I watched The Dark Knight last summer in the theater just like everyone else in the world did. At the time I thought it was pretty awesome, and a year later I’ve seen it again, this time on DVD. So, how was it on a repeat viewing? Ehh, really, really long. What was the runtime of this movie, anyway? 347 minutes? Well, maybe not that long, but it sure felt like it was longer than the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, the director’s cut version.
Batman Begins was a fucking incredible movie. As a superhero movie it was flawless. It had great production design, good pacing, good acting, an interesting storyline, and showed a natural and believable progression of Bruce Wayne into Batman. It was a 5-star movie all the way. Looking back at it, I would be hard pressed to find anything to complain about.
The Dark Knight falls prey to the usual sequel problems. Here’s how I imagine the pitch to the movie studio executives went:
Director: We’ve completed the script to the Batman sequel.
Executive: Batman Begins made a lot of money.
Director: Uhh, yeah. So anyway, I had a few ideas about casting.
Executive: How are you going to make this one bigger and better than the first movie?
Director: Uhh, well, we have the Joker.
Executive: I think this one needs to be longer. All sequels should be longer than the first.
Executive: IF THE FIRST ONE WAS GOOD, THEN THE NEW ONE WILL BE EVEN BETTER IF YOU JUST ADD MORE STUFF TO IT! IT ALSO NEEDS TO BE PG-13!
Executive: MAKE SURE YOU ADD A SCENE WHERE THE JOKER RAPS!
That must have been how it happened. The first movie was good, so why not just throw more shit in to the sequel? It’s bound to be better, right? If you said yes, then you’d be wrong, and also movie studio executive material.
The Dark Knight is like when you order a 1/2 pound burger, but then the cashier says, “Well, you can have a WHOLE pound burger for 40 cents more!” You can’t pass up a deal like that. Then, half-way through eating the burger, you’re sitting there, looking at it, and thinking, “Why did I do this to myself?”
There’s really no justification for this movie being so fucking long. There is tons of down-time, and the pacing is really bad. The action beats are broken up by huge spanses of nothingness. The parts between action sequences are typically reserved for plot advancement and character development. Not so here. Instead, they just have a bunch of scenes that showcase how batshit insane the Joker is, and how nauseatingly self-righteous Harvey Dent is. Bruce Wayne, THE MAIN CHARACTER, takes a backseat to everyone else. It’s almost as if the title character, Batman, makes a cameo appearance.
The acting was really good. Heath Ledger was awesome as the Joker, and really deserved all the praise he got. Gary Oldman did a good job as Commissioner Gordon, Michael Caine rocked, Aaron Eckhart was convincing, and the girl who is not as good looking as Katie Holmes was all right, too. The only person I can’t comment on was Christian Bale as Batman, because he really had the smallest part in the whole movie.
I also felt that the character of Two Face was squandered. With so much running time dedicated to Harvey Dent’s downfall and transformation, it seemed only natural that he was being set up as the villain in the next film. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen. He dies almost as soon as he becomes evil. All that build-up was wasted, which makes those long, boring gaps in the film completely pointless.
The Bat Sonar Vision-thingy was also idiotic. It was cool enough the first time it was utilized, but after that it was just annoying. Every time I read a review on the internet about this movie, fanboys orgasmed in their pants about how amazing the Batpod was. Batpod? What the fuck? Since when are motorcycles called pods? I went to the Harley Davidson website, and I could not find any pods for sale. I was really disappointed. Batcycle would have been a more logical name, but it probably wasn’t gay enough to satisfy the Hollywood executives.
The action scenes themselves were well directed, but perhaps a bit too short. Or maybe they were an appropriate length, and just seemed ridiculously short compared to how fucking long this movie is. The music was rather bland, and I found myself constantly thinking that the score for the original Tim Burton Batman film was way more fun. The tone may not have been right, but it would have woken me up a bit. And that was really the core problem. The movie was so fucking long that I found myself getting really antsy, and hoping it would end. In fact the movie tricked me into thinking it was already over, but in reality it had another 30 fucking minutes left. Jesus Christ, why?! It was just too much. Too bloated.
Overall, I do think this was a good movie, but great movies are the ones where you aren’t aware of the running time. If it was truly enveloping, I wouldn’t have constantly been wondering how much time was left. Batman Begins was a better movie.
Verdict: Good (Awesome if 30 hours shorter)