|Christian Bale as Batman / Bruce Wane|
Sunday, July 22, 2012
When the Knight is Dark
So, I saw The Dark Knight Rises yesterday. But this post is not a movie review. There are enough of those out there.
I am more intrigued by Batman than any other superhero. You see, that’s the conundrum. He is not a superhero. Not in the strictest sense of the term.
He does not have any superpowers. Neither does he have any mutant genes. He cannot soar into the sky without planes. He cannot climb buildings without the aid of Mission Impossiblesque gadgets. He cannot morph into other people at will.
But there’s no doubt that he is a hero. A tortured, battered hero, who fights himself more than anyone else. For the right to be happy. For the right to be himself. His inner struggles make him more human than other superheroes.
True, he has loads of money (and Alfred). He uses that money alternately to develop really cool (the coolest, some may say) toys and gadgets and in philanthropy. He wears a mask – both as the vigilante Batman and the feckless playboy, Bruce Wayne. He claims (like in the latest movie) that the mask is to protect those he cares about. Yet, that seems like a half-truth. He wears a mask to protect himself. From being hurt. He is a man who still has the vulnerabilities of a boy, who has seen too much, too early. Don’t they say that those with the most fragile hearts build the toughest walls. Quite like the crab, ain’t he?
Despite his fears, he rises time and again to save a city he calls his own – an ungrateful city that is perpetually under siege by the most demented forms of evil – from the cheerful scariness of Joker to Scarecrow to the Bane of the latest movie. But he is not without humour – not quite as self-deprecating as Spidey but wry nonetheless. It is more sarcastic when he is Bruce the playboy. Because as John Blake tells him in The Dark Knight Rises, the smile is practised smile of someone who has been unable to move on.
He is a hero that all of us need. Not to save us. Not to be our crutch. Not to watch over us. Though he does all that. He is a hero who makes you believe that anyone can be a superhero without superpowers.
To be honest, only with Christian Bale donning the suit, does Batman truly become the hero that he is supposed to be and not the caricatured comic hero. Even George Clooney could not make me take the movie seriously. Chris Nolan has done an incredible job in making Gotham and its often reviled and detested hero seem real. Of course, the trio of movies have their flaws – some more than the other.
Regardless, I shall end this post by saying that Bruce Wayne would perhaps remain my favourite superhero and Nolan / Bale movies my favourite about him.