The Dark Knight
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Warner Brothers Pictures
The Official Site of The Dark Knight
Discuss The Dark Knight on the boards!
By now youâ€™ve probably already seen The Dark Knight. So did you get what you expected? With the extensive viral marketing assault over the past year and the recent Oscar buzz for Heath Ledger's portrayal of The Joker, chances are you've formed an opinion about the movie before seeing it or at least set a level of expectation you hoped the movie would meet but secretly feared it wouldnâ€™t. Or maybe you didnâ€™t expect anything at all. Maybe you treated like any other movie. "The Dark Knight is basically Meet Dave with a cape.â€ť Maybe you never heard of Batman before. Well, welcome to Earth. Prepare to for a 2 and a half hour Imax-ed size wall of awesome.
Whatever your expectations were, The Dark Knight is either something else or something more. As much as they leaked out to us through hidden video clips or staged campaign rallies for fictional candidates, what you've been exposed to only scratched the surface of what the movie has in store for you. The Dark Knight is a gritty take on crime and character spotlighting three leading men of varying degrees of freakiness. It has a complex story filled with difficult choices, love, violence, and yes - the best portrayal of any Bat-villain ever committed to screen. No, I'm not talking about Eric Roberts: random mob boss, but I may not be referring to whom you think.
I'll get to that in a minute, but sadly, it's hard for me to really get into any of it without discussing spoilers. I suppose I could talk about the Jokerâ€™s attempt to bring out the worst in mankind or Harvey Dentâ€™s passion for good, but I couldnâ€™t possible introduce or explain them better than the movie itself.
I could get technical. Talk about the way the movie is shot. Clean fighting, epic establishing shots and a constantly moving camera that keeps the pace bouncing along. I could talk about how the story is told. How at several different points in the movie 2 or more major events all come to a head at the same moment both heightening the tension and forcing you to pay attention. Itâ€™s loud, busy and confusing, and if itâ€™s possible I somehow mean that in a complimentary way.
That would all be a waste of time because I canâ€™t in any way describe how well this movie will meet your expectations without spoiling it for you. Iâ€™ll say that The Dark Knight cracks you out of your shell and reminds you how good a superhero movie can be. And in a summer where we've seen comic book adaptations done originally and refreshingly twice already (Iron Man, Wanted) it's become a very dizzying season to be a comic book fan. If we learned anything though it's that in Hollywood, comics are king, and Batman is their god.
So if you havenâ€™t seen it by now, please do. Then come back here and we can geek out together.
WARNING! SPOILERS CONTAINED FOR THE REST OF THE REVIEW
Okay, before I jump into the â€śLedger is greatâ€ť stuff I want to talk about something thatâ€™s not really getting enough attention online. This is the first Batman movie that doesnâ€™t retread the same old story about Bruceâ€™s dead parents. Obviously that's a hugely important part of who he is, but director Chris Nolan knows that itâ€™s not something we need to revisit with each outing.
In the 90â€™s we were beat over the head with the memory of Ma and Pa Wayne every time a Batman movie was released and I had enough. The Dark Knight doesnâ€™t address it but at the same time manages to develops the character in other ways. His relationship with Rachel and his connection to the city are both explored with resounding success, and as much as I love the origin tale that made Batman who he is, it was FANTASTIC to see the character develop under different motivations.
Bale, who spends more time out of costume than in it, is good here but like a lot of the supporting cast (Freeman, Caine, Roberts), heâ€™s just filling the spot really well. None of these people have a chance to really show their stuff. Itâ€™s Eckhart, I think, who sneaks in and walks away with this movie. Not to take anything away from Ledger â€“ he really is amazing here. Iâ€™d say itâ€™s the most original take on one of the greatest characters the funny books have ever given us. He nails it, thereâ€™s no denying that, but heâ€™s out there playing the big, beautiful, obvious monster while Harvey Dent is crawling around in the background developing into one.
People are going to disagree with me on this, and I invite you to sound off, but I feel like itâ€™s easy to go big. Itâ€™s easy to really latch onto a character SO evil and SO in-your-face. Again, not to take anything away from what Heath did, I donâ€™t think there are a lot of people that could have done it so well, but Iâ€™m slightly more interested in watching the subtleties of a multi-layered character coming to life.
In that respect Eckhart is amazing in The Dark Knight, showing both sides of Harvey Dent as he steadily succumbs to the evil that lies in all men. I believed in Harvey Dent the fiery politician, and at the same time I was terrified him with every flip of the coin. Eckhart inspires compassion and fear effortlessly but for some reason is being over shadowed by the clown. I enjoy a sadistic magic trick as much as the next guy, but letâ€™s give credit where credit is due.
