Spoilers Abound, my Pretties…
I almost knew what I was walking into when I got to the theater… four weeks late. I went to see it with my friend, Greyson, who had already seen it, like everyone else. Further, I saw it at one of those mega theaters with the surround sound on too loud, but it works for movies like this one. Giant summer blockbusters have that ability, not so much “Dream Girls” (which may have it’s own fabulousness that succeeds, just not with the music blaring constantly in your ear). I digress…
How can I possibly word the insanity and intensity that is this movie? It’s a lot of things all at once that I can’t quite get out. One thing after another after another, and there’s no pause for a break. If you aren’t watching the bat tank roll over and over then you’re watching some emotional stress with Harvey/Rachel/Bruce triangle. Or all of the other things that make that movie one glorious hot mess. Not thirty minutes after walking out did I want to go back to the theater to watch it again.
(On a side note: Anyone want to answer something for me? I’m watching an episode of Batman: The Animated Series in another window, and is Harvey Dent supposed to be black? His race is totally ambiguous, but almost everyone in this series has the same super-tan skin tone. Thoughts, opinions, anyone?)
This late in the game, there isn’t a point to give a flat out review for The Dark Knight, so here’s just some of my favorite parts or the parts I want to make note of.
I saw The Dark Knight a few days after I finished reading Dark Victory, the sequel to The Long Halloween which is getting a lot of the credit for the plot of TDK. Knowing that, I had a great appreciation for how Christopher Nolan kept the film- really, both films– close to the comic roots. Dark Victory has a lot of the themes relating to Harvey Dent that gets examined in the movie, especially how his romantic attachments affected his transformation, though this changes from his wife Gilda to Rachel.
I DID NOT KNOW THAT GORDON WASN’T DEAD. Greyson was really close to laughing at me in the theater at this point. I think I went through all the stages of grief in the next x number of minutes before that Supah Awesome Cool confrontation in the streets. When I saw that my friend was smiling, I thought that was to reassure me that no, he wasn’t really dead, but they told his wife! HIs kid was all wide-eyed and wandering around.
This upset me for my own reasons. This past year I came to the conclusion with another friend of mine, Miss Natalia, as we worked our way through all of the great Batman graphic novels of the past thirty years, no one hurts Gordon as a kind of unwritten law. The closest it’s come to is The Killing Joke, and if you’ve read the comic you know why and if you haven’t then read the comic. So I was angry at Nolan for about twenty minutes and then Greyson did laugh at me, for obvious reasons, so there we go.
Heath Ledger, rest his spirit, is the best and scariest Joker ever. I don’t think anyone could top his performance, even twenty or thirty years in the future when another director wants to revamp the franchise for another interpretation. This is the performance for any past Jokers, any future Jokers, or really any other Batman villains that will get used in the next movies. This is the face of psychopath, in it’s purest form: Less a man, more an agent of chaos. No one knows how the Joker works, and as it is, I’d rather not ever know. You would go insane just trying to find out, because a force of nature isn’t meant to be understood to any real extent.
Meanwhile, I think it’s inevitable that the Joker character will be revived because he’s the perfect foil for Batman. They’re both insane people doing insane things, but one’s Chaos while the other is Order, even if it’s the kind of order that exists outside of the norms of society. To the society of the movies, both are like opposite sides of nature, especially in that they just appear. The audience may know what makes Batman tick, but the citizens of Gotham don’t. Now it’s switched for the audience, where we will always have a character that we will never understand. We get a small taste of what it’s like to live in that city, although we’re separated by the silver screen.
Action sequences. I get lost with them, or in them, but they’re a lovely item of modern cinema. Like watching lightning in a bottle, over and over everything becomes what it is, and it falls apart and comes together. They’re lengthy, but they’re lengthy for good reason, not just to keep the lowest common denominator awake. The best are the street duel and the final battle with the Joker, as it switches views from the cell phone sonar and what’s actually happening.
Harvey Dent, as a character. Everyone talks about Heath Ledger, and with good reason, but Aaron Eckhart’s performance was very striking as Dent, moving from ultimate hero as the white knight figure to another avenging villain. The ruined half of his face was terrible in the best ways for that representation. I don’t understand on a realism level why he didn’t get some bacterial infection and die as soon as he stepped outside of the hostpital though– all of that exposed flesh. And bone. And… ew. Just, that’s a nightmare what happened to Dent and that’s how we’re supposed to see it. How everything ended horribly and ugly and why Batman decided that Harvey couldn’t be seen to the public as corruptible.
And I think that’s all I’ve got on this for now. Woosh, that was a lot, but it feels good to get it off my mind and onto print.