The Dark Knight + Noblesse oblige

I’m clearly behind in my blog.  Whatever.  I suck.

And I’m clearly behind in writing about Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight.

The normal litany of excuses:  work, rewatching Season 1 of Mad Men, work, and more work.

Please read Recycled Film’s musings and analysis of the “The Dark Knight” — very good stuff.  (You have to scroll down a few posts to get to the Dark Knight posts, because Charlie’s clearly on top of things and has moved on, whereas I’m still stuck in the past).

Great movie. I’m still chewing over whether or not it’s a better than Iron Man.

I’ve been busy, so here are some points:

1. Heath Ledger’s Joker made Jack Nicholson’s Joker look like a total p*ssy.  (If you want a more eloquent discussion on the two cinematic Jokers, please read the post by Recycled Film — good reading).

2. Chris Nolan made one of the best transitions from awesome independent filmmaker (Memento is one of my favorite movies of all time) to an awesome mainstream film director (yeah, I changed filmmaker to director — I think I did that unconsciously, to acknowledge the increased resources one has when making a movie that grosses $300 mil in the first weekend).

3. Dark Knight made Tim Burton’s movies look like Saturday morning cartoons. (However, in all fairness to Burton, in this post-9/11 world where Bourne rules with his realpolitik spy tactics and even James Bond has ceased to become a Cold War cartoon character, the world (and its flawed mirror, the movies) has changed dramatically.)

4.  My wife, who is a current public defender, really didn’t get the big deal about the transformation of Two Face (Harvey Dent, played very well by Aaron Eckhart) — and I understood exactly what she meant (yeah, I was a former public defender).  HE’S A PROSECUTOR!!!  That meant inherently that he was corruptible (most people don’t get that the majority of DA’s in the US are elected and therefore really politicians) from that standpoint.  I knew what would Harvey Dent would ultimately become Two Face — but my wife was not aware of any of the history with Harvey Dent.  So she just assumed that he was a villian and when he became Two Face, she kind of expected it.  Anyone who’s that sanctimonious and hypocritical is bound to become the thing they hate.  And yes, that applies to all those prosecutors.  So if you’re a DA reading this, go bite me.

5.  Don’t watch this movie with a bunch of pimply dumbass adolescent kids who are whooping it up in the theatre.  The comics have gone mainstream despite these idiots.  Now I’m going to write a letter to the editor as I take my daily dose of Geritol.

6. The whole notion of noblesse oblige is imbued into the Batman character — especially in this film.  I know that every comic and movie deals with the inner motivation of this dark hero as the killing of his parents by a criminal (it really wasn’t the Joker, was it?!?  C’mon, give me a break).  Noblesse oblige is the a very anachronistic notion that those who are more powerful (aristocrats and nobles typically) should look out and assist those who are less fortunate (peasants, normal denizens of society).

Superman is the perfect character to attribute noblesse oblige to — he is a morally upstanding individual that feels that because of his powers he must protect those who are lesser than he (mere mortals without the yellow sun given super powers).

But once you get past this notion of general revenge on the world, Batman also shoulders the burden that he too must protect society at large because of his greater abilities/resources.  Given Bruce Wayne’s place in the world I think he does have a sense of noblesse oblige.   He is a wealthy man, a smart man, a very capable fighter, and with almost limitless resources at his beck and call.  He uses all of these resources to support his night job as a caped crusader.

This has to be more than just a general sense of retribution against all criminal elements.  I’m looking at this in a very Marxist way rather than the psychoanalytic way that most people do.  Because as the movie points out, he is not about to let amateurs (those who wear hockey pants and try to do vigilante thing as batmen auxiliaries) do what he alone can do and do well.

I’ve overextended myself.  I think the next topic is going to be one of my favorite topics, Batman versus Superman.

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