The Dark Knight: Flawed and Overrated?

An honest and brilliant review I stumbled on by the 'Reverse Shot' critic Adam Nayman. Which essentially echos my own. Are we giving too much credit to a film through the sheer bullying of it's fanbase and the overhype machine from WB?

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By Intruder . - 7/16/2011
Strained Seriousness
By Adam Nayman

The Dark Knight
Directed by Christopher Nolan, U.S., Warner Bros.







A catch-22: Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight demands, in a mean, raspy voice, to be taken more seriously than your average comic book movie. But when one endeavors to do just that—to analyze its loudly explicated themes of duality and ethical impasse; to parse the implications of having its villain be referred to and self-identify as a “terrorist;” to consider the use of invasive surveillance technology as a post–Patriot Act plot point—one is reprimanded for bullying a defenseless Pop object. Hey, guys, why so serious?

It’s a frustrating double standard, and while it shouldn’t preclude an examination of what’s wrong with The Dark Knight, it does give a critic pause—and so does the astounding volume of angry correspondence generated by the film’s fans on message boards and website comment threads. Those critics who didn’t see fit to acclaim the film a masterpiece, or at least a genre high water mark, find themselves perched precariously above an angry horde calling for their heads (or worse), much like —SPOILER ALERT! —Batman at the end of The Dark Knight. For the eight people reading this who didn’t see the film on its record-breaking opening weekend, the film’s final moments find Batman manfully taking the rap for the crimes of the deceased Two-Face/Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) so as to make the latter a martyr for good in the eyes of a populace reeling from the brutal crimes perpetrated by the Joker (Heath Ledger).

It’s arguable that Gotham City is the real protagonist of The Dark Knight, and that the aforementioned trio function as a kind of externalized psychic apparatus, with Batman as the ego, the Joker as a mad-dog id, and Dent as a brutally bisected super-ego. If that sounds insufferably pretentious, it’s in line with the general tone of the film, which is heavy on psychologizing but light on actual, plausible psychology. It’s obvious, for instance, that Nolan and his co-writer (brother Jonathan) have read Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s landmark 1988 graphic novel The Killing Joke, widely acclaimed for its lacerating take on the Joker/Batman relationship, and apparently presented to Heath Ledger before shooting for reference purposes. This correspondence surely helps to account for the impressively demented bent of Ledger’s performance, which is easily the least comic screen take on the role to date, but it also points to why this incarnation of the character is so unsatisfying: The Dark Knight gives us the vicious, intractable Joker of The Killing Joke without any of Moore’s carefully prepared backstory.

In fact, the filmmakers make this elision a point of pride: it’s a running gag in the film that the Joker likes to confuse the origin of his facial scars. He does the same thing in The Killing Joke (“if I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!”), but even if Moore intends his star to be an unreliable narrator, the details of his past—a stifled stint as a stand-up comedian, exploitation at the hands of criminals, the tragic, accidental deaths of his wife and child—imbue his subsequent descent into insanity with some dimension.

Perhaps fearful of burdening their film with too much exposition (an oft-cited flaw of Batman Begins), the Nolans take a shortcut, presenting a prefab psychopath whose lack of a conventional criminal agenda allows them—and acquiescent critics—to make bold allusions to a terrorist ethos. Except that the last time I checked, the issue with jihadists was not that zey believe in nossing, Lebowski; equating the Joker’s pseudo-Nietzchean ramblings about the fragility of the social order with real-world terrorism is at best specious and at worst offensive. The film’s stance on surveillance technology is similarly problematic. While I won’t venture into Dave Kehr territory by suggesting that Nolan is endorsing warrantless wiretapping, there is something disconcertingly easy about the way that particular plot strand gets knotted: Batman rigs his all-seeing TV Eye to self-destruct once its purpose has been served. A neat trick, but also pretty easy, ideologically speaking.

Actually, a lot of The Dark Knight is easy. The Joker blows up hospitals but not before we’ve been reminded (several times over) that the structures have been evacuated; he sticks pencils into the eyes of criminal confederates (at which point Nolan’s camera cuts away so as to maintain the sort of rating that allows for the breaking of box-office records); he crows that he’s blackened the soul of an entire city when the people we’ve seen die are, with one exception, mostly low-level thugs and crooked cops. As for that one exception—SPOILER ALERT TWO!—while it may be gutsy for Nolan to pin The Dark Knight’s emotional heft on the murder of perky D.A. Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal, unflatteringly photographed and doing a half-decent Katie Holmes impression), it’s also unsuccessful. Rachel’s “tragic” relationship with Harvey Dent—conveyed through a series of utterly conventional dialogue scenes in which love is bandied about but never expressed through performance—seems like a device, another shortcut, an easy sacrifice.