Itâ€™s nice that the shift from Harvey to Two-Face is a gradual one. When Gordon dies (dude, seriously â€“ spoilers) and Rachel is named as the next target you can see the shades of a man that is approaching a breaking point. The Joker finds that, exploits it and achieves his goal of â€śbringing Gothamâ€™s white night down to our level.â€ť He beat the best of us and I enjoyed the portrayal of the man falling over the man who pushed him.
Thereâ€™s no reason to squabble over it though. I think we can all agree that we have a pretty dynamic duo of baddies in The Dark Knight, and thatâ€™s part of the reason it will teeter at the top of the list of the all time best comic book movies. But itâ€™s more than that. Beyond the capes and make-up lies a great test of the good in humanity. And thatâ€™s what makes it not just one of the best comic book movies of all time, but one of the best movies ofâ€¦ wellâ€¦ not necessarily â€śall timeâ€ť, but certainly of our time.
So whatâ€™s next? Whatâ€™s coming up in part 3? Geeze, who knows? Who cares? Whatâ€™s the point in wasting energy in trying to figure out what smarter men and women are already planning? Iâ€™d love to see Catwoman step in to fill the love interest void, as well as the Riddler to really test/show off Batmanâ€™s detective skills, but believe it or not â€“ Iâ€™ve got no say in the matter. As long as the Nolan boys are on board I know I have nothing to worry about.
Rating: 10 out of 10 - This is a movie I could go on and on about forever but as you see I've already rambled on far too long, and as much as I would like the review to be a focused and clear account of my love for the movie, I recognize it as a bit of a clustered mess. I think that speaks towards the quality of the movie though because as easy as it is to follow, there's so much there to explore beyond the arguments of right and wrong, good and bad. The Dark Knight has a lot going on than heroes and villains.
Not that I think it matters but in comparison to Batman Begins, a clear winner between the two is not as easy as a lot of people are making it out to be. Begins is sharp, no nonsense storytelling from beginning to end. It doesn't waste time in the same way Knight does and looking back on Begins I really appreciate that. Plus, in terms of grand finales, "Liam Neeson derailed in a train" will trump "Batman survives 3 story fall" any day of the week.
The Dark Knight definitely takes things to the next level though in terms of character story. It's an independent adventure that really stands on its own and impresses. I had to give it the big rating despite a few flaws here and there. No movie is perfect, but this one is as close as most are going to get.
Well sure, why not. Whatâ€™s to stop me? Ok, the length maybe. Or possibly the fact that it took 3 years for them to release a really decent set for Batman Begins I may not live to 2011 and Iâ€™d prefer to see Batman toss that dog again before I die.
Todayâ€™s comic features â€śWell Adjusted, Doesnâ€™t Have To Dress up Like An Animal To Deal With His Crippling Emotional Painâ€ť Man, AKA Stuart. You probably wonâ€™t see him popping up too often because he's kinf of hard to explain, but you may see his T-shirt more frequently.
When I wrote the strip I knew that I wanted to make Batmanâ€™s opposite be as normal a guy as possible and I thought, â€śWhat kind of shirts do normal guys wear?â€ť Well, they wear the shirts of their local sports team. With Stuart being from Gotham City I had a chance to have a little fun with it and create my own Professional Gotham sports franchise.
After a few variations I ended up on the Gotham Ninjas and liked the sketch of the logo so much I decided to do it up right. I hope you guys like the design as much as I do because weâ€™ll be selling the Gotham Ninjaâ€™s sports T-shirts for a limited time on the site.
The Gotham Ninjas Athletic T is now available on pre-order until August 15th. For only 15 dollars you could be supporting Gotham's latest sports franchise destine to be heroes! After all, The only thing that can defeat the Batman is 12 ninjas in football pads.
The shirt's will be available in men's and women's cuts and only for a limited time. We like the design but don't want to keep it around forever. You know how it is.
Terminator: Salvation - The Terminator: Salvation teaser was a little overshadowed by the one for The Watchmen, rightfully so because it gives a lot less away. They go with the standard form of teaser trailers with the giant floating words as brief glimpses of action. It sets the tone more than it explains what to expect, but in that respect it does a great job.
When the static blips suddenly turn into the classic Terminator theme you forget Arnold won't be in it, that 3 was kind of lame, that it's being directed by McG, and you just get excited that an awesome franchise has finally returned. At no point was I ever against the return of the Terminator franchise nor the early decision to expand it into a second set of three, but by the end of this teaser, for the first time, I was actually excited about it. Hopefully that's a good sign of what's to come.
