Sunday, July 20, 2008

Dark Knight Dilemma

I went to see the latest Batman film, "The Dark Knight", starring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger. After the movie, my friends Jen, Cindi, Heather, and I discussed how we liked it. I don't know if I liked it or not, although I told them I thought it was a good film. Now in the light of day, I'm not sure. In one way, it was an exemplary film: cinematography, special effects, story, and acting were all impeccable.

Yet, in another way, I didn't like the movie; it was very draining emotionally and physically. Eerie, too, and not just because we were watching the last cinematic images of the late actor, Heath Ledger. Yes, there was definitely something eerie about the maniacal, hysterical Joker adeptly played by Mr. Ledger. But there is something else. Maybe it's like what my friend Cindi pointed out: there's no "hope" in the story. There's nothing hopeful about humanity left at the end, but only feeble sparks of hope throughout. Whereas in the first film, "Batman Begins" there was a hopefulness that cut through the darkness of Bruce Wayne's and Batman's world. Yet, this film left us with nothing. No wonder why Mr. Ledger was emotionally and physically exhausted after making this film.

With "Batman Begins", we got to experience the mystical quality of the Batman character, and travelled with Bruce Wayne on his spiritual quest, one that sought to bring light back to the dark streets of Gotham. The Bat Signal is that metaphor. We also got to see Christian Bale erase all the other celluloid images of Batman away. He became Bruce Wayne/Batman in that film. Yet, we didn't really get to find out more about Mr. Bale's Bruce Wayne as much in "Dark Knight" as we did in the first film, nor were there as many touches of humor in the sequel (I refer to the humor of humanity as evidenced between Alfred and Wayne/Batman, and not the inhuman sardonic wit of the Joker).

So why was I excited about wanting to see "Batman Begins" right after I stepped out of the movie theater (and later wanting to buy the special edition DVD for my collection), but with "Dark Knight", why do I wish to never see it ever again?