Monday, August 04, 2008

The Dark Knight

A lot has been written about The Dark Knight's sudden rise to success. After topping the all-time record for US opening weekend gross ticket sales and breaking the all-time record for 2nd weekend sales (Formerly held by Spider-Man 3 and Shrek 2, respectively), The Dark Knight is now on the brink of breaking the all-time box office sales (currently held by Titanic). With the combination of excellent script, exceptional direction by Chritopher Nolan, and a powerful roster of stars led by Christian Bale as the Batman, the late great Heath Ledger as the Joker, Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes, Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, and Michael Caine as Alfred. I have watched the movie two times and am still planning to watch it again if given a chance.

The story of the most recent Batman has been the most realistic one. Chris Nolan was generous enough to provide the background for all the three main characters, Bruce Wayne, the Joker, and Harvey Dent. Bruce Wayne, rich and arrogant, but kind-hearted and noble inside, trying to make Gotham City a better place by being the masked vigilante Batman at night. Batman takes care of the night crime-fighting, while his alter-ego, Harvey Dent, fights crime in the morning by being the City's District Attorney. Most often people branded him as Gotham's White knight. All was well until they finally face a new breed of criminals, headed by a ruthless, nameless, psychopathic by he name of Joker. And his task was not just to wreck havoc in Gotham, but also to prove to himself and to all the people that power and justice corrupts in the most dire circumstances.

Heath Ledger played the most memorable Joker ever, if not the most memorable super-hero villain on the big screen. He mixes humor with rage and fear, making his character stick to viewers. He will make you scared, angry and laugh at the same time. This guy really deserves the posthumous Oscar award.

Filipinos are fond of watching superhero flicks like Batman. And surely, we can very much relate to the story of The Dark Knight. Our country nowadays is ruled by anger and fear, and the only hope we have rests on the White Knight icons like The Dark Knight's Harvey Dent. However, there are some people who try to scheme on noble men like what Joker and his cohorts did. Unfortunately, power and wealth corrupts, and even people as noble as Harvey Dent, if given a circumstance, may be vulnerable to such attacks. Filipinos long for superheroes like Batman, brave, noble, incorruptible. Thus, our fascination for the movie. If only we could have a Dark Knight that could help us tame the corrupt, put criminals behind bars, restore peace and justice in the streets, this country could be a better place.

Then the Dark Knight would eventually run for President, win, and people will start asking for pro-poor reforms, jobs generation, decent housing, farm-to-market roads, etc. All will be expected of him, while the Filipino populace rests at their homes playing dama, drinking red horse, making babies, etc. Then, when the Dark Knight does not deliver enough reforms, the people will then rally against him. Effigies will be burned, Mendiola will again be flooded by protesters from all over... Ooops...

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