Topic: The Dark Knight

Holden edit: This is just going to be the Dark Knight thread instead of the other one I made.

To sound as smart as possible, we will parrot your better opinions of the movie and nobody will be the wiser.

So, give me your thoughts on The Dark Knight.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: The Dark Knight

I'm hard on this movie a lot, but I recently rewatched it and, yeah, it's not a bad movie. It's well made, well acted, and, well, just plain entertaining. I had a little disdain for it recently, but I think that's because I've watched it too many times. I mean, I've practically got the thing memorized. It's fair to say that I've gotten a bit sick of it.

Some stretches of the plot involving the Joker bug me a little, but I'm willing to overlook most of them. Overall, it's a excellent, if flawed, movie.

Also, I'll throw this in about the director. The thing that Trey (I think?) says about Fincher, how his movies have a cold piece of steel in place of a heart, I'd say about Nolan. This is a man who made an blockbuster action movie that was ultimately about corporate politics. His movies aren't meant to be felt, if that makes any sense. And that's not a bad thing, either. Just an observation.

"The Doctor is Submarining through our brains." --Teague

Twitter | Tumblr, for links to all my writing.

Re: The Dark Knight

I don't really have much of an opinion on this one other than I just flat out love it. And apparently to most of the free world (And this community) that makes me a bad person.

So I'm intently curious as to how this one turns out.

(The main thing that confuses the hell out of me is the Plot hole mini gun that always gets leveled at this one by EVERYONE I ever try to talk to about it. And I just don't see them, at all. And even more curious I can never actual get any one to actually TELL ME what these supposed plot holes are.)

So who knows this might turn into a Phantom Menace thing with me.

Re: The Dark Knight

Moved from the Release Thread discussion.

Doctor Submarine wrote:

That's reflected in the titles. Dark Knight is the only title of the trilogy without a verb, and the only one (so far, at least) where Batman doesn't change as a person. Maybe Batman will develop as a character in Rises.

You're joking right? He goes from thinking he's BATMAN, the sole savior and hope of gotham city, to realizing that he can't keep doing it forever, and that Harvey can do it better. He comes to within a hairs breadth of letting Harvey take over, before the Joker comes in and forces Bruce to keep being Batman, not because Bruce needs it, but because Gotham needs Batman.

That's not character growth? His entire perspective on what Batman is and stands for, shifts. He just doesn't "keep being Batman".

Re: The Dark Knight

I don't think the movie spends enough time on that plotline for that argument to be made. It's there, I can see where you're coming from, but them movie doesn't make it prevalent enough.

"The Doctor is Submarining through our brains." --Teague

Twitter | Tumblr, for links to all my writing.

Re: The Dark Knight

Ah, the Dark Knight... I have a ton of issues with this film. A ton.

First, it's too damned long; it should have been two movies. I think it's supposed to be a subversion of the style "Oh you thought it was OVER, didya?" but it comes at the wrong time and place somehow.... IMHO.

2ndly, I hate the actress change with a passion. Chick from first movie == Way better

3rdly, Harvey Dent never worked for me on SO many levels. 1st, I'm not enough of a Batman Reader (couldn't care less kind of guy) to even "know" Harvey Dent == "Twoface" (I forgot this since seeing the old batman with Tommy-Lee Jones as Twoface), so maybe this would have played out better for someone pre-suspecting "this goody-two-shoes politician guy will turn to evil". I don't get, buy the "turn", even a little.... it totally, absolutely and 100% DOESN'T work for me even a little bit.

Coupled with that the weirdocity of the effect.... guys... he is missing half the face... you see his teeth. Here's an experiment; Pull the left side of your mouth open with your finger so you can see a bunch of teeth. Now speak menacingly with a deep barytone Evil Things like mr Twoface does. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT! You'll MAYBE be able to audition for daffy duck with the face looking like that.

It's an awesome effect - mind you - but makes absolutely zero sense.

The Joker is good (but not as great as everyone wants to claim; I thikn this movie suffers from an enormous does of "Oh noes, the actor actually died, so we must be nice to him poshumously!!"), but any interaction between Joker and Batman is so 100% ruinied by the the stupid batman voice.

Yeah, 4th, the Batman voice? I'm like... W. T. F.?

And 5:th... cellphones as sonar? Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiggghhhht.

