The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight ★½

Some quick notes because I don't have a proper review:

I guess this is one of the risks of swinging for the fences, but I would say half the time I really liked Ledger's Joker performance and the other half I thought it was super show-y and insufferable. But just when I'd go, "Ugh I hate this" he'd have some unexpected line delivery that made me laugh out loud and I'd have to take my hate back.

Aaron Eckhart is the only performance I like all the time. I like Bale as Wayne, much to my surprise, but Pete Holmes' parody of the Batman voice is barely a parody. Bale really does let his jaw hang open constantly and slur his words with his tongue to a ridiculous degree.

I actually like the cinematography in Begins more. It's basically ripping off Blade Runner but it gives Gotham the appropriately moody, noir-ish vibe I think it needs. Maybe Nolan thought it would make the Joker scarier if he was doing most of his chaos and murdering during the day, but for me it just makes it more like Heat or any of the other plethora of bank robbing movies we've seen before.

The opening bank scene is okay until the very end, when the school bus pulls out of the side of wall and escapes by getting into a long line with all of the other, presumably real school buses. Are all the drivers on the joker's payroll? Because it doesn't imply that they are, and why would the bus behind the getaway bus just keep driving as if nothing is happening when he just saw that bus drive off the sidewalk spilling dust and rubble from a building that is now missing a huge chunk of its wall? That's even more egregious than all those movies where a character gets hit by a giant truck/bus/car and the driver doesn't even stop to see whether the person they just murdered is alive.

As I felt the first time I saw this movie in 2008, it really doesn't do enough to tie Batman and the Joker in as two halves of a coin. That's one of the themes of the movie, but most of it is just handled by the Joker flat out explaining that's what the movie is about (and of course the visual representation of Two-Face as half good half bad). And there's a bunch of other themes that compete for attention, none of which get enough screen time to impact the way they should. Especially this idea of surveillance, which is brought up and then whisked away that it's okay as long as the person using the spy machine is uncomfortable about the ethics of it and it's a Really Big Emergency.

Gyllenhaal feels weirdly like a step down for me. Holmes is not a particularly good actor, but I guess this proves to me that I like sorta-flat, mediocre acting over show-y acting with a capital A. Her face really can't stop selling every single line delivery.

I never cared about any of the tension in this movie. The prisoner tossing the detonator out the window still feels like a cheap audience manipulation trick.

There's a lot less dumb Goyer-isms in this one, but they're still around enough to really irritate me.

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