Fifteen-minute Movie: The Dark Knight

or, “Best Batman Evar!”
or, “Bat-psychology 201 with the Joker”
or, “How to Believeably Pull off a Batman Gambit”

Gotham City:
Fake Batman – Hold it right there, drug dealers!

Thug – Who the hell are you?

Fake Batman – I’m Batman!

Thug – No you’re not.  I can totally understand what you’re saying.

Batman – Hey!

Thug – Yeah, that’s the right voice!  That gargling with gravel voice that makes it nearly impossible to understand anything you’re saying!

Batman – Just for that I’m going to beat the hell out of all of you.

Thug – If you say so.  Ha!

[[Batman proceeds to beat up all the thugs as threatened and finds one of them is in fact the Scarecrow; after a merry and destructive car chase and some angry dogs, he apprehends everyone]]

Gotham City Bank:
[[the bank is being robbed by vicious thugs]]

Clerk – Nobody robs this bank on my watch! [[pulls out a powerful shotgun and starts shooting at the robbers]]

Thug – Dude!  What the hell?  [[the clerk is gunned down by the remaining robbers]]

Clerk – This is a mob bank!  You’re so dead.  Hahahaha!!

Thug – Well, that’s not good.  Hey, where are all the other guys?

Joker – They were instructed to kill each other so the remaining robbers would have a bigger share of the loot.  But don’t worry; I’m not supposed to kill you.  I’m supposed to kill the bus driver.  By the way, could you stand three feet to your left?

Thug – Sure.  What bus driver?

[[thug is killed by school bus backing into the bank]]

Driver – Whoa, what happened to that guy?

Joker – No idea.  [[kills bus driver and takes all the loot and heads out; having timed the robbery just exactly right, he meets up with a convey of school buses and makes a clean getaway]]  I love it when a plan comes together.

Gotham City Bank, Later:
Jim Gordon – Whoever robbed this mob bank is crazy.  Remember that playing card I gave you at the end of the last movie?

Batman – That’s just one guy.  Have we caught the mobsters yet?

Gordon – No, but we’ve got a good trace on the money.  It shouldn’t be long now.

[[The new District Attorney’s attempts to prosecute new mob boss Maroni fail when someone else takes the fall and also he’s nearly killed]]

Harvey Dent – Well, that’s just great.  At least I lived.

Gordon – We’re on it.  Jerk.

Harvey – I don’t understand your hostility towards me.

Gordon – You investigated my cops!

Harvey – So what?  In the last movie, your own partner was so corrupt you watched him bribe a guy and lamented you couldn’t rat him out because there was no one to rat to.  So yeah, things got a little better once Falcone’s stranglehold was loosened, but there was a lot of trash still in the police department.  You should be grateful after all those years of corruption, especially after what happened to the DA in that movie, that someone stepped up to clean house.  Yeah, so some of your cops got in trouble.  They were bad cops!  Are you so naive you really think you only worked with the good ones?  Honestly, you should be thanking me, not hating me.

Gordon – Your well-reasoned and perfectly logical argument is apparently not enough to sway me.  I must continue to dislike you on principle.  Cops don’t like rats.

Harvey – I’m not a cop!  Argh!  Also, I want to meet Batman.

Gordon – Like I’ve got his phone number or something.  But if you get me some arrest warrants expedited, I’ll see what I can do.

Harvey – That’s fair.

Wayne Enterprises:
Lau – So that’s my business proposal, Mr. Wayne.  Mr. Wayne?  Okay, he’s asleep.  Great.  Mr. Fox?

Lucius – We’ll be in touch. [[Lau leaves]]  Or not, Mr. Wayne?

Bruce – No one makes profits like that unless they’re cooking their books or doing something illegal.

Lucius – Exactly.

Posh Restaurant:
Bruce – Hey, Rachel, you look, um, different.

Rachel – Pay no attention to the re-casting.

Bruce – So when did you start dating your boss?

Rachel – Um, you know, that is a pertinent ethical question.  Let’s ignore it for now.

Harvey – So that Batman, what a whacko, right?

Bruce – The city needs him.