Some of you may be wondering why I didnâ€™t talk about the trailer for Zack Snyderâ€™s adaptation of Watchmen, the most celebrated comic of all time, but thereâ€™s a reason. Itâ€™s awesome. I donâ€™t want it to steal any of Batmanâ€™s thunder (as it may have for you when you saw the film.) Expect a comic and write-up specific to the Watchmen teaser trailer up by Wednesday night.
Last bit of business for the day is incentive images! Vote now to see a very spoiler-ific image of Harvey Dent's new campaign. If you're behind in the incentive images you can see the last three here. I'll be archiving them on the boards in the future because it's not so much about the voting as it is about adding something to the comic and review. I want to make them accessible, but it would be nice if they attracted new readers at the same time.
That's it for now. I hope you enjoyed it, thank you for reading, don't forget that TVB is updating daily this week and that I love you. Never forget that. Never. Never ever. Never ever never. Okay, see you later.
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Joe – The creator of the strip who has embraced giving crappy movies the chance they deserve. Like the majority of the cast he’s obsessed with boobs.
First Appearance - The Introduction
Yeo – Yeo is Joe’s wife and often the voice of reason in the strip. Having her act rational allows the rest of the cast to embrace being in a comic strip which primarily involves randomly punching people, interacting with fictional characters and talking about boobs. Yeo is smart, beautiful and way too good for Joe. Don’t tip her off.
First Appearance - Fever Pitch
Irv – Joe’s movie-going sidekick who’s always down for watching Jason Statham crescent moon kick some thug through a plate glass window and getting some drinks before after and during a Vin Diesel movie. Like the majority of the cast he’s obsessed with boobs.
First Appearance - Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior
Agent 337 George Jones – A government Agent that took over for Joe after he was bad-mouthing President Bush in the V for Vendetta strip. George ran the show for over a month bring a much needed sense of patriotism and justice to both the strips and reviews. He eventually got too attached to his work, empathizing with Joe’s plight to give crappy movies a fair shake. In a way he came to love crappy movies as well and was pushed out of the position. He spiraled out of control and ended up in prison. His adventures will be told in the limited series JLCM Presents: 337 Locked Up which is set to début Christmas of 09.
First Appearance - V for Vendetta
Other Notable Appearances: Stay Alive, Ice age 2, Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, Slither, Here Comes Guest week, Let’s Go To Prison
Leonidas – The former king of Sparta who has traveled into the future and is having trouble coping with the modern times. Yelling loudly and kicking people into giant holes doesn’t really work the same way it did in the olden days. As time as gone by he’s adjusted but it’s a safe bet that he’s always one bad message away from throwing a spear through someone.
First Appearance - 300
Other Notable Appearances: Four Brothers, Strip# 300, The Golden Compass, Rambo, Untraceable, The Ladies of Max Paybe
Palpatine – Former Senator, Emperor of the Galactic Empire, Sith Lord... He shows up in the Joe Loves Crappy movies galaxy on occasion to let people know that they’re being stupid. No one’s really sure how he shows up in this universe but chances are it breaks all kinds of copywrite laws.
First Appearance - Episode III: The Dark Side
Other Notable Appearances: Four Brothers, Night Watch, Saw 3, Are We Done Yet
Slow Billy – Billy is a sweet kid but he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. If you’re watching him for the day be prepared to explain to him the plot of the movie or how popcorn works or, not so much where babies come from, but what babies are. He’s a complete moron.
First Appearance - Four Brothers
Other Notable Appearances: The Chronicles of Narnia, The Da Vinci Code, Vantage Point, Journey to the Center of the Earth
Kyle the Movie Snob – Be careful what fun facts about movies you tell your friends at a friendly gathering or in line for the latest blockbuster, because if you’re even slightly wrong, Kyle will be more than happy to let you know. He usually gets what’s coming to him though. Poor guy has cracked three ribs since joining the JLCM cast.
First Appearance - Ultraviolet
Other Notable Appearances: 16 Blocks, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Transformers, Journey to the Center of the Earth
Jean-Luc Picard – Another lawsuit waiting to happen is Jean Luc Picard who, towards the end of the strip’s first year, became the go-to background character. If there was ever a seat to fill or a random person to place wandering around in the background, nine times out of ten it was Picard. While Picard has crossed paths with Irv he and Joe have never met. Perhaps they will some day but for now just can an eye on the background.
First Appearance - The Producers
Other Notable Appearances: I’m not telling you, that’s no fun. It’ like Where’s Waldo – go find him!
Ice Cream Sandwich – Delicious and… deadly? Usually when you see someone eating an Ice Cream sandwich, someone else is experiencing a substantial amount of pain. Still, how nice is an ice cream sandwich on a hot summer day?
First Appearance - Saw IV
Other Notable Appearances: Bee Movie, Run Fatboy Run, Saw V