The Dark Knight

So I was waiting on a long line for Dark Knight in the long hallway by theater #5 (toward the front of the line tho. we got there early). And at one point, this little old italian lady wanders by looking all confused. She must have been 4 foot 5 max and she was holding candy and soda and all this stuff. She stops and asks everyone, 'Ees this-a the line for a-Mamma Mia?' (swear) It was perhaps the funniest thing ever! (umm...while standing in line for a movie). She beat out the previous 'Funniest thing while standing in a movie line' champion from back in the day, when I saw some dad holding a big soda-- and his hand slid, the lid popped off and the soda fell and dumped down all over his kid who stood there for a second in shock-- then started crying.

Anyway, yadda. Dark Knight. I guess the hype machine really had its claws in me this past week (what was I supposed to think with the 'best picture' murmurs floating around!!)-- but I did prepare myself to be disappointed to a certain degree. No way could it be that good. I would be happy with very good. Or even sorta friggin great. But I simply wasn't prepared for how mish moshed and tangled this not great this thing was.

Right from the get-go something wasn't clicking. I'm not sure if it was the acting or the tone or what-- but it took me a solid 20 minutes to struggle my head into this game. Even after I was 'in it' I was constantly tripped up by mildly confusing plot points across the board. Everything was tainted with vague 'who's doing what why?' I wasn't exactly sure what was going on with stuff and eventually I bailed on trying to make exact sense of it all. I just balled the plot up to the most simplistic movie form. Joker want bad. Criminals want money. Cops can't be trusted. Batman wants good. I even went so far to explain to my brain (in an attempt to quiet it down) that this movie is simply very complex and just needs to be seen more than once to really get properly--  but that excuse faded as I was pummeled by a hodgepodge of clunky structure and unnecessary loopholes.

There is some amazing stuff to be seen here though! The van chase/truck scene I thought was friggin spectacular. All the way down to the motorcycle up the wall. Full boner! I dug the explosions and stuff. I liked the feeling of swirling chaos. And the bigness of it all. But throughout I found myself waiting for more action for longer stretches than I appreciated-- and sometimes the action itself was hit or miss. Choppy socky editing of dark fight scenes where my eye would keep losing its place.

The Batman himself was a distraction too. I'd stare at Christian Bails and detach from the movie altogether with questions like, 'Why does his cowel thing look so extra rubbery or something?' and 'Does he like put on black makeup around his eyes before or after he gets suited up? Does Alfred do that?' Or bigger questions like, 'Why can his suit prevent a knife stab (maybe?) but dogs can bite through it?' In terms of acting, I didn't dig his vibe. When he was Bruce Wayne he simply reminded me of the arrogant dick from American Psycho. And when he was Batman he spoke with that weird carton-a-day Eastwood voice. Didn't it hurt his voice to talk that way? It made me laugh out loud sometimes.

As for the Joker, I did think Heath Ledgerd was actually friggin awesome as Jokers go. I liked just looking at him and sponging up the demented aura. His outfits. The hospital fun. Twas fascinating just checking off his ticks and staring at his mouth. Plus, he was funny. But unfortunately Heath being dead in real life did not click in with a creepy other-worldly coooolio factor. I just felt sad. And was very aware that he was gone. I tried to shut it out and just appreciate his acting. Stay in his character. But half the time I couldn't escape seeing 'Heath in Makeup' in some light... when I didn't want to see him at all. But he saves this movie regardless.

Take the Joker out and I feel this was just was pretty basic stuff. I dug it more than the last Batman. It did the job of entertaining (with stretches of boring). It threw together some coolio action. It looked way expensive. It gave everybody their due. But in reality-- this thing was a mess. It was too long. Artificial momentum and tension combined with straight out mogul big cigar arrogance hobbled this thing. Like they spent too much time worried about the facade, installing mirrors and turning up the volume-- just to distract from the fact that it was empty inside.

Three Good Things About this Movie

- That van/truck/motorcycle was maybe the best chase scene I've seen in a decade.
- Health Leggerd's Joker was so greatly disturbed outwardly and inwardly.
- Although he's barely anything... I always really like Michael Caine.

Three Bad Things About this Movie

- Maggie Gyhllanahall (cute but looks like she's always got a cold) was a total disconnect in terms of love connections.
- I ended up with way too many questions that I didn't want to be asking. And disappointed in the finale.
- Why so serious?

All in all whaddaya gonna do. This movie is far from the best superhero ever made. (cough) Heck, just this year alone Hulk and Ironman beat it as far as I'm concerned. I'd give it best Superhero preview ever. But a movie like Spiderman 2 gives the Dark Knight an atomic wedgie and leaves it hanging on a hook. I dunno. Maybe I just have some fundamental problems with who Batman is-- or the tightrope he walks between serious and silly. And maybe the darkness isn't nearly dark enough for my taste. Maybe the lack of any reality doesn't allow me to open up and feel anything. Maybe the fact that it wasn't a great weekend for me as a whole factored into my ability to dig it. Sure. Maybe. But maybe more likely, they should have paid more attention to the big picture instead of meticulously fiddling scene to scene-- especially when they had such an ace in the hole with this Joker...