29th Jul2008

The Dark Knight – A Review

by Will

“I believe in Harvey Dent.”

joker-poster-for-the-dark-knight

The Dark Knight. OK, so I promised this last week, but I felt I needed to distance myself from the movie enough to really do this justice. Then, I realized there are enough reviews out there, and they’re all glowing. What did I honestly have to bring to the table? Did I love the movie? Yes! Did it make me want to renew my popeship in the Church of Batman? Hells Yeah! However, like every fanboy, a couple of things popped into my head during the movie:

-Nice touch, having Joker kill Spawn. You mean you don’t know what I’m talking about? Black mobster, nice suit? That’s Michael Jai White, who played Spawn in the movie where he was trying to kill President Bartlett…

-How did Joker survive the same fall that killed Gwen Stacey?

– I finally understand what it’s like to live in Gotham City: to witness a clown, dressed as a nurse, blow up a hospital, in broad daylight

– OK, so who didn’t see the Rachel Dawes demise coming? Her role was important enough to recast, yet she’s a Batman character who no one’s heard of? Yeah…

– So, Batman now pretty much has a God’s Eye view on Gotham City. That’s the kind of guy who might one day build a satellite to spy on all of his Super Friends. Hmm..

-I wish I had an Alfred. No, I wish I had Michael Caine as my Alfred.

-I love that every new Batman movie includes a “Bruce Wayne is a Dick” scene. It’s like watching deleted scenes from American Psycho, and I still think the Bruce Wayne persona is more fascinating than people give it credit. I think the “I believe in Harvey Dent” slogan is pretty cheesy, but if you really take it to heart, it kinda grows on you.

-Anybody watch Gotham Knight? OK, then why the Hell did they go to the lengths of making us like Anna Ramirez, just to have her turn out to be the 24-esque mole (and why were the creators afraid to call her who she really was: Renee Montoya?)? OK, I can kind of understand why, but I still don’t really get the purpose of that DVD. It didn’t accomplish anything, and it would’ve had more of an impact if it had been released a year ago, as something to hold us over, and included the voices of the actual cast, a la the Hellboy animated DVD series.

– What was with that Batman voice? I think I’m just programmed to only like Kevin Conroy at this point.

-Heath was terrifying. I mean, that performance was incredible, and it certainly paints Joker in a new light. It’s easy to lose sight of what his primary motive is: nothing. There’s no logic, rhyme, nor reason to what he does. I just read Batman: Strange Apparitions, where Joker decided to kill everyone whose name was a palindrome. He opened up the phone book, and went in alphabetical order. That’s how twisted he is! Batman *is* the reason the criminals have upped the ante. When you’ve got a guy dressed as a bat, beating up criminals, it’s going to inspire more colorful foes. At times, he seems to realize this, but he refuses to accept it. If he’d just quit, I kinda feel like the mob would take over Gotham, and all the gimmick villains would simply move to Metropolis….

– So, who’s gonna make all of Batman’s gear now?

-Once again, nice touch moving Bruce to Wayne Tower. That happened back in the 70s, when he felt that the mansion was too far away from the city for him to be effective. I actually feel it’d be a harder secret to keep, what with city planning and all, but it was a nice touch, nonetheless.

-So, they hired Cillian Murphy for 5 minutes? OK…

-And what a letdown on the Anthony Michael Hall tip. His role had been top secret for months, and we all thought he’d be someone we know, like Firefly or maybe a revamped Bob the Goon. Instead, he’s just Random News Guy.

-If there’s one thing I’ve learned that Batman and The Hulk have in common, it’s that they both hate those fucking dogs…

-It’s OK, Bruce – you dodged a bullet. Rachel wasn’t gonna age well anyway…

Now, I’ve been in a state of Batman overload since watching The Dark Knight. In the past 10 days, I have read the following:

Batman: Knightfall Vol. 1 TP
Batman: Knightfall Vol. 2 TP
Batman: Knightfall Vol. 3 TP
Batman: The Long Halloween TP
Batman: Dark Victory TP
Batmn: Ego GN
Batman Adventures: The Lost Years TP
Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia GN

That’s over 1500 pages of Batman! Then, to cap it off, I watched all of Disc 1 of season 4 of Batman: The Animated Series (AKA “The Good Cartoon”). Let’s just say that even I think I’ve gone too far. That said, I realized a new side of Batman, a sadder side. You see, most of those books encompass the period early in his career, as seen in The Dark Knight. The interesting part of that era is that Bruce Wayne seemed to think that “Batman” was temporary. As you even see in the movie, he dreams of the day that crime will be vanquished, and a good, noble, public hero can take his place. He saw Harvey Dent as that person. Bruce felt that one day, he could just walk away and lead a normal life. That doesn’t happen.

I just find that so interesting & depressing – he basically got stuck in a dead-end job, and struggles to accept it(See? It happens to rich people, too!). Declaring a war on crime is akin to declaring a war on terror – it’s a bit naive to believe that there can ever been an end to that war, plus that battle comes at a price. He had to sacrifice his own happiness, his own life, so that he could keep his promise to his dead parents, and rid the streets of crime. Now, Batman’s a pretty intelligent guy. By some accounts, he’s the most intelligent character in the DCU. Now, that said, I find it odd that someone so smart could convince himself that the impossible was actually possible. He’s certainly got a masochistic side, but he couldn’t hope to win. Maybe it was his pampered upbringing, or just the desire to please his parents, but I just don’t see how he ever thought there’d be an end to this life once he put on the cape. Or maybe he’s just punishing himself. Survivor’s Guilt? And I think there’s a story there: at what point did he realize he was in it for the Long Haul? Does he even realize that currently? In early stories, he thinks he’ll one day win, but lately, it seems like he’s Batman because he doesn’t know how to be anything else. The current approach occasionally drives him to do rash things, like keep files on how to kill his friends or build a sentient satellite to spy on those same friends. I just wonder, 9 years into his career, does he even want to stop? Could he stop? What would he do if he did stop being Batman? Like I said, I really think there’s a story there.

Anyway, The Dark Knight was incredible. If you haven’t seen it, you’re no longer my friend.