The Dark Knight Meets Bush Bailout

For my first trick, I’m going to make this economic crisis…disappear…


The Dark Knight Debate: Best Comic Book-Based Movie Ever?

I’m on the move this morning so I can’t write extensively, though there are some topics in the hopper. I have, however, come to a conclusion and I want the thinkpoppers out there to weigh in. 

I believe the Dark Knight to be the best movie based on the a comic book series ever. Many agree, some may disagree, either way the comment section awaits. Give us your take on the best comic-book movie ever made.

Why So Serious? Batman after the Year 2001

 The superhero movie has seen something of a resurgance in the last 7 years. The sheer quantity of them has exploded but what’s interesting to me is how superheroes have changed, and how many have endured despite changing world issues, and changing concerns in our culture. 

To my mind, there is one superhero who stands out in the cultural fray because he is so human, and struggles with the same kind of morality issues we all do. His character has withstood the test of time. He is Batman. The latest iteration of his story, The Dark Knight speaks volumes about the Batman legend, and its place in our culture. 

First of all, unlike any other superhero people want to see a good Batman movie. People were pleasantly surprised by Iron Man, an excellent film. But people long for a good Batman film like no other. 

I could regale you with the origin story of Batman. The truth is there are many. But most of you know the core. Bruce Wayne’s parents are murdered by a thug, the incident traumatizes him and inspires him to become Batman and fight crime in Gotham. His morality and general rules of engagement,

have remained fairly consistent through the telling and re-telling of his story. He fights crime, intimidating suspects, working at night, and alone, but never killing anyone, no matter how vile a criminal they may be, believing anyone can be redeemed. In the thirties and fourties he was seen as something of rich-inspired vigilante, helping the police in their effort to keep us all safe. Like all superheroes, Batman has had dozens of reboots to his history and his motivations. Certain skill sets were enhanced, others were dimished to fit with the decade he was working in. 

But it was the decision to reboot the Batman story in film in 2005 that bears interest to me. It marks a trend in our pop culture that has yet to ebb, but will undoubtedly be debated in the future. Chris Nolan director of Batman Begins, retold the origin story and sought to justify in a much more concrete and real-life way just how this Batman character could exist. Unlike previous era’s in Batman’s history, it wasn’t enough to know his parents had been killed. Instead, we had to see him training, we had to understand the origin of the Batman symbol and in a very real way, we had to understand how this Batman came to exist. The character Lucius Fox is introduced to explain how Batman is getting all these amazing tools. In other words, as an audience we have no reason not to believe in Batman. As much as it’s still a fantasy, we have enough concrete there to walk on. Batman begins also deals with fear. Bruce Wayne is no longer a rich do-gooder, he’s a playboy, he enjoys his wealth and swaggers in and out of the boardroom. His tools don’t come from his secret lab, they are built by his multi-billion dollar corporation. He has been remade into the hero we wish we had in our own world. 

Having dealt with exposition and the origin of Batman in the previous film, we’re allowed to simply go on an adventure. This time, Gotham’s DA Harvey Dent is introduced as the hero of Gotham’s legal system swiftly and legally putting most of Gotham’s underbelly in jail. That is until the mysterious Joker comes to town. Rather than explain his insanity, or delve into why he is the way he is, Nolan leaves us with a mad man. A simple lunatic. His belief…install a little chaos and the whole system caves in on itself. The perfect nemisis to Batman, who believes that if people feel safe they will do the right thing. 

Being a superhero is uniquely tailored to Batman in a post 9/11 world. In a world of giant corporations and individuals controlling vast arrays of wealth, it’s not impossible to believe that someone of Bruce Wayne’s stature could have the toys he plays with. But not only that, people want the moral clarity of Batman. Someone driven to do the edge, who comes close to vengance, but pulls back from crossing that last line. A villian like the Joker is given knew meaning in this film and is even called a terrorist by several of the film’s characters. His actions are meant to do little else but inspire fear and chaos. It’s a serious appeal to our sensibilities in an era of terrorism we just don’t understand. 

Batman lives on because his character is malleable enough to go through the dark detective stories of the 40’s, the sci-fi of the 50’s, the camp of the 60’s, the Justice League of the 70’s and 80’s and the dark crossover of the 90’s. In the new millennium, Batman and Bruce Wayne navigate a complex world, one where there are villians in various corners, heroes of various stripes, and solutions of deep sacrifice.