Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Dark Knight: Movie or Political Statement?

Finally, after waiting for two or three weeks, I got to see "The Dark Knight" on Friday.

It was well worth the wait.
Now, if you have not seen the movie: STOP READING NOW, SPOILER COMING!!!
For everyone else who has seen it, I will give my review as a film but more importantly, I want to see if you saw the political statements that were made.

First: Heath Ledger deserves the Oscar for Best Actor, right now. Forget whatever else comes out this year, or has already come out. He is un-freaking-believable!
If someone had not told you that it was him, you would never know. Forget the makeup, he didn't need it.

Now, I am THE biggest Batman freak since I was a kid. I still have hundreds of Batman comics going back to the 1960's, so I am a bit of a snob when it comes to all things Batman, and in this film, like it's predecessor "Batman Begins", was almost 100% true to the original story from the comics. Bob Kane would be happy!

One of the most important elements of the Batman story is that fact that he CANNOT kill anyone. He WILL not kill anyone, not even a madman like the Joker. In the comics, the Joker is the epitome of EVIL. He is not a buffoonish clown as portrayed by Cesar Romero or even the "kind of" evil portrayed by Jack Nicholson. No, he is so evil that he would kill a thousand innocent people just to get the Batman's attention. The Joker is all about chaos, madness, anarchy and the antithesis of The Batman. He is the complete opposite of all that the Batman stands for.
In the movie a great scene is when he has millions and millions of Mob dollars, real money, piled high and burns it all to the ground, and he tells the astonished and angry mobsters "it's not about the money, it's the FUN!" He destroys the Mob better than the cops or even The Batman, but only so that he can then better torment everyone. I love it. Heath Ledger, I wish you had not been so troubled, had lived and perhaps played this character again, and maybe delved deeper into The Joker's crazed mind!

Well anyway, this is exactly what Heath Ledger brought to the screen and the writer and director, Christopher Nolan, got that across.

The Joker used a couple of lines that really illustrate that relationship that the Caped Crusader and he have.
1 - "You complete me". Yes this is a great reference to the STUPID movie "Jerry Mcguire", but it was more than that. The Batman's good works created a vacuum that brought out The Joker.

2 - (I don't remember the line exactly) "we'll do this for eternity", said the Joker to The Batman.

All throughout the years in the comics, Batman would capture the Joker, put him in Arkham Asylum, The Joker would get out, it would start over again and end the same. Occasionally, the Joker would "die" only to find out he had somehow survived. Their battle is never ending. The Batman could beat the snot out of The Joker any day of the week, but he CANNOT kill him, and The Joker knows that and that is HIS fun! (Although getting the crap beat out of you every few weeks has to get tiring, so I assume the Joker's synaptic nerves have been severed at some time in his life?)
Ok, so outside of this, the film itself was just plain OUTSTANDING! I felt like I had held my breath for over 2 hours! The tension in my chest and arms and legs would never let up. That is good filmmaking. If the viewer can not even rest, if the action, dialogue, music is unrelenting, then I am happy!
This film was by far the BEST film I have seen in a long, long time. That is not just from a happy Batman fan, but a film person. The special effects were outstanding but didn't take away from the film itself. The use of angles, lighting and sound were perfect. The acting by all parties (except for the silly Rachel Dawes, a character that was not in the comics played by the really homely Maggie Gyllenhaal) was very realistic and believable.

Overall, I was more than pleased with this movie and HIGHLY recommend it to all (except for the little ones as there is some terrifying moments and when Harvey "Two Face" Dent finally appears, he is quite hideous).

Now, politics?

I firmly believe that the creators behind this movie were making a strong PRO-AMERICA film!
The Joker represented the Muslim extremist terrorists that we as a nation face.
They don't bomb, kill, behead and torture for money. They really don't even do it for an ideal, much as they would like us to believe. No, just as The Joker said, "it's for the anarchy, the chaos".

