‘The Dark Knight’, what flashes in your mind when you hear the name. The Joker right? or you might remember it as ‘the film which had Joker in it’ or ’The one where Heath Ledger won The Academy Award for his depiction as a makeup wearing freak’. We all remember the film by its virtue of Joker, but have we ever thought why is this film such a huge triumph, or the fact that it has shattered all the myths about the entire superhero genre. Yes, Joker is one of the reason for its eminence, but it’s not the sole reason. There are many other aspects as well like the powerful direction, performances, screenplay, antagonists, dialogues, ideologies, logic and the list goes on.
Now you’ll go like,”Come on, a superhero film with logic” Yes a superhero film with logic, fathomless ideas and messages as well. Meanings deeper than Mariana Trench. A film, which you watch again and again, new chapters starts unfolding.
This Christopher Nolan’s wonder has destroyed ample of myths about the superhero genre, some of them are, superhero films are all about good and bad; these types of films are only for commercial purposes, they don’t contain any enigmatic thing to it, it’s just shallow; and the best of them all; Superhero flicks can’t get into the nomination list of the oscars. This list will go on and so will I. The point is, it has smashed all the myths regarding this genre and paved new ways for the films which were released subsequently.
The film is a chaos. Like a roller coaster but with loop followed by another loop, followed by another. The chaotic approach was very bonny. What surprises me is with such chaos in between the film, yet it looked neat and kept us on the edge of our seats. It all started with the mobs, then Joker came out and he demanded Batman to reveal his identity and after that when someone was actually going to reveal it, he commanded not to. There were so many things going on in this film yet it wasn’t a mess, not a bit. There wasn’t any timeline gap that bugged me or any sudden escalation in the story. Nolan knows how to play his cards right, even when he has all of them scattered.
Opening Scene- Vulnerability Or A Calculated Risk
The opening scene was a Bank heist. Nolan chose to commence the film not with the protagonist, not with a supporting cast or not with a petty fight of Batman with thugs. Instead, Nolan revealed his ace in the hole, the Joker as soon as the movie commenced. Many a times we preserve our trump card for the end or sometimes we reveal it in between chaos. Here, it was revealed as soon as the film rolled. Maybe it was a bold or a vulnerable move or chances are, it was a calculated risk by the brainbox itself but the major element revealed in this scene was the introduction of the character, Joker. The character which tends to make people fight or kill amongst themselves. In this scene, he specifically instructed the robbers to shoot the alarm guy and the guy who breaks the vaults as soon as the work is done. In all, 5 thugs were shot, yet the Joker killed only 1 of them. All the other thugs shot each other. This was the perilous trait of the character, he imposes some condition or manipulates people to kill themselves, then sits back, relaxes and enjoys the show. He did this in the entire film, introducing this shade in the initial part layed the foundation of the character.
The entourage of Batman is substantial. Batman is not Batman solely because of his technology, money or his Martial arts practice with the league of shadows. Batman is Batman because of his entourage. This is what really highlighted in this film. Lucious Fox, Alfred, Jim Gordon are the main entourage of Batman who have helped him in all the difficult situations. Alfred assisted him in doing all the works of Wayne Manor including his priceless advices to master Bruce. Lucious Fox looked after all the technological and monetary resources, while Jim Gordon was the only cop in the GCPD whom the Batman can trust, as he was the most honourable of them all. They were the eyes and ears of the Batman and the foremost armour as well.
Whenever the penthouse scene comes up, we get to hear some alluring conversations of Alfred and Bruce. Butler is like a buttress to Bruce Wayne. He made Bruce come across the choices that he tried to thwart away. He was the one who reminded Bruce to check his limits and execute things whose consequences he can control. Yet Bruce said that “Batman has no limits” Later when he was powerless even after owning all the power in the world, his limits flashed in front of his very eyes and that’s when he understood what Alfred tried to convey. Alfred gave him those advices that none other person could ever give. Also, how can we forget his sarcasm and wit. He was like a mentor to Bruce. A mentor who was wise and right about his master and tried to always show him the true path. When Bruce decided to come out as Batman, Alfred was the one who tried to stop him from doing so. Some casualties were there but isn’t this is what Batman is for, just what butler said, Batman can make choices that no other person could, he’s the one who can take the fall for the people just to restore faith of the city. He’s the one who can work in shadows and save gotham city. The one who can wear a mask and keep the people away from the harsh truth by fighting the way out. He’s the one that no other person can be, He Is THE BATMAN.
The White Knight Dines With The Dark Knight
Bruce was indecisible whether to trust the new DA or not. Though when he met Dent in person he saw some spark, some drive in him. The way he was proud of Gotham’s common people and wanted to serve the city not by wearing a mask and getting above the law, but to stay in grasp of the law and still cleaning the streets efficiently. Bruce could’ve gotten offended on his statements, but he didn’t because even he knew that Harvey stood for things batman couldn’t. He inspired people in ways Batman couldn’t, Dent honoured the law while Batman couldn’t. You can see the ray of hope in Bruce’s eyes when Dent was talking. A ray where he can see the Gotham city peaceful more than ever, not because of Batman but because of the White Knight. Bruce envisioned that he’s the man who can take up his mantle and that too not by wearing a mask but by being the face of justice. His strategy of working was something that Bruce admired and that’s why he was sold. He threw a fundraiser for Harvey Dent as a token of appreciation and to reelect him for his next term.
