Well, last night I finally saw the last of the four comic book films of '08: The Dark Knight.
In a word: Meh.
I can't say I liked it. Actually, I'm pretty close to not liking it the more I think about. It wasn't terrible, but Iron Man and The Hulk were better.
First, it was as wordy as a Sandman comic. It wasn't just that the characters never stopped talking, but they would spout this quasi-Shakespeareian gobbledegook that real people just don't say. The worst was the Joker's swan song. Sure, I really liked the rotation of the upside-down Joker so that both he and Batman would appear right-side up, but that the Joker would appear freaky. After a minute of the 'we're two sides of the same coin' speech, I fast forwarded and it STILL took forever. Don't tell me I missed anything important, because I really can't believe that.
Second, it was stupidly complex. What was the deal with the Hong Kong banker? It really didn't really advance the story. In fact when the Joker kidnapped him, I'd completely forgotten about him (not that the Joker really did anything with him other than burn him).
The conspiracies within the film were way too complex as well. Even within a comic book world, they were unbelievably improbable. The Joker wanted to be captured by Jim Gordon and Batman? He was winning that battle and it was only pure luck that he was captured!
Thirdly, my belief was asked to be suspended too often. Not so much that there were outrageous things happening, I LIKE that, but there were too many contradictions. I'd just barely accepted the Bat Pod as barely feasible when he pulls that cool wall turn. That was pretty neat and I laughed out loud. But, a minute or so later, he has to lay the bike down rather than, oh I don't know, USE THE BRAKES? It just seemed stupid.
The destruction of the hospital was way out of line as well. It must have taken the Joker years to set all of those charges without anyone noticing.
I thought Heath Leger was pretty good. Not Oscar material at all, what with all that scenery he gnawed on. Sure, it was fun for the Joker to tell a different scar story each time, but did they have to be so damned long? He was pretty scary until about halfway through his interrogation by Batman, by then I just didn't care.
Christian Bale. God, he's so wooden he's like David Caruso with muscles anymore. Plus, I didn't like how his fighting skills seemed to have gone downhill. You'd figure after a few years of fighting everyone, his ninja training would have been honed and improved. Nope.
Did I like anything? I liked Senator Patrick Leahy's cameo. He's a huge Batman fan and gave all his acting wages to his hometown library.
I liked Harvey Dent's makeup. A nice mix of prosthetics and cgi.
I also liked the making the hostages look like the henchmen. That was a really nice touch. (But couldn't Batman have gotten things done quicker and less riskier to him by grabbing one of the SWAT guys and telling him about the switch and having him relay by radio?)
What was also kind of funny was watching the Joker laugh while being beaten in the interrogation room. It reminded me of Tyler Durden getting beaten by Lou in the basement of the bar in Fight Club (which I re-watched the night before).
Other than that, it was long, verbose, jumbled, and overall kinda boring. For comic book films this year for me the rankings are:
1) The Incredible Hulk
2) Iron Man
3) Hellboy 2 : The Golden Army
4) The Dark Knight
I'm probably lucky for the low readership of this blog, as my fellow geeks may lay into me. But, I stand by my opinions. This was not a worthy sequel to what was arguably the best comic book movie ever, Batman Begins
Listening to while posting: "As Time Goes By" by Tony Bennet