The Dark Knight



The Dark Knight is the second in Christopher Nolan’s revamping of the Batman franchise, and is considered one of the best superhero movies ever made.

It isn’t.

The great thing about the first of Nolan’s Batman films, Batman Begins, is that the film takes great care in creating a plausible real-world Batman.  The technology is similar to what is currently available, nothing is campy about it, and it just feels like it could happen here.  This raises the bar for the Batman franchise, which had repeatedly devolved into camp.  However, once you start making things plausible, you can’t just toss that aside in your subsequent movies.

Holy Bullshit Bank, Batman

What the fuck is a mob bank? Is it a bank where the mob places its money? Why would the mob bother putting its cash into a bank, as opposed to keeping it hidden somewhere?  For the mob, or any lucrative criminal organization, to avoid the attention of law enforcement, it has to hide its wealth.  Making several deposits of large sums of cash is not the way to do that.  Banks actually purchase anti-laundering software to prevent criminals from depositing illegal money in those banks.  What the Mob tends to do is launder money through businesses or offshore accounts.  It is possible to own a bank, in a jurisdiction that doesn’t have strong controls (i.e. NOT the U.S.A.), and use that bank.

However, if the Mob owns a bank in the U.S.A., then it will not incur a loss from a robbery.  The money will be insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (up to $200,000 per account).  This is why people trust banks – if the money is stolen by clowns, you the tax payers will pick up the slack.  So, the rage that the mob has is only a saving-face rage, not a rage about losing the money.  Since this bank is legitimate, there is no reason for the bank to call a private number, as opposed to 911.  Once the robbery has happened, the police will look into that bank and wonder why the manager has a shotgun.

Finally, the above scene has so much wrong at the end.  The Joker has someone back a school bus through the wall of the bank with no damage to the bus, shoots the driver, loads the bus with cash, then puts a smoke grenade into the manager’s mouth, and finally gets behind the wheel.  During that couple of minutes, no one from the outside of the bank seems worried.  In fact, as the Joker drives his bus out of the bank and merges into traffic with a convoy of buses (a convoy which conveniently has a bus-sized gap in it), no one notices.  I guess in Gotham, buses pull out of banks all the time.  Look at the people on the sidewalk.  They don’t even glance at a BUS PULLING OUT OF A BANK’S WALL.  You’d also think that the bus drivers in that convoy would sort of know each other since they all appear to be heading in the same direction.  As such, wouldn’t they wonder why a bus pulled in from the INSIDE OF A BANK?  When the Joker presumably drives his bus away from the pack, wouldn’t that raise suspicion?  Someone should be calling the Gotham police, who could quickly stop that bus and capture the Joker.

Holy Stupid Mob, Batman

Not only was the bank some sort of “mob bank” but all the rival mob factions put their money into it.  It’s a mob Co-op bank!  It’s a pretty shitty bank, though.  Not only did the Joker drive a bus into the cheap walls and take cash, but some guy from China took the liberty of hiding all of these mob rivals’ money.  Lau “hid” their money without them knowing.  Maybe the Joker was just “hiding” the cash that he took from the bank?  The best thing about this situation is that these mob rivals are considering leaving the money with Lau!  All of the mob bosses are going to pool their money and put it into a Chinese bank!  They’re Skyping with Lau, not even talking to him face to face.  And why are they using an old Cathode Ray Tube television?  Doesn’t one of the mob bosses have a monitor or an HD TV?  How does Lau see the mobsters with whom he’s “talking” when there are no cameras in that room?

While the mob rivals are having their sit down and Skyping with Lau, the Joker comes in.  You’d think that there might be some security around a place where ALL OF THE MOB BOSSES ARE MEETING.  That’s a pretty juicy target.  However, the Joker walks in, wearing a purple suit and make-up, and yet no one complains or asks how he made it in.  Mind you, the Joker just stole their money and now he strolls in.  Gambol, the black mobster, realizes he should just kill the Joker and orders his henchman to do so.  The Joker kills the henchman with a pencil, which would be even more reason for Gambol to kill him on the spot, along with the other mob bosses.  Instead, they just listen to him.  They all should have bene shooting the hell out of the Joker as soon as he walked in.  Also, once they see he is sporting a coat made of grenades, they should definitely shoot him to death.

What’s really strange about the Joker entering is that there’s a metal detector outside the kitchen of the mob meeting place.. You’d think those grenades would set off the alarm. You’d also think the men manning the metal detector would try to stop the Joker from entering with several grenades. Either they don’t mind, or he somehow silently dispatches a handful of the Mob’s security personnel.