And it doesn’t jive with the roots of the Two-Face character, either. In lieu of giving us a Joker created by Batman (a scenario looped all the way around in Burton’s film), we get a Two-Face created by the Joker, a sly bit of rewriting that allows for the film’s best scene—in which Ledger successfully holds our attention while acting against Eckhart’s phenomenal, CG-assisted makeup—but also doesn’t lead to much of a payoff. For the purposes of convenience, the film manufactures antipathy between tarnished white knight Dent and ever-decent Commissioner Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman), with Batman reduced to cameo duty in their final standoff.

This showdown is rendered even more perfunctory by being placed after an extended sequence in which the Joker, who has spoken at length about his dislike for planning, lays out a complicated scheme in which two ferryboats are rigged with explosives. The passengers on each boat have been charged to blow up the other vessel (one of which is populated almost entirely by convicts) in order to save themselves. This is supposed to be the gesture that breaks Gotham’s brain, that proves that its citizens are capable of anything once they’ve been pushed to the edge. Onscreen, there’s much hand-wringing about just how close these ordinary people come to committing murder—each boat holds a vote, and there are lots of shouted lines along the lines of “it’s them or us”—but those of us in the audience who are not entirely impressionable know that there is no way, in a $150 million dollar franchise film that a ferry’s worth of bystanders are going to be blown up. (Maybe if Tony Scott had directed it.) So we just wait out the inevitable revelation that the Gothamites are inherently decent folk above such provocations—and, of course, the biggest, scariest, blackest of the convicts is the one who throws the detonator away, after making like he was going to push it. What a twist! And how insulting, both that Nolan would try the old reverse-racism trick in the first place, or that he expects anybody to feel chastened by this feeble little feint.

That The Dark Knight is perfectly well-made by the standards of movies in its budget range is not exactly a compliment: should we expect less from talented people working with basically unlimited resources? And it’s certainly not much more than well-made. For every nicely executed image—a semi-truck flipping over in the middle of a city street; the Joker doing his best golden retriever impression out the window of a police car; a beautifully shadowed Dent giving us his “good” side while excoriating Gordon; Ledger’s final monologue, in which the Joker’s topsy-turvy worldview is given obvious but still eloquent visual expression—there’s a botched sequence (the opening bank job only superficially suggests Michael Mann, who understands how to delineate space and cut on movement), a ragged transition (a bit where Batman/Bruce Wayne leaves the balls-out insane Joker alone with a roomful of helpless party guests is gracelessly handled), or a wasted major actor. Neither Freeman nor Caine, both of whom were peripheral highlights of Batman Begins, have much to do. Nor, for that matter, does Bale, who essentially cedes the movie to Ledger and the wittily cast (and perfectly game) Eckhart.

Reviewing Guillermo Del Toro’s Hellboy II in Reverse Shot, a colleague wrote that “what’s most obscene about this pop-cultural mythmaking is that it works so resolutely against expanding taste or knowledge about movies. By focusing so obsessively and voluminously on the most readily, tyrannically available items, critical discussion is not simply reflecting the commercial film distribution situation in North America, but actively contributing to it.” On this note, I’m not sure that I can really divorce my sincere disappointment with The Dark Knight (and I was disappointed; check my three-year-old Batman Begins review for my optimistic guess about the series’ direction) from my irritation with its critical reception: a veritable ticker-tape parade, with enough bullies lining the route to shout down even the more nuanced voices of dissent. That a lot of viewers honestly like and love this flawed and overrated movie is fair enough, but the endless superlatives being hurled by critics high and low help to make perspective—a rare commodity—a casualty of hype. And whereas resurrection is a regular occurrence in the comic-book universe, in reality, what’s dead stays dead. Maybe we need to take The Dark Knight seriously after all.




Feel free to leave comments and discuss if he is right or wrong.
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jjmeylar - 7/16/2011, 2:16 PM
I'm SO glad that someone else sees it in this light. I wish that the author had touched more on the horrid portrayal of the Joker, though.
cosmicstranger - 7/16/2011, 2:20 PM
The Joker, IMHO, is an overrated character. I have read many comic stories featuring the Clown Prince of Crime and...most are beyond words of how bad they really are (rewrites of his origin, the laughing fish, origin again, Emperor Joker*, did I mention his origin being rewritten?).


