How the Dark Knight nailed the presence of two villains

Superhero movies are one of the most memorable exports of the 21st century, but as all comic book fans know, the hero is just as good as his villain. As a result, it’s no surprise that many of their live shows have hired a wide variety of aforementioned villains as part of their cast, but as die-hard fans will point out, few have done so well. While the prospect of including a bunch of classic villains seems ideal for a popcorn-eating experience on the big screen, in practice it usually results in a gritty, long movie without a clear narrative that ties it all together. The Amazing Spider-Man 2And the Wonderful Woman 1984And the iron man 2 They are just a few examples that struggle with trying to do too much in too little time.

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Each would have benefited from a tougher script, but when faced with the unenviable task of balancing the demands of studio executives while keeping fans happy, those considerations tend to fall out of the way. It’s a shame because this has resulted in some of comedy’s greatest villains appearing on the sidelines in their own films, wasting the perfect opportunity to introduce them to a general audience. The old belief may require the sequences to be larger but that rarely translates to the best. Not that multi-villain superhero movies can’t succeed, they require script art that fusing all of its elements into a unique narrative with a central theme, and 14 years later, there is no better example than The Dark Knight.

Related: The most iconic Batman moments in the ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy

Resist the temptation of multiple villains

2008 was a largely successful follow-up Batman BeginsAnd the The Dark Knight saw Christopher Nolan He cemented himself as one of the defining filmmakers of his generation, creating the blueprint that all subsequent superhero films either took or intentionally avoided. It’s a popular pick for the best superhero movie ever made He proved that even the story of a person who dresses like a bat and fights crime can be told with a level of skill commensurate with the crème de la crème of Hollywood. Much of that success stems from it being an incredibly tight movie, focusing its energy on a core trio of characters: Batman (Christian Bell), Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), and the joker (Heath Ledger).

Batman and Joker Battle by Harvey Dent

The basic premise seems to have been taken straight from the pages of a comic book – the diametrically opposed ideologies of Batman and the Joker battle it out for the fate of Gotham City – but the genius of The Dark Knight It is Dent’s annexation that provides a whole new battlefield for a decades-long struggle. The film is essentially a war between Batman and the Joker for the fate of Harvey Dent, with both seeing their role as the city’s newly elected district attorney as the perfect tool to realize their vision: Batman hopes to bring peace in his own way. He could never be vigilant (making himself redundant in the process), and the Joker viewed him as the perfect target to prove that anyone is vulnerable to his unique brand of anarchy. With some careful planning and a few well-placed pokes, the Joker manages to break Dent’s moral compass, turning him into an evil two-faced.

It is a harrowing moment the first time we see his disfigured face, and more so when he begins his violent campaign against those responsible for Rachel’s murder (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Just a few scenes ago he was Gotham’s Golden Child, willingly throwing himself into the firing line to help capture the Joker, and now he’s deciding whether people should live or die based on just a coin toss. The mumbles of villains that have only been glimpsed before are pushed to the fore, and with it Batman’s dream of bringing peace to Gotham through perfectly legal means. Batman and Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) then cover up Dent’s actions, allowing the city to retain its serene image of its glorious white knight, but doing so at great cost. The peace that follows is a peace built on lies, the cover-up of which has led to a raft of legislation that violates people’s basic civil rights (a plot that continues in The Dark Knight Rises). It also forces Batman to slip away into the shadows, saddled with blame for murders he didn’t commit. He may have made his retirement, but far from what he originally hoped for.

All heroes have been changed

At the beginning The Dark KnightBatman, Harvey Dent, and Commissioner Gordon are the three greatest heroes that Gotham has to offer. By the time the credits rolled, all three had dipped their toes across the line they swore they would never cross, and they all received a penalty as a result. The entire movie is spent putting them in extreme situations without a clear answer, and while Batman and Gordon avoid sacrificing their beliefs entirely, Dent does not. There is a clear message about retaining one’s moral virtues even in high stress scenarios, and Batman’s failure to stop Dent from doing so leaves him with wounds that will never heal. It’s fitting that the last time we saw the Joker laugh madly, his actions caused all of this. Orchestrating a plan to kill Rachel, the Joker spins a minute network of corrupt cops and criminal crooks that Dent was more than willing to eat. As the Joker said, “All it takes is a little nudge,” and after a tense conversation/interrogation in his hospital room, the dent we knew earlier has disappeared.

