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View Poll Results: Grade the movie...
Excellent 271 79.47%
Above Average 46 13.49%
Average 17 4.99%
Below Average 2 0.59%
Poor 5 1.47%
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Old July 28 2008, 11:46 PM   #781
steveman
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Re: The Dark Knight - Grading & Discussion

davejames wrote: View Post
That was the same argument I was making after Batman Begins-- that Batman just didn't look right within that more realistic world, and that Burton's approach (of creating a world that a Batman could believably exist in) was the better one.
When discussing the merits of Burton's films vs. Nolan's films, this is probably the most interesting talking point.

I can see the strengths of both sides...
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Old July 28 2008, 11:52 PM   #782
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Re: The Dark Knight - Grading & Discussion

steveman wrote: View Post
davejames wrote: View Post
That was the same argument I was making after Batman Begins-- that Batman just didn't look right within that more realistic world, and that Burton's approach (of creating a world that a Batman could believably exist in) was the better one.
When discussing the merits of Burton's films vs. Nolan's films, this is probably the most interesting talking point.

I can see the strengths of both sides...
I don't get this criticism of the Nolan films. Batman has had a history of film noir/ true crime stylistics since the early 1940s, brought back strongly in the 1970s and utilized since then pretty regularly. He's also long been discussed as the least fantastic superhero. I don't see a clash between the style and the subject here anymore than I did when reading Year One or any of the Batman fights organized crime stories of the 70s. Personally I always find it jarring to read comics where Batman goes up against magical supervillains like Clayface, or to have him team up with super-powered heroes. He's always been a hard-boiled detective in cape to me.
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Old July 28 2008, 11:57 PM   #783
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Re: The Dark Knight - Grading & Discussion

I actually think that, like any of the big super heroes, that Batman is a little hard to write. I like Batman's rogue gallery. One of the most creative and certainly one of the most entertaining. The problem with Batman that I find is paralleling him with other characters.
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Old July 29 2008, 12:02 AM   #784
The Old Mixer
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Re: The Dark Knight - Grading & Discussion

JacksonArcher wrote: View Post
It's called suspension of disbelief.
I'm familiar with the term, I used it a couple of posts up. Nolan's otherwise realistic/naturalistic/versimilitous(?) world makes it harder for me to suspend my disbelief about his Batman.

That's the way Batman looks.
In these films. They could have gone with a substantially different look, from the spandex comic costume of Dead End to sleek rubber with optional nipples. Nolan's Batman, with the heavy suit and uber-growly voice, is a little too OTT for his otherwise relatively subtle world.

On the issue of the voice, I'd have less trouble suspending my disbelief if he did something subtler and sounded a bit too much like Bruce Wayne. The uber-growl sounds just as silly to me as if he sucked some helium and talked in a squeaky chipmunk voice. In fact, talking in a high-pitched voice would actually fit the bat motif better, wouldn't it...?

To say that it dampens your view of the film because of that...
Well, I did give the film the highest rating available in this thread anyway, didn't I? Am I not allowed to have a minor issue with the film that didn't significantly ruin my enjoyment of it?

And I'm aware many people hold Superman in high regard. It's a great film. But there have many many films since then in the genre that have easily surpassed it.
In specific areas, certainly. But I still consider it the best "whole package" film. It is the Beatles of super-hero films...no matter how many new ones come around and what they do with the genre, it's still the standard to which they're all compared.

YYZ wrote: View Post
it's funny the odd bit of backlash TDK has received... people wanted Batman in a more realistic universe, with a real dilemmas, a truly interesting and threatening villain, and a story, not just set pieces and a plot shoehorned in. That's what Nolan did, and apparently he did it so well that now people are saying that Batman himself is the only thing that seems out of place.
I'm not denying the irony of it.

Camelopard wrote: View Post
*Crouches on rooftop, brooding darkly over his mistake*
Just be careful not to brood so long that you start to look emo....

davejames wrote: View Post
That was the same argument I was making after Batman Begins-- that Batman just didn't look right within that more realistic world, and that Burton's approach (of creating a world that a Batman could believably exist in) was the better one.
I wouldn't say Burton's approach was "better" per se...certainly not better for what Nolan is trying to do, by any means. But it did work for what Burton was doing.
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Old July 29 2008, 12:09 AM   #785
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Re: The Dark Knight - Grading & Discussion

Lapis Exilis wrote: View Post
I don't get this criticism of the Nolan films. Batman has had a history of film noir/ true crime stylistics since the early 1940s, brought back strongly in the 1970s and utilized since then pretty regularly. He's also long been discussed as the least fantastic superhero. I don't see a clash between the style and the subject here anymore than I did when reading Year One or any of the Batman fights organized crime stories of the 70s. Personally I always find it jarring to read comics where Batman goes up against magical supervillains like Clayface, or to have him team up with super-powered heroes. He's always been a hard-boiled detective in cape to me.
But there certainly are differences between Burton's films and Nolan's films, enough to draw a distinction between the two.