The Joker makes a stupid deal also.  “I kill the Batman, and you give me half your money.”  The mobsters have two choices at the time:

  1. Kill The Joker on the spot so that people don’t go around thinking they can wantonly steal from the Mob.
  2. Let The Joker kill the Batman, then go to step 1.

The Joker has to realize he’ll never be paid, right?

Once the Joker leaves, why not follow him and ask for details? For example, when does the Joker plan on killing the Batman? How does he plan on accomplishing this task? How is he going to prove he has killed the actual Batman? How do they know the Joker isn’t really the Batman, and is just tricking them into paying his golden parachute?  The Mob just watches him go.

Holy Stupid Assassination, Batman

After the assassinations of the police commissioner and a judge, the Joker has a plan in place to kill the mayor.  This plan is utter bullshit.  The Joker needs confederates to help him, so he turns to escaped mental patients.  These are people who have mental issues to the point that they cannot operate successfully in society, but when given just a little direction can overpower and impersonate a police honor guard.

Somehow, the Joker coerces the ENTIRE Gotham Police Department Honor Guard into the apartment of a two-time felon RIGHT BEFORE THEY HAVE TO BE IN THE FUNERAL PROCESSION FOR THE POLICE COMISSIONER! What possible story could the Joker have told them to make ALL of them appear, in their uniforms, with their weapons, at some dude’s apartment?  Not only that, but the Joker and his lunatics are somehow able to disable ALL of these officers.  People who were involuntarily institutionalized have already shown an inability to beat up and disarm police, but somehow they and the Joker take out an entire group of officers.  It’s either that, or the Joker incapacitated them, then dragged them into Melvin White’s apartment.

Let’s talk about this apartment for a moment.  Melvin White is a convicted felon who was placed into Arkham Asylum twice, and yet somehow he can afford a spacious apartment, downtown, with a view!  However, it appears he can’t afford furniture, as the Honor Guard is tied up around a pylon and sitting on the floor.

The other bullshit part is that the Joker and his “schizophrenic” goons, as they are labeled later in the movie, are able to pass as the Gotham PD Honor guard.  The Honor Guard in most police departments is a special detail, in which you have to put in for the position and then train to be good at it.  I guess that the Joker was drilling all of his crazy henchmen to be a crack honor guard because they know how to wear the very specific honor guard uniforms and they get the voice commands right.  It’s still bullshit.  There is going to be someone who organized the funeral who will be telling the Honor Guard where to go and who will be suspicious when a group of strangers shows up to do the 21 gun salute.  Plus, one of the fake Honor Guard is the Joker, who doesn’t look like a real person.  There is no fucking way the Joker and his insane clown posse can walk through a sea of police without someone noticing them.

And yet Joker and his crazies do, and once they fire at the Mayor, the well-trained Gotham Police Department RUNS AWAY! Is that what they teach them in the academy?

Holy Stupid Car Chase, Batman

This is generally considered a great moment in the movie and it’s where we first see the Batpod, which is legitimately awesome.  However, again the Gotham Police Department is stupendously incompetent and the Joker is incomprehensibly prepared.

The chase begins with the Joker blocking off a street with a burning vehicle, which the helicopter can’t see for some reason.  Also, no one in the city has called emergency services about an intersection being on fire, presumably because the Gotham Police Department is inept.  Rather than just go around the burning vehicle (they are the police, after all they can momentarily go the wrong way on a street) or taking an alternate side street one block before going back on their path, the police decide to go underground.

The Joker has predicted this, somehow, and he has a garbage truck and a tractor trailer waiting.  He manages to knock off a few of the police escort vehicles, and not one of the police officers involved bothers to get on the radio to mention that they’re under attack.  I guess they also think of their fellow officers as incompetent.  Batman shows up and saves the one vehicle with Harvey Dent in it, and that vehicle makes it back to the surface.

On the surface, the helicopter comes back to support the vehicle with Dent in it.  It’s just the helicopter now, because no one has bothered to ask for more support.  Well, the Joker knew where the Dent’s vehicle would appear and thus where the helicopter would appear to support Dent’s vehicle, and has a plan to take out the helicopter. Really, why would the Joker even bother to have henchmen up on the street to stop the chopper, since he was trying to blow Dent up with RPGs?  I guess that was his backup plan.  Maybe he had henchmen stationed on every street in a 20-block radius, that’s more believable, but still utter bullshit.  Not only does he predict the exact path of a helicopter, but he equips his henchmen with wire-shooting guns.  These guys are able to predict the exact altitude of the helicopter, and set a trap of crisscrossing wires, into which the helicopter flies.

