Friday, July 18, 2008

The Killing Joke

Eventually Batman had to become a man of his time. For all of his social prominence he's always stood outside the eras of the films he's appeared. Especially those fucking little candy cheap-shit bush-league mother-fucking ass-clown third and fourth ones. I love it, but I'm man enough to say BATMAN FOREVER sucks despite its delicious ingredients. Being America, we are not defined by salads but by mixing bowls, and we are not able to excuse shit despite the presence of carrots. Especially since carrots are so good for our eyesight. As for BATMAN & ROBIN, let us not speak of that. All I need to say is that Foreigner still own the phrase 'Cold as Ice'.

This time, even more than in BEGINS we have a Batman who is entirely of his time. There is a raging debate now more than a month old over whether or not the film is conservative. This debate is largely retarded. The worst is the suggestion that Bruce Wayne is George W. Bush, hated for doing what is necessary but understood by those willing to acknowledge evil enough to combat it. This suggestion was clearly started by George W. Bush, in some chatroom using the handle BushMan. I feel much more confident in the fact that it is dealing with the issues of the day- What is an appropriate response to terror? What is the appropriate response to terrorism? How does one fight these abstractions?

It's also a fucking movie. And it kicks ass. Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman. These are manly names that get the heart racing. An absurdly handsome Latino named Nester Carbonell (Holy Shit he's the dude from SMOKIN' ACES, the worst movie I've ever seen five times) plays the Latino Mayor of Gotham, which means they are about 30 years ahead of us. Indie Queen Maggie Gyllenhall acquits herself admirably in the role of Rachel, certainly miles better than Katie Holmes, but it really is one the worst female roles ever, even if this time she gets to wear vests like Annie Hall.

If Heath Ledger were alive and playing at your house, his role in this movie would probably still make you cry. There is something absolutely sick to the core about this character. Obviously he's the reason the boys line up ten times in a row, but I'll never forget how disturbed my audience was by him. He has some punch-lines, but all the laughter was like nervous titters in a haunted house. Like Batman being a man of his time, this Joker has an ethos, even if it is chaos. His speech against the "schemers" and planners is probably the most relatable thing a movie villain has ever said. He's too psycho to root for, but when righteousness takes over at the end, it's a little bit disappointing, because in your heart you know he's right about us.

So why the hell is everybody talking about the next one? (DARK KNIGHT RETURNS? CAPED CRUSADER? I'm much more of a fan of the fan art title GOTHAM CITY. Should probably go with RAMBO: DARK KNIGHT PART II). It's only been a god damn month though. This is to be savored.

Are heros getting less heroic, or is our desire for heroism shrinking? Maybe it's not what we're looking for in this kind of movie. The only things Batman actually kills, as far as I know, are two nasty Rotweillers. THE DARK KNIGHT is too much about consequences of violence to be a film for sadists (an argument people at far too high a level of respectability have made), but in the dark of the matinee, we can take any pleasures we want. For some of us it's Batman pounding on people, for others it's the relentless pyrotechnics, and at 500 million dollars I'm sure for some it's the yelps of those dogs as they fall off a skyscraper. I could never be Batman, because I have no concern for the protection of such innocents. When I had a dog, I would always worry about their safety. Now, when I see them lumbering towards a man in body armor who knows six kinds of karate, all I can think is Kill That Bitch.

Grade: A

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