New Sherwood

“Dark Knight Rises” won’t be reviewed here

Why? Because I haven’t seen it, have no desire to see it, and am already tired of hearing about it.

Isn’t “Batman” a comic book story for children anyway? Why are adults gushing over films about comic book superheroes?

Haven’t Christians learned by now that Hollywood and pop culture are not to be trusted? Don’t we already know that this production will be shot-through with worldly values, false philosophies, moral confusion, crude humor, sexual immorality, gratuitous violence, casual blasphemies, etc.? No, you say, maybe not? Then tell me why it’s worth sacrificing four hours, the cost of a movie ticket, and 20-30 minutes of filthy previews to find out that maybe “Dark Knight Rises” isn’t quite that bad.

If you came here via search engine looking for a movie review, start with this one pertaining to Batman the Dark Knight in 2008:

Some have pointed to the extreme violence in the film, but my concerns go well beyond that. In a Canwest News Service review Jay Stone refers to Joker as a “psychotic butcher”; Jenny McCarthy in her August 2 review in the London Telegraph wrote, ‘The greatest surprise of all – even for me, after eight years spent working as a film critic – has been the sustained level of intensely sadistic brutality throughout the film.’ One reviewer even called the film ‘torture porn.’

The story’s focus is the Joker, played by the late Heath Ledger of ‘Brokeback Mountain’ fame. The Joker is portrayed as a man engaging in a purity of evil rarely seen. An anti-Christ type figure, he engages in evil for evil’s sake and not for any material motive, and is totally unconcerned about his own well-being.

So youth seeing the film will see the evil of the Joker, be repulsed by it and turn away from it, right? Wrong.

There are two supermen in this film – Batman and the Joker.

One problem, however, is that while Batman is a somewhat distant figure – a multi-billionaire whose money is largely the source of his being a superhero – the common man can relate more to the Joker who is a man dealing, in his own intensely cruel way, with a rough past.

In one scene the Joker describes the way he got his ‘smile’ – the two obvious scars which run up from both corners of his mouth. He describes domestic violence in his home where his father attacked his mother and then turned on him as a child, saying, ‘Why so serious? Let’s put a smile on that face,’ and carved one in. As sick and scary as that scenario is, it is nevertheless one with which a great many of today’s youth – deeply scarred internally – will easily identify as they too have been subjected to domestic violence.

And if that’s not enough, Joker changes the scenario half-way through the film. He explains that his ‘smile’ is the result of an incident stemming from a disagreement with his wife who would thereafter have nothing to do with him. Hence, Joker’s psychosis is portrayed as being a response to the all-too-common experience of domestic turbulence, whether involving one’s parents or one’s spouse.

The Joker and Batman are both presented as virtually invincible; indeed, if anything, the Joker is presented as being more powerful in many respects. He is completely unrestricted in terms of his actions, while the film clearly portrays Batman as hampered by his conscience. Batman The Dark Knight could easily be seen to portray good as a weakness which is used and repeatedly exploited by evil – the Joker. The corruption of the good in people is one of his main aims – it is in fact the only purpose which can be discerned in the Joker’s otherwise completely chaotic acts.

But for all the power of this anti-Christ portrayal, there is no portrayal of an equally pure Christ figure. An heroic man in public power, one of the main characters, is eventually corrupted by the Joker’s devices, and the only two good guys left – Commissioner Gordon and Batman himself – are themselves corrupted in that they must foster and live with a lie to maintain the illusion that the one who thoroughly succumbed to evil was actually the hero of the day.

Batman, meant to be the hero of the film, is far less morally consistent in his pursuits than is the Joker. As Bruce Wayne the billionaire, he is portrayed as a jealous, spiteful ex-lover, insulting his rival and using other women (even three at a time) to inspire jealousy in his ex-lover. The portrayal of Batman is weak and conflicted compared to that of the Joker. The Joker’s character dominates the screen and the brilliance of Ledger’s performance in this role serves to highlight this difference …”

“Are there going to be imitators of the Joker portrayed in The Dark Knight? There already are. Just look on YouTube for the number of videos where teens are dressing up as and imitating the lines of the Joker. Even more seriously, however, there have been crimes committed since the film’s release where the criminals have dressed in Joker makeup.

The film would likely not be dangerous for those well-grounded in morality; but for the many in today’s world who have not received the moral training that would allow them to clearly distinguish between good and evil, Joker character and philosophy of ‘anything goes’ presents an all-too-appealing alternative way of attaining power and recognition.”

By now, everyone has heard of the latest Joker impersonator in Aurora, Colorado. That’s reason enough to pass on seeing this film.

July 24, 2012 - Posted by | Film

2 Comments »

  1. From another review:

    http://www.mondayministry.com/blog/2012/07/22/batmania/

    “To invest a story with incredible acts of evil by incredibly evil villains, strung out through incredibly graphic depictions, all toward a conclusion where the bad guys are vanquished – but frequently with a ‘conflicted’ message and subtexts of no resolution at all – is just window-dressing, maybe conscience-salving, for the glorification of violence.

    Is violence in itself bad? No; to paraphrase what Theodore Roosevelt said about guns, the relative moral value depends on the character of the user. But we should be aware that technical brilliance, in a culture that has become known for technical brilliance and little else, is a short yardstick. And if we have to weed through, and sit through, hours of violence, to discover moments of relatively positive messages, it might be a small prize at the bottom of the proverbial box.”

    Like

    Comment by Blogmaster | July 24, 2012 | Reply

  2. you don’t have to review it for me, because I’ll never see it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of those superhero movies. My appetite for cartoons diminished after about the fifth grade. I don’t connect the film with the Aurora massacre though, as cause and effect, I mean. A mind like that could have seized on Jesus Christ as his avatar and still tried to mow everyone down. But the review you quote makes it clear that even if these films don’t make killers out of boys not already so inclined, they can’t do them any good, either.

    Like

    Comment by William Luse | July 25, 2012 | Reply


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