Saturday, July 19, 2008
One Final Bat-Blog: The Dark Knight Review
This will be the last time I talk about Batman for a while, I swear.
I’m not a “glass is half full” kind of person. So, with that in mind, here are my problems with the Dark Knight: there’s maybe half an hour (maybe 40 minutes) that could have been cut and still keep the beating heart of the movie alive, the editing for the fight scenes are a little too choppy for my taste, and the ending was a tad weak. (The latter two were issues I also had with Nolan’s previous outing, Batman Begins.)
That out of the way, it is now time to unleash the fanboy.
This is probably the greatest Batman movie ever. Better than Burton, better than Begins. And there are two principal reasons why.
The first is the script. The script is incredibly strong thematically, which is no surprise given Batman Begin’s strong thematic focus, but instead of focusing on the mechanics of fear, this is really a movie about justice, about the law: is Batman doing the right thing in taking the law into his own hands? Is he serving a higher ideal or he is just another problem? The dialogue is crisp if spartan, and the set pieces are excellently executed.
The second was one man, and it wasn’t Chris Nolan. Heath Ledger gives the kind of performance people are going to remember, and not just now, but in many years. He took the character and made it all his own. The sneering falsetto, the lip-licking, the nasally shrill laugh, his shuffling jumbled gait equal parts Charlie Chaplin and loping rabid wolf. Heath put a lot of thought and a lot of effort into knowing who the character was and what he wanted him to be, and it really shows. Two scenes that really touched on this the best were his interrogation scene and the scene in the hospital.
Despite Ledger’s performance, every character gets about equal face time, which is good. Weaker writers or directors (myself included) would have been transfixed by the raw charisma of his character, like a man on fire running through the street. But everyone gets their moments, their payoffs, their character arcs, and nobody is the worse because of it.
So, do I agree with Kevin Smith’s assessment of “Godfather II of superhero movies?” Not entirely. But do I agree with the current general critical assessment (94% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes?!)
This movie is worth your time, even if you don’t read comic books, even if you don’t like superhero movies or action movies. It will win you over. A.