The Dark Knight

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Kazu
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Post by Kazu » Thu Jul 17, 2008 5:24 pm

Man, I am ridiculously excited about this film. I need to push down my expectations to rational levels, but man, everything I've seen recently has me completely sold and totally pumped. I'm also a big fan of Batman Begins (especially the excellent soundtrack, which has helped me through many story writing sessions) and I love every Christopher Nolan film I've seen. I'll be checking it out early tomorrow.
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Post by thirdeyeh » Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:22 pm

I gotta say that this movie has all the possibility to be my new favorite film of all time. Since I was a kid I've dreamt of a Batman movie that more a crime movie than a comic book movie. A movie where the Joker is just a twisted psychopath capable of anything. A character you never laugh at, but your stomach turns as he laughs at his own viciousness. I can't wait to see this film.
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Post by Josh Mauser » Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:35 am

Back!


...


Yeah, it was pretty good.

*explodes*

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Post by jcaffoe » Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:50 am

Unbelievable. I can't think of a single thing I didn't like about this film.

Somehow it managed to exceed my expectations.

And, though it's been said before, after seeing the film I can say without a doubt that Heath Ledger deserves every bit of praise he gets. He poured his heart and soul into this role and it shows. Hollywood needs more dedicated actors of his caliber, and losing him is really a tragedy. I can't think of anyone else who would have injected so much life and depth into such an iconic character without any sort of origin/backstory.

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Post by Gunwhale » Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:51 am

Great movie. It delivers.

I loved Harvey Dent. Which is a testament to Christopher Nolan, because I don't really like Aaron Eckhart as an actor, but he made Harvey Dent believable.

Only sad thing, is that I'm not sure what to expect for the next movie. Who else could make a good enough antagonist for Batman in this franchise? The only other character I'd want to see is Bane, but then they'd have to deal with Jean Paul Valley/Azrael and possibly Robin and Batgirl, which means, 1. lame, and 2. Batman will have to age 15-20 years or so. hmm.
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Post by SonOfaRich » Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:36 pm

Damn that was good.

Christopher Nolan continues to take Batman to another level. Christian Bale even better the second time around. Heath Ledger made an amazing Joker and by the end of the film you will really feel that sting of his passing. Aaron Eckhart had a huge role in this film and delivered. What a mature story told with a sensitivity not too often captured by filmmakers these days. I love how it's so conscious of itself and uses it to it's advantage.

Now it's time to watch it on IMAX.
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Post by Harry Myland (IV) » Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:40 pm

The performances were excellent, the action was stellar, the story was pretty good.. it could have used more time in the editing room. It was way too long and had too many unnecessary subplots/scenes.

But it was definitely better then Begins, that's for sure.

The movie is like one giant climax (and considering we're dealing with The Joker here, I think that's actually pretty awesome). I've always said that to me, the Animated Series' Joker has been by far the best iteration of the character, possibly ever. But after seeing this... I'm struggling a lot more to maintain that claim.

Ledger was brilliant. Very interested to see what they'll do for the next one.

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Post by marco » Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:42 pm

Gunwhale wrote:Great movie. It delivers.

I loved Harvey Dent. Which is a testament to Christopher Nolan, because I don't really like Aaron Eckhart as an actor, but he made Harvey Dent believable.

Only sad thing, is that I'm not sure what to expect for the next movie. Who else could make a good enough antagonist for Batman in this franchise? The only other character I'd want to see is Bane, but then they'd have to deal with Jean Paul Valley/Azrael and possibly Robin and Batgirl, which means, 1. lame, and 2. Batman will have to age 15-20 years or so. hmm.


i am not too worried as long as nolan is at the helm. i mean look at what he did with scarecrow in begins....
batmans rogues gallery can be really interesting in the hands of this crew.
can you imagine how creepy killer croc, the ventriliquist or even catwoman would be if given the same respect nolan and co gave this film.

looking forward to great things if everything stays in place.
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Post by [adam] » Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:47 pm

The Clown Prince of Crime steals the show.

I'm sure everyone has heard the buzz surrounding Heath Ledgers performance in this movie, with talk floating in the air about Academy Award nominations and Oscar worthy acting. Perhaps all of it is nothing more then polite commentary after his tragic passing only months after the films shooting ended. Either way, I was eager to see it for myself, and I can honestly say that it lives up to every bit of the hype.

Any good comic geek can tell you that The Joker is Batman's antithesis in regards to morale justice and integrity. The yin to his yang, as it were, but what REALLY makes the 2 characters so much bloody fun to watch is that the line between the 2 characters is unimaginably thin.

The Joker has always seems watered down outside comics. Not quite campy, but not quite raw enough. The Dark Knight nailed it. The Joker is supposed to be messed up - I mean, REALLY screwed up in the head, and Heath Ledger's portrayal marks him, in my opinion, as the best Joker of all time. It can easily be argued that The Joker steals the show, because every moment that he's not on screen, your waiting (and at the same time, silently dreading) the next time he will appear. He's eerie and mystifying, and every bit as messed up as The Joker should be.

