The Dark Knight reviewed

Friday July 25, 2008 @ 08:03 AM (UTC)

I love Batman. And so, evidently, does Christopher Nolan. We even seem to love the same Batman – dark, driven, not played for laughs. The kind of Batman that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, with awe if not with fear. That’s what I meant a few years ago when I said “They made a Batman movie with Batman in it.” THE Batman. The real one.

Well, they did it again. Dark Knight was complex, well-written, and well-acted. As Ryan pointed out to me, it also had blessedly little CGI. Since we recently offended our eyes and brains by inflicting Spider-Man 3 on them, this is particularly pleasant to note. It also lacked the one horrible jarring note that made rewatching Batman Begins an alloyed joy: no Katie Holmes.

I was somewhat concerned that the Joker in the previews would not seem like the ‘real’ Joker. My fears were unfounded. Pared down, certainly, but the real, menacing core was there, vivid and compelling. The Joker is quicksilver, self-defining and self-redefining, striving for a moral victory as terrifying and shifting as himself.

There were some pleasant surprises in plot and characterization, which I won’t get into as I enjoyed the way even the broad strokes of the subplots were left intact by the trailers I saw before going. Suffice it to say they involved some of my favorite things and people in Gotham (but not Harley Quinn, heart-stopping rumors notwithstanding.) There were some honest frights and some moments of sheer, awed joy. The quick-cut action scenes did not interfere with my enjoyment overmuch. The music was, well, exactly the same as last time and exactly the same throughout. More of a missed opportunity than a regret.

This movie maintained and deepened the moral tone of the first. It was important not only that Batman save X, Y or the city of G, but that he make the right choices, understand the complex choices before him. That richness goes far towards explaining why I say that these movies feature the real Batman. My favorite major superhero, in the best superhero movies ever. Sometimes they get it right.


now i am looking forward to seeing it EVEN MORE. we’re going tuesday night, even though honey says he’d rather see it in daylight because it looks so scary! but have you seen ‘iron man?’ i thought it was top drawer kensington. i assume your favorite ‘minor’ superhero is harley quinn? there are some batman specials running on history channel right now, about his technology and his psychology.

Enh, I saw it at night, and I was not scared.

I have not yet seen Iron Man – this is the first movie I’ve seen in a theatre since Stardust – but plan to.

Harley isn’t a superhero – she’s a supervillain. Not MWA HA HA evil, just “in my mind, blowing you up with a bomb is ‘comic mischief’!” evil. I actually am not 100% sure what my fave minor superhero is. I wrote it that way as a hedge, you see ;) I have a lot of random fondnesses for characters no one else really cares about! And of course, since I stopped getting comic books as they came out, characters I once loved may have gone in unpleasant directions. They’re always torquing characters around, and right after I stopped getting comic books, they jumped continuity ahead a year in the DC universe and took the opportunity of messing with a LOT of characters.

Batgirl a villain MY ASS, DC.

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