Harvey – The city needs law and order, not some deranged vigilante who thinks he’s doing good.  Sure, things were bad, but now things are better.  I appreciate what he’s done.  I mean, someone needed to step up, but maybe there’s a better way to do things now.

Bruce – That both makes me angry and thoughtful.  How about I sponsor a fundraiser for your eventual higher political aspirations?

Harvey – Sweet!

Mob Headquarters:
[[various mob bosses are holding a teleconference with their accountant because apparently every business needs a good accountant]]

The Chechen – You know, some of the guys here think you hid all our money and fled to Hong Kong so we wouldn’t kill you for that.  What do you say about that?

Lau – Um, I did hide the money but only so the cops won’t find anything.  And I am going back to Hong Kong, but that’s only because I have a job there.  See, everything’s just fine and there’s no reason at all to kill me.

Joker – Ohhh, Gotham’s finest got you down.  I’ll cheer you up with a magic trick!  I’ll make this pencil disappear!  [[kills a random guy]] Ta da!

Maroni – What kind of joker do you think you are?

Joker – The kind that will kill Batman for you, if you give me half your money.  Not you, personally, I mean half of your money’s organization.  By the way, I wouldn’t trust your accountant.  He looks like a squealer to me.

Lau – Hey!  Um, look at the time.  Laters!  [[hangs up]]

The Chechen – Okay, one, all our money is apparently hidden so we can’t give you anything at all, and two, how do you think you’re going to kill Batman?

Joker – Magic!  Ta da!

Gambol – Okay, this guy is seriously getting on my nerves.  Make him disappear.

Joker – [[reveals a coat full of explosives]]  Are you sure?  Dead man’s switch here.

Maroni – Are you crazy?

Joker – Some might say ‘yes,’ and some might say ‘hell yes,’ but I say I just view the world a little differently.  I’ve got the solution to your Batman problem, so when you realize that, I’ll see you around, my goodfellas.

Gotham City PD:
Gordon – Bad news for the mob case.  Their accountant skipped the country.  We can’t do a damn thing.

Harvey – We wouldn’t be in this situation if your cops weren’t corrupt!

Gordon – Damn it!  We’ve been over this!

Batman – So, why did you light the Bat-signal?

Harvey – Dude, is that your Batman voice?

Batman – Do you want my help or not you jerk?

Harvey – We need you to perform an illegal kidnapping and extraction from Hong Kong.

Batman – Oh, no problem.

[[the Joker kills Gambol and takes control of his portion of the mob while Batman enlists Lucius Fox to give Wayne Enterprises a reason to go to Hong Kong so he can kidnap Lau, which he does with realistic-ish technology, because he’s Batman!]]

Mob Headquarters, Again:
Joker – Hey, everyone, I think we should unite against Batman so we can kill him!

The Chechen – That’s great, but the cops have Lau and we are so, so indicted.

Joker – Oh, we’ll just kill everyone involved in the trial.  That’s hardly a thing. And I’ll even get Lau back for you.

Maroni – Okay, so what’s your plan to kill Batman?

Joker – Find out his secret identity.  Then it’ll be easy to put a hit out on him.

Maroni – If it were that simple, we would have done it already.

Joker – Oh, but you were doing things the old way.  Now we do them the Joker way!  With a TV announcement!

TV Announcement:
Joker – Hi everyone!  I’m the Joker and I’m here to make you an offer you can’t refuse.  Find out who Batman is and tell the world or else I kill one random person every single day!  Isn’t that a fabulous offer?  And if you don’t believe me, here’s an address where you can find a body conveniently dressed up as Batman just in case the symbolism is lost on anyone.  Okay, remember, out Batman and people stop dying.  Probably.  Hahahahahahahaha!!!!

Bruce – The mob trial judge and the police commissioner have both been killed.  It’s like someone is targeting the people involved in prosecuting the mob.  I wonder who else they might have in mind as a target?  Maybe a lawyer or someone?

Harvey – Hey, Bruce, nice party.  Sure is nice to get a break from prosecuting the mob trial since I’m the District Attorney and all.

Bruce – D’oh!  Harvey, you’ve got to hide!  The Joker is going to kill you!

Harvey – That’s totally ridiculous.

