So there may be a small chance I misread the ending of TDKR. When listening to Mark Kermode’s Radio Five film podcast it became apparent that last scene with Alfred at the cafe could well have been an Inception-esque nod at an unreal event, which means Bats may have bought the farm after all. Having fixed the autopilot months earlier means that this was a choice all his own, a end much more befitting of a master of his own fate.
In other Bat-news, my close friend, film academic and fellow blogger Tariq Emam offers a rebuttal to my grievances regarding Bruce Wayne’s ‘death’ (which, ironically, I may have already begun to amend). He takes a more psychoanalytical route, suggesting that those who wanted Batman’s death wanted a masochistic fantasy and indulge in witnessing the pain of others (and therefore themselves). You can read the first part here.
While I don’t deny that there are many people out there like this, I wouldn’t count myself among them, becoming increasingly uncomfortable in a cinematic landscape that accepts torture porn as the current standard for modern horror. I want a good story, and if you need some pain to tell that story, so be it. I’ll feel the pain with you. But if the story gives way to pain that audiences are meant to crave and enjoy, that’s when I start to feel a little sick.
I squirm in the Saw movies. Some people laugh. I stopped watching them when they stopped casting characters and started casting reprehensible, unsympathetic cut-outs that viewers would love to see dismembered. That’s the mentality of the people who make and see those movies, and yet they still make money.
Returning to Batman, I don’t think my suggestion that the character needed to die was necessarily a a masochistic or indulgent one. If anything, it was a desire for the character to find peace, rest, and, ultimately, closure. Story is paramount – to me, at least – in works of fiction, and if I feel the story hasn’t reached a satisfying end then I can’t help but be disappointed. To me, Bruce Wayne is the story. As I stated in my initial post, if Wayne is still alive, then the story isn’t over.
Tariq makes some interesting points, however, and left me pondering over assumptions I had previously made about the movie.