I personally MUCH prefer Batman Begins to TDK, I find it overlong, dull, unrealistic and the new actress looks/acts all wrong and is totally unrealistic as a love interest for Bruce. Yes, it has WAY better effects than "Begins" and "Begins" isn't without it's flaws (microwave rays that boil water but don't hurt people, consisting of 70% water? Rrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiggghht!!) but it's yet another case of "becoming is more interesting than being", IMHO.

I think Heath Ledgers untimely demise caused the cult status of this film, and not much that is actually in the film per se.

My 2 Swedish öre.


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Re: The Dark Knight

I think the Joker character's entire motivation is amazing. Instead of just trying to kill people or kill batman or anything mundane like that, he's trying to just incite chaos. At least, that's what you think, but in reality he's trying to get other people to do it for him. He's trying to get other people to do his dirty work for him. He turns the cops and the people on batman, he tries to get people to kill that guy on TV, he tries to get cops to kill his hostages, and he eventually gets Dent to go from an uncompromisingly moral, upstanding person to a guy who can shoot an unarmed innocent in the back without even blinking.

And that performance had so much to do with Ledger that it's nuts. I kinda wonder what sort of Joker another actor would have come up with, but a lot of that shit is Ledger. The scene where he kills that batman wannabe guy was shot by Ledger with a camcorder. I bet the fear coming out of that dude was fairly legit.

I would also compare Nolan's style to Fincher's. I dunno about The Dark Knight, but if you were to swap those directors out on Social Network and The Prestige, you probably would have ended up with very similar movies. Not just in the emotional distance, but also the execution, the general pace, the overall performance direction and the visuals. I know that goes a bit deeper than just 'directing', but both directors' films are pretty consistent in those aspects. I think Fincher used to be more inclined to put neat camera/editing tricks in his flicks, but lately he's backed off of that somewhat. Fincher is, I think, more confident with the camera and tries more experimental things in that regard than most directors, but he doesn't go apeshit with it. Not often, anyway.

Nolan's films are more workmanlike with a bit of flair here and there. His early stuff was - I think - actually shot/staged a bit better. Insomnia is one of my favorite films in terms of cinematography, and Memento did some visually interesting stuff. I would also say that Nolan's stuff has a bit more 'feeling' to them. Sometimes while watching a Fincher film, I feel like it's some kind of weird experiment where the characters are in a terrarium, and Fincher's just kinda poking at them to see what they'll do. Cold in a way, but not in a bad way. Objective, I guess. Nolan's films mostly feel a bit warmer, tho again, Insomnia is exactly the same way. Fuckin...  If you walked up to me and told me that Fincher had ghost-directed Insomnia, I would totally be able to buy that.

I might be the only person who doesn't hate the growly batman voice. Not really sure what else they could have done, really. Put on a Batman suit and affect your voice so people who know you won't recognize you. Your first instinct isn't going to be to pull an Elmo voice. It'll be to go lower. They may have gone too far, but it doesn't bother me so much. Same with Bane in the new trailer. I understood everything he said in the trailer, and I thought the vocal effect was cool as hell.


@MasterZap: You have a point with Dent's flip from not crazy to crazy being a bit sudden, but they do give him some interesting traits that lend themselves to his eventual... going overboard. He doesn't really turn 'evil' so much as he becomes something of a perverted batman himself. He's going after people he thinks are bad. He kills some dirty cops and a gangster. The ends justify the means, and people are guilty until proven innocent. He turns his back on the principles that he followed up to that point - the principles he believed got his fiance killed and him horribly fucked up.

Maybe not the best cause or reaction, but it's WAY better than most of the other two-face stories ever done, especially as far as origins go. In the comic and third film from the last series, Dent gets some acid thrown on his face, and he just goes nuts for some reason. I don't read a hell of a lot of comics, but I've read more batman than any other superhero book, and this is the best two-face story I've ever seen.

And I totally forgot about the cell phone radar thing. That and the 'spying on people is bad, but just this once is OK' thing at the end felt really wrong to me as well. It's like they were trying to make a statement about something and then they immediately undermined that statement.

Last edited by Squiggly_P (2012-02-25 10:39:21)

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Re: The Dark Knight

Squiggly_P wrote:

I might be the only person who doesn't hate the growly batman voice. Not really sure what else they could have done, really. Put on a Batman suit and affect your voice so people who know you won't recognize you. Your first instinct isn't going to be to pull an Elmo voice. It'll be to go lower. They may have gone too far, but it doesn't bother me so much. Same with Bane in the new trailer. I understood everything he said in the trailer, and I thought the vocal effect was cool as hell.

