The Dark Butt

© 2008 Warner Bros.

SPOILER ALERT! In case you somehow have outlasted me I spill the proverbial bat-beans on The Dark Knight in this blog. I went to go see it with Cassie at the Mayfair Triplex so I must now give the obligatory review! Per my usual, crazy ways (re: not watching any trailers, ignoring people’s conversations about the movie, even heorically pulling myself away from the latest SteverOnline) I went into the theater not knowing much – if anything – about the film. And, once again, I feel all the work this method requires and ridicule I must endure because of it is validated as I can guarantee a hype-free experience to the pleasure zones in my brain! And then I can give all you readers a review that is 100% THE TRUTH!

The Dark Knight was heavily marketed as a superb superhero blockbuster a la Iron Man. But whereas Iron Man was perhaps the best summer throwaway movie I’ve ever seen, The Dark Knight attempted to be more: an intelligent, complex thriller – and it worked! For the most part.

Heath Ledger’s performance has been unanimously celebrated and rightfully so. He owns this movie just like Nicholson’s acting in the 1989 original movie did, as well. Maybe the role is just so juicy no actor can get it wrong (hell, Cesar Romero’s Joker was pretty awesome too come to think of it). Regardless, I think this is the best portrayal of the Joker in any medium – including the comics. He’s equal parts psycho and smart; a completely devious criminal whose qualities are neither too cartoony (1966) nor too CEO-like (1989). Batman can take out all the muggers and thugs he wants but it figures that Gotham City would start to become a city plagued by terror when someone constantly slips through his fingers. More on that later.

Bale, on the other hand, sleepwalks through his Batman role again … the “Batman” voice is just absurd, people. Take a second to try to imitate the voice he does and I bet you it will come out closer to dead-on rather than parody. In most scenes involving the Dark Knight I found myself watching the villain or the gadgets rather than the main character. I did enjoy seeing how Batman was already accepted as a de facto last line of defense in the police squad – that makes sense. Sure, they don’t always understand him, but they trust him when the going gets tough (all of their tactics fail trying to keep Dent’s transfer safe and then he swoops right in as part of the plan). It’s weird, though … Batman is an obsessed, single-minded crime fighter so I could understand why he would stare all the time, but Bale stares through people. It pierces the veil of escapism. Suddenly, I’m cognizant that he’s acting. It’s annoying.

To round out the review of the superheroes (and to stick with the pervasive theme of the character) here are two words that sum up my feelings about Two-Face: tacked on.

All the secondary characters are actually strong (including pre-Face Dent) except for Rachel. Not because of her acting or character, but just because … no non-superhero women belong in Batman’s world. He’s dedicated his life to fighting crime since the age of 12, he doesn’t have time for romance! He probably has already severed off his penis to be less susceptible to groin attacks! But I digress.

If camp was the theme of the Adam West version, gritty the theme for the Michael Keaton, and confused the “theme” for the Clooney version, “terror” presided all over The Dark Knight. And I for one thought it was a great choice. The whole movie involved complex psychoanalytical looks into how people show their true faces under pressure and it never really let up until the very end. I felt exhausted when the credits finally rolled (the length of the movie didn’t help that feeling).

Since it’s getting late over here I’ll sum up. Excellent supporting characters, well-done (and well-paced!) action sequences, excellent dialogue, average Batman, terrible second villain. The Dark Knight had an interesting take on the Batman world and executed it pretty well, overall. Only a few bumps mar this film: 4 out of 5 Dirk Nowitzkis carrying the German national flag.

UPDATE: I just saw The Dark Knight again and liked it even better, though not enough to change my original score. Just think of it as a stronger, healthier 4 out of 5 Dirk Nowitzki.

  • Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 at 11:40 | #1

    Have you seen The Dark Knight yet?

  • Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 at 14:15 | #2

    Why does your link to “4 out of 5 Dirk Nowitzkis carrying the German national flag” NOT link to a photo of Dirk Nowitzki carrying the German national flag?

  • Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 at 14:46 | #3

    Because, contrary to any Twilight Zone episodes you’ve seen, there is no such thing as a camera that can see into the future.

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