Saturday, March 20, 2010

Why so serious?

A while back, The Wife and I watched The Dark Knight. What did we think of it?

Well, The Dark Knight is certainly a good movie, but wow, it's dark. Really dark. It's a grim, grim, grim movie. It's so grim that when The Wife and I finally watched it recently, we each liked it but we each also felt the need to decompress after with a couple of episodes of Mad About You. There is almost no humor in The Dark Knight, which may seem kind of ironic, considering that the villain this time out is the Joker, but then, the film also understands that there's nothing funny at all about the Joker. That's something the first Tim Burton batfilm didn't really understand, to that film's detriment. Who, watching that movie, didn't find the Joker just a bit awesome and fun? The Dark Knight gives us a Joker whose jokes just aren't funny in the slightest, because they almost invariably involve someone dying horribly.

I don't have a lot to say about the movie that hasn't been written before. I'm actually not the biggest fan of Batman around, and I've never found Batman to be the eternal source of Awesome that many do. I like the character's somewhat grim background, but lots of characters have grim backgrounds, and it always seems to me that Bruce Wayne's background is pretty contradictory -- he's able to build this enormous business empire despite a near total lack of ability to sustain any kind of human relationship. I don't know, but there's always something about Bruce Wayne that makes me want to slap him and say, "Jeez, man, you've got it made! Quit brooding over everything!"

Basically it seems that the current notion of Batman is to take, say, the brooding qualities of Peter Parker and crank them up to 11. Spiderman defeats the villain but can't reap the rewards? Well, Batman defeats the villain and becomes a total pariah from society! Batman is haunted by the deaths of just about every single person he's ever allowed to become close! Batman doesn't even seem to enjoy the gizmos he gets to play with; at least Peter Parker gets to enjoy web-slinging his way around New York.

I admired The Dark Knight's production quality (even though some of the action sequences are a bit hard to follow). One thing I liked is that a surprising amount of the film takes place in bright daylight, including the bank heist that opens the movie. All of the promotional materials, trailers, everything for the movie -- including the ending of the previous movie -- paint a picture of Gotham City as being a place of constant darkness and rain, not unlike the Los Angeles of Blade Runner. Thus it came as a bit surprising that when the movie opens, it's mid-afternoon on a bright sunny day. You don't need physical dark to have a dark movie, after all.

That's about all I have to say about The Dark Knight. I liked it, thought it was really good, et cetera. But wow, I wish Batman was even a little fun to be around.

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