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The Dark Knight (spoiler filled)

 
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Steve Yohe



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 2803
Location: Wonderful Montebello CA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:06 pm    Post subject: The Dark Knight (spoiler filled) Reply with quote

Saw The Dark Knight yesterday and I think it's much better than the last one (which was good) and the best comicbook movie ever. Its story driven drama and filled with great ideas about Batman. And still has action.

Funny but the title "Dark Knight", and I know about Frank Miller, may not be a reference to Batman. The knight seems to be Harvey Dent. Dent is a white knight before becoming Two Face and the change makes hin dark.

It's hard to tell how much money this film will make, but if the audience responses to a good movie, then its going over the top. This, to me, will decide just how much money a comicbook film is able to make.

I was negative about all the Heath Ledger hype, before going but watching it you forget the emotional BS. If I didn't know who was playing the part, I wouldn't have been able to tell it was Ledger. Nothing about this Joker is funny. He is a philosopher using kaos and the real world to prove his theorys. Money & power means nothing. At the end of the film, you know less about him than you did going in. I liked that.

The film ends with Batman being a better hero than he ever was, even after letting his girlfriend died, because he values justice more than his love. He remains a vigilante only until the system works.

I don't think it could have been written better or more thought out. ****1/2-----Steve Yohe
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Jeremy Billones



Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 523
Location: Alexandria, VA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had one minor quibble -- didn't Bruce kill Harvey at the end?

Since that's the one rule he would never break, and they made such a big deal of him agreeing to be branded a murderer, I can't imagine they intended that be the case... but there it is.
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Regan



Joined: 02 Aug 2006
Posts: 148

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, he sacrificed himself to save the boy and/or Gordon. If Dent were wearing an armored suit, or wasn't missing half of his face, he would have survived the fall. So it's Harvery's or the Joker's fault.

:)

Kevin
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corrado



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 4782
Location: LI

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This was lightyears better than Batman Begins. Which was fine but had certain parts to it that dragged (some of the training with Bruce/Ra and all of Katie Holmes' scenes.)

Batman/Wayne was fine but why does Bale have to sound like Clint Eastwood when he's Batman.

Ledger of course was brilliant as the Joker. He should get an Oscar nomination and win and deservingly so.

But also Aaron eckhart should get lots of consideration as well. I was very impressed with him as Dent/Twoface. He was very commanding and powerful.

I was also impressed by Maggie Glythenal as Rachel. Much much better than Katie Holmes whose performance in begins fit the "wholesome" 1990's series more than the current Batman series. And it was sad actually when she died.

And like begins, Gary Oldman was amazing as Gordon. He's the unsung hero of the Batman series, and someone who also should get consideration for an award.

Morgan freeman was fine as Fox though Fox had a very small role here. But he was fine nonethless.

I actually thought Alfred was a bit annoying here. He had many pointless scenes although the scene at the yacht at Hong Kong was hilarious.

And yeah I would consider the Scarecrow cameo to be useless. Unless this is the running gag of the Batman series, I don't think every movie should have him appearing. I did like ZEUS's cameo in it.

In addition to the pencil gag and "You complete me" I also laughed at Joker's line when fighting with batman "The unstoppable force meeting the immovable object". Nice wrestling reference there.

So overall, a classic film. And I hope it cleans up at the Oscars this year.

Now the fun begins with guessing who will appear next in the 3rd film. It could be TwoFace hopefully, via plot twist. But it could also be the Riddler. Think about it. Mr Reese=Mysteries. Plus Catwoman as well, since Fox mentioned "cats" and even though it was a throwaway line, I could construe that as something for the third movie. Sort of like the ending of Begins.

Sadly there will be no Joker. Nobody can/will top Heath. Which is sad because in the 3rd film, they could've had Harley debut.
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Dynamic A



Joined: 02 Aug 2006
Posts: 16
Location: PA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't think any movie this summer would be better than WALL*E... but the Dark Knight was.

