Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight.

When this movie hit the theaters, a lot of people were calling it the best “comic book movie” made and talked about how it transcended the genre. It wasn’t just a comic book movie, it was a really good movie that happened to have these comic characters in it.

Better late than never for me, but I did finally see it recently. That being said, it was a pretty good movie, it dealt with some interesting issues. It had big explosions and you could tell that director Christopher Nolan wasn’t just trying to make explosions and chase scenes, he wanted something more.

And yet…

There were things there that just didn’t quite work for me. While Nolan did strive for something more than a dumb summer movie, I feel some parts of the movie could have been done better.

First off, the Batsuit. I suppose much of the credit/blame for the rubber armor suit can go all the way back to Tim Burton’s movie, but it’s just a little too much. Yes, we’ve come a long way from seeing Adam West’s Batgut sticking through some thin blue tights and I don’t want to see Adam West’s Batgut sticking through those thin blue tights in a major movie like this, but there has to be something in between. The suit is too clunky and stiff and so limb movements become restricted and stiff as well. And where are these limb movements needed the most? Uh, in the action scenes, the fight sequences, the hanging off the truck sequences. On top of that, they lampshaded the fact that they improved the armor’s movement by having Bruce Wayne ask Lucius Fox to redesign the suit specifically so he can turn his neck. Yes, Batman is supposed to have the gadgets, I know that. He’s not supposed to be Iron Man though.

The Joker. Somehow, the consensus was that Heath Ledger’s Joker was the greatest thing since that last greatest thing. I will give him props for the blowing up the hospital sequence, from what I understand they needed to do it in one take, the explosions didn’t correspond with his button mashing on the remote detonator, and he ad-libbed the rest. It was brilliant, but the rest of him just didn’t seem right to me. The character itself seemed like Ledger was channeling French Stewart from 3rd Rock From the Sun. The Joker doesn’t need to be some cackling circus clown, but he is a clown. While giant sledge hammers and acid-squirting flowers aren’t necessary, the Joker seemed a little too calculating and brooding in all of his actions. Hey isn’t Batman supposed to be the calculating and brooding one in this dynamic?

Finally, the movie was just had too much going on. Bruce Wayne’s side trip to Asia, the Wayne employee who figured out Batman’s identity, the fact that Bruce Wayne had to save him as Bruce Wayne and not as Batman, the countless absurd, over the top, incredibly intricate schemes that the Joker, the improvisational agent of chaos implements, the switcheroo with Harvey Dent stepping forward as the Batman, all of the extra Batmen, and the long chase through Lower Wacker Drive, er I mean through the Gotham streets. So much extracurricular happenings occur that we don’t have time to develop the things that should be there. Rachael Dawes is there and both Dent and Wayne would do anything for her, I think, but there was no room to explore that, apparently. And Dent gets the rawest deal of the whole movie. (Just about) everyone knows he’s destined to become Two Face, you know it’s coming but he flips from bad to good too easily. Well, my face is half burned and the Joker here says that it’s not his fault. Guess it’s time for my heel turn. So he’s the bad guy, he captures Gordon’s family and we get a drawn out scene where he’s threatening Gordon’s son and then he plunges to his doom (come on Hollywood, stop endangering children. It’s too easy of a way to declare someone is officially evil).

Like I said earlier, The Dark Knight isn’t a bad movie; I just think they could have done better. It does hold up pretty well as you watch it and a lot of the action and intensity works, but there were just some things that make you go “Huh?”

Like say for instance, why did Batman take the heat for what Dent did at the end? If they wanted to protect Dent’s work, couldn’t they have blamed it all on the Joker?


  1. Yeah those a real good questions. I thought the movie went for too long too. They put so much in it. You could have also mentioned what you liked in it as well?

  2. What I liked about the movie? Well, let's see. Two Face looked awesome, they did a great job with the make up and CGI on his burned face.

    And Maggie Gyllenhaal, I liked her. She doesn't quite seem 100% right in her role, but boy do I want to bite her butt and get lockjaw.

  3. The next thing to do is - what would you do to make it better?

  4. The Joker was great. But then, so is French Stewart.

    My two beefs: the suit, the Batman voice.

    My "Huh?": Why did Gordon have to fake being dead? And why, if he's faking being dead, would he want to also be the guy transporting The Joker? And how did nobody realize he wasn't actually dead? Did he just get shot and think, "Well, I might as well sell this as my death scene, even though there's no strategy behind it yet."?

    I would have liked it to have ended with Two-Face truly evil (beyond just endangering children) and publicly so. The Joker did win; he corrupted Gotham's White Knight and Gotham should have known about it, and Two-Face would have been set up as the first villain in the sequel. It's a shame we can't see more of that beautiful CGI face.

  5. This movie was far too busy and riddled with bad acting. Heath Ledger was amazing, though, and once he died they marketed it as a tribute to him. That's what really brought in the coin.

    I'll never get Christian Bale's horrendous voice as Batman out of my head. There was a reason the old film stars came straight from radio.

  6. I agree. The movie just had too much going on. Harvey Dent and the Joker were kind of cool, though.