D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

The Dark Knight: A Microcosm of the American People Under Terrorist Threat

Monday, July 21, 2008 1:21 AM

*THIS POST HAS SPOILERS!!! If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want to have any of the plot told to you, stop reading now! Go check out whatever Chris Williams is doing on his blog. For those of you wanting to read this entry, scroll down.

No seriously, there are spoilers.

Last chance.

The storyline in this movie was deceiving. This wasn’t about Batman vs. the Joker…this wasn’t about Gotham trying to divert a criminal mastermind. No, this was a movie about terrorism.

The Joker himself was labeled a terrorist in the movie, and was always seen as being separate from the “regular” criminals…always more intense, more willing to dismember or kill. I loved that we didn’t really get any back story on him, because he didn’t need any. His role was to represent that which we fear, that which we don’t understand, and that which for whatever reason wants to do us harm. He was the Satan to Batman/Gordon/Dent’s Jesus, sitting on top of the temple baiting them to bend their code of ethics and hurl themselves down.

And really, that was the heart of this movie: How do we balance our morals and values with the cost of upholding them. This movie gives us a forum to open up the discussions around the events of the current decade, and maybe that’s where I look at the movie and feel disdain. Maybe because I feel like the Batman let me down in what he was willing to compromise and what he wasn’t.

Consider that Joker said he’d stop the killing if only Batman would identify himself. Similar to how governments are threatened by terrorists that they will kill hostages if troops are not removed from the middle east. Batman couldn’t reveal himself, because the greater good prevented him…but how often are individuals and their families sacrificed at the alter of “greater good”?

Consider that Batman decided violating everyone’s privacy was alright since it would serve the greater good and locate the Joker. In the USA, the Patriot Act and other privacy legislation is still a hot topic. What means does an enforcement or governing body have over its people? Why does the Batman decide that he’s able to break certain laws and not others, and how does he justify the “do as I say, not as I do” attitude when scolding would-be vigilantes? Do we agree with Batman in his tactics, and if so do we also agree with our own governments and their want to have more inroads into our private lives?

The movie begs the question “In 2008, what is a hero?” What values do we as a society hold dear? Is it worth being a hero when you’re critiqued by those you try to protect? What is acceptable action as a hero? What is justice? What are the lengths we’re willing to go to protect ourselves? In this post-9/11 era, these are still questions that I think we’re wrestling with.

Ok…enough of the deep stuff…I need to comment on a few things…

First, 3/5 is my rating for this movie.

Joker – AWESOME!
Heath Ledger has set the bar high for anyone stepping into the purple suit and white face paint in the future. Definitely the reason to see this movie.

Batman – EPIC FAIL!
WTF was that gruff voice Christian Bale tried to use for Batman?! And the kewl thing with Batman was that he was always in the shadows, doing his work away from others eyes…not *appearing* at a crime scene and walking around with the police officers. Not disappearing into thin air when someone’s back is turned. Batman != Spiderman, and as such there needs to be a bit more air of reality to him, which wasn’t present in this film.

Harvey Dent – Awesome!
Great character that I *hope* wasn’t killed off at the end of the movie, otherwise I have the same comment that I had when Venom died in the last Spiderman: EPIC FAIL!!!

Gordon – Awesome!
Once again, a great performance by the commish! (Although announcing his promotion in the cell blocks was a little odd, yes?)

Realism – EPIC FAIL x 100!!!
The only pieces that seemed believable were the Joker’s schemes! Those I could buy, and even overlook things like how he wired up a hospital to be blown up and also walk into the hospital without anyone knowing. It didn’t matter for whatever reason, I could buy it.

But holy shit: Batman takes out a piece of brick that has a bullet in it, somehow calls in the BS artists from CSI and is able to recreate the bullet AND get a fingerprint?!

And please explain to me how, in seemingly mere hours, he was able to create a system complete with required multi-monitor interface, to track ALL cellular calls AND use the speech as sonar…AND be able to locate the Joker in ALL of that…AND have special optics in his mask that act like x-ray goggles?! LAME!!!!

And did the ballet dancers not question why Bruce was swimming to a plane, and why he was gone from the ship for as long as he was?

And that whole final scene where he’s running through through the maze of shipping containers…it just looked so clumsy!

And the way he “saved” that guy who was going to rat him out by crashing his car, and the way the guy “got it” that Bruce had saved his life so he should just keep quiet…I HATE it when that happens. I hated it in Spiderman 2 when that whole subway car sees Peter without his mask and is all “We won’t tell anyone Spiderman” So now there’s like 50 people who know Spiderman’s identity…you think that not ONE of them will tell somebody, or snap a picture?! If Youtube was in the Marvel universe, that would be up there in a flash from someone’s phone. But I digress…

The only thing I can think of is that this one tried something different in a hero movie: it was hero by committee: Dent, Batman, and Gordon all shared the hero duties, while the first Batman movie was focused on just Batman. And I honestly just didn’t really dig it. I was expecting a more conflicted Batman, but instead I don’t really know what we got. I think we got a more conflicted Gotham than anything, and the question comes back to how we as a society react to the decisions those we place in power…our “heroes” in government and elsewhere.

