So this is something a little new. The Dark Knight opens in roughly six hours in the United States of America (although the majority of our staff being limeys have another arduous weeks worth of waiting) and as such the time has come for a more personal look at Batman. Below you’ll find the collected thoughts of the writers of The Malice Palace and hopefully it should wile away these next half dozen hours.
You should give them a read anyway, because what doesn’t kill you only makes you stranger.
It’s Thursday at 3:29 pm. It’s the eve of The Dark Knight, and it’s a pretty big fucking deal. At least to me.
I’ve been to see The Matrix on opening night and laughed at the legion decked out in trench coats. The “Jedi Knights” at Clone Wars? (A giant bag of acne and stereotypical nerd fervour, swallowed up in mom’s brown bath towels for “Robes”), I openly pointed and slapped my thigh.
I even worked at a book store on two opening nights of Harry Potter novels. One would like to think that it’s solely the realm of children to dress up and make a giant idiot of themselves, but after seeing around 20-30 Hagrid’s, I realized this was not the case. A piece of me died that day. (I managed to add a subversive edge to the proceedings at the Hat station where I made Wizard hats with hammers and sickles for the emblem. I’m quite the rebel)
The point being? In reaction to these nerd herds, I react with the appropriate disdain. I’m above them, better then them. At least, I thought.
Me and my friends have purchased tickets to the 12:01 showing of The Dark Knight tonight (2 weeks ago, the day tickets went on sale). My roommates girlfriend will be wearing a Batman mask, and my two roommates plan to have Batman symbols face painted on there faces. And somehow this seems like the perfect measured response. It seems right and proper. No alarms are going off in my head; in fact I’ve actually plans to wear my Batman T-shirt (IT’S HIP! I SWEAR!)
Further, the plan calls for a round of drinking before the movie begins. Not too much to get sauced, but just enough to lighten the mood, to get inhibitions out so that when Batman flies off building tops I can join in with the packed house, and get caught up in the mob. But I have a feeling when that moment comes, and I’ve pounded down a tallboy or two there will be a symbol painted on my face, no matter how hard I might fight it now, because it’s the logical peak of my excitement. And I’ll find myself in the dregs with those I lambasted before, my tragic flaw? What will lead to my fall? One Caped Crusader
And somehow, I’ll be ok with it. Because it’s fucking Batman, and tonight’s going to fucking rock.
Not meaning to hype it up, but to be honest, never before have I been anticipating the release of a film as much as I have with The Dark Knight. Everything about this film has me so excited that I can hardly keep my hands still enough to type. You’d think I’d be joking, but I’m not!
My favourite “Batman” movie is most certainly Burton‘s ’89 Batman. Mostly because The Joker is the “baddie”. The Joker is, without a doubt, my favourite Batman character. So, naturally, I’m counting down the days (not many left!) until I can see the Joker on the big screen once more! Ledger’s Joker seems to have the potential of being the best Joker to date!
On top of that, the leaked soundtrack is simply mind-blowing. It will do nothing save increase anyone’s enjoyment of the film. I’ve listened to it so many times, that I’ll more than likely get excited when they play during the film, saying “OH! OH! That’s “Like a Dog Chasing Cars”!”
I just pray to all gods of every religion that this film doesn’t disappoint and to be honest, it has as much as a chance of disappointing me then rain does of breaking my arm.
CAN. NOT. WAIT.
Out of all the characters in the entire DC universe, no one has such a singular and unwavering purpose for their existence. Batman and Bruce Wayne are indivisible from their goal of ridding the city of utter despair and depravity. Dramatic events and actions may rock his world from time to time. People around him may die and transform into hideous monsters whose morality used to be lily white. Time after time, all of these things have nearly killed him, but as a character he never changes. His mood rarely cracks past that pitiless frown and fearsome growl. He’s joyless and focused the mission never far at all from his thoughts.
There was a sequence in Frank Miller’s Year One story that hazily collected memories of Bruce’s turning point, the death of his parents. He compares the voice of the killer to broken or cracking glass. This is an affectation Bruce uses to great effect as Batman. He appropriates and transforms his desperate past into a tool of fear and familiar terror. Christian Bale apes this character trait admirably.
If there’s anything I hope and pray for with The Dark Knight, it’s for a vision entirely apart from the trappings of the convoluted comics. It should definitely have that general feeling of hopelessness that comes across in some of Batman’s more defining stories. Gotham is a terrible place, its streets festering with sickness no other city in the world can boast of. Yet, when I see Christian Bale and Heath Ledger in the trailers, their characters possessing them so violently, I get the feeling that I’m watching something that gives us a glimpse of a new uncompromising vision.
