Friday, July 25, 2008

Crazy As A Bat Part 2

So, it's kind of nice to hear that "assault" doesn't exactly mean beating up someone, in the UK, that is. It can mean shouting or even spitting. Over there, beating up someone gets you a "battery" charge. Simply, Christian Bale went to the police station (voluntarily, according to the press) to explain why he shouted at his mom.

Some members of the media are already quick to jump on the bandwagon of painting Bale as a violent guy, prone to rage-filled outbursts and threat-making. Like a recent "expose" about Bale threatening to kick a cinematographer's ass on the set of Terminator Salvation.

Thankfully, The Dark Knight has become quite a phenomenon, its box-office numbers greatly overshadowing those silly, unethical news reports. While Dave Kehr alleges that Batman could be construed as kind of a stand-in for Bush (see the link in Part One), J.R. Jones of the Chicago Reader (Gotham Reader?) sees Batman as a Christ figure. ("Sometimes the truth isn’t good enough. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded.”) But you know, we've long established that almost any character in movies can be paralleled with Christ (Alien 3, anyone?).

But what this proves is simply that The Dark Knight is so multi-faceted, multi-layered and complex that it warrants a myriad ways of looking at it. But not all views are valid, though. For example (and Mr Nutshell knows I'm getting here eventually), this review that keeps harping on the comicbooks and how accurately Nolan has followed the comicbooks. It's a classic example of an overlong review that says absolutely ... nothing. It gets so much that you want to slap him upside his head and say: "Dude, Nolan's moved on from the comicbooks! You're left behind!"

The Dark Knight has transcended its comicbook origins. But it hasn't exactly transcended the superhero genre, as some have claimed. What it has done is simply rethought, reshaped and remoulded the idea of what a superhero is. Quite simply, if superheroes do exist in this world, what would be the consequences? It's basically the same question asked by Alan Moore with Watchmen. While Nolan explores the external effects, Moore is more concerned with the internal issues.

Would the existence of superheroes really save us from destruction? What kind of an internal pressure would a superhero have to face? What happens when individuals have that much power? At one point, Lucius Fox, when a giant surveillance system was revealed to him, does question if a person should possess that much power.

Ultimately, I guess it's the question of "Who watches the Watchmen?" that inspired Kehr's observation of totalitarianism as the sole, effective guard against anarchy, and that Batman, as batty as it sounds, is really Bush.

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