Monday, May 8, 2017

Now on Hulu: Batman & Bill (2017)

Batman & Bill (2017) - Directed by Don Argott, Sheena M. Joyce.

By Kenny Howell

Since the beginning, there has been one name as the creator of Batman - Bob Kane.

But that isn't the total story, and that is the subject of a new Hulu documentary, Batman & Bill. The Bill of the title is Bill Finger, the man who shaped Batman into what he is today, including creating Gotham City and famous characters like the Joker.

But Bill Finger has never had his name in the credits. He wrote for Bob Kane, and even wrote one of the episodes of 1960s TV show, but it has always been "Created by Bob Kane".

That doesn't sit well with children's book author Mark Tyler Nobelman. He takes on the detective hat (mask?) from Batman and starts to dig to see if he can prove that Finger is a co-creator and get the credit that Finger deserves.

Finger's story is quite tragic, more than I expected going into this even though I knew a bit about it. That is definitely the strength of the doc, because Finger really had a tough life despite creating one of the most important fictional characters in the history of American pop culture. Bob Kane, on the other hand, became incredibly rich and famous, something of which Finger at least deserved a share.

The movie probably should have focused more on the facts at hand, and less on Nobelman's journey. Nobleman was definitely the man that set this thing and motion and fought for Finger's credit, and is very well-intentioned, but some scenes seem staged a bit for effect. A just the facts approach might have served a little better, or spent a bit more time with people that knew Bill. Still, you have to salute him for the work he did, because it was definitely a fight worth fighting, and he didn't give up, which is incredibly admirable.

Batman & Bill is now streaming on Hulu.

Rating: ***

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