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The Dark Knight (2008)


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Why does she have to be blonde? Two Face certainly isn't blonde, but Eckhart carried the role. (I would have cast someone like Eric Roberts, actually...)
I guess I thought she was blonde for some reason, but now that I think about it one of the cat-women in the Adam West Batman series was dark haired. That opens up a lot of new possibilities. Connelly is the most beautiful woman in Hollywood, but I don't think she'd fit the role very well. Rebecca Romijn would be a pretty natural choice, but she's not very well known for her acting. Edit: Uma Thurman and Milla Jovovich would both be good. My guess is that they'll come up with 30 actresses and decide that none of them are good for the role. Then they'll just cast Cate Blanchett. And my joking suggestion as to who should play the Joker in the next movie: Katie Holmes.

theoddone is correct, as far as I know, the only blonde Catwoman was in Batman Returns, and then in the animated series, which was inspired by the movies and had its designs more or less mandated by the first two films. When they redesigned the characters for The New Batman Adventures, Catwoman was back to a brunette.

I like Connelly a lot, especially if they go for her "Golden Age" personification. Originally, she was called "The Cat" and was just a woman in a dress who turned out to be a master thief. Of course, some of her costumes are actually quite practical for a master cat burglar anyway. Part of me wants Catwoman just because I'm think Bruce "needs some love" in the next film.  He had it pretty rough in the last one.

Have no time to read the thread--but I will say I found it to be a brilliant work. Really, when the film decided to

sacrifice Dawes

it transcended the superhero genre for me. Brave piece of commercial art. Hats off to the filmmakers. BTW, about half the audience applauded at the conclusion.

That's actually kind of interesting because

women characters dying is something of an unfortunate comic book cliche, at least in the modern, "gritty" era. Comic writer Gail Simone called it the "women in refridgerators" effect, from when the Green Lantern's girlfriend was stuffed into a refridgerator. In hindsight, given that Dawes didn't have any comic counterpart, you might have seen it coming. Really, if you wanted to complain, you might point out that there are really no particularly strong women characters, except Dawes, who's sacrificed.

Those thoughts didn't strike me until well after the film, though.

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Perhaps this has been addressed, but I haven't read through the 350+ posts to this thread to find out.

The sound quality in tonights screening was appalling. Truly, I've never sat through anything like it. Something like a quarter of the dialogue simply couldn't be understood: very muffled. Not just during sections with loud explosions and such, but definitely at those points. I also felt that the loud sound effects sections were way beyond the volume levels of other such films. In fact, when we left the theatre, I couldn't hear clearly. Even now, I get twinges in my right ear. I really believe something is out of sync in the soundtrack to these prints of the film. Perhaps the way the sound is being assigned to the various tracks in the surround sound?

I went to the customer service desk and asked for a refund, and when the till boy said "no," I asked to speak to a manager. And when the manager said "no," because I hadn't complained within thirty minutes of the start of the film, I kept him talking until he offered me a pair of comps for a future show, which I readily accepted.

in the course of talking, he told me that every theatre in Vancouver area has been having this problem. At one theatre, they actually blew out their effects speakers.

This just ain't right.

Haven't had a lot of time to search the internet to find out more, but this link to Time Out Chicago suggests that the problem isn't just in my head, or in Vancouver theatres. Maybe they sent the Chicago prints up to the dumb Canucks?

Added a few minutes later, from Perth: "poor sound quality, such that you can't hear the speech over the background music and noise (although to be fair this may be down to the cinema not the movie itself)..."

Cincinnati: "The sound quality is spotty. In some places the booming soundtrack overwhelms dialogue, including Commissioner Gordon's ending tribute as Batman disappears into the night."

Another discussion group: "It has some very mixed reviews this end of the world, apparently the sound quality is poor and this effects some of the dialogue. I have also read that the sound track is bass fuelled trash at best." ... "My most heartfelt complaint would have to be the noise. The film has the worst sound balance that I've heard. Poor diction, and a bombastic score (even when nothing interesting is happening) that make most of the dialogue inaudiable."

