The Dark Knight

...is amazing. Heath Ledger steals the show, and would even if he weren't dead. I just wanted to be on record saying this.

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Yeah, but

Saw it today. It was indeed pretty good, though it's a bit crazy that the movie is now #1 in the top 250 on IMDB with a 9.7 rating.

They could probably have cut 20 minutes from it and polished the plot to make it better, but the Joker was indeed awesome.

I agree

I thought it was good. Ledger did play a good Joker. However I would not count it as one of my favorite movies. Hell it doesn't even make the top fifty.

I go on record on seconding

I go on record on seconding this one!

Saw it last night

It's a good movie, but it's not perfect, so everyone calm down. Yes, Ledger's performance is inspired. Batman gets as much time as other characters--Gordon, the Joker, Dent--but this works.

Two complaints:

1. The biggest problem: Dent's transformation is not believable. To be fair, writing a character such an about-face is challenging. But nonetheless, it's hard to believe that a hero loses his moral compass through: a. losing his fiancee (which turns him against the police, strangely enough, not the guy who killed her), and b. a five minute conversation with the Joker. Even more problematic, the Joker is certain that his five minute dialog with Dent would have the desired effect. "Wait until you see what Dent did after I talked with him. I know he's up to bad stuff because people always go homicidal after I give my 'plans and schemes' speech."

Eckhardt's acting as Two-face leaves something to be desired as well.

2. The Batman as Big Brother addendum is a cheap (and useless) plot point, probably inserted to make a cheap political jab. Moreover, Lucius's response isn't believable. "Too much power for one man?" Really? This is where we're drawing the line, Fox? Not with the Hummer batmobile and the mine launcher? You trust Batman with a floor full of weapons, but you don't trust him with Gotham's cellphone network?

What was the political point?

2. The Batman as Big Brother addendum is a cheap (and useless) plot point, probably inserted to make a cheap political jab.

At whose expense was the jab, though? To me, it seems like a plausible interpretation that the movie was "pro-surveillance", or at least that it takes seriously the idea that the "good guys" might have to bend the rules under some circumstances.

I didn't particularly care for the sonar phones either, but because it went against the more realistic (as these things go) tone of the movie, and because it made the scene where Batman used them impossible to follow.

I figured it was anti-wire

I figured it was anti-wire tapping, with the "No man should have this power." Perhaps I'm being harsh.

But I agree, that scene gave me a headache.

No, you were spot on. Julian

No, you were spot on. Julian has written about the neoconservative element of superhero comics before, and has related it to this particular instance as well.

Grafted on

it made the scene where Batman used them impossible to follow.

Which clumsiness and harm to the viewer's experience suggests that it was grafted onto the movie to make it more topical, rather than being an integral and well-worked-out part of the story.

The idea of using it just this once is silly and an insult to the viewer's intelligence. If it should be destroyed after this use, why not before this use? The obvious answer: "because the situation is dire this time." The situation is always dire in Batman's world. If he should destroy it before the next use, then by the same token he should destroy it before this use. I mention this primarily because it is yet more evidence that it was half-baked.

In the past the good guys in fiction have found any number of plausible means to track down the location of the bad guys. Tracking down the bad guys (not just their location, but their identity) is one of the most popular forms of fiction. The cellphone magic mumbo jumbo just turned it into a great big bore.

Question. Which was more plausibly worked out in the respective movies, Anakin Skywalker's transition from good to evil, or Harvey Dent's transition from good to evil?

Which clumsiness and harm to

Which clumsiness and harm to the viewer's experience suggests that it was grafted onto the movie to make it more topical, rather than being an integral and well-worked-out part of the story.

Good point. It did seem a little forced; my only argument was that, at the least, the political message was a little more subtle than what usually happens when one gets inserted into a movie.

Since you brought it up, Revenge of the Sith was responsible for one of the cheapest political points ever:

Anakin Skywalker: If you're not with me, then you're my enemy.
Obi-Wan Kenobi: Only a Sith deals in absolutes.