*The Joker stealing Mister Mxyzptlk's powers? I can already feel the nausea in stomach churning.
marvel72 - 7/16/2011, 2:46 PM
i've always thought the film was good but definetly overrated.

it doesn't even feel like a cbm its more like a crime thriller.

i also find repeat veiwings very hard to do,i've seen it about six times compared to films from marvel which i couldn't tell you how many times i've seen the likes of iron man,spider-man 2 & the incredible hulk.
dmm5 - 7/16/2011, 2:50 PM
Overrated? No.... The most successsful? Yes! This is coming from a die-hard Marvel fanboy, I'll give my left nut to Stan Lee if he wanted it! But.... The Dark Knight is the best CBM hands down. This is how you do Batman, serious and dark. Haha and this article, only you Intruder, only you.
mainstream05 - 7/16/2011, 2:55 PM
Sorry. I disagree. The Dark Knight is amazing, and while not perfect (in the sense that what film is?), certainly worth of all the praise it's recieved.
mainstream05 - 7/16/2011, 2:57 PM
@Intruder
I hear that criticism a lot, and yet when anyone does diss TDK, I never hear anyone say "That's disrespectful of Heath, man!" It is such a copout, bullshit excuse. You're more than allowed to dislike the film without it having anything to do with Ledger or his death. IMO, you're wrong, but the two aren't related and I haven't seen anyone try to use that "tactic."
RunDTC - 7/16/2011, 3:02 PM
fail. just......fail.
PapaMidnite - 7/16/2011, 3:07 PM
Ha Ha! I can't believe some people still want to shove down our throats another "how overrated TDK article"... what a joke! I think the same thing as this guys here:

http://www.totalfilm.com/features/50-greatest-comic-book-movies/the-dark-knight-2008-23

"Christopher Nolan’s epic is the ultimate superhero movie, the first to break £1 billion dollars worldwide and the first to win an Oscar for a performance, thanks to the late Heath Ledger's memorably mad turn as The Joker."

You people makes me laugh and, is obvious, that you folks don't like good movies and keep trying to find a horn in a horse. So keep trying, pals!

marvel72 - 7/16/2011, 3:10 PM
this should be on main,i think the nolanites are affraid to come to the editorial section & click the article.

just in case they read something they don't like.
marvel72 - 7/16/2011, 3:29 PM
heath ledger got the oscar because he died,he was a nice guy that died before he should of.

a mark of respect.

as for the dark knight doing a billion it only just passed the billion.

1st avatar $2,782,275,172 (wow)

7th pirates of the carribean 4 on stranger tides $1,023,860,479 (at the $21,938,654 more & rising than the dark knight)

8th the dark knight $1,001,921,825 (compared to the other movies above it,it just scrapped the billion mark)

eight films have made a billion & the dark knight is eighth.
Jefferys - 7/16/2011, 3:33 PM
There are so many things I hated about Nolans franchise. And there are so many things that I love about this article. As Marvel72 said, it's not much of CBM about much rather a crime thriller or noir type of film. I wished though, that they touched down on how much the joker and Batman are the same.

It is a shame though that they cash in on 'This is his last film'. Did anyone even know who he was before this?
drewXdeficit - 7/16/2011, 3:57 PM
As a die-hard Batman fan, it is saddening to me that people will continually attempt to discredit the achievement of The Dark Knight. However, I can admit that it is not a perfect film; to my knowledge, though, no movie is or will ever be perfect. Instead of trying to prove that TDK is "perfect" or "flawless," supporters should instead focus on the fact that The Dark Knight was influential in broadening the horizons of filmmakers, critics, and a general audience.

