I guess, as a film buff, this is my obligatory The Dark Knight post. However, I hope to discuss more than just how perfect the film was. Actually, I hope to bring the excitement down just a notch or two.
Like most of the country, I joined the rest of the cattle and was herded into a massive line Saturday afternoon to see Chris Nolan’s new installment of the Bruce Wayne franchise. I planned weeks in advance and was able to attain IMAX tickets to see the film in its full glory. When I left, I was feeling unsettled, amazed and downright brain dead. Needless to say, I loved the film. I thought it was just as excellent as the first (if not better) and Heath Ledger was as every bit as amazing as I had heard. What Nolan brings is a realistic touch lacking in many (well, most) superhero/comic book films. Most of them are inherently unrealistic, while Batman is a regular guy who happens to wear a suit. Besides the fact that I feel like what happens in Gotham could actually happen in an American city, Nolan’s action sequences don’t feel gratuitous and don’t feel overdone. Perhaps it’s his refusal to use CGI at all costs, but I left feeling like there wasn’t a whole lot of action. Then I realized that the whole film was basically one large action scene, unlike the first. Why do I feel this way? I’m not sure, but I like it. Too often I leave an action/comic book movie saying “the action was cool, but as a whole it lacked substance.” The Dark Knight has both and moreso than man other films action or not. I think this is the strength of the film and the reason it has resonanted with so many.
Moving on from my praise, there’s a few things I want to point out. First, I don’t think this is the greatest movie ever made. Hopefully some of you will and maybe I’m wrong in thinking that a lot do think it’s the greatest film ever. According to IMDB, this is the #1 movie of all time. While this may just be temporary due to the relative lack of votes versus the other films in the top 20, I think it is saying something about how people feel. There are very few negative reviews and most of them are getting backlash from people basically saying “you’re crazy for not liking this.” And while I loved the film to death, I can see why someone may not like it. It’s non-stop action, the Joker has no back story, Two-Face is barely a “villain” and maybe a few others. These points are the reason I love the film but I can see over the other side of the fence. What I think is happening is that, first of all, the film is attracting many viewers who don’t necessarily see all that many films. So in their view, this is a great film. Obviously, I’m generalizing here, but I do know it’s getting utter praise from some people I know who are not known to see films on a regular basis. Second, I think many people assume becuase they see the film as flawless, that that means it must be the greatest movie of all time. This is a giant misconception I think. I could spout of loads of films I see as flawless, but that doesn’t mean I think most of them (if any) are up there as one of the greats. Yes I think it’s great. It’s one of the best movies to come out in a long time, but I don’t necessarily think it’s by far the best film of even this year. I have seen a few films that have blown me away already and there are a few more that I am anticipating will do the same thing. I think The Dark Knight is just attracting a larger audience than any of these other films and well, they all love it. There’s of course nothing wrong with virtually everyone who sees it loving it to death, but I think it’s gotten a bit overboard.
Also, I do think that Heath Ledger’s death has overshadowed his performance and the film as a whole. He was astounding as the Joker. I think that his Joker will become the quintessential performance and oust Jack Nicholson’s. But as for this oscar nonsense? I’m not convinced we would be having this discussion if he were still alive. Does that mean he doesn’t deserve it? No. His performance was phenomenal. I’m just not convinced.
What I am convinced of is that his performance is completely outweighing those of his co-stars. I’ve heard almost no love for Aaron Eckhart. I think his performance is just as great as Ledger’s. I can’t think of anyone else who could have nailed Harvey Dent/Two-Face as well as he did. He totally embodied the “White Knight” essence of the flawless, saviour known as Harvey Dent and managed to destroy all that he stood for within seconds. I think he deserves much more accolade than he is recieving. Of course Gary Oldman does another spot on job. Maggie Gyllenhaal has also been lacking in her share of praise. Most would agree that Katie Holmes was the only flaw of the first film. Gyllenhaal does a great job of taking over the role without so much as blinking an eye and the viewer barely notices. And that is definitely a good thing. She doesn’t detract from the film Holmes did, yet she doesn’t overtly assert her new presence. Such a solid performance.
I know many people out there will probably not read this. I’m just as sick and tired of reading about the film, regardless of my desire to see it 10 more times. But these are just some points I wanted to throw out. Maybe you feel the same way? Disagree? If you still have the strength to discuss the film, drop a line.