Awesome! Sure got a good one on old W there. Except (1) it goes against the entire message of the series, (2) Obi-Wan's statement is itself an absolute, and (3) he contradicts himself not two minutes later:

Obi-Wan: Anakin, Chancellor Palpatine is evil.
Anakin Skywalker: From my point of view, the Jedi are evil.
Obi-Wan: Well, then you are lost.

Well, which is it? Are the Jedi postmodern relativists, or is it the Sith wear that proud mantle? Does George Lucas know, or care? Probably not, his ridiculous, nonsensical political point having been made.

Question. Which was more plausibly worked out in the respective movies, Anakin Skywalker's transition from good to evil, or Harvey Dent's transition from good to evil?

I'd say Anakin, though neither was very satisfying. At least ROTS had evil seduce Anakin over time, even if it was unsubtle. Harvey Dent's transformation seemed to come almost from nowhere to me. (Though, I should say I have never read the comics, so I'm going entirely off the movie.)

Question. Which was more

Question. Which was more plausibly worked out in the respective movies, Anakin Skywalker's transition from good to evil, or Harvey Dent's transition from good to evil?

Not really a fair comparison. Star Wars had the span of 3 movies and 7-9 hours to tell the story of that transition (and Anakin is the main character in all three), whereas Harvey Dent's transition had to be told in one movie, under 3 hours, and he wasn't even the primary villain.

Though that's not to say they couldn't have done a better job.

Fair or not we can still

Fair or not we can still compare (though Ani doesn't really start his conversion until the third movie). I mean, the conversion is persuasive or it isn't--movie length doesn't enter into it. Scriptwise, Anakin's is more persuasive though we have to postulate that he's moronically naive. But Eckhardt's acting is much better and thus more convincing.

None of this should be read to suggest that the Star Wars prequels weren't atrocious.

As to the wire tapping, I think the point they were going for was the con position. I don't think the point was nuanced as Curunir suggests, but rather just incompetently conveyed for the reasons Constant lists.

Moronically naive? The

Moronically naive? The character never struck me like that. The acting, I agree, was terrible. (And if anyone doesn't believe that Hayden Christensen is a horrible actor just by watching the Star Wars prequels, try watching Jumpers.) But the sequence of events that Anakin experiences and his reactions to them are believable. His mother's murder at the hands of the sand people and his impulse to take revenge are natural and understandable. The Emperor just takes advantage of that.

I actually kind of liked the Star Wars prequels after seeing them again for a second time recently. The first one is still unbearable, primarily because of Jar Jar, but the second and third hold up well, if you can ignore the embarrassingly cheesy dialogue.

Moronically naive? The

Moronically naive? The character never struck me like that.

Hmm. Then we disagree. I thought Hayden's jump from fear of Portman's death in childbirth to slaughter of Jedi was ridiculous.

Two nails on the head

Those were two of several plot points I found problematic and I think the worse two. You've hit the nail on the head, twice. You've expressed them well too. There were many other lesser problems.

Warning: Minor spoilers

What about the ridiculous voice batman takes on when in character.

Is it really believable that common criminals are going to follow a guy who doesn't operate on the profit principle. Even fanatical Muslims think they profit in heaven.

People don't really operate on the "We must believe in a Dent" principle so the entire need to hide his crimes seems silly. Respectable citizens don't start committing more crimes merely because some politician is found to be corrupt.

The idea that citizens are going to be aroused to commit crimes the Joker tells them to merely to avoid a little chaos isn't believable either. I don't see Muslims extremist threats of violence getting them any traction with regard to making anyone participate in random acts of violence here, riots, or any such nonsense.

The whole decision process on the one ferry was unbelevable. The subplot there has been played out before, and perhaps even the one liner "Doing what you shou...".

On a lesser and personally flawed note I really couldn't "get" why there was that whole romantic fight over that bulldog nosed dame. There really wasn't much build up in the movie on why exacly she was such a hot ticket when Wayne was so obviously out of her league. Bruce Wayne certainly seemed shallow enough in his choice of women "companions" throughout the movie. Why is he stuck on this five with a bland personality when he's tooling around in helicopters with several tens at his side.

