Monday, July 21, 2008

on the dark knight.

By this point, I think pretty much everyone in the world has expressed an opinion about The Dark Knight. And, surprisingly, not all of them were as overwhelmingly positive as I was fearing. That's right, I said fearing.

The Dark Knight was great. There's no doubt about that. But I heard people before the movie talking about how it wasn't just the best superhero movie of all time, but one of the best movies (overall) of all time. That's just ridiculous. People who say things like that make me really doubt whether we watched the same movie, or if they've every heard of hyperbole. The Dark Knight compares to The Godfather? The Godfather II? Citizen Kane? Casablanca? These movies are classics. Even if we want to get into nouveau-classic status, we're still talking about Apocalypse Now, Taxi Driver...hell, even Braveheart. These movies are on another level. The Dark Knight is great for what it is: a fun, summer-time, popcorn-filled, superhero movie.

Are there things that elevate it? Hell yes. I won't sleep on the performance that Heath Ledger delivered: if he doesn't get an Oscar nod, that'll be a shame. (But he will. Because the Academy loves dead people. I don't want to come off as callous, but it's true.) Aaron Eckhart's not getting half the press, but he does almost as great of a job as Harvey Dent; the movie's entire plot essentially revolves around him, and he's the spiritual center of the Batman vs. the Joker dialogue that runs the philosophical side of things.

All of the casting, in fact, was spot-on. Bale's Batman has cemented his place as the best Batman ever, Gordon's being played on a level that we haven't even experience in the films yet, and both Fox and Alfred are lucky to have that high caliber of actors grace the screen.

The Dark Knight instantly vaults up to the top five of any self-respecting geeks Superhero Movie List as well it should. I just don't think that it gets all the way to the number one spot. You can see my reply at the above-linked post: I still think Spider-Man 2 and X-Men 2 were superior. Iron Man's probably up there, too. It was pretty flawless. Could we sit here and dispute their positions all day? Yes. That's what comic book fans do. But more than that, I think it's important that we just get out there and support the movie even more. We finally have something that lots of people are recognizing as a great work. Let's support it.

However, the best news to come out of The Dark Knight was this: the promise of even more amazing things to come - Watchmen! Just like Watchmen did for comic books themselves, it seems like we might be starting to get to a point where these types of movies can flirt with (and hopefully, someday, soon, fully embrace!) a kind of seriousness that people who dismiss comic books outright seem to have always missed.


esreverniuoy said...

if we're being totally honest here, i'm gonna call you on the Braveheart elevation. if you're not putting the dark knight in the realm of new classics like apocalypse now, you really can't put mel gibson's 2nd best movie (yes i say 2nd best, the passion is a significantly greater achievement even without academy awards) on par with Apocalypse.

I really thought TDK elevated out of comic book genre and into crime drama very well, and that it does stand next to movies like Heat in terms of quality. Perhaps not the Godfather movies, but Heat doesn't touch that series either. The characters are real, believable, and faithfully alter the source material in the same way Coppola did with Puzo's novel. If I was to really make a comparison, the one I'd side with the most would be the idea that TDK was the Empire Strikes Back of comic book movies, even more so than Spider-Man 2. A classically trained actor like Molina is fantastic, but he's still a machine we aren't as connected to b/c of those tentacles, whereas that Australian disappears into the "agent of chaos" to haunt and delight the audience...but those are just my thoughts...

Michael said...

@youinreverse: Thanks for the comment! I'm glad you called me out on the Braveheart because, honestly, that was the one that I was a little wary about including.

I hope I'm not coming across as though I didn't think TDK was a great movie, because I did, in fact, think so. I am, however, wary (again) of over-praising a movie so much, to the extent that it gets played out.

Mindy said...

Hey There!

I am very glad you decided to weigh in a review on TDK, because I hold your opinions in high regard. :)

And I'm glad you approached this film with a skeptical eye as well. It's hard for me to place it on the mantle of "best comic film of all time" because I can see some real flaws in the run-time, especially in the latter half of the film.

But something I appreciated about this film, was how it was able to transcend it's source material. It was nice to see a realistic and serious take on comics. That is something I have continously appreciated about my favorite adaptations (even if it was hard for me to understand at first, as a rabid fan).

I would for sure put TDK in my Top 10 List. I was HOPING that you'd linked to yours. Any chance of seeing that in the near future?

And I was actually considering posting a blog ranking my Top 10 comic book movie adaptations. :) And also ranking the flicks that came out this summer.

I aim to surprise some folks. :)

It just makes me wonder what your take is as well...

Much Love, Mindy C