Worth mentioning that we were very close to the screen, about the third row, and about five seats in from the right hand end. Perhaps your position in the theatre is a factor: that somehow the dialogue track (which is centred) is, I don't know, out of phase or something when you're seated way off centre?

Enough obsessing. But folks, it was really bad.

Edited by Ron

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Huh. There was no trouble in the IMAX theater where I saw it, but then, that's a powerful system.

The manager said they'd been having the same complaints at the IMAX theatres as they were in the regular theatres.

Really beginning to wonder if it's a matter of where you're sitting in the theatre.

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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FWIW, no trouble at the IMAX theatre I attended, either (in Richmond, Ron!).

- - -

George Bush, The Dark Knight? Be Careful What You Wish For.

Is George W. Bush the Dark Knight?

That

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
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Ron: A few pages ago, I posted the following:

I'm curious if anyone else had issues with the sound mix of this movie. I doubt this a problem inherent to the film -- it's probably a theater-by-theater thing -- but the Uptown theater in D.C. had the sound up pretty loud. That wouldn't bother me so much, but the mix during the loud stretches was terrible! Dialogue was drowned out by the sound of vehicles, explosions and other craziness. It doesn't help that Bale's Batman speaks in a lower voice, although it's amplified somehow. Nevertheless, certain dialogue by other characters was difficult to make out during intense stretches of the film. I'm not sure how crucial that dialogue might have been.

So, yes -- terrible sound problems, mainly during the action sequences. Dialogue that should've been loud enough to hear over the various mayhem was instead drowned out. The posts after mine above suggested that this problem might be relegated to 35 mm presentations (which is what I'd seen). I guess not.

Peter: Thanks for that link. I agree more with that balanced view of the film's politics, but I find the varioius angles presented fascinating. I'm especially intrigued by the idea that audiences might be responding to this film because they subtly perceive it as taking a very strong line against terrorism. I disliked 300, which is said to tap into the same sensibilities.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Christian wrote:

: I disliked 300, which is said to tap into the same sensibilities.

Well, I find it impossible to take 300 all that seriously as a "conservative" film. Yeah, you can read it as "Western Greeks standing up to Middle Eastern Persians", but you can also read it as "a tiny group of insurgents stops a mighty imperial army in its tracks". You can cast either side of the Battle of Thermopylae as America or the Islamists, according to taste. So those who insist on reading it as a "conservative" film are saying more about their tastes, I think, than about the film, per se.

The Dark Knight, on the other hand, is profoundly concerned with the relationships between society, the people who protect it, and the people who attack it -- and it explicitly grapples with questions of civil liberties and the transgressing thereof that we have been dealing with in the real world for quite some time. That makes it a bit easier to say who "represents" who in this film -- but even then, I would not go quite so far as to read this film as a jingoistic defense of one side in that conflict.

I do think, though, that pundits like this one who respond to the "Batman is Bush! And it's a hit! America is conservative!" cheerleading by saying "Oh yeah? What about that OTHER very popular superhero movie, Hancock?" are just showing how out of touch with the cultural conversation they have become. Conservatives were claiming even Hancock as one of their own at least several days before that film had even come out. If you're going to argue that it's some sort of ANTI-Bush movie, you're going to have to actually explain WHY that is the case. (And I'm not saying that that case cannot be made.) Merely dropping the title into a conversation that got there before you did just makes you look clueless.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Have no time to read the thread--but I will say I found it to be a brilliant work. Really, when the film decided to

sacrifice Dawes

it transcended the superhero genre for me. Brave piece of commercial art. Hats off to the filmmakers. BTW, about half the audience applauded at the conclusion.

Is this true to the comic book series?

