So, in a few days the long-awaited (I guess) The DARK KNIGHT RISES opens thus mercifully putting an end to Christopher Nolan's Batman saga. As you might have gathered from the title of this column, I was not a fan of number two. BATMAN BEGINS I liked but I sort of hated THE DARK KNIGHT and can't understand why it was so popular. Chances are if you're reading this you liked THE DARK KNIGHT, or at least told your friends you did, so I'm giving you a chance to reconsider by reprinting the reasons from my old column why that film blew.
1. It was way too long
It felt like as much as a half hour (and I'm being kind) could have been cut. And, particularly during the first half, I was actually a little bored.
2. At times it was confusing
It was hard to keep track of exactly what was going on – who was controlling what, where the money was coming from, where it was going, who was good, who was bad. (Okay, the good-bad thing was intentional but – quick tangent here – if no one can be trusted, why do you accept rides from people you don't know? Shouldn't you just drive yourself home?)
3. The dialects were distracting
To me Heath Ledger sounded like Andy Dick and Batman sounded like Dirty Harry with a sore throat. I tried to ignore it but never could entirely.
4. Too many unanswered (or unasked) questions, mostly about the Joker
Who is he? Where did he come from? What's his story? How does he waltz into town under everyone's radar (he's not that subtle) and suddenly start robbing mobster's banks? How does he stroll into a mobster's secret meeting? Where did all his money and men come from? How is he able to rig a hospital and two ferries with explosives so quickly without anyone knowing? At one point it's discovered that the Joker got at least one henchman from Arkham Asylum. Did I miss something? Was he an inmate there? Did he break in at some point? Please, can somebody clarify this mess for me?
5. It didn't feel like a Batman movie
To me it played more like a cop drama – a little Scorsese-like – that just happened to have Batman in it. At times it felt like he didn't even need to be there.
6. Heath Ledger as the Joker
Heath Ledger was good, that part I can't disagree with. He played a very convincing, very evil bad guy. However, he wasn't a good Joker. Perhaps it was the culture barrier, but I don't think he understood who he was playing. The Joker, as the name might clue you in, is a joker. He has fun while he's creating mayhem. He has a good time while he's killing people. The Joker in THE DARK KNIGHT (aside from an occasional laugh) just seemed like a miserable, malevolent monster. He wasn't charming or funny at all, as the Joker should be.
7. Batman in China?
Perhaps I'm nitpicking but since when does Batman leave the city, let alone the country? (And how does Bruce Wayne get all that stuff through customs?)
8. Why so serious?
This was my biggest problem. The movie wasn't at all fun. It was bleak and depressing and I think I know why. After the original BATMAN – and particularly numbers three and four – the movies got campy and at times silly. It seems to me that Christopher Nolan and company decided to go the other way, from one extreme to the other and I think that was a huge mistake.
With all that being said, there were elements of the movie I did like. Some of the action sequences were cool (although, for most of the one in the dark near the end I couldn't tell what the hell was going on) and the acting was excellent. I particularly enjoyed Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent and Two Face and Michael Kane is always good.
Well, there it is, indisputable proof that the movie everyone seemed to love was pretty sucky. Better luck with the new one.
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Jul 17, 2012 12:23 PM
|I kinda disagree with your position. This is not the Batman as portrayed by Adam West, or even Michael Keaton. This was a Frank Miller Batman - very dark - very conflicted. Another misconception is that the Joker is supposed to be funny. Far from it. People are afraid of clowns, and he is their worst nightmare. And his mantra was chaos, so he should be a mystery. No one understands a mystery, especially if yo;re in the middle of it.|
I do agree that a "sore throat " Batman is not the best representation for the character.
Still, I enjoyed reading a counterpoint to the adulation bestowed on Nolan's BATMAN trilogy. He's not like Superman, who is invulnerable to interpretation.
Jul 26, 2012 9:50 AM
|Tim: a little too much analysis for my tastes. I enjoy a movie based on several criteria. One being my gut, mostly. Approaching complex characters, real or comic, isn't always easy and distill them down to 2 hours or less. That being said, your views are interesting and thoughtful. Thanks|
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Thoughts, observations, conjectures, complaints about movies and mostly how they relate to me personally. If you're looking for something a little broader, try Ebert.
Born to write (literally – much to the displeasure of his mother, he emerged with a pencil clutched in one tiny fist), Tim spends most of his days crafting epic monosyllabic poems, new comical titles to his favorite Beatles' songs (Hey, Dude), and angry letters to local businesses that have wronged him in some way. He's really an okay guy once you get to know him.|
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