Sunday, July 20, 2008

Does the World Really Need Another Dark Knight Review?

No. No, I dare say it does not.

But I will write one anyway.

As I mentioned last week, I got tickets for the 3:45 PM Friday showing at the megaplex in downtown Chicago. When I arrived on site at 3 PM, a HUGE line for my theater was already being let in--I couldn't believe it. Every show that day had been sold out with the exception of the 2:15 PM time slot, from what I could tell.

Anyway, I still lucked out and secured great "middle-middle" seats before the gigantic mini-stadium filled up. Fifteen minutes of previews played before The Dark Knight began, and let me tell you, as each trailer ended, I got more and more depressed. They were ALL about the destruction of the Earth or epic fights for survival. It was unbelievable. Where are the romantic comedies? Where are the slapstick adventure flicks? Between the somber previews and the even more unnerving main feature, I think I need therapy.

So... the movie itself. What is there to say that hasn't already been said? I'll give a brief statement on the major points:

- Running time: It's 2 hours and 40 minutes. It didn't seem like it. There was never a dull moment.

- Heath's performance: I will admit to being cynical and assuming that all the hype was simply out of love for a great actor who is no longer with us. But I'm pleased to say that you should believe the hype--it is warranted. I'm among the ranks who think Heath will get a posthumous Oscar nomination. He was indeed incredible. And while I can't lie and claim to have been a "fan" of Heath's from any of his previous work, there were definitely a few times over the course of the film that I caught myself tearing up when remembering that he is gone. It's a damn shame.

- The "dark" tone of the movie: While I have read reviews from many people who were seriously disturbed after the credits rolled, I wasn't so affected that I lost any sleep over it (perhaps I would've had I seen a later show, though... I had dinner and several hours before bed to get things off of my mind). That being said, this was not a happy movie in any sense of the word. I commented to my husband when we left, "This movie was way better than say, Iron Man, but I enjoyed Iron Man more." And he said, "Yeah, but you're not supposed to "enjoy" this movie."

What would've made me a lot happier is if Christian Bale were in the film a bit more as Bruce Wayne rather than as Batman. When he's Batman, his voice is just so ridiculous. When he's Bruce, well... he's quite a sight for sore eyes.

What stuck with me after I was back home was a moral question raised in the climax of the film. This is a movie that, at several points, makes you wonder, "What would I do in that situation?" I'll talk about it in the comments section (as well as a few other things that thoroughly surprised me) for those of you who have already seen it. My guess is that there are a lot of you, since The Dark Knight apparently broke every record known to man on its opening weekend.

Overall, I DO recommend the movie, but I caution you to be prepared to be depressed. I was glad that there were no nasty gory scenes, which there easily could've been. But then I realized that the movie didn't need blood and guts to be thoroughly disturbing.

The only question remaining is, will there be a third installment?

- e


Erika (aka "e") said...


OK, so for those of you who have seen it, here are a few other thoughts:

1) I was totally shocked that Rachel actually died. I kept expecting to see her pop up again, even at the very end. Even now, I still feel like she's not really dead. Am I crazy for thinking that?

2) I was also shocked that "Two-Face" died. I thought for sure that they would set him up to be the main villain for the third film, which I'm sure they will now make. Also, I think they could've made Two-Face look a lot more believable. I was like "They straight-up took that skull from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World!" With all of the other effects being so awesome in the movie, I was almost embarrassed when Two-Faces crazy eye was rolling around on screen.

3) The thing that disturbed me most about the movie was the "ferry climax." First off, I worry that some freak out there is going to get a bad idea and try something like that. Secondly, I wondered what I would actually do. Although it sounds awful, I just can't imagine being in that situation with, say, my children (though I don't currently have any) and NOT wanting to blow up the other boat. I just feel like that would be my gut reaction because I would be so inherently distrustful of other people in the same situation.

Then my husband and I were talking about it and we both also thought that the Joker had wired it so that whatever boat actually used the detonator would blow ITSELF up and not the other ship. Kind of how he tricked Batman by telling him the opposite addresses for the locations of Rachel and Dent. But obviously one of the points of the movie was to show that Batman HAD done some good in Gotham because no one (even the criminals!) chose to blow each other up. Shame on me.

So that was kind of an uplifting thing... and then it goes and gets all depressing again by having Batman take the blame for the deaths Two-Face caused and having Batman on the run, having Lucius quit, etc., etc. I was just utterly and totally depressed (I know I keep using that word) when it was over with.

OK, those are my additional thoughts... except that it WAS cool to see so much of Chicago in the movie.

Chime in below!

- e

Zach Dionne said...

Hey E!

1) Yes, also surprised. I'm pretty sure she's toast, because upon the second viewing, her death and the dirty cops were the only bits that lead to the logical birth of Two-Face. After my first viewing, I thought it was kind of too big a jump for the audience to make - I personally didn't see that much sense in him going from a mostly reasonable, somewhat hot-tempered DA to a maniac, but Rachel's death is pretty much the answer the movie wants to give.

2) I just thought the Two-Face plot as a whole wasn't necessary. The Joker could've carried it all. I guess it sort of had to be tied in since Dent's crusade for justice was such a main plot, but still. And the CG-melted-face was ringing "The Mummy" nonstop to me.

I'm positive of a third film, too. But who will the villain be?! How will they deal with the Joker still being alive in the film's universe, but not in real life?!

