Let me say that I enjoyed the movie immensely, but it was still a mixed bag for me, just as Batman Begins was.
First off, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine were old pros, delivering the goods with style. Lucius’ moment with the would-be blackmailer Reese was one of the few genuinely funny moments in the film, and Alfred is still taking care of his child, because to him, Bruce will always be in some ways that scared, grieving eight-year-old boy who cried in his arms after his parents’ funeral.
I was really happy to see Gary Oldman’s role as Jim Gordon expanded. Jim was a prominent character in his own right in this movie and less of a sidekick-type as in the first. While being allied with Batman undoubtedly helps his career, he earned that promotion to Commissioner.
Though it does seem as if the way to get promoted in Gotham is for your predecessor to be murdered, eh? It happened to Harvey Dent’s predecessor, and Commissioner Hoag got knocked off by the Joker.
The Joker was brilliantly insane, and even though I’m not a big fan of insanity (it exhausts me trying to follow its non-reasoning), and while it’s almost the thing to say now that Heath Ledger deserves a posthumous Oscar nomination, if he got one, it wouldn’t bother me. He’s good, folks.
Great scene in the interrogation room when Jim leaves, saying the good cop/bad cop routine wasn’t quite what the Joker expected, heh heh. Surprise!
Man, the penthouse is swanky but the temporary Batcave is too bright. Batman needs bats and the waterfall and dimness. And the Manor! TPTB burning the Manor just showed how little they understand its importance: it is the most prominent symbol of Bruce’s heritage and his commitment to Gotham as Wayne and Bat.
The battle for Gotham left me with this impression of Christian Bale’s performance: Batman was dominant, almost as if he needed to be with the threat of the Joker, and Bruce faded away into the background, so suppressed that he was a shadow of his former self from the first movie.
We saw Brucie.
We saw very little of Bruce.
Sure, we saw Brucie asleep at the meeting and then sharp Bruce knowing all about the deal with Liu but, damn, it was like he was fading away with being on the edge of things, all of his energy being poured into Batman.
As a purely shallow aside here, Christian Bale is still beautiful. ;)
Maggie Gyllenhall had zero chemistry with Christian, but had a good dose of it with Aaron Eckhardt. Funny, since Katie Holmes wasn’t the best actress in the first film but had some chemistry with Christian, though not of the romantic variety. I think the problem with Bruce/Rachel for me is that they were better as brother/sister instead of romantic partners.
Rachel was a good fit with Harvey, and she ultimately chose him in the end.
What can I say about Harvey? He was skirting around the coin-flipping edge even before his face was disfigured, but he went truly off the deep end afterwards, which is understandable. His story should have continued into a third film. He’s a wonderfully tragic character: the police and Batman have had a personal relationship with him, and that makes it harder to go up against him than it does a cipher like the Joker. The people after Harvey once cared about him, and some still care. Emo rollercoaster!
I was put off by once again a female character getting the short end of the stick. Is that girl cowering in her mother’s arms Barbara Gordon or not? Shouldn’t she have been the one to stand with Jim and realize that Batman isn’t a killer?
One of the most riveting scenes was the ferry situation. I thought the diabolical Joker had rigged it so that if someone pressed the trigger, their own boat would blow up, but he was counting on human nature to do the dirty deed and they would have destroyed the other boat. It was perhaps cliché for one of the killers to take the detonator and appear to be ready to press it and then toss it out the porthole, but you never were quite sure who would do what. The loud guy on the civilian boat could very well have pressed the detonator, but in the end couldn’t do it.
The Joker thinks that he and the Batman are in the gutter together? Batman doesn’t kill.
Rant on that a little further on.
I loved the scenes in Hong Kong, not only for Lucius involved in the plan, but Alfred on the boat with all the Russian beauties, and the flying scenes. Outstanding.
The action scenes were well-done. There was excitement and tension in this movie, but I thought the first film was better-scripted. This one was too jumpy in places, and the unrelenting darkness was a bit much for my taste.
And speaking of taste, I have a bad one in my mouth: Batman as killer.
First off, I don’t consider it noble to take the blame for something you didn’t do in most cases. I consider it more stupid than anything else. Jim had the good sense to at least protest at the Batman’s plan. Bruce is too riddled with survivor’s guilt and too ready to play the martyr. He’s hurting his city.
Because let’s get real here: a politician as White Knight, a shining symbol? Maybe before the ‘70s, but this ain’t the pre-‘70s, people. Politicians are bad wagons to hitch your idealist stars to. Harvey Dent was already less-than-shining before he became Two-Face. Letting people know what he’d done because he was insane shouldn’t tarnish anything. The man was as loony as the Joker! Give him the blame he deserves and move on.
Batman was a symbol of hope at the end of Batman Begins. Now he’s some scumbag murderer. That scene of breaking the Batsignal light is powerful, because Gotham will sink even further into the muck and mire now. That Batsignal let the people of Gotham know their protector was on the job. If your hero is a murderer, he’s no better than the scum he hunts. A hero shouldn’t be just another nutjob for the good people to fear. Sure, the scum will be more nervous now because they think that Batman will kill them. As one bad guy said in the film, the Bat had limits and the Joker didn’t, and so no one would tell Batman anything. Bleah! What makes Batman a hero, dark as he is, is not crossing the line, something Frank Miller has no clue about, BTW.
I suppose if there’s a third film, it’ll feature Batman as the hunted, but I still think it’s stupid. Gotham doesn’t need Batman to be a killer. They need him not to be one.
Forgive me, but as a Robin fangirl, I’m going to vent: in this world, Bruce needs a Dick Grayson more than ever. It’s clear that TPTB will never bring in Robin (and Christian Bale said he’d rather be tied up than have that happen. Tie him up, but keep your snarky opinions to yourself, CB).
In the first film, the saddest scene of all was after Batman’s been dosed by the Scarecrow and falls out of the building on fire, and then stumbles and staggers away from the crowds, the haunting music a perfect accompaniment. He calls Alfred, but this scene starkly illustrates Bruce’s aloneness and how a non-super being needs help out there!
The Bruce we see by the end of The Dark Knight will be in Arkham in a short number of years without someone to anchor his sanity to. Alfred and Lucius are great confidantes, but Bruce needs brightness. Even an adult Dick with half the brightness of the Dick from DC history would help save the Batman’s soul, and Bruce’s as well.
I know it’ll never happen, and I know all the reasons it won’t, but Nolanverse points up just why Bruce/Batman has always needed Dick/Robin, and always will.
It sounds like I hated this movie, LOL. No, in fact, I’d go see it again. Any movie that doesn’t have me checking my watch is a good one. I just consider the first film superior.
Batman Begins engaged my emotions and heart.
The Dark Knight merely engaged my emotions.