But those are my thoughts after seeing it and writing this at 1:16 AM. Love to hear your thoughts.


I was talking with a buddy that made two interesting observations:
1. Apparently when Batman and Lucious are talking about the batsuit, he asks if it'll stop dogs and Lucious responds "Maybe a cat" or something to that affect...foreshadowing about Catwoman?
2. The guy with the cell phone that was surgically implanted into his stomach...did that scar look like...a question mark?




# re: The Dark Knight: A Microcosm of the American People Under Terrorist Threat

-1 for questioning Batman's gadgets. 7/21/2008 5:25 AM | Mat Hinze

# re: The Dark Knight: A Microcosm of the American People Under Terrorist Threat

Methinks you're over-analyzing. You're good with a millionaire playboy dressing up as a bat driving around in an armored car but you don't believe he can get a fingerprint off a shattered bullet.

How did he come up with that sonar/cell-phone thing in mere hours? No idea. How does Harvey plan to sleep with no eyelid? What happened to the Joker after Batman saved Rachel at the party? How did Joker assume Batman would find his fingerprint? Why would Batman go to such lengths to save the Joker's life when he so flippantly allowed Liam Neeson's character to plummet to his death? And most importantly, what different does it make when, in a world like this, the filmmakers can make up any excuse to explain it?

Lucius Fox himself called out the suspension of belief thing with his conversation with corporate-accountant-guy. In a Batman movie, you have to be reasonable in what you pick and choose what to believe. I saw little in there that broke the ground-rules the film set for itself.

I'm guessing you follow the comics to some extent. As someone who knows him mostly from his previous incarnations on screen, I thought it rocked. 7/21/2008 9:29 AM | Kyle Baley

# re: The Dark Knight: A Microcosm of the American People Under Terrorist Threat

Batman was always kewl because he had no super powers...he was a regular guy that was smart and very disciplined. He didn't have super human strength, he wasn't a super genius when it came to science...he was a detective...he was a super-cop with heightened moral sense.

And he had a *few* good gadgets, but they were all believable gadgets.

I could accept the unbelievable pieces from Tim Burton's movies because he was making it more an artsy, Tim-Burtonized version of the story. I accepted the previous movies with Clooney and Kilmer because they were just money-grab crap movies and updated the campiness of the 60's.

But this movie series was supposed to be all dark and brooding and introspective. I went in with expectations of seeing a Batman that was really torn emotionally about what to do...and I never bought it. Like I mentioned in my post, I think this has to do with splitting up the hero screen time between Batman, Gordon, and Dent...and what's-her-name to a certain extent as well. It was a team movie, not an individual movie.

But to answer your points:
- Harvey Dent never sleeps...DUH! ;)
- Joker just dissapeared after the party...oddly enough, I'm ok with him disapearing into the night...you could also ask how he got into the hospital so easily as well.
- What benefit was that fingerprint anyway? They didn't find any info on the Joker from it.
- I'd have to go back and re-watch the first movie...but that's a GREAT point if he indeed let Raz-Algoul to die and yet saved Joker.
- Lucious Fox's character was DESTROYED in this movie...what a waste. And that whole sideplot about the guy knowing Batman's identity...don't get me started.

D 7/21/2008 9:45 AM | D'Arcy from Winnipeg

# re: The Dark Knight: A Microcosm of the American People Under Terrorist Threat

Oh...and of course I'm ok with a millionaire playboy dressing like a bat and driving around in an armored car. You're talking to a blue-coller software developer who dresses like a Mexican Wrestler and drives around in a Rav4...I think we can see the similarities here.

D 7/21/2008 9:56 AM | D'Arcy from Winnipeg

# re: The Dark Knight: A Microcosm of the American People Under Terrorist Threat

D. You're over-thinking it. They said he had diverted funds to the cellphone thing for some time, so it didn't just happen in a few hours. It was even tagged as a government project.

As for the dude who was going to reveal his secret. There was still no confirmation of "I am Bruce Wayne/Batman" More of a "if you mess w/ me, I know who you are."

It was a good flick. My biggest beef was in the last 5 minutes anyway. 7/21/2008 11:29 AM | chris williams

# re: The Dark Knight: A Microcosm of the American People Under Terrorist Threat

The fact that the funds were covered under a "government project" even further confirms my feeling about this movie being about our acceptance of intrusion from "those that know best" into our personal lives for the sake of "the greater good".

Don't get me wrong, 3/5 rating still means I liked it...but I liked it better when it was the joker playing mindgames with the heroes than any of the supposed turmoil the Batman was dealing with.

