Monday, July 21, 2008

The Dark Knight

By now, everyone on the internet has given you their opinion of The Dark Knight. If I don't give you mine, I'll feel left out, like the internet hates me.

It's amazing. It's not only the best superhero movie ever made, it's a movie that will be incredibly hard to top. It does everything that a Batman story should do. Everything. It's riveting from the first scene to the last, and at two and a half hours, that's saying something. The plot is complex but never lost me. There's at least five twists I never saw coming. The schemes are both original and true to character. And the action is easier to follow than Batman Begins.

Yes, Heath Ledger is incredible. But Aaron Eckhart's Two-Face is definitive. I love Tommy Lee Jones, but next to Eckhart's, his performance is embarrassing. Morgan Freeman's given even more to do. Christian Bale gives the balanced performance that the evolution of Batman and Bruce Wayne demands. Michael Caine feels more comfortable even though he's hitting the same notes. And Katie Holmes is not missed(except by one idiot in my theater).

When I was at Art Asylum, Caesar (a great artist in his own right) had a theory about the Batman movies. He said that each movie corresponded to a different decade in Batman's history. With The Dark Knight, the theory still holds.

Batman (1989) - the 30's. Batman uses guns. The thugs wear fedoras. The action is terse and contained, like Golden Age panels.

Batman Returns (1992) - the 90's. It's about the psychological damage in the characters, more than the action. The look is big and stylized, the villains grotesque.

Batman Forever (1995) - the 50's. Everything is oversized, from the city to the layers to the traps., The villains are crazy, but not scary. And Batman always does the right thing.

Batman and Robin (1997) - the 60's. It's a 100 million dollar Adam West episode. Batman will not stop smiling. The villains are outlandish and spout puns and cliches. The action is unbelieveable, in that you don't believe in it. And it's terrible.

Batman Begins (2005) - the 70's. Just like the O'Neil and Adams run followed the campy '60's, so does this movie save the franchise. It's moody but realistic. Batman travels the world and is serious about his methodology, not just driven. We're given the clerarest view of a city that needs Batman. Ra's al Ghul is in it.

The Dark Knight (2008) - the 2000's. It's scarier than Batman has ever been, both in his character and his enemies. The superhero theatrics take a backseat to the true crime drama.

94% on Rotten Tomatoes!

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