THANK YOU!!!! Finally someone else who gets it!!

Last edited by BigDamnArtist (2012-02-25 10:06:30)

Re: The Dark Knight

BigDamnArtist wrote:
Squiggly_P wrote:

I might be the only person who doesn't hate the growly batman voice. Not really sure what else they could have done, really. Put on a Batman suit and affect your voice so people who know you won't recognize you. Your first instinct isn't going to be to pull an Elmo voice. It'll be to go lower. They may have gone too far, but it doesn't bother me so much. Same with Bane in the new trailer. I understood everything he said in the trailer, and I thought the vocal effect was cool as hell.

THANK YOU!!!! Finally someone else who gets it!!

But there was nothing wrong with the voice in Batman Begins. That he "does a voice" is FINE. That they put a moronic effect on top so it sounds like a child playing with e pitch shifter is just WRONG.


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Re: The Dark Knight

Nolan doesn't like to tell stories, he likes to play games.

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Re: The Dark Knight

I never had a problem with his voice. Ever.

So you sir, are WRONG.

Re: The Dark Knight

Dark Knight - slick seductive movie constructed with typical Nolan chutzpah, but must I admit it's a neocon wet dream.

Baddies are just evil i.e. element force of nature. No context. Who cares why they're evil? No chance of rehabilitation. Don't even bother with due process of law, which is impotent and corrupt. Just blow them away if you can.
And it contains a ringing endorsement for Dubya's Patriot Act.

The 'Prisoner Dilemma' game theory with the ferries was a cop-out as it didn't follow it's own rules.

The Joker is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient (including into the future), and is always 10 steps ahead of the others. Fridge logic reminds one that it's highly unlikely anyone can predict others so far ahead. But the movie is paced so rapidly that you are seduced along for the ride at the time.

Don't forget to mention the iconic Zimmer score! Rehashed for Inception and copied for Tron Legacy and a dozen other films.

And just like that...

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Re: The Dark Knight

For a while after it came out, I was totally in love with The Dark Knight. I had followed the production intensely, got involved in he viral marketing (and still have the free shit to prove it) and I was just totally amped for it. I saw it at a midnight showing, and again a week later, and I was just crazy about it. But four years later... It's still a very good movie, I think. But personally, I've cooled on superheroes. So there's a loss of luster there. It's far from the masterpiece I initially thought, and I've just lost most of my enthusiasm for it.

But also, upon rewatch, it doesn't hold up so well in comparison to its predecessor. I find myself much preferring Batman Begins. Begins is a very good movie that goes off the rails a bit in the third act. All of The Dark Knight is better than act three of Begins, but nothing in it hits the same highs as the first two-thirds of Begins. I have much the same feelings about the Iron Man movies, actually. Though specifically with Dark Knight, the Joker is better than the movie he's in. I think Heath Ledger deserved every bit of praise he got, and not just because they carted his naked ass out of a hotel room shortly before the release. He created a really interesting character that was straight out of the comics while also startlingly different from the Nicholson and Hamill portrayals.

One of the biggest downsides of The Dark Knight for me, though, are the visuals. If you just look at the film... It's Heat with DeNiro and Pacino in silly costumes. Gotham City is just Chicago, and that's lame. It's a flat, boring-looking movie with an obnoxious blue tint. Which is especially egregious because Begins is so beautiful. It's got atmosphere, there's a very film noir vibe to the photography in that film, and it makes Gotham feel so much more alive to me. Dark Knight needed the Narrows so hard.

And if I'm nit-picking more, Danny Elfman is a much better Batman composer than Hans Zimmer, who I've never cared for, and TDK underutilized the treasure that is Cillian Murphy.

As far as Batman's voice, I didn't have any problem understanding him in Dark Knight. That said, I prefer the Begins voice. Can't understand a damn word that's come out of Bane's mouth so far, though...

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Re: The Dark Knight

(I haven't read what you other guys wrote yet, cause I wanted to just dump my thoughts as they are before having them challenged and, like, learning and loving and growing and hugging. So I might be parroting stuff others have already said.)

I don't like comic books. But it's a benign sort of dislike; it's fine that they exist, I'm not offended by their existence, they're just not my thing. But when comic book sensibilities spill over into the movies, I tend to get … well, pretty pissed off.

