Monday, July 21, 2008

'The Dark Knight' Review

I just kept running out of time this weekend, so I ended up catching today's (Monday's) showing of The Dark Knight. I saw the 5:30 p.m. showing at the local cinema, which just reminds me again that I'm getting older. My mom reminded me that I used to say, "Only old people see movies before 10 p.m." Ouch.

So, The Dark Knight, the second Batman film in the character's revival series (following Batman Begins and in an entirely different continuity from Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin), beat out Spider-Man's third film for weekend records. What is it that makes this movie so great and popular? Let's take a look...

Best Quote: "You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." (Harvey Dent) Or, “A magic trick? Well, let me show you, I’ll make this pencil disappear!” (Joker)

Acting: The acting was superb on the part of the late Heath Ledger. A more maniacal, creepy version of the Joker, perfect for the dark remakes of the Batman saga, could not be done by anyone else. However, this is a very different joker from Jack Nicholson's kooky, cartoony, sadistic Joker of the past. Ledger played the part well, but if you loved Nicholson in the part, I doubt you'll change your mind. Christian Bale is akin to Keanu Reeves — good at playing parts that require little to no emotion but plenty of action. However, Batman's voice comes off as being too dark, almost like a little kid trying to imitate a deep voice. It's not convincing, but everything else about the performance is. As for the secondary characters, you can take them or leave them. One thing's for sure, Maggie Gyllenhall isn't very easy on the eyes... but you don't have to look at her much.
4 out of 5 for acting!

Story: This movie has multiple storylines intertwined. The opening scene is one of the coolest ever made, but I won't ruin it here for those who haven't seen it yet. Expect similar twists and turns throughout the film, though, but don't ever expect more than one or two scenes to stand out much. The story isn't overly complex, and it almost seems like it will never end. You never get bored during this long movie (2.5 hours), but you never get too drawn in either because things change so often that there is never any great plan to be foiled. In other words, the Joker doesn't try to take over the world, steal gold from Fort Knox or anything such as that — he just randomly wreaks mayhem throughout the movie, and Batman diffuses one situation after another... after another... after another. Overall, the story here seemed as though it's mainly a bridge between Batman Begins and whatever comes next.
2.5 out of 5 for story!

Music: Batman music. Don't worry, you won't even notice it much over all of the explosions and gunfire. Unfortunately, no KAPOW! or BLAM! sounds. Don't even get me started on the lack of shark repellent.
3 out of 5 for music!

Attributes: This movie is straight action with dark, dark overtones and a bit of sadistic humor. The love story within gets maybe four to five minutes total dedicated to it, and there are some scenes that express the recurrent Batman theme I like to call emo theme. You know what I mean, Batman always suffering from an inner conflict about whether or not he should exist and such. Yeah, he wears black, too. He's a little emo. But unlike those skater kids at the mall with their bad haircuts (or lack thereof), Batman can beat you down.
4 out of 5 for attributes!

Overall Rating: 3.5 overall!

See It/Don't See It/Buy It/Rent It: See it in theaters and buy it when it comes out! Any fan of comic books, Batman or just plain action movies will love this film. Fans of psychological thrillers or people who saw the old Batman films should at least rent this one at some point. This is a great movie, and the biggest problem with it is that the story wasn't tailored a little better and that it was sort of predictable, especially to long-time fans. And I just couldn't help but wish the Joker had fallen from that building at the end and been left lying creepily on the pavement, still laughing. I'll argue until I'm blue in the face that Nicholson is irreplaceable, but if I had to choose the closest second out there, it'd be Ledger. And let's face it, this isn't a Batman movie — it's a Joker movie.

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