While watching The Dark Knight, it reminded me of the Chatman;s article “What Novels Can Do That Film’s Can’t (and vise versa)”. From what I can remember, Chatman was more invested in focusing on the former–things that novels can do that film cannot. In this case, The Dark Knight is not adapted from a novel, but from a comic series. This made me wonder: what would Chatman say about The Dark Knight? How does narratology transfer between the comic and the movie?
Chatman’s argument seems entirely hinged on the idea that (similar to Leitch’s discussion on the 12 fallacies) that a film is visual and a novel isn’t. Therefore, the narratology of a novel is fundamentally different than that of a film. Yet, both the source (a comic) and the movie is visual–there are images, though one is static and the other is moving. Therefore, Chatman’s argument begins to slowly destabilize, as the act of narration changes with the visual component.
So what about the The Dark Night? Chatman is comparing a novel and a movie of the same name. The Dark Knight is unique because it is adapting an entire series/universe. Therefore, it would be nearly impossible to compare a scene shot for shot (as Chatman does). The movie is essentially a conglomerate of hundreds of different comics. Yes, all of the major characters that were essential to the overarching story of Batman is in the movie. But because the original source was already visual, easier to try to find an actor that viewers will recognize. Additionally, it is important to remember that because Batman is a conglomerate of different stories, different artists, different narrators. Therefore, it gives screenwriters and produces more creative license, because the franchise is already so disparate.