Friday, August 29, 2008

Killing Joke

Finally after almost the whole world had seen The Dark Knight, I saw it at Satyam yesterday. With much of cyberspace filled with more DK stuff-than-you-could-possibly-read, nothing I am going to say here is new. That said, this is more of my exultation on seeing my all time fav comic book hero, the Batman, being returned to Where He Belongs – Darkness! Kudos to Chris Nolan, Batman finally found his soul! The previous attempts at bringing Batman to cinema by Tim Burton etc had merely made a mockery of the Caped Crusader.

To me, the appeal of Batman lies in the basic, simple fact: choice vs chance. Unlike other superheroes, who become what they are by some highly improbable freaky accident, Batman is what he is because of his choice. He has the brains of Sherlock Holmes (IMHO the DK is the only superhero with brains ;) ), the toys of James Bond, the mask from Zorro and the moves of Rambo. All that: by choice. He is human, yet rises above through sheer efforts, which is what really excites. Thanks to Frank Miller (the creator of Sin City), Batman grew from a freaky boy to a menacing mask.

My love affair with the Dark Knight began in my schooldays with the திகில் comics. If ever there was a passion in my life at that point in my life, it was comics. Even among the typical comic book heroes, I preferred to read heroes with different shades of characters. In fact, apart of from Batman, my next fav was the Prince team (Bernard Prince, Barney Jordan and little Djinn) that runs a small cargo boat called Cormoran (கழுகு in tamil comics).

Of all the Batman comics I read, the one I could never forget was titled “சிரிக்கும் மரணம்” (“Laughing Death”), which had the origins of The Joker. Many of the pages of that book were filled with frames with no dialogue bubbles. In fact, the last page, there would be no single utterance. All that you find is a series of images of rain splashing on the ground and slowly the lights of the Batmobile withdrawing. There were so many silent images, atypical of comics books, that spoke so much. I never got the Batman I wanted till Batman Begins. Never before Batman was a Real Man. In fact, in Batman and Robin, Clooney was more clowny. There is much more depth, philosophically/ psychologically, to Batman, which Nolan had portrayed beautifully.

Unlike the previous Batman films which were more like a circus with people wearing all weirdly colors possible and glistening unearthly buildings, the DK is set in the streets of Chicago, making it much more real now. It is more like a classic action film where a intelligent hero fights a maniac who wants nothing except chaos. That… is the beauty of The Joker. He is much more of an enigma than the DK himself. “You… complete me.” It is hard to deal with someone who wants nothing. At least nothing that you could possible think of.

Just as a ritual: Heath Ledger steals the show with his electrifying performance as The Joker, the arch nemesis of the Dark Knight. (I know this is the zillionth sentence in cyberspace saying this.) I just have not got enough of the movie yet. Yeh dil maange more!

Few one liners from the movie that I loved:

“Why so Serious?” ;)

“This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.”

“If you're good at something, never do it for free.”

“See, I'm not a monster...I'm just ahead of the curve.” (To Harvey Dent at the hospital)

“Insanity is like gravity, all it needs is a little... push!"

After the movie, was zipping through Chennai which was Gotham to me then. Too bad, my Discover is no BatPod!

After posting, I came to know that my favorite Batman comic that I mentioned in the post seems to be translation of Killing Joke that is among the most popular stories in Batman franchise. Apparently, The Killing Joke was used as reference by Heath Ledger and Chris Nolan for The Dark Knight.


Sathiyan said...

Its high time u saw that movie da..awesome one !! Jus loved the movie, esp Ledger..kalakki irundaan forgot one another nice quote. Joker says this to harvey dent at the hospital - " Do I look like a guy with a plan. Everyone else makes plans. Am like a dog chasing a car...." :)

krishnapriya said...

I think after a long time you have cherished watching a movie in theatre... Nice to know! :) Your comment did make me feel bad for missing that movie....

Karthik said...

Good sharing than a review,,,better late than never...Its a masterpiece on screen...

King Viswa said...

Excellent movie & an wonderful ode to that in the form of a Superb review.

Hats off to you sir.

P.S: Just going through this post, i found that we have many things in common.

King Viswa.

sk said...

i saw it twice... still cant get enough... in fact take out Heath, it wouldnt be as enjoyable as now. He just bowls us over with his style man!

Better to see it on big screen... if u missed, atleast catch it on dvd. Awesome movie! Quite an experience!

Thanks! Well whether DK is a timeless classic/masterpiece as a movie is a different issue... but after a long long time here we have a VILLAIN who more exciting than the hero himself. DK belongs to Heath! Period.

@King Viswa
Thanks a lot! Yeh, we do share our undying love for comics. Seems like there are many madmen around ;) hope to catch up with a few of them soon.