Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dark Knight, The (2008)

Intense.
Deep.
Killer.

6 comments:

  1. By now, you've heard that The Dark Knight is a very good comic book movie. And it is. Unfortunately, you may have heard that this is a great movie, and that is sadly incorrect. I will leave the praise to other people, and just say that it is a good movie and you should see it. However, allow me to go into the problems with the film.

    Heath Ledger does a good job as a very fucked up, weird, malicious, crazy homicidal maniac. If you tossed in a prankster element, you would have had a perfect Joker. Unfortunately, this Joker has a very muted sense of humor. No Joker toxin that kills people and leaves them with a hideous grin. No acid-squirting flowers. No funny guns. No electric buzzers. Just a few one liners and a funny costume (besides his usual purple suit). He also licked himself too much. It worked at times, but other times it just seemed like he was thirsty.

    It seems like in every Batman movie since 1989, the people have been trying to tinker with the suit to make it work. Batman looks okay, and certainly one of the better suits in modern memory. I wonder why, exactly, Batman needs to have eye paint. He won't seem less scary if I see some caucasian around the eyeballs. And is it just a movie effect for audiences, or does Bruce Wayne actually put shoe polish around his eyes? We do know that Bruce Wayne (played by Christian Bale) does a raspy voice very, ah, well...I guess. There were points where it sounded like Batman was just out of breath after running to the bathroom and trying to figure out how to take his costume off without pissing himself.

    The Nolan Brothers, of whom Christopher directs, gave us a very dark, bleak story. I liked that. The problem was both the good guys - Batman, D.A. Harvey Dent, and the police - and the Joker come up with these very elaborate schemes that are just far too complicated to work in real life. After watching the film, I talked it over with my friend and ran off everything that would have to happen for these things to actually work, and most of it was left to chance. It doesn't hurt the film, necessarily, but it certainly keeps it from being an upper echelon movie.

    Oh, yeah, and Christopher Nolan had a big explosions budget, and he got every penny worth. A tad overkill, m'boy.

    A lot of people were dropped from things. Batman is surprisingly rubbery, being able to bounce back from any height at all. Other people had various results from falling. Without giving away too much, one character takes a particularly nasty drop, and somehow manages to walk the very next day with nothing but a cane.

    Aaron Eckhart and Michael Caine were perfect. The film was helped by such quality performances by quality actors. If only all films could be graced by actors as wonderful as they. My criticism? They didn't get enough screen time because the Nolans had to fix the issue of Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a shitty character that is not part of the comic mythos and should not have become part of the movie mythos, either.

    There were scenes that reminded me of Mission: Impossible 3, Batman, Batman Returns. Not terrible, but kinda lazy.

    Again, overall, I like this film. I recommend this film (but for God's sake do not see it in an IMAX dome theater). Nevertheless, it is not a movie without problems, and anyone that tells you otherwise is just not being rational about the film.

    That, or they have shitty taste and you should never listen to their movie critiques.

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  2. Why so serious? Yeah, now that you mention it, we could have used a bit more comic relief at times.

    I thought of another "that doesn't make sense" scene. (This isn't a spoiler.) Joker's crashed Bruce's fundraiser and is asking where Harvey is. He menaces one guy who says we don't give in to thugs, and Rachel calls out "That's enough." Then Joker goes over at threatens her. Way to go, Rach, they teach you that in law school?

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  3. The makeup around the eyes, while unrealistic, is pretty key to the costume IMO. You can't have skin showing, man. That's so not intimidating. His eyes aren't white slits like in the comics, but it's close enough.

    Also, I don't read comics as much as you, but I swear that many, many of the plots rely on a lot of circumstance to work. It doesn't bother me.

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  4. I don't much care for Batman's first big fall of the movie (Well, and not any of those other big falls, either) - where he stops Scarecrow's van dead in its tracks by falling 4 or 5 stories onto it. I think his superpower may be falling-related.

    If you want praise, though, this movie is fucking awesome. Which, in light of the valid complaints that have been made, is a bit remarkable. Just like Downey, Jr. (And, to a lesser extent, Bridges and Paltrow) made Iron Man a great movie, the strength of the characters and acting in The Dark Knight really makes it shine. Not really Maggie Gyllenhaal as much, there, but she's no worse than Katie Holmes.

    I never realized that the Joker basically wears the same makeup around his eyes that Batman does, until now. Woah. That's kind of a weird realization.

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  5. "she's no worse than Katie Holmes"

    High praise indeed.

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