Dark Knight flies high, Ledger falls short

I went with my buddy Kevin to go see Batman – The Dark Knight. We went on opening weekend and had to go to three different theatres until we finally found a 10:30pm showing that wasn’t sold out. I was pretty pumped, I had seen the trailers and read a few reviews and was all set to see some of these actors gave great performances. More than that though, I was really looking forward to being entertained by a great Batman movie. I was really excited by Batman Begins, I felt like Christian Bale did a great job of reviving the series.

I have to say that at 1am in the morning as we were walking through the parking lot I had some definite mixed emotions. For those of you who have not yet seen the movie, all 14 of you, don’t panic. Batman the Dark Knight is a great movie. Highly entertaining, action packed, and a great story overall. I should warn you, do not take children to see this movie. This is not a comic book movie in the traditional sense. This is a comic book movie that is true to the Batman Genre meaning it leans more toward the Science Fiction/ Horror genre. Not the popcorn comic movie like Fantastic Four or Spiderman.

The story follows the development of Two-Face and chronicles the Batman/ Joker conflict. As usual there is plenty of Bat-gadgets, action sequences, etc. another great Batman movie. The plot was really not that complex, in some ways not even that interesting as far as the main conflict. What was great was the character development.

Let’s start talking about the movie and how I felt about the different actor’s performances…

Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne/Batman): Another solid performance by Christian Bale. I enjoyed the Bruce Wayne character in this movie more than I thought I would. In Batman Begins, the Bruce Wayne character is fascinating because it was more of an origins tale. I was concerned that in the next installment they would focus on the wrong aspects of Bruce Wayne from the first movie, the risk taking playboy, without a care in the world, don’t fear death because my soul is dead already, everybody pity me, aspects of Bruce Wayne. I was pleased to see that they took it entirely the other direction, the right direction in my mind. They went the route of the man with a mission, with a little doomed love on the side.

Batman, of course fantastic, the gadgets the suits the tumbler the cycle, it was all fantastic. I love the pseudo Batcave, it was all great. The only thing that bothered me was when Christian Bale speaks as Batman, he talks as if he just spent the last 3 hours at Metallica concert and he is trying to speak his lines as though they were the lyrics to Metallica’s “One”. That got a little annoying but fortunately, Batman does more ass-kicking that he does monologue-ing.

Michael Caine (Alfred): Michael Kane has been fantastic in every movie I have ever seen him in and this is no exception. He plays Alfred wonderfully. That brings me to an interesting point about the character of Alfred. Why do we love Alfred so much? Why do we think he is so awesome? In most adaptations of Batman, Alfred has a very minor role, however, he is always a loved character. It doesn’t matter what actor portrays him whether on TV or the Big Screen, Alfred is always a hit. Does that make the role more or less challenging? I don’t know. I do know that Michael Kane once again gives a solid performance and delivers some of the lines like only Michael Kane can. When he tells Bruce “some people just want to watch the world burn…” I got goosebumps. I love Michael Kane!!

Aaron Eckhart: (Harvey Dent/ Two Face): Loved Aaron Eckhart! He has probably the most interesting character arch in this film. You see the straight laced DA who works for the people become a man in love who will do anything to protect Rachel Dawes. He begins to become the DA who might be willing to cross the line if the ends justify the means. Ultimately, he transforms into Two-Face. This movie did a wonderful job setting up the character of Two-Face **SPOILER-highlight to read** I have to believe that Two-Face did not die at the end of the film. Perhaps the memorial was for Harvey Dent because Harvey truly is dead. I just can’t believe that they would spend all that time developing such a wonderful character to kill him at the end of the film. **SPOILER**

Maggie Gyllenhaal (Rachel Dawes): Maggie did a great job with Rachel Dawes; much more convincing than Katie Holmes. Katie Holmes is a beautiful girl and a decent actress but she doesn’t belong anywhere near the comic book genre. Maggie has enough spunk to pull it off and she proved it in this movie. **SPOILER** Maybe some of the more die-hard Batman fans can help me out, does Rachel die in the comics as well? **SPOILER**

