Monday, July 21, 2008

The Dark Knight (2008)

I've never really been a comic book kind of girl. Oh , of course, I watched the Superman movies with Christopher Reeve back in the day - didn't everybody? But I resisted pretty much all other comic books and related media.

Then I had sons.

Suddenly I was part of the Star Wars craze, the Spiderman hoopla, and the Batman buzz. And you know what? I liked it! Yeah, the woman who would prefer a romantic comedy above almost everything else (except Lord of the Rings!) was sucked into the comic book world.

So, I've racked up viewings of Spiderman 1, 2 and 3, of Ironman, of Batman Begins, of Superman Returns, The Rocketeer, even Constantine (although that was a movie I saw on my own - hehe), and several others. And tonight, I added The Dark Knight to my list.

Lots of people LOVED The Dark Knight. The reviews are great! Heath Ledger's untimely death only added to the hype surrounding it. What did I think? Did I like it? Well, I'm still not quite sure.

We attended a sold-out 9:50pm showing. We ended up sitting in the front row, so the enormous screen was literally just feet away. Sometimes I like sitting that close. I especially recall one viewing of The Lake House that was quite memorable, as well as several viewings of one or more of the Lord of the Rings films.

Tonight, however, I found it overwhelming to be so close to the action. This is a movie with a LOT going on. Plot twists, high speed chases, shoot-outs, explosions, and death-defying Batstunts were THIS close. Plus huge closeups of The Joker to add to my disorientation.

So, let's talk about the Joker. Ledger's performance has been touted as genius for months now and I'd have to agree. He achieved a truly masterful performance. I felt sorry for the Joker, hated him, marveled at his insane plotting, and wished him dead. He took center stage, almost leaving Bruce Wayne/Batman as a secondary character.

So many characters were onscreen throughout the two-and-a-half hours that my head began to spin. Much less time was left for Batman than I would have preferred. Christian Bale's talents seemed wasted in this film. His screen time regrettably seemed relegated to mostly shadowy whispering and speeding Batcycles. The Batcycle WAS pretty amazing, though, as were all of Batman's devices and weapons.

Weapons? Oh yeah, lots of weapons in this movie, accompanied by lots of violence. Guns abound, although not wielded by Batman. Bombs, booby traps, poison, and knives also are used to dispatch many victims. The camera work is often accomplished in a way that leaves the results of the violence to one's imagination in many cases. The result is clear, but the graphic method is not shown in some cases. I wouldn't recommend this for young children or sensitive viewers of any age. At least one young child of about age 7 was in the audience tonight. (Did I mention this was a 9:50 PM viewing? That got done at 12:30 AM?)

One theme that seems to run through an awful lot of comic book movies concerns the responsibility of a hero. The Dark Knight followed this pattern. The characters often discussed the need Gotham City has for a hero and just what kind of a hero was necessary. Batman had choices to make - would he follow his moral compass or would he renounce it? How far can he go and still follow his calling? These are questions that deserve discussion from those who have seen the movie - especially teens. A lot can be learned.

So, I am still uncertain as to whether or not I "liked" this film. Maybe "like" is too bland of a word for the reaction I've had. The Dark Knight resonated with me at a deep level and made me think, but was it just entertainment? I guess I need to see it again to know for sure! So, apparently I liked it enough!

Let me know what you think. Leave me a comment. Pretty please?

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