I resisted saying "Purrrrrrr-fect" in that last sentence, but only just barely.

§ July 23rd, 2008 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on I resisted saying "Purrrrrrr-fect" in that last sentence, but only just barely.

First, I apologize for the relative sloppiness of yesterday’s post. I had to decide between “sleep” and “the weblog,” and I picked “the weblog” because I wanted to get my thoughts out there on the new Batfilm while they were still fresh in my noggin. I think I should have chosen “sleep,” as the memories may have been fresh, but my ability to form coherent thoughts was not. So, if you slogged through yesterday’s post, thank you for your indulgence.

But some of you folks took pity on me and made some good comments and asked some good questions, so let me address what you had to say. Note: SPOILERS for Dark Knight in the following bullet-pointed responses:

  • Rohan pointed out that there was a lot more moral ambiguity present in the film outside the circumstances the Joker forced upon our heroes. And he’s right: nearly everyone in the film makes a choice about lying to others, hiding information, obfuscating events, violating privacy, all in the name of the greater good. There’s still a significant contrast between what the characters do to themselves and what the Joker does to them: the Joker attempts to make people make choices that serve their own self-interest, while by and large the moral choices, the lies and the deceits the main characters perform, are for the protection of others.

    The question the movie asks, and is mostly not answered, as Rohan says, is whether or not compromising a moral position for the right reason is the correct thing to do. That’s certainly more to chew on than you tend to get in your average summer action blockbuster, and gives this Batman film far more thematic weight than any of its predecessors.

  • Joshnunn and pal Jo note another borrowed element from Killing Joke…the “multiple choice” origins the Joker reveals about himself. Interestingly, that multiple choice aspect seems obvious to us, since the idea is familiar to us from Killing Joke, but it’s possible some people didn’t get that. Roger Ebert didn’t seem to catch that in his review, writing about the Joker’s supposed childhood drama as if that were the explanation for his scars.
  • David Cutler points out that Batman in the Burton films was a little more free with the killing, taking out thugs left and right, making a save for the Joker at the end of that first film out of character had it happened. And he’s right…the Burton Batman doesn’t have quite the same moral boundaries that the Nolan Batman does. But I think my point still stands, that a very specific parallel is drawn between the two films by their similar Joker-oriented climactic moments, and the differences in how they’re handled is very telling in regards to each filmmaker’s perception of the Batman character.
  • Speaking of the Burton films, the quick line in Dark Knight about Wayne asking Fox to make him a new cowl which will allow him to turn his neck…I kinda read that as a poke at the earlier movies, even if it sorta applies to the newer films too.
  • There’s some discussion of a third film in the comments, too…and while I’m hesitant to want to see a threequel (given the usual diminishing returns we get in our superhero movie series), there’s no denying that Dark Knight was better than Batman Begins. Thus, there may be hope for a decent third film. Batman’s left in bit of a spot at the end of the second movie, so some resolution to that would be nice. But even if they leave it there, with no further film, I’d be okay with that, too. It would certainly underscore the themes of the movie if Batman is left forever in that cinematic limbo, always the outcast, always the scapegoat, bearing the sins of Gotham City for all time.

    Of course, the movie made a gazillion dollars, so we’re getting a sequel no matter what. I hesitate to predict a villain (or two) that’ll be in the new film, but I’m hoping for Mad Hatter. No reason, beyond seeing what they’d do with him. And because I’d think it’d be funny, since I’m a bad person.

    But I’m betting the folks saying it’ll be Catwoman will probably be right. As Mathew says, each film has focused on villains that serve to reveal more about Wayne/Batman’s motivations. And as pal Dorian opined to me yesterday, Catwoman would be a perfect character for such a purpose.

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