The Dark Knight Reviews
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Whilst you watch in vague awe, there's actually very little to connect you to what's going on. Instead, this is more Nolan's thoughts on display than an attempt to build emotion or character, and such I had a lot of trouble investing. The result is a feeling that it's a little over-long, a little clunky, and frankly dissengaging when you're out of each big moment.
VERDICT: 'The Dark Knight' is a good film that deserves its praise, but the lack of emotion and heart just goes to show how ideas should never come at the expense of what's actually more important to the overall experience.
Reading over all of the other critics and reviews that have been posted before mine, I can see that I am not the only person that feels this way. Having received over 300 reviews and comments on this Rotten Tomatoes website, only 19 have been rotten. The reason why I take such a bold stance is because I really do believe that this movie was a big milestone for the film industry.
And yet I am left with a question...why do I leave unsure of whether or not I was satisfied?
This movie is SO dark & Ledger's Joker is SO psychotic that it's actually almost hard to stomach at times. There is so much going on that it is virtually impossible to keep track of it all (Lau anyone?). There is no ostensible story to really follow. More a sequence of horrific events that the Joker commits that Batman has to respond to. No huge over-arching narrative that is distinguishable. The narrative isn't shaped coherently enough to build toward a satisfying climax. What we have are various cliff-hanger movie serial type action sequences strung together. Each individual sequence is mesmerizing to watch on its own. Yet put them all together and incoherence. The action is so extravagant that I think it's meant to grab our attention away from the fact that we really don't know what's going on in the story. But as long as our attention is taken by these hugely instense action scenes, maybe we won't ask. They were almost successful. The film's mood is one of constant climax. It feels rushed. I found myself caught up in the drama DURING the film. But afterwards asking myself, what was the whole thing about anyway? I didn't come up with any answers.
Further, people show up and disappear without explanation; characters are eliminated with a casual nod. The Dark Knight's ambition to be more than disposable entertainment is very admirable, but I just wish it could be more fun.
One other slight detraction is that I absolutely cannot STAND Maggie Gyllenhaal. That and the fact that the mayor was wearing a serious amount of eye-liner. Did Nolan notice this??
That said, everything up until the last ten minutes was fairly satisfying. But the ending was so ambiguous & "anti-heroic" that it totally killed the previous 2 hours & 20 minutes for me. I really felt somewhat cheated. Should a superhero movie have people leaving the place scratching their heads? Was it REALLY about Batman? They said it best at the end. Batman is not a superhero. Sadly, I knew this series would lead to that eventually.
Now for those who HAVE seen it...... here is the ******SPOILER***** that I unfortunately have to post to critique the film fully. Ok, so it's rushed. So the story arc isn't the most focused. So it's dark. Those were just minor beefs. But these are the REAL ones..............................
WHY did Batman have to take the blame for the crimes committed at the end??? Why would they want to portray Gotham's hero as a vigilante criminal TO Gothamites? It doesn't make any sense! The people of Gotham are supposed to believe that Batman just started killing cops??
Essentially, they LIE to the people of Gotham so that they will have something to believe in. How about themselves??! Regarding the two boats... after they saw the end result of that, why need a false figurehead of hope? And then to transfer the blame onto the TRUE hero??? Or why not Batman?? Even the Joker admitted that though Dent wasn't, Batman WAS truly incorruptible. Why need a fake figurehead? Was Dent REALLY that important to Gotham? It didn't come across. Makes no sense. Taking credit for cop-killing so that the people won't know the truth about a certain two-faced "white knight" (in the public's eyes anyway) is not exactly what I'd call nobility. The Joker is ultimately responsible for all the chaos anyway. Or why not just leave the cause of deaths "undetermined"? Dent's heroism isn't established stongly enough for anyone to care whether or not his legacy as "white knight" is preserved & gives (false) hope to the city. That ending left me REALLY REALLY wanting. Almost ruined the movie for me. That & the open-ended questions. For example, what is Joker's reason for rigging the two boats? Is it to force Batman to unmask? Is it to prove to someone that people are corruptible? Is it a way of taking over Gotham & rule it? Or is it just for kicks? How did the Joker infiltrate both boats? Why would Joker INTENTIONALLY get caught & imprisoned (and risk losing everything) just to retrieve Lau & burn him on a pile of money? These are HARDLY irrelevant questions & they are never answered! Not to mention that what ends up happening with the Joker is not satisfactory at all (nor is the make-up ever really explained btw). It's quite anti-climactic. It may all lead into the story of the third, but right now I feel like I did at the end of Back To The Future II. I truly hope that part 3 rectifies this like McFly did. In the meanwhile, Nolan is trying to be so dark & contemplative that maybe someone should ask him, "WHY SO SERIOUS?"