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Dark Knight and Bright Day
cap, captain miss america
rotae got in yesterday, and she has been sleeping in my living room! We went with cacophonesque to an American Diner and Rotae was very impressed with our waffles.

Then, we met up with Colin and went to stand in line for Dark Knight. This line? Was insane. Seriously insane. I don't think I've stood on a line like this in ages...we were around the fucking corner. I think it was longer than the one for the Simpsons opening night last year. Freaking insane. Destiny found friends on the line. Then, when they started letting people into the theater, all hell broke loose-- it was incredibly disorganized and there was a huge crush of people. I got into the theater well before the rest of my group, mostly because I was helping a pregnant girl who kept getting squished.

We did not get any of the previews I was looking forward to seeing apart from Terminator. I was extremely disappointed: no HP, no Watchmen.

Onto the movie. I would normally not do this, since everyone and his mother has already commented on it, but I want to say:

1) I thought it was good.
2) I didn't think it was a masterpiece, nor did I think it was as good as Iron Man.

1) I have to say, the first shot of the film? Was too long, and too much of nothing. I thought it was a very odd choice to start the film off with that long zoom of a nondescript building. I know that's a small thing to complain about, but it's the first thing you see onscreen and was very odd to me.

2) Heath Ledger exceeded my expectations and played an absolutely lunatic character that made me go 'holy fuck' a lot, Aaron Eckhart was as good as I expected. However: I am still baffled as to why Heath Ledger is mimicking Jack Nicholson's voice. That's not the Joker; that's all Jack and one of the major complaints people generally have about Jack's Joker is it's too much himself. So that still confuses me. I also was not impressed at all with the Two-Face makeup-- it reminds me too much of the old Hellraised movies. But those are mainly superficial complaints.

3) I loved the use of the old team-building exercises in real life in the Joker's 'experiments'-- we had to do the Ferry Experiment in my high school, albeit not with real explosives, obviously. I love doing those, and it was so cool to see the way they implemented them as actual plot.

4) I was surprised by the way the whole faked-death-of-Jim-Gordon was handled. One of the things I really liked in the first movie was that Ra's al Ghul as played in such a way that knowing that Liam Neeson's character must really be Ra's (as most fans of the comics/cartoon knew) didn't spoil the movie. I felt like the bit with Jim wasn't played for quite enough tension to do that-- his 'death' was almost glossed over to the point where it was made to seem inconsequential, and that simply didn't work for me when I knew the character couldn't possibly be dead.

5) I was likewise surprised by the decision to have John Gordon live. I know they'll never get to the point in the series where Babs is old enough to go Batgirl, but it's kind of interesting in terms of what it means for Babs.

6) I was sort of insulted that Babs didn't get a name in the credits? The child playing her was just listed as "Gordon's Daughter." WTF?

7) And I have serious problems with Rachel Dawes. What the fuck year is this, people? And we still take female characters who seem to have strong personalities and be capable of not only intelligent thought but potentially even protecting themselves, and stick them in refrigerators so big, masculine men can act like dogs marking their territory and go crazy and evil? Not okay. Seriously not okay. And that, coupled with what I thought was an uneven plot that could have been shorter, is why I felt like Iron Man was a stronger film. Pepper fucking kicks ass and holds her own to the end. Rachel isn't a character but a plot point for the men to fight over.

That being said, I thought it was a decent, solid movie, but by no means the perfect, flawless thing so many people are hailing it as. If it were flawless, it wouldn't have treated women like objects.

Colin brought me a present: an amazing big book about Ralph Bakshi (I almost typed 'Batshit' there).

Today, we went out to meet lab_mistress and cheshire23 and dakinishir, none of whom I'd met before and lab_mistress is someone I had never even really interacted with. They were all such amazing people and I loved ever minute of our winding chats as we perused the stacks of the Strand, and then our hunts through Forbidden Planet, where I got to play tour guide and recommend comics to people who are beginner comics fans. This was lovely.

Then we left Rotae so she could go watch Avatar and went out for Ethiopian food. It was delicious! Now I am home and Rotae and I are sitting on my sofa bed noodling on our Macs. I think we are going to go do TKTS in the morning and see a Sunday matinee woo!

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Didn't like Rachel before, and only liked Rachel a little bit in this one because of her last scene and that's got to be a bad position to be in.

I'm seriously hoping if/when they bring in Harly and Ivy, they knock that one out of the park. Catwoman too. Maybe make Bruce too clingy with Catwoman and have her dump his ass because she can take care of herself.

I've also heard discussion that Iron Man sucked because Pepper didn't do shit and was only Tony's maid who was around to get squicked out by everything. (Although if they goose up her role in the next film, I would appreciate it.)

