The Dark Knight
Posted on 21. Jul, 2008 by The Gimcracker in Beratings, Movies
It stars an unlikely actor as “The Joker” who’s accidental death came just before filming was to wrap up. It’s a 2.5+ hour comic book movie spawned from the same franchise that contains filth like Batman & Robin. It had to compete with such summer action blockbusters as Wanted, Hellboy II, and Hancock.
It shattered 5 box office records, including highest-grossing opening weekend evAr.
It also received an astounding 94% on the Tomatometer. But are these reviewers just caught up in the current of such a huge film? Are they succumbing to the hype? Are they giving it good reviews just to honor the late Heath Ledger?
No. It was that good.
I want to see it again. That’s a good thing because it means the movie was full of so much plot that it was hard to take it all in the first time. In that respect, it was sort of like a Scorsese flick. I was so interested in all the characters that I forgot The Reason I was seeing it: Heath Ledger portraying The Joker. Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Gary Oldman are very good actors. Christian Bale is fitting as Bruce Wayne. Newcomers Aaron Eckhart and Maggie Gyllenhaal just build up the list of amazing actors. And for a second there I almost forgot that I had not seen the main star of the film yet.
Then he came on screen. Everyone in the audience got chills. People audibly reacted to his first scene. It’s the first time I’ve ever witnessed such a thing, and I found myself reacting the same way. It was impossible not to. It is some of the best acting that’s ever been done.
Every little detail of the Joker was interesting. The way he talked, his mannerisms, his walk, his facial expressions – sheer joys to behold. I’ll be honest, the rest of the movie could have been terrible and I still would have liked it. It could have been the plot of Indiana Jones 4, Angelina Jolie as the entire cast, the soundtrack of A Knight’s Tale, and directed by the guy who directed Serving Sarah, and as long as it had Heath Ledger as The Joker I would love it.
Hell, it could have been a made-for-TV autobiography of Angelina Jolie starring Angelina Jolie, directed by Angelina Jolie, produced by a homeless kid, with a soundtrack composed entirely of Angelina Jolie belching the theme song to Friends, in Arabic with Chinese subtitles, with every scene containing either A) Angelina Jolie talking about how rich and beautiful she is or B) Angelina Jolie just staring into the camera with that “I’ve got one eyebrow raised and a smug grin on my face signifying that I can totally kick anyone’s ass (except not in real life because I only weigh 80 pounds)” look in her eyes, and as long as that movie contained one sentence spoken by Heath Ledger as The Joker I would give it a 10 out of 10.
I hate Angelina Jolie.
The great thing about The Dark Knight is that even if you were to remove Heath Ledger as The Joker it would still be a great movie. Since this review is being written so close to opening weekend, I’ll try not to give any spoilers here. Basically, we are immersed in the mob scene of Chicago – I mean Gotham City – throughout most of the movie. There are multiple villains, which is an element that I always look for in a well-made “good vs. evil” type film, and some of them develop right before our eyes.
The “City vs. Hero” aspect, where the once grateful population is quick to turn on its masked savior, is also present, as it is in most other comic book movies, but it is done to a greater depth in The Dark Knight. There is also an unpredictable love triangle involving Bruce Wayne – at least I was thrown off by its outcome.
There is a lot of good to say here. You’ve probably read most of it in the myriad of other reviews out there, so I’ll spare you the trouble.
It is a very good movie, but it is not a perfect movie. The Dark Knight is an awesome movie. Wall-E is a perfect movie. There are three main reasons The Dark Knight couldn’t make the leap to perfect.
1) Pace. The film seemed to move around erratically. I like the fact that you never know when it’s going to end and it keeps you guessing as to whether or not there is still another predicament around the corner or it’s truly about to end. But I don’t like how some scenes were just thrown in there. There was a scene where cops are standing on the roof by the bat signal waiting for Batman, which was confusing to me. It was almost like we were seeing a scene in a montage outside of the montage it belongs in. Some of the other scenes just ended too quickly and I found myself trying to figure out if an hour or a month had gone by since the last scene. Especially during the part of the movie when Harvey Dent makes his transformation.
2) Unbelief. While The Dark Knight is much more believable than say, Spider Man, it still couldn’t quite get away from the outlandishness that just gets under my skin in these types of movies. For instance, it isn’t even close to possible for anyone to pull off the giant wall-o’-sonar-cell-phones that gets relayed to the eyes in Batman’s suit and lets him see anything anywhere. He could even see into rooms where there were definitely no cell phones. How was this possible?
Falling 100 stories onto a car with a half-broken hang glider (bat wing) while holding someone in your arms would instantly kill both of you. There’s no question about it.
You can’t reassemble a fingerprint by replicating the ballistics that were used on the crime scene, analyzing how the bullet would’ve shattered, and then reverse-engineering the outcome. You just can’t.
Harvey Dent’s burnt face was cool looking but ludicrous. First of all, why didn’t his eye get the slightest bit burned along with every single fiber of his skin? Second of all, where is the infection? The bleeding? The skin trying to regrow? I’m not a doctor, but I know this was just a silly excuse to go crazy with some slick CGI. And don’t tell me “it was cauterized”. There were freaking chasms in the guy’s face. Cauterization doesn’t result in that. Why would he refuse pain killers and skin grafts? How could anyone stand this type of pain? How could anyone even function at all? This was totally ridiculous and I just couldn’t look past it.
