Yes, I finally got around to seeing the Dark Knight last night. They joys of having a 2 year old!
Before I get around to explaining my disagreements, I should start out by saying that as far as acting and accomplishing an emotional reaction, I thought the movie was very good. And I can definitely understand why Heath Ledger got the Academy Award.
But my disagreement with the movie stems from the fundamental premise of the movie. If it hadn’t been a “Batman” movie, I would have avoided it, since I’m more of an action or fun movie type of person. This is my same beef with the new James Bond movies with Daniel Craig.
I disagree with the movement to take these larger than life characters and dragging them down into the degraded,
“real” arena. These characters were meant to be larger than life. Of course they had their fatal flaws, but good always triumphed over evil in the end and the good guys came out alright and the bad guys were locked up or dead. And you usually felt better after watching them!
The fact that I fell like writing something like this after watching the Dark Knight should be enough to point out that I didn’t feel better after it, regardless of it’s technical expertise as a theatrical art piece (which was VERY impressive). I know the current trend is toward “reality”, but there’s a reason that a majority of the timeless classics (I know not all) are of the love story that works out in the end (i.e. Cinderella) or the where the hero triumphs over evil. I mean, who would have remembered the Cinderella story if she had ended up with a small house, two kids and a job?
I think the characters like James Bond and Batman, which have long histories of being the grandiose, larger than life superheroes, should be left that way. I don’t think if Batman had started out like he’s portrayed in the Dark Knight, as someone who has to suffer to do right, the franchise would have made it through innumerable comics, a TV series and a bunch of other movies.
And maybe these new movies are meant for a different audience, but while I continue to hope for the best and shell out my money to see them, I’m not impressed. I think the world needs it’s heros and fantasies. They bring people up and remind people that a more ideal scene is possible, even if only in the movies and books for now. If I want a dark story, I can look on the news. There’s plenty of that in real life. Want to talk about suffering, look at India. Want to talk about unsung heroes, look in the plethora of wars over the past years. Want some really crazy people, look at the Unibomber or the guys that flew into the World Trade Center. But that’s not what I want when I go to the movies–especially when it’s based on characters that have a long history of winning against all odds and keeping their sense of humor while doing it.
And my point doesn’t include movies like Watchmen, which are meant to be more “dark” from the beginning. They’ve never been something else, so they stand on their own metaphorical feet when it comes to drawing an audience.
But I guess I don’t like horror flicks either, so there’s plenty of people out there that will disagree with me. But I want to point out one thing: the biggest money making genre is the action movie, where the heroes are inevitably larger than life and usually come out in the end beat up but having triumphed over all.