Seemed like he had plenty of time and "opportunity" to get over her too. Perhaps this is just because I forgot any plot-line on this romantic connection from the prior movie. In any case, instead of making it easy for me to buy this relationship using some kind of build up, or flashback, or just plain picking an attractive woman so my male bias would kick in, they left me hanging. Which required me to assume some deep emotional connection that wasn't evident via any chemistry in the acting. It certainly wasn't acted like they were still a number.

I hate it when a movie makes me work so hard to maintain state of belief. It detracts from my ability to stay immersed in the movie.

I could go on and on.

BTW, with regards to the other comments on the Star Wars prequels. I found the romantic scenes between Anakin and the princess even less believable than this movie. In that case it was due to bad acting as well as ridiculous dialog, scenes, buildup, etc.

Even the hot Natalie Portman couldn't help to "kick in" my shallow male bias, and I really have the hots for her. Hell, there was more emotional and sexual tension in "Leon: The professional" between the underage Portman and a ugly middle aged hitman. If you've seen that tribute to pedophilia you'll understand that's quite a put down.

What about the ridiculous

What about the ridiculous voice batman takes on when in character.

That's what bothered me most about the movie, and the primary thing that took me out of the story and made me remember that I was watching a comic book movie and not a serious thriller. The sad thing is, they could have easily explained it away in a way that would have been very believable. Just have a scene in the early part of the movie where Lucius Fox gives Bruce Wayne some kind of voice chip or internal mouth device that distorts his voice, to better hide his "true identity" or some such thing.

Or at least have Bruce chugging bags full of cough drops throughout the movie.

Perhaps this is just because

Perhaps this is just because I forgot any plot-line on this romantic connection from the prior movie.

Not your fault, actually. They changed between two different actresses for the same character (Rachel Dawes) between movies. In the first movie, this role was played by Katie Holmes. For whatever reason, she turned down the offer to replay the role in the second movie, so they replaced her with Maggie Gyllenhaal. I bet a lot of people had trouble following her continuity, partly because she is a minor character who is not really part of the traditional Batman mythos (and so we haven't ever heard about her except for the movie three years ago, which most of us have already forgotten), but primarily because of the actor switch.

On a lesser and personally

On a lesser and personally flawed note I really couldn't "get" why there was that whole romantic fight over that bulldog nosed dame.

Oh, one more thing. Say what you will about Maggie Gyllenhaal, but she has that whole girl-next-door thing going on for me (See: Donnie Darko). She is also incredibly sexy in Secretary.

Maybe so, but I just saw the

Maybe so, but I just saw the movie, and I couldn't help thinking "bulldog", "bulldog", "bulldog"... thanks a lot Brian ^^

The movie has good to great acting. All the rest (scenario, sets, artistic direction etc) pretty much sucked.

Which movie? Are you still

Which movie? Are you still talking about Batman?

Yup. Actually the best part

Yup. Actually the best part of the movie was seeing the trailer for Watchmen, featuring the objectivist Rorschach :)

I'm with Jonathan on this. I

I'm with Jonathan on this. I liked the realism. There is something to be said for the stylized Tim Burton direction of the first two, but realism fit better with the darker and less campy tone of the more recent versions.

I also can't stand Morgan Freeman anymore, mainly because of his voice (which is way overused for narration).

re: realism

Interesting - I have a post festering on the topic of realism in Batman. Maybe I should quit slacking and finish it up.

I thought nearly the opposite

Other than Ledger and Caine, the acting was subpar. (Also, for some reason, after Shawshank, in which he was great, I can't stand see Morgan Freeman play another role.)

OTOH, the sets and scenery were breathtaking.

The sets and scenery were

The sets and scenery were breahtaking ? Are you joking ? This is plain, daylight, Chicago...

That's not what Gotham city is about... Burton's dark and gothic Gotham city fitted the character so much more.

Yes

Batman gliding over a *real* city at twilight was breathtaking.