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Capsule: The Dark Knight

It's been a long time, and I haven't done capsules for each movie... but I figure this one deserves it.

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.


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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 31st, 2008 03:10 am (UTC)
Also disappointing, Christian Bale and Maggie Gyllenhaal had the chemistry of two pieces of granite.

i didn't think that had good chemistry either. but it was more excusable for me because i hate romantic pairings for Batman. i want him alone. and also, Rachel was not in love with Bruce. and it turned out that Bruce wasn't quite in love with her so it made sense that their kiss was so awkward.
Aug. 1st, 2008 04:31 pm (UTC)
It wasn't even that romantically they didn't work, because there's that whole "heroes don't have time for love" thing that we've all been obsessed about since Spiderman... it was that there was no sense of history between them, no friendship, no established past. Their eyes were glossed over and numb, akin to those of a fish that's been dead for a few days.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 1st, 2008 04:32 pm (UTC)
Don't we all.
Jul. 31st, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC)
It's really good to hear a dissenting voice over the din of OMG BEST MOVIE EVER. I completely agree with you that outside of Joker, Gordon and Dent, the emotional connections of the rest of the characters didn't resonate at all.

Still, bitchen flick. But Batman Begins was better.
Aug. 1st, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
See, I didn't even give a crap about Dent. I know I should've, but he was just an overly optimistic pretty boy with a plan too grand to work. From the moment he got on camera and started talking about teh glorious fewtcha I knew he was going to die. It was so Stienbeckian and unecessary.

Oh, and on another tangent... I think he was presented in the film like a Dickens hero. Completely incorruptible, so when the Joker "turned him" I was like oh WHATEVER. HE WOULD SO NOT.

And his face was grosser. I actually gagged in the theater. I guess this is sort of an accomplishment considering Eckhart's normal face is gross. I hate that dude's chin. Someone give me a sander, fr srs, because that thing is about to need its own postal code.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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