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.