I used to have a blaaaagh. Remember when blogging was a thing? Well, I used to have one. And I just dipped into the archive and pulled out two things I wrote on the same day, June 18 of 2005, two hours apart. I'm going to bury them behind spoiler tags to keep from overwhelming the page.

Here's the first thing, which I wrote shortly after seeing Batman Begins:

Saw Batman Begins last night. Two-and-a-half stars out of four, I guess. Entertaining movie, pretty good. But here’s the thing: Don’t think about it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t think about it too hard. I’m saying don’t think about it at all. Seriously. The plot has more holes than a colander. Christian Bale looks great in the bat-suit-thing until he opens his mouth. When he’s not in the suit, he looks like he’s acting really hard. Katie Holmes is a complete waste of space. She has neither charm nor charisma.

The best roles in the film are the ones in the background: Michael Caine’s Alfred is a little over the top but expertly drawn. Morgan Freeman commands attention every minute he’s on the screen. And Gary Oldman’s Jim Gordan is a masterpiece of slow play.

The movie looks good but not great, with way too many stylistic nods to Blade Runner. The script is good but not great; it has moments of greatness that betray the skillful hand of a script doctor — after Bruce Wayne’s first night of crime-fighting, Alfred throws open the curtains; Bruce rolls over in bed and whines, “Bats are nocturnal!” — but the story is a train wreck. If I ever see another super-hero movie the plot of which depends on the phrase “water supply,” I’m gonna demand my money back.

The infuriating thing about Batman Begins is how uneven it is. The film has two bad guys: the demented psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Crane and the anarchist mastermind Ras al Ghul. Crane (Cillian Murphy) is utterly two-dimensional. He’s worse than two-dimensional; he’s a sketch, a silhouette. The story behind Ras al Ghul (Liam Neeson) and his League of Shadows is brilliant. The fact that one villain gets a rich and gripping back-story while the other is tacked on as an afterthought is pretty annoying. The script needed three more rewrites before shooting.

There’s a problem with super-hero movies, and that problem is this: Super-hero stories are inherently silly. There’s just no way around it. So when trying to pitch a super-hero story to an adult audience, you have to somehow overwhelm the inherent silliness with something else. The most successful super-hero movie of recent years — probably of all time — was Spider-Man. (The Incredibles is in a class all its own.) It avoided the pitfalls of inherent silliness by mixing equal parts unapologetic sincerity and knowing self-parody and ladling the result on top of a solid storytelling core. The opening and closing scenes of Spider-Man establish the heart of the story: It’s not about a kid in a silly suit or fighting criminal geniuses or any of that nonsense. It’s about a girl. That’s the kind of storytelling honesty you need to sell a movie about a kid in a brightly colored spandex body-suit.

Batman studiously avoids creating any such emotional heart. There’s some lip-service given to Bruce Wayne’s guilt over his parents’ deaths, but it’s strictly there as an establishing device. The middle and closing acts of the film are one action set-piece after another, with all the required plot twists in all the required places. There’s not a single surprise anywhere. It’s an entirely by-the-numbers treatment.

Kind of like this stream-of-consciousness, dashed-off, no-editing review.

LATER: After publishing this, another thought occurred that I thought was worth documenting.

In the film, Ras al Ghul sees himself as a check on civilization. When a culture reaches the zenith of its decadence, he tells us in one of those speeches that so obviously shows the signs of being punched up late in the writing process, the League of Shadows comes along to knock them back down again. They sacked Rome, they introduced the Black Death into Europe, they burned London to the ground. Over the years, the weapons employed by the League of Shadows evolved; lately they’ve been using economics.

That’s where the story should have stopped. Put Ras al Ghul and his League of Shadows behind the entirely mundane problems of poverty, unemployment and street crime. No comic-book weapons or psychotic genius villains. That’s an interesting story. That’s a novel approach.

But no, instead the script had to abandon the interesting and novel stuff and go right back to the cartoony, laughably implausible inventions of the comic-book genre. Instead of crime and poverty, it’s magic dust and super-weapons.

That, I guess, is what pissed me off about Batman Begins. It could have been a super-hero story for grown-ups, dark and serious. It was so close to being just that. But at the last minute, it made a hard left turn and stayed right in the middle of the comic-book neighborhood. That’s disappointing.

