I like almost everyone who could possibly be reading this went into the summer of 2008, anticipating one movie above all others: Iron Man. But next, for sure, the only real answer was The Dark Knight. Christopher Nolan's second outing for Batman, the hype machine was in overdrive big time for the film, only doubling with the tragic death of Heath Ledger before it opened. I bought out an entire row of the first showing for myself, my brother, and friends, we got there an hour early like almost everyone else in the auditorium did that night, to this day the only time that has happened to me. The Watchmen trailer played, and we all lost it (still one of my favorite trailers of all-time), and then the film was everything we hoped for. We were on cloud nine, and The Dark Knight took its lace as the only Comic Book Film That Mattered.
The Dark Knight Really Is A Mess If You Think About It
Except, in subsequent viewings over the years…it hasn't held up as much. To the point where the last time I watched it, I couldn't even finish it. What was happening? Why had this film, that 99% percent of you hold so dear, lost all of its previous luster? And then it dawned on me: taking Ledger's brilliant turn as the Joker away from the film, it is pretty terrible.
Now, let me say here that I love Nolan, he is a brilliant filmmaker and has advanced the filmgoing experience in ways nobody else has in years. Others may have had the germ of the idea, but he ran with it, including here in The Dark Knight. But…the story is laughable, right? Not as bad as the second half of The Dark Knight Rises bad, but that sonar device plotline, the not great Harvey Dent events that lead to him becoming Two-Face, I don't know. Dent is especially bad, we needed to believe in Harvey Dent, as the advertising for the film asked us, and even on that first viewing, I didn't. I have also grown to dislike a lot of what Christian Bale does as Bruce/Batman over the years. It all just grates on me after a while that voice those weird dumb-looking faces he makes. Even some of the editing choices made by Nolan feel strange now. And what is that last scene with Bruce/Joker/and the dogs? So weird, and it just feels thrown in there.
To me, an admitted non-Batman fan, Batman Begins is the best of the three. Technically, from a filmmaking standpoint, this one does the most impressive things. The cast is also more solid overall like they were all finding their footing together. I just have lost all of my love for The Dark Knight over the years besides the Ledger performance, which cannot be topped. It sucks, and hey if you still love it: awesome! I am happy for you. I just cannot get there anymore.