TDK is a lot like the Beatles. Music before the Beatles and music that came after the Beatles are not the same. This can be said of TDK when referring to movies. Face it; without the success of Batman Begins and, further, TDK, we wouldn't have seen films like Iron Man. Instead, the idea of what people wanted from a CBM would be more akin to Daredevil or Batman and Robin. Now we live in a world in which these concepts are accepted on a worldwide scale by both the comic savvy and laypeople. So stop trying to discredit the movie; we could seriously argue about it all day. Instead, just accept that movies are different now, and you know what franchise you can thank for that.
JULES - 7/16/2011, 3:59 PM
@intruder: cool article and agree to a degree. TDK is overhyped as the greatest CBM ever;however, this entire topic is subjective although the review is solid. I personally feel IM was the best film of that summer. I also feel BB was a little better than TDK. Still, I would say TDK is a great film. We are talking about the upper echelon of CBM's here all these movies are near cbm perfection (sone closer then others depending on the viewers perception). I have seen the future and this argument will never end. As, a side note we shouldn't use box office numbers to help our argument. It is because we use the box office as a measure of quality we get less movies pushing the boundaries creatively. All we get is recycled ideas. Still, a billion dollars is impressive; let's see if TDKR can repeat or even Avengers
JULES - 7/16/2011, 3:59 PM
@intruder: cool article and agree to a degree. TDK is overhyped as the greatest CBM ever;however, this entire topic is subjective although the review is solid. I personally feel IM was the best film of that summer. I also feel BB was a little better than TDK. Still, I would say TDK is a great film. We are talking about the upper echelon of CBM's here all these movies are near cbm perfection (sone closer then others depending on the viewers perception). I have seen the future and this argument will never end. As, a side note we shouldn't use box office numbers to help our argument. It is because we use the box office as a measure of quality we get less movies pushing the boundaries creatively. All we get is recycled ideas. Still, a billion dollars is impressive; let's see if TDKR can repeat or even Avengers
Fantine - 7/16/2011, 4:04 PM
Heath still would have won the Oscar had he been alive, trust his performance was brilliant, I mean I would not say if it wasn't, dead or not. Plus did you see who else was nominated that year?... Marvel Fanboys will always be jealous, Im a huge Marvel fan, but Marvel will never, never produce something as good as the Dark Knight. Sorry.
RunDTC - 7/16/2011, 4:18 PM
just because it didn't win Best Picture doesn't mean that it still wasn't the best film. the Academy is very hit or miss nowadays. the 5 films nominated for that year were pretty weak. year before, 2007, decent. year after, 2009, first year they allowed 10 nominations, again decent.

why the Academy would vote for Slumdog Millionaire over The Dark Knight is beyond me. maybe they just wanted a movie starring a bunch of Indian people to win for a change. and at least The Dark Knight didn't have a prolonged musical dance number during the credits.

Ledger deserved his Oscar. very roles gain the attention that one did. even before he died. saying that people cared just because Ledger died is a bunch of BS.

how it was not nominated for Best Original Score is beyond me.

overall, TDK was nominated for eight Oscars, won 2. shoulda been 10 with 5 or 6 wins.

Iron Man, which you Intruder, love so much (and I like it too, so don't think I'm dissing it) was nominated for 2, won 0.

here's how screwed up the 2006 Oscars were:
-Blood Diamond was not nominated for Best Film.
-Leonardo Dicaprio was nominated for Best Actor with Blood Diamond but not The Departed.
-Neither Matt Damon nor Jack Nicholson were nominated for their work in The Departed. only Mark Wahlberg was.

here's how the 2002 Oscars were:
-Chicago beat out Gangs of New York and TLOTR: TTT for best picture.
-Daniel Day-Lewis did not win for his work in Gangs of New York.
-Chicago was nominated for 13, won 6. Gangs of New York was nominated for 10, won 0. TLOTR was nominated for 6, won 2. that's completely screwed up.

in summary, the Academy Awards mean nothing. they are biased and often absurd at times.
sonofsamadams - 7/16/2011, 4:34 PM
*sigh*
Another CBM user whining about Batman's popularity. And who woulda thought it would be Intruder this time? ( a biased marvel fan)

95 - 7/16/2011, 4:38 PM
I saw the trailer and immediately was blown away by Heath's Joker, I had to see the movie.

His death did not hit me til the ending credits of the film.

If he did a shitty job as The Joker people wouldn't give a shit about him.

Look at other actors who died before their films were released, were they praised for their performance?


95 - 7/16/2011, 4:42 PM
Must I mention that I saw the trailer a week before his death, the trailer sold me, not Heath's death.

Checkmate - 7/16/2011, 4:53 PM
The movie was good, but not as good as a lot of people make it out to be.

