the dark knight

Yeah. I know. I'm massively late.

That tends to happen when I see a movie and can't bring myself to talk about it. Sometimes that's because my love for the movie runs so deeply (see: Forgetting Sarah Marshall), and sometimes it has more to do with a sense of disappointment, which ends up morphing into indifference.

That's the case here.

Before The Dark Knight's debut, buzz was running higher than I've ever seen it in my short tenure as a film geek. I was excited, too, but there was a definite vein of skepticism running through it. Obviously a big cause of that buzz is, of course, Heath Ledger's stunning performance followed by his untimely death. Hey, I was stunned by the trailers, too. I thought it looked great before he died. But then the tragedy came, and people were all jumping on the bandwagon, yelling, "Oscar!" As nice as that sounds, if he gets that Oscar I want it to be for the right reasons (a career-topping performance), not because of sympathy, or regret. That way it can be a real victory, undiminished by legitimate criticism. It's sad that a great performance may have been overshadowed by all this hysteria.

I hate to do it, people, but we need to get real. Heath Ledger was a fantastic actor. One of my favorites of all time. He almost always delivered a stellar, mind-blowing performance, from 10 Things I Hate About You, to A Knight's Tale, to The Dark Knight. But in my opinion, none of that, even his turn as the Joker, even came close to Brokeback Mountain. That performance actually haunted me for a few days. I'm really sorry, but Dark Knight is no Brokeback.

Others have been saying The Dark Knight was the best movie of 2008, or even the GREATEST MOVIE EVER. Not so. Sorry. It's a superhero movie. It's a good superhero movie, but it never reaches beyond the conventions and limitations of that genre. You always know what's coming... you can sit in the theater and say, OK, we're only an hour into it, so there will be about 3 more suspenseful climaxes....

And I'm sorry, but Christian Bale's voice modulation whenever he put that suit on was super-distracting. It's like the second he got in that mask, he needed to get his Darth Vader on too. I think the role would have been far more interesting if he had lost that weird affectation.

Now, I don't want you to think I didn't like this movie. I did. Ledger was great. Gyllenhaal was great. Freeman was great. Eckhart was great. Oldman was great. Bale was great (except for the whole voice thing). Et cetera.

It truly was, by far, better than any of the pre-Batman Begins Batman stuff. But it was not the best movie of 2008. Perspective, people.
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14 Response to "the dark knight"

  1. Jess says:
    August 5, 2008 at 1:13 PM

    "the second he got in that mask, he needed to get his Darth Vader on too" best movie blog line EVER!

  2. Nayana Anthony says:
    August 5, 2008 at 1:48 PM

    Aw, thanks! You just made my day.

  3. David Bishop says:
    August 5, 2008 at 2:59 PM

    I've been a little upset that the movie has been taking up imdb's number 1 spot since it opened. Go down dangit! I really loved the movie, but I didn't feel like it was the best movie of all time. To be fair, I don't think Godfather is either. Maybe I put too much stock in imdb's top 250.

    You should watch Newsies if you haven't already.

  4. Nayana Anthony says:
    August 5, 2008 at 3:21 PM

    Sawr it. When it first came out, a million years ago. I remember being struck by Christian Bale, but then he disappeared for several years.

    OK, David, what should be at the top of the imdb 250? Maybe you should make your own list one of these days. I did it. Not easy, but really kind of fun.

  5. David Bishop says:
    August 5, 2008 at 3:34 PM

    When was Swing Kids? I liked Bale in that as well.

    I guess I can get to work on making a top 100 list for me. I don't think I'll worry about what 'should' be at the top. It'll probably cater more to what I personally love the most.

  6. Nayana Anthony says:
    August 5, 2008 at 3:36 PM

    As it should. Your list wouldn't be much of a personal top 100 if it didn't reflect you, personally.

    Witness my placement of Crossroads. Though I don't know if Ms. Spears will make the 2009 list.

  7. WaywardJam says:
    August 7, 2008 at 8:59 PM

    Greatest Movie Ever - nope. Best film of 2008...well if you've seen my review you know it tops my Best of 2008 right above Young@Heart.

    I'm with Jess - your Darth Vader line is killer. It took me some getting used to in Begins. But I know others who have been thrown by his graveled garble, so I'll allow that criticism. :-)

  8. says:
    August 8, 2008 at 8:15 AM

    I agree with you Nayana, I dont think its the best movie of the summer either. A good movie, though.

  9. Ms☆Go says:
    August 9, 2008 at 12:08 AM

    Let people enjoy smoking from the hype pipe.

    That high only lasts for so long...Remember Titanic??

    Puff, puff, pass...

  10. nick plowman says:
    August 9, 2008 at 4:57 PM

    I loved it a lot, but yeah, it is so not the Best Film of 2008 or ever. It's good, I've seen it twice, I'd see it a third time. Fair is fair.

  11. Farzan says:
    August 9, 2008 at 6:35 PM

    Good review nayana, I too loved The Dark Knight. I gave it an A- and thought it was one of the years best film

  12. valis says:
    August 11, 2008 at 1:51 PM

    One of the first things I read by a nonfull time critic and by a comics fan about Batman Begins was that Bale nailed the voice. I agreed totally when I saw it and thought it was still great in Dark Knight. His Batman voice is actually supposed to be so distracting you stop doing crime! :) In the comics it is lettered different and in bigger word balloons, but it is still there. In a recent issue Alfred had to tell Bruce that he hadn't been using his own voice for awhile and he probably should around town and what not.

  13. Jaccstev says:
    August 12, 2008 at 11:19 AM

    Everybody is now have infected by The Dark Knight fever. The film is really doing great all the way.

  14. elgringo says:
    August 13, 2008 at 12:27 AM

    "It's a good superhero movie, but it never reaches beyond the conventions and limitations of that genre."

    I agree 100% It's a good superhero movie. Do the Right Thing it is not.

    Also, David Bishop is right, you should watch Newsies (again). I don't know why he said it, but I'm just going to throw in my opinion as well.

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