It wasn't a "great superhero movie" or a "great popcorn movie"... it was simply a great piece of film. Everyone from top to bottom was spot on, the writing was fantastic, the themes were deep and far-reaching (almost religiously archetypal), and Ledger's Joker might go down as the greatest screen villain ever. Pardon me as I psychoanalyze...

The Joker worked in this film in such a way that was only hinted in other animated and live action portrayals... he wasn't a character or a prankster, or even really even a human being, he was simply a FORCE... not of the underside of human nature (because he was acting as a commentator on it) but a force of something even pre-civilization, the embodiment of chaos, the absence of logos, order, and structure... a human form to the primal drive to self-destruction and death, or what post-Freudians would call the "thanatos."

Nolan/Ledger's Joker is at once Ariman (the Zoroastrian God of Darkness and Chaos, constantly at struggle with Ahura Mazda, the God of Light and Order), and Mephistopheles (the demonic tempter of humanity)... he has no known past, what he does tell us is obviously made-up on the spot and changes depending on the situation, because the Joker exists solely thanks to the presence of Batman. Just as Ariman came into existence because Ahura Mazda created order out of nothingness and Satan came into existence because he was created by God and wished to challenge his version of order, the Joker "is" because Batman created order out of the anarchy that was Gotham.

The Joker became a "villain" because Batman represents a force that stands in contrast with his worldview that humanity is nothing more than the Id with window-dressing. Batman does not fit the mold, and operates outside of the realm of typical human conventions and structures based on a stricter, set-in-stone sense of right. This puts Batman at a different level from the mere rabble. Joker acknowledges as much when he says that he and Batman are different from the others. To him, they both operate on a higher level than mere humanity, where one is bound by what he percieves as the "true" rules and structure and morality, and the other is bound to his version of "truth," that the universe exists as a void of destruction and chaos where it is not enough to simply be killed (though he longs for that), but for all of humanity to be dragged down with him as he goes.

The Joker tries to break Batman and Dent to prove that their rules are just as superficial and man-made as those of the Gotham hypocrites, to prove that his existence is more than simply a response to Batman, but that his view, where everything leads to a spiral of destruction into nothingness, is the true nature of existence. The Joker does not just wage the war of Gotham's hearts to best Batman, but as a metaphysical struggle to prove that he truly exists. Ironic, since his sense of existence lies in the belief that all should cease to exist.

The Joker, and his perversion of Harvey Dent, raises the Dark Knight to an entirely different level of film. It can be viewed kaleidoscopically: as a great superhero movie (in general), a character piece on Bruce Wayne struggling to find his true role as savior of Gotham City and as a man (when focusing on Batman), a Shakespearian tragedy with tinges of Faust as a good man slips into depravity (when focusing on Dent), or a meditation on existence and the nature of humanity (when focusing on the Joker). In all cases, the characters are concerned with what it is that dictates how we should live our lives, Wayne clings to a higher moral code, Dent to chance, and Joker to chaos. The viewer is left to decide which man is right.

-DA
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eron



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 412

PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I loved the film and the play of philosophy involved (Dynamic touched on it well. Anyone notice the "Prisoners Dilemma" at the end?) but I felt the ending was a huge let down. Joker just hangs. Two-Face just falls. I mean, really? Batman gets chased by dogs? That's the big ending? I felt let down that that was all the Nolans could think of for finishing this film off.
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jdw
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 16866

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I'm watching this. Joker has just blown up the hospital. There's a bus missing. Dent have become Two Face and found the cop who set him up. And...

Power goes out.

Not just in the Screen I'm watching.

Not just in the entire theater.

But in 75% of the mall.

It's a packed house, by the way... on Monday at a 2:40 showing. 80%+ full as there are only single seats available here and there, with the only place you could find two seats being Down In Front.

Initially everyone keeps their seat because people think it's just the screen/projector. I notice that it's not just the projection light, but even the stair lights are out, and the only light in the place are the Exit signs, which almost certainly via code are on a seperate emergency generator.

Word goes around that this happened the other day. And eventually people decide it's time to wander off.

The fact that it happened the other day is evidenced by the fact that there's not a *single* theater employee to be found in the halls, lobby, behind the food/snack counters, or at the stand alone ticket window outside (big 16 screen theater in the mall, with a good sized 4-6 window box office). The employees know better than to stand around to hear that dreaded question:

"Refund?"

