Sunday, July 20, 2008

B.W. At The Movies: The Dark Knight

We got there a half-hour before showtime and still had to pick a seat from the leftovers. The numbers on this puppy are going to be huge.

The first thing that took my breath away was the trailer for Watchmen. I told Sweetie, "You've just seen what we'll be doing next March 6. Or at least you'll know where to find me."

But then ... what's with the bizarre trailer for The Spirit? The disconnect between this rendition of the pending film and Will Eisner's magnificent creation was palpable, IMHO.

Well, then, time for the biggest film of the year.

It's everything they say it is, whoever they are. Even the tiny minority who don't like it are right about The Dark Night — it's too long, too wordy, a little muddled, yeah, yeah. But oh my, it's the best Batman movie ever, one of the best comic-book movies ever, and maybe the best movie-movie of the year (although I sure did enjoy Iron Man).

The old comics geek in me is simply satisfied that the world will have finally seen The Joker as I remember him from Batman #1 — actually, as I remember him from my sadly deteriorated first edition of Jules Feiffer's The Great Comic Book Heroes, which I received for my 12th Christmas and will always cherish as one of my best Christmases ever. That Joker was, and now is again, the creepiest and most insane mainstream comic book villain ever conceived. Heath Ledger inhabits him as perfectly as any actor ever has or ever will — the hype was all true, this performance is the one that will define The Joker forever.

Aaron Eckhart does a very nice job as Harvey Dent, and director Christopher Nolan allows Eckhart to take Gotham's fighting D.A. into the place where Tim Burton never took Billy Dee Williams back in '89, to my everlasting disappointment. And Gary Oldman is a fantabulous James Gordon.

You know why I came away exhausted and loving the movie but not ready to proclaim it the greatest comic-book movie ever and ever amen? Batman, and specifically Batman's voice. Christian Bale does a terrific job, he's the best Bruce Wayne ever thrown up there, but when he puts on the costume he also puts on that voice. I don't understand why he has to affect that crushed-gravel, angry stage whisper when he dons the mask. It's a silly little thing, but it's also an essential and always-present annoyance, which detracts from the gritty realism of the movie.

Bottom line, though, anyone who loves a good action flick, anyone who loves a good psychological thriller, anyone who loves a great movie, needs to see The Dark Knight. To borrow a phrase from that other comic book leviathan, 'Nuff Said.

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Blogger Wally Conger said...

BW, I received Jules Feiffer's The Great Comic Book Heroes for my 11th Christmas, way back in 1965. Did I just feel a chill?

12:09 AM  
Blogger B.W. Richardson said...

Whoa, yes you did. That must have been the gift of choice for comics geeks in '65. Little did our parents know what they were creating ...

7:48 AM  

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