Wednesday, December 17, 2008

In Darkest Night (or just hanging with Dark Knights) Pt. 4

Well, the theme this week has been hanging with Dark Knights - especially when things are darkest. In The Dark Knight, as Harvey Dent is trying to assure the crowd he says "The night is darkest before the dawn - but the dawn is coming!"

Perhaps the next film should be called Batman: A New Dawn.

Anyway, I digress.

There are a few elements in our heroes and leading men that struck me as - well, dark.

I have lived so long among conservative Christians I forget the old ways of doing things, and it took me a second view or two to see some not-so-handsome aspects of the relationship Rachel Dawes has with our two heroes: Harvey Dent and Bruce Wayne. In fact, it could be argued that her demise was due in part to her unfaithfulness to our hero and how ugly their relationship could've been had she lived.

Let me hit a few scenes where Bruce is disingenuous and Rachel is witchy.

When we left Rachel in Batman Begins, we see that she wants Bruce to step up and be a man - fight corruption, and help save Gotham. Reluctantly she admits their relationship wouldn't work becasue of his new mission. Fair and good and noble. Sad, but true.

But by the time we see her in TDK, she's having sex with her boss, she's giving Bruce a Dear John letter for not preventing Dent's false arrest (BTW, she's his alibi - so is Gordon who KNOWS they are not the same man) and lastly, she assumes that she will be rescued first. I mean, sure in a chivalric sense that is cool and right - but she ain't no "damsel in distress". She's on equal footing with Dent - he's in trouble too. I mean the dialogue could've been "Its alright Rachel, they're coming for you!" "I don't care! Harvey - I love you!" instead of "I know!"

You KNOW they are coming for you, Rachel? That smacks of overconfidence.

Let's let that sit - I only wanted to say I did not weep over that woman's death. Yeah - I thought it was cold and brutally played, but I did not appreciate her aggressive stance and decision to leave Wayne to find another paramour.

I've had pets who were more loyal.

Now let's beat up on Wayne some. Don't want to be too sexist.

He's on the edge of being a stalker if the deleted scene I heard about was accurate. When he comes in and finds Rachel and Harvey dining, he crashes their intimate dinner and when Dent offers the possibility that they may not be able to put the tables together, Wayne says "Oh, I think they won't mind. I own the place."

Insert this deleted part:
Rachel: When did you buy it? Three weeks ago?
Bruce: How did you know?

Remember that Harvey said earlier he had to make a reservation for this four star restaurant three weeks in advance? When he did that, Bruce bought it. Just to meet them - on this night at this time.

With a hot babe in tow - who just HAPPENS to be from the ballet that Rachel and Harvey are going to.

Oh - who comes up with the idea to wreck THAT event the night Rachel and Harvey finally get to go? Wayne's accomplice, Alfred. Well, he's loyal at least.

Here's the clip. Watch how Wayne disses Harvey -until he hears the admiration the D.A. has for Batman:




Why does Wayne want to promote Harvey and throw him a fundraiser? Is he genuinely appreciative or is there a more calculating motive? Probably both. If Harvey is successful, he can quit being Batman -and can take Rachel back from him.

Wayne, you see, does not like to lose. And that is precisely what happens to him in this movie. He loses - a lot.

But his willingness to take on Dent's crimes as his own is a great character arc - in one sense, we see Wayne mature into a more selfless man.

No one in this film is utterly truthful - from Gordon's lie to protect his family to detective Ramirez tearfully admitting her wrong, we see a lot of painful events.

But that's what makes this superhero film noir so good in the end.

Everyone moves emotionally and are changed by the events. They are shown that what they want is NOT the way its going to be - but heroism means that you deal with it anyway.

You accept things as they are, not as you wish them to be.

"Father, if it is possible - let this cup pass from Me - but if not - Thy will be DONE!"

I think that's how Jesus said it. With a tone of, "let's go take on this bad boy - even if it means my death."

That dark night brought a new dawn for all of humanity.

So I have learned as an adult to appreciate dark knights on darker nights. For the dawn is coming.

You can count on it.

Amen.

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