And the heroine? She's simultaneously highly important and completely spurious. Vicki Vale could be excised from Batman without much damage, Darkman's Frances McDormand is there for the menacing and The Crow sees the rape and murder of Brandon Lee's intended in the first five minutes. Flat baroque is aimed at the adolescent male, so the real romance is the hero's with himself. He thinks he's sensitive and complex when actually he's just self-indulgent and shallow. He's too into himself to make any emotional space for girls. But girls prove he's heterosexual - he's not that sensitive.
The Crow is both the reductio ad absurdum and pinnacle of the form. It's Goth, grunge and Gothic; three subcultures made one. It's selling the glamour of angst and alienation in the big city to immature boys. All it needs to achieve perfection is Beavis and Butthead popping up to play air guitar and chant: 'Breaking the law, breaking the law'.
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