For a Joker movie, I actually prefer Batman(1989).
SentinelofLiberty - 7/16/2011, 4:53 PM
The writer of this article is articulate and makes several good, well-reasoned points. And I am a Batman fanatic, so take that into consideration too, I guess. I do think TDK is a bit overhyped, but I also feel it is the best CBM to date, although I personally enjoyed Begins more than TDK.

To me, this article smacks of someone who is out to be somewhat 'controversial,' and is out to make people think about why they love the movie, which is good. However, he seems to take himself and the movie a bit too seriously, as he accuses the Nolans of doing. On some level I want to tell him, "Relax. It is a comic book movie. A serious, dark one, sure. But it's not The Grapes of Wrath or War and Peace." More to the point, I wish he would explain what he thinks would make this a better movie.

But you're looking for 'intelligent' reasons we disagree with him? I think he's off base that TDK wasn't interesting on a psychological level. Personally, I loved the exploration of Batman being pushed to the edge of violating his rule against killing. One of the reasons I've always been so infatuated with Batman is because of how fascinating I find his dichotomies. He is ruthless, brutal, cold, calculating, violent; yet also operates within his own very strict set of codes and morals. This movie, to me, captured Bruce's struggles with that when he was still taking 'baby steps' into becoming Batman. I could almost feel Bruce becoming more and more cold with every person the Joker killed 'because of' Batman. Almost before our eyes, we were watching the idealistic "Year 1" Batman become the unfeeling, obsessed "Lonely Place of Dying" Batman.

I also thought the Batman/Gordon/Dent dynamic from Long Halloween was captured brilliantly. The Joker was nearly perfect, in my opinion. I thought the varied stories about how he became the Joker were well done, and a well-done nod to the fact that even hard core Batman fans aren't "really" sure about the Joker's origin.

The wiretapping stuff? WAY overthinking things. I felt that whole thing was less about making a societal statement, and more about saying something about Batman's willingness to bend the rules he feels are bendable, Batman will push the boundaries of what is acceptable in order to wage his war. The mission always comes first, within his own moral code. So when Fox lectures him about it, he does it anyway. But then when the job is done and Batman accomplishes his goal, he does the right thing. Likewise with the Alfred/Bruce dynamic. A young Bruce relies on Alfred as his 'father figure,' and looks to him for guidance. When push comes to shove, though, Bruce is going to do what he needs to in order to accomplish his mission. And while I'm thinking about it, I am quite fond of how Nolan handles the Bruce/Alfred, Bruce/Gordon, and Bruce/Lucius relationships. There are layers of nuance in each that no other Batman movie has gotten right.

Finally, on a pure comic book fan level, I simply LOVE that TDK (and Begins) managed to weave recognizable elements from Year One, Long Halloween, Killing Joke, The Man Who Falls, and other storylines into a feasible single story. They managed to make a good, NOT campy movie, all while remaining largely faithful to the legend while also instilling a little bit of their unique take on things.

By no means do I think TDK is perfect. (Hello, Rachel Dawes/Rachel and Dent relationship/Bruce going semi-emo wanting to abandon Batman in order to marry Jake Gyllenhal's stunt double/The Voice.) I also cringe every time the word "epic" is bandied about. I thought the movie was great, but not perfect or epic. It can always be better, but I love this series for giving us a Batman that captures the tone of my favorite Batman books. Gritty, dark, violent, morally ambivalent, and intelligent. I loved the first Keaton Batman, but I much prefer this series with its reliance on some of our favorite Batman books.

Sorry for the long, rambling comment. In summary, I DO feel it's overrated, as nothing is perfect. But I still feel it is the best CBM movie I've ever seen (with the disclaimer that Begins is my favorite). Hopefully only until July 22, though!
abadams - 7/16/2011, 5:00 PM
Nayman definitely wields the writerly wit of a film critic in that his argument aims at stirring up discussion. Mission accomplished. For my part, I can smile at some of his points (the "all-seeing TV eye" really was distractingly political) and raise my eyebrows at others (that pencil magic trick didn't shock you because it lacked gore?...talk about "easy") but overall I'm just baffled by his thesis. An argument that a film--especially a comic book film--is overrated makes me feel uncomfortable for two reasons: One, that's like saying, "You shouldn't have liked this as much as you did." Oh. Sorry... I may not understand why ANYONE likes the Spider-Man movies, but I certainly don't feel bullied by that fanbase. Two, that argument seems predicated on an implication that comic book movies SHOULDN'T be taken as seriously as TDK was. Nayman knows his comic book history, apparently, and so I can't help but wonder if he harbors the same low expectations of them as their film counterparts. Different expectations, certainly; but is he really so embarrassed by TDK's success so as to stand up and say, "Okay, calm down, it's only a comic book movie"? This may not be his intent, but that's the tone he affects, which is all the more ironic when you consider that it's only someone with high expectations for a super-hero movie that will harbor such strong feelings against it (hence my reaction to Spider-Man).