Sorry to run long here, but I have no outlet for a review at the moment and all of my friends are praising it unequivocally and leaving no room for discussion. I was more surprised by the amount of storylines and the complexity and the resulting lack of screen time for some major characters than the depressing-ness. I agree it was dreary, but that also brought a realistic edge that is hard to come by in Hollywood. There were hardly any black and white lines of good and evil; most characters were conflicted and faced difficult, thought-provoking problems. (It was really interesting to read how much the question of the two ferries plagued you.) This said, I thought some of the ideas and morals here were somewhat murky in the dialogue and with everything going on. It took two times and a lot of thought for me to get it sorted out, and even then not fully.

An awesome movie, though. Heath Ledger's performance was mystifying - that's one thing that cannot be overhyped. For me, he transcended acting in this role. Incredible.

Alfred's one-liners get me every time, too.
Dent: "You've known Rachel her whole life?"
Alfred: "Well, not yet."

Annnnyway! Solid review, the world DID need another one, because I was psyched for yours!

Anonymous said...

Hi E!

I saw the film this weekend and loved it too. I saw a pretty late showing (10:20) but I didn't have any trouble sleeping or anything afterwards. But the film definitely stayed with me and made me think.

Anyway, I'm not sure that Harvey Dent/Two-Face is really dead. I think it's possible that Batman and Commissioner Gordon made it seem like he died and then stowed him in Arkham Asylum or someplace like that, so Gotham wouldn't find out that he went insane. (IMDB also suggests this). I think he's too good a character to lose, so I think he will come back.

I wonder what they will do about The Joker in future films--he's such a good villain, but can anyone else play him now other than Ledger? It's sad.

Ernie said...

Hey e,
Here are my thoughts on Dark Knightfrom my blog. I can't wait to see this movie again.

for your points:

1. I was also surprised that Rachel died. But I was more surprised when I thought Gordon had died.

2. I wouldn't be so sure that Two-Face is gone.

3. My friends and I also think that Joker had it wired so that you would blow up your own boat with the detonator.

Heath Ledger rocked in this movie. He met all the hype and surpassed it. My friends and I really like Batman, but we got more excited when Joker came on screen. Its weird b/c as a Batman movie, Joker and Harvey Dent were in it just as much, if not more than Batman.

Alexistran said...

Did Lucius quit? I thought he said he would resign if that machine stayed at Wayne Enterprises (which it didn't).

I was also certain that the Joker had rigged the boats detonators to themselves. Him being fond of mind games and elaborate schemes that makes more sense than giving them the twisted choice he original gave them.

Also who would you want the villain to be in a the (almost definitely coming) third film?
My (and another Lost watching geek) decided that it had to be the Edward Nigma AKA the Riddler and either Michael Emerson or Edward Norton would play them.

Erika (aka "e") said...

Hi everyone -

Thanks for the comments... very interesting that quite a few people think Two-Face isn't dead, I guess that is definitely a possibility.

Since they handled The Scarecrow from the first movie so lamely (is that a word?) at the beginning of this one, I'm sure they'll find a similar way of dealing with The Joker in the third film, which they would be pretty much insane to not plan on at this point.

I definitely like the Riddler/Enigma idea as the next villain... forgot that Jim Carrey played him in Batman Forever. "Riddle me this!"

So yes, Rachel is probably dead-dead then. I feel like Bruce didn't have as strong of a reaction as perhaps he should have, then.

And finally, regarding Lucius, perhaps anyone who has seen it more than once can better answer this, but I thought he said something along the lines of "I will do this but then I'm resigning"... kind of like his last act in service was to help with the monitoring, but he thought it had gone too far so he was bowing out afterward. That all being said, um, I'm sure he'll be back, too!

Batman Begins was just on TV a few nights ago so that was fun to watch again. I forgot how they had the Joker card at the very end.

- e

Alexistran said...

A friend of mine pointed out that the guy who shot Gordon and Dent interrogated has the same name as the Mad Hatter.

Apparently there was also a lingering shot (which I totally missed) on Cillian Murphy (the guy who plays the Scarecrow) on the convicts ferry.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Lucius quit b/c they destroyed the machine at the end, and he said he'd not remain at Wayne Enterprises as long as the machine was there. And it won't be.

My hubby said he heard the riddler was going to be someone who was in this movie...anyone else heard that? The only possibility we could think of was the employee who was going to narc. Probably not true.

I really enjoyed this movie. I found there was alot uplifting about it at the end...not as dark as I was expecting. I mean, the ferry people didn't make the wrong choice. The Joker didn't prove anything he wanted to prove thanks to that and the fact that Batman takes the fall for Dent. I loved the ending.

The one thing I really didn't like was Rachel. I thought Maggie Gyllenhaal played her way too flippant....everything she said seemed offhand and insincere. It wasn't believable to me that this was Bruce's soulmate. Nor that Dent was that much in love with her. And the note she wrote to Bruce? Lame! Her last moments? Not near enough real emotion....I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually preferred Katie Holmes. Her Rachel was pretty much a non-entity, but at least you could imagine there was some seriousness and depth there. I liked her drive and determination for public service that was portrayed in the first movie. This Rachel just seemed weirdly shallow and borderline sarcastic. I found it hard to be sorry she was one, and relieved Alfred burned the note.

Didn't ruin the movie for me though! It was great! The whole Joker vs. Batman conflict was fabulously done!

Mellis said...

I felt EXACTLY as you did, e, about Iron Man. I loved Iron Man and it's my favorite movie of the summer, even though The Dark Knight was a better movie. I just ENJOYED Iron Man more. The Dark Knight was so... dark.

I feel like such a lame-o about Rachel's death. I didn't get, until you said it, that Batman saved Harvey Dent because the Joker had switched the addresses. I thought he chose Dent just because he believed, ultimately, that his life was more important than Rachel's. Now it makes more sense.

I'd love to see the Scarecrow again because frankly Cillian Murphy is hot. :) The Mad Hatter is an interesting idea, though.