Like any self-respecting comic book nerd, I loved The Dark Knight. Even more than Batman Begins, it's the big screen Batman adaptation I've been waiting for since I first read The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke in the eighties. (I dusted off those books and re-read them as soon as I got home from the movie on Sunday. Amazingly, I've been able to remain married for four years.)
Batman, like any piece of American mythology, always serves as a symbol for the times in which he's depicted. You'd have to be wearing a foamcore helmet to not feel the blows from being hit over the head with the terrorism allegories in TDK and in Heath Ledger's brilliant take on Batman's number one nemesis, the Joker. An enemy who likes chaos for the sake of chaos, who delights in the torture and murder of innocent civilians and who isn't shy about using the media to broadcast his sadism? It's not exactly subtle, but in the hands of writer/director Chris Nolan, it's obviously familiar without being familiarly obvious. (Unlike Jon Favreau's Iron Man, which represents the United State's struggle against the evils of Islamic terrorism by depicting, wait for it, evil Islamic terrorists. Very subtle, Mikey.)
One reason for the success of the film is that any sense of hero worship is absent from the movie, and Nolan clearly is working from the perspective -- correct in my opinion -- that Batman is not a character to be put on a pedestal. (Compare the shots of Batman brooding in silhouette atop the Sears tower with the gratuitous shots in movies such as Superman or Spider-Man of the heroes posing with or carrying the American flag.) Batman is not a hero; he's a psychologically scarred guy in a bat suit. It's why he was introduced -- and still appears -- in Detective Comics and not the more ambiguously titled Action Comics. Bruce Wayne has less in common with Clark Kent than he does with Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot; he just has the best toys. He's James Bond without the double entendres.
When will driving to get gas no longer be worth it?
That's because my musical improv comedy group, VEAL will be performing that night against the previous week's winner. Cage Match pits one team against the other in a naked bid for audience affection. So come and show your support by voting for VEAL! You'll also be entertained with characters and wrestling matches from the UCBW, which I hear might be fake.
Reservations can be made here.
If you see only two improv shows this summer, you can also see us on Saturday, August 9th at 11:15 at Urban Stages as part of the 10th annual Del Close Marathon.
If you see only three improv shows this summer, VEAL will also have another show at Under St. Marks in early September. More details to follow.