Thursday, August 7, 2008

Summer Block Busters; The Dark Knight

Went to see the Dark Knight a couple of weeks ago... just after NN-- as did apparently millions of other people-- now making this the biggest box office hit of all time. It was a huge mental impact, visually overwhelming, dark and twisted film.

Best movie ever? Not even close... probably not in my top 25. BUT I loved it.

Kathy over on G-spot has a great, J. Robert Parks review discussing some of the moral and political overtones that are being written, debated and discussed across the blogosphere both on the left and on the right.

The film also calls into question certain axioms of contemporary entertainment (and government): 1) that good always triumphs over evil, so just sit back with a cold one and relax, 2) that the good guys are always good and therefore free to break the law whenever they want, and 3) that those bad things good guys do have no lasting repercussions. Batman is equated at times with a burgeoning fascism and, at other times, with how ancient Rome suspended its democracy in the face of violence and never recovered. There’s also an amazing moment when Michael Caine talks about how he captured a bandit in Burma: “We burned the forest down.” Anyone who doesn’t connect that story to Vietnam and Iraq isn’t paying attention.

But the politics are convoluted enough that some conservatives can legitimately claim Batman as their own. The Joker would likely run wild if he were not confronted by the unstoppable force of Batman. And Batman only locates the Joker at the end by spying on every citizen in Gotham. And most troubling for leftists of a certain view is that the film shows how easy it is for good intentions to be overwhelmed by awful realities and how those awful realities must sometimes be fought with violence.
The night when we went to see it we talked a long time after about the privacy theme, and many of the other terrorism related metaphors, subplots etc. The thing that struck me most though was a scene that shows the triumph of the people's morality in the face of their own possible deaths. This one has not been discussed much-- but to me it was a huge message about progressivism and the people knowing better than both the bad guys and the good. Won't say more now at the risk of posting spoilers. But it was a great scene/subplot.

Don't forget to watch out for the cameo from Sen. Patrick Leahy. (A big Batman fan)

I also went to see Kung Fu Panada and laughed my ass off. What have you seen so far this summer? What did you think about The Dark Knight?