Batman Begins to be Dark

We saw The Dark Knight last Saturday. Verdict: “Very Good, but Traumatic.”

Of course, it was traumatic because it was so good. And it was so good because of Heath Ledger. He carried the movie from start to finish and without his performance as crazy-fucking-psycho Joker, the film would have been just another Superhero Action Flick. Ledger managed to portray the Joker in a fashion that was both insanely random yet still an evil genius. He was perfect in the role which drew from the beginnings of the comic as the anti-rational villain. The Joker in this piece was no mere villain, he was the epitome of chaos and anarchy. It seemed like he didn’t know what he was going to do from moment to moment and his very randomness had me clutching the arms of the seat a few times because I was afraid the film makers were going to take some of his actions to their logical conclusion.

I had a few issues with the wheels-within-wheels complexity of some of the Joker’s plots, though. There were several on screen moments when Joker said (essentially) “I’ve go no plans, I’m crazy!” yet his various diabolical deeds speak of highly sophisticated management and control of resources and people. But, Ledger did such a good job with the Joker that I can let it slide.

Batman, played by strong-jawed-boy, was only ok. He did everything he was supposed to but he really wasn’t the main character. Joker was, as well as Harvey Dent, played by Aaron Eckhart, whom I love. Harvey, the idealistic new District Attorney for Gotham, does a great job filling the role of the White Knight in this movie, with a twist.

Maggie Gyllenhaal was fine as Rachel, but her character was overshadowed by everyone else. She was mostly there as a plot device, which I found a bit disappointing. We also learn some back history on Alfred and I wonder if it jives with the comics.

Overall: Go see it. It’s long (2.2 hours) and it feels like it ends about three times, but it’s good. There are some plot irregularities and some weirdness with Batman’s super technology, but again, I can let it slide.

I mentioned before that it’s traumatic? Heath Ledger as the Joker will have you biting your fingernails…

Edit: One of the reasons I liked this movie was because I’m far enough away from the comic books that I didn’t know what was going to happen. Do yourself a favor: if you don’t already know what’s going on, don’t look it up beforehand.

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2 Responses to Batman Begins to be Dark

  1. Ken says:

    Good review. My wife and I went to see it yesterday. I expected a dark movie, but “The Dark Knight” surpassed my expectations. In terms of grittiness, Nolan wasn’t unlike Tim Burton. I wouldn’t want to meet Danny DeVito’s version of the Penguin or Heath Ledger’s version of the Joker.

    I didn’t see it as a kid’s movie, and I don’t think it was intended as one. One of my wife’s cousins brought her two young children to see it. Having seen it myself, I think it was a very poor decision on her part. At the 10am showing on Sunday, it was mostly adults in the audience.

    Heath Ledger’s portrayal of a Joker whom “you can’t reason with, some people just want to watch the world burn” was very unsettling. He eclipsed Harvey Dent and Batman by a long shadow. It was truly his movie.

    If Nolan gets any darker or grittier with the Batman series, he’ll be on par with Frank Miller. With “The Dark Knight”, he didn’t come up for air as much as other authors or directors might.

  2. Mebbie says:

    Tim and I finally saw it last weekend. I agree – Heath Ledger’s rendition of the Joker was *amazing*. I never got caught up in the Heath movement so I don’t know that I’d actually seen him in a movie before. But wow…he was so…freaking…good.

    I’m glad I’m not the only person who thought it was going to end 3 times before it actually ended.

    And I had a similar thought about the Joker’s organizational abilities. Nobody can cook up those amazing events without an incredible level of organization. And it seems to me that he did have an underlying plan throughout the entire movie. This isn’t the plan I was thinking of (I don’t want to ruin it for anybody) but isn’t the need to cause massive chaos a plan?

    Lastly, I’m with 99% of the other people who didn’t like Batman’s voice. :)

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