And here's what I wrote a couple hours later, under the title "Notes for an unpublished Batman script":

Batman is not a good guy, okay? He’s a fucking psychopath. He lives in a world where the police are corrupt and the justice system is corrupt and he’s just totally lost faith in due process. He sees himself as a one-man judge, jury and executioner. And executioner, got that? Batman doesn’t knock criminals out with bat-gas and leave them for the cops to find. If he did that, the crooks would be back out on the streets by dawn because the system is totally corrupt. Batman doesn’t catch crooks. He murders them. In cold blood. Just fucking kills them, no regrets, no remorse.

Except he does have regrets and remorse, but not as Batman. He takes off the mask, and the burden of being a human being with a conscience falls on him like a ten-ton weight. He’s haunted by the memory of the things he’s done. He has chronic insomnia, which explains how he can lead the whole secret double life thing, and when he does sleep, he’s plagued by nightmares. Not stupid, whiney “I was frightened by a bat as a child, woe is me” nightmares. Nightmares about the string of bodies he’s left in his wake.

Alfred is inherently amoral. I know it’s become fashionable to think of Alfred as this angelic figure, but he’s not. If Alfred had a shred of decency, he’d raise up his own army and wage all-out war against Batman. But he doesn’t. He’s content to be Batman’s butler and accomplice and confidant because he basically doesn’t give a shit about what goes on outside the gates of Wayne Manor. He’s no idiot. He sees the world crumbling around him. He knows that if he walks away from Bruce Wayne, he’s gonna have to get a job sacking groceries or something and that’ll basically be it for him. So like a wife who looks the other way, Alfred just seals himself up inside his little cocoon and ignores everything else.

The evolution of the suit thing: This is tricky. It has to evolve organically in order to be believable. Wayne starts by going out at night dressed in a kevlar vest and a ski mask and mugging gang-bangers and other petty street criminals. He’s totally vulnerable, but that’s part of his thing. For Bruce Wayne, picking fights with thugs is a form of ritual self-abuse. It’s basically no different from a teenage girl who cuts herself with nail clippers. Every time he comes home with a cracked rib or a dislocated shoulder or a gunshot wound, he gets an emotional rush, a sort of self-destructive high.

Eventually he gets a reputation among the crooks and the bangers. They start calling him “the bat” or “bat man” or something, just like a nickname. Wayne hears about it — not through sensational headlines in tabloids; J. Jonah Jameson belongs in another story — and takes a grim satisfaction from knowing that he’s terrorizing the criminal underworld. He starts wearing a cape to exploit the myth, and the suit evolves from that.

There’s a very thin line that has to be walked here. The body armor, the mask, the cape: fine. Batarangs and bat-gas and bat-whatever-the-hell-else: dumb. Think about what a special-forces assassin would carry: A big-ass knife, night-vision goggles, rappelling gear, a silenced pistol. Yes, it’s okay to get a little silly as Bruce gets more and more disconnected from reality and descends into the fetishistic aspects of his other personality, but the line between Batman and camp must be clear and bright.

The moral arc of the story, of course, has to end with Batman being no better than the crooks and thugs and gang-bangers. Gotham City is at war with a corrupt City Hall on one side and Batman on the other, and the ordinary citizens are caught in the middle. It’s this all-out war that shakes the citizens out of their complacency and causes a good man to rise, somebody who will speak out against the corruption and the crime and the poverty even at the risk of his own life. If Batman embodies everything bad about vigilante justice and righteous fury, this new guy will embody everything good about it.

He needs a name. Let’s call him Joe Black. It’s just a name, plus the allusion tickles me.

Joe Black is a middle-aged teacher at one of Gotham’s crumbling high schools. He teaches math and government and coaches the girls’ basketball team. His wife left him two years ago, moving out of Gotham with their son. Joe stayed behind because Gotham’s where he’s lived all his life.

Some of the kids in Joe’s government class are members of a street gang, and one night Batman attacks and kills them. Joe hates the gangs and he hates the crooked cops that let the gangs control the streets, but he hates Batman more. Joe’s an idealist. Fighting violence with violence just makes things worse. Pushed to his breaking point by what he sees as an escalation in the violence that’s already crippled Gotham, Joe starts to speak out. He organizes a neighborhood watch, he starts an after-school basketball program to keep the kids off the streets, blah blah blah. His story gets picked up by the press and he gets elected to the city council. Eventually he becomes a realistic challenger to the Mayor.

