I hate anything that stirs a public sensation, based on my faith in humanity, the humanity that keeps asking me to add pointless Facebook applications and internet memes, the object of the ever-shifting public adoration tend to be some cutesy sold-out simplistic dumb-down, my childhood role has always been to root for the number two, PC vs Playstation, adventure games vs First Person Shooters, and of course Batman against Superman.
Batman was my favorite superhero when I was a kid, while comics were nowhere prominent in Iraq (although everybody knew who Batman is) I discovered the Caped Jihadist [Crusader is frowned upon here] at about 8, he was black-and-white in the Iraqi rip-off version of the Lebanese licensed DC Comics magazine, it was called Al-Rajul al-Khariq (lit. The Amazing Man) and they pretended Superman's name was Khariq, thankfully, Batman was spared from Saddam's Lookalike Campaign, the lesser-known campaign that was overshadowed by the Saddam-Mural-For-Every-Iraqi Campaign, this obscure fiasco consisted of making every Iraqi look like Saddam Hussein, while the Greatest Detective hid in the shadows from the Baath, the brazen Man of Steel didn't, thus Khariq sported a Thmanniya Shbaat bush (February, 8th, Iraqi slang for Baathist – from the revolution of 8 February 1963) that curiously disappeared in his Clark Kent alter-ego. I couldn't find any mention of it on the web so I approximated the effect:
Wonder Woman: Superman!?!?
Superman: Something's controlling me! I can only say: Bil Rooh! Bil Dam! Nifdik Ya Saddam!!!
Batman is awesome in many ways, his costume isn't ridiculously bright, he is scary and dark but not evil, and he has satanic horns. His stories have some sort of serious edge to them, which is why he is the only one who could receive this mature treatment. My favorite Batman was the beady-eyed long-horned one in the late 70s/early 80s.
With all that in mind, I've long ago stopped reading comics (except for a nostalgia period earlier this year invoked by political comics), and have never found anything special in any of the movies at this point to rekindle my interest, when I heard about the big fuss, I suspected it was capitalizing over the death of that Ledger guy who plays the Joker, a character I furiously disliked, I've never heard of Heath Ledger before, and when I heard he starred in a film about gay cowboys eating pudding, I wasn't really that eager about him – I'm okay with the gay thing, but keep it out of every other movie/story please, so you can imagine my surprise when I found myself walking out of the The Dark Knight totally blown away.
Simply put, if it wasn't for Ledger, this whole film wouldn't have registered as anything but a regular superhero outfit with some grandiose thinking-man philosophical aspirations for the sake of coloring (which is what Batman Begins was). Heath blows the big con known as Jack Nicholson's acting, which consists of simply standing there and plugging his natural charisma through every other movie (except About Schmidt, okay), Nicholson's Joker consisted of Nicholson in make-up, he was painfully unfunny, and very predictable. From this perspective, the entire
Many people have hailed this film as the first really 'real' story featuring superheroes, comparing it to crime dramas such as Heat, and they're right. This is not just a 'superhero' film.