I also bow down to Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard, because they gave this movie the mood and feel that Gotham City deserves. The absolutely chilling violin crescendo, that eerily creeps louder and louder, adds to the tension and uneasiness of the characters and the film overall. Just wonderfully enhancing, chilling, and driving.

The areas and themes explored also oozed tension - self doubt, sexuality (torn love), and the all endearing pure psychotic glee, to name a few.
The viewer is forced to watch as The Batman is helpless to stop this psycho path in fear of losing himself to the same madness. And The Joker IS mad. Completely mad. You feel utterly ill watching The Joker parade through Gotham City unchecked, like a cancer slowly digging its tendrils into the heart of the city. Dark, dark, dark - this movie is gritty as hell. It transcends the pulpy medium it was born into and rises it to an entirely new level.

This movie is real. It will resonate within every movie goer on some level. The second I knew this was going to the kind of movie I'd hoped for was when The Joker did his "magic trick" at the beginning of the film. That just, totally messed up moment of humor that you know you're going to hell for laughing at, but all the while realizing that you're only laughing to easy the tension - you're actually not really "laughing" at all. Because you know that it's not funny. It's wrong. THAT'S why The Joker was so good. Excellent writing. Excellent acting. Excellent execution.

If EVERY Batman story were told with this kind of attention to character detail, it would be my favorite series hands down. I eagerly await the chance to see this movie again.

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Post by dark77778 » Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:35 pm

Harry Myland (IV) wrote: I've always said that to me, the Animated Series' Joker has been by far the best iteration of the character, possibly ever. But after seeing this... I'm struggling a lot more to maintain that claim.
Really now? That makes me want to see it even more because that's what I always said...maybe I was just going based on the hair but damn, now I have to decide if I can stay awake enough to see it tonight or if I have to go early tomorrow after course selection.
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Post by Kazu » Fri Jul 18, 2008 5:24 pm

I just saw the film, and it's a massive beast of a movie. Despite its need to be well-structured given its ambitious thesis (or theses) on the ethical conflicts inherent in law and order, the strength of the film is derived from its primal feel. This film, despite its scale, feels raw (which can probably be attributed mainly to Heath Ledger’s incredible performance, but Nolan's direction is on the same volatile wavelength). And with that come some great pros and some very noticeable cons. Overall, however, I enjoyed the film immensely.

In Batman Begins, I always felt that there was this conflict that existed between the film Christopher Nolan was trying to make - the spiritual journey of a warrior - and the fact that it is, in the end, a Batman film. This conflict is made very clear when the goofy microwave emitter cannon shows up on the boat towards the end of the second act of Batman Begins. Every time that scene comes up, my brain feels the need to change gears a bit, and I need to dust off my suspension of disbelief, since I didn’t have to use it for the first half of a very elegantly told warrior tale. In The Dark Knight, this conflict exists in almost every scene where Batman shows up, because of the level of gritty weight and seriousness lavished on the production’s every detail. Considering the theme of duality that runs throughout the film, it’s hard to decide whether or not this is a bad thing.

In this film, Batman’s continuing hero story is playing second fiddle to the film’s grand ideas about law and order. If you're okay with that, then you may find this to be a fantastic, sprawling crime epic with some costumed characters in it, and somewhere in the middle, they delivered one of the best action movies I've seen in a long while. And it's not because the action is so impressive (though it is), but because the filmmakers and cast are so good at creating a sense of anticipation and suspense. They know full well that it's not the actual explosion, but the moments leading up to it that have the greatest dramatic effect. And this is also where the filmmakers were able to cleverly get a PG-13 rating (which I can't believe). This film feels more violent than most R-rated fare, but only because the thought or anticipation of a violent event lurked around every corner and moment. No blood effects necessary to make you see it in your mind.

In the end, I left the very crowded theater a little conflicted. I had just seen some of the best filmmaking I’ve seen in a long time (every Ledger scene, Harvey Dent's relocation action spectacular, the Rachel/Harvey rescue mission, the beautiful cinematography and incredible score), but it came in this slightly messy, but robust package that was just brimming over with too many ideas to explore in the relatively short time it had. And it left me wondering, again, if this is altogether a bad thing, since it really adds to the rawness of the film that I mentioned earlier, and I have to give credit to the filmmakers for their ambition in trying to do all of this and mostly succeeding. In fact, it’s really amazing they were even able to make sense of it all. At the end of the film’s final scene, you can almost feel the filmmakers exhaling from the marathon they were running or the grand opera they just performed, hoping that they were able to tie the swirling chaos together. Or maybe in the spirit of the Joker, they didn’t feel they could quite control it, or ever really had to, and just let it be. Either way, the film is a fascinating piece of work. I’ll definitely go back to see it in IMAX. If Batman Begins is any indication, I think I'll be enjoying this more on repeat viewings.
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Post by Ganter » Fri Jul 18, 2008 6:08 pm

Man... that was LONG!! But I liked it. I think if they managed to make it half hour shorter, I would've left the theater feeling much more spunky. But seeing as how complicated it was, I don't know if could've been any shorter.

