Saturday, January 24, 2009

why so serious boring?

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


Lee said...

'm actually happy that someone ranks the Incredible Hulk so highly because I really loved that film, not more than Iron Man of course but it was a really solid comic book movie.

That being said I really enjoyed the Dark Knight as well, obviously a lot more than yourself but I don't advocate the fanboy rage that you'd be getting thrown at you if you published your thoughts on one of the movie blogs.

Heck I still have a soft spot for Batman Returns :)

One scene that I think was great in The Dark Knight was where Batman was questioning the Joker and screaming at him, there was a real sense of the Frank Miller Batman. Which I think is the same one you are referring to.

I think I also just like the absolute scope of the Dark Knight, it's big and sweeping.

I also disagree on your evaluation of Ledger's Joker, I especially was sceptical before going in and he just owned that role, all the psycho ticks and mannerisms, it was quite impressive.

But all that being said I certainly don't think the film is flawless, the framing Batman at the end seemed a little unimaginative (on behalf of the characters - I mean they couldn't have framed the Joker's men???).

AndreZero said...

you missed the most important part of the movie when you fast forwarded! Thats the part where Joker reveals he's Luke's father! :D But seriously, you may have missed the part that irritates me most about the movie.

The Joker said his goal was to get Batman to kill. If I interpret the ending right, Batman DOES kill so the Joker wins. The batman I know from the comics would sooner sacrifice himself than kill someone else...

Overall I enjoyed the movie but I really think it would have been much better if they cut it into two movies.

I agree that the entire Hong Kong part seemed forced. Almost makes me think they had a bigger sub-plot with that and most of it ended up on the cutting room floor.

TF said...

I agree with your ranking but with perhaps one slight modification:

-The Incredible Hulk/Iron Man
-The Dark Knight/Hellboy 2.

I know it's stupid :-P

Becca said...

Yeah The Dark Knight was seriously overated. It had some good aspects but yeah it was too complex and downright illogical in places. How could The Joker count on all that "chaos" happening exactly as he predicted it would then created his whole "plan" around guesstimations. I mean the very nature of this movie's anarchic Joker trying to map out the path of "chaos" kind of defeats the point of Joker's philisophical belief in anarchy doesn't it?

Hope that makes sense ;) Probably about as much as the movie....

And why is Batman relegated to a supporting role in his own movie? I really loved Batman Begins but was seriously dissapointed by Knight.

Don Snabulus said...

We just got the DVD at Netflix, so I am waiting to read the whole post until we've seen the film.

Arkonbey said...

@Lee: Batman Returns wasn't too bad. Danny DeVito's Penguin was creepy and good. I forgot about the framing of Batman. That was kind of dumb, wasn't it?

@AZ. Man. If I had been drinking milk when I read the first sentence it would have been coming out of my nose

@TF: hey! Get off the fence! Ties are for weenies ;)

@Becca: yeah! The 'incredibly ordered chaos' was strange. Maybe The Joker was so chaotic he came out the other side into perfect order.

@Snab: I'll be interested to read what you think of it.

TF said...


but i like the fence.

but yeah, I'd say even hellboy 2 was better than DK.
and I didn't like either very much.

first time I saw Dk at the cinema I was euphoric.
A couple of hours later and I was 'wait a minute... WTF?'

Don Snabulus said...

I think I liked it a little more than you. When it comes to superhero movies, I usually expel my disbelief because suspension isn't enough. I always think sci-fi people ask way too much of physics, but you know, it is a story not a thesis so I just let it go.

Between one hour and about 90 minutes I was looking at my watch hoping it would move faster.

I thought Ledger was great, but I couldn't help but be sad that he isn't still here. I'm not a big fan of preventable death and, for me, reality always overshadows the stage. This film will always be tinged with that real tragedy.

I absolutely loved your Caruso quote, though am I ambivalent about whether I agree with it.

I thought the "spying on citizens thing just this once" smacked of propaganda and I am sad that the final moral premise was that it was better to lie and lie for the greater good. If they would have backed off on those two things, the entire film would have gone way up in my estimation.

Dean Wormer said...

I liked the interogation scene with the Joker getting the crap kicked out of him. I think for that 20 minutes or so the film really had all cylinders firing. Heath should get the oscar. But you're right that it didn't make a lot of sense in places and was overly long.

I enjoyed Iron Man more, truth be told.