Monday, March 14, 2011

Showdown #4: Most Diabolical

Welcome ladies and gents, to Showdown #4! We've been having a good run lately, with the previous Showdowns offering you a different outlook on characters and movies and I appreciate any feedback, even if it's just one. Speaking of the previous Showdown, it sparked an interest to see a showdown of villains. Now, although I wouldn't exactly be doing that, I trust this won't be disappointing anyway...?

Although I'm not a big fan of recycling materials, I can't help but immediately make a connection between the two when you mention either one. You see; they're both anarchists, both have little need for material possessions but most importantly, they're both rebels against the modern day conventions and went to great lengths to burn it all to the ground.

So what title will they be competing for? It has to do with what they both do best, and that is being a diabolical mastermind. This, is a Showdown for the title of Most Diabolical.

The Case for The Joker

#1 Genesis
Nothing is known about the genesis of the Joker, which is a major part of what makes him so intriguing. More importantly however, it makes it impossible to gain leverage over him. I mean, how do you threaten a man when all you know about him is his pseudonym?

And not to mention, creepy as hell...
You see, an everyday guy has regrets, skeletons in the closet or someone he answers to. But not this guy. If he has skeletons in his closet, they wouldn't be in the closet if you know what I mean. He'd display them proudly like trophies.

Oh, and those stories he told about how he got his scars? They're not just for giggles, if you ask me. What that symbolised is that this is a man without a care in the world about his past, making it up as he please and treating his past like it was a multiple choice.

In other words, you can't threaten the Joker with anything, especially pain. The harder you hit him, the bigger his smile gets.

#2 Divide & Conquer
Despite his claims of being "a man with no plan, and "just a dog chasing cars", the Joker is one hell of a criminal mastermind. Right from the get go he showed us that using his wit alone, he can conduct a bank robbery with a gang but walk away with the proceeds alone.

And that was just a taste.

It all started with planning a bank robbery by himself, hire a gang while discreetly turn them against each other, and the whole point of robbing that particular bank was only to gain access to every mob in Gotham, render them powerless by holding on to their money, instantly making him the number one villain in town. And that was only phase one of his master plan.

He then proceeded with playing on the fear of every modern day people, and that's chaos. More impressively, he managed to take the heat off from himself and pin it all on Batman, effectively forcing him to a corner.

Whatever support the Batman had, the Joker annihilated them all. That includes the city's judge, the police commissioner, and district attorney Harvey Dent.

The only time his plan didn't work was the failed assassination attempt of Mayor Anthony Garcia.

Instead, it was Gordon, Batman's only ally who took a bullet. Although later it was revealed that Gordon survived and together with Batman, they took this opportunity to launch a sting operation on the Joker. (But we will also later we find out how the Joker outsmarted the people trying to outsmart him)

But no problem, the Joker is not the type to have back-up plans. You can tell that he made it all up as he went along, but boy every plan he made were rock-solid. In fact, even Harvey Dent was beginning to lose faith in the legal system and almost succumbed to good ol' street justice.

But then he appeared to have gotten back on track, offering to sacrifice his pristine reputation by giving in to the panic-stricken citizens of Gotham, he claimed he was the Batman and allowed himself to be arrested. Be thankful that he did, because then we were treated to one of the many awesome, very memorable scenes like this chase scene.

Now, whether or not he planned his capture is a subject of debate. But if you ask me, I'd say he planned it for some part, and played by the ear for the rest. Remember that the Gotham police aren't exactly known for their discretion, so he may have known about the stunt they pulled on him. The whole trouble that went along in was just the Joker being the Joker; he just couldn't help raising hell before he would allow himself to be taken in.

You might not believe it, but the movie topped itself in terms of memorable scenes immediately after the chase. Yeap, I'm talking about the interrogation scene.

From the interrogation we learned that he wasn't even trying to destroy Batman, all he did was gave Batman a red herring. No, everything he did had a design to it, to "take Gotham's White Knight", Harvey Dent and bring him down to the ground. Which he reiterated once again in the end.

Sure enough, with the death of Rachel Dawes, Harvey Dent was irrevocably corrupted. Now, he is Two-Face who no longer cares about the law, instead he became a cohort of chaos as well, leaving everything to chance.

I could go on about the incident with the two ferries, but I believe the message is clear, and the Joker followed up on his thesis about civilisation, morality and code of ethics. Everything burns and he proved that people are good only when it's convenient for them.

He succeeded. Everyone played right into his hands, including Batman. So not only the Joker has the foresight of Promethean proportions, but also a deep understanding about the human psyche. Note that all of his villainous acts were pretty much mind games challenging us to doubt about everything we think we know.

I heart you, Cracked
True, even the Joker himself said that he's not one to plan anything, being a self-proclaimed agent of chaos. But there's really no other better epitome of that than the Joker because you know what they say about chaos; as random as they all appear, eventually a pattern will emerge outlining a grander scheme of things.

#3 Mind-boggling Manifestos
"Why so serious?"

"I believe that whatever doesn't kill you, simply makes you... stranger."

"If you're good at something, never do it for free."

Don't talk like one of them. You're not! Even if you'd like to be. To them, you're just a freak, like me! They need you right now, but when they don't, they'll cast you out, like a leper! You see, their morals, their code, it's a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these... these civilized people, they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve.

