Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Real Dark Knight

The Dark Knight did not portray Batman.


Every scene with the caped crusader was clearly lit with Two-Million-Gigawatt floodlights, so we all could be blessed with a vision of the costume designers' hard work. This is completely and utterly wrong, unacceptable. Batman does not jump into a fluorescently lit parking garage and commence to kung-fuing guys who seem to line up for their beatings.

Clearly, whoever is responsible for this depiction of Batman does not understand the character. The need for clarity on this matter is dire. Allow me.

This is Batman:

It's a Gotham city parking garage at night. It's dingy and smells like piss and there's trash everywhere, including inside of 3-piece suits & mercedes benzes. This latter group of refuse is toting automatic weapons and making a drug deal with a lunatic in a canvas mask named Scarecrow. They start arguing about the money, get distracted.

Pretenders in Batman masks show up with shotguns and get to blasting. Two or three guys go down for good, everybody else holes up for a showdown. Bullets and curses lace the air, metal clangs and windows explode. It's urban warfare with no air support.

Then the lights go out.

The shooting stops. Adrenaline fueled thugs gasp for air, terrified. A panicked voice stumbles out, Batman! It's Batman!

From one side of the darkness comes a rumble of crunching bones and thudding bodies. A shot goes off. Everyone dissolves into panic: thugs are either running, shooting blindly, standing frozen with wet pants, or laying sprawled out on the concrete. Scarecrow shoves a thug filled with vigilante buckshot out of the driver's side of his van and starts the ignition.

All around, smoke fills the air, along with more crunching and thudding and shooting and screaming. The van starts and swerves and collides and finally takes off. As he speeds toward the exit of the garage, the last of the thugs are hitting the cement, unconscious.

A bat-shaped monster silhouette flies out of the smoke, into the clear dark, and falls through the air.

It lands on top of the escaping van.

It's Batman.

Then the lights go out. That is the fucking key. Batman is not Superman, he does not descend under the glow of the Neon Sun. Batman is a ninja, he appears under cover of DARK. Hence DARK Knight.

It is impossible--to the point of crushing any suspension of disbelief--that one dude in some armor could walk into a situation like that and leave as anything other than hamburger.

And, more important, it simply is not what Batman would do. He's too smart.
Batman's game works because he causes panic and terror. The majority of criminals will fold if they even think Batman might show up. When Batman does show up, you don't see him. He sees you. And while you're freaking out, he takes apart the scene like a science.

There is nothing…


There is NOTHING scary about a dude, armor or none, that you can see as clearly as the Volvo next to him and the cigarette-chewing punk next to you.

If that was Batman, every pistol kid in Gotham would be well capable of putting a bullet in him, and wouldn't respect him enough not to.

And P.S., Christian Bale's growling in the mask is the worst. Get that dude a valium.

Batman does not growl. He speaks low and clear and straight to the point, without passion. That's what so terrifying about the Joker, is that Joker's madness drives even Batman to temper tantrums—the coolest dude there is loses his cool.

And Batman certainly does not stand around with his mouth open like a simpleton. Costume designers, fix it up for next time, eh?


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