Saturday, July 26, 2008

Batman: Not So Dark, Not Really a Knight

So, I went to see Batman: The Dark Knight tonight, and it was a bit of a disappointment. I was hoping, given the title, that there might be some sort of medievalist theme to it, but there really isn't unless you squint really, really hard -- it's basically a meditation on Nietzsche, though not quite as focused as Batman Begins was on Jung (in which Jung actually gets a mention, lest we miss it).

Besides that, for a film that wants so hard to be "dark," it has far too many cop outs. As I left the theater, I found myself thinking of the old GI Joe cartoon, which was ostensibly about war, but was always careful to make sure we never thought anyone was killed. If a plane was shot down, they always showed parachutes so we knew the pilots got away safely. If a Humvee blew up, the occupants were blown to safety, and we always had a shot of them getting up from the ground, dazed.

For a movie that tries to be Nietzschean, Batman: The Dark Knight sure had a lot of parachute moments. It needed a scene like in Die Hard 2, in which John McClane fails to save a planeload full of people. If Batman had been in that movie, he would have somehow managed to save everyone on the plane, though a large hunk of it would have fallen and killed a cop or two on the ground. The cop/gangster mortality rate in Gotham City is very high, but average citizens just have to worry about structural damage to their buildings.

Bah! I'm gonna make my own superhero movie, and it'll have Arthurian themes! Yeah, that's it! It'll be about a team of superheroes, with an Arthurian leader, some knight figures (we'll need a Gawain, a Lancelot, maybe a Galahad, Percival, and Kay), some maiden figures (Guinevere for sure, and since I'm making it, we'll have an Elaine too), and of course some good-guys-turned bad in the Mordred and Morgan Le Fay roles (I'm sick of the nice-but-misunderstood Morgans people write about today). And my movie will end with a big battle in which everyone is slaughtered at the end, sacrificing Camelot's present for the future.

Now, if someone would just give me about $50 million, I could get started right away...


  1. Anonymous1:25 AM

    I think they made too much of the knight phrase in the movie, when really it's a phrase from the comics, where Batman is the protector of Gotham (which he sees as his city), and a shadowy urban legend.

    As for Arthurian comics, there's always Camelot 3000

  2. Your Arthurian themed movie sounds a lot like the last 1-2 years of Babylon 5 (greatest Sci-Fi series ever!). I do so miss Babylon 5!

  3. Anonymous10:59 AM

    I call dibs on copy editing your superhero Arthurian script!

  4. Anonymous12:39 PM

    Hey -- the Dark Knight is PG-13. There's only so much killing they're allowed to show -- those "parachute moments" are damn-near forced upon the director.