3) Not enough Batman. Isn’t this a Batman series? Why was 90% of the movie devoid of Bruce Wayne and/or Batman? Don’t get me wrong – I loved the content – I’m just pointing out that it veered a bit from what it was supposed to be. I needed to see more about the guy that the series is supposed to be centered around. The movie would’ve been better titled “Chicago a.k.a. Gotham City And It’s Inhabitants And Comings And Goings And Whatnot”.
Acting – No beratings. Some of the best I’ve seen in a long time.
Plot – No beratings. It was so interesting I need to see it again just to catch it all.
Inconsistencies – 1 berating.
We have this character, Harvey Dent, who is a do-good DA who fights for Gotham, stands up for what he believes, and sacrifices himself to take the fall as Batman. Then he sustains an injury, loses the girl he loves (through no fault of the authorities I might add), and somehow becomes a villainous, murdering, super pain-tolerating evil man overnight. They never explained this one to me.
Unbelievable Events – 1 berating.
Not as bad as Spider Man, but still unbelievable enough at times to be distracting. If I get distracted, I start berating – it doesn’t matter the category or the movie.
Schematics – No beratings.
2/10 Beratings = See it at full price
0/10 Stand in line for the very first showing
1/10 See it the first weekend
>> 2/10 See it at full price
3/10 See it at the Five-Buck-Club
4/10 See it at the dollar-fifty
5/10 See it OnDemand
6/10 Rent it from Blockbuster
7/10 Watch it on TV
8/10 Watch it purely for spousal points
9/10 Never watch it
10/10 Buy it and publicly destroy it
Ok, I’ll make this quick:
Harvey Dent snapped. It just happens to people… In comic books… All the time. You have to remember that they are making a movie based on a comic. In the comic, Harvey Dent snapped with much much less motivation. In fact, I thought the movie did a much better job of giving him a reason to snap. Also, take a look at this face:
They did a fabulous job of his face in the movie.
As for the bullet thing… It’s Batman. The cell phone thing… It’s batman. Plus once he was in that building he didn’t need the cellphones to give him the image, his suit was emitting the sonar and analyzing it on the fly.
If anything, I think the most unbelievable thing is that supposedly Lucius Fox is able to invent and create all that stuff all on his own. But that’s how it basically is in the comics…
So really, the movie was incredibly accurate to the spirit of the comics.
Actually the only thing that actually disappointed me about the movie was the fact that Two-Face might not have lived. Just like it pissed me off that Batman killed Ras al Gouhl in the first one (not saving someone when you easily could have and killing them are two sides of the same coin). It was better in this movie though because Batman didn’t decide to let Two-Face die, it was just practically unavoidable, and they never actually said whether or not two face was dead.
I’d give the movie 0 beratings simple because this is the comic I read, and it was less “unbelievable” than the comic. I guess I would accept an argument that gave the comic 4 beratings, and this movie 2 beratings as a result of it following the spirit of the comics so closely, and the fact that Harvey Dent’s burning face looked SO FAKE. It brought me out of the movie at one of the most dramatic moments and caused me to turn to my wife and say (surprise surprise) “that looked so fake.”
One thing I disliked though was that Joker didn’t ever give anyone the poison laughing gas stuff, and that the Joker stole Two-Face’s duality style of crime. Although they Jokerized it by making his goal chaos.
One thing I would have changed:
The Joker is a liar. He is an icon of the devil. They should have had one of the boats try and blow up the other boat, but when they flip the switch it really just blows their boat up. Then, at midnight, the other boat should have blown up anyways. There is no way Joker really would have told the truth about the predicament imo…
I LOVED that the Joker lied about which person was where so that he tricked Batman into saving Harvey Dent instead of the girl. I LOVED that he put the hostages in clown masks and dressed the bad guys as doctors. I LOVED that he put a hit out on the accountant who was going to oust the Batman.
This movie was so unbelievably awesome because unlike the other Batman movies (minus Batman Begins), you could just take the frames of this movie, draw them, and staple them together, and have a perfectly executed Batman comic. So really, this was more than a movie. This was a Batman comic magically, expertly brought to life. Spectacular. I can not wait for the next one to come out. Christopher Nolan was born to make Batman movies.
Great observations. I loved the same things as you. Interesting thoughts on the Joker… he was awesome. And I agree that Christopher Nolan is a superb director.
In response to “…I would accept an argument that gave the comic 4 beratings, and this movie 2 beratings as a result of it following the spirit of the comics so closely…”, that’s exactly what I was about to say until you said it
I will say this: I don’t want a movie to be exactly like a comic if the comic isn’t amazing. I’m not saying the Batman comics aren’t amazing, I’m just throwing an idea out there. I think comics are completely unbelievable, but it works for the comic book industry. I don’t think it works for the film industry.
You shouldn’t try to completely copy something just for the sake of copying it. You should make your own adaptation of it based on your interpretation of the source. When people say “It wasn’t exactly like the book”, I get so annoyed and reply “Who said the book was perfect?”
Films should be believable, plain and simple. There should never be a movie made that isn’t 100% believable. If there is, I’m going to berate it. I’m not saying they have to be 100% likely, just 100% believable. I have to be able to say “yeah, I guess that would be possible, although unlikely in ordinary life.” Even for comic book movies.
2/10 is an amazing score BTW.