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.