Uh…is it a cleansing by fire for Dent rather than acid?

Posted by · 12:29 pm · May 3rd, 2008

A second look at “Iron Man” with the masses (indeed, the MASSES) last night afforded a look at the new trailer for “The Dark Knight” on the big screen, rather than dealing with that clumsy cell phone video that’s out there.

Two things hit me when I was watching this:

1) Wally Pfister is all but guaranteed a second nomination for his work on the series. The opening hero shot, dizzyingly high above and looking down a Chicago skyscraper, has to be the coolest shot in the genre.

2) I think the brothers Nolan may have taken some liberties with the Two-Face origin.

The information has always been scattered out there that, in David Goyer and Christopher Nolan’s vision of a trilogy, the Joker would be the one responsible for the mangling of Harvey Dent’s face and, therefore, the impetus for the creation of Two-Face. (Aaron Eckhart plays Dent in the film. He was profiled in the LA Times this weekend).

I don’t know if this has panned out, but if it has, I am still not 100% comfortable with it. In the comics, of course, Dent is scarred when a mob boss tosses a vial of acid his way, most interestingly laid out by writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale in “The Long Halloween.” In that story, the boss is Sal Maroni (portrayed by Eric Roberts in “The Dark Knight,” by the way).

No, I’m not beholden to comic-to-screen loyalty every step of the way. “Batman Begins” was, after all, a brilliant mish-mash of a couple of comic sources, and we already know that Nolan and company are taking the mash-up approach to “The Dark Knight,” using a little of Batman #1, a little of “The Long Halloween,” this and that, this and that. Fair enough. But I’ve never been fully comfortable with one of the rogues gallery providing the genesis for another.

Watching the new trailer again last night, I noticed a brief shot of what looked to be Harvey held down, the left side of his face pressed against a floor covered in gasoline. It was quick, but I think I know what I saw.

Here are two stills from the crappy YouTube video. The first is of what looks to me like a vat of gasoline tipping over and spilling onto the floor. The second — the very next shot in the trailer — is Harvey held down screaming “No!” with his face in the liquid. And if it were acid, I feel as though his scream would be a little more desperate:

If indeed the Joker is going to incinerate the left side of Harvey’s face…well, I don’t know if I’m down with that just yet. There is a lot of fire imagery in both the trailer and, of course, that new poster that hit last week.

Yeah, I know — this is all idle speculation. But hey, if there’s anything I find myself obsessed with, it’s the Caped Crusader.

The Quicktime trailer, by the way, will be available some time tomorrow.

→ 25 Comments Tags: , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

25 responses so far

  • 1 5-03-2008 at 2:48 pm

    Aladdin Sane said...

    As long as Sal lights the match, then I’m fine with it. I think. I saw the trailer on the big screen too and was thinking it was a pretty cool shot, but yeah, it does look like gas. We’ll see. In the end if it is done well, I doubt many will gripe in the long run…even though it should be acid.

  • 2 5-04-2008 at 5:36 pm

    Guy Incognito said...

    Aaron Eckhart confirms here that it’s acid: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/movies/la-ca-echkart-2008may04,0,3210342.story

  • 3 5-04-2008 at 6:02 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Yeah, linked to that story in the piece here. Probably just off my rocker and looking at this thing WAY too much.

  • 4 5-05-2008 at 6:17 am

    Kevin said...

    Are you serious? Who cares if it is an ‘exact’ match to YOUR favorite comic. There is little to no continuity in the world of comic books, Origins are played with and people come back from the dead weekly, so let these guys making the film do what they do best. No matter if it is gasoline, fire, acid, whatever…As long as the film is great and it makes sense in context than who cares. They are going for a realistic appraoch to all characters, so how realistic is it that Mob Boss would manage to acquire a vile of acid while on trial? Dont you think that it would be more likely that a maniacal killer would do something as sickening as destroying half of someones face?

  • 5 5-05-2008 at 6:21 am

    Bubba said...

    “But I’ve never been fully comfortable with one of the rogues gallery providing the genesis for another.”

    Arguably, didn’t we already have this in Batman Begins? Jonathan Crane was almost certainly a twisted, power-hungry little psycho running the asylum before working with/for Ra’s al-Ghul, but would he have become the Scarecrow of the League of Shadows hadn’t provided him with the fear-inducing toxin derived from their blue flower?

