunately the comics are reflecting that too. Then adding “Dark Knight”, which for many non comic readers was the first time they heard the character called that by the mainstream, makes them think “oh yeah Chris Nolan dark knight! Yeah!” Sorry to be a party pooper but the Nolan movies are unwatchable to be, especially the last one which I think is the worst Batman movie made. And yes, I know about Batman and Robin. I guess if you’ve written for Batman and then see the “based in reality” funless bore-fests that are the new movies you would take issue with them. I do (and I haven’t written the character).

  • toecutter

    lol, to each his own I guess. Tim Burton’s 1st Batman movie is still my favorite film of all time. While I love Nolan’s Batman Begins movie quite a lot, the last two weren’t nearly as good. But hey, that’s just me.

  • Sean Arteaga

    Was that even finished? God that sucked. And his sequel to The Dark Knight Returns was so bad.

  • Alvaro Molina

    If I’m not mistaken, Bill Finger actually coined the term, so it is actually quite old, and precedes Miller by quite a few years.

  • Kuma

    I concede in the first two, but in Lost Girls the characters were completely differente and the same goes for Watchmen. Yet most of his body of work is original characters, such as the under rated masterpiece that is Top 10 or Promethea

  • Nom de Plume

    Beat me to the punch, i like

  • thales

    Top Ten, Promethea, Tom Strong

  • Alexander Dinamarca

    I don’t know, Miller seems to have made that comment in jest. The article even points him laughing.

  • Alex Hayden

    He’s right. Nolan’s Batman is barely a shadow of who Batman is and should be.

  • LorrieKR

    Miller did his best to destroy this own legacy with All-Star Batman and Robin. Not sure has any right to criticize other interpretations of Batman after that.

  • This Guy

    Of course, Miller’s Batman is in the same boat.

  • This Guy

    I have to laugh at him honestly acting like Nolan is trying to claim ownership of the Dark Knight. Its just his interpretation of the character, everyone has one. And given Miller’s Batman is a very ‘unique’ take on the character right now, he doesn’t have room to comment on anyone else’s interpretation for not being what he thinks it is.

  • ResurrectRider

    Batman and Robin, while a terrible film, stays very true to a comic book tone. While i disagree with your opninion on the Nolanverse quality, i do agree that it is not…NOT… the staple for Batman’s persona. It was a good realistic version, that unfortunately may affect the way the DC universe is portrayed in films, going forward. My theory is; if you’re making a comic book film, dont waste so much time grounding it in reality. DC/Marvel comic books are, after all, American Mythology.

  • Lou

    He gave us The Dark Knight Returns first. I can forgive a subpar story after gracing us with that masterpiece.

  • Hymaros

    So Nolan’s about 20 years too late to use “The Dark Knight”?

    That would’ve been about the last time Miller produced a really good comic book, right?

  • akkadiannumen

    Heh… Yeah, the characters were completely different but they were still based on the originals. Without the Charlton characters, Watchmen would be completely different and it might not be the masterpiece we know and love. Same thing for Lost Girls. Even Top 10 and Promethea are full of versions of characters and concepts that Moore didn’t create. Moore’s strength lies in reinterpreting and recreating stuff he loves but didn’t create.

  • Jean L. Finch

    Well, I didn’t like his Spirit.

  • Rob

    man has an ego.

  • Jason

    “No, that’s not him.” Funny, that’s what I said after reading All-Star Batman.

  • Collateral96

    Don’t feel like remembering the piece of shit that was Blade Trinity. The pro wrestling actor thing was enough to make anyone puke.