Joker created and condemned each other

From this point on, the film contains two primary narratives: the Joker’s ongoing efforts to wreak havoc in Gotham, and Two Face’s campaign to avenge those who killed Rachel. However, even while the moment-to-moment progression of these plots is separate, it still feels like a unified narrative. Joker and Two-Face were completely weaving in and out of each other’s lives, and given that one is directly responsible for creating the other, it never seems like two disparate films vying for attention.

During the film’s climax as the Joker tries to convince the passengers on a pair of ferries to blow each other up, Nolan frequently retracts scenes of Dent’s sliding into corruption, allowing us to see the effect the Joker had on Gotham on both. At the micro and macro level. Using this technique also amplifies Dent’s character’s tragedy – with both City and Batman distracted by phrases to notice what Dent is doing, any chance of reclaiming him is long gone by the time they finally catch up. The end of the film that sees Batman taking the blame for Dent’s murders serves not only as a conclusion to this particular plot, but also to the broader narrative. The Joker’s entire goal was to prove that even the most moral of people can screw up, and by the time Batman speeds away with the police in his wake, there’s no doubt he’s made it happen.

Two is the perfect number

One of the smartest decisions Nolan made The Dark Knight It was limited to only two bad guys. While it was a success Batman Begins He would have been able to include virtually anyone he wanted, cleverly avoiding overloading the movie with classic characters. Even when he has the opportunity to include the Riddler with the similarly distinguished Coleman Reese (Joshua Hartow), a technical genius whose name sounds suspiciously similar to “Puzzles” when he’s referred to as “Mr. Reese (almost in honor of Riddler’s real name, Edward Nygma, sounds like “Puzzles”),” Nolan dodges. Suddenly throwing in Batman’s second most famous villain He would completely overshadow his small but important role in the narrative, leaving him as an original character with only a slight reference to his potential comic book counterpart benefiting the film immensely.Similarly, while other DC villains like Sal Maroney (Eric Roberts) and the scarecrow (Killian Murphy) appear, and their roles are kept small (with the latter appearing in only one scene), ensuring that the focus always remains on Joker and Two-Face.

Compare this to the approach of other superhero movies, and you can see how much you like it The Dark Knight the structure. The Amazing Spider-Man 2He, for example, fits three of Spider-Man’s main villains with plot lines that seem completely separate from most of the movie, while also managing to squeeze in explicit references to several others. Die-hard Spider-Man fans may find this “best hits” fun, but things like this don’t help with efficient storytelling. Electro (Jamie Foxx) and the green sprite (Dean DehanDeciding that terror supremacy over New York at the same time seems more serendipitous than anything else, and it can be easy to forget one line is there while watching the other. in comparison, The Dark Knight The Joker plotline is woven into every frame of the film. Two-Face would not exist without it, and likewise, the Joker would cease to be a threat if he failed to spoil one of the film’s main protagonists. They both complement the other, the secret ingredient that makes the movie work.

Of course, such things are easier said than done. Balancing the mountainous burden of priorities with which all superhero films are associated is no easy task, so it comes as no surprise that many of the genre’s recent successes such as Black Panther And the Avengers: Infinity War Focus on one obvious villain. However, it’s hard to resist the temptation to include several bad guys, especially when working on source material with notorious scam galleries. Spider-Man: There is no room for home And even the latest reboot of the Headed Crusader Batman They saw fans treated to several of their favorite comic books in one common story, and while both survived reasonably well, they still lacked ingenuity. The Dark Knight. Its subtle blend of a few villains is well placed in an elegantly created text that has yet to be beaten and remains the gold standard for anyone looking to follow in their wake.

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