Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Dark Knight

A Mini Review
Last night Ally and I went to the late showing of The Dark Knight (which, for my money, is the best time to see this one). I was skeptical, expecting a good movie for sure, but not an epic on par with Heat. Perhaps that's too strong, it's not really as good as Heat, but it feels like it is because it's a superhero movie done right. Now, I didn't pull Heat out of my butt either, that's the movie that Nolan modeled his second Batfilm after, so there ya go. I will say, it does suffer a bit from not being rated R. I have struggled with this though, on if it would be better or not to go balls out, R-rated violence in this one (steering clear of language and nudity, for sure), and I think that yes it would. That said, an R-rating is not keeping with the spirit of Batman from the comics, but would work for this particular picture which stars the nutbag protagonist in it.

Part of The Dark Knight's charm is that it is, oddly, an ensemble piece. Batman (the book) is known for its rogue's gallery of interesting, if odd, villains. With this in mind, its not such a weird choice, but still, it's a movie for crying out loud! In the movies the lead character is the lead character! And, if ever there was a lead character, it's The Batman. But, Nolan hit the nail on the head, giving equal screen time to the Bat, The Joker, and the duo of Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes. I would have preferred a little more on screen time for Jim Gordon, but that would have pushed the run time from two and a half to three hours.

Of course, I have to talk about Heath Ledger's portrayl of The Joker. There are no bones about it, he is phenomenal. Yes, surpassing Jack Nicholson (and Cesar Romero). I enjoyed the fact that Nolan, for the most part, decided to shy away from an origin story. The first time we see Ledger's Joker, all we know about him is that he looks like the most horryfing clown this side of Tim Curry. Ledger played the character with a subtlety that Nicholson lacked. Don't get me wrong, I dug Jack...a lot. I didn't think he would be topped, becuase, let's face it, the man is really insane. But Ledger nailed what the Joker should be like for Nolan. He was twitchy and psychotic, he wasn't funny at all. His jokes were awkward and only funny to him, sorta like Galen, but that's what made it so great.

The only real problem I see with the movie is (and SPOILERS AHEAD, mind you) is the short shrift given to Two Face. Nolan spends two hours building up the Harvey Dent (played admirably by Aaron Eckhart, by the by) character, and setting him up as the counterpiece to Batman, but then blows his load two hours into the movie by unveiling and (possibly) killing him off! What's that? For my money, Dent was a fine character that would have been able to easily make it through a movie and a half before having to rely on turning him in to Two Face to switch things up a bit. But, that's just me.

Overall, this is Batman done right. Batman Begins was a small step in the right direction, The Dark Knight bounds in to at least a tie for the best of all Batman movies (wtih Burton's 1989 effort). Seriously, for your sake, see this one in the theater at night.


- Jordan M.
Sulphur Springs, TX

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