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Monday, July 21, 2008
Dark Knight Review
First of, I was so excited about the movie I got there 90 mins before start time. It’s a particularly sad moment when you get there before the guy dressed in full Joker getup, make up and all. I was there BEFORE that guy. And before the guy dressed, ironically I imagine, as Robin. And the usher made an awkward meeting happen between Robin and a much older, shorter, balding Batman. They looked at each other as if gazing into a soul mirror. “What have we done?” The younger Robin staring at a possible future, the older Batman at his own misspent youth. They walked away from each other wordlessly.
The greatest thing of that ilk that I have seen was at Chicago’s Wizard World last year. I saw a really overweight Superman waiting for the elevator. Reality, turns out, was his Kryptonie. As were the stairs right next to the elevator, apparently.
Now onto Dark Knight. I saw a few 10 year olds or so go into this movie, and I got jealous of them. I wish I could have seen this movie when I was a kid. It would have destroyed me completely, and then rebuilt me again. It would have been my favorite movie of all time. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy it as an adult. I did. I thought it was really really amazing. But if I had seen it at 10…
Ok, its gonna be hard for me to not gush over this film. I wanted to be contrarian. I wanted ot be the guy to not like it. I wanted to be like “Its not bad, but its overrated and flawed!”
Well, it isn’t overrated. It’s the best superhero movie I have ever seen.
Instead of just running through and gushing over the thing, I’m gonna just go over a few of the things I had concerns about prior to watching the movie.
1. The action scenes would be lame. The action scenes in the first movie were really jittery, I couldn’t see what was going on. It might have had something to do with the fact that I watched it in Imax and it felt like I was literally sitting inside one of Morgan Freeman’s freckles. The action is shot better here, but its still not as good as the action in, say Spiderman 3, which is a terrible movie otherwise. Part of the problem is that Batman’s suit seems so hard to move around in, you can’t really have him doing acrobatic moves. The guys who gave him that outfit in the comic books could draw anything; they could have him fucking doing splits in a Kevlar onesy. But real life, of course, means you gotta abide by physics. So the action scenes weren’t amazing, but it’s a tribute to the movie that I would have been fine if there had been no action in it at all.
2. The movie would be too dark and take itself too seriously. It isn’t, and it doesn’t. Despite all the reviews going on about how dark it was, I thought the movie was actually a lot of fun. It seemed to be having a good time. It is serious, of course, but there were funny moments in it and it had this buoyancy throughout that I didn’t feel Batman Begins had. They nail the tone.
3. The movie would be too long. The 3 hours flew by. It was paced quickly. There was a lot of plot but it was handled remarkably efficiently for an almost 3 hour movie. Oh, I don’t know where to fit this in, but Gotham seemed to have a real personality. They really convey the sense of a once majestic city in ruins. And they really make you care about city’s fate, which is quite a feat. Its not a real place, but it certainly feels like one. I felt myself thinking “I think Batman really is the best hope that Gotham has of being restored to its former glory! Wait, or is it Harvey Dent?” Either way, I cared.
4. Joker would be too hammy. He is not. Heath Ledger is amazing amazing amazing in this role. What if he hadn’t been? What if he sucked? It would have been most awkward. But he doesn’t suck. Its one of the best movie villains of all time. Heath Ledger is completely invisible in the role. All you see is this… creature on screen. His tongue flicks about, he has this herky jerky way of talking and walking, and his weird nasally whine as his voice. And it works. He is absolutely terrifying. There is one moment where he yells “Look at me!” that fucking rocked me to the bone. Wow. Terrifying. Joker’s entire “thing” is that he believes humans are vicious animals once society is stripped away, and he spends the whole movie trying to prove that. It’s a really well written character. Joker does not care about money or power, and that just makes him more terrifying and unique. Its rare to have a villain who is so absolutely and completely evil, that you still sort of… understand. (SPOILER in invisotext, highlight to read) And kind of want to win. I honestly got a little sad when the Joker’s final scheme does not work. It broke my heart. You could see, for a second, sadness on his face.(END SPOILER). He embarrasses Jack Nicholson’s performance. What a beautiful beautiful creation. I read somewhere that Heath Ledger hired a voice coach to learn to speak so that it seemed like he was a puppet. Just slightly off. And his whole performance captures that feel. At the end of the movie, Joker says “We will be fighting each other for a long time.” I imagine a universe where Ledger is still alive, and how exciting that line would have been. The theater would have erupted in applause. I would have smiled. Instead, I got a little choked up.I know people who knew him lost a lot lot lot more than future Batman/Joker movies, but, for me, that’s a pretty significant loss. Sad.
So that’s all. I loved it. I cant wait to watch it again. I wanna see it in Imax. I wanna see it on my tv screen. I wanna see it on an iPod. I wanna see it on a wrist watch. I just wish a ten year old Kumail could have seen it. He would have smiled ear to ear.