27 Jun 2012
In a few weeks, The Dark Knight Rises will come out. I am wary, because The Dark Knight, while a good movie, falls apart after a bit of refrigerator logic: for a man who claims to be an “agent of chaos”, the Joker sure has some incredibly complicated plans – some of which require him to have telepathic powers of deduction. And (while we are on the topic of nonsense leaps that the plot requires us to make) why does Batman need to take the fall for Harvey Dent’s insanity?; why not blame the Joker?; or, if you think some people would find it difficult to believe he could have planned this far in advance (although see above), make up a fake villain and say that Batman saved Commissioner Gordon’s family? If we’re already committed to making up a story and getting a bunch of people in on the conspiracy, why not make up a more useful one?
Bruce Wayne hates Batman. He hates that he has to use this weapon he has created, and wishes that people like Harvey Dent would be successful and make the world a better place.
Most of all, Bruce hates himself. He hates himself because the only way he can think to combat the brutality of Gotham City is to simply be more brutal than anyone else.
He is a hero, not because he wants to be, but because he must be. He seeks a world where people like him cannot possibly be rallied behind as champions; where people like him are unnecessary and do not exist. But for all his knowledge and power, Bruce Wayne is unable to create a better Gotham without resorting to the same brutalities of his enemies — and the fall of Harvey Dent, so closely mirroring that of Bruce Wayne, serves only to raise the question of whether it is possible to truly be the White Knight. There are no happy endings for Batman, either he falls victim to a world that is stronger than he is, or he becomes the last villain standing.
Isn’t that a much more compelling narrative than the contrived magic-glowing rock difficulties and inevitable successes of an all-powerful space alien?