Friday, 19 April 2013

The League of Extraordinary Bloggers: First Impressions

I've been a bad leaguer. In fact, I've been such a bad leaguer that I've barely leagued at all! I submitted a LoEB post way back in January, and I've been completely lapse since then; although in fairness my blogging in general has taken a hit as I'm on business end on my Uni course. Whatever the reasons though, it's time to fix things. Time to get back on track. Two birds: meet one stone...

This week's topic is First Impressions: that moment in pop culture that had you saying “Now, that’s how you make an introduction!” -  for me, there was one clear choice...

Here's my Card...
Hands up who doesn't remember the first time they saw The Dark Knight? I would bet that the only people with their arms raised high right now haven't actually seen it - it's impossible for me to think that the scale, the depth and the intensity of this film wouldn't leave an impact on anyone. And everyone who has seen it remembers one humorous, committed, terrifying and intense performance more than any other... Heath Ledger's penultimate and Oscar-winning turn as the Joker.

Now, I'm going to court controversy with this first impressions topic by not picking the very first scene in which we see the Joker at work, the Prologue -

I kill the bus driver.
- But instead, the scene where he announces himself to the Gotham underworld. Why here, exactly? Well, I'm glad you asked! In-story, the bank job is all part of the plan - the Joker setting the wheels in motion, and getting away with it. As a film it's a dramatic and action-filled set-piece that claws the audience in straight away. But the Joker's in disguise for most of it, barely saying a word. It's not until he bursts into the mob meeting, having just stolen all their money, that he puts himself well and truly in the game. And what a way to make an arrival!

A pencil, yesterday.
I'm not a prude but the pencil trick, as much as I guffawed, did make me amazed that TDK got away with a 12A rating. Whatever the certificate though, this scene establishes the difference between the mob bosses, cowering away in the daylight, and the Joker's new brand of anarchic genius. Whether his arrival was truly caused by the Batman or not doesn't matter; with this one ballsy move the Joker firmly establishes himself at the top table.

And, how to make an exit.

As a piece of film-making and as a grand entrance, this scene perfectly pitched the Joker's character and role in the film, and leaves one hell of a mark. It's not the first time we see him, no - but it's the first time we glimpse the moral abyss and wreckless insanity that makes TDK such, dark, horrific fun.

Now, I didn't read any other blog posts before writing this, because I was pretty sure a fellow Leaguer would pick the same film. Was I right? Well, no - but there's more DC out there!

Both Jathniel at Space for Rent and John at The Batcave Toy Room remember the 1978 Superman film fondly. I love the score, and I watched it as a kid, but it's one I'm going to have revisit... 

Chris at Stunt Zombie remembers the first appearance of Doomsday; the creature that came from nowhere to kill Supes back in the 90's. I loved that story as a kid, and seeing those page scans bought back some fond memories!

Han Solo gets his (pre-SE) due over at Retro Toy Safari...

And rounding out the DC, an older Bat-sequel gets the nod (amongst a few other classics) at Pop Rewind.

Thanks for reading!

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