Batman: The Dark Knight (Part 1)

Zhang Sanjian 2022-03-29 12:00


I don’t know why, but ‘Batman: The Dark Knight’ has been consistently recommended on the TV’s homepage these past few days. So, over these two days, I rewatched this film multiple times.

The first time I watched it, I was practicing guitar and watching the movie simultaneously, missing many details.

The second time, I got caught up in its intense superhero action scenes.

On the third watch, I began to understand why this film is considered a classic in the hearts of many.

It’s not just a superhero action movie; it delves deeper into the exploration of the human psyche. Of course, the success of a film also relies on the collective efforts of the director, screenwriter, cinematographer, and actors.

The actor who plays Batman, Christian Bale, lost 57 pounds for his previous film ‘The Machinist,’ and then gained 72 pounds for ‘Batman.

Another main character, Joker, was played by Heath Ledger, who committed suicide at the age of 28.

There’s a saying that ‘Heath Ledger got too immersed in his roles, which led to a lengthy recovery period after each performance. During ‘Batman: The Dark Knight,’ he secluded himself in a hotel room for an extended time to delve into Joker’s psyche, repeatedly practicing lip-licking, hair-stroking, and speech intonations, eventually creating an unparalleled Joker! However, due to the intense pressure from delving too deeply into the character, Ledger couldn’t cope and ultimately died from an overdose.’

What a tragic loss!

A teacher once said that acting is the most unique profession in the world, as actors must use their emotions, physicality, and even hair to serve their roles. This is also why some highly empathetic and talented actors struggle to separate themselves from their characters, sometimes even leading to psychological issues.

I think this is also why some actors, at a certain point, turn to directing. Immersing oneself in a character is not just a physical test, but more so an emotional one, getting absorbed in the character’s fate. The anguish felt can be difficult to detach from because the character is not just in the imagination; the actor brings it to life, conveying genuine emotions to the audience. It’s the ability to move the audience that makes a great performance.

This outstanding actor’s performance rivals the allure of Batman’s superhero halo. To honor him, let’s view the entire film from the perspective of Joker. From this angle, you’ll discover that the film is a chronicle of Joker’s evolution, from an up-and-coming criminal to becoming the ‘King of Crime’ in Gotham City.

Firstly, Joker infiltrates the gangsters’ ranks, creating discord and causing their disintegration, thereby expanding his own power. He kills a fake Batman, sending a warning to the public, and spreads a message that as long as the real Batman doesn’t reveal his true identity, people will die every day for him.

At this point, I even suspect Joker studied psychology. To destroy someone, especially a symbol of justice like Batman, killing him wouldn’t suffice; Batman would still live on as a hero in people’s hearts. Only by dragging Batman into the abyss of sin and making him live with the burden of guilt can Joker achieve his true goal. He repeatedly tries to enrage Batman, waiting and relishing the moment he crosses moral boundaries and is brought to his demise. He makes the good people, out of fear, turn against Batman – as if each police officer’s death is due to Batman’s reluctance to reveal his identity.

In this way, Joker drags Batman into the whirlpool of justice — anyone can wear the ‘mask of justice’ and criticize his inaction. Are you really fighting for justice? If you are, now you must stand up and remove the mask.
Joker is very clever; he knows to defeat his opponent, he must understand him. Only by knowing who he is can he accurately target his vulnerabilities. At the charity dinner, Joker finds Batman’s weakness, although he still doesn’t know Batman’s true identity.


Is Joker really insane? Clearly, he is.
But his mind is exceptionally lucid, unlike the ‘crazy’ we commonly understand. His thoughts are clear, his plans meticulous, and his actions logical. I once read a book titled ‘Genius on the Left, Lunatic on the Right,’ in which the author records stories of mental patients through interviews. The author found that all the patients had strong logic and constructed their own mental worlds.

Joker is such an existence. His worldview is vast, and everyone becomes a pawn in his game, subjected to his moral judgment.

Batman asks him, ‘Why do you want to kill me?’
Joker laughs, ‘I don’t want to kill you. What would I do without you?’

This shows he is very aware inside. Without justice, how can evil be highlighted, and without evil, how can justice be exemplified? They are individuals that must exist in the world, ‘You complete me.’

Whether facing Batman, the police chief, or Harvey, Joker intensely imposes his own worldview and values. These beliefs are not only convincing to himself but also capable of brainwashing those with wavering stances.

“Good evening,  detective.” Joker greets the officer as warmly as if meeting a family member.
The detective says, “Harvey didn’t make it home.”
“Of course not.”
“What have you done with him?”
“Me? I was right here. Who did you leave him with? Your people? Assuming, of course, they are still ‘your’ people’ “

In this exchange, Joker consistently has the upper hand. He not only sows discord between the officer and his subordinates but also destroys the detective’s trust in his team. “Does it depress you, commissioner? To know just how alone you really are?  ” Joker’s remarks aim to unleash the sensitive, suspicious, and fearful darkness in people’s hearts.

“Does it make you feel responsible for Harvey Dent’s current predicament?” He manipulates the detective by hijacking the concept of justice, just as if all the deaths in the city are somehow related to Batman.
When the detective asks again “Where is he?”, Joker asks back “What’s the time?”, throwing the question back——
“Depending on the time, he may be in one spot, or several.”
(Isn’t such a clever response more chilling than directly saying, “At a certain time, he will be blown to pieces”?)


In the first half of the film, there is a depiction of Joker’s background, his childhood memories, where the scars forming the smile on his face came from, and why the phrase ‘Why so serious?’ left such a deep imprint in his mind.

In the film, we often see Joker licking the corners of his mouth with his tongue. This led me to speculate that after his father created those scars, each time the wound started to heal and itch, he developed the habit of licking his lips.

This is my interpretation of Joker’s behavior and actions. It shows how the actor filled in every detail and gesture of the character with logical imagination. That’s why when we see him perform this action, it doesn’t feel out of place and is highly impactful.

The Austrian psychologist Adler once said, “Some people use their childhood to heal their life, while others use their life to heal their childhood.”



“Here’s a little story from my life.

Recently, when I returned to the north, I saw that the leaves and branches of the Bird of Paradise in my room had withered and were almost broken off. I quickly straightened it and watered it. Taking care of this plant seems quite simple, as it grows well with just water and sunlight. I also placed a humidifier under its leaves to let it enjoy the ‘sea breeze’ like in Hawaii.

Speaking of the humidifier, it really annoys me! Last night, I was in a mess using the new footbath and humidifier. While operating the humidifier, it leaked water; and when filling the footbath, I added too much water, causing it to overflow. I hurriedly turned off the faucet and scooped out the excess water, leaving the kitchen and living room all wet…

The next day, the humidifier still leaked when I added water. Coupled with my unstable mood these days, I really wanted to kick it. I was about to lift it to smash it, and eh? As soon as I lifted it, it mysteriously started working…

So when you’re at your wits’ end, you need just a little bit of patience. Maybe this bit of patience can save the ‘life’ of this humidifier.”



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