The Dark Knight - Grading & Discussion

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Agent Richard07, Jul 8, 2008.


Grade the movie...

  1. Excellent

  2. Above Average

  3. Average

  4. Below Average

  5. Poor

  1. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer The Mod You've Known for All These Years Moderator

    This bothered me, too; as it did in Batman: Year One, when Gordon and his partner are investigating possible Batman suspects. They rule out Harvey Dent because he doesn't have the means, and investigate Bruce Wayne because he does. Does it never occur to anyone that Bruce Wayne might be funding someone like Dent to be Batman, without being Batman himself?

    Where was he in the movie anyway?

    I know I've said this a few times here and there, but that's a pity, especially having just rewatched BB for the first time this weekend since originally seeing it in the theater. There's so much emphasis on Batman being a symbol rather than one man; and at one point Bruce even describes that symbol as "everlasting", or a similar term, to Alfred. It seems like an apprentice is exactly what he would need to ensure that the symbol lives on beyond one man. Should he be a 12-year-old in a bright costume? Of course not, not in this world. But just having Wayne take on an apprentice, or scoping one out as a potential later recruit, would be a good nod to Robin's place in the mythos that would work very well in this version. (Note that the implication in BB is that Wayne himself didn't undergo any special training directed at becoming Batman prior to the Chill/Falcone incident. So Wayne wouldn't necessarily need to recruit his Robin as a child, but he might have his eye on a child who suffers a tragic incident similar to his own, for future recruiting as an adult.)

    Had the imitators been genuine, dedicated crimefighters worthy of Batman's respect...they wouldn't have been LARPing Batman, they'd have their own identities or group motif. They were amateurs.
  2. Aragorn

    Aragorn Admiral Admiral

    Dec 30, 2002
    ^ Anthony Michael Hall was the TV news show host. I think the most he did in the movie was get kidnapped by Joker. He's logged more screentime doing the fake TV broadcasts than the actual movie.

    On a side note, would it have taken the audience out of the movie had they made, say, Adam West or Val Kilmer the fake Batman? :)
  3. Hermiod

    Hermiod Admiral Admiral

    Mar 16, 2006
    I'm giving this an unsurprising Excellent. It's the best movie I've seen this year, probably the best movie I've seen in years.

    On the issue of sidekicks, I did notice that Jim Gordon has a daughter.
  4. Thespeckledkiwi

    Thespeckledkiwi Vice Admiral

    No, I do agree that some of the artistic changes for good or bad can be done right. I didn't mind Optimus Prime being whatever he was. He looked like Optimus. Same with the flames. I did have a major point in that him and Megatron were brothers and I did have a slight problem with the entire makeover of Bumblebee.

    How is Blade any different than what is in the comics? I haven't kept up with Blade in a long time (is his comic still around?) but I believed that his origin stayed pretty well to the comics.

    The problem I am having with the Dark Knight is this:

    What is Christopher Nolan trying to do? Is he trying to re-write Batman? Is he trying to follow more closely to the comics? Because to me, it's hard to do both without stepping on toes.

    From what I understood in Batman Begins, he was trying to recreate Batman and the villains. He was trying to make them more real and to do away with the -- fantasy? I don't know how you would say it. Things like the Lazarus Pits with Ra's and the origin of Joker. But essentially, he was trying to make Batman more realistic than anything, no?

    We can argue semantics and can argue about this and that but we can agree that there are certain things in Batman that stay true through each medium and each outlet for the character.

    - Batman's parents are killed
    - Dick Grayson/Robin/Nightwing's parents are killed. Even in the horrendous reboot, Grayson's parents are killed.
    - Batman creates the Joker -- Joker's origin is never explained. This I can agree upon with the movie. And I actually liked that Nolan nodded to the comics in this, that Joker gives different reasons for his being. It doesn't have to be the same stories, I just like that the fact that the Joker doesn't have an origin and that he is a pathological liar.

