The Dark Knight

Why so serious?

So I finally got around to seeing The Dark Knight the other day, and I’m not going to bore you with another cookie-cutter review.  Besides this movie is all over the news, and it’s making money hand over fist, so you have to be living under a rock, under another rock, to not know that this movie is great.  What I do want to talk about is how solid this movie was from top to bottom, and some of the themes that were weaved in that really impressed me.  You can take any movie that has come out this year–whether a dramatic, action, or otherwise–and The Dark Knight will match up to any of them.

This has to be one of the top comic book movies that has ever been made, and I think what surprised me the most was how deep the movie ended up being.  Comics have always been fairly deep, and have always been a form of social commentary.  As of late this has been translated into the movies better.  From here on out I’m going to talk about some of the specifics of the movie so if you haven’t seen it then don’t make the jump.

There’s a scene near the end of the movie where Harvey Dent says “We were trying to be decent men in an indecent time.”  This one line almost completely sums up the entirety of what The Dark Knight was questioning about current society.  Where is the line that good, decent people should or shouldn’t cross in their pursuit of safety and justice.  The Joker was terrorizing Gotham City and decisions had to be made by the citizens whether they should capitulate to his threats and demands, or whether they should stoop to his level and fight fire with fire, or whether they should with all their power, and despite all casualties, fight against the Joker while retaining their social mores.  The Joker constantly tries to turn the citizens of Gotham against each other, and force them to cross the line and come down to his level, and some do.  But in one of the climatic scenes in the movie, both best and worst of Gotham’s citizens decide that they won’t play his game, and they won’t cross that line.  This is an important theme and something that we as a society are struggling with.  We have our own Joker someone who “just wants to watch the world burn” (if you think people like Osama Bin Laden is fighting for freedom you’re dead wrong.  People like him love the feeling of sowing chaos and destruction).  Yet how we fight that battle is up to us, and in many ways most of us have not crossed the line, unfortunately, it’s only a few people at the top who have crossed the line.

Like Batman they have decided to trample on some of our most precious rights by illegally spying on citizens.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about google FISA.  Unlike Batman, however, they haven’t relinquished that power, but instead are still trying to exploit citizens, and keep their actions hidden in darkness.  Lucius Fox reluctantly crosses the line, and only because the situation was so dire.  Once again the question is raised that if the situation is desperate do we sacrifice our beliefs and values to win? or do we keep our mores intact and settle in for the long haul? even if it means extra pain and hardship.  The important thing to remember is that once the line is crossed every time thereafter it becomes easier and easier until there is no line anymore.  And that is when, the terrorists have won.  Once a people decide that revenge or victory is more important than the values that bind them together, they cease to be a people, and turn into a violent mob.

These were a couple of the most powerful messages that I saw in The Dark Knight, and they really struck me.  Not only because of their significance, but because they were mixed into the movie so perfectly and lightly, and the viewer wasn’t beat over the head with it.  This is what good comics and good science fiction has always done.  They have always had the ability to speak about social concerns without becoming a political message.  Instead there they are placed in a world that is similar to ours, but different.  This difference helps the audience see these themes in a new light.  Rather than preaching they have been instruments of creating debate about important social topics.

I would hope that when the time comes for this years crop of movies to be awarded that The Dark Knight is rewarded with some important nominations, but I doubt it will be.  Why?  because many people still don’t respect the medium of comics.  There are still many people who look down their nose at comics and those that read them, despite the fact that Hollywood, as an industry, has been riding on the back of comics, and science fiction for a long time now.  Where would the industry be in the last ten years? if not for all of these types of movies, which have been raking in the money, and keeping the industry afloat.  There would probably be a lot of people out of work.  There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of originality in the industry these days, but generally the most original have been those by people who have been ‘raised’ on comics and their like genres.  And I’m not even going to go into all the ideas, and advances in real science, that were inspired by science fiction.

That’s my take, and of course, I’m sure there are plenty that will disagree with me, but regardless, that’s how I see it.  However, maybe The Dark Knight will help change people’s perceptions of the comic industry as a whole, but I’m not going to hold my breath.  Oh and by the way, anyone that sees this movie and still thinks that Jack Nicholson is the best Joker is crazy (don’t believe me.  If you think that way then you agree with this guy who is one of the most idiotic and downright retarded people on Earth).  Heath Ledger was absolutely amazing, and deserving of all the Oscar buzz that is surrounding him.  Jack Nicholson was good, don’t get me wrong, but he wasn’t the psychotic Clown Prince of Crime, he was just a clown.  Sure some of that is on the director, but an actor of his stature is responsible for a lot of it too.  Anyways next time you see the movie enjoy it for its absolute brilliance, but also think about some of the questions that are posited by this movie that have great relevance for our society today.

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~ by Perpetual Memory Loss on July 26, 2008.

5 Responses to “The Dark Knight”

  1. Do you want to know how I got my scars?

  2. hell yeah it was a great movie! i still love the first batman and jack was a good joker but to tell you the truth i probably only like it because me and my pops went to go see it hella late when it came out and i was joker that year for halloween haha….. but all in all great movie! also go see step brothers just for its laughs

  3. As the king of an amoral universe, as a purveyor of unrestricted evil for fun, Ledger’s dastardly villain, attired as sort of a rotting Clarabell, has chosen his own damnation. He’s jumped into an abyss he has dug himself, and he wants to pull us along.
    I m watched The Dark Knight Movies Here
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  4. Don’t get me wrong fabes, I still like the first Batman, and Jack in it, it’s a good movie, but the new one just blows it away.

  5. I disagree with a point: I do believe The Dark Knight will help (even just a little) change people’s perception of the comic industry, and movies based on comics or graphic novels. Along with movies like Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk. This is a major piece of cinema that came from a comic; it’s bound to, at least, start a new trend.

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