04-06-2011, 12:25 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Re: Visceral Batman Essays
Why So Serious?
Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
Why So Serious? Why So Much Realism?
The most important message that Nolan has put in his films is found in the now famous line, why so serious? When I first was waiting for the Dark Knight to come out in theaters I thought that line was somewhat funny being used as a tagline for the movie. The first film that Nolan did was criticized for being too real or not being real enough. The fans made a big deal over the fact that Nolan brought realism to the character and the tagline seemed to address this. The line is not just describing the Joker's character but making a statement on the character of Batman and by possible extension our world.
So lets ask ourselves, why do we care if the character of Batman is so real? Nolan was brought on to the franchise because the entire world rejected the campy stupidity of the last two films created by Schumacher. The fans wanted a more serious and real Batman. Then once they got the realistic Batman they argued it impossible that a superhero could ever exist. This has to perplex the director who is just trying to make a film that will be good and have lasting implications on the character.
The reason the last two films were so campy was because the films before that were seen by the public as far too dark. They didn't make enough money and so the studios wanted them lighter. This is not the first time that this has happened to the character. When the character was first created the children that fell in love with him believed him to be real. They found his idealism inspiring. However as time went on the character grew older and the realism was seen as something that is ridiculous. Thus the studios in charge would create a more campy version of the character. The 1960's show was an example of when the producers behind the character decided that pragmatically there could never be such a character and therefore made the show campy. However, children who were fans of the show grew up and became upset learning that the character was a big joke. Frank Miller was one of these fans. He then created a darker more serious version of the character. This version is know as the most critically praised version of the character.
The character has so much variety, and constantly swings back and forth like a pendulum. Why? The key is that the children who grow up with the character refuse to let the things they love go. It is the constant fight between pragmatism and ideals. The fans refuse to believe that their ideals are destroyed in a pragmatic world. Nolan's films rail the character against a pragmatist world. The Jokers world. However he is not just putting the character through questioning, he is putting our love for the character, our ideals to the test. Do we believe that our dogmatic ideals are destroyed by the realistic world presented to us in our adult lives. Do we believe that one man can make a difference?
We are so serious because we want to believe that we might become Batman. That was why he was created, why he is so popular, but when we grow up we give up. The Dark Knight hasn't given up though. At the end of the film, we see something great. Though he has been through hell, and must continue on, though he has used methods that have almost destroyed his idealistic nature, Batman continues to fight for a world in which hope and ideals are possible. That is what a Dark Knight is an imperfect man who fights to create a perfect world.
"Made you feel it, did he?"