The Dark Knight Review

by Mike Shea on 24 July 2008

I need to learn to enjoy things more. I don't know what part of my psyche, lifestyle, or personality forces me to pick things apart, dissecting butterflies and pulling off their wings until all that is left is an ugly bug thing, but there it is. Perhaps it was that being critical drew people to read Liquidtheater. Perhaps it puts me outside of the masses, a space in which I have always been comfortable. Who can tell, but I know that it makes me less happy. I wish I could enjoy things more and not pull off the wings. I wish I could hang on with a looser grip.

And so I will do so reviewing The Dark Knight.

Even the cynic in me loved this movie. Heath Ledger as the Joker is perhaps the greatest villain of all time. The film is dark and gritty with minimal computer-generated special effects. When they flip an 18 wheeler front to back, you can clearly see they really did it. No CGI would have made me just laugh with glee as I did when I saw that before. It was real and our mind knew it. That's true throughout the film. The Joker is real. His facepaint flecks off and runs as he's getting the hell kicked out of him by Batman. His looks and his mannerisms are spot on.

The movie is long but I remember even knowing how long it was that I was happy to have more. I enjoyed each scene so much that only near the end did I suffer any batman fatigue.

The story itself holds no punches either. They don't take the easy way out. The costumes, sets, cinematography, and acting are all perfect.

Now the cynic in me, the guy I'm trying to get rid of so I can just sit and enjoy movies, he had a few problems which I suppose I will address.

Though Two-face is in the movie, they don't give him nearly enough time to really develop. He and just about every other character in the movie is so overshadowed by the Joker that attempting to put him in was simply packing too much in. He would have made a better villain in a separate movie rather than trying to stick him on the end. His interactions with the Joker are incredible but that would have made a better ending rather than a better beginning to a third act.

Batman as well delivers too many lines. I just don't think people can really act when they're in the batman suit. Christian Bayle is excellent every time he isn't in a batman costume but when he puts it on he becomes a stereotype. That's fine when the stereotype is gliding into glass windows and beating the hell out of Tang crime bosses, but its not so good when he's trying to explain the gray area of vigilantism.

The perfect movie for me would be a Chrsitan Bayle Bruce Wayne talking to an equally talented Clark Kent in "My Dinner With Bruce" where we witness two hours of the two characters talking about their take on black-and white and the world of gray. We can dream, can't we?

So let me bury the cynic back deep down inside me to his dark hole where he can continue to complain about the first three Star Wars movies.

Batman: The Dark Knight is a wonderful film. As Kevin Smith put it, this is the Batman film all the Batman fans have been waiting for. It's piled with action, has some powerful moments, and most importantly has the best bad guy ever put on film.

In my quest to get rid of material possessions I have stopped buying DVDs and pruned my collection significantly. Batman, however, will likely be one of the ones I buy.

I love this movie.