Saturday, July 26, 2008

Batman: The Dark Knight

My husband is back for a couple of days before leaving for another three weeks of working in Northern New Brunswick. Yesterday he spent the day with the kids but by evening it was my turn for some time with him so we shipped the kids off to his parent's house and went to see The Dark Knight.

Oh wow.

There's so much that's good about this movie (the play with vanishing points in different sets, the actress that replaces Tom Cruise's chick who's plain looks and superior acting make her so much more effective in the role) but the absolute best thing about it is the evil.

This movie is all about evil. The Joker is a chaotic and unpredictable evil. Heath Ledger should get a posthumous Oscar for his performance because there aren't many scenes that involve him where he doesn't elevate what's otherwise a suspense and action movie into absolute top quality horror (ever dismissed horror as a genre? This movie should cure that. It's a powerful genre that can ask questions other genres don't begin to). Trust me, if you're at all squeamish, you might want to wait until you can watch this at home with the lights on.

But the Joker isn't the only evil. Two Face makes his appearance and his evil is absolutely objective. Fates are decided with the flip of a coin. His evil is bounded by an unshakable and completely nonchaotic devotion to chance. Of course the chance itself is chaotic...

Then there's Batman who hangs above evil only by his unwillingness to break one rule. He refuses to kill. But if he broke that rule once...?

There are fantastic scenes where the evil in men's souls is tested. One scene involved two ferries is a terrific example but I don't want to say anything about it for fear of spoiling it. Most of the joy in this movie is the suspense and the building of expectations - fulfilling them sometimes and completely confounding them at others.

Of course the flip side of this is that there's a great examination of good as well. Batman isn't the shining white knight of this picture. That's reserved for D.A. Harvey Dent. And the qualities of good that each 'good' character exhibits is different. Dent's varies from Batman's. Gordon's varies from Dent's. Vigilante citizens' varies from Batman's.

This would be a great film for a philosophy class.

So along with Spiderman 2, Batman Begins and Iron Man (what a great year for comic book geeks!), The Dark Knight now occupies my list of Best Ever Superhero Movies. It might even be number one.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I'm so excited to see this movie (not excited enough to have seen it yet though, lol). I loved the last one, and this one looks promising from the trailers. I particularly like the "dark side of Batman" approach they seem to be going for. I dislike superhero movies in general because the alter ego is usually an unbelievably nice person - even Spiderman wasn't bad until some alien made him behave that way. But when Batman is faced with a house full of party guests in danger, does he say, "Run! Save yourselves!" or even make up some frilly excuse?? Nope. He insults them and throws them all out. That's my kind of superhero.

Thanks for the review. I can't wait to see this movie.