Monday, July 21, 2008

Why So Serious?

After waiting all summer for the release of The Dark Knight, I was rewarded on Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. I got into a theater that held over 300 people, and there were only about 50 or 60 people total in the theater. That meant lots of empty space and no stupid people right next to me or in front of me to talk through the whole movie. Score! Unfortunately, this viewing marked the official retirement of my Christmas gift supply of gift cards. Those things went a long way though, so I can't complain.
So, did I love the movie? I think so. I want to say yes, but I don't think I can make a sound judgement based on just one viewing. There was just so much going on in the film that I think I'd be foolish to assume I absorbed everything. It did blow me away though, because the script was fairly tight and well written, the action sequences were shockingly real, the whole film was dark and gritty, and the villain was well...he was as unsettling and unhinged as anyone could hope for. The hype about Heath Ledger's performance was not unfounded, but I have to say that I can't call it Oscar-worthy. It was good, no doubt, but it wasn't the sort of performance people usually get Oscars for. I think that if he does get one, it'll only be because he's dead. If he were alive and kicking, he'd still be commended, but there would be no Oscar buzz. Let's face it, action movies NEVER get Oscar nominations, unless it's for technical categories like effects or make-up.
I have to say that I would have liked the movie a lot more if it were about 20 minutes shorter. This isn't because I have a problem with the length, but because the sub-plot with Harvey Dent should have ended long before it did. If they had cut it right after Commissioner Gordon visits him in the hospital (before they show his face) and left it hanging, they could have developed an entire movie with Two Face as a villain. I think I would have preferred that. They should have left well enough alone with the Joker being the only madman in the film. Plus, I think it's going to be hard to find a villain for another movie if they choose to do one. There aren't many Batman villains who can hold up enough evil to sustain an entire film. So, they may have backed themselves into a corner there.
So, I think I loved the movie, and I'll be sure about it once I go again. I'm going to see it in IMAX so I can be sure to get the sense that I'm immersed in the film, and then I'll be able to pick up on everything I didn't get the first time through. But, it was good. It was really good.


Scott said...

I actually thought the Dent story line outshined The Joker in some ways. I can't remember a rise and fall of a hero being written so well. The Joker is getting a lot of attention but Dent is what kicked the movie up to the next level for me.

Scott said...

By the way if you plan an Imax trip to see it again I could so get behind that. Give me a ring.

FFPF said...

Dent isn't a strong enough character to carry a whole movie. He's not really a villain so much as a misguided hero. There are only so many times that coin flipping can entertain. I think it was a good choice to incorporate both characters this way as the DEnt/Joker storyline rounded out the Joker's evil brilliantly.

I also loved the two-movies-in-one feel that it had. Especially when you see the extent of a certain persons influence on the events in the movie.

All-in-all, I also think Heath Ledger could well be worthy of an Oscar for this as after a few days (and viewing the movie twice) his performance still makes everyone elses feel 2-dimensional by comparison, even though they blatantly weren't. I think that this can't be bundled with other action movies because the story was so much more than that.

All in all, this is one amazing movie and it should win an oscar for something whether it be direction, effects, make-up, acting, or set design.

FFPF said...

Oh, and without following Dent's story, the whole movie doesn't reach closure. After all, Batman doesn't complete his journey until after all that has happened.

Amy W. said...

I loved the Dent storyline, and thought the movie got the whole tragedy tone of it right - but I am in agreement with you that it should have ended sooner. When I heard Harvey Dent was a character in the movie, I assumed that the movie would end with him becoming Two-Face and setting up for Two-Face to be the primary villain in the third movie. I loved the character, but they dragged it on too long.