Bruce despises Joe. He believes that power corrupts, and that whomever occupies City Hall will end up being no better than the deadbeats and crooks who are there now. But as election day approaches, Bruce starts to feel just the tiniest glimmer of hope. (Probably insert some moral-sounding-board character here to give Bruce somebody to verbally spar with.) He decides to do his version of the right thing: He attacks polling places where the incumbent Mayor is expected to do well. The results come in, and because of Batman’s interference, Joe wins the election by 2,000 votes.

Joe thinks he won fairly because news of Batman’s interference hasn’t made it into the campaign headquarters yet. Joe gives his victory speech on live TV, the high-school marching band plays “Happy Days are Here Again,” and Joe goes to the bathroom. He turns around and sees Batman standing there in full costume.

This is the first time these two have ever seen each other in person. This is the big emotional climax of the movie.

Joe heads for the door to call security; Batman pulls a gun on him. Batman tells Joe that he only won the election because of his tampering. He gives Joe a big speech about how power corrupts, how it’s inevitable, how even a good man with good intentions will turn into a criminal. Joe says he can see that, and Batman has a moment of self-doubt. Then Joe asks, if it doesn’t matter who runs the city, why Batman went to all that trouble. Batman turns and walks to the window without saying anything. On his way out, he looks over his shoulder and says, “You’ve got six months. Show me what you can do with it.” And then he disappears.

So if you read those, what I want you to take away is this: I don't like Batman, apparently. Apparently I think the character's silly and insufficiently realistic, and I have for at least seven years.

That said … The Dark Knight is one of the best movies I've ever seen. It's a gritty, grounded, nihilistic crime drama that just happens to feature a dork in a rubber suit in a minor supporting role. I mean, think about it. Your challenge for today is to rewrite The Dark Knight's shooting script to remove both Bruce Wayne and Batman entirely. How hard is your job? Your job is not hard, is the answer. Most of the work can be done by just cutting out all Wayne's scenes, and changing all the other character's in-dialogue references to Batman to in-dialogue references to Harvey Dent. That's, like, half the job right there.

(You'd need to substantially rewrite exactly one scene and change one plot point. Without Batman, the Joker has no reason to approach the Gotham City crime lords, and you'd need to cut the China extradition side plot. There are probably those out there who'd argue that the China extradition side plot needed to be cut from the movie anyway, so that's no big loss. And the trade-off is that you get to lose the two worst contrivances in the movie outright: the fingerprint-reconstruction montage and the sonar visual-effect fight scene in the third act. Those problems just go poof.)

Point being, here, that The Dark Knight is the least comic-booky comic-book movie yet made, and the least Batmanny movie of all the Batman movies made, and that's what makes it a great film.

I want to give each of the Nolans a big wet kiss for having the stones to say "You know what? Less Batman. Just less Batman overall. Less is better." That's a ballsy thing to do, considering, y'know, big franchise, title character and all that stuff, but it was the right thing to do, and I applaud them for it.

I think what sums it up for me is one scene — one shot, really — that comes right after the Joker's big scene with the crime lords. I'm too lazy to dig out my copy and put a timecode on it for you, but it's the scene where Gordon — fuck it. Hang on, I'm gonna dig out my copy and put a timecode on it for you.

Okay, it's at the 26-minute mark. It's the scene immediately after the Joker leaves his card for the crime lords (and I've got something to say about that, so remind me to come back to it). It starts with an establishing shot of the Gotham skyline with the batsignal shown unobtrusively in the background — we see the beam of the spotlight, but we don't see the symbol on the clouds or anything like that. Cut to Dent standing next to the light on the roof, his back to us, scanning the horizon. It's a dark shot. In a dark movie, it's a dark shot. Batman enters from camera right, but we see only a hint of movement to know he's there.

At this point, Nolan starts moving his camera. Dent approaches Batman and we dolly left around them. As we move, the door to the roof comes into frame and opens: It's Gordon. Dent immediately starts yelling at him, and the scene evolves into one that could've been lifted right out of any crime drama on record. Gordon's pissed at Dent for interfering, Dent's pissed at Gordon for having dirty cops in his unit. The two of them get right up in each other's faces. Nolan keeps the camera dollying around them, and as he does, Batman passes behind and between them in frame … but we don't see him there. Gordon and Dent are lit from overhead, high key, and they've got the dialogue and the action. Batman's in shadow, dressed in black, in front of a blacked-out sky and an underexposed city skyline. He's literally camouflaged, and when he passes right in front of our eyes, we don't even notice he's there.

