Monday, July 28, 2008

In Defense of The Dark Knight

Okay, so this is largely in response to your post, L'Afro, because I was scared going into the movie that I would see it the same way you did (I'm pretty squeamish about violence myself). But holy cows I loved that movie, and I will tell you why.

Do not read this if a) You have not yet seen Batman: The Dark Knight or b) you don't want to know the depths of my nerdiness, especially in the realm of Batman, because I'm a pretty big nerd for the Bat.

Yes, the movie was dark and cold and chillingly plausible. The Joker (and by my count, he only slit one throat, if it was even a throat that he slit. A little ambiguous) was an infinitely better, scarier character than Jack Nicholson's Joker in the original Batman (and I love the Tim Burton movies). That's a pretty good portrayal of evil there: not greed or revenge or fear or lust - just a pure hatred of good. This is the first way in which The Dark Knight took superhero movies to the next step.

The second, more important way, is how it questions the nature of heroism itself. Throughout the movie, there's this dialogue about "the real hero of Gotham," and Bruce knows it's Harvey Dent. Why? Batman is distanced from the people, above them, a god. Harvey Dent is one of them. He is evidence that, even in that place and those circumstances, change for the better is possible. That's what Batman really wants; instead of fixing the problems, he wants to prevent them; he wants the city (and the people in it) to heal. He doesn't want there to be a need for him.

His pure intentions are really made manifest at the end when he sacrifices his good name and reputation for the sake of the city's health and hope. And the great thing about the movie is that, despite the darkness, it looks like it wasn't in vain. The film was about hope and redemption.

The noblest (and scariest) part of the movie was the ferry scene. The tension wasn't between villain and hero - it was between two groups of regular people (though some were on this side of the law and some were on that). I've never been so scared for fictional people (not for their impending deaths but for making such a decision), nor have I been so proud. That moment really made the film. It made it more real - and more important - than any other superhero movie out there.

Andy and I talked about it for a long time. I saw it as a Christian allegory (with the role of the hero to save but also to change the nature thereof), where he saw it as a commentary on war (the unnatural posing of us against them, the exploration of the thought, "They don't really deserve to die but we deserve to live more").

Again, I know I'm a nerd, but this is really good stuff.

So in conclusion: You don't have to like it, but I sure do.

2 reason(s) to click here:

LJ said...

Dear Kreb,

I respect your review. Let me also say that that one moment of goodness, when the con says "I'm gonna do what you shoulda did ten minutes ago" and then chucks the detonator out the window nearly had me weeping in relief. It was a small moment of glory.

Thirdmango said...

Heh, I did like the movie, in fact I give it 3 out of 4 stars. I have some big problems with the movie mostly with the editing and the audio, but I did like the story quite a bit. There were parts of the story which lacked like the bus scene. But I would still say that most types who don't like violence shouldn't see it as they'll probably hate it due to violence. I could have told LJ she wouldn't have liked it before going to see it. The biggest thing I have against the movie right now is how psychotically over rated it is, it's currently number 1 on the top 250 movies of all time on imdb. That's just nutty. And being a part of big film forums, I find that if I even say I gave it 3 out of 4 stars I get destroyed by people who gave it 6 out of 4 stars. :)