D 7/21/2008 11:40 AM | D'Arcy from Winnipeg

# re: The Dark Knight: A Microcosm of the American People Under Terrorist Threat

Nice catches on those edits, time to go start some rumors :) Nolan did talk about Riddler as a possibility. It was odd how he left the first one with such a massive 'hanger' basically proclaiming the next villain and this movie had relatively nothing (unless those subtle hints are correct). It almost begs that there is something in there people haven't seen. 7/21/2008 3:08 PM | Matt

# re: The Dark Knight: A Microcosm of the American People Under Terrorist Threat

A Great Movie. A Bad Movie.

I think it was very well done, overall really a great movie ....but I just can't help but think the movie would have been more appropriately named "The Joker"

The movie seemed to follow the Joker with Batman being more of a supporting character. This same thing happened in the second Burton movie and only got worse from there.

So my opinion then. Great movie, but lets see more of Batman in the next movie. Develop his character more, show us his personal inner struggle, his sacrifice to be who he is. Who is the alter ego, is it Batman or is it Bruce Wayne?

Seriously, they killed his personal friend since childhood who also happened to be his love interest. Don't you think he'd go even a little coocoo like Harvery Dent did, rather just hang his head for a few minutes and then sit in a chair in his loft for 2 more minutes wondering if he is to blame?

Would he really save the Joker, or just pull him back up to look him straight in the eye and say "this is for Rachel" and then drop him?

Show us the Dark in the Knight

7/25/2008 10:30 PM | Shane

# re: The Dark Knight: A Microcosm of the American People Under Terrorist Threat

It's a superhero movie, it's supposed to have things that don't make sense. What I think is being misunderstood in Nolan's approach is that Batman is supposed to be more realistic. NO, this is Batman more like in the original comics. So of course he's going to have the cool gadgets, and they are only going to get cooler as he goes along. And it is going to get darker for Bruce/Batman. His best friend died, but how could he kill the Joker? Then he would be a hypocrite (because his main point to Harvey and Gordon is if you sink to the level of the bad guys, everything you've done will be tarnished and then there will be no "face" for a hero). Which is in tangent with the point D was making about morality. I think there was a lot of shared screen time but you know that's what studios ask for when they want to set up a sequel. They didn't do it in Begins for the Joker because like D mentioned, you don't need a backstory for the Joker. You just know he's mentally ILLLLLLLLLLLLL.

All the actors did a great job. Shame on D for calling out Bale's Batman voice because A: He did it in the first one (Begins) and B: Bale is the only Bruce/Batman actor to do the voice change. I wouldn't expect it to sound flawless everytime unless they made it digital and used a soundbox which you would complain about.

Let's not forget that Bruce Wayne is a BILLIONAIRE with a company that produces(produced) weapons for the government. I wouldn't be surprised by the types of toys Bruce acquires.

Only issue I had with the movie was the crashing of the LP640 :( even if it was a prop lol. 7/27/2008 3:00 PM | Calvin

# re: The Dark Knight: A Microcosm of the American People Under Terrorist Threat


sci-fiction is quite often the prelude to science fact 12/15/2008 11:21 AM | D rob

# re: The Dark Knight: A Microcosm of the American People Under Terrorist Threat

In case that link expires
University of Leicester experts have held discussions with military personnel in Afghanistan following the discovery of new technology to identify fingerprints on metal.
Dr John Bond, a forensic research scientist at the University of Leicester and scientific support manager at Northamptonshire Police, has worked with a team from the University Department of Chemistry to develop the novel technique.

The state-of-the-art forensic method that can identify fingerprints on bullets could now be used on bombs. The new techniques can pick up fingerprints on metal even after they have been wiped off.

After the research was published earlier this year, Dr Bond has been approached by military personnel in Afghanistan to discuss potential use of the technique.

Dr Bond is investigating whether the technique can be used to find prints on roadside bombs. It would mean recovered fragments of bombs could be tested for prints put on it while it was manufactured.

Dr Bond said " We have developed a method that enables us to 'visualise fingerprints' even after the print itself has been removed. We conducted a study into the way fingerprints can corrode metal surfaces. The technique can enhance – after firing– a fingerprint that has been deposited on a small calibre metal cartridge case before it is fired.

"For the first time we can get prints from people who handled a cartridge before it was fired. Wiping it down, washing it in hot soapy water makes no difference - and the heat of the shot helps the process we use.

"The procedure works by applying an electric charge to a metal - say a gun or bullet - which has been coated in a fine conducting powder, similar to that used in photocopiers.

"Even if the fingerprint has been washed off, it leaves a slight corrosion on the metal and this attracts the powder when the charge is applied, so showing up a residual fingerprint.

"The technique works on everything from bullet casings to machine guns. Even if heat vaporises normal clues, police will be able to prove who handled a particular gun."

Dr Bond said they had found the method worked well on certain metals including brass which is often used for bullet casing.

Source: University of Leicester
12/15/2008 11:23 AM | D Rob

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