Double Faced issues…

25 09 2010

When The Dark Knight was released, some two years ago now, I had a problem with it after my first viewing.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a good film, and is now one of the more watched DVD’s in my admittedly small collection. However, I still have a problem with it. Not so much the entire film as the last quarter of an hour or so tagged onto the end. I blogged briefly about this back at the end of 2008. It was a small gripe, but one which, for me, spoils the film.

Two-face is a complex and under-appreciated Batman villain. He is one of the more complex Batman villains conflicted by various factors to the point where making a simple judgement is left up to fate. He was deserving of a film to himself. And yet they tagged his story onto the end of the fabulous Joker one.

Of course, past experience probably counted for a lot, and Tommy Lee Jones’ turn as the epitome of a split persona in Batman Forever perhaps convinced the writers of the ‘new’ Batman movies that Two-face was not a character who warranted development. They were wrong. The origins of Two-face in The Dark Knight are to be applauded. We are given a monster who is driven by absolute anguish to avenge the death of the woman he loved. This character not only looks the part, his story is one which tells of a fall from grace into the world he tried to destroy. All for the love of a woman who didn’t love him. The potential for Two-face was huge. And yet the writers killed him in a story which seemed to be tagged onto the end of The Dark Knight, ruining, for me, what was, otherwise a great movie.

My preference for the story of Two-face would have seen him developed in the next movie. A man blinded by rage but restricted by chance is one which I would have looked forward to receiving. The more interesting point is that Two-face, unlike the Joker, and other villains, is not motivated by unveiling Batman. If we run with the story begun in The Dark Knight, Two-face is motivated by revenge, he doesn’t want to see Batman unmasked, he actually wants him dead. A plot based around this, supported by another villain (although I would be reluctant to pair it with the rumoured appearance of the Riddler again as it would draw unnecessary comparisons with the aforementioned Batman Forever).

The long and short of it is that there was something of a contrived ending which wound up explaining to the audience why the movie was called The Dark Knight. This was, I thought, pretty self explanatory from the movie, without the ending spelling it out for me (“Why’s he running dad?”…). We didn’t need the piece with Two-face and his ultimate demise. It was, I felt, something of a cop-out, and spoiled the end of the film for me.

I am, however, still looking forward to the next movie, which if Christopher Nolan is to be believed, is to be the last under his stewardship. This is a pity, and I hope they do not spend the entire movie being preachy about right and wrong, good and evil etc etc etc. The pity is that Two-face will not be a part of the ending.

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Heroes, they don’t mean a thing to you…

25 07 2008

I haven’t written much recently, partly because I’ve been surprisingly busy for someone unemployed, and partly because I’ve just been lazy. As if to continue this laziness theme, I was reading The Times today, and one of the opinion columns. Written by Hugo Rifkind (already a good name!), I was thoroughly engaged, so thought I would share his piece with you. He makes some very pertinant points and ones which I believe to be well worth considering. Anyway:

Batman. Again. Since I was a child, I have been annoyed by Batman. Not, please understand, in a personal way. Batman did not sit behind me in class, flicking my ears. His searchlight does not disturb my sleep. No, I’m annoyed by the very essence. His handle. In a nutshell, I am annoyed by his glaring failure, in any way, to resemble a bat.

Batman, Batman, does absolutely nothing that a bat can. He’s a fraud. He can’t fly, he can’t hang upside down, he can’t navigate around a darkened room by going “eeep”, nothing. He’s bugger all like a bat. He just has those stupid bloody ears, that aren’t even plumbed into his head. And it’s not even consistent. The Dark Knight? A knight bat? A bat on a horse? What?

Hey, credit where it is due. At least Christian Bale’s stupid bat-costume lets him look over his shoulder. Most others don’t. Watching Michael Keaton fight hammy thugs in a rainy alleyway, you might have thought that Gotham City was being defended by Jools Holland. Why? Bats have necks. That’s basically all they are from the teeth down; necks with wings and feet. Why take away Batman’s neck? It’s as bizarre as his weaponry. At least give the man fangs, for God’s sake. A belt? You’re putting a bat in a belt? Is somebody drunk?

Even Catwoman had claws. The only excuse Batman could possibly have for being called Batman would be if he were actually biologically a bat, but with mannish characteristics, as opposed to (allegedly) the reverse. And even then, he ought to be Manbat. But he’s not a bat. He’s nothing like a bat. I’m sick of it.

All that said, I still really want to see the new movie, if not for Heath Ledger’s star turn then for the return of Two-face.

Oh, and for bonus points, who can tell me where the title line to this post comes from? I’ll be kind a give you a clue, it’s a song.