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Batman: Dark Knight

July 21, 2008

I saw Batman: Dark Knight on Friday at 8:00 pm with four other people three rows back from the screen. That last bit was okay because the theater I went to isn’t a stuffer and had a good 10 feet or so of space between the first row of seats and the screen. 

Today I’ll be forgoing my usual style and just jump straight into my thoughts about Dark Knight since I’m sure most people have either seen the movie or have been inundated with information about the movie, quite possibly both. 

First, lets echo the complaints that I received from my friends who went with me.

• It was over-long

At 2 and a half hours the movie does drag a little bit, especially after the Joker gets caught in the middle of the film. The whole thing slows down to a grind there and then seemingly, without warning, its back in the front seat of the roller coaster head long into a corkscrew. 

I agreed with this complaint only because the movie suffers from Return of the King syndrome. That syndrome occurs when a movie has a scene or series of scenes that feel like a lead up to the end of the film, this includes the actual ending. While Batman’s two series of scenes pale in comparison to Return of the King’s 20 or so endings its enough to make the viewer feel cheated. 

The problem with multiple endings like this is that the person watching film begins to mentally flow towards the end, the body relaxes knowing that the solutions were provided, the bad guy is dead or behind bars, and things will be good in the world of the hero. Then it becomes a waiting game. Except instead of an ending there was 45 minutes of movie left in Batman: Dark Knight

One of the people I went with felt that the Harvey Dent story should have been split into a second movie instead of filling up the latter half of the movie. I’m inclined to agree but I liked what they did with the movie and the Harvey Dent storyline. 

• There was too much to follow

Eh. I’ve watched other great movies with more convoluted plots than Batman: Dark Knight. Some of the plot twists were extremely obvious, and only there because they couldn’t actually follow through with them and if they had the franchise would have been ruined.

• It should have garnered an R-rating

I realize that to keep teenagers and some younger kids interested in the Batman franchise that this movie needed to rated PG-13 from a marketing standpoint but outside of that it should have been R.

Maybe you disagree but Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker was beyond psychopathic and some of the things that he does to the heroes and the other villains of the film are just heinous and not for the younger audiences.

There was this woman in the row I was in that had her 3 year old and 7 year old in the theater with her.

WTF?

I know that if I had seen Batman: Dark Knight when I was 3 or 7 I wouldn’t have slept for weeks, even if I didn’t understand most of the stuff in the movie, that’s what makes it scarier for a young kid like that. Not that she really had anything to do with the rating, more that this woman was an incapable mother, in my opinion.

Alright, so those are the complaints that I and my friends had. Unlike my friends who were disappointed with the movie or indifferent I genuinely enjoyed it from beginning to end.

Biggest pluses-

+ The Cast

Christian Bale has been one of my favorite actors for awhile now and I really enjoy his Batman and Bruce Wayne. The guy is amazing at portraying various accents. Have you ever heard him speak in his normal voice? It is very weird to hear a Welsh accent come from his mouth. His ability to switch between Bruce Wayne and Batman seems effortless and he brings a suaveness to Wayne that I don’t think any previous Batman movie had, except for Clooney but Batman Forever was a farce. 

Aaron Eckhart was great as Harvey Dent and later on as Two-Face. After seeing Eckhart in Thank You for Smoking I knew he could play the politician Dent but it was his Two-Face that I was worried about. Honestly, he pulled off a great Two-Face. It was truly disturbing to watch. 

Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are always fun to watch. They bring some fun to an otherwise dark movie. 

Heath Ledger. Everyone is already raving about his performance that may or may not have lead to his subsequent death. I enjoyed and was thoroughly creeped out by his performance. I don’t think that I’ve ever been so disturbed by the Joker, even some of the darker comics out there aren’t that psychotic. With or without his death, I give Ledger props, I completely forgot that it was Heath Ledger and his portrayal is creepy, disturbing, and crazy enough to pull the movie off. 

This next one should have gone as a minus but since I’m here. Maggie Gyllenhaal. Several of my friends who are movie buffs strongly, strongly, dislike Maggie Gyllenhaal. Before now I haven’t really had a problem with her either. Admittedly, she is a step up from Katie Holmes, who I’ve never liked, but her performance leaves something to be desired. 

For most of the movie she plays her part and it works. It isn’t spectacular but it doesn’t ruin anything either. It’s not until the scene where Rachel Dawes and Harvery Dent are locked in seperate rooms with barrels full of oil surrounding them and bombs set to go off that Gyllenhaal fails the movie. Her acting is atrocious and I really began noticing that I was watching a movie during that scene. It should have been a poignant, tragic moment for both Dent and Bruce Wayne but instead it comes across as shallow and forced. Eckhart, Bale, Gary Oldman, and Ledger are acting that scene off its socks and Gyllenhaal saunters in pretending to act. Bah!

Oh, I forgot Gary Oldman. The man is an awesome Lt. Gordon. He puts the perfect emotion in a man being torn up inside by his moral quandries, duties as an officer of the law, and later a man about to lose his family. A + performance.

+ Despite the length, the plot of the movie was well done.

I came out of the theater exhausted. Almost the entire movie is a bullet train of action, suspense, and more action. Physically exhaustion set from the sitting in a movie chair for 2 and half a hours but mentally I felt drained as well. From the opening sequence to the ending everything hits you. It’s a plus and a minus for me but I’m more on the plus side with this one.

Overall, I thought the movie was very good. 

I’ve read and seen several reviews about the movie since Friday and I feel like it falls between two extremes, “IT WAS FUCKING AWESOME!!!!@!!!@!!11!!!” or “It was good but not what I was looking for.”

No lies, there were things that I took issue with in the film as mentioned above. However, I did enjoy myself. I’ve been a Batman fan since the age of five (if I had a scanner I would show you the proof of this). So, I feel that this movie was a great adaptation of the Batman universe. Some people want the Joker and Batman to be a certain way or for certain events to happen in such a way but I feel that those thoughts are just pretentiousness. I argue that this movie and the previous one were respectful visions of a Batman world and I enjoy them.

At the same time, I didn’t think it was completely amazing. I thought it was good.

My honest recommendation: Batman: Dark Knight is worth both your money and your time.

Scyo.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2008 3:28 pm

    I was on Yahoo and found your blog. Read a few of your other posts. Good work. I am looking forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Tom Stanley

  2. July 23, 2008 11:31 am

    at times the Joker seemed almost too smart, borderline clairvoyant, but i guess that what makes him a good foe for the Batman…

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