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Leonicka Valcius

Leonicka Valcius: August 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Why He's Number One

[Spoiler Alert! In the following post I assumed you've already seen the movie!]

As The Dark Knight enters its fourth weekend on the big screen, one thing will still be certain: it will still be number one. And now I know why.

Plot: The plot was not the Dark Knight’s strong suit. It seemed both convoluted and condensed; too much was packed into too short a time (is it not a sign of the times when I call a movie with a 2 hour and 32 minute run time too short). It seemed to make sense in the beginning, Joker conspiring with the mob bosses and whatnot. But around the time the judge is killed, the plot started to unravel. The myriad of entangled alliances did not make it any easier for the audience to keep track of the many plot twists. And I’m still confused about Gordon’s resuscitation. But to be fair, the plot was far more substantial than any other summer blockbuster and by the time it did fall apart too many things had blown up for anyone to care. 3/5

Cinematography: Okay, as a disclaimer I must inform you that I am not an expert in the field. In fact, odds are I have no idea what I’m talkin’ ‘bout. But this film was for the layman as well so here goes. I thought they did a good job with the overall look of the film. There were enough light scenes to keep the audience from becoming overly depressed (I’m talking to you Harry Potter!), but enough dark scenes to let us know that this was still a Batman movie. The stunts were also quite spectacular. Batman’s fight scenes seemed well choreographed. I especially liked the scenes in Hong Kong. As for explosions, I think the demolition of the hospital was my favorite in terms of grandeur. The sets were all pretty amazing. But I was more enthralled by Batman and his gadgets. The Bat – pod was very cool as was the glider he used in Hong Kong. I can’t think of anything to reproach (probably because I’m not an expert) but I think I saw Christian Bale’s stuntguy get off the bike and walk into the warehouse (at the commissioner’s funeral). I could be wrong. 4/5

Acting: Maybe it’s because he’s an amazing actor or maybe it’s because I secretly want to have his children. Either way I could not get over how phenomenal Christian Bale was. I like the progression in Wayne’s character since Batman Begins. He was less the brooding rich boy and more the charismatic billionaire. This made the contrast between Bruce Wayne and Batman all the more striking. To be fair, I have to admit that the entire cast did a phenomenal job. Maggie Gyllenhaal added depth to Rachel’s character. I doubt Katie could’ve pulled off dying without screaming like a damsel in distress. (No offense to Mrs. Cruise.) Aaron Eckhart did a great job as Gotham’s district attorney. By the end of the movie I believed in Harvey Dent! This made his mental breakdown painful to watch. There is speculation that Two – Face might make an appearance in the next movie but in my (humble) opinion, it’s not necessary.

Of course, I can’t forget about Heath Ledger. I’d bet money that his performance alone was the reason a third of the audience came to see the movie. He didn’t disappoint. He transformed Joker from a disgruntled clown to a terrifying menace. It was the body language that did it. The little ticks, twitches, and mannerisms created a unique character whose personality could not be compartmentalized. This Joker was not crazy. He was deliberate in his actions and careful to anticipate the reactions of others. He was, as he put it, “an agent of chaos.” 5/5

When all is said and done all that matters is the audience perception. In 2007 you didn’t need a critic to tell you 300 was a good movie. All the people screaming, “THIS – IS – SPARTA!!” made it clear. So, I could tell you that I have given this movie a 5 out of 5. Or I could simply ask, “Why so serious?”

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