Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Strong Woman vs. the Woman of Strength, Pt. 2

I said I would talk about Anne Hathaway as Catwoman in this blog, and the bottom line is, her performance in The Dark Knight Rises was truly magnificent.

I was sceptical at first - as Anne has such large doe-like eyes, a history of playing a sweetheart - and to me, it seemed she could not pull off the cunning, crafty sensual Catwoman. She did not look mature enough, hard enough.

Man, was I wrong! I know I speaketh not only for myself, but for brethren geeks who did sit with mouth agape as she would 'transform' in front of our disbelieving eyes from terrified waif to cunning cat thief in seconds.

"Oops." she demures flatly when caught by Wayne.

She was superb. And, instead of trying to eschew her femininity, it was accepted as an essential part of her appeal and her power in dangerous situations, clearly granting her the upper hand, because we men ARE suckers for a pretty face, a damsel in distress, an awkward ingenue who 'does not know the rules.'

She plays an emotional masquerade, much like the Joker did in The Dark Knight Returns. She plays the victim to get ahead, to cause her opponents to underestimate her. She plays outraged lady when she is committing an outrageous act.

She knows manipulation is an art form. She looks soft and vulnerable, but inside she is crafty, wise and strong.

And, also, fearful.

She is afraid of poverty, of men, of intimacy, of not being in control. [Watch TDKR four or five times as I did and you will see how brilliant the acting choices of Ms. Hathaway were. She went for the gold, and got it, in my humble estimation.]

And so, when Bruce Wayne catches her once, she escapes. When he catches her again, she escapes with his car. When he saves her after catching her, he intentionally lets her go - and then she acts in fear. He is caught and she is upset. She betrayed a man who seems to care for her, is willing to talk to her and understands her motives. When he miraculously returns, we see her backtrack - and he graciously stops her.

"If you want an apology..." she begins defensively.

"It wouldn't suit you," he replies. He knows she betrayed him out of fear - fear of Bane, the monstrous madman holding Gotham city hostage. He understands.

And so Bruce has to go and defeat Bane and save Gotham, sans apology. Sans fanfare.

But when he does, guess what happens?

Catwoman helps him. Oh, she argues about it at first, ala Han Solo in Star Wars, but she cannot deny moving to help a man she respects. A man who loves his city. A man who wants the best for her. A man willing to make sure she has a clean slate - yes, a digital wiping of ALL her crimes by wiping her identity from every electronic record in the world. Her 'sins' will be washed away.

He's Bruce Wayne. He can do that.

And what is so wonderful is to see her respond to this great man, a man willing to give all he has for what he loves.

Even after betrayal. Even after no apology.

'Cause he knows he's won already. He's got her attention, and her heart.

Does this sound familiar? At all?

Well then read, my poppet:
Matthew 26:69-75
69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.
70 But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72 He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”
73 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”
74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed.
75 
Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
And he went outside and wept bitterly.
That last part kills me.

Peter denied knowing Jesus out of fear of torture and imprisonment and death.

But Jesus still loved him. And when He RISES, he lets Peter know He has some work for him to do: that is, he covers the shamed man with a Call to Service and promises him an heroic end as well. Jesus understands his fear, his acting cowardly.

He also tells him he will not die at his own hand but at the appointed time and just like HIM.

Those words sound terrifying to us, but they were a comfort for Peter, who must have been agonizing over his cowardice after his late-night false bravado.
John 21:15-19
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
  “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” 
   Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
   He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
   Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
     Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
     Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.  
18 "Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”  
19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

Peter was a Strong Man - shoot, he even cut off a man's ear with his sword to try and protect Christ! But he learned to be a Man of Strength - and to fear not the world or men, but God and God alone.

Jesus loved him and it changed this man.

In The Dark Knight Rises, we see Selina Kyle also change. She is transformed from the purely cunning, crafty and impossible-to-catch Catwoman to a partner and ally of Bruce Wayne a.k.a.Batman.

It is a great ending to a great movie to see them together. Nolan's Dark Knight is an unexpected messiah, fulfilling his destiny through nearly all the tragedies a man can face.

But by rising to the occasion and never surrendering to evil, he captures a woman as strong and as vibrant as himself.

And maybe, just maybe, that is what Christ wants to see in His Church - His Bride - as well.

Amen.

1 comment:

Justice said...

Meow. Meow. Hsssssssssttt!

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