Monday, July 21, 2008

The Dark Knight

In a Nutshell: Didn't live up to the hype, but then again, no film could. Generally good, with moments of greatness. Dark for sure, but should have been darker, IMHO.

Quick Plot: Batman has the common criminals running scared, and there's a new DA in town determined to keep hold of the newly gained ground. But the common criminals turn to an uncommon man, The Joker, a self-admitted agent of anarchy, to take down Gotham's protective dark knight, and much of the city burns in their wake.

In Detail: Good, just not as good as I'd hoped. It had moments of brilliance, no doubt about it, and it is a good movie, just not a great one. First off, it was too long by a good 20 minutes at least, which made the first hour or so drag quite a bit. And I can't believe I'm about to say this, but I think it should have been darker. If you're going to go there, then GO there! Don't take huge strides toward the line, then stop just short. I understand they need this movie to be a commercial success (that $180M US budget is looming large), and I understand that they wanted the movie to be rated PG-13, which I don't think could have been managed with a movie much darker than this one. But there was at least one scene in particular, and perhaps a couple more, that did not pack the punch it could have in terms of suspense and/or emotional tension, simply because I *knew* they weren't going to carry through due to the PG-13 rating (if they had, I swear to you, I'd have fallen out of my seat).

I also think they tried to cram too much in there (see too long comment). I *really* think they should have let the Joker and Two Face each have their own film. Introduce Harvey Dent, fine, but save his arc for a separate movie. That would have allowed for a shorter, tighter story this time around, and yet still allowed for more Bruce Wayne (lots of Batman, but not much Bruce this time; shame to hide Christian Bale behind the mask and suit and voice for the whole film) and more Joker. And believe me, more Joker would have been a good thing. Heath Ledger is just as amazing as everyone said; you simply cannot take your eyes off him when he's on screen, and you can't wait for him to reappear when he's off camera. The make-up, the voice, the phrasing, the sheer presence, and the overlying melancholy of knowing that this brilliant man will never be seen on film again in a fully completed performance. It makes him all the more riveting. Ledger alone is reason enough to see it, so do rent it if you don't make it to the theater. And FYI, no coda (thanks Melissa!).

Will I Buy It? I don't know. Will have to discus with the spouse. Personally, I think I need to see it again just to fully appreciate such a fabulous performance by Heath Ledger. But after that, I don't see myself watching this movie over and over. I'll think about it.