Monday, July 21, 2008

A Bat-Fan's look at The Dark Knight

What happens when a Force of Nature collides with an immovable object? Before I go answer that question, let me just point out that not many movies can top the original but Nolan's "The Dark Knight" is most definitely one of them. As a Bat-fan (I read Batman comics), this is like Christmas morning for me.

Everything fell into place. The tone, the color, the writing, the cinematography, the acting. This is the Batman as he is today in the comics. You could almost taste the stink of Gotham air.

Now the customary, "This is NOT a spoiler free zone." so if you want to read further, please be warned that spoilers are in this post.

That said, as a fan, I've noticed elements used over the years. Bat-gang inspired by the Batman? I was thinking Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns," a story about the last adventure of the Batman.

Penthouse living Bruce is like the silver age Batman. In this case, Wayne Manor was broken down last movie, hence the Penthouse.

@kulit was correct when she told me privately when i asked what comics to re-read to get psyched for The Dark Knight that I should turn the pages of "No Man's Land". There are many parallels in the movie with that Batman arc.

Take for example citizens grouped in us versus them mentality and "conquered" state of mind people in Gotham had. Likewise the many either or choices the Joker pulled on Bats. Rachel or Dent? and the fact that when Joker said Rachel was in this address, how many of you just thought, Bats you know when he says blue, always go for red.

Same goes for that play for Gordon's family.

Even up to the end, the Joker was leading the charge and Batman was playing catchup. Playing Dent like a chess piece, you'd know the ship was a red herring and that the whole point of Joker is what Alfred pointed out: "Some men just want to see the world burn".

On that note, let's talk Joker. He really is a Force of Nature. He is chaos personified. he isn't interested in money. He just wants to see the world burn. And Ledger was just awesome. He brought Joker to life.

If Bale's Batman is the definitive Batman brought to life on the big screen, Ledger's Joker was the definitive Joker.

This Joker is madness personified. The whole point of him, is just insanity! I especially liked the part where he tells a story about how he got the happy smile on his face. He tells it differently to everyone. dad beat up his mom. wife got sick. He plays everyone. He's a trickster! It's crazy.

In Batman Begins, we "learned" that Bruce created the persona of the Batman because as a symbol, the Bat can't be killed. In the Dark Knight, we see the wisdom of his thoughts and his design for the Batman.

The story of Harvey Dent is a story of tragedy. In "The Dark Knight," we see Dent as a White Knight. He is charismatic. He is charming. He fights crime as the dashing district attorney. He then becomes a target. The Joker purposely twists him. He targets him and brings him down on his knees.

Of course we can argue that it is the weakness in Dent himself that brought him down. Whereas Bruce used the tragedy of his circumstance to become better, Dent purposely allowed himself to be swallowed in the darkness. He drowned himself in it after Joker killed Rachel.

But Harvey Dent was only human.

Here we see Bruce's wisdom. The Bat, as a persona, as an ideal, as a symbol--- is incorruptible. The Joker can't hurt the Bat. Sure he could hurt Bruce--- Rachel's death was a blow. All those lives lost were a blow to him. But the Joker couldn't make Batman kill. The Joker couldn't make the people blow the others up in classic prisoner's dilemma.

That prisoner's dilemma deal with a ship of good people and a ship of criminals where nobody killed each other was a bit unbelievable--- but I suppose, if asked to write that part of the story, we each would have written it differently.

Fox's role, as was Alfred's--- awesome. I hope they write Fox's into the comics. the movie-Fox is a more believable guy.

Fox was a 3d character. he stood up to Bruce and didn't want all the power associated with the Echolocation computer.

Alfred's burning of Rachel's last letter was SO Alfred in the comics. He was being mentor and dad to Bruce and Rachel.

Rachel and Gordon, every bit of character from the smallest role on up--- totally awesome.

My favorite part was the Hong Kong play--- the skydiving and the whole plane picking Bats up.

Begins now feels like the opening chapter to a much larger story that The Dark Knight completes. If Nolan and everyone associated with The Dark Knight would say, they wouldn't do another movie--- i'm totally with them. This is like perfection. Begins and TDK are like halves of the story of Batman. Of course, as the Joker pointed out, they could do this forever.

So what happens when a Force of Nature collides with an immovable object? Answer is The Dark Knight" and it is an awesome ride. Hands down, best movie, best superhero movie, ever.

*fyi, image was the cover to Grant Morrison's graphic novel, Batman: Arkham Asylum