After a little more of this — camera dollying the whole time — Dent turns to Batman for the first time since Gordon entered the scene. "We need Lau back," he says, introducing the extradition side-plot. Batman delivers his line just as the camera stops dead for the first time since the scene started. (We also get our first cut since the scene started, by the way; this has all been a oner to this point.) Batman says one line, Gordon says something to Dent, Dent replies glibly, they both turn back to continue the conversation … and Batman's gone. Gordon gives us the punchline — "He does that" with a shrug — and we're out of the scene.

That one scene, for me, with its orbiting oner with three characters in it that really only has two characters in it, sums up the sensibility of the whole film. It's not a Batman movie. Batman, the character and the whole ethic, is very much in the background — literally so in this scene. The spotlight — again, literally — is on Dent and Gordon, and their story to take down the mob, and the unintended consequences of the resulting power vacuum.

That's what makes it a great movie. Yes, there are fantastical elements in it, but they're pushed to the background as far as possible (though I wish it'd been farther still; I hate the sonar-bat-fight sequence at the end, and just mentally check out during it). It's a story about ordinary guys trying to do good things in an ugly situation, and the consequences of their actions.

People like to talk about how it's really the Joker's movie, and with a performance like that on screen, come on … how can you not call it the Joker's movie? But the Joker isn't really a character in the film, as I'm sure has been observed about a zillion times. He has no backstory, no motivation, no arc. He's not a person. He's a force of nature. He's the catastrophe in the story; he's Sauron. He exists only to fuck shit up, and he's in the story because we want to watch what the actual human beings in the movie — and Bruce Wayne I guess — do in response to this force of nature. So really it's Harvey and Gordon's story more than anyone else's. Harvey's the hero and Gordon's the sidekick, and we get a tragic ending when the hero dies and the sidekick is left to deliver his eulogy to the audience. Gordon is Benvolio to Harvey's Romeo, and the movie couldn't have been any more Shakespearian if Nolan had had the Mayor of Gotham come out in the last scene to say there never was a story of more woe than this of Harvey…o.

So what have we got, here at the end of all this rambling? We've got a stylish-but-restrained, gritty, nihilistic crime drama with a tragic ending … and the Nolans made this out of a funny-book story about a guy who dresses up as a bat? Seriously? Well done, gentlemen. You started with nothing and created a truly great story, and if you got dragged down in parts by that comic book thing chained to your ankle, well, I certainly couldn't have done any better.

TLDR: Don't like Batman, love Dark Knight cause it doesn't have much Batman in it.

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Re: The Dark Knight

Just a mini comment - I found the Two Face cgi distracting because it looked like a slight thwack on the back of his head would cause that eye to pop out  wink

Jason doesn't teleport.

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Re: The Dark Knight

Jeffery, that was an interesting read. I must say, I disagree with you entirely, but it was interesting nevertheless. Your proposed Batman film doesn't sound too far removed from what... Was it the Wachowskis who were working on a Year One thing? I know Aronofsky was involved at some point, and wanted him to be like a guy in plastic sporting armor who was called Batman because he hit people with a bat or something.

And I would watch that movie. I would watch your movie too... If it weren't a Batman movie. It'd be an interesting, unique entry into the superhero film genre, but it would not be a Batman movie.

Also, I don't think it took balls for Nolan and co to keep The Dark Knight light on Batman. There were four previous movies that did the very same thing.

EDIT - Funny thing, one of my closest friends is named Jeffery, and he's the only person I know who spells it e-r-y, so I'm constantly having to remind myself that it's usually spelled Jeffrey when I write it out. Screwed myself over this time...

Last edited by C-Spin (2012-02-25 15:42:42)

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Re: The Dark Knight

I love The Dark Knight, but it does have problems. It's overlong, Batman isn't given quite enough to do, I hate the whole Rachel Dawes subplot (Batman is a billionaire playboy and a loaner), and Harvey Dent is uninteresting to me. However, I do like how the movie plays Dent off Batman: with a good man as DA, Gotham doesn't need Batman.

I watched it recently and fell in love all over again with Heath Ledger's Joker. It's just an amazing performance. Anyone who says the praise is undeserved is insane. I love Alfred and Lucius Fox. The Hong Kong extraction is great, if somewhat out of place. The Batvoice doesn't bother me at all.

Never liked the Tumbler, tho.

Warning: I'm probably rewriting this post as you read it.

