Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Review: The Dark Knight

Eek, I was looking through my Google Docs the other day and discovered that I had yet to post this review. So, without further ado, here's my review of The Dark Knight (with a few modifications).

I finally got around to seeing The Dark Knight, and the overriding, simplest concept that I feel is: yipppie! Much like Anakin in TPM, I was just floored by the sheer fun of this particular ride. Was there drawbacks? Sure, I can always nitpick SOMETHING, but overall it was a great film: both for the comic geek in me, and the more standard SF geek which is my beautiful wife.

Anyways, the plot for this movie goes something like this (taken from IMDB.com):

Batman raises the stakes in his war on crime. With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent, Batman sets out to dismantle the remaining criminal organizations that plague the city streets. The partnership proves to be effective, but they soon find themselves prey to a reign of chaos unleashed by a rising criminal mastermind known to the terrified citizens of Gotham as The Joker.
Now, anyone stumbling across this blog of mine, is going to know about that--after all, there's a high likelihood that you too are a geek. And as a geek, you more thank likely saw this movie: after all, everyone else saw this movie. It raked in record setting amounts of money; and it did it for good reason.

Those reasons are:
  1. A Great Story
  2. Wonderfully dynamic characters
  3. Awesome explosions
And in that order.

The story, despite my proclivities towards escapism, was dark, and gritty as only a batman story can or should be. It's an incredibly "Batman" concept that at what is his greatest hour, in the eyes of the city he loves, he becomes the proverbial dark knight; a counterpoint to the white knights of the GPD and the other public servants.

This was Batman; doing what he needs to in order to both be himself and to save Gotham City.

Of course, what's a story without characters?

And here we have a wealth of primary characters, and an assortment of secondary ones. The primary characters are of course, Batman, the Joker and Harvey Dent. They are a triumvirate of the concepts which are fundamentally at the core of the Batman concept: revenge, insanity, and justice.

Of course, the big question then becomes which one is which? Is Batman revenge or justice? Or is he insane? After all, he's a grown man running around dressed as a bat beating people up. The thing is that all three of these characters are all three (as all good characters have multiple aspects to themselves) but each of them also has a driving force behind them.

Batman is driven by his need for vengeance, the same way that The Joker is driven by his insanity and the need for justice pushes Dent into his role as Two-Face.

Despite the fact that Batman is the titular character, he's actually the least interesting in this film of the franchise. Also, despite the sheer amount of marketing love given to the Joker's character (and that whole "why so serious?" viral campaign) The Joker doesn't really float my boat either.

The thing is that we KNOW what they're about. We know that the Batman is going to do what's right. We know that the Joker is utterly insane, and will do pretty much anything (especially if he thinks it'll get Batman to laugh).

No, the character that I thought had the most to offer here was Harvey Dent. The things that drive him, the forces which push him through out this film are real, and vibrant.

What's more they aren't really the manic insanity which drives either the Batman or the Joker. Sure, as Two-Face he's nutters, but that's because he simply cracked. You can't say the same about the other two characters.

But, enough about that. Let's talk about what's really important now. After all, this is a Batman movie, and if you take away all the detective mojo and the world-class martial arts moves, you're given what makes Batman rock: the gadgets.

After all, what's Batman without his utility belt? The Immortal Iron Fist? How boring is that...

Anyways, in Batman Begins, we were given the Tumbler: and we loved it. This time out, we were given the batpod, and while much love has to be given to motorcycles, I'm less than thrilled by the thing.

Why? Because it has guns.

This is BATMAN, he don't need no stinking guns. Plus guns are what killed his parents. Part of his whole shtick is that he didn't use guns.

But that's not the most interesting technology that they pioneer in this film. That title goes to their extrapolation of the echo-location, GPS, and report-back capabilities of cellular and other smart devices. You know those little doohickeys which we all carry around with us everywhere we go these days. It actually kind of scares me because I see how the technology is possible.

After all, a decade ago, my boss wrote the software which would pinpoint a cell phone's location within a few meters by utilizing tower triangulation.

That was a decade ago. Before our phones were more powerful than my first home computer. Before our phones came standard with faster internet access than a good portion of my extended family uses for home access.

Scary huh--and I think it's a good time to plug Doctorow's Little Brother again here.

Anyways, to sum things up, this movie rocked. It had an awesome story, great characters and nifty, but scary, techno-babble. I for one, can't wait for this to come to DVD (which is scheduled for December ninth) just so I can watch it again.

I give this a 4 out of 4.

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