Something’s missing…July 22, 2008 at 6:06 pm | Posted in pop culture, the forg | 5 Comments
I’m seriously disappointed in my hometown paper for this totally boring and reductive review of The Dark Knight as some kind of fantastical rendering of how the world sees the US after 9/11. And the reviewer has the nerve to try and pin a lack of imagination on Michael Caine!
It’s a broody, moody stew of urban chaos that catches and runs with a throwaway comment once made by actor Michael Caine (who reprises his role as Alfred, Batman’s servant and domestic savant). As he put it, Superman is how America sees itself and Batman is how the rest of the world sees America.
If so, and it has that clang of truth, then the world sees the States as a place where:
a) gangsters and terrorists hold cities in a grip of fear;
b) mayors and district attorneys are overwhelmed by the rising crime wave;
c) heroes and villains wear masks, and
d) the public isn’t told the truth.
A grim snapshot of America in the wake of 9/11?
Nolan asks the question in another way: Can the dark and stormy knight (Christian Bale’s Batman) defend Gotham City from Osama Bin Gene Simmons (Heath Ledger’s Joker)?
If you want to see this film and its predecessor, Batman Begins, through a post-9/11 lens, perhaps you should take a clue and a page from Susan Faludi’s latest, The Terror Dream. (Or at least read the interview with her about the book in The Nation here.) Both films explore the consequences of our culture’s hero complex — but while Batman Begins tries to pin down the origins of its hero, The Dark Knight rejects explanations and focuses on what might result if this masculine ideal were fully realized.
Before I jump in there with the Men, though, can I just ask something? In this gory and conflicted study of masculinity — where’s the other side?
Where the hell is Catwoman?*
More to come.
[*And I don't care if Maggie won the hot off -- I reluctantly say won because people still comment on there to say she's hotter -- this movie did nothing for her.]