Friday, July 25, 2008

Mulling Over The Dark Knight

I'm still mulling over Batman 2: The Dark Knight. Yes, I know, that's not the name of the movie but I can't stand these sequels that take on their subtitles as their names (with the exception of the Star Wars films, perhaps.

I'm not as in love with The Dark Knight as everyone else, it seems. Most of my friends and coworkers are still catching their breath after seeing it opening weekend.

I found it to be a very mature comic book-based movie, perhaps one of the most adult comic film I've seen even topping R-rated fare; and I'm not talking butts, blood, and boobies when I mean "adult". It's definitely not a kiddie film and I appreciate that.

The thing I liked the most about the film is the building of character, namely Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). In any other comic book movie, Dent would be transformed to Two Face within the first twenty minutes (a la Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever). Likewise, I enjoyed how enigmatic The Joker (Heath Ledger) was. We were saved the "origin story" and given various lies instead. Director/co-writer Christopher Nolan realizes that not understanding this embodiment of anarchy is what gives him his true terror.

The Dark Knight is a refreshing sophomore superhero film. Too often they follow the formula:

  1. villain origin
  2. what the superhero's been up to since the last film
  3. villain plans to "conquer the world"
  4. superhero's love life
  5. villain pulls minor crime / superhero discovers villain's existence
  6. superhero threatens villain's livelihood
  7. villain kidnaps superhero's love interest
  8. finale / resolution

You'll see many of those elements in The Dark Knight but not so many as, say, Spiderman 3. Oddly, you'll also see some of those in Spiderman 2 but that film really worked for me. Otto Octavius wasn't as dynamic a character as Harvey Dent but he was definitely far more than a cardboard cutout. As I write this I can't help but hold up Venom (Topher Grace), Sand Man (Thomas Hayden Church), The Riddler (Jim Carrey), Two Face (Tommy Lee Jones), Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman), and Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) as just being some of the worst screen villains in memory.

And what didn't I like about The Dark Knight? Why am I not raving and foaming at the mouth about the film? Perhaps it's the lack of screentime for Batman (the movie really belonged to Harvey Dent and The Joker). I'm working on figuring it out.

1 comment:

Uncle Leon said...

I just saw it the night before last, and I hear ya, man. Aesthetically I loved it. I agree that Dent was the most interesting character. But Christian Bale's impersonation of Clint Eastwood in "Heartbreak Ridge" leaves me cold. And, as with The Departed, I hated the last shot. Or, more specifically, the big speech. Just in case we didn't get it. Jackass.

There, now I'm complaining too.

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