Last night I walked out of Wanted marveling that so much could happen in just under two hours. The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man both clocked in with reasonable running times. Is it possible that the trend towards unwieldy, over-bloated blockbusters came to an end with Pirates 3, the ultimate in self-indulgence at the expense of watchability?
Not if Jeff Wells’ sources have it right. He claims to have spoken to an exhibitor who has confirmed to him that The Dark Knight is running at a punishing 152 minutes, almost two and a half hours. Since I had heard people saying two forty five, I guess Nolan was able to trim the sucker down.
I know most of you will rejoice in this – ‘More Batman am good Batman!’ – but holy distended bladders, movie fans. I don’t mind long movies, but one thing my time as a ‘professional’ film critic has taught me is to appreciate filmmakers with economy*. Some stories deserve length and need the space to breathe. Some don’t. It’s the sign of a good director to understand which is which. Louis Letterier had a 170 minute cut of The Incredible Hulk at one point, but nobody needs three hours of that shit.
There will be some who dismiss my complaints here as yet another broadside against the Batman franchise. The truth is that my complaints here sort of encapsulate my problems with this franchise – the level of self-indulgence on display here is goofy. I think it’s always a good idea to approach any movie, no matter how silly the base concept is, as if you’re making Shakespeare. Doesn’t mean you should then present the movie with the some po-faced solemnity.
Meanwhile, more The Dark Knight stuff has popped up on Comcast On Demand. A Batman blog has the goods, which hilariously takes the form of some dude videotaping his own TV. Why does anyone bother making movies anymore when it seems that people go so completely apeshit over commercials? I think the world would be in much better shape if people were videotaping Guy Maddin movie commercials off TV. Or if they ran commercials for Guy Maddin movies on TV.
*My favorite Sundance 08 moment involved running times. Before each screening a festival volunteer reads out the name, director, stars and running times of each movie. When one film’s running time was read out as 89 minutes, the whole room exploded in applause.