Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Newish Movies: The Dark Knight (2008)

Jables: Wow.  What can be said about this movie.  The first movie in the "reboot" Batman franchise was an outstanding success in the geek community and normal movie goers community alike.  It was a slightly more down to earth and realistic comic book movie than everyone was accustomed to.  Then the sequel was announced.  There was an uproar when Heath Ledger was announced as the Joker.  American geeks were shocked as to why this nobody from Australia, from that crappy teen movie Ten Things I Hate About You, was going to play one of the greatest comic book villains ever.  But Heath stuck it to them in the end.

Quantom: I actually didn't really love Batman Begins. I thought the pace was pretty off and it plodded along in parts. It was worth all the setup and character building though, because it meant we got this great flick.

Ok the movie.  Amazing.  You can't really call it a comic book movie.  It's an action movie to be sure but not really one that can be over looked by non action movie fans or cinema hipsters.  It is near perfect film-making on display.  Christopher Nolan is a genius.  (We will get to Inception at a later date

Bale before he takes on the dodgy Batman voice
The story goes like this, Batman is being Batman all around Gotham City.  Along comes the Joker who starts to mix things up a bit.  He's a crazy lunatic who doesn't seem to have any direction and just likes to see chaos.  He seems to go about without a plan (believe that at your own peril).  The Joker thrives off the existence of the Batman and wants to test the poor bugger.  He kidnaps the 'White Knight' of Gotham, Harvey Dent, and also Batman's crush, RACHEL!!!!!, and threatens to blow them both up.  He tells Batman where they are knowing that Batman can only save one of them.  But oh no, he tells them the wrong address and Batman ends up saving Harvey.  Whoops.

So Rachel dies and Harvey and Batman are both pretty cut up.  Joker then decides to blow up some boats while Harvey, all cut up about Rachel being dead and all, decides to blame Gorden by kidnapping his family.  Shit goes down and Batman saves the day.  Straight forward story yes but damn it's an enjoyable ride.

What did I like?

Like?  More like love.  The Cast.  Amazing.  Bale, Freeman, Ledger, Caine, Eckhart and Gary 'Fucking' Oldman.  These are all powerhouses when it comes to acting.  Bale does a serviceable job here, Freeman, Caine and Eckhart are just their great selves but Ledger is amazing as the Joker (in his Oscar winning performance) and Gary Oldman is just fucking Gary Oldman.

Gary Fucking Oldman
The cast was amazing, but like the Tim Burton Batman back in the day, for better or worse the Joker was more compelling than Batman. Whether this is just down to the performances in both these films I'm not sure, but I didn't really care for having Bale on screen, and always wanted more Joker. Gary Fucking Oldman always delivers. 

Totally agree Quantom.  Joker steals the show yet again.

The action is amazing.  Nolan delivers every time.

The dude does know how to make a great action scene. Dark Knight features really awesome chase scenes, great fights, and some really brutal bits (magic trick anyone?)

Fucking amazing
It's a realistic Batman.  Following in the footsteps of the realistic Batman Begins, this movie keeps Batman grounded in the world of believability and he continues to fight crime as if a real human being was out their, super rich, and kicking arse.

What didn't I like?

These are really just nitpicking here.

The whole ferry scene.  Who will blow up who?  Surely in real life someone would have snatched the detonator and pressed the bottom.  You can't tell me that there isn't a crim there that wouldn't want to stay alive.

"I'LL DO IT! Actually no I won't..."

Still way better than Superman
Christian Bale's Batman voice.  It was terrible in Batman Begins and if seems to be even more terrible here.  'WHERE ARE THEY?!!' and the age old favourite from Batman Begins, 'RATTLE THE CAGE!!'

So ridiculously over the top. I don't know whose idea it was to have Bale speaking like that, but come on. We can barely understand what is being said. I am fully expecting in the sequel to have Batman's voice a low frequency warble with subtitles at the bottom. 

You can't understand Batman in this whole scene
The whole last bit with Two-Face.  It just felt like the movie should of ended straight after Joker was caught.  The Two-Face scenes just felt like they were dragging on and there wasn't much need for them.

The killing of Two-Face.  Seriously.  You had the perfect set up for an amazing villain to continue into the third movie and you kill him off without even a whimper.

Yeah, could have set it up perfectly into the third movie. I get that the point was to have the Joker sort of "win", but it still would have been a lead in. Instead we get Catwoman. Lol. 

Great Two-Face effects that are wasted
But as I said, this is just nitpicking.  This is an amazing action flick and just a great all round movie.  To brush this off as just a comic book movie would be a mistake.  This is an amazing Hollywood blockbuster action flick with everything for everyone.

8.5/10 for me.  A well grounded comic book movie that made you forget that you were watching a Batman flick.  An extremely enjoyable action movie.

I give it 8.5 "I'm Batman" out of 10. 

PS.  I hate to think this but, would Heath have won an Oscar if he hasn't passed away?  I think is performance was amazing and all geeks and nerds around the world would have been blown away by it no matter what, but did his death overshadow his performance?

I can't comment on some of the nominations in the supporting category but Milk, Doubt and Revolutionary Road seem like more Academy friendly movies than the Dark Knight.  Also, Robert Downey Jnr in Tropic Thunder was amazing.

I loved Heath in The Dark Knight.  I love Heath in almost all his movies, Two Hands being one of this best, but I hate to think what would have happened come Oscar time if he hadn't died.

Congrats Heath.
The controversy was raised during a viewing by a certain "Mr Old," whose name has been changed for his own protection. He claimed it was NOT in fact Oscar-worthy, and that Heath's performance was, and I quote, "Eh." Looking at the lineup in the Supporting Actors for that year, those other movies were shit. Regardless of its blockbuster status, The Dark Knight is just a better movie. Look it up on Metacritic, that shit proves it, right? Heath might have died, but he definitely delivered a great Joker, and that shouldn't be taken away from him.

"Mr Old" was way out of line.


  1. The boat scene is a Prisoner's Dilemma (wiki it), which relates to individual 'selfishness' overcoming feelings of ultruism.

    That's pretty much everything The Joker stands for; he repeats it all the way through the film. In a world of chaos, the civilised people will eat each other. And he's right, which is exactly what makes him the perfect villain. He reveals more about yourself than you'd ever care to know.

    I'll write a proper thesis later on ;)

  2. Great review. Pity Batman is such a douche. "I eat punks like this for breakfast" - really!?

  3. You still love him though right Mikey?