On The Dark Knight.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead. If you haven’t seen the movie yet and do not wish to have any clue or hint revealed unto you, don’t read this post.

ADDENDUM TO WARNING: Thanks to a new plug-in, I can now hide text with the “spoiler tag.” If you want to read the spoiler text, move yer mouse cursor over the hidden area. I don’t think I give away too much here, but I want to try out the spoiler tag anyways.

Since Batman Begins Again has already been reviewed to death, I’ll make but a view comments…

1. Forget the sympathy vote–Heath Ledger legitimately deserves an Oscar nomination. His may have been the best interpretation of the Joker that I’ve seen or read.

2. Chris Nolan might get nominated for Best Director. I think he’d deserve it, but I don’t know how many would agree. Aaron Eckhart might deserve an Oscar nod as well. Every actor in this movie was great–or at least good enough that their mediocrity didn’t stand out amongst the surrounding awesomeness.

3. Nolan and David Goyer might get a nod for Best Adapted Screenplay. There I was in the theater, enjoying a perfectly good film, and then came a twist that absolutely dropped my jaw. Blew me away. Made everything that had happened so far seem like a warmup. That doesn’t happen often in movies. I won’t discuss the twist aside from saying that it reminded me of how the writers of Star Trek II handled the rumors of Spock’s death: they faked the audience out early. That may not make sense if you don’t know that story, and it may not seem worthy of unveiling this newfangled “spoiler tag,” but I had to break it in at some point.

4. Heck, I’ll use it again now. My only complaint about The Dark Knight (for now; I’ve only seen it once so far): I thought the editing could have been much better. It felt rushed at times, like I was watching a trailer for the movie instead of the movie itself. In stageplays, in television, in movies there are certain moments that need time to sink in. Sometimes we need to spend a few extra seconds watching a character ponder an idea or absorb a feeling before cutting to the next scene, or to the next line in a given scene. I think there were several scenes here and there that should have been just a little bit longer than they were–as little as two or three seconds, so we could really see the wheels turning in Bruce’s (or Harvey’s, or Gordon’s) head as he mulled his next move. The reactions were the right reactions for the characters and their circumstances–it’s just that the reactions came too quickly, almost mechanically. The perfect example of this came at the veddy veddy end–I won’t be any more specific, even with the spoiler tag.

To correct this would mean making the movie even longer… which would be fine by me. Where would you find the extra 10-15 minutes necessary to make the movie irreparably perfect? Simple: cut out the trailers–except those for Quantum of Solaceand WatchmenHoly crap, the Watchmen trailer was awesome. It looked good enough to warrant its own journal entry; it looked good enough that Alan Moore might entertain the thought of letting them put his name on it, even if only for the briefest fraction of a second; it looked good enough that I might not make it out of the theater next March if it disappoints. Here’s how good it looked: I mentioned the Bond trailer only in passing.

Anyhow, back to Batman. I’d love to discuss the ethical, moral and political implications of the film, but I’ll have to wait until everyone’s seen it, which should occur sometime in the middle of next week.

In short, this movie was so good that now I’m depressed because I don’t see how the next one can be as good, never mind better. I hope the producers ensure that Nolan comes back for a third movie, and they take their time making the next one… this one’s going to be damn tough to top.

6 Comments

  1. Andy Says:

** Spoilers below, you’ve been warned **

I concur, what a fantastic movie. I had no clue where things were going, and several times during the movie I felt that ‘wow, that was great…I guess they are going to start wrapping it up now’ and then a new subplot would develop. This movie makes Tim Burton’s Batman seem so one-dimensional and hokey, and I like that movie! I sure hope that talented auteurs like Christopher Nolan keep getting chances to make adult-oriented FILMS that just happen to have superheroes. This movie is deep man…most superhero movies deal with the villian just bent on destruction and killing lots of people. Not this one…while the Joker does indeed like killing people, his ultimate plan is to just kill a select (important) few and then drive the rest towards total anarchy. Harvey Dent is such a crucial figure in this story; I never would have guessed but he is the pivot point of the whole movie. Batman’s belief in him and what he stands for leads to him making two BIG decisions, one of which makes his life as Bruce Wayne miserable and one of which makes his life as Batman miserable.

The Joker is SMART and people just keep getting complacent because he acts like a madman. This is a villian worthy of a smart, ruthless Batman and he is one step ahead of Batman pretty much the whole movie.

Best moments:
1) The disappearing pencil
2) The swinging dead fake Batman
3) The Batman interrogation of the Joker…
4) …followed quickly by Batman’s decision.
5) Tiny Lister’s scene
6) That freaky distorted tone that would always play right before the Joker did something ‘Joker-ish’.

July 19th, 2008 at 11:22 am

  1. Loopy..yes me!! Says:

Hey you jerk!

Did Chip tell you I am getting married? Oh yeah I graduated and may or may not be working for HAbitat for Humanity as a all around video lackey.

hit me up.

To quote Mr. D.F. Jackson “All I’m sayin’ is…” While I haven’t seen This new Batman movie it cant be as good as Iron Man.

Just sayin.

July 22nd, 2008 at 4:27 pm

  1. Vincent Viscariello Says:

I haven’t seen Iron Man, but I suggest you tread lightly nonetheless.

Congratulations on yer impending nuptuals… wait, it’s not Wendy, is it? You know Wendy?

July 22nd, 2008 at 5:45 pm

  1. Asim Abbasi Says:

**** More Spoiler Warnings – Do Not Continue If You Haven’t Watched This Movie ****

Some excellent observations, Dom and Andy. This was definitely a movie which is very dense in terms of storyline/plot, visuals and themes. It’s going to take at least a couple of viewings (perhaps, not in the theater though) to absorb it completely.

Dom: good point about that twist in the middle of the movie. When Batman makes that choice about who to save, I was expecting a wind-down with the end of the movie. But then, the Nolans ramp it up and introduce a second villain. Having stayed away from any news or information about this movie in the media, I originally thought that Harvey Dent was going to become Two-Face at the end of the movie: but Two-Face had his own complete storyline. I agree with Andy: this movie might have been about Harvey Dent/Two-Face with Batman and Joker fighting around him, each trying to convince him to remain good/become evil.

Andy, I agree with you about that discordant tone that plays in the background right before the Joker does something really really really bad: very eerie and very cool.

Oh, and the other reason to watch this movie multiple times is that my friend Chris from Chicago (who you’ve met, Dom) was with his wife in one of the parade scenes.

The question I have for you though, is what choice Michael Keaton’s Batman would have made if faced between saving his girl versus Harvey Dent?

July 25th, 2008 at 2:06 pm

  1. yeah Says:

I would have to agree with all of your Oscar suggestions there, particularly the screenplay one. I watch more movies than is probably healthy and am fairly current with my Marvel/DC canon… that being said, I thought “Holy crap, WTF?” on more than one occasion during my viewing experience. I look forward to reading your interpreted social/political/ethical ramifications/implications on the movie, because God knows it was full of them.

July 26th, 2008 at 2:17 am

  1. Loopy..yes me!! Says:

NO not Wendy, her name is Fred and she works at our local Big Lots as a bag boy….er girl.

Surriusly, her name is MAggie and she is super rad.

I have to talk to you about this phone conversation I had a week ago, you will laugh.

July 29th, 2008 at 2:12 am