The Dark Knight

I’d like to address a few things, re: Nils, myself, and movies. He and I have disagreed before about Roger Ebert. Nils has said Ebert is too easy on movies, I love Ebert because he reviews the way I would: he first tries to understand the vision and intent of the film, and then analyzes whether the execution works. This is why I believe his reviews tend toward the positive… he’s focusing on the positive because that is his style. Regardless, I think Nils and I can agree with Ebert’s take on The Dark Knight:

Because these actors and others are so powerful, and because the movie does not allow its spectacular special effects to upstage the humans, we’re surprised how deeply the drama affects us. Eckhart does an especially good job as Harvey Dent, whose character is transformed by a horrible fate into a bitter monster. It is customary in a comic book movie to maintain a certain knowing distance from the action, to view everything through a sophisticated screen. “The Dark Knight” slips around those defenses and engages us.

Sounds like it could be a good movie, no? Oh, and when I read Ebert’s reviews before the movie, I try to skip over all the plot details I can… it’s almost better to read them after the movie.

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I still think Ebert has gotten soft in his old age, but I do agree on his assessment of The Dark Knight being a great movie. I was riveted throughout the entire 2.5 hours and every time the Joker came onscreen the whole theater didn’t make a noise or move in their seats. Ledger’s performance definitely merits all this posthumous Oscar buzz and my first thought after the film had ended was that it really sucks that he died so prematurely. The Joker is definitely needed to resolve the conflicts that started in Dark Knight so I am interested to see how director Nolan will solve this casting/character crisis. Will he recast the role? Will he sideline the Joker? I personally hope for a recast, as hard as that will be. But otherwise, the rest of the film went off without a hitch. Bale was good (but his Batman voice sucks and is way over the top), Eckhart played a convincing and honest public figure determined to bring order and justice back to Gotham (although his Two Face character needed to be fleshed out and worked on more) and the score was relentless and affecting, especially in its “theme” for the Joker. I’d say it takes the cake as far as comic book movies go and leaves all others in that category far behind. It also continued to drain the fantasy/comic-booky elements from the story and setting which adds a great sense of believability and reality to the mix; two characteristics that will no doubt help draw non-fanboys/girls into the Batman universe. Bottom line, see this film whatever your feelings toward comic book or action movies.

PS I am seeing this again in the theater as soon as possible, but the next time will be at the local Imax theater. I’ll probably come away liking Dark Knight all the more.

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