Category Archives: Everything Else

DeConstructing Batman – Part 2: Fear

When Christopher Nolan first approached “The Dark Knight Trilogy”, he decided it needed to be rooted in reality. The character of Bruce Wayne transforming himself into a masked vigilante, donning a leather and kevlar suit made to resemble a bat capping it with a cape, needed balance. This story needed a plausible purpose to warrant the creation of such a costume. People generally don’t go about their regular daily routines dressed as random mammalia.

Examining how Christian Bale settles in on the decision to design his suit like a bat is important to understand not just the story elements tying perhaps the most pivotal decision in the entire trilogy, apart from the code of ethics Batman adopts, to several key story elements in not just the first film but also the second and third films, but it also raises ideological notions associated with making such a decision. Essentially the question being asked here is if one had to design a suit to conceal one’s superhero identity, how could this decision benefit them in their attempt to realize a just society, and secondly what does the existence of this decision mean as a message unto itself.

In “Batman Begins”, Nolan uses the Batman character in the story as a shadowy figure, lurking in the night ready to fight crime. Dressing up as a bat may not initially incite fear, rather quite opposite emotions like humour and confusion. Nolan’s Batman instead uses the fear of an absurd man prowling the streets as a human bat with the audacity to strike a gang of hoodlums with automatic weapons as a tool in his quest for justice on the streets of Gotham. Batman brings with him enough gusto and indifference to fear which causes those he is after to fear him. Bruce’s character declares prior to returning to the city that Gotham needs a symbol, terrifying and elemental, to him it was a bat, but really, the symbol is the foolhardy vigilante driven to serve his city by obsession, wearing a costume designed to accentuate a brooding nature of a bat, living its life in darkness, in a world on its end.

In nature, this is modelled by the fact that in the event one encounters an animal that generally could kill an ordinary human being, the first suggestion to remember is to remain calm. Secondly in a situation where it seems animals are about to attack, recommendations include making lots of noise and generally making yourself as threatening as possible to dissuade the attack. Fear is a natural tool to both protect oneself as well as a tool one can use to enable certain decisions.

It isn’t a coincidence the main story arch of the film deals with fear as a way to corrupt and debilitate the city Bruce calls home and his mission is to prevent this from happening. Interestingly enough, in the process of him delivering the city of Gotham from the hands of the antagonists of the film, he utilizes fear once again to subvert an opponent.

Fear as a theme in “Batman Begins” is quite appropriate. The canon set-up by Nolan’s trilogy shows a young Bruce falling into a cave where he first develops his fear of bats around the same time as his parents die as the tale of Batman’s origins often go. The orphaned child comes to associate the bat with pain and darkness, and as he overcomes his fear of the bat replacing it with hate first followed by duty, he internalizes this fear, and by living with it, be can exude it as well.

Here, Batman begins his first lifelong relationship, with the physical embodiment of fear in the form of a bat, a symbol that becomes a saviour to not just the city of Gotham, but also to himself.


DeConstructing Batman – Part 1

Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight Trilogy” serves as the current definitive version of the famous superhero known by children and grown men across the world as “Batman”. With the conclusion of the ‘Dark Knight Trilogy” this past July, and the expectation that this universe as it currently stands is a closed space, Christopher Nolan sets the stage for its audience to finally begin pouring over the entire narrative with scrupulous eyes to identify and dissect themes and messages of story and characters in this rich tale of the murky region between good and evil.

Telling the story of a billionaire turned vigilante, Batman has become an archetype of sorts in modern lore. His story first emerged in 1939, a creation from artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. Creators combining elements of the characters Zorro and Sherlock Holmes, managed to build a hero with a very distinct set of skills and attitudes. Over many years the character of Batman has been portrayed in many different media, expanding from comic books into graphic novels, appearances on radio, a continued presence on television and eventually emergence onto the silver screen. In 1989, Tim Burton delivered “Batman” starring Michael Keaton, which was became at that point in history, the 5th highest grossing film of all time. That film went on to spark 2 sequels, “Batman Returns” and “Batman and Robin”, directed by Joel Schumacher, the latter of which was critically panned. After a long hiatus from the silver screen, Nolan resurrected “The Bat” in the live-action blockbuster film “Batman Begins” starring Christian Bale as the titular character.

“Batman Begins”, released in 2004 as the first of the trilogy serves to establish the universe of the trilogy as a hyper-realistic one and in doing so sets its follow-up “The Dark Knight” with a system of assumed truths that allow several ideas about the human order to emerge. In Nolan’s concluding film, “The Dark Knight Rises”, the story’s messages and theories of social truths are cemented.

This series of posts will attempt to dissect the narrative elements of the “Dark Knight Trilogy”, mining its rich story and ideology, attempting to deconstruct the Bat and draw conclusions worth drawing. Some topics that will be discussed include studies into fear, chaos versus order, power versus agency, and the tension between absurdity and realism.

This is due to be a fun ride and hopefully an intellectually stimulating conversation. Please feel free to throw comments suggesting new topics of inquiry  into this deep canon.

Movies that need to be seen…

Ok so here goes some movies that I have been told I should see and some that I haven’t yet gotten around to see that I really want to get my hands on… this list will grow and shrink with time hopefully. Feel free to reply and add to this list.

– Amores Perros (2000)

– Citizen Kane (1941)

– A Clockwork Orange (1971)

– Italianamerican (1974)

– Psycho (1960)

– North By Northwest (1959)

– Das Boot (1981)

Hello world!

Soooo, THIS is a blog. My very first blog entry! I really haven’t ever blogged before so this is all new to me.

Some of you may know me, but others may not, so let me first introduce myself. I’m an engineering student at McMaster University studying civil engineering. A very bland faculty, yet the most useful department in my honest opinion. I’m also pursuing a minor in political sciences so there’s certainly a mix in my courses.

Despite how much work goes into an engineering education, and the time that is spent tediously plugging numbers into a never ending sequence formulas, I don’t think I want to work a regular 9-5 desk job. Instead, I’d rather do something I am passionate about, something that thrills me beyond belief, and brings excitement to my day. Love is a very strong word, but I feel in this case it is acceptable, I love film.

I made this blog for the sole purpose of proliferating my thoughts on my favourite movies, and presenting my thoughts on the world of film.

More and more, I feel like pursuing a profession as a film critic. I don’t know where to begin. THEREFORE, I decided that the best way for me to even entertain the concept would be to start writing a blog. And so it begins.