Bruce – This is for your own good. [[wrestles Harvey and drags him to a closet and locks him in right before the Joker bursts in the door; Bruce, now out of the sight of the Joker and his goons runs off to change]]

Joker – Hello party people!  What, no applause?  No one appreciates a good entrance anymore.  Hey, does anyone know who Batman is?  I’ve killed a bunch of people and no one’s told me yet.  [[no one answers]]  Dull party.  Hey, does anyone want to see a magic trick?  I just need a pencil and a volunteer.  Or hostage.  Whichever.

Rachel – You aren’t funny.  Go away, you criminal freak.

Joker – Wow, you’re both self-righteous and clearly have no self-preservation instinct.  [[threatens to throw her off the building]]  Also, I happen to be hilariously funny.

Batman – Let her go!

Joker – Hm, the punchline is pretty obvious, but how can I resist?  Letting her go, as directed.  [[chucks her out the window]]

Batman – D’oh!  I’ll save you!  [[dives out the window to save Rachel but doesn’t really seem to do anything to actually stop or even slow their descent]]  Are you okay?

Rachel – Yes, although it doesn’t make any sense why.  This car is totalled and the only thing to break my fall was you, and that wouldn’t be enough to prevent me from getting seriously hurt if not dying from the height I fell.

Batman – Just go with it.

Rachel – Alright.  Hey, are you going back upstairs?  The Joker’s still there!

Batman – Um, hey, look, next scene!

Gotham Streets Funeral Procession:
Gordon – It is stupid to have both the Mayor and the DA out in the open, even if it is for the funeral of the previous commissioner.

Harvey – It’s fine.

[[Sure enough, the Joker attempts to take out the Mayor during the funeral and is narrowly thwarted by Gordon, who seems to die in the process]]

Batman – Rachel, Rachel, you need to go someplace safe!  Go to my house!  Answer the phone!

[[Batman interrogates Maroni but gets no clue to the Joker’s whereabouts; he also comes across Harvey interrogating a thug but tells Harvey since the thug is legitimately insane he has no clue to the Joker’s whereabouts either; Batman also tells Harvey to hold a press conference so he can turn himself in]]

Wayne Penthouse:
Bruce – Rachel, you’re here!  Thank goodness.  By the way, I’m going to turn myself in as Batman.  It’s the only way to stop the murders.  Also, then we can be together.

Rachel – The Joker is crazy; he’ll keep killing people.  And telling everyone you’re Batman is actually a really, really good way to make sure we can never be together.

Bruce – I’m going to do it anyway.

Press Conference:
Harvey – Hey, everyone, I’m Batman!

Bruce – What?!

Harvey – Yeah, so please stop with the killing and everything.  I’ll even go to jail.

Gotham Mean Streets, Again:
Harvey – Wow, a big convoy to take me to jail.  Surely this won’t make me a target or anything.  I’m not a target or anything!

Joker – Again, the punchline is obvious but how can I resist?  [[the attempt on Harvey’s life fails as the Joker is apprehended by… (dun dun dun!) Gordon!]]  That’s pretty funny.  Okay, okay, take me to jail.

Gotham City Jail:
Gordon – Bad news.  Harvey didn’t make it back to his house.

Batman – Tell me where Harvey is or I’ll beat the hell out of you!

Joker – Or I can taunt you.

Batman – That doesn’t seem like a good idea.

Joker – What’s your point? [[taunts Batman; Batman beats the hell out of him]] I thought you wanted to save Rachel and Harvey.

Batman – Wait, Rachel’s missing too?

Joker – Some great detective you are.  Here, here are the addresses.  Both warehouses are rigged to explode and you don’t have a lot of time to try to save them.

Batman – I hate you.

Joker – That’s cool.

[[the good guys set out to save Rachel and Harvey while the Joker escapes from jail and takes Lau with him by first taunting a cop, then getting a phone call to explode a cell phone bomb implanted in another inmate for the sole purpose of getting the Joker out of jail; convoluted, yes, but effective as long as everyone did exactly what the Joker expected]]

Explosive Warehouses:
[[Rachel and Harvey can speak via intercom]]
Rachel – Why in the hell did I ever leave the safety of Bruce’s penthouse?

Harvey – I thought I was under police protection!  I’m tied to a bunch of explosives.  You?

