I’ve been listening to “not quite current but not old enough to be called retro” music recently (the song above being the one currently up on my player). Collective Soul and Lifehouse have spent a lot of time in the CD player in my car of late- I’m surprised at how well Lifehouse’s first CD has held up, having not listened in a few years. It’s probably their best one, even taking out the far-too-overplayed-first-single “Hanging By A Moment”. I think I made the decision that the 90s was a good decade for rock music, but it was depressing on the whole.
Anyway, I saw Dark Knight the other day, and wanted to offer some mostly spoiler-free musings on it, since I know there’s people who read this who probably haven’t seen it. But for those of you who are worried I’M ABOUT TO TALK ABOUT DARK KNIGHT IN GENERAL TERMS STILL AVOID READING THIS IF YOU’RE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO’D PREFER TO BE COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY IN THE DARK (CHEAP PUN, TEEHEE) ABOUT THE MOVIE DARK KNIGHT.
You sure? I’m about to go on.
One more line, just in case.
Alright, let’s go.
As with any major motion picture release over the last little while, you’d have to be disconnected from mass media to have not heard the scuttlebutt surrounding Dark Knight, so I’ll spare you that.
Depending on the franchise, we expect different things from our superhero movies. Superman and Spiderman, to use two examples, are more feel-good types, the kind of hero everyone can cheer for, even as recent efforts have attempted to broaden their appeal- with differing amounts of success. Nowadays, we demand deeper characters, plots that make some sense, and just enough ambiguity to make it compelling, but not so much that we start to question how the hero will react in the end.
Dark Knight turns a lot of that on it’s ear… and some of that is due to the protagonist, Batman, who was always a darker character, which is reflected in how he’s presented, and his backstory. Batman Begins set a lot of the groundwork for this movie, by giving Bruce Wayne a more earthy feel, even as dark as Batman already was, and making Gotham a city with a deep, dark underbelly.
Prior Batman movies had been unable to escape the over-the-top comic book feel, culminating in the one-liner, excess driven Batman and Robin, which I still shudder at the memory of. And while there are moments in Dark Knight that reflect some of the comic book feel of Batman, the characters and the plot, for the most part, are deep and complex and compelling, and never just good or just bad.
Getting off track, but this has been a problem of mine with Star Trek in recent years- the “good” characters don’t have any real flaws (and why I love Firefly). And while this makes them easy to root for, it limits what you can do with stories, and makes them a little boring. You know how it’s going to turn out. But in a more cynical society, where people are finding out more about themselves every day, why can’t our characters make a wrong choice every now and again? And why can’t that have real consequences?
In Dark Knight, the good guys do go bad every now and again- and there are consequences for it that they don’t always comprehend until well into the aftermath. I loved that.
To summarize, there was a lot I loved about the movie, it’s probably the best movie I’ve seen all year. It was very intense, though. Not for those who like their superheroes to be white knights (cheap pun, teehee) or expecting it to be a summer blockbuster. It will challenge you, it will amaze you, it will entertain you, and yes, it will exhaust you. Also, Heath Ledger should win an Oscar. I’m aware I’m not the first person to say this, but I felt it pertinent to mention that I AGREED WITH THE MAJORITY ON THAT ONE.
That is all.