Greetings, and welcome to Earthling
Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is
The Dark Knight, co-written by visionary auteur Jonathan Nolan and
directed by his brother. The Dark Knight tells the story of
Bruce Wayne, a run-of-the-mill billionaire playboy who suffers
from a brain disease that makes him pretend to be a rodent. Which is
good, because he lives in the most mentally disturbed city in America.
Wayne uses his limitless wealth to buy expensive armor, then goes
around punching lots of people who aren’t wearing any armor, such as
Baghead, these mob guys and an unemployed clown named
the Joker. The Joker decides he wants to get
to know this “Bat-man” a little better, so he offers to not kill a
bunch of people in exchange for Batman’s identity. Batman catches him
instead, but not before the Joker sets up a tasty little trap.
District Attorney Harvey Dent and perennial love interest Rachel
Dawes are locked in two different rooms filled with barrels, which
are deadly to humans. Rachel is killed and Dent changes his name to
Two-Face, even though Half-Face is probably more accurate.
The Joker escapes, and Batman uses his Bluetooth to track him down and
finally spend some quality time together. Two-Face starts throwing a hissy fit,
so Batman silences him with a big hug, then takes the blame for everything and goes on a much needed vacation. The Dark Knight is a film permeated by duality. Batman (a.k.a. the Dark Knight)
yearns for a world where he can be replaced by Harvey
Dent, the White Knight. Except in Rachel’s bed, that is. When Dent
becomes Two-Face, he embodies this duality, from the two sides of his
face to the two sides of his coin to his two perfectly intact
eyeballs that never dry out, even with prolonged exposure to air. Another duality is order versus chaos. “Chaos.” The Joker seeks to show the people of Gotham that underneath the facade of an
orderly society is existential anarchy. Kind of like how underneath my eyebrows is another, crazier set of eyebrows. The Joker is a nihilist, one who believes in nothing, not even the
concept of nihilism. When asked directly “WHAT DO YOU ALL BELIVE IN?!” … the Joker’s response is meaningless. “Whatever doesn’t kill you simply makes you stranger.” So too is the grenade he puts in the manager’s mouth. It’s just an empty scare tactic that emits a floral perfume. My guess is
Chanel number 5000. The Joker offers several different stories
about the source of his scars … But they are all lies. It doesn’t
matter how he got the scars. The Joker jokes because everything is
trivial. But unlike this picture of a cat on
a skateboard, the Joker’s terrorist acts aren’t random. They try to
prove a point: morality is a sham. Take away humans’ physical comforts
or safety and they will turn into wild animals. Not literally, like we can. I’m talking metaphors here. The Joker exploits the innate, base lawlessness of humanity. “Their code, it’s a bad joke.” The Joker has the bank robbers kill each other in order to increase their
share of the loot. He gives three “friends” a weapon, telling them
whoever survives gets to join his team. He threatens to blow up
hospitals if people don’t do his bidding – causing cops to turn corrupt and citizens to attempt murder. Pretty good for a guy who
can’t even put on his makeup correctly. The Joker’s pièce de résistance, pardon my French, is the corruption
of District Attorney Harvey Dent. Harvey’s double-sided coin
represents his rigid adherence to the ideas of justice, morality, and
order, not to mention his firm commitment to the U.S. Mint. He
leaves nothing to chance, “I make my own luck.” But after he becomes
Two-Face, the coin is scarred on one side, turning it into a regular
coin: 50/50. Or if you’re really good at coin-flipping, 60/60. Just
like the coin, Dent has been infected by the Joker’s vision – a
reality ruled only by cosmic anarchy. “The only morality in a cruel world is chance.” At the beginning of the film, Dent is a Christ figure whose campaign slogan has religious connotations: “I believe in Harvey
Dent.” But whereas most films use Christ
imagery to suggest that the character has sacrificed himself
for an ideal, or for the good of humanity, The Dark Knight shows us
a daring and modern interpretation of the Christ image. It shows a Christ without resurrection. In other words, just
a dead dude with a righteous beard. A false Ideal, but one that must be
upheld as a beacon of hope for mankind. Batman takes it upon
himself to uphold that facade … thus maintaining order.
But unlike Dent, who represents order through idealism, Batman
represents order through force. He is a fascist —
like my father-in-law — a necessary evil to tame the beastly
side of mankind. As the ferry scene
proves, the democratic method is not enough. A simple vote would
have them do the amoral thing – destroying the other boat to ensure
their survival. “140 against, 396 for.” It takes tyrannical power to ultimately uphold justice. which is why Gerald Ford kept being elected president. When Bat-man creates the sonar machine, it is a tremendous violation of privacy, bordering on morally bankrupt. But as Alfred
tells him, sometimes the only way to catch a jewel thief is to “burn
the forest down.” “We burn the forest down.” For Earthling Cinema, I’m Garyx Wormuloid. To apprehend the world’s most dangerous criminals, click the subscribe button.