Do you want to know why I use a knife? Guns are too quick. You can't savor all the... little emotions. In... you see, in their last moments, people show you who they really are. So in a way, I know your friends better than you ever did. Would you like to know which of them were cowards?

He didn't exactly say it, but "Slaughter is the best medicine" is one hell of a badass quote, wouldn't you say?

"Everything burns..."

"You see, madness is a lot like gravity; all it takes is one little push!"

The Case for Tyler Durden

#1 Genesis
I could warn you of a spoiler, but if you didn't already know about how the story of Fight Club goes, you're either an Amish or you don't exist. With that being said, the genesis of Tyler Durden is a rather intriguing one. After a lifetime of leading a routine, consumer-driven life, The Narrator lapsed into insomnia that greatly loosens his grip on what's real and what's not.

At first it was only glimpses, but once our Narrator started talking to Tyler, it's pretty clear that his downward spiral into madness was absolute. Although you might argue that he is a little too reluctant to be considered as a diabolical mastermind, he didn't actually do anything against his will since Tyler is the embodiment of his will and desire. And the only reason Tyler came into power was because he (unintentionally) let go of all inhibitions he had.

If it seemed like he was going to be okay, don't be fooled. He decided that he had had enough and blew up his own apartment. He became more or less a vagrant, a man who stopped trying to conform to the conventional lifestyle anymore.

Another thing in common that he had with the Joker? He can't be threatened with pain either. What Tyler wants, Tyler gets.

We're going to refer to him as Tyler from now on since they're both actually the same person.

#2 Command & Conquer
His rise to power was a bizarre one. Right after blowing up his home, he went to a bar and had three pitchers of beer before getting intoxicated enough to get into a brawl with himself. Lucky for him, onlookers were intrigued by what they saw...

... They saw this man took charge of his fantasies and ran with it. That was how Fight Club began. You see, Tyler proposed a thesis saying that the modern, consumer-driven lifestyle is an emasculating one, to the point where a normal everyday guy would do anything to not get into a fight.

There's no more cause to pledge to, no war to fight and no Great Depression to battle. When all other therapy fails to give their lives purpose, they're welcomed to Fight Club where they are all accepted as equals, not divided by how much money they have in the bank, what car they drive or what roof they sleep under. In Fight Club, you get to know each other with your fists.

So by now you understand how Tyler came into power. Through desperation, he found himself to be quite a philosopher and a leader. He rallied people to his cause by illustrating to them how trivial and needlessly complicated our modern day lifestyle is.

By selling fat back to the rich people in the form of soap...
Knocking out satellite dishes...
Erasing video tapes at the rental store...
Hazardous environmental messages...
Installing metal spikes on the road...
And of course, the grand finale... Project Mayhem
Again, they may all seem like random acts of vandalism. But I think we had already established earlier that even chaos has a pattern. Tyler Durden and the army he built were rebelling against the conventions of modern day life, and those seemingly random attacks were aimed at the things that in many ways, define how we all live our lives.

If the Joker was an Agent of Chaos, that would make Tyler Durden the commander for the Army of Chaos.

#3 Mind-boggling Manifestos
"The things you own, end up owning you."

"This is your life and it's ending one second at a time."

"Fuck off with your sofa units and string green stripe patterns, I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let... let's evolve, let the chips fall where they may."

"You have to know the answer to this question! If you died right now, how would you feel about your life?"

(After bluffing about killing a guy) "Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessel's life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted."

"Oxygen gets you high. In a catastrophic emergency, you're taking giant panicked breaths. Suddenly you become euphoric, docile. You accept your fate. It's all right here. Emergency water landing - 600 miles an hour. Blank faces, calm as Hindu cows."

"Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off."

"All the ways you wish you could be, that's me. I look like you wanna look, I fuck like you wanna fuck, I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I am free in all the ways that you are not."

"In the world I see - you are stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center. You'll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life. You'll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. And when you look down, you'll see tiny figures pounding corn, laying strips of venison on the empty car pool lane of some abandoned superhighway."

"You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your fucking khakis. You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world."

"On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero."

"After fighting, everything else in your life got the volume turned down."

"We're consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don't concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy's name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra."

And the winner is...

The Joker

I had to think long and hard about this one. Neither one of them is a bigger anarchist than the other, and they both managed to get their message across just as effectively. But in the end, this is a showdown for the Most Diabolical, and the Joker is a shinier example in that matter, so to speak. He played more sinister mind games aimed at absolutely everyone, using only some bullets and gasoline he upset not only the order of our modern ways, but also made us question our morality and code of ethics. You see, people can easily justify their hatred for the Fight Club, as their acts of extreme vandalism earned them the label of terrorists. The Joker, however, made us think "who is the real enemy here?"

And that is why he is more diabolical than Tyler Durden.


Zulfahmi said...

OMG! I was just thinking about this last week...

I compared these two in my mind because both are anarchists!

Two thumbs up for u Mamu for reading my mind...

Another two thumbs up for writing it nicely... Keep it up!

Mamü Vies said...

Yeah, pretty obvious of them so I thought I'd just get that out of the way first.


Tyler Durden is concerned with the future of mankind,he wants to teach human beings how to be humans again.Joker wants only the chaos without some feedback.

Mamü Vies said...

Good one... I missed out on that part.

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