    But what I did have a problem with, is that the Joker came out of a vacuum. I thought we would have the delight of seeing Batman (when it was first reported) create the Joker and that is why the Joker is obsessed with the Batman. It doesn't have to be a vat of chemicals. It could be anything but I wanted to see that connection between the two. It could be a botched robbery or something.

    Another thing that I simply cannot remove from my mind is Harvey Dent's split personality. Nolan leaves two explainations in the air for Dent's transformation to Two - Face

    1/ Dent has always had two personalities buried within himself. A split between good and bad. That personality is brought out by the Joker and by his disfiguring; that what he looks like now represents who he is.

    2/ Dent just goes insane from the trauma. He never had two personalities. The loss of Rachel and the disfiguring adds to this trauma and his personality fractures.

    Which one of these is the correct one?

    Nolan seems to be leaning toward re-creating a new Batman universe devoid of comics except in name only with the re-imaging of Gordon (family), the origins of Dent (which I found actually more plausable), Joker, and Ra's.

    I also kept thinking Ramerez was Montoya for some odd reason.

    So my question is, what is Nolan doing with the Batman movies?
  5. Bob The Skutter

    Bob The Skutter Complete Arse Cleft Premium Member

    Jul 12, 2001
    This island Earth
    How I see it, and how I've heard others describe his intentions, is that he's not doing any stories from the comics, he's not following anything in there, it's just inspired by, and in the spirit of the comic.
  6. Thespeckledkiwi

    Thespeckledkiwi Vice Admiral

    See that's what I'm thinking but at the root of it, he is doing much of it based on the comics.
  7. Bob The Skutter

    Bob The Skutter Complete Arse Cleft Premium Member

    Jul 12, 2001
    This island Earth
    Of course, it's a comic book film. You can't do it with at least a nod to the comics. But he's not sticking only to what's written in the books, or even mostly to it, but he is staying true to the characters.
  8. Thespeckledkiwi

    Thespeckledkiwi Vice Admiral

    Yes and no. He's making somewhat of liberal changes. Some good, some iffy (I didn't say bad!) with the characters. At least he didn't give the Joker a name (Jack Napier) or have him kill Batman's parents.
  9. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer The Mod You've Known for All These Years Moderator

    In the actual comics of the '40s, Joker did come out of nowhere and didn't pick up an origin until years after the fact...and then it only went so far as to explain how he got the face, not to reveal who he really was.

    On the general review topic, I found it to be a solid and engaging film, and gave it an Excellent here, on the basis that in terms of letter grading, I would have given it a solid A, but not an A+. I don't think Superman is in any danger of being dethroned as the definitive super-hero film. This one is far from definitive, it's more specialized, taking the existing genre to new places. It has the same flaw as BB, even moreso. It seems to have become popular to bash the Burton films somewhat...some even see them as "camp", when in 1989 the first film stood as a polar opposite to the Adam West TV show. I'd say they were more fantastic than camp, but whatever they were, they established a world in which you didn't have to suspend much disbelief to buy that a man would dress in big rubber batsuit to fight crime. This is where the Nolan films fall down flat. The titular character is the one thing that takes me out of these films. He seems to work better on paper--when Bruce and Alfred are talking about symbols and what he has to become, it works. But when we clearly see the guy in the big not-rubber batsuit, he just sticks out as being too unreal for his surroundings.
  10. JacksonArcher

    JacksonArcher Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 16, 2001
    So ... because Batman wears armor, you find that unrealistic? I am not sure if I understand your criticism.

    As for The Dark Knight dethroning Superman, that was done years ago. Superman is not the infallible film people make it out to be.
  11. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer The Mod You've Known for All These Years Moderator

    "Armor" that includes a cowl with bat-ears and a cape, yes. "Armor" is the excuse for the costume in an otherwise-realistic universe. But the execution is off for me. He looks...and sounds...silly. Particularly in places like brightly-lit interrogation rooms.