[adam] wrote:The Joker has always seems watered down outside comics. Not quite campy, but not quite raw enough. The Dark Knight nailed it. The Joker is supposed to be messed up - I mean, REALLY screwed up in the head, and Heath Ledger's portrayal marks him, in my opinion, as the best Joker of all time.


It's funny you mention that, because while I was watching I was actually feeling the opposite.

As much as I respect Heath Ledger and his performance, I didn't feel like he was "The Joker". He was just crazy terrorist guy, so throughout both this batman film and the previous one, I had to constantly remind myself that it's its own thing and to let it go.

But I do miss seeing the more cartoony batmans of the past. Sometimes I feel like we take our superheros way to seriously, and have somewhat forgotten their origins as iconographic symbols rather than examples of psychosis. I mean... sometimes I just wanna see a guy swinging around buildings and kicking crooks in the face, like Spiderman 1 and 2, y'know? Oh well. There's room for all kinds, I guess.

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Post by thirdeyeh » Fri Jul 18, 2008 8:04 pm

I have to say I'm a tad torn as well. Between the fact that I know this is a great film (and I really do feel that way) and the fact that everytime I felt the movie was just gonna unleash and go straight up ultimate primal, it became a comic book movie again. The whole second act is absolutely brilliant. I was riveted. The film I thought I was watching changed into another animal entirely in it. And then when the ferry boats and sonar things kick in for the third act it did exactly what kinda lessened the first movie for me. It went back to feeling the need to tell a bigger than life story.

What makes Spiderman 2 so amazing is how profoundly personal the film is from beginning to end. The conflict always stays personal. What every comic book movie does that gets it wrong is it always ends up dealing these massive plots by the end. Why couldn't we see more of what made the second act so dazzling round out the third act? Why couldn't the movie stay personal all the way through?

The third act was hugely entertaining but that terror, that sense that there were no limits, faded a bit at the end and I have to say it's what kept it from being, beginning to end, brilliant.
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Post by Josh Mauser » Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:14 pm

Kazu wrote:And it's not because the action is so impressive (though it is), but because the filmmakers and cast are so good at creating a sense of anticipation and suspense. They know full well that it's not the actual explosion, but the moments leading up to it that have the greatest dramatic effect. And this is also where the filmmakers were able to cleverly get a PG-13 rating (which I can't believe). This film feels more violent than most R-rated fare, but only because the thought or anticipation of a violent event lurked around every corner and moment. No blood effects necessary to make you see it in your mind.



I think that's what really got me in the end. The extremely tense atmosphere was unbelievable; my stomach was actually churning a bit (not good when full of popcorn). I can't speak to the level of de-sensitizing of violence that today's kids experience, but I'm sure that if I saw this when I was younger, if I wasn't too distracted by the AWESOME motorcycle, I'd be pretty terrified.

Those violins, ooh. *shivers*

Ganter wrote:But I do miss seeing the more cartoony batmans of the past. Sometimes I feel like we take our superheros way to seriously, and have somewhat forgotten their origins as iconographic symbols rather than examples of psychosis. I mean... sometimes I just wanna see a guy swinging around buildings and kicking crooks in the face, like Spiderman 1 and 2, y'know? Oh well. There's room for all kinds, I guess.


I think I know what you mean, the only superhero books I seem to enjoy are the real pulpy stuff that Joe Kubert and the like were doing back in the day (I had a small infatuation a while back with a WWI series he did called "Enemy Ace" when DC released it on their showcase line and I bought on a whim). You have no idea my desire for a 40's style Captain America film a la The Rocketeer or Rex Steele, even though I know it'll never happen.

In Batman's specific case, however, I really think this dark iteration fits extremely well. They'll be plenty of other opportunities for the fun pulpy hero film. Well, once Watchmen is out of our system, I suppose. :P

(And don't even get me started on The Spirit...ugh, feels like such a missed opportunity).

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Post by Harry Myland (IV) » Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:57 pm

dark77778 wrote:
Harry Myland (IV) wrote: I've always said that to me, the Animated Series' Joker has been by far the best iteration of the character, possibly ever. But after seeing this... I'm struggling a lot more to maintain that claim.
Really now? That makes me want to see it even more because that's what I always said...maybe I was just going based on the hair but damn, now I have to decide if I can stay awake enough to see it tonight or if I have to go early tomorrow after course selection.


They just, really nailed the character of Joker in this. Like, he's totally psychotic and crazy, but at the same time he's jovial and having a blast.

I mean, I don't know if anyone will EVER replace Mark Hamill and the Animated Series' Joker as my favorite just because I have a lot of nostalgia for it - but Ledger is definitely holding his own.

Though I also gotta say, Aaron Eckhart did a fantastic job as well. He's definitely getting out shadowed by Ledger in the press, but every time Harvey whipped out that coin, I was giddy. I don't know how they're going to top these two as villains.

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