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Demosthenes

Well put. Hadn't really thought of it that way, but DC has always been really, really keen on drawing those distinctions: that Batman and Superman are a Yin/Yang combination that really need each other to be effective.

(Now if only Warner had let DC be as conscientious about making these connections as Marvel has been.)

Then again, the problem with waiting for saviors is the kind of saviors you get. Sure, Superman is a welcome counterpoint to Batman... but so is Ozymandias. The Watchmen loom large over Nolan's Gotham.

Ed D.

Your first paragraph is remarkably like between the wars German theology. Or one of them I guess, perhaps Bonhoeffer.

Jesus will return one day after he is no longer needed was the gist of it.

The idea is that we are all, accumulatively, the Body of Christ. When, through taking the responsibility to honor and love each other, we join as one spirit, we will have resurrected the Body of Christ.

It's about taking responsibility rather than looking to our idols to save us. Pretty much the malaise of modern Christianity, if not through the ages as well.

Falconer

I thought that the producers were intolerably cruel to Harvey Dent, merely because he was a White Knight who was not Superman.

Superman is physically invulnerable. Emotionally? I don't know. If Luthor hurt Lois Lane, perhaps Superman would take LexCorp apart brick by brick, but I don't think he'd snap and start killing people.

The movie punishes Harvey Dent for trying to be Superman without actually being the Last Son of Krypton.

I admit, I was expecting them to set up Two-Face for the next movie, so I was surprised that they went ahead and unleashed him in the last hour or so. Good lord, but that version of Two-Face made me want my teddy bear last night....

Luke

The problem with Dark Knight is that it fails at narrative structure and character development, choosing to instead focus on a morality tale (with the morals actually repeatedly verbalized by the characters themselves). Joker's story begins in media res and never really develops into a STORY; instead he is just a force of malevalence and chaos (which he helpfully tells the viewer in case you need it spelled out for you). In the end, the film is just a series of special effects supporting the vague outlines of a story about Batman and allies trying to stop the Joker and various criminals, with a subplot where the citizens of Gotham (and the viewers, by extension) are faced with a prisoner's dilemma to illustrate that moral choices are hard. It would be fine as a serial like a comic book or a single episode in a soap opera, but it does not work on its own merits as a stand-alone film. The nearly-instantaneous turn from Harvey Dent to Two-Face is never believable for a minute, and is directly comparable to the change in character in Star Wars Episode 3 from Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vadar. In both films, one minute the guy is a boy scout and the next minute he is ready to massacre children. That kind of about face needs to be belieavable or it just looks ridiculous and feels calculated to manipulate emotion.

GeoX

Dent is definitely the movie's big problem. As Luke says, his downfall--which should carry strong dramatic resonance--isn't remotely psychologically believable--especially given that, as the prisoners on the boat demonstrate, preternatural goodness IS a possibility in this world. The Joker is mesmerizing, and I don't mind--in fact, I LIKE--that he never develops into anything more than a force of chaos, but then Two Face has to be dragged into the mix, and all you can think is, huh. Nice face effect. And...I see that you have a gimmicky way of deciding to kill people. Great. Um. Can we get back to the real villain and the real story?

Demosthenes

Aside from everything else...

...and I disagree with most of what Luke said because it's a common comics conceit to have strong characters simply crack, even if Harvey's dark side hadn't been telegraphed by the torture scene...

...trying to "develop" the Joker would have been ridiculous. That's not the point of the character. The point of the Joker has always been to show that Wayne's desperate attempt to order the universe is probably doomed, because the chaos he hates lurks in the souls of everybody, even the best of us.

(To appropriate a complete different writer's black-clad character: "there's no Justice. There's Just Us.")

Any of us could be a Joker, even someone as incorruptible as Dent.

Luke

Demosthenese, your points don't seem to explain how this film is anything but a medieval morality play with flashy production values. Repeating the moral or point of the film and its characters (as delivered straight from the movie's characters' mouths) doesn't suggest how the FILM was well-executed as a FILM. Special pleading about "comic conceits" doesn't either. I love comics, but I want my comic book films to hold together as a film. To me that means a coherent story, some character development, competent acting, and decent cinematography. The Dark Knight really failed the first two, Ledger was the only actor who delivered on the third, and I will give it the fourth (though I found the cinematography to be a tad confused).

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