Saw it, loved it, seems to me that the confustion at play and the full truth not getting out remind me more of Why we Fight and the term "blowback" than anything else. So they're covering up the truth to deceive people into buying into a greater good -- and this is supposed to be a new idea?

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

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And my joking suggestion as to who should play the Joker in the next movie: Katie Holmes.

*snicker*

Actually, the great thing about Batman is that the Joker doesn't have to be in the next film. There are entire stretches of comic without even so much as a mention of him. Definitely a central villain, but by no means someone they NEED to recreate if there's another film.

Also, as far as Catwoman goes...I don't care who plays her quite as much as how they portray the character. And to be honest, she's never going to make it as a major villain. A side-character, at the most, to thrill some people that would recognize her. But her "real self" is high society, she's mostly concerned about animals and crimes of theft, or animal protection. A love interest, yes. An ambigious, conflicted love interest who can't make up her mind, but not a major villain or even character, I don't think.

I do think that this means that another movie would need a different kind of handling, a different approach. I think it would need heavy leaning towards detective work, instead of something quite as chaotic. Not that The Dark Knight didn't involve some, but something more in the line of good police drama might be in order. I'd like to see a film that doesn't try to top The Dark Knight as much as it does match the story-telling, acting and direction level on a slightly changed playing-field. This showed Batman/Bruce Wayne's life at a crucial turning point-- the decision to remain Batman. I'd like the next film to show more of what he's dealing with on a daily basis when the world isn't exploding, and how that plays out for him. Maybe even a young Dick Grayson would be nice. :) (Not Robin yet, I don't think...) This is why the Penguin might work really well; far more business and quiet, behind-the-scenes treachery than outright in-the-streets fighting.

But anyway! The Dark Knight. I think it was true to the comic book series, in the sense that the story had depth and complexity. Anyone who has tried to read Batman comics recently will know how many series each story stretches over, and the sorts of stories they handle. "Bruce Wayne: Murderer?" springs to mind, even though that's a few years old. Not to mention Bane's origins, in the late 1980's "Knightfall" series. (It was 1980s, right?)

Yeah. I still loved it. I want to see it again, but I'm waiting so I can see it in IMAX.

Oh! And although they were brief, did anyone else enjoy the Michael Caine/Maggie Gyllenhaal scenes as much as I did?

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Have no time to read the thread--but I will say I found it to be a brilliant work. Really, when the film decided to

sacrifice Dawes

it transcended the superhero genre for me. Brave piece of commercial art. Hats off to the filmmakers. BTW, about half the audience applauded at the conclusion.

Is this true to the comic book series?

Saw it, loved it, seems to me that the confustion at play and the full truth not getting out remind me more of Why we Fight and the term "blowback" than anything else. So they're covering up the truth to deceive people into buying into a greater good -- and this is supposed to be a new idea?

I'm not that familiar with the comic book (any comic books for that matter). So, in terms of evaluating the film as faithful or not faithful to the source material, I'm unqualified and I suppose I don't really care. As a film, its one I've not been able to shake even after a couple of days--I'd like to go see it again, but its such a sacrifice of time and sleep that I don't think I'm going to make it--even to catch it in IMAX form.

What's "Why We Fight"? I've now had a chance to skim through the heart of the thread--seems to be a couple of key themes running through the discussion: the political angle and whether this is an apologia or, at the very least, metaphor for the GWOT; the vindication or denouncement of the Joker's nihilism; and the handling of Harvey "Two Face" Dent.

Christian has made some compelling argument for the film being too long--I'm sympathetic, but I don't know if its because I've got a sick 8 month old who's prevented me and my wife from getting a good night's sleep since we saw the film, or if there's something that I think could be trimmed and serve the overall heart of the film. I guess if push came to shove I would have challenged the filmmakers to take that 10 minute excursion to Hong Kong and find a 2 minute solution. I'm reminded of the scene restored to Terminator 2 wherein the CPU chip is cut out of Arnold's head and all the work that went into the shot, but in the end, Cameron decided it dragged the theatrical cut so much he chucked it and made the decision to handle the Terminator's ability to "learn" with a single exchange of dialogue. I'm sure that Nolan could have finessed the capture of the Chinese guy more easily--but if it was at the expense of the Joker's "magic trick" then I'm not sure I would have wanted it to disappear on the cutting room floor.

