Story: The story of Dark Knight takes place roughly 9 months after the events of Batman Begins (2005). The film begins with a group of clown-masked thugs robbing a mob-owned bank with the Joker being disguised as one of the thugs. Systematically they all end up double-crossing and killing each other to receive a larger slice of money eventually leaving Joker as the only survivor to walk out with all the money.
Plot: After raising the stake on his war on crime, Batman with the combined effort of Jim Gordon and Harvey Dent, Batman dismantles the remaining criminal organizations that infect the streets of the city. Although it proves effective, it gives rise to a new criminal mastermind who calls himself The Joker.
Active Question: Will The Joker be successful in tearing Gotham apart or will Batman defeat Joker be able to save Gotham from this new danger again?
Narrative: The narrative of The Dark Knight is a linear one since there is no use of flashbacks or flash forwards. For example: When Batman interrupts a drug deal meeting between Chechen, his men and Scarecrow, he gets bitten by Rottweiler dogs in weak spots of his armor. The next morning, Bruce Wayne AKA The Batman is seen stitching his own wound. Later that day at the Wayne Enterprise, he talks to Lucius Fox about needing a new and more versatile version of his armor.
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Set-Up: All the characters are introduced to us by around day 2 in the movie timeline. We also get to see the situations they are in e.g. mobs and other criminal organizations viewing the combined efforts of Batman, Harvey Dent and Jim Gordon as threat. We also get to see Bruce Wayne and Dent both competing for the love of Rachel Dawes although Dent and Rachel are already in a romantic relationship. A conflict is also introduced in this act when the Joker arrives at a mob meeting and proposes to get rid of the Batman for half of their money. Joker also convinces the mob that Lau, a Chinese accountant, would hand them over to the police if he ever gets caught. Although they don’t take up on Joker’s offer, Joker leaves his ‘card’ behind if they ever want to contact him.
Conflict: At the start of The Dark Knight, Batman thinks that his main problem is the mob only to find out that Joker is the main threat. After getting Lau and the rest of the mob into jail, Joker makes a TV appearance spreading the message that if Batman does not turn himself to police, then innocent people will be killed. He also gives clues to who he plans on killing next through the DNA traces found on the Joker cards. Later in the movie, we also get to see how Joker captures both Harvey and Rachel and both of them are kept at opposite sides of the city, far enough for Batman not having time to save both of them. After intentionally giving out the details to where they are, Batman rushes to save Rachel while Jim Gordon and his men head after Dent. Unknown to them, Joker had already switched the locations, thus sending Batman after Dent and the police after Rachel. Batman makes it in time and is able to save Dent although half of his face gets burnt while the police couldn’t reach Rachel in time and she dies in the explosion. Dent is driven by madness due to the loss of Rachel and blames the Batman, Gordon and Joker for her death. When Gordon asks why Dent refuses for any medication, Harvey demands Gordon to reveal the nickname the cops gave to him which was “Harvey Two-Face”. Dent then replies “Why should I hide who I am?” This introduces another conflict which Batman would have to face later since Joker successfully corrupts “Gotham’s White Knight” and brings him down to “his” level.
Resolution: The Joker and Batman have one final confrontation where Batman successfully defeats Joker and proves that deep down, no one is ugly as him and that he’s alone. With this Joker finally acknowledges that Batman is incorruptible but Dent isn’t. He dubs Dent as his “Ace in the hole” because of which Batman leaves to find Two-Face and leaving Joker for the SWAT to arrest. After confronting and defeating Two-Face, Batman asks Gordon if anyone else knew about Dent’s corruption because the people would start losing hope to which Gordon replies with a no. In order to preserve Dent’s image as “White Knight”, Batman convinces Gordon that he will take all the blames upon himself so that the people don’t lose hope. The movie ends with Batman running away from the cops having taken all the blame upon him.
The genre is action, crime, drama and thriller. Generic conventions of the film would be one of the good guys to die and the hero always ends up saving the day.
The protagonist of the film is The Batman/Bruce Wayne portrayed by Christian Bale.
The antagonist is The Joker portrayed by Heath Ledger.
Secondary opponents would be:
- Lau portrayed by Chin Han
- Salvatore Maroni portrayed by Eric Roberts
- Chechen portrayed by Ritchie Coster
- Two-Face/Harvey Dent portrayed by Aaron Eckhart
- Scarecrow portrayed by Cillian Murphy
- The mob
- Joker’s minions
The advisor/mentor is Alfred portrayed by Michael Caine.
- Rachel Dawes portrayed by Maggie Gyllenhaal
- Jim Gordon portrayed by Gary Oldman
- Lucius Fox portrayed by Morgan Freeman
Unexpected ally would be Lucius Fox portrayed by Morgan Freeman.
The character arc that Bruce Wayne goes through is at first when he starts thinking that Gotham won’t need Batman anymore since more than half of the mob was sent to jail due to the combined efforts of Jim Gordon and Harvey Dent. He thought that he would be able to go back to a normal life with Rachel until another threat arises in the form of Joker. As the story progresses, he comes across arguments such as “What gave Batman the right to become Batman?” and “For what does the Batman stand for?” Another argument also arises “What is the difference between Batman and Joker? Are they both the same?” Batman has the power to take down the mob, to give hope to the people while Joker has the power to turn things into chaos, bend people and turn them into a corrupt. This is just shows how extreme Batman and Joker are to fit in a society. Finally, Batman realizes that deep down; he and everyone else are nothing like the Joker. He makes Joker acknowledge that he is incorruptible. Although they both might be extreme, Batman has his own principles which he must follow, even if it means sacrificing himself in the process for a better future for Gotham. This is shown at the end of the film when he takes on all the blame of murdering people to protect the status of Harvey Dent AKA Two-Face. He realizes that whatever happens, Gotham needs Batman and that he will continue to watch over “his” city.
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The subplot of the movie is the story of Harvey Dent from how a shining knight falls down to become a corrupt. In the beginning of the film, everyone looked up to Harvey Dent and how he gave hope to the people. He fought for justice and how he turned more than half of the mob into jail. He was given the nickname of Gotham’s White Knight. But after his loss of Rachel, his mind becomes clouded and blames Jim Gordon and Batman for her death. Taking advantage of his mental state, Joker bends him and brings him down to “his” level. By the end of the film, he becomes a corrupt and tries killing Jim Gordon’s family until he is stopped by the Batman.
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