Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Dark Blight

Every once in a while, Americans latch onto something with great enthusiasm and little sense of reason (i.e. 300, Barack Obama, crocs). Think mob mentality, only they shower the target with love and praise instead of stones and pointy objects. The frenzy surrounding The Dark Knight is the recent craze that has taken over America, and the whole world really. But mark my words, there was nothing extraordinary about this movie. If anything, it was a bloated two and a half hour circus with no direction or depth.

I have heard over and over that what sets Batman apart from other movies of this genre is the incredible plot, full of twists and turns. While the plot may have had "surprises" (that were altogether quite predictable), there were just too many of them. The entire story became a jumbled mess of plot lines that twisted and turned into itself. About the third time that Batman wrongly predicted the Joker's plan, did they really think I was going to be shocked? In the end, the movie accomplished nothing in the way of moving the story forward and developing Batman as more than a one-dimensional character. Two and half hours later, you are exactly where you started.

I recently read a review from one particularly fervent fan that called the movie, "A masterpiece that combines a critique of the modern political landscape with a deep and thought provoking script." And I thought to myself, this person must not know much about politics or writing. The political undertones of the movie were nothing more than a charade of post 9/11 pessimism and melodramatic bitching. The script was also clunky and overbearing, falling flat even coming from the lips of Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. Basically everyone with a Rotten Tomato account seems to think they are qualified to call things "masterpieces" and "rare accomplishments." But take note, just because there are contrived allusions to today's political issues and a couple of faux-philosophical one liners about watching the world burn, does not mean the movie is even remotely meaningful.

In terms of the action, I was equally disappointed. The visual effects employed in the second installment are nothing that cannot be seen in the first one. And really, is it necessary to spend ten minutes showing Batman driving through traffic to the fight scene and then show about one minute of the actual fight. Clearly, it was an effort to showcase the ever popular Batmobile in its various incarnations, but it was unnecessary. Perhaps the Academy should consider the Batmocycle, (which looked suspiciously similar to a Dyson vacuum cleaner), for Best Supporting Actor.

Speaking of the Academy, I cannot begin to explain the excessive attention that Heath Ledger has gotten. If he weren't dead, would anybody even care? Yes, he is convincing as the Joker. But to seriously think that he deserves an Oscar for random fits of convulsion and repeatedly licking his lips is, dare I say, a joke. He does outshine Christian Bale though. Which, all things considered, is not very hard to do. After all, Bale is a man who thinks that speaking like he has emphysema makes for a more believable Batman. Somewhere, Michael Keaton is cringing.

After sitting through all this, the universal praise for this movie is just impossible to understand. Every minute that passed left me more and more agitated rather than exhilarated. In one particular scene, Batman and the Joker partake in a skirmish precariously close to the edge of a skyscraper and I am just waiting for one of them to die already and for the movie to end. Unfortunately, the Joker confesses about Batman, "I won't kill you, because you're just too much fun!" The man really is insane.


Aek said...

Perhaps the movie didn't seem as great because it was so overly-hyped. I still want to see it though. :P

Joseph said...

This is the only negative review I read about The Dark Knight.

So I am forced to believe that you are in fact Robert Downy Jr. that is pretending to be a gay college student.