Heath Ledger (The Joker): I am just going to say it, Heath Ledger was not that good. Before you start leaving me hateful comments, and I know they are coming, let me clarify. Heath Ledger was good, but not that good. Tinsel town is already crowning him with an Oscar and I don’t think it is deserved. To be honest I think they are puffing up his performance because he died. The Joker was scary, creepy and obviously psychotic, but if you weren’t reading this batman post, those words could describe easily a dozen different movie villains. I didn’t think there was anything about his performance that stood out enough to warrant all of the praise that he has been receiving for this role. In fact, in comparing Ledger to Nicholson, I am not so sure that Ledger’s Joker was better than Nicholson’s.

That’s what I think, what do you think?

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6 Responses to Dark Knight flies high, Ledger falls short

  1. herculesrob says:

    Ledger’s Joker is on another level of superiority than Nicholson’s, though I admit they were two different interpretations on the franchise. Tim Burton’s Batman kept true with the comic-book style that Batman came from, while Nolan created a real Gotham with real people. Nicholson’s Joker was memorable, but Ledger’s performance is iconic. It might not have happen yet, but in a few years the only face people will put to the name, The Joker, will be of Ledger’s.

    I agree with you, somewhat, about the Oscar buzz Ledger is receiving. In my opinion, it’s almost a lock that Leger will be nominated for Best Supporting Actor, but even if he does make the cut, I doubt he’ll win. It is way too early to tell since the Fall season still has weeks before it begins, so we’ll just have to wait and see. But hands down, Ledger shines over his A-list, co-stars in The Dark Knight. Yes, his performance was that good.

  2. sleepyfrog76 says:

    I don’t know why, but I couldn’t highlight the “spoiler” sections. Argh! I’ll just have to pretend they weren’t there or something.

    Maggie Gyllenhaal was far superior than Katie Holmes in this role (I’m not that fond of Katie Holmes as an actress), but there was something off about it for me. I don’t know what, exactly.

    THANK YOU for pointing out Batman’s speaking voice. It just sounded like one long, low growl to me. Very hard to understand what he was saying, and annoying as crap. But Christian Bale is awesome, so I can (mostly) forgive him of this.

    Heath Ledger was outstanding. I kept looking and looking for Heath in there, but there was nothing of him in the character. It was all the Joker. I don’t think it’s really fair to compare him to Jack Nicholsen because there are such different interpretations of the character, just as the Batman movies are completely different. Heath Ledger was in a league of his own, however, and I loved it. Disturbing, horrifying, psychotic… it was perfect. However, I agree in that I don’t think it is Oscar material. If he were still alive, I just don’t think he’d be getting the Oscar buzz. Everyone would be talking about this amazing performance, but would not be talking Oscar. Yes, it’s a shame that he died so young and I’m sure he would have received many Oscars had he lived, but that is no reason to give him one now. My opinion, obviously. 🙂

    Ummm, I can’t remember if I had anything else to say. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I gave up on you a while ago, but it’s good to see you back.! 🙂

  3. bc3263827 says:

    One thing that I was hoping someone would comment on is, “What is so like-able about Alfred?” Do either of you have any comments on that one?

  4. klytus7 says:

    Im sorry Innergeek guy, but someone has to say it, I felt like this movie had a heavy Sapranos, feel. End of line.

  5. GBman says:

    I dont need to argue cause it is ur opinion about Ledger’s performance but honestly he took his character up and beyond. He honestly made the movie what it is. The guy took a month in an apartment perfecting the joker laugh, which everytime i heard it i got goosebumps. His flow and easy when playing the character was flawless. Ledger fit the Joker like Johnny Depp fit captain jack sparrow, he never missed a beat. When I walked out I even remember saying to a friend damn that guy even deserves a grammy kiddingly.

  6. Maddy says:

    I loved Ledger’s performance. He was the best actor in the movie by far, and did a great job in my opinion.

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