Monday, July 28, 2008

Movie: Batman: The Dark Knight

I've had a few people ask what I thought of Batman: The Dark Knight.  I guess putting a review on Homer's Travels may be a quick way to answer everyone at once.

The Wife and I went to the IMAX version of the Dark Knight last Wednesday.  I really liked Batman Begins and, with all the hype around the late Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker, my expectations were pretty high.  The fact that the IMAX tickets cost $12.50 a piece made it more imperative that I would enjoy the movie.  Fortunately, all in all, I enjoyed the movie.

The Dark Knight is a great sequel to Batman Begins.  The main character is not Batman but the Joker.  I guess this is a given for Superhero movie sequels.  The hero always stays the same but the villain is always new.  The novelty of the enemy de jour often makes them more interesting.  Ledger's portrayal is near perfect.  The Joker is a dark, chaotic, insane, and devious genius.  A perfect opposite and opponent for the Batman.  I had thought that Jack Nicholson's portrayal in 1989 would never be topped.  After seeing the Dark Knight and reading other reviews, I have to agree with some that Nicholson's Joker was Jack Nicholson.  Ledger's Joker was the Joker.

Most of the superhero movies now a days have more than one villain.  The Dark Knight is no different with a brief cameo of Batman Begins' Scarecrow and Harvey "Two Face" Dent.  Two Face, like the Joker, is a much darker version in this movie.

The movie, like it's predecessor, is dark.  Much darker than the 1990's versions.  Light years beyond the comical television interpretations.  Makes me wonder about something.  Why are they becoming darker?  Is it a reflection of the world around us?  It's kind of strange how the dirtier and decrepit a movie setting is, the more 'real' it feels.  Is this a reflection of how we see the world around us or am I just reading way too much into this?  I'm probably reading too much into this.   

I enjoyed the movie except for one small detail.  At 152 minutes it's a little too long.  When you think it should be ending, the movie takes a turn and something else starts.  Not necessarily a bad thing but too much of a good thing ...

Was the IMAX experience worth it?  Good question.  The whole film was not filmed in IMAX, only portions.  Frankly I couldn't tell when it was IMAX and when it wasn't.  All I could tell was that it looks great on a large IMAX screen.  I'm glad I paid to see the IMAX but, if I'd seen it on a regular screen before seeing it on IMAX, I don't think I would have enjoyed the high price as much.

The Dark Knight was pretty good.  I'm not sure I would put it in any top 10 list but it's up there in the list of entertaining films.

4 comments:

  1. One of the reasons "Dark Knight" works so well is the same reason "Empire Strikes Back" works so well: even though the villain isn't in every scene, he is. Every character is being influenced and driven by the villain, so the villain is present throughout the movie. Of course, that only works if the villan is as strong as Darth Vader or Ledger's Joker.

    As for the darkness, I can't say exactly. What I do find interesting is that this film, so very dark in nature, is a smashing success, whereas last summer's "Superman", being a much lighter tone, was a failure. What do you suppose that says about us as a society?

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  2. GH: I didn't see Superman but it fits in with my theory. Misery loves company and people aren't feeling so hot these days therefore our entertainment is getting dark and full of misery. A move like Superman that is light and airy won't be popular until things turn up.

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  3. Thanks for posting this. I thought the movie was good too, (It makes my top 10, but only because it's the best superhero movie ever made, IMHO, and I really like superhero films). It's my belief that the film isn't dark because of the way we view the world around us these days, but because Nolan took a decisive step to imitate Frank Miller's 1980s "Dark Knight". In fact, the film lifts several small plot and theme bits from his series "The Dark Knight Returns". The end of the film is similar to the beginning of DKR, in which Batman has retired for a decade following the death of Robin. Gotham is split as to whether he was a vigilante or a hero.

    I'll be interested to see how quickly they start filming the next movie and who the villain will be. I think the end of DK hints at the fact that they wanted to use the Joker again, but that's probably unlikely now; who'd step into Ledger's shoes and do him justice? My money is on a toned-down Riddler. There will be no funky costume a la Jim Carey. Maybe he's a surveillance specialist hired by the Gotham DA to track down Batman but has his own fiendish motives too.

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  4. Altar Boy: While I liked the move, I wouldn't put it in the top 10.

    I heard a rumor that Edward Nigma had a cameo in the movie but I didn't see him.

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