Yesterday I had the opportunity to watch some movies that I’ve been meaning to see – one of which was the new Batman: The Dark Knight movie. This was a good movie that would probably have looked really good on the big screen, but for the life of me I can’t seem to figure out why the world went bonkers over Heath Ledger’s Joker. Yes, he played the role very well. Did he redefine the role? No, not at all. Was he a demented weirdo as the Joker? Yes! However, all I kept hearing from everyone was that Ledger was completely engulfed in the role and that he brought a new, sick twist to the character. Sorry folks, I didn’t see it.
What I did see were great performances from Christian Bale (Batman), Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman (Commissioner Gordon), and Aaron Eckhart (Two-Face) among others. When you have an ensemble cast like this (including Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Caine…even Tiny Lister had an appearance) you’re bound to get a good movie put together. The various synergies between these actors and their performances made for a great movie.
Batman undergoes a bit of maturing in the movie as he has to deal with loss and the realization that there can never be a world without Batman because there can never be a Batman who doesn’t have a vengeance for retribution. On the flip side, the forces for “good” in Gotham begin to realize that they have multiple opponents including spies in their own ranks, the Joker’s men, the fears of the people, the mob, common petty criminals, etc. Not a fun situation to be in.
The movie kept a good flow, though it might have been 15 – 20 minutes too long for my liking. However, there is no wasted time in the movie so you won’t be bored watching. In fact, there are a lot of good chase scenes and a few good fighting scenes (and I generally hate chase scenes, so that should tell you something). I also liked the way Alfred talked for a moment about his background as a guy who chased criminals (in this example, he was in Burma). His words of wisdom to Batman when fighting the Joker: “Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with – some men just want to watch the world burn.”
Another one of my favorite quotes from yet another legendary actor comes from Lucius Fox (played by Morgan Freeman). One of the auditors or financial guys for Wayne Enterprises uncovers a bunch of blueprints detailing how the company has been making weapons for Batman. He threatens Fox with a request for $10 million per year to keep his mouth shut. Fox replies, “Let me get this straight: You think that your client, one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the world, is secretly a vigilante who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands. And your plan is to blackmail this person? Good luck.”
If you get the opportunity, I’d rent this one (or possibly purchase it, depending on the price) as soon as it hits the stores. For those of you who are not hardcore fans of these superhero movies, I think that you’ll enjoy this one anyway.