Friday, July 18, 2008

Batman Begins the Beguine

Batman II - The Dark Knight

Think about Terminator I vs. Terminator II. Terminator I was a dark, well-written action film allotting significant time to character and plot development through dialogue. There were small doses of stunning (for its time) action, culminating in an epic denouement. You cared about the characters, and the suspense killed you.
Terminator II was, of course, superbly epic and filled with action. It was a stunning bubblegum action flick, and the viewer learned about the characters through their actions more than their conversations. This was completely effective because of the talent of the actors as well as the well-crafted script.

In the same way, I feel that The Dark Knight differed greatly from Batman Begins.

The film was nearly three hours long, and due to the phenomenally fast pace and choppy editing, it felt like Christopher Nolan was trying to fit a good 4 or 5 hours of material into this film. If the performances, script, plot development, and art direction (Seriously, I'd have to say that Nolan's vision of Gotham places 2nd to Blade Runner as the coolest looking futuristic city modern film history) weren't completely amazing, this could have easily been a jumbled mess. However, it seemed that Nolan knew what he had in this film; an amazing cast giving perfect performances, and a brilliantly crafted epic story. Nolan directed this movie with a phenomenal amount of confidence, throwing the audience everything including the kitchen sink, while knowing that we were going to devour and savor all 160 something minutes of the film.

The Barton Creek mall was filled with four full theaters at midnight. Due to the monumental advertising campaign, as well as the positive feedback from Batman Begins (maybe my favorite comic-book movie of all time), The Dark Knight had a lot to live up to. The film quite possibly exceeded my expectations.

Heath Ledger's untimely death directly following his "Joker" performance made me WANT him to have given the performance of a lifetime. I'm very happy to opine that Ledger did, completely stealing the show, completely making Jack Nicholson's goofy "Joker" seem about as emotionally disturbing as a care bear by comparison. (while writing this, I realize that many people might find care bears very emotionally disturbing......but trust me, they're really just cute and cuddly. Go get a new shrink if this is a problem for you).

Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine were as great as expected. Aaron Eckhart and Maggie Gylennhall were also completely amazing in their new roles. There was not one poor performance in this film. The Dark Knight is hollywood bombast at its finest; an action packed, ADD-inducing epic superhero adventure completely eclipsing most of what has been done before it.

I will go again to see this at the IMAX. Later, I will buy this film and it will become a crown jewel of my DVD collection, so that my future kids and I will watch this together and we will love it.

Spiderman is for pussies.


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