THE DARK KNIGHT

dark_knight

Overall Impression — Words fail me.  This is one of the most relentlessly brilliant explorations of the soul of a hero I’ve ever seen.

THE FOUR QUESTIONS

Who’s your main character? — Bruce Wayne as the Batman.

What’s he trying to accomplish? — Professional: Stop the Joker. Personal: Get Rachel to love him. Private: Discover if he has what it takes to be a real hero.

Who’s trying to stop him? — The Joker.

What happens if he fails? — People die and Gotham is torn apart.

THE FOUR ARCHETYPES

Orphan — Wayne Manor is already destroyed and Rachel is now seeing Harvey Dent.  The Joker begins his crime spree and says that he’ll stop if the Batman will reveal himself.

Wanderer — Batman tries to stop the Joker every way he knows how, however he’s ultimately unable to do what’s necessary and just kill the Joker, which is what the Joker would do if the situation were reversed and called for it.  Batman decides he’ll .

Warrior — The Joker reveals that he’s got Rachel and Harvey hostage.  Batman tries to beat the information out of the Joker, who eventually gives two addresses.  Batman races off to an address to save Rachel, but it’s the wrong address and Rachel dies while Harvey is disfigured.

Martyr — Proving their humanity, the passengers on the ferry ships being held hostage by the Joker give up saving themselves and do not destroy each other.  Batman gives up doing what’s right for what’s necessary, defeating the Joker and becoming the hero that Gotham needs, the Dark Knight.

AND, IN THE END…

There’s a reason why this movie has done a billion dollars worth of box office (and that’s not even counting DVD sales!)  Granted, Heath Ledger is brilliant and will win the Oscar (did I say that out loud?) but this movie belongs to the characters.  

Heroes and villains are dark mirrors of each other, but instead of going to the surface understanding of this as in the 1989 Tim Burton BATMAN, THE DARK KNIGHT plunges deep under the skin to look at the nature of villainy and heroism.

This movie should be added to every must-see list for any serious student of character development.

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3 Responses to “THE DARK KNIGHT”

  1. Thomas James June 8, 2010 at 8:21 pm #

    I agree the characters in this movie are dealt with exceptionally, and they ultimately are the base reason for my love of this film, but I also believe another huge reason for seeing this movie is for its ability to set up story elements flawlessly, with an interconnectedness of events and organic plot beats that make it one of the strongest structured films I’ve ever seen. It reminds me of MOULIN ROUGE in that the first half seems to not be a movie so much as a set up for a story to be told. Of course, the fact that both are supremely entertaining while doing so means the writers and filmmakers have done their job more than right. In the process of its structured perfection, THE DARK KNIGHT transcends the super-hero genre. It also awakens writers to the fact that movies are not as simple as they seem. The best only seem to be as simple as the joy of watching them.

  2. Thomas James June 8, 2010 at 8:21 pm #

    I agree the characters in this movie are dealt with exceptionally, and they ultimately are the base reason for my love of this film, but I also believe another huge reason for seeing this movie is for its ability to set up story elements flawlessly, with an interconnectedness of events and organic plot beats that make it one of the strongest structured films I’ve ever seen. It reminds me of MOULIN ROUGE in that the first half seems to not be a movie so much as a set up for a story to be told. Of course, the fact that both are supremely entertaining while doing so means the writers and filmmakers have done their job more than right. In the process of its structured perfection, THE DARK KNIGHT transcends the super-hero genre. It also awakens writers to the fact that movies are not as simple as they seem. The best only seem to be as simple as the joy of watching them.

  3. a June 20, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

    Great delivery. Great arguments. Keep up the amazing work.

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