my wife & i (ha!) both crawled out of our "not feeling very wells" to go see the dark knight on sunday. first off, let me deal with the obvious. the death of rachel dawes. i have a hard time caring, & my reason isn't particularly good, but it is, as far as i can tell, the real reason for my lack of response. she isn't a "real" character. by which i mean, she isn't anybody from the comics. i know, i know, how fanboy, but there it is, & it is the truth. also, i felt like yeah, her death was tragic, but that she was a real character. people have made very reasonable arguments-- like, why is the only choice offered to women in superhero movies to either love the male lead or to not love the male lead? & again, women in refrigerators, sure. i'm not really trying to defend my response or denigrate other's critiques; they are probably right. but here is the thing: the joker is pretty fucking awesome.
i spent our time waiting to get into the theater pretending not to know who the batman was. i like doing that! "so, what, he got bit by a vampire? he is from a planet where it is always night & people have wings? a radioactive bat dropped radioactive bat guano on him?" so funny to me. because i am a dork. we had decent seats, next to a couple of old people & in front of some people who kept shuffling the popcorn in the bucket, & eventually spilled the kernals everywhere. the previews were exciting. watchmen looks like it might be too much? but i intend to watch it as a visual appendix to the comic, so i'm easy. terminator was a teaser trailer, but i liked how they mixed the static into the theme music. there were some other trailers too. i'm hoping things are always awesome.
batman was awesome. he was too gadgety for my taste, though; i don't need a c4 gun to impress me. i want him to be a detective; & i don't mean having expensive csi equipment to do it. this goes along with my only complaint about hellboy ii (2) as well-- subvert the narrative! batman is a detective. i wanted to see the batman go "okay, well, the joker is crazy, so obviously x & y are switched. i'm on to him!" & i get that it was the first encounter with the joker, but i still want to see some batman to the max. to the max! some people complain about his voice-- it didn't bother me this film. & his new cowl (or new diet) totally didn't give him fatface in the mask, which was a problem with the first (1st) movie. really batman's best moments were in hong kong, i think.
the. freaking. joker. he had a body count of one (1) even before the flick opened with heath ledger, setting the tone & raising everyone's expectations. & really, i think it all came to fruition. from the moment the joker did his "disappearing pencil" trick, you knew what kind of movie this was going to be. & what kind of a joker. what a pal, a prince, a great guy, a hero for our time. & the joker had comedic relief moments! a funny joker, all i ever wanted. the bit with him futzing with the remote control, outside of the hospital? cracked me up. the war between the batman & the joker turned gotham city into charred ruins. how great is that? all exploding, shooting, burning. i would have liked to see batman "get inside" joker's head? i would have liked to see that. i also would have liked to see the joker tell his origin story more than twice. that was very fun for me.
two face was in this too. frankly, the film succeeded better with harvey dent than it did with two face, which is why i think killing him was a mistake. i liked the visuals, but i would have liked to see dent spiral down, stop just making life-&-death calls on the coin, but other, more minor choices. paralysis through ocd culminating in outbursts of violence. i get why they chose to clip that story, but it is a bummer. i wonder who will feature in the next film? this is the mystery!
also, weirdly, everyone in the theater was totally taken in by the cheap narrative tricks? like, what did you people think was going to happen when he said "skyhook?" who did you think they silent, full-masked guy driving dent's van was? what did you think was going to happen? no, the crowd was full on in suspension of disbelief. which is a good sign. hopefully we've reached the point where comics are taken as what they are. to borrow a phase, "storytelling engines." these are characters that have shown the elasticity & longevity to last generations.