I saw The Dark Knight on Friday, as part of my birthday celebration, with a group of 16 friends. First and foremost it was a fun time, despite that the group broke up into 3 parts to find seats. I was not disappointed by the movie, but I do have some criticisms, some of which I already aired on Chris’ blog. There are some spoilers below.
My first criticism is that they tried to do too much with one movie. They should have saved Two-Face’s demise for the next film. It was not required to drive home the idea that Batman is a figure that can, and must afford to be hated by the people he serves. That point was beaten into our heads one two many times at the end of the film. I also thought that Two-Face detracted from The Joker. The inclusion of Two-Face cause the plot to contort in unnatural ways, much like what happened in Spiderman 3. Of course, the comparison to that pile of trash stops there; the performances in The Dark Knight are a world apart from Spiderman.
Clearly Heath Ledger’s performance of the Joker ends the Best Actor Oscar race for this year. I’m also willing to give them the actress swap that they pulled with Rachel because of Maggie Gyllenhaal’s stand up job at filling Katie Holmes’ shoes. Her refusal to come back for the second movie is a black mark against Holmes in my book; previously beloved from her Dawson’s Creek days and the string of bad movies that followed. Christopher Nolan has also earned a bit of a scuff on his record with this movie.
The scuff has to do with consistency of setting of the movie. I feel that one of the problems besetting the the original series of Batman movies was an inconsistent feel of the setting. It seemed, in Batman Begins, that they were starting over on this as well. The big feature from this new setting was the monorails centered on Wayne Tower. There are many shots showing what looks like Wayne Tower from Batman Begins, which is in fact, the Chicago Board of Trade Building. But there are not any monorails. This is a huge let down for me, because this story takes place in the same city as the last one plot wise, but it does not setting wise. This is compounded by a shot (that I can’t find a screen capture of) of a Wayne Tower that looks different (sort of black and stocky) like this building. I don’t have a problem mixing and matching buildings from various cities, Gotham is a huge city, so there is certainly room for all of sorts of buildings strewn about it, but to forgo the monorails, which were too big to be removed by any reasonable civic authority.