I'm not embarrassed to say that TDK blew me away for most of the reasons that everyone else has praised. I don't follow trends intentionally, but I'm not afraid of them, either. That said, I'm not blind to the movie's weak points. In fact, I'm surprised that Nayman didn't criticize the first scene with Batman--how a potential opportunity to redeem the Scarecrow's near insignificance from the first film was turned into a rehash of the fact. And copycat Batmen using guns? Ugh. The animated Batman: Gotham Knight provided a much stronger lead-in. I wish they'd provide another Gotham Knight to bridge the gap between TDK and TDKR (instead they're doing Year One, which, as interested as I am, will feel a little redundant after seeing so much of that story retold in Batman Begins). And I suppose that leaves me at my final point, which is that Nolan's franchise has so far been about taking some of the best work from the comics and putting it on screen. As someone whose appreciation for those comics improved tremendously after TDK, I remain both eager AND cautious about the final installment.
JULES - 7/16/2011, 5:01 PM
@Trudy
Yeah I understand. I personally would rather watch IM than TDK. It's in my top 10 but hey "different strokes for different folks". TDK is a good film but to me IM is the bees knees. I just don't understand the hero worship this film gets or any other actually. No, film should be beyond reproach as No film is Perfect. What is your top 10 out of curiosity?
SentinelofLiberty - 7/16/2011, 5:03 PM
@Intruder, if that was directed at my contribution, then I thank you for the kind words. As soon as I posted it I felt like maybe I rambled a bit too much. Hope it made sense.....
JULES - 7/16/2011, 5:10 PM
@SoL
Well said and though out comment. I agree with you and Trudy. Btw Trudy u have a good sense of seeing future events like GL. I shall call u Trudydamus
mcmeador - 7/16/2011, 5:16 PM
"Ok, so far we have 4 people disagreeing with this review and not a single one has given a reason why."

Meanwhile, you are conveniently agreeing with someone else's argument so that you don't have to make one of your own. Here's what I have to say...I love the movie. I think it's great. I don't have to defend myself.

I do find the review funny, though. The writer criticizes the movie for being pretentious with an incredibly pretentious review.
JULES - 7/16/2011, 5:18 PM
That's a good list. I really can't find one I'd put TDK over. If I had to it would prolly be returns just because there a few scenes that always put me off. Still, can't hate on it. Play on playa
SentinelofLiberty - 7/16/2011, 5:19 PM
@abadams, couldn't agree more. You said what I was thinking....
SentinelofLiberty - 7/16/2011, 5:20 PM
LOL @ Trudydamus!!!!!
SentinelofLiberty - 7/16/2011, 5:22 PM
Intruder, would you mind telling why you would put Returns over Begins?
Dynamo - 7/16/2011, 5:23 PM
I feel that the nitpicky elements of review do not take into consideration the movies enjoyablity as whole rather than analysing individual scenes. By that standard, a lot of great films would fall apart.

He also seems to be listing off things that he has a problem with, but in a way, doesn't really state why he has a problem with them. Albeit in an intelligent way. For example:
"Batman rigs his all-seeing TV Eye to self-destruct once its purpose has been served. A neat trick, but also pretty easy, ideologically speaking."

So... what? They tied up a loose plot thread. What's wrong with that?

"The Joker blows up hospitals but not before we’ve been reminded (several times over) that the structures have been evacuated; he sticks pencils into the eyes of criminal confederates (at which point Nolan’s camera cuts away so as to maintain the sort of rating that allows for the breaking of box-office records); he crows that he’s blackened the soul of an entire city when the people we’ve seen die are, with one exception, mostly low-level thugs and crooked cops."

Erm... no. We see clearly that Gotham is turning against Batman. And he never "crows" about doing such a thing, he says that's what he WILL do. After one of the boats blows up, and after Dent is revealed to be a psychopath.

