BAT…meh. “Dark Knight” reviewed

Available for childrens' birthday parties...

Available for childrens' birthday parties...

DARK KNIGHT ( 2008 )
The first sequel in the new-and-improved Batman franchise, while impressive for a second chapter, lacks surprises and is overlong at two-hours plus. Christian Bale’s Batman is fierce and intimidating but not the least bit vulnerable and only a rough sketch of the same character from Batman Begins. Characters that seemed articulately written last time seem comparitvely flat in DK despite the melodramatic dialogue that flows freely — whether it’s heavy-handed foreshadowing [“You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain,” says heroic DA, Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) who’ll eventually become crazed villain, Two Face.] or Alfred’s (Michael Caine) wise Yoda-isms. After a knock-out opening scene in which the Joker (Heath Ledger) pits Gotham City’s villains against one another in a massive bank heist, DK lets us spend a little time examining the twisted, painted, gruesomely scarred arch-villain. Those scenes are easily the strongest in the movie and Ledger is nearly unrecognizable as the character. He’s menacing and often pretty scary but not enough to hang a whole movie on. As an action thriller DK delivers and there are numerous very strong scenes that make it worth seeing, but as a superhero movie, it certainly contains some dissappointments. Maggie Gyllenhaal is good enough as returning love interest, Rachel (a role previously played by Katie Holmes) and Eckhart is quite good as Dent [played in the previous franchise by none other than Tommy Lee Jones (Batman Forever) and Billy Dee Williams (Batman 1989).] Gary Oldman is very likable again as Detective-cum-Commissioner Gordon. The movie really does belong to the Joker though and Ledger’s performance puts Jack Nicholson’s to shame. (I dare say he seems to have picked up a twitch or two from Cesar Romero’s interpretation from the campy 60s TV show.) A tighter story and shorter running time would have probably made a very positive difference. But director, Christopher Nolan, seems to want to cram everything he can into DK and the narrative suffers. I didn’t dislike DK but there’s a better movie lurking deep inside it. Overkill puts a drag on the movie’s middle, making the finale less effective than it might have been. It contains better acting and much better villains than most superhero movies, but even the Man of Steel has his vulnerabilities. An infallible hero like Bale’s Batman, mutes his heroics behind a perma-shield even when primary characters begin dying. With villains as great as the Joker, who needs Batman?
** 1/2

~ by Number5ive on July 19, 2008.

One Response to “BAT…meh. “Dark Knight” reviewed”

  1. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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