Without The Dark Knight Returns there would be no Dark Knight film trilogy.
The Dark Knight Returns is Frank Miller’s great comic book series from 1986, featuring a 55-year-old Bruce Wayne who breaks his vow to never again put on the cape and cowl after a ten-year absence. Here’s what Jonathan Nolan, brother of Christopher Nolan and co-screenwriter of the Dark Knight films, had to say about it:
For my 13th birthday, Chris buys me a copy of The Dark Knight Returns. This isn’t a comic book — it’s a tear in the space-time continuum, a grime-caked lens through which you can glimpse an entire alternate universe. I don’t know if I should put it on my bookshelf or bury it in the back yard, like a radioactive ember.
I know exactly how he feels. If there was one comic book that led to my becoming a cartoonist — my latest comic book was just reviewed here at PJ Media — it was The Dark Knight Returns. And Miller’s portrayal of The Joker in the book defined the character for me, showing him to be the mass-murdering psychopath that was only hinted at in previous stories.
When we meet The Joker in the story, he’s basically catatonic in Arkham Asylum, that is, until news hits that Batman’s returned. Then in The Dark Knight the late Heath Ledger brought that character to life in a performance so strong that his version of The Joker still has the Internet currently asking and answering the question, “What’s The Joker doing during The Dark Knight Rises?” I’ve read and heard a number of theories, and if The Joker were to have a cameo in the film, here’s what I think would be a good one.
Next: I take a look at the ending of The Dark Knight and why nothing good can be built on a lie.
If there’s one thing I can’t stand more than lies, it’s the justification for lies by once honest men. I hated hearing Batman speak the following line at the end of The Dark Knight: “Sometimes… truth isn’t good enough…”
It wasn’t heroic at all and an unnecessary admission of defeat. Gordon’s and Batman’s jobs are to protect the citizens of Gotham from crime, not from the truth — in this case, the truth about Harvey Dent. By the end of the film, Gotham’s once heroic district attorney wasn’t a hero any longer, but instead a murderer. How condescending is it to the people of Gotham that Batman and Gordon feel only they can handle that truth.
It brings to mind the Big Lie about Islam that our government pushed on us right after 9/11 and continues to this day — that “Islam means peace.” As for Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face, good men don’t become evil unless they already had it in them, and I suppose The Joker saw something in Harvey that he knew he could bring out of him with a simple push.
Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered and he suffered the same loss that Harvey experienced when The Joker murdered Rachel Dawes; but Batman doesn’t become the bad guy, he continues to fight evil.
And The Joker didn’t win at the end of The Dark Knight, as Gordon said, and as Batman seemed to accept with his words, “The Joker cannot win.” But in their lie, in their both agreeing to allow Batman to take the rap for the murders committed by Harvey Dent, they lost, and they became Two-Face/d.
As Ayn Rand puts it in Atlas Shrugged, “Nobody stays here by faking reality in any manner whatever.” Fortunately, Christopher Nolan explores the consequences of that ending in The Dark Knight Rises. As Alfred J. Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s butler/surrogate father, tells Bruce in one important scene in the new film, “Maybe it’s time we stop trying to outsmart the truth, and let it have its day.” I recently discussed this during a podcast review of The Dark Knight Rises. Listen here.
Next: What’s Bane saying?
Below is my take on The Dark Knight Rises teaser trailer (embedded above), a piece I wrote and drew after seeing the six-minute prologue of the film shown in IMAX in Dec. 2011. It was shown, appropriately enough, in front of Mission: Impossible since it was impossible to understand the villain of the film, Bane. As someone tweeted at the time,”The Dark Knight Rises prologue was really great, especially when Bane spoke the soon-to-be-classic line: ‘Mmrbl ffmrff hmrbblfmm.”
Christopher Nolan clearly went back to the drawing board and clarified Bane’s voice for the actual film, and though I didn’t catch every single word Bane said, he was understandable and he made a great villain.
And here’s my take on Bane and our so-called “speaker” of the House, whom we hardly hear from.
I wrote and drew a post on the Occupy movement in a PJ Media piece from last year called “Seven Images That Will Make The Occupiers Cry.” And I think The Dark Knight Rises might make them cry as well, since there are one too many similarities in the film with the real-life Occupy movement. Even Commissioner Gordon refers to Bane’s siege of Gotham City as an “Occupation” in the film. Here’s my simple and direct take on that connection.
Next: The Bane of Capital
The Democrats want to link Bane, the villain from The Dark Knight Rises, to Romney, as in “Bain” Capital, and they’ve attempted to do it in a truly cartoony way. Now, Romney is no Batman, but Barack Hussein Obama II is most definitely America’s Bane.
bane: fatal injury or ruin. A cause of harm, ruin, or death. A source of persistent annoyance or exasperation. A deadly poison. A person or thing that causes misery or distress (esp in the phrase bane of one’s life) Something that causes death or destruction. A fatal poison. Ruin or distress.
Next: : “It was him and him alone.”
The words “It was him and him alone” are uttered by Alfred J. Pennyworth to a young Bruce Wayne in the film Batman Begins, right after Bruce cries out, blaming himself and not his parents’ murderer for their deaths. Writer/director Nolan clearly understands and explains where the blame truly lies.
Now, can you imagine a newspaper columnist comparing director Nolan to mass murderer Osama bin Laden? It would be like me comparing a journalist to Aurora shooter James Holmes. Yet that’s just what Washington Times columnist Charles Hurt did in his piece “An Open Letter to Christopher Nolan, Sean Penn and Warner Brothers” where he blamed those named in the title for the massacre in Colorado.
There are many things I can call this Charles Hurt character, as I did when first reading his outrageous piece, but here I’ll just say that he’s the James Holmes of newspaper columnists, using his words as bullets to character assassinate the innocent for the actions of a guilty murderer. (My drawing below is of Charles Hurt with Holmes’ hair in order to visualize the absurdity of Hurt’s piece.)
After the massacre, the politically obsessed began blaming anything and anyone but the actual murderer. The left blamed guns and the right blamed Hollywood. What would they do, ban movies? Ban Nolan? Ban the depiction of evil in popular art? Here’s an excellent response to this disgusting piece of you know what:
Hurt comes off like he hasn’t seen the film. Was he afraid he’d commit murder if he did watch it? Millions of people have seen Nolan’s Batman films, so why haven’t they spawned more real-life violence? Because movies don’t “make” people commit murder; murderers have their own twisted reasons.
As Bruce Wayne says to Clark Kent in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns:
“Nobody can make you do anything you don’t want to do…”
And to Christopher Nolan, although this shouldn’t have to be said:
It was nothing you did. It was James Holmes and him alone.
Also, in the wake of The Dark Knight Rises theater massacre, our politicians once again want to take away our right to bear arms, with no understanding for the fact that if there were fewer “gun control” laws in this country, there probably would have been less victims that night. We need to remind them this November that we control their destiny, that we can take away what they hold most dear — their precious political power.
Next: Where is America’s Nolan?
Hope? Change? REBOOT. Obama has done for America what Christopher Nolan has done for the Batman franchise… & Islam means peace. My point is that Obama’s America is basically Joel Schumacher’s Batman films. It took two of them to bury the franchise for years until Nolan revived it. Let’s “hope” Obama loses this November and we hang on until the day Americans will be given a real choice between two clear opposites and vote in a good man, a non-politician, one who has a real chance at rebooting America to its original inception.
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