First, a side note. If you sit in my peripheral vision and IM on your cell phone during the movie, I WILL have the manager take your phone. It’s distracting to have the screen constantly light up to your left or right. I cannot tell you how often I got pulled out of the film by this. It’s rude and you don’t deserve the privilege of having a cell phone. And, yeah, theatre policy at Regal Cinema is that two complaints = you lose your phone until the film is over. You can pick it up from the manager when the movie is over.
I loved this movie. Unlike the seemingly-unending dreck that was Spiderman 3, this film showcased the best of comic book/graphic novel filmmaking. Both films dealt with flawed heroes and the effect of the dark inner nature of a man on his outward heroism. However, The Dark Knight wasn’t so in love with candy-coloured flash as to lose the heart of its story.
I was slightly disappointed in the Joker, because I do like backstories. I felt a bit cheated that he was merely an agent of chaos designed to challenge the heroic nature of both Wayne and Dent. As agents of chaos go, though, he was a right good’un. I did appreciate the Nolans mocking me and folks like me as they gave the Joker several Oprah-styled backstories, which Ledger delivered sneeringly well. After No Country For Old Men, though, I’m starting to worry. Is there a new trend toward Just Because villains? I hope not, since the origin of villainy is a fascinating story–more so to me than the origin of heroism.
When Ledger died I didn’t really pay attention to the stories. With stuff like that I always like to wait for the tornadoes of speculation to blow over, and then pick through the information once it settles into place. Knowing that I was seeing the movie this weekend I decided to read through some of the articles on his death. With the facts of his cremation fresh in my mind it was eerie to see him deliver the Joker’s line “Everything burns” while standing in front of a pile of money. That scene is most definitely the perfect filmic depiction of Vanitas art.
As for the whole controversy about Batman=George W. Bush that I accidentally stumbled into, I think that any attempt to draw a bright line conclusion is doomed. There are aspects of the movie which serve as a sort of commentary on the WOT situation, but there is definitely no one-to-one comparison throughout the entire film. The movie does ask questions we should all be asking ourselves on a daily basis. How much power is too much? Is one life worth more than another? What do we value most? Whom do we choose to love?
I often complain about not liking message movies. In the past it’s been hard to explain, because I don’t mind when movies have messages. I just like for them to first entertain me and then let me tease the message out on my own. The Dark Knight did that, and did it very well. I had fun watching it and am having fun now as I think about what it had to say. That is how to do a movie with a message as far as I’m concerned.