I'm inclined to believe that Nolan et al don't have a specific POV on the GWOT that informed a didactic point to TDK. I can very much see several character's handling the differing approaches to terror in sensitive and compelling ways--from Dent's frontal assault, to Wayne's realization that he may be acerbating the issues, not least with the appearance of copycats, and Alfred's thoughts on Burma. I suppose I can't pick the "liberal" character--the one that wants to cut and run, or negotiate and conduct diplomacy. But maybe Nolan's smart enough to recognize that's mainly propaganda since 9/11.

I loved the ferry sequence--I loved the characters on the boats. The film seems clear to be making the point that the Joker's nihilism is not a view embraced, even at people's worst moments. Two Face is the representative a bit of that at the very end, isn't he--an individual (well, maybe split personality now) who's conscience is not so seared that he cannot actually bring himself to the horrific deed of punishing Gordon. (I did notice that he shot Batman--so he's no innocent who looked in the face of the abyss and blinked).

At the last, what is TDK saying? We allow others to make compromises on our behalf to protect us from what we cannot handle facing? Interesting to see this film after recently seeing Syriana--which took a similar, if decidedly more liberal, approach to the GWOT, and the first hour of the Charles Bronson schlock-fest "Death Wish", which handled not indecently the topic of vigilantism--but couldn't get past its desire to rub liberals' noses in the filth of crime. The TDK is at the end about a reluctant vigilante, who's operation outside of the law is not motivated any more (even if its genesis was) in vengeance. It forces its audience to face the horror of that choice of necessity--that the good people who can no longer remain standing on the sideline when the power to act is in their capacity lose not only their privacy, livelihood, etc, but also some of what made them good.

How did you get the bandit? Wayne asked Alfred.

We burned the forest, he replied.

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At the last, what is TDK saying?

Personally, I find it's easier to talk about what it's asking.

The "burned the forest" line was, for me, one of the film's most sobering and troubling moments.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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stef wrote:

: Is this true to the comic book series?

I don't believe the character in question even EXISTS in the comic series. But in the comic series, major characters have, indeed, suffered big-time. In the late '80s -- around the time I began collecting comics -- the Joker permanently crippled and apparently sexually molested Barbara Gordon, thus bringing her career as Batgirl to an end; and he also killed Robin, i.e. the second Robin, i.e. Jason Todd (and not the first Robin, i.e. Dick Grayson, who had since grown up and become the New Titan named Nightwing). So on some levels, the stuff that the Joker tries in this movie is actually LESS extreme than what he has done in the comics.

livingeleven wrote:

: Also, as far as Catwoman goes...I don't care who plays her quite as much as how they portray the character. And to be honest, she's never going to make it as a major villain. A side-character, at the most, to thrill some people that would recognize her. But her "real self" is high society . . .

Well, unless they follow the ex-hooker template created by Frank Miller for Batman: Year One.

: Not to mention Bane's origins, in the late 1980's "Knightfall" series. (It was 1980s, right?)

Wikipedia says the character first appeared in Batman: Vengeance of Bane in 1993, and the 'Knightfall' story arc ran until 1994. I was collecting comics at the time, including Batman comics, so I might have those issues in my boxes somewhere.

Buckeye Jones wrote:

: I suppose I can't pick the "liberal" character--the one that wants to cut and run, or negotiate and conduct diplomacy. But maybe Nolan's smart enough to recognize that's mainly propaganda since 9/11.

