This year, because Lizabreff had never seen it, we watched The Dark Knight. I'm still not sure why she hadn't but she should have just watched it in 2008 when it was cool, because it was a lot sillier than I remembered it, and it's supposed to be the "darkest" one. Go figure.
In all fairness I shouldn't be comparing a movie made in 2008 to something like Healer that just came out, and don't get me wrong. I love Batman and The Dark Knight, but there were just some things that could have been better now that my eyes have been opened.
The love triangle. What was that? Seriously, if they are going to throw in a love triangle there needs to be a little more to it. There wasn't anything to it either way. The gap in between her waiting for Bruce in the last movie and her suddenly moving on wasn't good. Also there is no turmoil. She doesn't seem all that torn about loving someone else when she's also in love with Bruce. I know Batman isn't about the romance, but since they threw it in anyways, couldn't it have been a bit more meaningful? It was like Rachel was all "No, I like Harvey now, but I don't want to tell you that. No, I am going to tell you... oops, I'm dead."
There wasn't really a love triangle in Healer to compare that to, but there are plenty in K-dramas in general. K-dramas know how to rock a love triangle. It's harder to find dramas without a love triangle. I'm sure anyone reading this could name several which would show the right sort of tension and turmoil of Rachel breaking Batman's heart, and probably ones where she dies too. Feel free to comment about them.
The action was good. They had a lot of cool explosions and things. But even the fighting wasn't as good as I remembered. There is that long chase scene, which was cool, but mostly just the Batcycle blowing things up to get through. Batman is supposed to be like a ninja, but in this one, at least, there is very little actual fist fighting. Maybe that's because the Joker isn't a fighter, but it was still pretty disappointing. I thought K-dramas were bad about censoring things. I guess they could have stood to blur the Joker's knives in exchange for some actual good hand to hand.
Healer even has the Batman type feel to it, with the whole bad-a vigilante type deal, hiding his identity, and having to hide out in a man cave. The biggest difference is that he's completely detached himself from the world and is mercenary, while Batman is all about justice. The dark knight of Gotham, etc. Anyways, just saying that Healer could probably kick Batman's trash if they ever had to duke it out, because he's just that cool. But that's only comparing the amount of action fighting of actual hand to hand combat in The Dark Knight vs. Healer. I feel like the Dark Knight was way more about the cool gadgets, like the Batmobile converting into the Batcycle, and jumping off buildings to kidnap hot Chinese mob accountants. Don't get me wrong, Batman's gadgets and cool stunts are super great and I love them. I just missed the real fighting action.
The psychological aspect was dumbed down. For being dark and psychological, it wasn't very. Maybe this is a general PG-13 trend in America, but I have seen much better (or worse depending on your views) psychological warfare in Korean films and even in dramas (although less so). I guess that's what makes The Dark Knight PG-13 while Ahjussi is R.
Seriously, Ahjussi was action packed and violent, but it was never without a purpose. That movie was full of crap that made you want to lose your faith in humanity, if it wasn't for Won Bin single-handedly restoring your faith as he saved the kid, killed a bunch of horrible peeps, and still brought justice and revenge (kind of) for his family. Real heroes are manly, tough, bad-a, and still cry. Why? Because they're human.
Why can't Batman ever have cool lines? Seriously, the monopoly on clever lines goes to Alfred and Lucius Fox. Healer has lots of cool lines, even if Ahjumma and Moon Ho are also super snarky. Just saying.
What Lizabreff and I discussed the most afterwards is that for a movie about the moral ambiguity of a hero, which is basically the plot of The Dark Knight, the actual moment of decision is really short. The movie is basically the Joker trying to set up the decision the whole time, but there is absolutely no conflict in it. There is no real loss of faith in humanity and there is no huge suspenseful decision moment. All there is is Batman spit yelling or skidding his bike away.
Healer, on the other hand, was all about the moral ambiguity of a hero and choosing humanity. While we all would have loved that creepy little OCD secretary sociopath to have died, we didn't want Jung Hoo to kill him, because that would make him lose his humanity.
There is also the moral ambiguity of the villain, as we see the paralleling older generation making choices in similar circumstances and getting to where they are today because of it.
City Hunter is similarly about a hero's struggle to get revenge while also keeping his humanity. Yoon Sung was constantly being charged with the task of killing those five men, but insisted on finding a way to get revenge without killing, all the while his loved ones were being put in more danger.
Then there was all that trying to push the girl away because she was in danger, etc. That's what Batman could have been like, but instead the girl dumped him with no signs of remorse or conflict and he just yelled angry cheesy lines all the time while all good stuff was said or done by the Joker.
But even the Joker could have been better. He was amazing, and Heath Leger was super amazing in it, but the script didn't fully develop the Joker to his fullest potential. Maybe that's because they only had two hours to do it in, but still... well it was 2008 when superhero movies were just barely becoming popular. The scriptwriting hadn't been developed yet.
Even King 2 Hearts, to a point, has that same question of moral ambiguity as Jae Ha and Hang Ah are battling the terrorist group Club M and Kim Bong Goo, who literally is the same sort of villain as the Joker (although not as classy or crazy) since he practices psychological warfare to cause organized anarchy to make money. While it would be easier to just get rid of him by cheating or killing, they work twice as hard to take him out the right way.
So can we talk about Harvey Dent? According to Lizabreff (and I completely agree) they completely wasted him as Two-Face. Apparently he was her favorite villain. He is a complex character, a good man turned bad, who still has the good side trapped inside of him. Literally he has two faces.
Aaron Eckhart was just an annoying justice dude who then went bat-shiz crazy serial killer. Instead of being a huge complex multifaceted bad guy, he stayed one dimensional the the entire time. A one dimensional hero (who is just an annoying, pushy control freak) to a one dimensional crazy person.
I know this might not compare that well, because he's not crazy, but there is a way better complexity and moral ambiguity in Pinocchio with the older brother Jae Myung being a nice person who then ends up killing people for revenge. But still we see the conflict of his choices. Pinocchio is another well written drama about moral ambiguity of a hero seeking revenge, who is constantly having to check himself so he doesn't fall into the same bad ways when trying to bring down the bad peeps. It was all about that conflict and moments of realization. Amazing moments that Batman should of had, but didn't.
An even better comparison for Two-Face I just thought of is Wol Ryung in Gu Family Book. Because of circumstance he is betrayed and turned into a monster; a 1000 year demon who sucks souls with an insatiable hunger.
Yet his good Gumiho self is still trapped inside, threatening to fade away, so there is lots of struggles there. The struggle for humanity within the demon, killing and being saved. Wol Ryung is a very complex character that we feel for, not just because he's super sexy, but because he is a victim struggling within himself, against the conflicting sides of himself. It's powerful.
I guess what it all comes down to is that Americans don't like to see their heroes struggle with moral ambiguity, even it that's what the plot of the movie is about. In that sense our heroes can sometimes be just as one dimensional as our villains. But what is wrong we seeing that struggle and process? As long as the result is the right one, it's good. It makes them more human to see that struggle. It makes it more compelling.
Whatever. I'll still like Batman, but I see that I won't be able to look at it the same anymore. I guess now that I've "seen the light" there is no going back. I just realized that I look at everything differently now.