These wires are freakishly strong as they are able to hold tight and force the chopper into a building, and thus a crash.  Let’s assume the Joker found some wires with impossibly strong tensile and sheer strength.  To what are they attached?  The helicopter should just be pulling the wires out of the walls of the buildings into which they were fired, and then the wires should dangle harmlessly below the aircraft.

The same wire issues apply to the end when Batman wraps a thin, long wire around a bunch of light poles and makes the tractor trailer flip. The difference is the Batman doesn’t even bother to secure the ends of the wires.  He just detaches them from the Batpod and the Joker plows right into them. This should result in the Joker’s semi dragging those wires around the streets of Gotham.  Instead, the ultra-strong bumper on the Joker’s semi is able to hold steady and to stop all the momentum of rest of the semi, rather than just being ripped off and under.  Also, the frame of the semi is magically sturdy enough to hold up and let the semi flip.  It’s a cool stunt and it’s well choreographed.  I think it’s the first time a semi has ever done a flip.  Of course, it’s total bullshit.  There’s a reason no semi has ever flipped.

Once the Joker’s ride is destroyed, he steps out and dares the Batman to run him over.  Batman drives right at him, and then swerves at the last minute, crashing.  Doesn’t that Batpod have any brakes?  For fucks’ sake Batman, just slow down, get off your bike, walk up to the Joker, and beat his ass!

Jim Gordon was driving the vehicle in which Dent was riding. Because of this, the Mayor promotes Gordon from Lieutenant to Police Comissioner on the spot. To this point, Gordon has been in charge of up to 100 people, as a supervisor. Now, he’s going to be in charge of the entire department.  That means thousands of people, the union, budgets, etc.  He’s NOT QUALIFIED!!!  To hire a police commissioner for a major metropolitan city is quite an undertaking.  There are interviews, vetting, more interviews, etc.  You can’t just promote a guy up from middle management after he does one good thing, unless that one good thing was clean up and improve the Metropolis Police Department, or maybe the Central City PD.

Holy Predictive Joker and Misuse of Police Power, Batman

The Joker, while in police custody, manages to have a police detective kidnap Harvey Dent and tie him up in a building.  He also is able to have Harvey Dent’s and Bruce Wayne’s love interest, Rachel Dawes, captured and tied up.  Dent and Dawes are on opposite sides of the city, with bombs.  Since the Joker has bombs at each location, he must have planned on needing to capture Dent and Dawes.  That would mean that he knew that his elaborate attack on Dent’s convoy wouldn’t work, that he would be captured, and that Dent would be driven home by one specific member of the Gotham Police Department, and that he was able to coerce this member of the department to kidnap Dent.  Not. Fucking. Possible.

Also, this creates a dilemma for Batman.  He can’t be in two places at the same time to save Dawes and Dent both.  What will he do?  You’d think he (or all the members of the Gotham Police Department who are watching the Joker’s interrogation) would dispatch someone out to those locations.  There must be patrol units in the area.  Why do Gordon and Batman have to be the ones to go save them?  Also, this implies that the Joker knew when, roughly, he’d be interrogated.  If the interrogation was too late, say because Gordon and Mayor Garcia were at a hastily organized press conference to explain why there is suddenly a new police commissioner, then Dent and Dawes would both die and there’d be no messing with Batman.  Or, maybe Dent wanted to be on hand for the announcement of a new police commissioner so he wasn’t kidnapped.  Then you just have the Joker killing Rachel Dawes for no good reason.  See, this whole thing is bullshit.

Unless, that is, all of this happened so the Joker could be in (as Gordon implies) MCU with Lau.  Yes, the Joker planned all of this and knew just when he’d be put in the MCU with Lau.  None of this makes any sense as there is no reason why Lau would be in what looks like the Mayberry City Jail, when he’s now a star witness against the mob.  The Joker even had a guy in the same place, somehow, with a bomb implanted in his abdomen.  I assume that the Joker is just crazy and that’s why this plan of his is so crazy.  How does he escape from the jail, by the way, with the police following him so closely?

Holy Big Bang, Batman

The Joker threatens to blow up a hospital if some Wayne Enterprises employee isn’t killed.  All hospitals in Gotham are being evacuated.  The Joker is able to sneak into a hospital wearing what looks like a Halloween Nurse’s outfit and face make-up.  No one seems to notice a six foot, muscular nurse in a strange uniform walking around – not even the protective detail around Dent.