Well, "liberals" like Barack I-still-would-have-opposed-the-surge-even-if-I-had-known-what-a-success-it-would-be Obama certainly exist. But yeah, the closest the film gets to anything like that is, say, the cops who say that Batman needs to turn himself in because too many of their fellow troops -- er, cops -- have died. Certainly there don't seem to be any characters with significant screen time who take the cut-and-run approach.

Overstreet wrote:

: The "burned the forest" line was, for me, one of the film's most sobering and troubling moments.

It's been weird to see conservatives like Dirty Harry celebrate that line. I think the line was MEANT to be troubling, though perhaps in a "necessary evil" sort of way. But it certainly didn't come across as something to be happy about.

Remember how Bruce and Alfred talk about how the Joker might be one of those criminals who simply wants to "see the world burn"? It is sobering, definitely, if the only way to stop those criminals is to "burn" that part of the world in which they reside. But what else can one do?

I am reminded of how Batman tells Ra's al Ghul, in the earlier film, "I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you." Ra's al Ghul is ultimately destroyed by HIS OWN acts of destruction. Batman simply LETS him die by his own handiwork. In the new film, however, Batman seems to need a different tactic. Batman cannot simply let the Joker die by his own handiwork; he may have to actively destroy things himself in order to prevent the Joker from destroying even more. He may have to, as it were, fight fire with fire. (And I've always thought that was a rather interesting phrase.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The ScreenGrab: 'Top Ten Reasons The Dark Knight Isn't As Good As You Think It Is'.

I must admit, Reason #6 is another one of those plot points that had occurred to me.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The ScreenGrab: 'Top Ten Reasons The Dark Knight Isn't As Good As You Think It Is'.

I must admit, Reason #6 is another one of those plot points that had occurred to me.

Number six was the only one that I really had to think about.

But really, one man racing on a motorcycle beating a big team of cops who then have to set about a plan to enter, locate and save Dawes-versus Batman who gets to burst through a door by himself and drag Dent out? And the timer for Rachel Dawes may have been set to go off earlier(it appeared to me that Harvey's had a timer-but we never really see Dawes's bomb, do we? Is it possible her timer was set to go off earlier? The Joker's goal was that Dawes die. Is it really shocking or unreasonable that Batman could save Dent, but Gordon's team of cops could not get organized fast enough to save Dawes?

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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The ScreenGrab: 'Top Ten Reasons The Dark Knight Isn't As Good As You Think It Is'.

I must admit, Reason #6 is another one of those plot points that had occurred to me.

Number six was the only one that I really had to think about.

But really, one man racing on a motorcycle beating a big team of cops who then have to set about a plan to enter, locate and save Dawes-versus Batman who gets to burst through a door by himself and drag Dent out? And the timer for Rachel Dawes may have been set to go off earlier(it appeared to me that Harvey's had a timer-but we never really see Dawes's bomb, do we? Is it possible her timer was set to go off earlier? The Joker's goal was that Dawes die. Is it really shocking or unreasonable that Batman could save Dent, but Gordon's team of cops could not get organized fast enough to save Dawes?

I assumed inequal distances to the two locations.

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Oh, thank you, Andrew Osborne. I thought it was just me, but unfortunately, I wasn't taking notes so I couldn't sum it all up so articulately, except maybe #1. By #8 and #9, I was well into the #1 "feeling-every-second" phase (what? another explosion?), so not paying attention so well...

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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It's official: The Dark Knight has made $300 million in 10 days, beating the previous record of 16 days set by Pirates of the Caribbean 2.

So now people are asking whether, with momentum like this, this film can beat Titanic's all-time record of $600.8 million. (SDG, I vaguely recall that you once said in one of our other threads that success on the scale of Titanic would never happen again, thanks to the rise of DVD etc. What say you?)

Personally, I'll be weirded out simply if The Dark Knight edges Star Wars -- which earned $461 million over the course of 20 years -- out of the #2 spot.

