Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Dark Knight

So after months and months of counting down to The Dark Knight, I finally saw it (twice) and I didn't write about it in my blog. Don't worry, I'll fix that now.

When I see a new movie, even if my first impression is that it is really good, I'm always afraid to say "It's one of the best movies I've ever seen". I like to allow a little time to let the movie sink in before I say it's one of my favorite movies, because I have some self-imposed rules on what it means to have a movie be one of my favorites. It has to be a movie that I can watch over and over without getting sick of it, but there has to be new things that I discover each time that make me love it again. The movie has to stay with me in some way, and it has to be memorable, and original. Having said that, let me say this: The Dark Knight is one of my favorite movies ever. And not only is it a new personal favorite, I honestly think that it is one of the best made films I have ever seen in any genre.

Batman has always been my favorite superhero since I was a kid. I never read any of the comic books, but I grew up on the 1989 Tim Burton Batman, as well as Batman Returns, Batman the Animated Series, The Mask of the Phantasm, and to a lesser extent Batman Forever (but even at the tender age of 7 when that movie came out, I could tell it was kind of crappy). After Batman and Robin I feared that a good Batman movie would never be made again, however Batman Begins proved that in the right hands Batman could still be awesome.

What I loved about The Dark Knight was that it tapped into the most interesting aspects of Batman. He's not some everyday guy who happened upon super powers and fights supervillains. Batman is a self made hero who chooses to be what he is. He is incredibly disciplined and powerful because he worked hard to get that way, it didn't happen by a freak accident. He is a real guy, and the Nolan Batman movies ground that real person in a real world. No missle-laden penguins, no fugly Batmobile or mind-reading television sets (a la Batman Forever), and no evil ice-hockey teams. Everything about this Batman is real (or at least plausible), right down to the equipment that he uses and the vehicles he drives. And speaking of real, I am so glad that there is finally a superhero movie with a villain who is actually terrifying. There were scenes in this movie where I was literally scared and uneasy because of what The Joker was doing. He's a homicidal maniac hired by the mob who is not afraid to kill; in fact he enjoys it. The anarachy and just plain evil that The Joker stood for is one of the most frightening things I've experienced in a movie in a long, long time. And the relationship that develops between Batman and The Joker is so incredibly well done in this movie. It's refreshing to see something that deep and psychologically complex in a summer blockbuster, much less a superhero movie.

I haven't even touched on the brilliant special-effects or the amazing action scenes. I'll just say that I was ecstatic to see a director in Hollywood who was willing to actually do the stunts in-camera rather than just rely on CGI. Computer effects are great, but I feel that they should be used as little as possible. I haven't even gotten to Harvey Dent and his transformation into Two Face. I haven't gotten into the side story dealing with Maroni and the rest of the mob still trying to hold on to Gotham City. I haven't gotten to Jim Gordon who I think is one of the absolute best characters in this movie. Gary Oldman does a great job bringing this guy to life, and making him a valuable part of Gotham City instead of just an old man who flips on the Bat-signal every time there's trouble. There is so much that is good in this movie that I can't talk about everything. However, one thing that I do want to mention is the very last line of the movie: it is absolute perfection. I got chills both times I saw it. It was surprisingly powerful and completely satisfying. This movie reaffirms my love of the Batman. It makes me feel like a kid again when I would rush home to see the Batman cartoon on TV even though I'd seen the episode dozens of times already. Thank you Christopher Nolan for getting it right.

If you haven't seen it yet, go to the theater as soon as possible. If you already have seen it, do yourself a favor and go see it again, because a movie this good only comes around once in a blue moon, so enjoy it on the big screen while you can.

So now that I've finally seen The Dark Knight, what do I have to look forward to? Don't worry, there's only 99 days until Quantum of Solace opens on November 7.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

As of this writing, there are only 172 hours and 46 minutes until The Dark Knight midnight premiere which I will be going to.
This has been the only thing I've had to look forward to for months (yeah, my life is pretty boring), so I'm praying that it's good. And based on what I've seen of it so far, it's shaping up to be the best movie of the year.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Incredible Hulk

I gotta say, so far this batch of summer movies has been surprising. I was surprised at just how great Iron Man, and Kung Fu Panda were, and I enjoyed Get Smart a lot. I just saw The Incredible Hulk tonight and it wasn't bad. I'm not a big Hulk fan, but this was a good movie. Kind of predictable, but good none the less. This was also the first superhero movie were I was more interested in the human side of the character rather than the superhero part. Maybe that's because of Edward Norton, or maybe it's because the Hulk just isn't that interesting, but either way I was pleasantly surprised.

16 days!