The Dark Knight

JOE VS JAMES

Joe says:

I didn’t think I’d be seeing this movie at all because I thought I was immune to the hype. Oh sure, hype and I go way back, but this time I wasn’t really buying it. When a friend asked if I wanted to see The Dark Knight, however, I did what I normally did when friends ask me to do things: I caved in like a candidate for senator. Alright, fine, I don’t fold like that often, but let’s face it, I’ve got nothing to do on weekends anymore.

I’ll start by saying I am not, not have I ever, been a big fan of Batman. Furthermore, I was one of the few young males who never fell in with comic books — aside from the occasional animation of Star Trek episodes and Ren & Stimpy, I basically never had any. Still, like I said, nothing to do, so it was basically a why-the-hell-not proposition.

From the first scene of the movie, you knew it’d be gruesome, vile, disgusting, edgy, and therefore entertaining. Generally speaking, my tastes are a little more refined — not quite Frasier Crane imported sherry refined, but moreso than the average twenty-something. Still, a little blood and guts never hurt anyone.

Long story short, the Joker (played by Heath Ledger, who WILL win the Academy Award) is back in business as el jefe de crime in Gotham city, he does a lot of bad shit to good and bad people, and Batman has to fight him. As we climbed up the mountain to the climax, Batman’s ex-squeeze gets picked off, the inspector fakes his death, and the district attorney, Harvey Dent, gets half his face blown off. I know, a normal day, right? I glossed over a whole bunch of crap but frankly I wasn’t paying attention to the plot so much as I was the clock. I don’t care what anyone says, no matter how good a movie is, two and a half hours never really flies by.

Batman “wins” at the end of the day, sort of. Some people were pissed off at the lack of a happy ending — at least the person I was with had those sentiments. It was kinda lame, but for all I know, it was supposed to be lame because that’s the way it’s supposed to happen in the comics. Like I would know. In any case, Batman’s “the hero we need, not the one we deserve” stuff as he’s getting run out of town on a rail at the conclusion, despite having single-handledly shut down the Joker, was at least different from the generic kumbaya-yay-we-did-it-uptempo-fade-to-black ending you get in most movies.

More on Heath Ledger, though. Granted, I’m not a huge fan of his movies, particularly one with cowboys mounting horses amongst other things (although I did like The Patriot — I mean, MEL GIBSON!) but I’d probably not be going out on a limb by saying his last major film was his best. He presented his character in the creepiest way possible, but there was also a definite tinge of humor. He brought his character to life much moreso than anyone else. Yeah yeah, Michael Caine, Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman…I know. Ledger just happened to be better.

Was it good? Yes. Surprisingly good? Yeah, even for me. Would I see it again? No, but that’s just me. I imagine Batman fans would wet themselves in glee at the chance to see it again. Though not a fan of the genre, it was legitimately the best new movie made in a while. If I had to pick between this and the 297th parody “….. Movie” (which come out about every 3 months now and probably use different versions of the same script), I think I’d take this.

Before I stop writing, however, there is one last statement I have to make:

Gotham is a total shithole. A few bunker busters would solve all of their problems.

And I wish I came up with the pencil trick first.

Well, that was three statements. Now four. Crap.

Grade: 80

(better known as 8 out of 10 or 4 out of 5 stars)

James says:

And at last we come to the sequel to one of my all-time favorite movies. How could it possibly live up to the impossibly high standards set by the public? How could it ever satisfy everyone with all the hype it had generated? How could Christian Bale possibly get any handsomer (I call no homo on that)? Fear not, all you unwashed masses, because this movie does it all.

Let’s begin with what everyone else has already analyzed to death: Heath Ledger’s swan song performance of the Joker. Since this review is coming a bit late, my guess is that if you’re reading this, you’ve either already seen the movie or at least read about it, so you know that Ledger’s final role was the definition of perfection. Not to sound like too much of a douche, but the last time a movie scared me was when I watched “Sex and the City.” I could practically feel those old cows breathing down the back of my neck. Anyways, the Joker scared the living shit out of me. He was a character with no motivation other than the spread of chaos, as evidenced by his burning all of the money he had earned from the mobsters. And the way he kept changing the story of how he got his scars? Brilliant to the core.

The rest of the cast is excellent, but are still outdone by Ledger. Michael Caine delivers my favorite line in the movie while trying to explain the Joker’s lack of a motive to Batman, “Some men just want to watch the world burn.” As the Joker begins to destroy everything that Batman has done for Gotham, Harvey Dent enters the scene and becomes Gotham’s White Knight, able to strike at crime from the front. Bruce Wayne realizes that since justice now has a face, his time as Batman could be drawing to a close. Doing everything he can to set up Dent with Gordon, creating a powerhouse team of legal eagles, he begins trying to re-woo Rachel Dawes, now played by Maggie Gyllenhall. Now, I can finally like the fucking character, because she no longer sucks. Rachel is now a real person with real emotions, who decides to stop waiting for Bruce to end his one-man war on crime, and instead starts dating Harvey Dent.

Their relationship eventually comes to a head when Harvey proposes, but after that, things get a little buck wild, and through a series of nasty things happening, we are treated to the birth of Two-Face. I’m leaving a ton of good shit out, but I’m also tired of writing to a bunch of people who are probably not going to see this movie based solely on my review. If you’ve waited this long, you either hate fun or think Superman is cooler than Batman. And if you think that, you’re a moron.

Grade: 99

Average Grade: 89

PS: James did’t put a single picture in his review. Lame-sauce.

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