I mean, think about it. In 1975, Steven Spielberg's Jaws became the #1 movie of all time. In 1977, George Lucas's Star Wars beat it. Then in 1982, Spielberg's E.T. beat it. Then in 1997, Star Wars was re-issued and rose to the top again. And then, later that year, James Cameron's Titanic came out and beat them all.

But for the past 33 years, going back to Jaws, there has always been at least ONE film made by Lucas or Spielberg in the Top 2, and for more than half of that time there were TWO such films. I don't know if I'm ready for a world in which neither Lucas nor Spielberg can rise any higher than #3. (Actually, Spielberg's E.T. is already down at #4, thanks to Shrek 2. Jaws, meanwhile, is now down at #42.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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NBooth wrote:

: Which in turn brings to mind, for example, a certain very anti-Bush person's comments about "chickens coming home to roost." It becomes less a matter of absolute good versus absolute evil than a flawed good's flawed attempts to clean up a mess which is, in some respects, his fault.

Well, maybe. But if it weren't for Batman, Gotham City wouldn't even EXIST right now, and the Joker would have to go play somewhere else. The events of Batman Begins make that pretty clear.

What's more, Batman defeated Ra's al Ghul and his minions using techniques that Ra's had taught him. So, chickens and roosts go the other way, too.

The question is, when it turns out that defeating crime is more complicated than defeating the enemies you KNEW you had -- when it turns out that you have become, in a sense, the "flypaper" that attracts enemies you DIDN'T know you had -- should you cut and run, or should you, ahem, stay the course? (Sorry, I mean "endure".)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Quoting the "reasons it's not as good as you think" article:

6. And, okay, I know the Joker is an evil genius and all...but considering he tells Batman exactly where to find Rachel and Harvey Dent and the Caped Crusader and Gordon leave on their rescue missions at exactly the same time...how exactly does the Jokester arrange it for Gordon to arrive at Rachel’s location just a few seconds too late? (Pay attention...this question will be on your SAT.)

My response.

Unless I *completely* misunderstood the scene... it seems like not many people noticed but the Joker

gave the *wrong* addresses

. When Batman leaves, he says he's going to find

Rachel... but when he gets there he finds Dent

. Which is why his cry of

"No, why are you saving me? Save Rachel!

is so poignant... that's exactly what he was trying to do.

Also Dent was told that

only one would make it out alive

so I assume there was some sort of stipulation in the rigging to guarantee this. The movie has plot holes, but this one seems minor.

As regards to the politics of the movie... it's a rorschach test (appropriate considering the Watchmen trailer preceding it). It reflects whatever political viewpoint you hold. I don't think it's an especially meaningful commentary on the current world situation, really. And conservatives claiming "Bush was right all along, see? Batman did the same thing!" is just so ridiculous that it's hard to express how poorly such claims affect the debate. Maybe this isn't what they're claiming, but I don't really understand any other reason for lauding it as a conservative movie.

(And there may not have been a character that wanted to "cut and run" in the movie, but this conflates the invasion on Iraq with the War on Terror.)

With respect to whether the next film needs a Joker, I think it does. Bale's Batman, for better or worse, isn't interesting enough to carry a movie like this alone (Batman Begins notwithstanding, though I'd argue that it wasn't that interesting). Perhaps a well-cast version of the Riddler could work for a 3rd film, but I really wish they'd try to recast Joker. Unfortunately it'd be hard to find someone willing to try to fill Ledger's shoes.

P.S.

Also from that article:

7. The whole "bombs on the ferries sequence" (with the cameo appearance by everyone’s favorite, The Magical Negro, i.e., the token appearance by the wise black character who shows whitey how to be a better whitey)? Lame. Oh, so lame. (Oh, wait a minute...I forgot Morgan Freeman also has a major role in the film as, uh...a wise black character who shows whitey how to be a better whitey.)

How is this not a ridiculously racist statement? This guy's opinion = worthless to me.

Edit: The wikipedia article edumacated me a bit more on the term... perhaps he's trying to identify racism, but by misidentifying it exposes his own racism. Unless he's a black author! Such a touchy subject...