For instance, I think there are fantastical elements in Burton's films that never would've made it into Nolan's. And by that same token, I think there are realistic elements in Nolan's films that never would've made it into Burton's.

In all actuality, however, I think it's more a difference in the directors and their creative preferences than it is in how they viewed the source material.
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Old July 29 2008, 12:21 AM   #786
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Re: The Dark Knight - Grading & Discussion

The Old Mixer wrote: View Post
In specific areas, certainly. But I still consider it the best "whole package" film. It is the Beatles of super-hero films...no matter how many new ones come around and what they do with the genre, it's still the standard to which they're all compared.
Just an observation, but in regard to Superman being the film to which all superhero films are compared to, as of late, I've heard Spider-Man 2 thrown around many more times than Superman when it comes to a supposed "standard" for the genre.

And many are of the opinion that The Dark Knight surpassed even Spider-Man 2 when it comes to a genre "standard" or a target to surpass. I, for one, would concur with this opinion. But that's just me.
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Old July 29 2008, 12:24 AM   #787
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Re: The Dark Knight - Grading & Discussion

Lapis Exilis wrote: View Post
I don't get this criticism of the Nolan films. Batman has had a history of film noir/ true crime stylistics since the early 1940s, brought back strongly in the 1970s and utilized since then pretty regularly. He's also long been discussed as the least fantastic superhero. I don't see a clash between the style and the subject here anymore than I did when reading Year One or any of the Batman fights organized crime stories of the 70s. Personally I always find it jarring to read comics where Batman goes up against magical supervillains like Clayface, or to have him team up with super-powered heroes. He's always been a hard-boiled detective in cape to me.
Well for me, the best way to explain it is imagine you were watching 1971's The French Connection... and suddenly Batman strolled into the scene and proceeded to have a conversation with Gene Hackman's character. You'd be like "What the FUCK?!? What is this guy in a ridiculous bat costume doing in this gritty, realistic crime thriller??"

That was pretty much what I was feeling while watching Batman Begins. Nolan did such a good job establishing a gritty and realistic world, that everytime Batman showed up he looked about as ridiculous as a Batman would look in OUR world.

I still felt that at times in TDK, but fortunately the story was so captivating I didn't care as much.
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Old July 29 2008, 12:30 AM   #788
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Re: The Dark Knight - Grading & Discussion

Speaking of Burton, has he ever commented on Nolan's Batman at all? Either about this movie or the previous one?

I'm dying to know if he's seen them, and what he thinks. I can't imagine no one's asked him in all this time...
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Old July 29 2008, 12:36 AM   #789
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Re: The Dark Knight - Grading & Discussion

And super-heroes always work better in the comics, regardless of the level of realism evoked in the setting of the specific title. Suspension of disbelief is harder to achieve in live action. Various super-hero films have tried various methods to achieve it, to varying levels of success. If super-heroes worked 100% as they are on the comics page, Nolan's Batman would be wearing a costume that looked more like Dead End...there would have been no need to reinvent it as solid armor. Nolan himself didn't have faith in the ability to take Batman straight out of the comics and plop him into a gritty, naturalistic crime drama, or he would have done so. He chose his own approach to the character, and on some levels it doesn't work for me.

On others it does. I love his Bruce Wayne, I love the whole origin sequence in BB, including non-comics innovations such as the Waynes' reason for leaving the theater and Bruce's intentions toward Joe Chill and Falcone giving him the epitome that led him down the road to becoming Batman. I love the resulting emphasis on Batman serving a symbolic purpose, rather than being one deranged man motivated by personal vengeance.

But the costume and voice just don't sell me.
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Old July 29 2008, 12:47 AM   #790
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Re: The Dark Knight - Grading & Discussion

Well, I finally saw the movie last night and, as today is my day off, have taken the hours necessary to wade through this entire thread.

I rated the film excellent and enough has been written about why it deserves that ranking, so I won't gild the lily. But I've just got to respond to the general tenor of remarks (here and elsewhere) about Heath Ledger:

Ledger gave a very well-done, nicely nuanced performance. But to call it Oscar-worthy is a stretch. Like a few others, I truly believe that notion started as typical studio hype and gained credibility with most folk due to the actor's unfortunate death. To call it the best ever performance of a villain is simply hyperbole and to compare Jack Nicholson's Joker with Ledger's unfavorably is just wrong, IMO.

The Ledger Joker is the product of a combination of Mr. Ledger's own not-inconsiderable skills, a top-notch script and a certain directorial approach. Likewise, Nicholson's Joker was what was called for by Tim Burton. Had scripts and direction been more similar, I think most folks would be saying how Ledger didn't quite measure up to Nicholson's mark. My wife and I both thought that Ledger's performance owed a good deal to Nicholson's. In fact, at one point during the film, she leaned over to me and whispered, "He's not acting, he's channeling Nicholson!" And she's no Nicholson fan, btw.