Rachel – The same.

Harvey – Damn it.  Well, my effort to get free only got half my face coated with flammable liquid.

Rachel – Don’t worry, Batman will rescue one of us.

Harvey – He’ll rescue you, Rachel.  So I guess this is good-bye.  I love you.

Rachel – I love you too.  I was going to marry you.

[[Batman bursts in to find Harvey]]

Harvey – No, you idiot, go save Rachel!

Batman – I was going to!  The Joker gave me the wrong address!

[[Batman drags Harvey out as the warehouse explodes and it catches his pretty face on fire; meanwhile the Gotham City PD is too late to save Rachel]]

Gordon – So, Harvey, why aren’t you getting painkillers or skin grafts or any proper medical care for your hideous burns?

Harvey – Argh!  This is all your fault!  I tried to get rid of all the corrupt cops and there were still more and you protected them!

Gordon – No, I didn’t!  I didn’t know they were bad!

Harvey – Liar!  Liar liar liar!  You hate me.  You always hated me!  What was that nickname your guys had for me?  Huh, huh?

Gordon – “Two-Face.”

Harvey – Ha!  I knew it!  Hahahahahaha!!

Gordon – Harvey, I’m sorry.  And you need help, physically and mentally.  Oh, hey, here’s the lucky coin you gave Rachel before she died.  I wonder who left this.

News Show:
Reese – I know who Batman is.

Reporter – Awesome!  This is the scoop of a lifetime.  Hold it, I’m being told there’s a call from a Joker.  Put him on.

Joker – I changed my mind; I don’t want to know who Batman is so you can’t tell anyone.  So here’s the deal: either someone kills you in an hour, or I blow up a hospital.

Reese – Wow, this really sucks!

[[the cops scramble to protect Reese and evacuate all the hospitals in Gotham]]

Gotham General:
Joker – Hey, Harvey, you look awful.

Harvey – Argh, I kill!

Joker – Sure, why not?  It’s not as though I don’t deserve it.  Of course, if you do that, you turn your back on all your lawful principles.

Harvey – Okey dokey.  [[aims the gun]]

Joker – Wait a second!  Here’s the thing.  I may deserve to die, but lots of people who have died didn’t deserve it.  So if there’s no law, and nothing’s fair, how do you decide who lives and dies?

Harvey – I’ll flip a coin.  There’s nothing more fair or unfair than that.

Joker – Now you’re speaking my language.  Flip me off!

[[Clearly the Joker got lucky during the coin toss as he’s seen walking out of the hospital which blows up behind him; of course, if the Joker died, one wonders how the rest of his plan would have been carried out]]

TV Announcement, Again:
Joker – Okay, so here’s the deal.  Again.  I own the city.  If you don’t want to be a part of it, please leave.  But maybe not using the bridges.  Just saying.

[[In the meantime, Harvey-now-Two-Face goes on a revenge spree on everyone involved in Rachel’s death; bunches of people try to get the hell out of Gotham on ferries]]

Wayne Enterprises:
Batman – I need you to hook up all of the cell phones in the city to this computer so I can spy on everyone using sonar and find the Joker and the missing hospital patients.

Lucius – Wow, there’s an app for that?

[[Two-Face finds out who kidnapped Rachel and decides to take revenge on Gordon’s family as well, because that makes sense to a crazy person]]

The Ferries:
Worker 1 – Dude, why are there all these barrels down here in the engine room?

Worker 2 – I have no idea.  Also, how did we not notice someone moving dozens and dozens of barrels into the ferry to begin with?  And got them all wired up like this is some kind of giant…bomb…oh hell.

Joker – Hey, everyone on the ferries, you’re not part of a social experiment!  Isn’t that exciting?  One ferry is loaded with convicts, even though it doesn’t make any sense to get them out of the city, and one is loaded with innocent citizens.  You each have a detonator, but get this; it’s to the other ferry.  So you have to choose who lives and who dies by midnight or I kill everyone anyone.  Isn’t that hilarious?

Convicts/Innocent Citizens – Hell, no!!!

Joker – Honestly, you people have no sense of humor.