    There are two pitfalls that Nolan has avoided: make the villains wholly unrelated to one another, or make them approximate equals who meet in an abandoned warehouse to plot their schemes that all have a common goal (typically, killing the hero).

    Instead, Nolan gave each villain his own niche in Gotham’s evil ecosystem and his own motivation. To ensure that the story is neither disjointed nor impenetrable, the villains all have some relationship with each other.

    It’s somewhat amazing how many villains from the comic book Nolan was able to incorporate into the first film.

    Joe Chill was Falcone’s cellmate. One of Falcone’s thugs is a psycho named Victor Zsaz, who Jonathan Crane helps get out of prison. Falcone also employs Det. Flass as a low-level enforcer who helps manage incoming shipments of drugs. Part of that shipment is a deal that Crane arranged with Falcone, on the behalf of Ra’s al-Ghul and the League of Shadows.

    And, ultimately, Chill’s murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents was partially the result of the desperation that was cause by the economic depression that deliberately induced by the League.

    That’s some pretty tight coupling. In light of this coupling, which is probably necessary for such a substantial dramatis personae, if it turns out that the Joker has a hand in creating Two-Face, I for one won’t mind: it may well serve to ratchet up the drama.

  • 6 5-05-2008 at 6:22 am

    Bubba said...

    A typo. Rather, I meant, would Crane have become the Scarecrow if the League of Shadows hadn’t provided him with the fear-inducing toxin derived from their blue flower?

  • 7 5-05-2008 at 7:20 am

    Second said...

    Read that interview closely. Acid is mentioned in the context of analogy, and second describing the comics. Eckhart may be pulling a fast one.

    Anyway, no skin off my nose if it’s fire. “Some people just like to watch the world burn.”

  • 8 5-05-2008 at 7:27 am

    Daniel Moreira said...

    Aaron Eckhart said once Harvey Two-Face is a vigilante too, just as Batman is. The difference between them is the way he acts. Two Face has no limits.
    In TDK, Two Face wants to kill The Joker because he kills Dawes. That’s the reason: he seeks revenge.
    So, here’s my guess: Maroni is in the movie because he incinerates Harvey’s face just like in the comic books.
    So, after that, Two Face begins his hunting for The Joker and all the mob bosses, and then Batman comes to stop this crazy crusade.
    I’m pretty sure The Joker DOESN’T burn Harvey’s face in this film.
    Chris Nolan is a clever guy…He wouldn’t allow us to have access to all the movie secrets so easilly…
    What you think?

  • 9 5-05-2008 at 7:38 am

    Gordon said...

    hey Dude…. it’s fucking Hong Kong in the opening scene…. I dunno, thought u are american, should know your own place better ? Chicago ?! HUH ?? Well sorry it’s Hong Kong and yes it looks marvelous

  • 10 5-05-2008 at 9:18 am

    Juan said...

    Apparently there are some acids that require an additional chemical to be added before they react. This would also help explain why the other half of his face didn’t get singed by a flame.

  • 11 5-05-2008 at 9:24 am

    Uncle Jesse said...

    One of the many memorable scenes from the trailer for me is the scream from Harvey discussed here. It’s was mentioned in this article that if he were to be half-mangled by acid his scream would have been a bit more desperate. Respectfully, I have to say that for me this scream couldnt sound more desperate. It made me feel for the guy. New trailer blows my mind.

  • 12 5-05-2008 at 10:43 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Gordon: “Hey dude,” no need to be a dick. But yeah, it’s marvelous. Looked like a fleeting shot of Chicago to me.

    Kevin: Yeah, I’m serious, but not as up-in-arms as you’re overreaction to my post seems to indicate. Just talking, here. (I guess when Bill links to one of my blurbs at Batman-on-Film, you have to wade through the hardcore Batman fanatics that put even me to shame.)

    As for the rest of you guys — thanks for the even-handed conversation. Whatever the case might be on this origin, or any other choices the Nolan brothers have made, I’m sure it’ll be one of the best films of the year.

  • 13 5-05-2008 at 11:37 am

    Wesley said...

    I’ll bet this is during or after a trial, he gets caught up by the mob and to get back at him they torch his face. I doubt the Brother’s Nolan would mess with the origin of Two-Face too much. Nolan managed a greatly original story with BatmanBegins without messing with the backgrounds of any of the characters. I don’t think he’d start now.