Zarban's House of Commentaries

Re: The Dark Knight

Bale's Batman voice is awful. How anyone can take it seriously is beyond me.

It must be a pain in the ass for Batman to do that voice... he's gonna get a sore throat eventually. "Gordon, we must stop The Joker before *COUGH* *COUGH* sorry, can I get a glass of water?"

Aside from Heath Ledger's performance and some excellent action scenes, there isn't much I like about The Dark Knight. The screenplay is a contrived mess, the dialogue is putrid (no one talks like a real person in this movie,) the acting ranges from amateurish to atrocious and the overbearing score by Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard is used to drown the viewer in its self-importance. It's a sterile, hokey, and utterly pretenious film that really grinds my gears. Still better than Batman Begins, though.

Re: The Dark Knight

Yeah, the Batvoice never bothered me at all. So he changes his voice as part of the disguise, so what? Batman doesn't talk a whole lot anyway, not when he doesn't have to at least.

The only plot holes I can ever find have to do with the Joker's actions. He claims that he never has a plan, but everything always manages to work out in his favor somehow. A few times in the film, his powers of perception become a bit unrealistic. However, that said, I don't buy it when people claim the film is "riddled with plot holes".

"The Doctor is Submarining through our brains." --Teague

Twitter | Tumblr, for links to all my writing.

Re: The Dark Knight

The Voice never bothered me. The only thing that ever bothered me was how could the 500 people on the boat could vote and tally the votes, in under 15mins.

"Life is about movies; anything else is a bonus!"- Me   cool

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TDK was the most riveting film experience I've had as an adult. But that cost a lot in terms of plausibility. This movie is the poster child for Fridge Logic. So much of what the Joker does relies on a VERY specific set of circumstances. The cell phone gut bomb, for example. He had to know 1), a cop was going to be in the room with him, 2) over power him and take him hostage, 3) hope the gut bomb guy would be in the same cell he was taken to, 4) that he wouldn't be taken to a hospital sooner, 5), that he would be close enough to NOT get blown up when he triggered the bomb, but that everyone else would be knocked out, 6), that he'd even get the phone in the first place.

The movie is FULL of that shit. But I still love it as an experience.


Gotham City is just Chicago, and that's lame. It's a flat, boring-looking movie with an obnoxious blue tint.

Say it to my face, C-SPIN and you can tell everyone how you got those scars.

Last edited by iJim (2012-02-25 18:47:42)

Everybody, get up. It's time to slam now. We got a real jam going down. Welcome to the Space Jam. Here's your chance. Do your dance. At the Space Jam. Alright?

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Re: The Dark Knight

For my thoughts on Nolan's Batman films so far, there's this: … gins-2005-
And then this: … ight-2008-
I know it's basically cheating, but these are more fun to listen to, instead of having to read me repeating myself in a long-winded fashion.

And for fun (while also addressing some issues mentioned in this thread), there's this:

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Re: The Dark Knight

If people complain about the bat voice being unrealistic or annoying, I just link them to this sort of stuff.

Batman's just into the death metal, that's all.

Or maybe he's a fan of Cookie Monster?

Last edited by Squiggly_P (2012-02-25 21:21:02)

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Re: The Dark Knight

I must admit, I left TDK with only two real thoughts. First, Joker's continually changing story was borrowed from one of the best animated episodes, Mad Love (where we see how a prison psychologist falls in love with the Joker and becomes Harley Quinn), which I found fun. Second... damn it, what is it with killing off villains?!? I honestly was hoping the entire point of naming this movie was setting up an actual adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, and they go and kill off Two Face.

I write stories! With words!

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Re: The Dark Knight

Doctor Submarine wrote:

The only plot holes I can ever find have to do with the Joker's actions. He claims that he never has a plan, but everything always manages to work out in his favor somehow. .

And frankly anyone who actually believes anything the Joker says about himself deserves to be caught up in whatever fire and hell storm anarchy he manages to incite.

It's pretty clear throughout the entire movie that the Joker has a pretty solid plan, incite fear, chaos, and anarchy by turning gotham against itself. He thinks it's frickin hilarious (Joker...funny....eeeeh, there we go) He did it to Harvey and he tried to do it to the good people of Gotham city, but they showed him they wouldn't fall as easily as he thought. And that sinceeerly pissed him off, because things weren't going TO PLAN. And then right as he was about to blow them both up, Batman swoops in.