After following the latest noir round vis-a-vis THE DARK KNIGHT, I've come to the conclusion that noir is in the eye of the beholder.
To one reader, noir means the protag is screwed.
To another, noir if it's dark and sinister.
To others its any combination of the above, with additional elements.
But to many, it is entirely different from any of the above. If we see THE DARK KNIGHT from the DA's (Two Face) point of view, it becomes noir when he seeks revenge and fails. To Bruce Wayne, he looses all that he wanted, and destroyed the city again ... noir.
The most non-noir story-line, I believe, is the Joker's. He's dead, but he pretty well succeeded in destroying much of Gotham as well as the life cycle of Bruce Wayne. Maybe the real survivor is the Police Commissioner, He found a kind of justice. In a sense, the Joker destroying organized crime made him an accidental good guy.
And guys, I hate to say this, but the entire argument concerning Batman is that even though fictional ... He is NOT and never can be REAL!!!
In most fiction short of fantasy, which THE DARK KNIGHT is, and SF, which IRON MAN is, the story and the characters could be real. Although even in crime fiction, I think Mike Hammer is a stretch.
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