The Dark Knight (2008 movie)…

The Dark Knight (2008 movie) after the break…

The Dark Knight (2008 movie)…

What makes a good sequel? I don’t know. If I did know, I’d be making a bulk ton of money in Hollywood & not writing a blog. That’s for certain.

Everyone has their own idea of how to make a good sequel. Is it more action? Is it an entirely new setting? Is it a new “theme”? Do you change genres entirely…? Well, it could be all of them, some of them or none of them.

“The Dark Knight” is the sequel to the movie “Batman Begins,” the re-boot of the comic book character ‘Batman’ franchise that began with “Batman” in 1989 (yes, I know about the earlier Batman movie, the movie serials… Let’s talk modern history, not Bronze Age archeology – The modern Batman movie franchise began in 1989. The End.).

The principals are back (Bale, Caine, Freeman) with one notable exception – The chick who played the chick in the last film decided to bow out to become Tom Cruise’s wife so some other chick who looks like she’s 30 going on 50 has filled in for her but, don’t worry, there’s a  very high chance she ain’t coming back to reprise her role unless it’s for flashback scenes.

The plot is fairly complicated so I’ll give you the simple version:

  • Some villain named “The Joker” is hired by Gotham City’s remaining criminals to kill Batman because Batman & a new district attorney named Harvey Dent has been cleaning up Gotham City.
  • Some Asian guy has taken all of the remaining criminals’ money to Hong Kong.
  • Some accountant has figured out who Batman is & will reveal who that is unless he’s paid off.
  • The chick who replaced the chick from the first film has dumped Batman for this Harvey Dent guy (I guess that, for chicks, this is a plot point so I included it here).
  • A villain called “Two-Face” (really, just “Harvey Dent” with half of his face burnt off) seeks revenge against everyone for failing to protect the chick from being blown to smithereens by The Joker.
  • The Joker trying to blow up two ferries by having the occupants of each ferry grapple with the morales of blowing up the other ferry.

As you can tell, there’s a lot of stuff going on so those of you who were always hard up on taking notes in class better have a pause & rewind button handy while watching this film. Oh, by the way, for those who might be peeved that I’ve given away most of the movie… Well, you’re one of the few who have yet to see it since it made about $530 million stateside & a bajillion dollars elsewhere & in DVD sales & all the other marketing tie-in crapola that movies like this spew out. Considering that the film feels longer then watching paint dry, $530 million is quite the feat as a normal 90-minute film probably would’ve done 1.5 times or even better then that amount.

Overall, I liked the movie. I thought it was a nice re-imaging of the Joker. The previous Joker was a clown who happened to kill people whereas this Joker killed people & just so happened to look like a clown. The difference is subtle but distinct. Make no mistake, though; This Joker knows what he’s doing as he creates the usual “I know that you know that I know that you know that I know” silly schemes that only in Hollywood has a snowball’s chance of actually working. Apparently, that kind of schtick sells in Tinseltown nowadays so we’re stuck with Sudoku-styled heists & plots that take a million coincidences in order to work perfectly.

I really can’t say that I enjoyed the movie (I liked the movie but “enjoy” is too strong a word to use) because there’s just too much to absorb in one sitting. It felt like a class lecture more then an enjoyable film. I had to remember this character & that character & this bit of dialogue so that some other piece of dialogue would work half and hour later… Enough.

It felt a little bit like Peter Jackson’s remake of “King Kong”: A class act of filmmaking to be certain but so vastly over-engineered that half of the movie just felt… Indulgent. As though you could easily rip an hour out of that film & never even know that it was missing.

The same could be written, to a lesser degree, with “The Dark Knight.” A little editorial tinkering & 20 minutes could easily evaporate without anyone knowing that it was ever missing.

Removed from the hype one year ago, I think that most people would be a little embarassed to lavish it with the “best movie evar!” taglines they gave it. Yes, I know – The gay cowboy guy who played The Joker died when he accidentally overdosed on sleep medications. Very tragic, very sad. However, lots of actors & directors & what have you drop dead after making a movie (when else do they drop dead? If they drop dead before ever making a movie, then they were never an actor & if they drop dead during a movie they tended to have made a movie before & then THAT movie prior to them dropping dead would be their last movie). I think that, in 10 years, a lot of people will like The Joker’s performance but they aren’t going to label it as the “best performance evar!” or some other catchphrase.

If I had to edit the movie, I’d just get rid of the whole “accountant finds out who Batman really is” plot because it just didn’t do anything for the movie. Also, let’s drop the indignity that the Freeman character has about using the cellphone spy monitor device – You are a front to a company that supplies a violent vigilante. Stop being a self-righteous prick & get on with your job. Also, you were the numbnut who gave Batman the idea in the first place so shut the fcuk up.

At the end of the day, there’s no one moment in this movie that sucked. However, there are little moments that contribute to an overall feeling of “Oh, this is what everyone enjoyed. OK, I get it. Not bad but I’m not feeling orgasmic elation. Is there something wrong with me?” throughout the movie. I feel bad that the guy who played the Joker is dead (so much for a sequel involving him, right?) & if we want to play trends, that means no more serious attempts at the Joker until the year 2027 by which time I won’t give a crap one way or the other who plays the Joker because people who worry about such things are also the people who either go to high school or mentally never left.

They claim that a third Batman movie is coming out in 2011 &, if true, it ought to be interesting to see how they manage to top this one. Hopefully, they stick to one villain & lose the gravelly baritone voice that Batman employs because it sounds like a 15-year old trying to imitate their Dad on the phone & not working very well at all.

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