Since I live across the street from the Mall, and since my favorite Mall store is right below the threater and part of the 80% out of power (Borders), I decided to head back here. Thus ruining my plan to see this on a weekday. :) Of course I expected about 60% capacity and thought I'd be able to spread out with at least one empty chair next to me. :P

So I'll have to wander over there on Tuesday or Thur to watch the 20-40 minutes of the movie that I haven't seen. Damn... there wasn't another movie in the theater that I'd also like to see, that I could watch all of then take my "refund" ticket in to watch as little of TDK that I've already seen.

Oh... what did I think of what I watched?

Pretty freaking good. I'm trying to think of something that I didn't like. It's pretty hard.

One of the things that I liked with Joker is that the director, writter and Ledger waited well into the movie for the "Joker one liners" to start getting tossed out. You think he's going to ham it up with the Pencil Trick spot, but that is cut in such a way (obviously to avoid an R rating, as was a *lot* of the movie) that it's less a joke than to get across the point of Joker taking control of the scene.

The one lines and quips were so pushed to the back for so long that when they started coming (I want to say the long, major chase scene with Dent in the back of the paddy wagon), the audience *wasn't* laughing their ass off or popping for it. It wasn't that they weren't into it... they were *way* into the movie, but it had pulled them so far into a character driven movie that they were focused more on "what happens next" than laughing at lines tossed out.

I suspect one key element to the "suspense", drive and "what happens next" of the movie would be if people know that Dent is going "Two Face" at some point. I did, and if others did, then they likely were like me trying to figure out of this is the spot where Dent gets the face destroyed. The writer and director to a rather great job of teasing and delaying it. I thought it would happen in Wayne's penthouse, but Bruce tosses him in the closet (or whatever it was). Then you'd think it would happen during the chase mentioned above - Dent gets "saved", but in the end of it the car spills and he gets the burns. So as Joker is throwing out a higher number of quips during the chase, your focus is actually on Dent and "is this it?"

Ledger is strong. Eckhart has been a quality actor for quite some time, and he's really perfect for this role. Bale remains strong again as Batman. You frankly hate to see Ledger and Eckhart bannished to supporting actor nominations since they really are co-leads with Bale.

Strong supporting cast, as corrado pointed out. Oldman is a terrific Gordon, though he was even better in the last because the role had a bit more edge - he was in a sense The Last Honest Cop. Here, he has his "team" though of course there's someone on the inside. I do wish that they didn't make him the Commish part way through this, and instead continued his progression through the movies. Lt --> Capt --> Deputy Commish --> Commish. That if they are going to keep making there. In that progression, they could have set up someone in this movie to move into the Commish role who Gordon thinks is way too political. In turn, that person doesn't care for the Batman or Gordon's "methods". And you have that dynamic within the police to work with over the next few movies before Gordon finally hits Commish.


John
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RL



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 35
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:32 pm    Post subject: My rambing thoughts Reply with quote

The Dark Knight: I don't think there's ever been a comic book film as hyped as this one -- nor perhaps as ambitious. The filmmakers took Batman, the Joker and Harvey Dent and, instead of making a blockbuster action flick, set out to craft a philosophical argument. This wasn't all attempted from scratch, of course. A number of exceedingly talented writers have explored themes of hero and villain, order and chaos in comics for decades.

Nolan and company, however, dared to bring some of these ideas to the screen -- and not just as a subtle aside, but as the brunt of their cinematic efforts. And it feels that way at times while watching "The Dark Knight." None of the fights really tell a story -- a common problem for an American film (and I've long advocated that any cinematic fight needs to tell a coherent story). There's also a great deal of car chasing and shooting that doesn't really do anything other than blow stuff up on screen. We follow the explosions because that's what big summer movies do -- they're like the "game loading" screen on a video game. Even if it looks pretty, it's just something to fill your eye sockets while the important stuff comes together. Not to say every action scene in the film is empty or pointless -- there are a few key, action-orientated moments that really hit the mark.

