Friday, July 18, 2008

Tortured Heroes

Dark Knight came out last night at midnight. Aughhhhhhh I want to see it so badly (but we have no money, boo)! I've been excited to see it since the very first trailer came out, what, last summer? Everyone's saying Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker is Oscar-worthy (though I have to wonder if they'd be saying that if he hadn't died, you know?) I'm eager to see Maggie Gyllenhaal reprise the role Katie Holmes did an "eh" job with in Batman Begins. And Batman has always been my favorite superhero. Part of it is that he doesn't have "super powers" like the rest of them. He's not from another planet, nothing radioactive bit him. He has a ton of cash, which helps a lot, but other than that, all his "powers" are from his own training and gadgets and determination, and I like that.

But I always fall for the Tortured Hero character. (Most other superheroes are tortured heroes, too, but like I said, I like Batman better to begin with.) His parents died when he was a kid, and he still thinks it's his fault. He's carrying the weight of the city on his shoulders, and feels responsible to do something since he has the ability. But he also has (insert name of current love interest at the time) to worry about, and the torment of whether or not to tell her that he's Batman.

(If you're intending on watching Batman: Gotham Knight, six short animated stories, and don't want to be spoiled for it, skip to the next paragraph. End of warning.) This is what we watched with Brandon the other night--he'd bought it that day and brought it over. Through one of the stories, Batman's wounded and trying to make his way up from some underground lair of a bad guy. It keeps flashing back to some training he did in (I think) India, but at the end he nearly reaches the surface. He's stuck under a drainage grate on the street, and Alfred is on his way to pick him up, but Bruce notices a gun amongst all the trash there. And another gun, and another. Murder weapons quickly disposed of, just one sign of the terrible crime in the city. When Alfred arrives, his arms are full of these guns that have maimed and killed people. "Give me your hand," Alfred calls down, but Bruce looks up, holding all those guns to his chest and says, "...I can't." He can't accept help or sympathy or love because he thinks he has to be this strong, super-human man in order to save the city, and not a real human being. It was just really touching and heart-breaking.

Anyway, I'm getting a little fangirl-y. My point in this rambling is that I'm more drawn to this kind of hero than to others. For one thing, there's nothing interesting in a story where everything's swell and everyone's content. There's got to be turmoil, and inner turmoil is particularly interesting. And there's very little of interest in a hero that's handsome and rich and has it all together. If I wanted that, I'd read those crummy paperback novels that rake in millions of dollars a year.

No, I like heroes like Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre. Very rich, yes, but not terribly handsome. And he's so unhappy because (spoiler alert!) his life has no meaning until Jane comes into it. He has a lunatic wife locked in the attic, which would understandably put a damper on his new love for the governess. (End of spoilers. :P) And, call me a dork, but I even like the Beast in Beauty and the Beast. He thinks himself incapable of love, and hideous on top of that. Yet Belle (spoiler alert!) breaks through to him, as does Jane to Edward.

Who else is in this category? Mr. Darcy, though to a lesser extent. Severus Snape, from the Harry Potter books, fascinates me. Edward Scissorhands is a great example, with the added bonus of a sweet innocence he's unaware of, himself. Erik from Phantom of the Opera is practically the definition of a Tortured Hero. Who else? Who's your favorite Tortured Hero?

P.S. I went on another walk this morning, and the weather was perfect: about 80 degrees, and overcast, with avery slight warmish breeze. But half a block from home, I realized my camera had absolutely no batteries. My next day off is Monday, so I'll take some pictures then.

Update: My paycheck was a little bigger than we'd thought, so we're seeing Dark Knight with some of Matt's work buddies at 10:20 tonigh, woohoo! Can't wait can't wait can't wait!

1 comment:

mikkers said...

I love batman for the exact same reasons! The "tortured hero" character is often my favorite, but only when it's done right. You overplay that card and then he turns into a whiny, egotistic individual sorta like Harry Potter was in the third(?) book (Order of the Phoenix). I totally lean towards Batman rather than Superman. Batman gives you hope in the human spirit and that with training and skill (and lots of money) anyone can save the world...but what are the chances of one being born on a different planet, you know?