I just got back from watching the new Batman movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, I suggest you run out and do that. Right now.
Honestly, the only reason I’m sitting here typing this right now instead of watching it again is because my car wouldn’t start this morning, and I figure I’m going to need any extra money for repairs.
I grew up in a movie theater, learning certain things. One of those things is that you don’t movie jump—pay to watch a movie and then, when it’s over, walk to another auditorium and watch it again (or another movie). I don’t judge people who do this, but I’ve always felt wrong when thinking about doing it. Today, I seriously contemplated it.
Once just wasn’t enough, I needed more. Not the entire movie, necessarily, just some. Just a little hit to keep me going.
I wasn’t sure if I would give in, and it didn’t end up mattering, because there were movie workers standing right outside the door, making sure everyone left the area, herding us all towards the front lobby where we would be forced to either leave or buy another ticket.
So I left.
I went into this movie with high expectations. Very high expectations. It lived up to those expectations and then exceeded them. I say this not only as a fan of Batman, but as a fan of movies.
I’ll be honest with you—I like a lot of shitty movies. Sometimes, just the magic of the big screen is enough to screw with my senses a little, and I’ll end up liking a crap film.
I actually kind of enjoyed X-Men 3 when it first came out. Comic fans and movie fans alike cursed and ridiculed it, and I thought to myself, “Hm.”
I haven’t seen it again, so haven’t changed my opinion. In my defense, I left right as the credits rolled, so I thought everyone died. And I thought that was a good way to wrap things up. Apparently, everyone came back to life. I don’t know how I would’ve felt knowing that just after I had watched the movie, but I’m guessing I still would have liked it.
The Dark Knight is nothing like that. It was just a really fantastic movie.
Even supporting roles do an outstanding job—Harvey Dent, Rachel Dawes, Commissioner Gordon. I wasn’t sure if the replacement of Katie Homes with Maggie Gyllenhaal was going to bother me or not—I’m a big fan of actor continuity in films—but she did a wonderful job, perhaps surpassing Holmes. I should mention that one thing that really bothered me about Batman Begins was that Holmes constantly talked out of the side of her mouth. Any time there was a touching scene where Bruce Wayne and Rachel Dawes were supposed to be rubbing souls or whatever, I was distracted by her mouth.
That’s not the only reason I think Gyllenhaal did a better job, of course, but it helps.
Gary Oldman as James Gordon also does a great job. Unsure, but not weak, trying to make his city a better place—it all comes through with the character.
Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent is equally great.
I would like to go on and on about these characters, but that would require me to cite specific scenes, and I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone.
But rest assured that everyone in this movie does a spectacular job.
Christian Bale has already proven himself as badass enough to be Batman, and Christopher Nolan has proven that he can make a Batman movie. I stand by my opinion that everyone who has tried before can suck dog asshole.
No, no, I don’t want to hear that shit about Tim Burton. Burton didn’t make a Batman movie, he made a Tim Burton movie that happened to have Batman in it. “Look! Look at my amazing vision,” Burton cried with his version of Batman. “Look at the cityscape, at the dark atmosphere I have brought to life!”
“Hey, what was that?”
“That thing that just went flying by. I think it was a car or a plane or something.”
“Oh, that…yeah, that was Batman. But look how I have brought my imagination to life!”
And Joel Schumacher? I will never have the writing skills to describe how I hate that man for defiling a piece of American folklore. He should be set on fire, pissed on, and then buried under Hollywood. As a lesson.
Nolan took a comic book character and made it real. Made it feasible, if not quite believable. He made not one, but two kickass movies about Batman.
The Dark Night isn’t Batman Begins—don’t make the mistake of going in thinking you’re going to see the same story with a different villain.
There is no origin story this time around, which means that you get into the ass-kicking a lot sooner. Well, I guess there actually is an origin story, but it plays out through the entire movie, and goes right along with the action. You still get into the ass-kicking almost immediately.
And the Joker. Oh, the Joker.
If you aren’t uncomfortable as soon as you see the Joker, you soon will be. Every scene he’s in is unsettling. The guy’s insane, plain and simple. He does this trick in the beginning of the movie, called the “Disappearing Pencil Trick.” It’s one of those times where each and every person in the theater yells out.
That pretty much sets the tone for the Joker. You can’t trust the guy. He doesn’t just run around laughing or being weird. Nicholson did a pretty good job with the Joker in 1989.
Ledger blows that performance out of the water. Because the 1989 Joker was Nicholson playing the part of the Joker. Ledger is the Joker. I know how goofy that sounds, but watch the movie. You’ll see what I mean.
I found myself wondering just how far they could push things with a PG-13 rating, and although the logical part of me kept saying, “He can’t do that, he won’t do that in a Batman movie,” there was another part that refused to accept this as a Batman movie. This is Gotham City, and that’s the Joker, and he’ll do whatever the hell he wants.
As I left the theater, I found it hard to believe how often that logical voice was mistaken about this movie. Because he did do that.
Which is a good thing to keep in mind when you’re going into this movie—the Joker really doesn’t play by any rules. He’s nuts and he lies and he kills. Because that’s what he does.
So, yeah, that’s it—my movie review. Go see it, you won’t be sorry. But don’t expect a tamed movie. Don’t expect something stereotypical and cookie-cutter. This is a well-written, superbly-directed action/suspense movie, with amazing actors. Go see it.