32. The Dark Knight
I really wanted to love this in every way possible. I wanted to believe that an action/drama deserved to beat the snot out of the records. But, as is wont to happen after a frajillion tons of hype, I was disappointed.
Don't get me wrong, I had a blast. Heath's final performance was absolutely ridiculous. I believe shamanix summed it up perfectly when he said, "Heath Ledger didn't appear in that movie. It was always the Joker. He went to a place so dark, it's not really a surprise that he died." I went in thinking that my lingering depression over Ledger's death -- and the talent hole it's left in the actor pool -- would cast a shadow over the movie, but it didn't. The movie sucked me in really quick, and I got over it.
That being said, I think it dove in a little too quickly. There were so many new groups and characters introduced that clever little foreshadowing bits didn't really work. If you were trying to memorize everyone's face, you might've noticed some repeat faces before shit blows up. Otherwise it's just another episode of "Extra Goes Boom."
And shit did blow up, and a lot of people did die. That being said, other than kidnapping the accountant by zipping up out of China on a junker plane from Seoul and the ejecto-cycle flipping the semi, the stunts just weren't as spectacular as I was expecting. Neither were the gadgets. Batman's last suit could take on a Rottweiler and kick its ass without Bruce Wayne even inside of it. What was this rubber-plated downgrade we saw? "You want to turn your head?" Let's get real. And while I love the fluttering sound from the new wings, it's not so good for stealth, ya'mean?
So that's one area where I wanted more. I also wanted more, deeper character relationships. There were too many unnecessary mobsters and characters (i.e. pathetic blackmail guy, why bother bringing Hottie McHot (Cillian) Murphy back?), I felt like we didn't get to see enough of what made Batman Begins so damn good - the personal history and interactions. Bruce and Alfred had what, three scenes in the film? Morgan Freeman was on screen for maybe 5 minutes total in a 2.5 hour movie? There was no emotional connection between any of the characters this time, besides Fox telling Bruce that he didn't enjoy the wire-tap metaphor on an ethical level. Also disappointing, Christian Bale and Maggie Gyllenhaal had the chemistry of two pieces of granite.
It was too long, plain and simple, and it didn't need to be. We don't need the "I don't trust your bureaucracy!" moments. Everyone knows Gotham is corrupt. We don't care. We're here to watch Heath Ledger freak out, Christian Bale beat people up, Morgan Freeman be smart and funny, and Gary Oldman be honorable. That's it. There's your thesis. China-Guy is not necessary. We don't really need to introduce one branch of the mob just to kill them off with pool sticks. We don't need 7 twists. The Enemy is brilliant. We get it. Snip snip. Don't make me wonder "is it going to be over soon?" Don't make me leave the theater feeling like I just ran a marathon.
This film could've used an editing eye to just snip out some of that drama-building fluff because there really was no balance. There was a distinct lack of comic relief, which shocked me because Batman Begins was so good at it. You can only amp up the suspense for so long before the entire theater sits back and goes "well shit's going to just go down for the rest of the movie" and then they lose their engagement and stop following the plot actively.
Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed it. It was good, it was fun, it was a summer blockbuster. It just wasn't spectacular, and it so easily could have and should have been. Please don't kill me.