Y'know there's a very strong possibility that there's been more hype around this film than there was when Lucas announced he was making 3 more Star Wars films. This hype unfortunately primarily exists because of Heath Ledger's untimely departure from this world, ok there was interest in his portrayal of The Joker beforehand, but it then became known more for being "the role that killed him", which is a big shame.
I'm glad the film's doing well, especially on the IMAX performances (I buckled and saw it today at a normal cinema, cos I don't know when I'm gonna be able to get to IMAX), as it's good to see IMAX getting noticed for something other than droll James Cameron docs or making people sick. But the hype machine's in overdrive on this one.
Anyway, I'll move away from that amateur assessment of what's going on in the world and onto what I thought of the film.
I was as excited about this as the next person, I really liked Batman Begins, I like the comics, I like Christopher Nolan, I was intrigued to see where he was going to take it and the fact that it was stated that they were going for the "psychopath joker" rather than the "camp tv series joker" AND that one of the main influences on their Joker, was Alan Moore's "A Killing Joke" which is FUCKING AWESOME!
People are saying that TDK is much like The Godfather Part 2 or Heat. I haven't seen Godfather 2, and it doesn't have the same energy as Heat, and (at the moment at least), as a film, I actually prefer Batman Begins.
So why? Why am I not jumping up and down like a rabid fanboy like I probably should be?
The film's slow through most of it, and it's a bad kind of slow, not a good kind of slow (like Alien), it lumbers around, people chat, Bruce Wayne worries a bit, more chat, exposition, explanation, too much.
I really don't like the dialogue, (the screen I was in had a shitty sound system this could be contributing), there's a lot of "thinking out loud" type stuff in this and "summing up for the audience" at the end... what am I watching Scooby Fucking Doo?
There's some seriously bad editing too (I think this has been picked up on the IMDb boards as well), a few shots that look like they were cut back for the ratings, and then just some shoddy editing, or some amazing ventriloquism by Christian Bale, one of the two.
The opening scenes are great, starts setting things up pretty well, then it gets a bit boring for a bit, Scarecrow! damn, underused again with bad attempt at comedy, then Joker pops up again, he's ok, then we have the 1-on-1 with him and the Bat, this is, in no uncertain terms, FUCKING AWESOME, this is where I got an enormous... grin on my face and thought "Okay, here we go, this is the movie I want to see kicking off now!", cue faster pacing, explosions, jeopardy, pain and...oh.. it's slowing down again now... why is it not going well....it's alright now we have Joker and Two-Face!! C'mon!!...please? just a bit... No you don't need to explain it to me...no really you don't...
Bale is Bale, he plays BW/BM much like he did in the first, only he's even more arrogant now he's been doing this for a year. His lisp has got worse, or maybe its just he has more dialogue as BM now and you get to hear it more. He doesn't offer much else, except in the interrogation scene, but then that's quickly forgotten about.
Gordon is possibly the best character in the film and obviously Gary Oldman does an outstanding job of playing him in every single of his scenes (even the one's where he's explaining to the audience)
Harvey Dent/Two-Face, has potential, which would be interesting to see if he's about for the 3rd film, but I don't know if they'll fully explore it or not, I like how they deviated from his origin story, but feel they didn't run with it enough. Aaron Eckhart did a pretty good job, but there wasn't really enough time for the split personality to settle in.
Scarecrow, painfully underused again :(
Random crime bosses and gangsters, were pretty pointless.
Alfred Pennyworth, same old same old from Mr Caine, nothing new to see here.
Rachel Dawes, thank the lord for Katie Holmes "scheduling conflicts", but depsite Maggie Gyllenhall's better performance, the character's a tad incidental, but possibly a good thing for part 3 ;)
Mayor, blah blah, Ramirez, blah blah
The Joker.... here's the biggie, Heath Ledger's portrayal of The Joker is such that people are screaming for him to receive a posthumous Academy Award, that it's one of the best performances of all time etc etc. It's very good yes, Oscar worthy, I don't know, as good as I was hoping for, no.
There's been a big thing made of how creepy and messed up Joker was going to be, how he was a proper psycho, hell bent on destruction and chaos, yet through most of the film he's actually pretty mellow. I was hoping for a full on electrifying performance, I wanted to be SCARED by him, this didn't happen. There's a level of violence to him, a small hint of comedy, only the odd gag here and there, but there's only really one scene/sequence that features the Joker I was hoping for and that's the interrogation scene.
Here's where he really comes alive, where him and Batman are 1-on-1, there's flaws with the dialogue here too, but the scene plays out beautifully, Joker keeps pushing and pushing and Batman starts to crack, Joker just takes the abuse, here we get a REAL Joker laugh (hairs on the back of my neck!), Batman going crazy because he can't deal with him, it's awesome, then Batman goes off to be all heroic and Joker is left to make his way out, still awesome, after everything's done in the police station, it all starts to fizzle out again and by the end we're back to not so great again. The reason? Who knows, maybe that's how they wanted it and they think it's realy psycho like, maybe we couldn't see the Joker I wanted to because at the end of the day, it's a Batman film and needs to be suitable for a certain demographic??
When I first saw Hellboy (the first one) in the cinema, I thought it was okay, not great, but okay. Then i watched it again and started to really like it, now I love it, the film got me into the Hellboy (and BPRD) comics and I'm quite looking forward to The Golden Army.
My point is that I'm hoping that after another viewing I'll start to like TDK more, I sat wondering if I had seen it on IMAX first would I have liked it better, am I just being a little unfair on it (yes and no maybe). Did I enjoy Iron Man more? yes I did.
I will be going back for another viewing, hopefully on IMAX and I will be buying it on DVD, I hope I like it better as it goes on.
The Dark Knight - 7/10
The Dark Knight - 7/10