Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Dork Knight: A Revue

Over the weekend I saw The Dark Knight. I was pretty disappointed. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy it. I'm just saying I was pretty disappointed. In the end I blame myself, for getting sucked into the hype and the power of Ledger's performance in the previews.

Because, really, The Dark Knight was exactly what I should have expected the sequel to Batman Begins to be. Which was also not a very good movie. I'm not saying it was bad. It was certainly better than the three that came before. But that doesn't change the fact that it was still not a very good movie. I feel a little bad for all the people who think it was so great. What terrible thing happened in your past, I wonder, to give you such low expectations of what a movie can be?

Anyway, here are some of the things I disliked about the movie, in no particular order. I've included some delicious spoilers, so if you haven't seen the movie yet I suggest you go see it first so that when you reread this post you'll be in a more informed position from which to agree with me.

He wasn't the hero we deserved; just the hero we needed. Christopher Nolan generally makes some pretty good movies. So why is he so bad at writing dialogue? It's not his fault. But my advice: if you can't write dialogue, don't write a fucking screenplay. That's like someone who's color-blind trying to make it as a Christmas decorator. Rather than hiring your brother to write the thing, next time out-source it to someone with some talent. They do exist.

And now...
Aaron Sorkin presents:
(Not actually presented by Aaron Sorkin)

Gordon: They call him the Joker.
Batman: The Joker?
Gordon: The Joker.
Batman: Why do they call him the Joker?
Gordon: Presumably because he makes jokes.
Batman: Look--
Gordon: They call him the Joker, Batman, what do you want from me? He makes jokes. He's a joker.
Batman: The Joker.
Gordon: Yeah.
Batman: I thought one of the criteria of jokes was that they were supposed to be funny.
Gordon: That's what they tell me.
Batman: This guy's jokes aren't funny.
Gordon: So?
Batman: If his jokes aren't funny, by definition they're not jokes. That means he's not a joker.
Gordon: Who says they're not funny?
Batman: "Wanna see a magic trick?" What is this, amateur night at the Apollo?
Gordon: I thought it was funny.
Batman: You didn't see me laughing.
Gordon: You don't have a sense of humor.
Batman: Excuse me--
Gordon: You don't have a sense of humor, Batman. Of course you didn't laugh. Groucho Marx couldn't make you laugh. He couldn't make you chuckle.
Batman: Groucho Marx wasn't funny.
Gordon: He wasn't funny, but that's not the point.
Batman: Look--
Gordon: And thanks, by the way, for proving mine.
Batman: Gordon...
Gordon: The Joker, Batman. They call him the Joker.
Batman: Because he makes...
Gordon: Because he makes jokes, yes. The Joker. This one really should be pretty intuitive.

Would the real Bruce Wayne please stand up? They say Christian Bale, when he isn't beating his relatives, plays two characters. But he really plays three: Batman; Bruce Wayne; and the place where the two characters intersect, the heart of the actual character. I've realized I don't like the way he plays Bruce Wayne. Nolan presents him like the third Bush daughter: spoiled and stupid. Pick up a comic: the real Bruce Wayne wasn't that obnoxious.

Batman is Emo. I salute inserting some complexity and social relevancy into a superhero movie. Terrorism, love denied; tell me what you think about these things, Christopher. That being said, The Dark Knight comes off like a brooding teenager, trying to come to terms with something serious but doing it in such an unsophisticated fashion that you're never really sure what it is exactly the movie's so upset about. All I know is: it's dark. It wears black. It wants to cut itself. Why? I just wouldn't understand!

Batman is inept. There's a certain point in the movie where you realize Batman is basically incompetent. The only reason he keeps winning is because the Joker actively won't let him lose. I don't like my heroes that incompetent. I particularly don't like it when the villain escapes from prison two minutes after being captured.

The end is only the beginning. Jack Nicholson said about Return of the King that he left when there was still about twenty minutes left, because the movie was already over. They destroy the Ring. The end. Wait. Aragorn is crowned king. The end. Wait! The hobbits return to the Shire. The end. WAIT! Frodo sails off from the Grey Havens. The end! Wait...

The Dark Knight was the same thing. There were about six points in this movie where I thought to myself, "This is the climax." Batman battles Joker from the Batbike. The end. Wait. The Joker is going to blow up Harvey Dent. The end. Wait! The Joker is going to blow up a hospital. The end. Wait! The Joker is going to blow up a boat. The end! Wait! Two-face is going to kill Gordon's family. Please be the fucking end!

The Death of Jim Gordon.
Speaking of Return of the King...Remember that time in The Two Towers were Aragorn tumbles off a cliff into the river below and everyone thinks he's dead? Pretty stupid, right, because there couldn't be a sequel called The Return of the King if the king was already fucking dead? I'm pretty sure Jim Gordon can't die until he's become Commissioner, so don't waste my fucking time trying to convince me otherwise. Who would have thought that masked character who doesn't say a word would be the actual Gordon in disguise? Extreme plot twist!

Here are some other, nitpicky things:

Two-Face: What a waste of a beloved villain.

How many Sophie's Choices can one movie have in it?

The Joker kills his henchmen. He burns the money he makes from his crimes. So why exactly do people keep working for him? That's what's called a "plot inconsistency."

I salute the authors for knowing enough about the law to know how jurisdiction works. But here's a little tidbit you may not know: kidnapping someone only solves the literal, not legal, jurisdictional problem. Did you know: some would consider kidnapping a foreign national from his own soil an act of war!


Anonymous Jenny said...

I agree with most of what you wrote. I thought it was good, but not nearly the life-changing event everyone else is treating it as.

4:54 PM  
Anonymous The Black Ninja said...

That is a pretty convincing review. Still, best movie evr! lololol!!1!

P.S. You should post what the best movie ever is in your opinion...

11:33 AM  

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