Friday, July 25, 2008

A Few More Dark Knight Notes

OK, so after seeing the latest cultural phenomenon, I wanted to weigh in on a few more points. Please note two things. 1) There are spoilers here. Do not read more if you plan to see it. Also, if you haven't seen the movie and you're over 11, go make it happen. It's a major evolutionary step in the comic book superhero genre, and a hell of a film. 2) I have been in media silence mode since its release, so if these are obvious points that have been pointed out a million times already, I apologize, but they seemed significant to me as I was watching the picture.

Bullet Points:

  • I couldn't help noticing all the buildings in Chicago that were put into play. I'd say at least a third of the film took place within two blocks of my office. I'm not complaining, but it kind of stood out to me. It made Gotham more fictional, which is hardly a major problem.
  • Heath Ledger was clearly channeling Andy Rooney as the Joker. It was a brilliant performance, but the mannerisms and delivery, even in angry moments, seemed to be ripped straight from the mouth of 60 Minutes' favorite curmudgeon. Did anyone else notice this? "You know what I don't understand? Why all you mafiosos don't do something about The Batman..."
  • The Joker's abilities to accomplish elaborate schemes (even though he implies to Harvey Dent that he's incapable of such accomplishments) were a bit over the top, but in a way that I was totally willing to forgive. Questions abound regarding his ability to run a crime syndicate when he consistently kills his accomplices, let alone how he can put so much infrastructure into place quickly. It just doesn't matter. This is where "Why so serious?" would be an apt question. Perhaps he owns a time machine (an plot point for the next movie?), but I chose to just go with it after a point.
  • This is quite clearly Ledger's second best performance. He's been in so many fluffy movies, but shows that Brokeback Mountain was no fluke. It makes his death all the more a shame. Andy Rooney or not, he was phenomenal and the screen was alive every time he was on it.
  • I couldn't help contrasting Gary Oldman's performance with his role in The Professional. This was completely opposite that one, even though it was a similar situation. He totally delivered on the Commissioner Gordon we've all been waiting for. Er - we don't care about Commissioner Gordon? Well, he was excellent anyway.
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal seemed a bit over her skis on this one. It was not the right role for her. She's too quirky and hip to play this character. Katie Holmes would have done a better job as would several other young leading actresses. It's not a knock on Maggie, who is generally great, but I just feel she was improperly cast.
  • It's a long film. I don't need to see it again for a while, but I am certain that I will see it again some day. Is it the #1 movie of all time as the IMDb currently has it? Absolutely not. And we'll see that ranking drop in the coming weeks. Is it as good a Batman movie as anyone could possibly make? I'm guessing yes, but I'm also willing to keep an open mind about Christopher Nolan's abilities. Certainly, with the box office and critical success he's earned the right to make a third caped crusader.
  • I kept wanting to call Bruce Wayne "Patrick Bateman." Am I the only one?


Kozy said...

I am totally with you on the Patrick Bateman point. If I had to choose, Bale was more Bateman then Ledger Rooney.

Why no cameo for the Van der Beek?

movie junkie said...

i still wish Katie Holmes had stayed on board as Rachel Dawes for the Dark Knight; it was like the time spent getting familiar with her character in Batman Begins was wasted...