Thursday, April 10, 2008

Top Films: Decent People Shouldn't Live Here

Tim Burton’s version of Batman is greatness, but maybe it ought to be called Joker. As usual, the story is about Batman’s enemy, and in this case he is pure evil. A good working definition for evil is: “an absence of good.” Evil is destructive, scary and wrong, but it ultimately is a Nothing, and that is what the Joker is in this movie. He is messed up and in a way, empty. When Jack becomes the Joker he goes from being a sick psycho to being a sicker, scarier psycho. The depiction of evil as senseless and without excuse is what makes this version of Batman so effective.

All too often these days we get an elaborate back story explaining the reasons why evil men become evil. This story shows that sometimes (Christian Theology would argue always) people start out with a propensity and capacity for evil, and the struggle is in trying to be good. This is the struggle that the Batman character faces. As a person who experienced an evil tragedy that in the comic book world turns people into villains, Bruce Wayne chooses to fight the evil he experienced. To do so he takes on a new name and becomes an incorruptible person, a symbol for good in the world. And the world of Gothom City is yet another one of those dystopian depictions, that so effectively illustrate how messed up the real world is.
Batman works because it is an effective picture of the reality. It shows a messed up world where things are not as they should be. It has true evil that maims and destroys for no reason. It has a hero who fights for good and inspires others to seek the right that should exist in the world.

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