Movie Bathma

Movie Bathma

The Dark Knight (2008) II

Bill Long 8/9/08

Contrast between Batman and the Joker

There are many more conversations/lines that are worth mentioning. I, for one, loved the Joker's line when locked in mortal combat with Batman at the end of the movie--that it wouldn't be right for either of them to die because, in fact, they "need" each other. No Joker, no need for Batman. Ahura Mazda needs Ahriman. The Zoroastrian or Manichean system of equal and opposite forces in the world is then true, according to the Joker. Is he right?

What is also interesting in the movie is that the embodiment of chaos and evil is a much more compelling character than the representative of good. Batman is flat, his voice is gutteral, he is emotionless, he simply "kicks butt" and brings people to justice. He believes that he will fade away when a human "hero" is found to embody the virtues and values for which he fights. But, fundamentally, he is a boring character. We are not excited when we see him; we are not allured by his goodness; we develop no "warm fuzzies" for him. Perhaps that is why the special effects are "ramped up" when he appears. Nothing else makes his presence very compelling.

The Joker, however, draws us in. Perhaps a little of this is because we all now know some of the tragic details of the death of Heath Ledger. We wonder, "did this role drive him to his death?" More likely it is the pressure put on themselves by young actors who want to make it to the top of the profession that leads to unhealthy and destructive behaviors. But the Joker draws us in even more each time we see him. We wonder what is "up" in his fertile and terrifying mind. We wonder if there is a glint of warmth, or at least tepidity, in his ice-cold character. But we don't see it. We see what may be called his artistic cruelty. It is especially evident in his conversation while imprisoned in Gotham, before (predictably) breaking out. He says to his captor:

"Do you want to know why I use...

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