“This town deserves a better class of criminal.” — The Joker
Building on what Batman Begins established, The Dark Knight brings the conflict into the open. The main character tries to solve the problem, only to find his situation worsening. He learns that he lacks something that keeps him from his goal.
A year after Batman Begins, Gotham is a better place. Batman, Gordon and the new DA, Harvey Dent, have organized crime on the run. Batman’s mission to save Gotham by inspiring hope seems to be working. Bruce begins to hope that he might be able to retire the Bat-mantle. To live an ordinary life in a Gotham saved from its corruption.
The 38000-strong crowd, who thronged Highbury week-in and week-out, was clearly the most spoilt set of fans across Europe. The sleek one-touch interplay Arsenal deployed, with explosive counter-attacks and exquisite technical skills were unmatched, let alone in Europe, but anywhere across the world. En route they became the only team in modern football to have gone through the season unbeaten and this feat was achieved with a distinct blend of finesse and panache. Not to mention unfathomable authority. For 49 games, Wenger’s men were possessed and no one could touch them, no one.
Arsenal played ‘Champagne football’ which was duly lauded by purists and critics alike. After another FA Cup win in 04-05’, it was success in Europe that N5 now most longed for. In 05-06’ they almost came home in Paris but heartbreak was all they managed to return with through the ‘Channel’. This marked the end of a Golden phase in Arsene’s Arsenal sojourn. With all the big names having departed by the end of 06-07’ season, building a team able enough to reflect on the past, compete in the present and re-conquer the summit in immediate future was on top of Wenger’s priority. Shifting bases from the ‘Art-Deco’ Highbury to the ‘State-of-the-Art’ Emirates nearby, levied huge financial constraints on the club which meant Arsenal had to do all this the hard way!
Enter the Joker. The Joker arises as a response to the Batman. If Batman inspires hope, calls people to be better than they are, the Joker exudes chaos. He calls out the worst in people.
Just like the Joker, trophies and money were ALWAYS there in football, but now, it’s belligerence was coming to the forefront! And nobody knew the reasons behind his/its sudden appearing!
Like the archetypal Fool, the Joker seeks to undermine the main story, to point out the foolishness of the main character and his quest.
The film’s central conflict revolves around Harvey Dent, the new DA. His Bat-inspired war against organized crime has earned him the nickname “Gotham’s White Knight”, and Harvey embodies all of Bruce’s hopes for Gotham.
Harvey represents everything Batman hoped to inspire: an ordinary citizen who chooses to fight evil.
The Joker recognizes this, so at both the macro- and micro-level seeks to reveal the base corruption of humanity. The Joker wants to prove that Gotham really is fallen because people are fallen.
All Batman’s attention is on Gotham itself. Though throughout the film, he’s a step or two behind the Joker, he finally manages to stop the Joker from destroying the two ferries, and the Gotham-ites on the ferries all choose not to kill each other to save themselves.
The Joker, however, reveals that the ferry plot was not his final gambit. Rather, while the Dark Knight has been distracted, the Joker targeted the White Knight. It turns out that when Harvey lost Rachel, when he came face-to-face with true evil, Harvey broke.
Harvey embraces the Joker’s vision of chaos, and goes on an avenging killing spree. Gotham’s White Knight, their champion and new symbol of hope, falls into the Abyss.
Batman’s mission failed: he wasn’t enough to inspire Harvey when it really mattered.
By the end of the 2007-08 season, it seemed that Arsene had saved the Arsenal, we were almost there. It seemed that Arsene’s philosophy was still valid in days when money was beginning to over-shadow football, the rapidly changing nature of professional football in Europe! Wenger had saved the people on both the ferries!
But it turned out to be a pseudo-victory! The modern game was changing, clubs were made to spend more, which was against Wenger’s philosophy. Also, many top clubs were buying more established players rather than growing their own or developing them from a young age, such as Manchester City, Chelsea, etc.
Just like Batman’s famed ‘no-killing’ policy, Arsene Wenger too has his own famed ‘youth and controlled spending’ policy. Batman actually had a moral obligation to rid the world of the Joker once and for all and so did Arsene Wenger to win trophies for Arsenal. But, they both stuck with their ideals, which to some extent led to their ‘downfall’.
Then came the Joker’s ace in the hole – Harvey Dent!
When Gordon and Batman see what Harvey has become, they despair. Standing over Harvey’s dead body, faced with the undoing of all they’ve worked to achieve, Batman and now-Commissioner Gordon make a terrible choice. They blame Batman for Harvey’s crimes and lie to Gotham, telling them that Harvey died a hero.
Batman flees into the dark, alone, hunted and vilified by the city he’s trying to save.
Just like Batman, Arsene Wenger took the blame for the departures of club captains Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie (Arsenal’s White Knights – Our symbol of hope!). While Harvey destroyed Batman’s and Gordon’s plan for Gotham, Fabregas and Van Persie didn’t fail to do their bit too!
Just like Batman, Arsene Wenger has chosen Secret Honour! He suffered the public disgrace and took the blame for the crimes of Fabregas and Van Persie. He sacrificed himself. It might seem far-fetched. The nobility of the gesture is too much to comprehend when set against the disgrace and insult he has had to suffer from his own people(Arsenal fans – the Gooners) and critics. He’s stayed silent, while most managers in his situation would have turned around pointed the finger at the club. He’s taking the heat when, actually, he doesn’t really deserve it!
“The only sad thing is that sometimes your work is destroyed by others. You want to see a player in his prime doing it for your club. But it does not work like that all the time.”
Next time, Part III, The Legend Ends – The Dark Knight Rises. Here’s a preview: There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wenger.
Thanks for reading!