I really think, and you would have to watch the movie closely, that the filmmakers were going against "the grain" in Hollywood and made an anti-terrorist film, and made a statement about "staying the course" in Iraq and Afghanistan and whereever else WE AMERICANS are needed to stop the evil of terrorism.
I felt it very early on and it was confirmed in many different scenes.

Ok, so that's it, fire away liberal whackos, fire away Batman haters, but I had fun and I was proud of Hollywood for the first time in a long, long time!


Dawn said...

Bill and I also saw it on Friday night for our date night. In fact, as I was watching it, I was wondering what happened to your review of the movie. I laughed at the part in the hospital where Harvey turns his face because it reminded me of hearing you talk about Harvey "Two Face" and the Batman comic books when we were growing up. I also thought Heath Ledger was incredible, and no you wouldn't know that was him. I became a fan of his when I first watched the Patriot and then I liked him as a handsome leading man in A Knights Tale and Four Feathers, so to see him as this character after those movies was very remarkable. My favorite scene of his in this movie was when he is in the nurse uniform and he comes walking out of the hospital trying to blow the hospital up and there is a momentary glitch. His walking, twitches and mannerisms in that scene were amazing. Very entertaining and a well done comic book movie!!

Anonymous said...

Well, I would agree about the symbolism for sure, but it is not true that Muslims do this for no reason. They are very angry about Western involvement in their part of the world, and rightfully so. Osama and Bush said the same things to the Iraqis when we invaded--don't destroy your oil fields.

Why are we so afraid to admit that we are also terrorists? I'm certainly no liberal since I have a brain, but I also don't follow blindly just because I'm told to. Let's not forget that we have toppled more than our fair share of democratically elected governments over the last 50 years.

We don't promote democracy around the world. We promote Capitalism and I am perfectly OK with that, but let's not lie to ourselves in the meantime. It's simpley not healthy. And, by the way, most Muslims that are asked would jump at the chance to live here so I don't think it's a problem of democracy and freedom. Any other thoughts on that?

Bill's Waste of Air said...

I am very much in agreement with you except that I did say Muslim EXTREMISTS.
They don't do what they do for any other reason than a misguided theology and or for the "fun" of it, just as in the case of The Joker.
"The Fun" being that harem in the sky with all the cute little Arab chicks serving him peeled grapes.
The chaos is the driving force. If they can create chaos, they win. Fear, that is what they aim for. The whole 9/11 thing, it wasn't going to do anything to this country really, other than drive us into chaos and fear. That didn't work so they will find something else.

How'd you like the movie though?

Anonymous said...

Loved the movie...But as to your chaos and fear comment, that is precisely what governments do. Muslims know full well that our government has put the fear in us and that is how we are controlled. They merely took a page out of U.S. Govenment 101 and laid it on us quite well. I would recommend reading "The Culture of Fear" by Barry Glassner to give you a better idea of how the media helps in the process.

mick b: paranoid taxi driver said...

gonna update yer blog, Mr. Program Director, sir???

Julia said...

I agree with the second commenter. People forget that the reason why we were attacked on 9/11 was due to our support for Israel ($3 billion a year in aid plus weapons) as well as support for corrupt Arab regimes (the least democratic of governments in that region) and our notion that we have to spread our way of life onto these people so they will like us and let us have their oil and expand our global empire. They in no respect "do it for no reason". Believe it or not, but most "terrorists" aren't crazy. Irrational, yes, but certainly not insane. They do to us and the Israelis exactly what the Americans and Israelis do to them, only American/Israeli terrorism ends with far more victims. A good number of my friends are from the Middle East (namely Occupied Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Iran, Armenia, and Kuwait) and they will tell you that they have every right to be angry at this country for our exploitation of them as well as Israel's wars against them and their US-supported corrupt governments' exploitation of them. They don't hate American culture. In fact, they love our way of life. What they hate is our foreign policy.

And no, I highly doubt "The Dark Knight" was meant to have any political/social message in it, no more than any other generic superhero movie of this era does.