  • 14 5-05-2008 at 4:23 pm

    Kevin said...


    You’re right, sorry for the overreaction. I had a short fuse because I have been dealing with this same issue with some friends who are insufferable when it comes to sticking religiously to comic origins. I, on the other hand, argue with them that as long as origins are respected and the story works well, than it will likely work in the context of the film. Besides, what would be the point of repeating the exact story? After Begins and the SUPERB casting of this film, I trust Nolan implicitly. Again, SORRY

  • 15 5-05-2008 at 4:52 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    No, no worries. I understand your friends’ dilemma as well. But I’m sure all will be fine — and I just saw that leaked photo of Two-Face. TERRIFYING.

  • 16 5-05-2008 at 7:26 pm

    Ken Kreisel said...

    Just some FYI: I studied those two scenes procariously and if you look at the floor in the gasoline scene and the floor in the Dent scene you’ll come to find that they are completely different. The floor in the gasoline scene is a tile marble floor seen in most buildings like a Police Department or say the building where Harv makes that press conferenc speech. The second scene seems to be a wooden or wooden print at least and may not even be a floor and could be a door or table. I believe those two scenes are cut together on purpose because let’s face it, the people who edited the trailer aren’t stupid, the scene with the gasoline tank spilling over is most likely a prerequesite to the scene with Joker standing infront a massive pile of flame engulfed money.

  • 17 5-05-2008 at 7:56 pm

    marko said...

    I’ve just seen the leaked image of Two-Face and rewatched the trailer.

    I think that Harvey was supposed to be “taken care of” by Sal Maroni who tries to burn Harvey alive. He somehow falls over into the fuel when it’s ignited and severely burns half his face. Harvey then ends up at Gotham Hospital where the Joker sneaks in and finishes the job with acid, therefore halting the healing process and completely destroying Harvey’s face.

    I kind of see it as a cross between what happens in A Long Halloween and what happens on Batman: The Animated Series.

  • 18 5-06-2008 at 12:01 am

    Gordon said...

    Sorry Kristopher for my over-reaction but just wanted to tell you that I live in Hong Kong and know exactly where that is. Trust me Kristopher, that is Hong Kong (the beginning shot and the end shot) and you will see when it comes out. Not trying to offend anyone but sometimes people just get misinformed all the time and I would like to correct that. Apologies again

  • 19 5-06-2008 at 12:20 am

    Happydevil said...

    Eric Roberts, who is portraying Maroni, has said in an interview that it IS infact him that is responsible for the origin of TwoFace in TDK. He also said that he does get what’s coming for him. I’m gonna go out there and say that Sal will be the one doing it, because NO WHERE in that trailer does it hint that it was the Joker. I’m actually quite happy they’re not going with the acid burn, it’s good in the comics, but for the screen it’s very flawed. Too unrealistic and not gross enough for today’s audience. You do get a peek of what TwoFace looks like, where Dent is in the car holding the gun, if you look closely, the other half of his face which you can see a bit of, is burnt. It looks great. Cannot wait.

  • 20 5-06-2008 at 5:36 am

    Bruce said...

    if a guy is being held face down in gasoline and thats set on fire. Working with petrol as I have Im pretty sure his whole head would be ignited leaving at least burns to the other half of his face maybe they just get that half of his face covered it gas (not nice trust me) and thats why we get the kinda scream we do. Then some nice chap like Maroni just puts a match to the gas soaked side of his face, not doing damage to the whole face

    pretty sick thing to do but right up Nolans street

  • 21 5-06-2008 at 10:20 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Happydevil: Re: Roberts…AWESOME! That’s all I wanted to know.

    As for which burn, after looking at that image of Two Face that was leaked, I’m thinking it has to be acid. You can see bone. It’s ROUGH.

  • 22 5-06-2008 at 10:59 am

    Daniel Moreira said...

    I think it’s another Nolan’s trick, just the way he did with Ducard/Ra’s in Batman Begins.

    I guess they are two different scenes pu together just to confuse everybody.

    July 18th is coming!


  • 23 5-13-2008 at 12:07 am

    patty said...

    I think the scene where hes face down in the gas couldve been a THREAT, and not necessarily the scene where he becomes 2 face. Think about it, the guy is the DA thats been bringin down the mob, they couldve just been threatening him at that point to back off his case against the mob. Later he could be burned by acid by his refusal to play ball and back off the mob.