[[in the meantime, Fox finds the Joker and notifies Batman, who notifies Gordon; Gordon is called away when he realizes his family is in danger]]

Unfinished Building:
Batman – Oh, no, the Joker dressed up his goons as the doctors/patients and the patients are dressed up like his goons.  The SWAT team is going to kill the patients!  And that means I have to fight the SWAT team!  I really hate that clown!  [[beats up some SWAT team members but ultimately disables all the goons]]  Okay, clown, let’s do this!

Joker – Okey dokey!  But I’m going to cheat! [[does so and gets the upper hand on Batman]]

Convicts/Innocent Citizens – So, we blow up the other boat, right?

Sensible Person Not Appearing in this Film – Argh, no!  This isn’t some morality play.  It doesn’t matter who blows up a boat or if no one blows up a boat because the Joker still has the ability to blow up both boats.

Convicts/Innocent Citizens – I don’t understand.  If we blow up the other boat, we live.

Sensible Person Not Appearing in this Film – Argh, no!  Did you miss the part about the Joker being insane?  Why do you assume a guy who rigged two boats to blow up and kill hundreds of people is actually going to be good to his word and not blow up these boats?  He’s insane!  He’s already killed a ton of people!  We don’t have to play his game because he has no rules!  Just assume unless someone stops him we are all going to die no matter what we choose or don’t choose.  Got it?

Convicts/Innocent Citizens – Yeah, actually, that makes total sense.  Our morality is utterly irrelevant because a crazy person is holding the trigger.

Unfinished Building:
Joker – You know, I don’t think those passengers are going to play my game.  Well, I’ll just have to blow them both up.

[[Batman stops him but gets thrown off the building; luckily he learned his lesson about being thrown/falling off buildings and uses his patented bat-grappling hook to save himself and capture the Joker all in one shot; sweet!]]

Joker – Well played, well played.  You saved the citizens.  But it’s midnight and do you know where Harvey Dent is?

Batman – Um, no.  Is that important?

Joker – Oh, you missed the joke!  I was never really trying to corrupt you.  You’re the Dark Knight.  If you didn’t kill me, you never will.  But Harvey was the White Knight and now he’s fallen.  So, in short…

Batman – This was one giant Batman gambit to ruin Harvey Dent and demoralize the city?

Joker – Give the man a prize!

Batman – I hate you.

Gordon – Harvey, please let my family go.  They didn’t do anything to you.

Two-Face – I think it’s clear I am well past any rational thought.  I’m going to flip a coin to find out if your kid lives or dies.

Batman – Harvey, no!

Harvey – Oh, bad heads, you die. [[shoots Batman]]

Batman – Luckily, I have some awesome armor!  [[tackles Two-Face and they tumble off the building]]  I have really got to stop falling off buildings.  Harvey?  Harvey?  Damn it!

Gordon – Oh, no, Harvey’s dead!

Batman – The Joker did win.  Harvey’s dead and everyone will know he went crazy and killed people and all those criminals he convicted will be let out of jail.

Gordon – I’m pretty sure the justice system doesn’t work like that…

Batman – Blame me for Harvey’s murders!  It’s the only way the Joker won’t win!

Gordon – Can’t we blame the Joker for Harvey’s murders?  He’s been killing people this whole movie!

Batman – No, no, no there’s just no other way!

Wayne Manor:
Alfred – Well, that went well Master Bruce.

Bruce – There was just no other way!  It’s too bad too because Rachel was going to stay with me.

Alfred – [[quickly burns a note Rachel left]]  Yes, absolutely, just keep telling yourself that.

[[Fox destroys the sonar device and the cops destroy the Bat-signal]]

Gotham Mean Streets:
Gordon’s Son – Dad, I don’t get it.  Why do we have to blame Batman?  He’s a hero, right?

Gordon – He’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needed.

Gordon’s Son – That…that doesn’t make any sense.

Gordon – It’s very existential.  Trust me, you’ll think it’s totally awesome when you’re old enough to watch this movie.



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S. J. Drew is an aspiring writer who finally entered the blogosphere to shamelessly promote that writing (as evidenced by the title of the blog). Whether or not this works remains to be seen, but S. J. hopes you are at least entertained. And if you're actually reading this, that's probably a good sign.

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