(Slightly off-topic, whoever it was that said Nicholson's work for the last 25 years has consisted of "Look at me -- I'm ACTING" needs to go back and watch some of Nicholson's more serious films. Say, "The Pledge" or "About Schmidt.)

So in my book, Ledger did a better than competent job and his death is sad but all this Oscar talk is simple Hollywood mawkishness. And there's no way he touches Jack Nicholson's skill as an actor.

Still, damn good flick!
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Old July 29 2008, 12:58 AM   #791
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Re: The Dark Knight - Grading & Discussion

davejames wrote: View Post
Lapis Exilis wrote: View Post
I don't get this criticism of the Nolan films. Batman has had a history of film noir/ true crime stylistics since the early 1940s, brought back strongly in the 1970s and utilized since then pretty regularly. He's also long been discussed as the least fantastic superhero. I don't see a clash between the style and the subject here anymore than I did when reading Year One or any of the Batman fights organized crime stories of the 70s. Personally I always find it jarring to read comics where Batman goes up against magical supervillains like Clayface, or to have him team up with super-powered heroes. He's always been a hard-boiled detective in cape to me.
Well for me, the best way to explain it is imagine you were watching 1971's The French Connection... and suddenly Batman strolled into the scene and proceeded to have a conversation with Gene Hackman's character. You'd be like "What the FUCK?!? What is this guy in a ridiculous bat costume doing in this gritty, realistic crime thriller??"
Except neither Batman Begins or The Dark Knight are actually gritty, realistic crime thrillers. Ninjas in mountaintop monasteries plotting the destruction of the world's major cities? You ain't gonna find that in Scorcese. Neither will you find a bank with $68 million in cash in the vault but only 3 employees and no security guards, or psychotic guys in clown make up who can mysteriously survive an explosion that seems to kill everyone else in the room (Joker's escape from MCU), or guys who can have their eyeball survive a fire that burned off all the surrounding skin - not to mention a mayor who wears more eyeliner than I did in my Goth days, and is still taken seriously. These movies have the style and tone of realistic crime thrillers, but it's not just the hero that is unrealistic.

I guess I'm saying if you can buy all the other stuff in the story, what is it about the guy in the Batsuit that's throwing you off?
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Old July 29 2008, 12:59 AM   #792
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Re: The Dark Knight - Grading & Discussion

(replying to Capt Drago) Ledger's performance doesn't have to be the best EVER, or the best portrayal of a villain in the HISTORY of the artform to still be oscar-worthy.
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Old July 29 2008, 01:02 AM   #793
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Re: The Dark Knight - Grading & Discussion

steveman wrote: View Post
And many are of the opinion that The Dark Knight surpassed even Spider-Man 2 when it comes to a genre "standard" or a target to surpass. I, for one, would concur with this opinion. But that's just me.
Spider-Man 2 is thrown around way too much for my tastes. It was good, not sure I think it's "better" than the first, certainly better than 3, but the "superhero movie standard", I'm not so sure.

It's a good movie, but Rami's style is just too... light and silly. The "raindrops falling on my head"/goofy cheesy smile scene for example. Too silly and pointless. (Eclipsed in stupidity by the "Emo Dance" scene in 3.)

It also, I think, tries to fit atleast two movies worth of plot into one movie (the "Spider-man no more bit would've made for a great cliff-hanger. Instead it comes almost half-way into the movie or so and so much more happens in the rest of the movie.)

And the look and style of the movie is just too colorful and light.

Again, good movie but I'm not convinced it's the "defenitive comic-book/superhero movie" which -IMHO- should define the hero and should also be an origin story -and I suspect people will take me to task on that last bit.)

That's why Superman The Movie is often touted so much. It's the character brought to life, we're shown his origins, his rise as a hero and him saving the world. (Well, the country.... Ok, California.... OK, Lois! ) It also has a much better tone and look to it and between the opening theme and the music itself much more "epic feeling" also adding to it the Smallville and Krypton scenes.

Spider-Man 2? Good movie?

Defenitive Superhero movie? Not so sure.

Frankly, I think TDK comes closer to being "defenitive" for how it treats the characters, it's tone, and pairing up one of the more famous Hero/Villan rivalries in comic-book history.

(And for my "origin requirement" Well... LOOK, is that a demon duck?!)

:runs off:
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Old July 29 2008, 01:04 AM   #794
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Re: The Dark Knight - Grading & Discussion

not to mention a mayor who wears more eyeliner than I did in my Goth days...
It's not eyeliner. Just really thick eyelashes.
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Old July 29 2008, 01:19 AM   #795
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Re: The Dark Knight - Grading & Discussion

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
not to mention a mayor who wears more eyeliner than I did in my Goth days...
It's not eyeliner. Just really thick eyelashes.
Dude, it's eyeliner. No one's lashes give them thick black lines around their entire eye.

(Oh, are you making fun of all the people who keep saying it's not eyeliner? 'Cause that is indeed hilarious!)

Lapis, a little slow on the uptake today...
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