The film succeeds a lot more with its characters and the elevation of its core figures to iconic levels. The Joker is an agent of chaos and Batman is the champion of order who dares to stare into the abyss -- an abyss he's been steadily sinking into since the events of "Batman Begins." Harvey Dent is the champion of order -- and the target of the Joker's "Killing Joke."

It's kind of the Book of Job with comic book characters in that respect. That being said, they could have done a little more to develop the character of the piece's suffering "upright man." I'll give no spoilers, but if you've seen the film, perhaps you catch my drift here. And if you've read Alan Moore's "The Killing Joke" or the "Book of Job," you might have a better idea of the kind of suffering that tempts or changes a man's soul. The film didn't fall totally short of the mark in this department, but it could have done a bit more, I think.

As for Ledger's Joker, the performance deserves every bit of praise it has garnered. It was a great synthesis of past Jokers with a modern twist of anarchic insanity and the duality of the lunatic and the prophet. You really buy into him -- and he's scary. He's a villain who not only doesn't play by the rules, but plays in a world where rules have no meaning at all. I loved that they chose not to explore his background, even allowing the character to tell conflicting stories about the origins of his scars.

I have a few other problems with the film. Bales' Batman continues to speak in a ridicules growl, way too many explosives wind up getting planted beneath everyone's nose and the whole Hong Kong section of the film could have surely been written in more economic fashion. Would it have killed them to have Batman grab the guy at the airport and shave 20 minutes off the film?

Along the way it strongly references "Heat" and "Seven," with a nice little nod to Andy Kaufman's scene in "God Told Me To" thrown in for good measure. As with the first film, all the surrounding characters matter and their actors deliver something worthwhile in the parts.

There's not so much in the way of truly-engaging action ("Iron Man" brings much more to the table) or detective work (though they try to nod in that direction at one point), but "The Dark Knight" delivers its share of suspense. And as a philosophic dance of comic book heroes and villains, the film really does a fine job.
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Iron Chad



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 1163

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, a reference to "God Told me To"? I'm sold, I may bugger out of work early to catch a matinee.

-Chad
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Bob Morris



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 2851
Location: New Mexico

PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Caught the film tonight and it's certainly well worth the hype and praise it's getting.

Christian Bale continues to do well with the Bruce Wayne/Batman role. I disagree with those who say Batman shouldn't be growling... the whole idea is that Bruce Wayne is supposed to be a low-key individual, so Batman needs to be the polar opposite, and that's intimidating. I would argue that growling is the only way to keep him from sounding too much like Bruce Wayne.

Loved Ledger as the Joker. I was waiting for a moment to get some backstory about the Joker, but the more I watched him, the more I realized that wasn't important, and in fact, it's better for Joker to be a mysterious individual. The less you know about his backstory, the better it works.

I also liked the touch about his one-liners would often be followed by something that just came off as so heinous, your laughter as his one-liners is gone pretty quickly. The one part that made me laugh at the Joker's actions was when his little remote setting off the bombs in the hospital malfunctions... and then when he gets it to work, you find out that final bomb going out means the hospital is in ruins, and I'm left realizing just how twisted he is.

Eckhart was great in the Harvey Dent role. I'm sure some might mourn the fact we won't get to see much more of Two-Face, and that's probably moreso from the fact Eckhart was so good in the role. The real question, though, becomes how to bring him back with a reasonable storyline that would fit why Dent would remain so twisted and conflicted. We got it here, but if he is to be truly effective in another film, we'll need it again.

And I continue to enjoy Oldman as Gordon. He's the one supporting character in which I don't think I will ever accept anyone else in the role... of course, that applies to Ledger as well, but sadly, they'll have to go another route if the Joker is to return again.

I'll definitely want to pick it up when it comes out on DVD, and it will be interesting to see how it holds up over time (on first watching, it looks like it will hold up nicely) and whether it becomes the new measuring stick for superhero films.
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Steve Yohe



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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Location: Wonderful Montebello CA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2008 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wondering if John walked across the street to finally see the ending?--Yohe
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