    Sorry, I'm not the only one who feels that Superman is still the standard of the genre. YMMV.
  12. JacksonArcher

    JacksonArcher Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 16, 2001
    It's called suspension of disbelief. It's actually, in the realm of the film, trivial. That's the way Batman looks. Either you like it nor not. To say that it dampens your view of the film because of that...well, it's almost like criticizing Casino Royale because Danie Craig had blonde hair.

    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.
  13. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 18, 2006
    Flying Spaghetti Western
    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. LOL lest we forget, it's not set in Chicago, really, but Gotham (look at the cop cars)...
  14. Hicks

    Hicks Captain Captain

    May 22, 2004
    I don't recall the music ever doing that. I think the theater you saw it in just had issues.
  15. Goliath

    Goliath Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 20, 2003
    The Fifth Dimension
    Sorry. My mistake.

    *Crouches on rooftop, brooding darkly over his mistake*
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2008
  16. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

    Jul 20, 2000
    Durham, North Carolina
    Same here, I never had any troubles with hearing the dialogue.
  17. Goliath

    Goliath Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 20, 2003
    The Fifth Dimension
    If that's the music I'm thinking of, then that's the "Joker theme".

    My reaction was quite different from yours: I found it really added to the scenes in which it occurred. But then, I'm a fan of modernist classical music, so I enjoy that sort of thing.
  18. Lapis Exilis

    Lapis Exilis Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Dec 20, 2004
    Once again I have to protest the use of the word "realistic". There is nothing realistic about Batman Begins or The Dark Knight. They are both done ina naturalistic style, but that is not the same thing. There's nothing realistic about secret societies of ninjas in mountaintop monasteries training people to destroy the world's major cities across history. It is however more naturalistic to tell such a fantastic tale without magical revival baths.

    There is nothing more cliche and tired than a villain "obsessed" with a hero because the hero was there when he was disfigured. Joker's obsession with the destruction of rules was a thousand times more interesting. His pointing out that Batman is not like the rest of the world, that his adherence to rules is ridiculous considering the number of them that he tramples, not only rings more true than "you turned my skin white and my hair green - WAHHHH!", but actually has some universal appeal as a human dilemma.

    There's nothing mutually exclusive about these options. Dent has some hints of a dark side early on. His trauma brings that out. It's his image that is spotless, not he himself. Bruce Wayne makes a hideous error in pinning his hopes on Harvey Dent because Harvey Dent is imperfect just like everyone else.

    Gordon could not be more straight from Year One and The Long Halloween.

    There are nods to comics all over Two-Face's origin - my father's lucky coin and the two-headed coin are straight from the comics; Dent's alliance with Batman and Gordon to fight the mod - straigth from the comics.

    As has been pointed out, Joker appears from nowhere originally and rampages as a psychotic clown. Red Hood and the vat of chemicals came along much later. Ra's, significantly reimagined, was worlds better (in my humble opinion) than the comic Ra's, who was always some kind of bad Bond villain knockoff. O'Neil created him during his "I want Batman to be Bond" period in the 70s, and it really shows.

    Apparently she was, at first. But when Nolan realized she had to be corrupt, he changed her so that it was not Montoya. It is possible to have more than one Hispanic female police officer on the force of a major metropolitan city...

    Tell a good story.

    He's also doing exactly what every other good comic book adpatation has done - taking bits and pieces from the source material and using it creatively to take the character some place new.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2008
  19. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 6, 2001
    Sac, Ca
    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 didn't really feel that as much with TDK though. I don't know if it's because the new suit was a little more "armor-y" and less fanciful-looking, or because the movie simply had a much stronger story to distract me from it-- but I definitely had an easier time accepting Batman within this world.

    I still think Nolan explained way too much and removed too much of Batman's mystery in these movies (essentially making him just a glorified SWAT officer), but that's a different issue.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2008
  20. Sagart

    Sagart Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 3, 2001
    Northern Ireland
    While Superman: The Movie has its problems, I still think it is the most perfect depiction of the hero in question we've seen on screen. Christopher Reeve was perfect. Bale's Wayne is great, not too pushed on his Batman.