Tuesday, June 30, 2009

“The Dark Knight”

Director: Christopher Nolan 2008
I’ve been avoiding this since it opened worldwide and broke box-office records. As a kid (in the early 60s), I was an avid comic book collector (if I only had them now!). And about 25 years ago, I got interested again and collected contemporary stuff, then quit when so many graphic novels turned nasty, reveling in their excesses. I still visit Comic Relief here in Berkeley, and am a huge fan of Alan Moore’s “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”(just don’t bother with the movie). But super hero films? The special effects seem so much like a video game that I can never suspend belief and accept that Tobey Maguire is really swinging through the canyons of New York.
The other problem is the need by filmmakers to add so much angst and nihilism to the tottering foundation of the material’s comic book provenance. That’s a major problem with “The Dark Knight,” which I finally caught on HBO. Yes, Heath Ledger is excellent. But the rest seems like so much sound and fury—and we know what they signify. The action scenes are so jarringly edited that I was never quite sure what the hell was going on. I get that Batman is a vigilante perhaps as loony as some of his foes. So what? When I was a kid reading Green Lantern, The Flash, The Fantastic Four, Spiderman et al., they were entertaining even when they grew up a little and showed their insecurities. While these movies may dazzle some, they’re not a lot fun.
Maybe the next time I should go to an IMAX theater, aka the eighth circle of hell.


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