Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I wonder if Gotham's insurance companies cover damage by Batman, or if you have to pay extra for that

I know, I've done nothing but express disinterest in The Dark Knight. I did, however, just watch Batman Begins, so I figured going to see The Dark Knight with that fresh in my mind might work out alright. And, since I got out of work a little early (they don't need me to sit and watch files copy) and I have nothing better to do in this area of Indiana (or any area of Indiana), I figured I could go to the movies.

I'm not really interested in discussing the details of the plot. Plenty of people have done that already. And, lets be honest, some of them are much better writers than me. What I am interested in is the 'message' inherent in The Dark Knight.

Some will say that if go looking for a message, you'll find it. Well, I didn't really go looking for one, but I found it anyways. Stories, and by extension, movies, are reflections of the times. And The Dark Knight is nothing if not a reflection of today's society. In the Joker you have pure chaos. It's crime without motive. It's destruction for destruction's sake. The Joker envisions himself as Nero, fiddling as Rome burns down around him. He doesn't want money, or, he only wants to live life his way. And, he wants the world to adapt to him. It's an easy parrallel to how many Americans view terrorists. True or not, many Americans see only a love for chaos and violence in Islamic extremists. They're one dimensional to John Q Public living in the heartland. And, as such, the Joker is one dimensional. He's clever, but he's violence for no reason other than spreading violence.

Batman, however, is our own government. He wants to protect the people of Gotham, but is willing to work outside the common boundries of law and morality. If he wants to tap into Gotham's cell phones to catch the Joker, then he's going to do it. Batman, unlike our own government, isn't power hungry. He knows when to break the rules, and he knows that he has to break the rules, but in the end, he still ends up doing the right thing.

Commissioner Gordan says it best Batman is 'the hero we deserve, but not the one we need right now.' Batman represents, in a lot of ways, the worst in us. He is the good guy. His motive is noble, but his means are not. And when someone like Harvey Dent comes along, someone who does the right thing the right way, even Batman looks up to him. Harvey Dent is a man who plays by the rules, not just his own rules. Harvey Dent is the man we're all waiting for to step up. Harvey Dent is the hero we need, but don't deserve.

Batman and the Joker are two sides of the same coin. One wants chaos, the other order and both are willing to sacrifice themselves and those around them for it. It's only in Dent that we are allowed to have real hope. Even those with the best of intentions though can go astray.

A few other thoughts:

Gary Oldman does the best American accent. I actually find his normal voice unbelievable.

Ok, Batman is the 'villain' now. He sacrificed himself to preserve Dent's reputation and to preserve Gotham's hope. Where do you go from there? I know I'm not the first to ask, but what can happen to make Batman the 'good guy' again?

The late Heath Ledger did do a fantastic job bringing the Joker to life. I don't know that it was good enough to warrant an Oscar though. Luckily I don't have to worry about voting for/against him.

Why does Christian Bale have to practically growl when he's Batman? It's kind of annoying and a little silly.

For a guy trying to 'save' Gotham, Batman sure does wreck up the place.

Katie Holmes was better than Maggie Gyllenhaal.

And finally, The Dark Knight was a good movie, not a great movie (and certainly not the best ever), but a good movie. 7 coin flips to decide who lives and who dies because the only morality in a cruel world is chance out of 10.


Anonymous said...

Nice title. :) I love that line,

Some day there should be a film based around that.

Unknown said...

Maybe that will be the plot if they make a third one. Batman vs The Insurance Salesman

Graham said...

so you give the dark knight 7 and batman begins 8? there's not that many people who'd agree with that.

But I consider them both great, so I don't have too much to say.

Fletch said...

Yeah, I came away with a better impression of the movie than you, but I enjoyed your analysis of it.

Just one question: is Batman a Republican or a Democrat?

Unknown said...

Graham- No. To be honest, I wasn't thinking right when I scored Batman Begins. I was thinking of your 1-5 scale, and just doubled it figuring a direct correlation, which was a mistake on my part.

Fletch- Neither. Batman is a fascist.

Jess said...

I totally hated that Christian Bale growled every time he spoke as Batman. I didn't remember him doing that last time.

Unknown said...

He did. I didn't like it in the first one either.

Tony Tanti said...

Good review, different way to look at it. I agree with you mostly but Katie Holmes better than Gyllenjaal? Come on. I'm not in love with Gyllenhaal but Katie Holmes is a joke.

Good movie, not the best ever by a long shot though.

Anonymous said...

i still wish Katie Holmes had stayed on board as Rachel Dawes for the Dark Knight; it was like the time spent getting familiar with her character in Batman Begins was wasted...