Other parts are also misinformed:
"This showdown is rendered even more perfunctory by being placed after an extended sequence in which the Joker, who has spoken at length about his dislike for planning, lays out a complicated scheme in which two ferryboats are rigged with explosives. "

I think it was made pretty clear that most of the things Joker says are pretty unreliable in terms of morality. You know, because he's crazy. The stories he tells, he doesn't believe them. He just wants to frighten the victim, because it's fun.

The writer also plays the race card on the movie... REALLY?!
"What a twist! And how insulting, both that Nolan would try the old reverse-racism trick in the first place, or that he expects anybody to feel chastened by this feeble little feint."

The guy just seems to come off as a contrarian, similar to Armond White. And while he has some valid points, it's difficult to agree with when the points hinge on his frustration while nitpicking rather than the film accomplishes.

I don't think the film is perfect by any standard, but I do think it's the best CBM we've gotten so far. It can be overrated by people, but so are a lot of great films. There's a reason why so many people, including critcs, like it. It gets a lot more right than it gets wrong. That's what I think at least.

JULES - 7/16/2011, 5:25 PM
@ Trudydamus
Btw no Masters of the universe??? O cmon man. We are both the same age. I know you had to own a castle grey skull. :D but seriously look how far we have come in terms of Adaptations.
JULES - 7/16/2011, 5:27 PM
Also I have to admit I have only seen TDK 3 times. I know I know thats taboo here
SentinelofLiberty - 7/16/2011, 5:35 PM
That makes sense. I guess I just can't get over the increasingly campy elements (huge Rubber Ducky amphibious car thing, Selina's cats in the alley nibbling her back to life), and I prefer Begins because it showed (some of) how Bruce took the trauma of his parents' murders and channelled that into training himself over the next decade plus so that he could THEN become Batman. I do still love Keaton and Burton for what they did for the character, though. In fact, the 1989 film is a huge part of how/why I went from mildly interested to obsessed with Batman.

@Dynamo - AWESOME comment!
RunDTC - 7/16/2011, 5:36 PM
1. The Dark Knight
2. Iron Man
3. Unbreakable
4. The incredibles
5. Batman Begins
6. X2
7. Thor
8. Spider-Man 2
9. Watchmen
10. The Incredible Hulk
11. V for Vendetta
12. Spider-Man
13. Iron Man 2
14. Superman
15. X-Men
JULES - 7/16/2011, 5:37 PM
@Trudy
True story...this past Tuesday I came out Walmart and saw an older lady in a mobile cart trying to look into my SUV. She look like freaking Wildore! I went up to her and asked if she was looking for the cosmic key. Sadly, she did not get the reference but luckily my fiancee did.
JULES - 7/16/2011, 5:42 PM
Also I've already seen CA:TFA and Avengers intruder and let me say your top 10 is going to be shuffling :D
mcmeador - 7/16/2011, 5:45 PM
"If you dont have to defend yourself than why post a bratty, snot nosed comment? lol"

I am criticizing the tone of the review, not the opinions expressed. I am also pointing out that your attempt to delegitimize those who disagree with the review is unfair. You can't honestly put others down for failing to detail reasons for disagreeing with it when you are just allowing someone else to speak for you.
JULES - 7/16/2011, 5:47 PM
@Trudy
My fiancee was pissed but she came around eventually. Who wouldn't have taken that opportunity. I would have regretted it forever. I'm still waiting for god to give me a chance to Spartan kick somebody....one day hopefully
Dynamo - 7/16/2011, 5:55 PM
@Intruder
Well fans always take things seriously, no matter what the film is. No, his frustration seems to be that the critics like the film and take it seriously. That's kind of their job.

On another note, Nolan never claimed for his films to be taken seriously. Just MORE seriously than past films. It was never meant to be Citizen Kane, just a good movie. Which he succeeded at, IMO.

Also, like I said, he also was so concerned with every litte detail of the scenes, that he decided to look at the tivial elements and became oblivious to the context of these scenes. For example: he seems to think Nolan was advocating the spying Batman does, only to clean it up by having Batman destroy it. But he doesn't take into account the signifigance of Alfred's story about "burning the forest down". The system was Batman's way of "burning the forest down", a morally dubious one. As brought up by Lucious Fox when he asks "At what cost?" after Batman tells him he needs to stop the Joker. It's not just Gotham's soul at risk, it's Batman's too.

This point, btw, also seems to moot the writers ideas that the movie trivialised Fox and Alfred. As I pointed out, they played supporting roles, but importan ones aswell.
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