Batman: The Dark Knight

This review is going to be tempered with the admonishment that I consumed one shot of alcohol, an alcoholic beverage – and three slices of pizza JUST before seeing this movie.

So – I was a bit giddy and giggly as I entered the theatre, and may not have been in my right mind for much of the first half.

And as with Hellboy 2 – it might be a statement of the movie itself if one of my favorite aspects was “The Watchmen” trailer – which had me in AWE! I’m sorry, but this film has the potential to become my all-time favorite comic book movie. It’s finally a film that I know the source material well, and it looks visually stunning. There is so much meaty content to this picture, even Zak Snyder could not fuck it up.

Another fun aspect of TDK was going to a Friday night release in a packed theatre, with people who actually seemed genuinely excited to see the flick. As opposed to the last couple of screenings I’ve endured, where the general audience response was fairly lackluster.

Batman knows how to pack ’em in.

As for the film itself – I am going to say it is a worthy runner-up to Batman Begins. It’s following the trend of “serious” Comic Book film adaptations that don’t mince around too heavily in cheese-pot dialogue and too many shots of spandex.

In fact – remove the silly names like “Batman, Joker, Two Face” etc, and you pretty much have yourself a modern day action movie. There were heavy themes such as terrorism, and a commentary on heroes and villains that I thought was intriguing. I’m not very familiar with the Batman comic mythos, or even the TDK source material, but I felt like it was doing DC’s favorite caped crusader justice. Ah, justice was a theme too! How proper.

I will admit to liking the Villains better than the bat. Heath Ledger pulled off an amazingly eerie performance, with so many disturbing and somehow unique character ticks…I think his portrayal will probably be legendary.

Aaron Eckhart breathed life and soul into Two Face – a villian I remember having sympathy and compassion for from the “Batman Animated Series” back in the yester-years of my childhood.

Also notable – Morgan Freeman (when is he NOT good? Oh yeah, Wanted) as Lucius Fox, and Michael Caine as Alfred were charming. Together these characters had some of the meatier dialogue in the film. In fact, I would say they were almost scene stealing.

Thumbs up to Christopher Nolan for recognizing their potential to spice up these bit parts, and bringing real heart to a film that was overall very dark.

It was dark, insanely fast paced AND LONG. Holy crap – I had no idea this film was three hours going in, but it definitely felt like three hours coming out. Not that I would say three hours wasted. It was worth seeing, but it had a little bit of “Return of the King“-itis, in that I spotted at least three to four distinct endings that were not really endings.

I’m a bit bummed by the ACTUAL ending, which I won’t divulge here…but I was hoping for more screen time out of this particular character. Nuts to all that, I suppose.

So – the acting was amazing (except for Maggie Gyllenhaal, who played Rachel Dawes and looked a bit like our pug dog). The action was action-y.

The plot was rapid-fire…but a little too ambitious. For a popular franchise, I felt like they blew their potential two-parter load into one film, that suffers from having WAY TOO MUCH crap packed into it. I leveled a similar complaint against Hellboy 2 in my last review, but I think it’s a valid complaint as well. Comic movies don’t need to be on over-drive the entire time…in fact, fans appreciate the slower moments (Hellboy‘s drunken-ness, Two-Face and Joker interacting) – or maybe just this fan does.

Dan was hailing this “his favorite comic book movie ever” because of Heath Ledger‘s noir performance. I would say it’s one of the better Batman movies (Batman Begins still takes the cake for me at this point), but it’s facing some pretty tough competition. That is only getting tougher – Marvel, DC and Dark Horse are really setting the bar high for other film adaptations.

Actually, given the length of this film, I think I would like a second viewing to really catch all the nuances. This film held a lot of potential, but I felt like I was on a roller-coaster (not just cause of the alcohol) during the second half…and a second viewing might change my opinion.

But you – America – give it a first viewing. You won’t be sorry you did. 🙂

Except it you absolutely hate clowns.

Much Love, Mindy C

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About tinyheroes

Mindy Crouchley is a 33 year old woman with a degree in English and Technical Writing from Portland State University. She has accumulated three+ years experience in the Marketing and Communications field - with an emphasis on creating digital media content. She has been reading comic books since she was 10 years old. She currently lives in outer southeast Portland with her spouse Dan Robertson, her baby girl, and their dog - Jabba the pug. She spends her free time devouring books, crafting cosplay, video gaming, attending comic cons, writing stories/screenplays, attending book to film adaptation club meetings, volunteering, and watching copious amounts of TV and movies.

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