The Dark Knight Review

Letdown is a word I hate to use. Getting your hopes up is like wanting an XBox 360 for Christmas but instead getting a Wii (my dislike for the Wii is a whole other level, then again I am a PS3 man myself not 360!). Using the word letdown for the film is like a gunshot to my head. I love films, I always have! There are very few films I don’t like, but for the few I don’t like the points add up.  This is the case for ‘The Dark Knight’!

Let’s take a trip back in time to the first Batman film and its sequels, they suck! Okay moving on, ‘Batman Begins’ was a revamp –  a chance to start over. The early Batman films match up to the TV series and the early comic books. The new comic books lost the ‘campness’ and replaced it with a darkness not seen by many other Superhero comics.

So the new film series had that to work with and, by God, it did it good! I loved ‘Batman Begins‘, to me it was unflawed. Seeing Bruce Wayne becoming Batman was well done, his back story was told wonderfully. The film had great characters, both good and bad, an amazing story line – passion, evil, smart, dark and beautiful, remarkable action scenes, car chases and fights. Overall, words can’t describe how much I enjoyed it!

So where did ‘The Dark Knight’ fail?
Let’s start with the opening of the film – I knew something was wrong with the film once the Batman logo came up in silence, no music just silence! The opening bank job sequence was great! But after that everything seemed to go downhill. It didn’t flow and scenes changed with no sense of direction or style.

The Scarecrow, who if you saw ’Begins’, you know lived in the end of that film, was written off after about 10 minutes of screen time! The first half an hour of the film felt like it started up at the end of ‘Begins‘ and  jumped straight into the story line of this film, with no real build up. The plot was also a weak point, what was the plot? Whatever it was, I didn’t follow it, which either means I’m not very smart or the plot was dull and/or there was no story line! (answers on postcards to ‘Get a Life City‘).

Batman as a character in this film showed no real sign of progression, at least not anything that wasn’t brought up in the last film (where Batman was not sure if he could cope with being both Bruce and Batman). This for a main character in the film is the bad thing and the rest of the characters didn’t have any development at all. Only ‘Two Face’ changed at all during the film! Going from hero to evil and this taking place in a very small amount of time with no valid reason as to why he became evil! Sure his soon to be wife was killed but would you end up pointing a gun at a child for that reason, he sure does.

Two Face was a lot like ‘Venom’ in Spiderman 3, enough said! The death of Rachel (now played by Maggie Gyllenhaal) in the film was shocking but also had a ‘so what’ feeling to it! Rachel’s love for Harvey Dent was a lot like the romance between Mary-Jane and Harry Osborn in Spiderman 2, in fact it was the same plot device. Batman loved Rachel, Rachel now loved Dent – Peter Parker loved Mary-Jane who now loved Harry! Both Batman and Spiderman deal with the same situation. Is Batman now ripping of other comic book films?

The killing of James Gordon and then later, the oldest plot turn in a film ever, he wasn’t really dead! This came as no surprise as in the film trailer he is seen in a scene that hadn’t happened in the film by the time he supposedly died!

The best character in the film and the only reason why this film didn’t suck 100% ass was ’The Joker’! Evil, creepy and at times funny. The only really sad thing is that one of Heath Ledger’s last films had to be such a letdown. But at least he can be a hero for making ‘The Joker’ be the only reason for seeing the film at all!

One problem with the end of the film is that ‘The Joker’ lived. If a third film is made how can you bring him back? You can’t change the actor, that wouldn’t be right. Will Heath win an Oscar for the role? His being nominated is a sure fire thing but his winning is yet to be seen and of course we all know that the only reason he will be nominated is because he died! Also let’s not forget Conway Wickliffe who died in a car crash during the planning for the filming of the car chase scene. Where is his recognition?

So is the film all that bad? No it isn’t, but that still doesn’t change my mind about it being a letdown! There were some good moments with the car chase being my favourite, although a score was missing for that whole part, and the bit when the 18 wheel lorry flipped over was amazing. There were some cool fights in the film and of course ’The Joker’ and ’Two Face’! The other half of Two Face’s face was as cool as hell and the best thing about him.

This film being a 12A is a mistake. This film is in no way suitable for 12 year olds! Especially when you see Two Face’s face burnt away with bone showing, lips gone and a big eye with no eyelid. Additionally, ‘The Joker’ is likely to scare any young kids.

So before my final thoughts, a couple more things I didn’t like!
Part of the film felt like it was taken from the film ‘Saw’(another letdown) – the bit in ’Dark Knight’ where the two boats (one full of bad guys and the other with innocent people) and both have the bomb trigger for the other boat and a deadline of midnight before both bombs explode. This wasn’t bad, it was actually deep and thoughtful with the final choice made by the people on the boats showing there is still good in people even when you live in a place like Gotham City. But it still seems to be an idea taken from ’Saw’.
The film was way to long, yet felt rushed all the way through and didn‘t take time to develop characters like Two Face. These are the main concerns around the rough editing and lack of smoothness mentioned previously.
The final point made at the end of the film that Batman wasn’t a hero but a ’Dark Knight’ was so over explained it didn’t make sense.  This changed him from being a hero to an anti-hero to make a bad guy who was doing good deeds in the film early on appear good again. So the public had faith in the real hero Dent!
Wasn’t Batman a hero? He sure saved the city two times in a row and if that isn’t hero material then I don’t know what is! Of course real heroes don’t use violence, they use words, but this is a film and not real world.
At the end of the film Batman is now no longer the hunter but the hunted. With the police and half the city after him, the third film sort of writes itself? But hold on, haven‘t we seen another hero hunted before in another comic book movie – that’s right, Blade! Ripping of more comic books now? For Shame!

So overall, the film wasn’t as bad as I make it sound. The film was just too flawed to be good. It had too many weak points and after ’Begins’ it just couldn’t match up to how amazing that film was, therefore making it a letdown in my mind!

The trailer made it look amazing, the last film was also amazing. This was just average. Still better then most Superhero films but not good enough to make what should have been a great revamp into something truly amazing. After all this is a sequel and what have we come to expect from film sequels?

How would I change this film?:
A: Leave Two Face for a third film, making him the main bad guy!
B: Give the Scarecrow a better send off.
C: Smooth out the film’s rough editing and time lap
D: Develop Batman more.

Of course I didn’t make this film. I have/had faith in Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer (writer of the amazing Blade and Blade 2, and the not so great third film – perhaps that is why the ending of Batman seemed very Blade like?) but as the film has been made, it is to late to improve it! I just hope the third film can improve on the failures of ’The Dark Knight’. Though my eyes are a keeping a sharp eye out for the return of Robin and the nipples on the Batsuit! J

Overall Mark:  C