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Old August 16 2008, 10:07 PM   #966
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Re: The Dark Knight - Grading & Discussion

Finally got to see The Dark Knight at an IMAX theater. I enjoyed it quite a bit but for what it's worth I've honestly got to say that - so far - I prefer Batman Begins.

The Dark Knight certainly lived up to the title. The cost of beating the Joker was incredibly high and the struggle to achieve this was well portrayed throughout. It was also interesting to see what motivated each of the characters. Great performances including that of Ledger really contributed to that IMHO.

However, and I have a few howevers, what the film lacked for me, personally, was some of the calm, introspective and at times almost poetic moments that I enjoyed immensely about Begins. The Dark Knight just seemed to be rushing from fight to fight with no time to really contemplate anything very much. I assume it was part of the idea in that the Joker didn't really GIVE anyone time but kept everyone on their toes at all times. As a viewing experience, however, I found it to be somewhat excessive (add to that very fast cuts in some places).
What I also missed was some of the 'warmth' and (what I'd call) heart and soul that made Begins stand out in my mind. I think core aspects here were Bruce's memories of his father and Alfred's fatherly role as well as the somewhat closer relationship with Rachel.
Don't get me wrong. I understand they can't simply retread this but I really felt there was something missing in this respect in The Dark Knight. Again, maybe this was intended and if so, Nolan was very consequent. But then, maybe a bit too consequent for my liking.
What I also missed (as you can see a lot of this is about what I missed and not so much about what was there) was the ever-present but usually subtle music of the first film. Bruce Wayne / Batman is a very restless character in the first movie, and I thought the music that was steadily pushing ever forward was a great way of conveying this feeling. Here, some of the themes from the first one reappeared but somehow none of what was there struck me as as effective.
Finally, and then I'm done complaining I really, really didn't like Gyllenhall in this at all. I usually like her work but I really didn't like the way she played Rachel. I also felt there was no real chemistry between here and Bale. Although I didn't find her overwhelming in the first film I really missed Katie Holmes here. I never quite bought her as district attorney but I really felt her relationship with Bruce worked. I could imagine those two going back years. But not so with Gyllenhall.

I definitely want to check out The Dark Knight again, no doubt about it. While it's great to see a movie at the IMAX (my first time btw.) it can also be somewhat overwhelming, the movie can literally overpower you on a certain level (at least that's the way I felt). And The Dark Knight certainly has enough action, fast cuts and noise to make that happen.
So I really look forward to seeing it on the small screen and maybe catching some details that didn't really come acroos for me here.

As a rating, I'll go with Above Average for now. There's a lot of interesting material, it's well made, well acted, and certainly entertaining. However, again, I'd definitely rate Batman Begins higher though I have to note that I've seen that one more often so the comparison isn't quite fair. But then we learned in The Dark Knight that life isn't fair, didn't we .
"For everyone lost in the endlessly multiplicating realities of the modern world, remember: Philip K. Dick got there first" - Terry Gilliam
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