Edited by theoddone33
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theoddone33 wrote:

: (And there may not have been a character that wanted to "cut and run" in the movie, but this conflates the invasion on Iraq with the War on Terror.)

Well, the two have always been linked -- indeed, some have insisted that Iraq is simply one front in a larger conflict, whatever you want to call it (personally, I dislike the term "war on terror" because it sounds too much like "war on drugs") -- so there's no "conflation" needed, really.

And where I come from, i.e. Canada, there is indeed talk of whether we should "cut and run" or "stay the course" in Afghanistan, which is the only front in this conflict that we have ever been all that actively involved in.

: How is this not a ridiculously racist statement?

Are you familiar with the term "Magical Negro"? It's a genuine phenomenon in various works of fiction. Whether this guy is correct in applying it here is a separate question, but the statement, per se, is not "racist", let alone "ridiculously" so.

Show hidden text
In some ways, it actually dovetails with something I said in this thread nine days ago, in response to someone's (SDG's?) claim that the movie was playing with stereotypical assumptions in this scene.

It's kind of an unfortunate pigeonhole that black characters and actors are sometimes stuck with: Either they are LESS moral than the "average" character, more inclined to be criminal or threatening or whatever, OR they are MORE moral than the "average" character, more inclined to be spiritual and enlightened (a la the "Magical Negro").

The character involved in this particular scene has it even worse, in a sense, in that he plays to ALL of those stereotypes -- first daunting us with the possibility that he is the less-moral character, and then revealing himself to be the more-moral character.

FWIW, I would not apply the term to Morgan Freeman's character in this film (though he has certainly been tagged with it in other films, notably the Almighty movies), since Lucius Fox has been around in the comics for decades and is pretty much just another character, to me. But the other guy? Yeah... maybe... I dunno, I wouldn't want to read too much into a couple minutes of screentime.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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NBooth wrote:

: Which in turn brings to mind, for example, a certain very anti-Bush person's comments about "chickens coming home to roost." It becomes less a matter of absolute good versus absolute evil than a flawed good's flawed attempts to clean up a mess which is, in some respects, his fault.

Well, maybe. But if it weren't for Batman, Gotham City wouldn't even EXIST right now, and the Joker would have to go play somewhere else. The events of Batman Begins make that pretty clear.

[snip]

The question is, when it turns out that defeating crime is more complicated than defeating the enemies you KNEW you had -- when it turns out that you have become, in a sense, the "flypaper" that attracts enemies you DIDN'T know you had -- should you cut and run, or should you, ahem, stay the course? (Sorry, I mean "endure".)

Even so. I think this cycle of linkage (we have Joker because of Batman, and Batman because of both Ra's al Ghul and the general lawlessness of the city, both of which are due to other factors--in a certain sense, the attacks in the first film are due to the failure of the "good" people to clean up the city) is precisely why trying to fit the movie into a definite political "perspective" is a bit self defeating. I think the material for discussion is there, but I'm not certain the film's perspective is as clear-cut as some articles seem to be suggesting.

(As far as villains for the sequel--I'm in the pro-Riddler camp; I think his obsessive riddling could be a mirror for Batman's larger existential questions. I would rather not see another Joker for a while.)

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Are you familiar with the term "Magical Negro"? It's a genuine phenomenon in various works of fiction. Whether this guy is correct in applying it here is a separate question, but the statement, per se, is not "racist", let alone "ridiculously" so.

Peter an extremely thought provoking and well made point, a factoid i was unaware of and here by the enlightnement smackdown now unleashed an added dimension to some great favorites in film and fiction as well. Thank you for the research!

And because of that or perhaps partly due to the heat here in Phoenix , i humbly borrow by way of Mr Lean and Lawrence of Arabia a visual reference of raising one glass of iced lemonade to you .. Cheers and again Nicely done

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