Then the Joker, true to his word, blows up a hospital.  He blows up an entire fucking hospital.  Look at that explosion!  It’s absolutely massive.  How the fuck did the Joker find the time and expertise to wire an entire hospital with explosives and detonators?  Making buildings implode is a difficult and expensive endeavor done only by a handful of companies.  We are to believe that the Joker:

  1. Had enough explosives and detonators to create that effect.
  2. Has the knowledge of how to wire the building.
  3. Accesses ALL of the hospital without being noticed placing charges and wires.
  4. Was able to bring in all the explosives, and then set them up without anyone noticing him, or the charges after they had been set.

Not only that, but he either knew that Dent would be in that hospital before the attack on Dent’s motorcade, or he wired the hospital in about a day.  If he knew that Dent would be in that hospital, then he knew that Dent would not be blown up in the Dent/Dawes bomb dilemma, and that he’d be injured (good assumption, what with a bomb and all).  If he didn’t then the Joker was able to the 4 things above, but in one fucking day!  This is the most bullshit thing in the entire history of the Batman franchise.

Finally, the hospital is surrounded by police, patients, and reporters, yet when the Joker walks out and presses the detonator several times, he’s suddenly in a waste land, until he jumps on the back of a bus that is conveniently there.  Maybe it was the same magic bus that no one noticed ramming the bank in the beginning of the movie.

Holy Scrooge McDuck, Batman

After capturing Lau and having the Mob give him half their money, the Joker arranges his new fortune into a pyramid and then burns it with Lau on top.  Look at all that money.  How in the fuck does any one organization, other that of a wealthy national government or Exxon-Mobil, have THAT much cash on hand at once? The Joker robbed the Mob’s bank at the beginning of the movie and there wasn’t even close to that much, and that’s just half!

Why do the Chechen mob boss’s men work for the Joker?  He just burned all of his money!  He literally has no money to pay them.  What is he offering them?  Why would any criminal go along with the Joker’s plan to bring Gotham into anarchy when there is that enormous pile of money?  Just shoot him and, ta da, you’re rich.  The Joker hasn’t done anything that would inspire loyalty in mobsters.  He also burns Lau for absolutely no reason.

Holy Cross the Mersey, Batman

The Joker claims on TV that he now owns the city and anyone left by night will be under his rule.  Gotham’s population panics and tries to leave, only to find the streets blocked.  Total bullshit.  I guess the citizens of the fictional Gotham are not made of as stern a stuff as the citizens of the real world.  New York, Washington DC, and most major US metropolitan areas live under the constant threat of terrorist attack.  After the much more devastating attacks on the World Trade Centers, New Yorkers didn’t just surrender and split town.  Why would the citizens of Batman’s Gotham run?  Where are they going?  They’re all just leaving jobs and families and such?  The Joker is just one dude, crazy or not, and the city is, presumably, pretty large.

Again, with the Joker and the enormous amount of explosives.  Where did he find the time to sneak onto these two ferries and to hide a hundred barrels of explosives with detonators?  No one went down below before the ferries started ferrying people off the island?  They’re taking up the entire bottom level of the ship!  No one saw anything?  BULLSHIT! The Joker was also able to rig the ferries’ radios and engines to stop at the same time.  This is lost in the implausibility of the explosives, but it’s also bullshit.

Holy Overrated Ending, Batman

One of the things people love about this movie is the cool, psychological ending.  I like that neither of the two ferries blow up the other in the previous scene, and aside from the ridiculousness of the amount of explosives no one noticed, it’s a good scene.  The very ending, though?  Not so much.  First, if Two-Face wants to pass judgment on Gordon and his family, why does he flip for himself second?  Was he going to kill himself on a coin flip, and let Gordon go without being judged by fate?

The really stunning part is Batman deciding to take the wrap for what Two-Face did.  Was that remotely necessary?  Gordon is the police commissioner.  He could drum up a case against most anyone.  It could be other mobsters, or Lau’s people, or some stranger, or not even a case.  Why does it have to be Batman?  It doesn’t.  It’s just a cheap ploy to make us see Batman as so noble, and it’s pathetic and stupid.

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2 Thoughts.

  1. FINALLY…someone who sees the Dark Knight for what it really is….a gimmicky piece of shit movie with little to no substance. I remember when i finally got to see this movie a month after it came out…EVERYONE was raving about how it was the best movie they had seen in years and just constantly placing this movie on some heavenly pedestal…half way through the movie and I was almost in a state of shock. the movie was awful from start to finish, minus a few sequences. I did find Heath Ledger’s version of the Joker excellent, but it couldnt overcome the blatant plot-holes and constant stumbling of the movie itself.

    anyways, excellent review once again spot-on analysis.
    keep it up

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