WARNING: more spoilers, and also considerably more random and rambling than the previous two posts on this film.
At the outset of The Dark Knight, we flash from an enigmatic burning texture to an elevated agoraphobic helicopter shot, descending into the city through the rooftop of a mob bank. This is one of the most sweeping, open shots of
So I guess I lied in that last post.
The other elevated scenes in
The difference between Gotham from above and Gotham from within is an apt analogy for the difference between Bruce Wayne as an alienated playboy, kept at a distance from the world he cares so much about, and Batman as the bad temper lurking in the back alleys of the urban environment. The fragmented setting foregrounds the main character’s fragmented existence, his need -- as
By the middle of the film, The Joker begins to foresee that he and Batman will become locked in struggle that can’t be resolved. The Joker calls himself and Batman "an unstoppable force hitting an immovable object," and this observation demonstrates his intuitive understanding of the eternal struggle between them. In fact, by the time he utters this line, The Joker no longer even cares to kill Batman, even going so far as to protect his adversary's identity. In the interrogation room, when The Joker informs Batman that he depends upon him to be his foil and his mortal foe, the dynamic of their relationship changes immensely.
Okay, so Batman refuses to kill the Joker, and the Joker has decided not to kill Batman. They're not technically "mortal" enemies any longer... what's left for them to fight over? When two opposing forces reach equilibrium, a third element needs to complete the system and mediate between them, and in Nolan's The Dark Knight, this third element is
Batman's writers don’t always make this three-part "eternal struggle" structure explicit, but we all understand it intuitively, as part of our knowledge of Batman himself. As long as the Dark Knight is out there, he needs the Joker as his essential adversary, and these two personalities need a system within which to carry out their exchanges. This system is
Christopher Nolan captured something about Batman and the Joker that could have slipped by another director, but that’s indispensable to the mythology that he was building upon. He built not two, but three strong personalities -- Batman, the Joker, and