January 13, 2009

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While I'm Thinking About It

Finally saw The Dark Knight

That was . . . wow. Exceptionally well-made. A compelling story, fine action sequences with a camera steady enough to see what was going on . . . but boy was it a dark film. Dark, and bleak, and all that fun stuff. I'm still trying to decide how I feel about it.

Frankly, between Joker's "magic trick" and what happens to Harvey (yes, going by the box office records it broke over the summer, I don't need to guard against spoilers, but I'm doing so anyway), any other hero--say, John McClane or the dynamic duo of Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh--would have found himself in an R-rated movie. It's that intense. In fact, I'm not sure the MPAA bothered watching it, they probably just saw "New Batman Movie" and said "PG-13." And then, of course, parents took their young kids to the theater . . . but that's a whole other rant.

I go into this next bit knowing full well that it's nothing more than personal opinion, but I can't help but think they got the Joker wrong. Joker's not someone who goes to elaborate lengths setting up death traps or impossible situations to prove some point about society or humanity. No, he'll do it because because in his twisted mind the results are going to be hilarious. The closest we got to that was when he torched the money.

And, shall we count the bits that came from earlier Bat-movies? I think we shall:

  1. Joker confronts the big mob meeting, and pretty well takes charge--1989.
  2. A new and better Bat-suit--right before the climaxes of Batman Forever and Batman & Robin . . . and Val Kilmer's upgrade even include sonar.
  3. The Batmobile sloughs off part of itself, revealing a sleeker vehicle that gets Batman out of a tight spot--Batman Returns.
  4. Joker challenges Batman on TV--1989.
  5. Multiple villains--I counted four: Scarecrow, Joker, Sal Maroni, and Two-Face. That beats both Penguin, Catwoman and Max Schrek in Returns, and ties Poison Ivy, Bane, Mr. Freeze, and Joel Schumacher in that fourth one.

Oh, and I absolutely hate Christian Bale's Bat-voice. Go watch a couple dozen hours of Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League, come back when you figure out how Kevin Conroy changes his voice without turning it into a loud whisper.

I don't think I didn't not enjoy it, because there were some good moments. Even some really funny moments (mostly featuring Lucius Fox, who's smarter and more on-the-ball than the staffs of the Daily Planet and Daily Bugle combined--is it any wonder newspapers are dying?). But I prefer more of an over sense of fun in my superhero movies, so however I finally decide on this thing, it'll not be topping either Iron Man or Incredible Hulk.



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