Or is it just "Dark Knight"? Doesn't matter. I am today holding this blog hostage so I can talk about the movie. And okay, not the whole movie. Yes, I, too, can go on at length about the brilliance of Heath Ledger's performance. I, too, can sigh and swoon over Christian Bale. I, too, can praise the testosterone poisoning that created such great action sequences. But none of that's going to happen here. Here, on a writer's blog, I want to look at character.
So.... I'm in the middle of edits on my latest completed manuscript. And one of the things I struggle with is character depth. Knowing this, when I do edits I go back to familiar sources to help me work through concepts of character. One of these sources is Mary Buckham and Dianna Love's Breaking into Fiction plotting templates. Another is screenwriting guru Michael Hauge. This weekend, with many thanks to Gerb, I sat and watched Hauge (with Chris Vogler) talk about the Hero's Journey and there too he talks about character.
One of the things Hauge stresses when it comes to character is making your characters relatable. He suggests a number of ways to do this. And while I pondered how to make the characters in my manuscript relatable, my thoughts wandered (as they do) until they landed on DARK KNIGHT. I've been going 'round for a couple of weeks saying DK is a fabulous movie, just a hair shy of excellent... but adding that it wasn't quite "my thing". Only, I couldn't put my finger on why. Now, after pondering Hauge, I think it was - FOR ME - a lack of relatability in the characters, and its extension, a lack of likeability. I'm afraid that probabably the character I can most grasp and relate to is Alfred. And seeing as the movie's not about him, the whole experience left me kind of... unmoved.
So, without getting into a bashing and without bringing comic book history into this, what are your thougths? Could it be that there is a lack of relatability in the characters? Or was there some flaw somewhere in the story? What trait exists in Bruce Wayne that the audience should/could relate to? What trait does The Joker possess?