That Batman Movie

Uh, spoilers for TDK.

So, three weeks late and after probably literally everyone else, I saw The Dark Knight last night.

This was an intensely awesome film. This isn't really news to anyone and all the actors were phenomenal and I think Ledger's portrayal of the Joker was everything everyone said it would be. Actually, I lie--it was more. Way, way more.

I really, really liked it and I want to stress that, because as much as I liked it, wow gaping plot issues.

I think the Bushism complains I'm hearing are pretty off--it's my opinion that Nolan and Co totally did go there, but they did it in a way that shows how well technology like that can be used. How responsibly, by putting it into the hands of someone who is moral enough for it. On the grounds that it made Batman too right-wing, I just don't see it--the movie was way, way tamer than his OMACs--this Batman actually put up a failsafe for someone else to stop him. But I do, however, think it had no place in the second movie.

Batman's Super Control Freak could have been--and, in my opinion, should have been one of the villains in the third movie. I hear a lot 'how do you top ninjas and then Joker?'. Well, you do it by the inner struggle, not that a lot of popcorn-munching wham-bam movie-goers want to see it. So pair that with a physical villain and I think there could be a really great third movie. Two Face, perhaps? After all, we didn't see him go into the ground. . .

I think the Control Freak Radar System would've made an awesome villain, because it's one of Batman's biggest struggles is 'how far is too far for the greater good' and 'when does surveillance become tyranny'.

Against the Joker, a weapon so high tech just doesn't work for me. I wanted a more visceral show down between the pair--not necessarily a fight scene, but more of that play. Reducing that to show an aspect of Batman's inner conflict that had previously gotten five minutes of screen time was a large loss. The movie would have been much, much better if that idea had been held off until the third film--or if it was introduced towards the end as a build for the third.

The movie didn't go deep enough, and for a two and a half hour film I expected it to go pretty deep. While it definitely didn't get anywhere near the Spider-Man Problem of having way too much going on, it started to tread down that path. I don't think any action sequences would've needed to have been sacrificed--thus keeping the Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Director crowd happy--to accomplish a deeper, more thoughtful film.

All in all, I thought so much of that movie was a bit rushed--I had no idea the Joker saying once for Batman to unmask was such a big deal until twenty minutes later when Batman was angsting about it. I didn't feel particularly threatened by the Joker's demands until the judge and commissioner died. I think a lot of the development was shallow--why couldn't we see Joker waltzing into the hospital and planting the bombs or get a few glimpses of him working everyone behind the scenes? A lot of the main plot came across vague and confusing.

But fuck, did Ledger steal the show, imo. Good God, that was an amazing acting job--that scene in the police station? Totally gave me chills.

Maybe I'm being too picky--my husband laughed at me on the way home because of how I can't just enjoy something without thinking it to death.


Elwood said...

I'm with Eddie here...you went into the movie with your writer brain on. Still, I'm glad that you finally saw it and that we could all share inyour experience.

No praise for the Two-Face effects? The old-school special effects - the truck flip, the hospital explosion, all done for real - were impressive in this CGI-heavy age.

Steph's fav scene was the police station, too.

Kristina Wright said...

. . . I'm a terrible person that I have to say 'if I didn't criticize it, that was praise'. Note to self: be more positive! I did have my Writer Brain on, damn me. Going with all you guys and hanging out for it was the best part, imo.

The effects were all astonishing. Truck flip was fantastic. I really enjoyed al lthe special effects--especially the seamless blend of old and new schools. Very, very nice.

And dude, who could pass up flipping a truck for real? No one in their right mind!

Kirk Warren said...

I think the biggest problem with talking about TDK is that it's been praised so much and the hype is so unbelievable that it makes it almost impossible not to talk about the numerous flaws in such a "perfect" movie.

So, while everyone and their mother loves the movie, actually sitting down to talk about it ends up being a, "well, this and this and that and then this were all pretty bad", simply because there's nothing else to say that hasn't been said before or doesn't consist of, "ZOMG WTF BBQ THAT WAS AWESOME".

Like, take the Joker, for instance. His big speech is about how he doesn't have plans and that the police and Batman are the only ones with plans. This from ag uy that coordinated a bank robbery at the start of the film that saw the getaway bus drive through the building at the exact moment his henchman turned on him and kills him and then, once the bus is loaded, he drives out into the middleo fhte street into a perfectly planned opening in the school buses to make his getaway.

Later, he has the foresight to plant a cell phone bomb in a guy's stomach, planted bombs in a hospital AND on not one, but two separate boats (somehow knowing theyd be used once the bridges were shut down).

Hell, Joker in this movie has more prep time than any Batman comic known to man and his every action is planned with the utmost precision.

But he's an agent of chaos and has no plans....right.

It's simple things like these that just stand out the minute you sit down to try and review the movie. Even though you loved it and want to see it again and so on, it's hard to discuss it without realizing the sheer number of plotholes and mistakes in the film.

It's almost like you are compelled to point these out to somehow disprove the whole "greatest movie EVAR" hype that's permeating the internet.

Maybe it's how crappy movies have been over the past several years that makes the quality starved masses go apeshit over TDK and had it atop the greatest movies ever lists. I know I loved it, but it wasn't THAT great a movie.

Mike Miller said...

Hanging out was the most fun part for me. =D

We will talk about the movie (finally) on Wednesday. Now that you've seen it we can talk about it without you getting all spoiled.

Oracle_Batgirl said...

Ok, I'd agree that Joker was messing with Harvey, spinning his half fried brain out into crazy-ville by giving him the chaos speech. He deliberately spins the truth any way he can to frak with peoples heads (aka-the, 'you want to know how I got these scars?' speech). IMHO his plans were as intricate and complex as Batman's and they kept weaving in and out of each other the entire movie, much like a game of chess.

I was totally enamored with the movie and at 3am opening, very excited and very generous with my point of view. :) GF, you did have a good point with a Bat-plot for a whole other movie being his use of an OMAC like device to keep tabs on the world. It could've been a whole 'nuther movie but I think the less hardcore fan would be baffled at the lack of villian presence. That said, the comic geek/Batfan would gobble it up.

Loved the IMAX experience and the yummies at Jalisco's. Mostly it was nice to spend time with good people doing what I love. *smiles*

Promise to talk less next time!(I get very gabby in crowds of new cool people *grins*)

Andrenn said...

Great review, and hey, you gotta be critical on some points. People who review, their job is to be critical, point out flaws.

That being said, I definitely loved this film. But now that the shock and awe has worn off me after the midnight premier, I agree with pretty much everything you say.

granted, I didn't think much about Batman in this film. This felt like more of a story than a character film. Whereas the characters where simple parts of the plot that moved the story. It was the other way around with me for Hellboy 2.