The Dark Knight

I saw the newest Batman movie last night, at midnight. I came in with fairly low expectations, because, unlike almost everyone I know, I did not particularly like Batman Begins. I thought, and have always thought, that Batman’s origin story is kind of ponderous. Yes, his parents were murdered, but I think that even the sting of that fades eventually. It seems to me that Batman is Batman more out of thrill-seeking and boredom than out of any profound sense of justice.

Anyway, this movie was spectacular. Since there are many far better reviews out there, I’d just like to comment on one aspect. It was terrifying. For much of th. Be movie, I tried to figure out why it was so scary. After all, I knew that Batman was going to win in the end, and that the Joker was going to go to Arkham.

I think it was that the Joker was so callous and indiscriminate. Most super-villains target super-heroes, and only deign to squelch mortals under their feet if the buggers get in the way. But the Joker goes out of his way to hurt ordinary people. Not only that, but when people try to stand up to him, he kills them, effortlessly. Nothing they, or Batman can do, can stop him. And I knew, even while watching, that although Batman would win in the end, it wouldn’t make things right. Gotham would still be screwed up and corrupt, and all those people would still be dead.

Perhaps part of it is also that the Joker didn’t have any particular “plot”. He wasn’t trying to destroy the world. He was just screwing around with people’s minds. So he even if he goes down, he still succeeded in his goal.