What pops in your mind when you hear the word,’antagonist’ or the term,’villain’? Muscle power, strength, army of soldiers, superpowers, right? Surprisingly Joker wasn’t much strong, nor did he have an army and wasn’t even blessed with a superpower. Still he is the finest villain of all time. When an enemy is strong or have a good fighting skills it’s difficult to beat him down the first time but it gets eventually easier later. This quality can be contradicting as well, but when a villain has a mind of a satan, no one can beat him. And that’s what the Joker had. He had a mind sharper than any of the Gotham’s finest. He was always a step ahead from everyone. What he really did was forced the ugly side out of people. His philosophy was harsh, but isn’t it a true one? Like the opening line he says,”I believe whatever doesn’t kill you simply makes you stranger” This sentence serves such a major background hint of the character. In his past, some event might’ve occured that would’ve left him half dead, lying in a forest or a deserted place that might’ve changed him, because of the ruthless act of a person or maybe government. Another hint of his background can be figured out when he was confronting Harvey Dent on the hospital bed, he said this line,”….or a truckload of soldiers will be blowing up, nobody panics” This too hints at the probability of him and his mates bombed up and nobody gave a damn about them. Maybe that’s why he loves to burn the whole Gotham down. Ofcourse he doesn’t do it for the money or else he wouldn’t have burned a mountain of cash. So why he does it? Because he loves chaos. One sentence by Joker really defines his opinion about people “when the chips are down, these civilized people they’ll eat each other” He had such a strong opinion about our shades, our character. We all love to watch him, it’s because he places the mirror right in front of our ugly-inside-beautiful-outside faces and reflects our harsh reality towards us.
The White Knight
Dent, The White Knight stood for ideas far more greater than Batman did. He didn’t hate Batman, he hated the way he used to fight crimes i.e. by being above the law. For him law was the apex rule. If you see it in a certain way, Harvey was more effective than Batman. He hit the whole mob together, took the whole responsibility when they raided the mob banks. He prosecuted every thug in the city. The greatest thing that Dent did was, when he announced that he was the Batman, just to save Batman from coming out, because if Batman was revealed then perhaps no one will be present to fight for Gotham in the shadows. Here, Alfred might be correct. Alfred said,”perhaps Bruce and Mr. Dent believe that Batman stands for something more important than the whims of a terrorist” Maybe this was the point where Harvey realised that Batman symbolises something that is above right or wrong, he stands above black or white, he stands for something that is above the law.
Batman Had Limits
Bruce Wayne, he tried to execute every right thing he could. But, he got his mind twisted when Joker abducted Dent and Rachel. He got the address. As a protector of the city he should’ve went for the DA and not for his love. Still, he went for Rachel and told the GCPD to go for Harvey. This shows his shade that even he’s a human, he feels love and at times he thinks as Bruce Wayne and not as the Caped Crusader. This shows his other side, the side of selfishness. Even Joker knew about it, that Batman will go for Rachel, so he deliberately swapped the addresses just to show Bruce Wayne the reality of his own doings. The reality of his decisions. The reality of Bruce Wayne. That’s where he had limits, that even being the powerful man in the world, he couldn’t save Rachel and Dent as well.
You Complete Me
The interrogation scene of the Joker uncovered many things. It uncovered the main thing, Batman was powerless with all the power in the world. The laugh that Joker gave him illustrated so many things. Being such strong, having all the money in the world, Joker wasn’t even an iota scared of him. Batman was literally paralysed there. He didn’t have any leverage on him. And that’s where the Joker had the leverage on him. This is amusing, Joker had the leverage because he was in the custody of Jim Gordon and Batman. He played with them by being in the locker. Another important thing was the statement ‘you complete me’. Joker was an outcast because of his devilish mind, but even Batman was an outcast. Everybody loved Batman, everybody wanted to be Batman. But when the time came to reveal the identity of Batman, everyone gave him up. Everyone saved themselves. Batman who protected everyone, still they dropped him at a single whim. Saving everybody, yet Batman had his consequences just like Joker. Joker and Batman were the same, the difference was the side, positive and negative. Joker actually saw himself in Batman. Yes I might sound crazy, but he did. He saw the positive himself in Batman. Joker was extraordinary in himself and even Batman was. If Joker was an extreme negative, then Batman was an extreme positive and we get to see this trait during the cessation of the film.
The conclusion of this film is the most important and shocking part. ‘You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain’ This ingenious line was quoted by Harvey Dent himself and this principle applied to both Batman, and Dent as well. Dent was a true hero, a White Knight of Gotham but Joker turned him to the dark side. He died a villain. But he was the best of them. Hearing that Joker turned the best, the faith of the people on justice, law, righteousness, humanity would’ve abolished. That’s why Batman took the fall for murder of Two-face. He deceived himself, he condemned himself just for the sake of the faith of people. Couldn’t let Joker win, so Batman did something that is not in the books of a hero. He did something that isn’t heroic. He delineated himself as the villain. Because he was not a hero, he was more than that. Gotham would’ve been lost in the shadows but he exactly knew what needs to be done. He hid himself as a dark knight of the Gotham city. Because he was the one that Gotham deserved, but not the one that Gotham needed at that time. This is a true trait of a hero. This is what Batman stood for, he stood for something far greater than being a hero. Far greater than law. Far greater than a hero or a villain.