Dark Knight Notes

Since Paul begged---begged me to post something about the Dark Knight movie, here are some thoughts (spoilers, of course):

  • It's far from a perfect film. But it's a good film, and it's a decent sequel to Begins
  • Unlike Mark, I thought everyone's acting was fine. Unlike Paul, I didn't see anything stellar about Ledger's performance. Look, if Ledger's final film had been Bedtime for Bonzo, people would be saying it was an Oscar-worthy performance. Hollywood protects its own.
  • The ending makes no sense. If you're going to lie about Dent's crimes, then say the Joker was responsible. Saying it was Batman is just stupid.
  • Seeing the movie in IMAX means that the city-scape scenes are 2x as big as the interior shots. It was cool, but I'm not sure it was worth the extra $6
  • Christian Bale's mouth has always freaked me out. When he wears a mask and talks funny, it only heightens the panic.
  • Michael Kaine must have had some face-work done. He looked a lot younger this time around
  • Gyllenhal is a much better choice for Rachel (in that she has some acting ability), but she still doesn't seem right for the part. Also, it's not clear how much time has passed between Begins and DK, but I got the impression it was a couple of months at max. Her relationship with Dent seems too deep for a couple of months. And was she a lawyer in Begins? Maybe I'm confusing her with Vicki Vale, but it took me awhile to realize who she was.
  • Like Mark, I felt that the whole China "extradiction" sidetrack was unnecessary, but it didn't bother me too much. I got the sense that (director) Nolan thought, "I've got an extra $2 million. I'm going to China!"
  • I was happy to see the (somewhat) deeper subtext of how to respond to terrrorism. I honestly don't think that we can see enough of this kind of moral debate in our popular entertainment---especially as most movies glorify violence, torture, and revenge. Dark Knight, of course, does glorify violence as well, but there you go....
  • Likewise, the responses to terrorism/"evil" were also nice, especially the whole "tapping into your phones" that Freeman has a problem with. (Although the technology seemed a little silly.)
  • Unlike Mark, I never thought the citizens of Gotham were particularly bad, and I found the whole we-won't-blow-them-up to be a pretty interesting scene, and a nice answer to the subtext of "what should we do about terrorism?" You don't have to become as bad as the people who hurt you. Of course, the Joker should have been delighted that he was thwarted, if he truly loves the unexpected.
  • For a guy who doesn't care about money, the Joker sure seems to be able to afford a lot explosives.
  • Although there were 2 villains, the movie largely made them organic to the plot. It was nice to see Dent's progression, and for a moment I figured his transformation would be left to movie #3. But it worked pretty well within the story, and the movie largely avoided the awful problems of Spider-Man 3, all 3 X-Men, and of course, the mid-Nineties Batman films, which all rammed excessive and unnecessary characters down your throat.
  • Instead of all the extra story padding and SFX, I would have liked to have more about Batman himself---his parents and his motivation. It was fine for him to question his role as dark hero, but his parents should have been a factor.
  • It was great to see Batman re-assert his moral code---which was largely missing from Begins. And saving the Joker somewhat makes up for letting al-Gul die, and it was a nice counter to the Burton film as well.
  • Batman should not use guns---even on his impossible motorcycle.