New Criticism in The Dark Knight Wiki (will)Edit

It is no secret that after watching a Christopher Nolan movie, you leave wanting to see more. Whether it be the famous actors, twisty plots, or excellent screenplay, Nolan always leaves the audience with a good taste in their mouth. This idea proves to be true in the thrilling and electrifying Batman trilogy. Specifically in the motion picture, the Dark Knight, Nolan balances the classic action packed, crime-fighting Batman, with a new type of film with numerous deep and hidden meanings. Throughput the film, Christopher Nolan uses multiple patterns and symbols in order to highlight the corruption found in today’s crooked society and also provides glimpse of hope for the future

Light vs Dark (mac)Edit

Christopher Nolan first uses the dichotomy of light vs dark in his movie the Dark Knight


when the Joker states that all the mob bosses have their meetings during the day, because they are scared of the dark, because of the batman. The dark, or night time, is now seen as a place of justice due to the dark knight, whereas it was previously a time represented by crime and evil. The day time, however, has now taken over as a time of crime, and this is seen in the opening scene when the joker robs the bank in broad daylight. Also, in the Dark Knight is the emergence of the White Knight, batman's crime fighting counter-part, Harvey Dent, Gotham's new District Attorney, can do everything Batman can't. The White Knight is a hero with a face, a hero the people of Gotham can look up to, a hero who can actually keep the criminals batman catches behind bars. However, the Joker is able to use traumatic events (the death of Rachel) in Harvey's life to turn Gotham's finest, their white knight, into a villain, who kills people at the flip of the coin. This transformation was foreshadowed by Harvey earlier in the film when he stated, "you either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become a villain." In a way the white knight died that day Rachel was killed, but in a similar sense, Harvey Dent (two-face) was able to continue living, although in improbable circumstances, as a result seeing himself become a villain. In the end, the darkness won, and the light of Gotham was killed, but thankfully for Gotham, their true hero, the dark knig ht, also lives in the dark, where he will continue to protect them, even if he is unwanted or undeserved.

Morality (will) Edit

Throughout the batman series directed by Christopher Nolan, it seems clear that with each new movie comes another hidden meaning, or code that must be explored. Throughout each of the stories, Nolan creates multiple patterns and symbols that present themselves throughout the entirety of the films in order to enhance the movie’s character. Specifically in the film “The Dark Knight”, Nolan tracks the idea of human morality and everything it entails. From the sky scrapper of Wayne Enterprises to the slums of Gotham, Nolan portrays the different types of moralistic ideals and how each affects the city. During the course of the story, each of the main characters, Bruce, Harvey, Gordon, and the Joker are placed on different levels of the moralistic platform and with each character comes a different outcome. The movie begins with the first attack by the ultimate villain the Joker. A mere maniac, the Joker  plays by no rules, he has no clear mission, but rather he is a figure that does not live by order, structure, or even morality. He is the complete counterpoint of batman, and all he wishes is to see Gotham and its people burn. Through all the Joker’s antics, the one question that Nolan tries to ask is weather humans live in an anarchistic, immoral, every man for himself, world, or a place where goodness exists and ultimately prevails. According to the Joker, an agent of pure chaos, the world’s morals are like a bad joke. Meaning that people want to drop them at the first sight of trouble. To the Joker, a man without reason, the world is just a wreck. He believes that no one no matter how heroic they may look, no one is inherently better than another when it is all said and done. Because of this immoral mindset, the Joker goes on a spree to prove this very point by attacking Gotham’s best three figures. To his surprise however, things do not go totally according to plan. When the times comes to where each of the characters have to make near impossible ethical decision due to their morals, what the Joker thought would happen does not. Harvey Dent, the so-called white knight began the movie as the main hero. He was the face of justice and to everybody seemed to have the highest morals and ideas out of anyone. On the contrary, Batman the dark crusader happened to seemingly have the worst morals, beating up cops and destroying the city. Ironically however, when both are faced with tragedy the morals of Batman prevail while Harvey does not. All along people believed that Harvey was the ideal hero but throughout the movie you see that his doubts about human nature existed, and that was why he was not strong enough to prevail. He believed that everyone eventually turned into a villain, and that you can never be a decent man and live in an indecent time. These doubts and thoughts similar to the Joker’s were the reason he was unable to sustain such high power. At the end of the day with Batman doing his thing and the citizens not blowing each other up on the boat when given the chance, the Joker was proven wrong. High morals can in fact suffocate chaos, and while people like the Joker, without any ethics, hope, or reason, may seem powerful, they can never prevail over the force of inherit good morality found in humans.

"Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It's fair!"

--The Joker

Symbolism (mikaela) Edit

Through a newly critical lens, various elements and objects may be traced throughout the entirety of the film that parallel the identities and morals of each individual character. Two objects are closely focused on: the coin and the mask. The coin, representing the idea of fate dictated by choice or chance, represents the character of Harvey Dent. This symbol develops, originating in the false perception that Dent can “make [his] own luck” by flipping his coin which consisted of heads on both sides. He tends to use this tactic when determining someone’s life or death; therefore, lik e Batman, he would never kill. Although, when Harvey goes through a near death experience in the explosion set off by Gotham’s biggest threat, the Joker, Dent’s sense of sanity and justice is left behind in the flames along with one of the headed sides of his most favored coin. Now the coin represents fate solely dictated by the role of chance, and Harvey goes on to live up to his nickname of “two-face”. Another symbol that represents the characters in Christopher Nolan’s film is the reoccurring idea of a mask. In the first movie of the trilogy, Batman Begins, the Scarecrow is resembled by a mask, and in this movie, the Joker masks himself with makeup, not to mention the fact that Batman’s whole persona is a depiction of a masked model. Each of these characters put on their masks when they want to be a symbol for society. The Scarecrow embodied fear; the Joker resembled chaos. Whenever he descri

Ending scene - The Dark Knight (HD)03:33

Ending scene - The Dark Knight (HD)

bed how he got his scars on his face, he would refer to childhood traumas, proving that his image of anarchy originated in his roots. He believes that good and evil is non-existent and sees no reason for one to claim an act good or bad, depicting life itself as somewhat of a joke, hence his name: The Joker. Batman intends for his mask to represent justice and the hope that Gotham needs. Bruce Wayne (Batman) continuously claims that Gotham deserves a hero that they can see and believe in, but true belief is having faith in what is unseen, which, for Gotham, is Batman.

Conclusion (mikaela) Edit

In conclusion, Nolan utilizes these patterns in his film The Dark Knight to show the corruption and distortion of humanity. The choice remains: either internally stand up agaisnt injustice and be a light amongst society or fall into the oblivion of corruption.

Works Cited (mac) Edit

Boyd, Greg. "The Dark Knight — A Philosophical Review." ReKnew. Web. 4 Feb. 2015.

Brevet, Brad. "Bats, Fire, Ice... What's the Significance of the Opening Imagery in Nolan's Batman Trilogy? | Rope of Silicon." RopeofSilicon RSS. 22 July 2012. Web. 4 Feb. 2015.

Dinning, Mark. "Empireonline Reviews | Reviews | Empire." Web. 4 Feb. 2015.

Ebert, Roger. "The Dark Knight Movie Review & Film Summary (2008)." All Content. 16 July 2008. Web. 4 Feb. 2015.

Eden. "For A Few Movies More." For A Few Movies More Character Study The Dark Knight Harvey Dent/Twoface Comments. 20 Nov. 2010. Web. 4 Feb. 2015.

Michael, Graham. "The Dark Knight: The Joker's Worldview." Faith Film. 3 Aug. 2012. Web. 4 Feb. 2015.

"Two-Face (Aaron Eckhart)." Batman Wiki. Web. 4 Feb. 2015.

"Two-Face's Coin." Batman Wiki. Web. 4 Feb. 2015.

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