The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight ★★½

It's been 5 or 6 years since I last saw this film, and I gotta say, I'm really quite astonished at how it doesn't hold up terribly well on repeat viewings.

From the very start, the movie moves at such a frenzied pace, each scene hurrying to get over with. No scenes are really ever given a proper introduction or closing before moving onto another scene with totally different characters, a different locale or even different times of day, resulting in a very jarring mess as well as scenes or moments that lacked any kind of real impact due to being hurried along so badly. Not to mention that so many scenes also felt completely unnecessary, making the overly rushed pace feel all the more worthless.I know this is a sequel with popular characters, but even Batman, or the Scarecrow, or Gordon's lack of proper introduction felt very lacking and without any substantial weight.

The dialogue is clunky and cartoonish, and most of the characters' motivations don't really make much sense when held under tight scrutiny. Harvey Dent's transformation from goody DA to evil madman happens way too quickly and without an once of subtlety. In fact, I even think that the Joker, whose character I think is probably the main reason why this film is lauded so highly, is a living contradiction. While Ledger's performance is really the only one in the film that has any weight to it, I still find his character to not really be believable in the slightest- a character who revels in chaos and goes on tirades against 'schemers' and planners, only to be responsible for the most excessively coordinated and overly planned schemes in existence. And you're also forced to believe that these extravagant setups or oil barrels and explosives went off without a hitch or without anyone noticing.

Some of the action set pieces could really be good, but like I said earlier, the movie's pace is so frantic, it never gives you a moment to really take in or appreciate any of the big action moments, since it has already moved on to the next one. The explosions and car chases are appropriately big and impressive, but meanwhile, the cinematography and/or choreography is a combination of clumsy, confusing or incredibly boring. The film looks nice and boasts some great visuals and production values, but even then, they start looking pretty repetitive after a while.

I think one aspect that really irritates more than any other about these Batman films is that they are actually filled with such overabundant goofiness that it completely decimates any kind of realism that Nolan so desperately and obviously wants to keep intact. The instant a costumed vigilante starts fighting clowns, all seriousness and realism go out the window.

This film is often credited as a deeply intellectual film, with some going so far as to say its a comment or satire on Bush-Era Politics . As I've come to know quite well from Nolan's work, they tell you how to feel and wear any of the film's latent meanings right on its sleeve. Any concept contained within that has any burgeoning promise is never really expounded upon, whether it be Fox's views on surveillance, the insufferably long and brow-beating ferry boat scene or the film's ridiculously self righteous and, frankly stupid ending. This is all a shame, because there are seedlings of great ideas sprinkled throughout, but are never given a chance to flourish. At the end of the day, despite these promising concepts, Batman is still obviously the good guy(despite pulling off some heinous acts) and the Joker is obviously the bad guy(despite possessing moral ideals that one could could construe as commendable).

Overall, Nolan's (now expected) ineptitude with writing believable characters, the distractingly breakneck pace, the bloated running time, plot holes you could drive a truck through, and a bunch of other gaping flaws makes me truly believe that, while I've seen worse films, The Dark Knight lofty reputation baffles me quite a bit.

I can totally understand that people love this as a fun action movie, and it serves its purpose well enough as that, but as a serious thought provoking film, it leaves much to be desired.

Neal liked this review