I’ve never been a closet Batman fan; I’ve proudly worn the badge, despite many friends and/or family believing my enthusiasm for the movies was a tad gratuitous and over-the-top; I’ve had countless petty debates with people who’ve refused to appreciate what the movies brought to cinema of the comic-book genre, and simply dismissed the them as a big joke. I have the posters, the special edition DVDs and even the videos are kept in a safe place for nostalgia’s sake. That is, of course, until 2005; my fervid opinions were placed on a shelf, because even I could see a problem beginning to arise in what I thought was an immaculate series: Batman Begins.
Well, perhaps it’s not as bad as I’ve made it out to be; I’m most likely the type of person who fears change. The one thing I can say of all of Begins’felt something; the characters more often than not made an impact on me; I was utterly lost in Begins, because for some reason; it felt cold. Don’t get me wrong; the idea was excellent: finally, a Batman movie that properly gets to the roots of the masked vigilante; I liked that, and I quite enjoyed seeing Bruce Wayne’s transformation; at last, a movie that isn’t all about the transformation of the villain. However, I found that in the massive amount of time dedicated to Bruce Wayne/Batman, I simply couldn’t give a shit about anyone else in the movie; I mean, how could I when we’re finally given a proper chance to understand his plight? Not just that, but I felt that once we were given Batman; the movie simply didn’t flow as well in terms of action and script. Anyhow, enough of the ramble:
Whatever I felt for Begins; I can’t help but feel utter, uncontrollable excitement for The Dark Knight. I’ve seen the few trailers countless times, and there’s no point in denying it: Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker has me all hot and bothered; perhaps it’s my subconscious hip-hip hooraying that the villain is (maybe, hopefully) centre stage again, but really, I’d say it’s because the Joker seems terrifyingly real, evil and batshit (no pun intended) insane; his high-pitched laugh actually creeps me out, and the delivery of some of his lines create a formidable impact. Some of the action sequences look pretty devastating, too, but I’m hoping it’s not one long action-packed car chase/shooting fest. I love action, but I don’t want it to overshadow the depth of the characters (I have a feeling this won’t happen, though).
I’ve got to say, I’m pleased Katie Holmes didn’t return as Rachel; sometimes, there’s a certain actor/actress that you unaccountably hate (and I haven’t seen enough Holmes roles to make an informed decision); but she fits that bill for me, plus, I DO love Maggie Gyllenhaal; it seems she has a larger role in this movie than Holmes had in Begins, and that suits me fine. I suppose I do feel some slight apprehensions regarding the script, and I haven’t a clue what the gist of the actual story is, but there’s no point in ruining all the surprises; I’ll be carefully avoiding everything and anything, seeing as the movie isn’t out for one whole stupid week after its American release. I also can’t talk much about my expectations of the other villains that will emerge; my hopes have already been completely pinned on the Joker, but let’s be serious; I can’t be blamed for that.
The clocks a ticking and even a week away from release I’ve got the trembles because of how excited I am. Even despite my lukewarm reception to Batman Begins the latest outing for the Bat has me wracked with anticipation. Part of that is the Nolan factor, I know the guy is a fantastic director and his work with his brother on Memento created one of the decades most sophisticated and avante garde thrillers. I respect Nolan’s intellectual credentials and I respect his craft as a filmmaker and as such that respect allows me to believe that all of the grating moments in Begins were the result of David Goyer.
Maybe it is a transatlantic thing, maybe I want my fellow Brit to do no wrong…but after Goyer went on to make Blade 3 and Nolan went on to make The Prestige it seemed pretty clear which elements of Batman Begins belonged to which creator. So when Nolan declares that for this film he is making an epic crime drama my mind immediately leaps to a vision of Heat centred on Batman’s villainous aristocracy. The idea of a sprawling crime narrative pitting the Joker, the most devilish of Batman’s villains, against not only Batman but Gotham’s new shining star Harvey Dent gets me excited in ways that film really shouldn’t.
Even watching the opening six minute prologue and the trio of trailers released before the film gives a sense of a far grander scale this time around. The Dark Knight seems less like a Superhero film and more like a crime opera with face paint and facial disfigurement. Of course all attention is focused on Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker in the same way that the Crow was spurred onto public recognition by an unfortunately fatal meeting of blank bullet and its stars spine.
Whilst many bemoan the fact that Ledger killed himself on the precipice of his success I lament the loss of a star who had already proven himself to be one of the performers of this generation. Simply reading Jack’s excellent tribute will show the range of roles Ledger took upon himself to prove his craft. In my view his death didn’t take away an actor on the path to glory, it took away an actor who had already mastered his craft and was about to lay down the foundations of a legendary acting career.