And if Rachel was only in the film to get girl asses in seats, I'll say what I said Thursday. All they need is a scene of nekkid/half-nekkid Christian Bale and we will come in droves. (For serious. How many girls went to see Aragorn and Arwen make wuvvy eyes at each other and how many went to see rough n burly men looking hot beating crap up, and then of course, omg Eowyn pwning everything. :D)

See, considering that Pepper is a personal assistant and Rachel is an assistant DA? Rachel had a much more active role in the first movie-- she actually caused trouble and got into trouble. In this one, she was just a prop that got slung around. Pepper is a bit wussy, but she's wussy and still follows through. She still is the one who saves the day in the end. She still is gutsy enough to call Tony out to his face instead of giving Alfred a letter that doesn't even NEED to be given since it just gets burned anyway and plays absolutely no role in the plot. And she's not just there to get kidnapped for no reason after having no personal agency in the plot-- Pepper is all about the personal agency, risks her own life deliberately, and gets things done. I am assuming her role in the film will follow the one in the comics and she'll become increasingly more kickass.

I really want them to bring in Renee or give the older Barbara Gordon a bigger role. I'd like to see a female character who is a strong female whose role in the movie doesn't have to do with romantic entanglements and who isn't a 'bad guy.' That being said, I'd be thrilled to see Selina, too, but she still falls into the britches, bitches, psychoes categorizations of powerful women, where Renee and both Babses don't.

I completely agree with your LotR-related summation, though. If you're going to have female characters, please, please make them female characters we want to identify with!

And this is weird. We got Watchmen, but not Harry Potter. I've heard Harry Potter has been shown elsewhere. O.o Weird. (It's already leaked, but it must be the shortest teaser in the world.)

I was really upset I didn't get Watchmen! I have seen it, obviously, but I want to see it on the big screen!

I hadn't heard of an HP trailer being shown. I didn't know it was even ready yet!

Yeah, Rachel's character. Yup. Pretty much.

I have seen a couple people mentioning it!

And yeah. Really blatant sexism is the kind of thing that can seriously knock a star off a movie rating for me, as much as the Joker was brilliantly written.

We got Watchmen but not HP. :(

I was totally blown away by Heath. I didn't feel like he was mimicking Nicholson at all. I felt like he made the role his own in such a way that I wasn't remotely reminded of the original Batman.

I agree with you about Rachel being pretty useless, although I don't remember her doing much in Batman Begins, either. I felt like she was only in the movie to give Harvey fuel for his vendetta. I thought Harvey's change into Two-Face was believable because of her, but otherwise she didn't bring much.

Even though he was doing Nicholson's drawl and nasal tone and hissing laugh? None of those are classic Joker; those all got introduced with Jack, and some of them are more by-products of Jack's acting than conscious choices for the character.

At least in Batman Begins, Rachel was sneaking around getting information and meeting with mob bosses, remember? She still didn't do much, but at least she wasn't JUST a prop.

Man, I am so with you on Rachel. They went and got a better actress for that?

i keep hearing people saying they weren't impressed with Maggie, and man, I just want to be like, dude, that was not Maggie's fault. The character fucking sucked.

ETA: In the grand tradition of casting Natalie Fucking Portman to get pregnant and waste away of a broken heart, I suppose.

Edited at 2008-07-20 06:40 am (UTC)

*avoid if you don't want spoilers*

I don't think it's perfect and my friends hailing it as TAH BEST MOVIE EVARRR are kind of giving me a "bzuh?" but as for a Batman film, I do think it's the best. I only know of one person I've heard who agrees with you on Iron Man vs Batman, and that's Godric. I haven't seen Iron Man (nor do I read Marvel to know anything about it), so I can't comment on that. And plus, considering M says things to be contrary, I don't even know with him.

The bit with the clowns was WAY too long. I thought Bill Fictner was awesome, oh, the 2.5 seconds he was in it. And the bit with Scarecrow was really choppy. I already said I wasn't much of a fan of the first half, but LOVED the second half.

I was pissed with Rachel Dawes just chewing the scenery, but short of having Catwoman (Dammit, almost wrote "Watchman." Where are you, brain?) or an older Barbara Gordon (and hopefully not the least bit like Alicia Silverstone), the female characters are going to be glossed over, because that's the way WB is. (Remember Hermione's treatment in the last 3 Harry Potter movies.) And Harley Quinn was supposed to be in this one! That's what REALLY pisses me off.

Re: *avoid if you don't want spoilers*

Iron Man is a more solid film in that it has one direct plot and clear character development for the main character. It has the benefit of being an origin story, but this movie really didn't have any character development that wasn't sudden and a result of killing off Rachel. Except for Jim Gordon, and I didn't think they focused on Jim enough for him to work as a key protagonist the way he did in Batman Begins. I think Begins was better than this one, and I would probably say Batman Returns still was, too. This had all the makings of being the best Batman film, and definitely could have been if they had been a little less precious with it and given it another go-round on the editing table, I think.

I agree abot Bill Fictner. Anthony Michael Hall, though, just completely took me out of the story and I was just waiting for him to touch Bruce Wayne's hand and realize he was Batman? Which is almost never a problem for me with actors.

I think the bit with Scarecrow would have worked better if they'd built up the whole wannabe Batman thing a bit more. But it felt like it was just a throwaway aspect that could have been cut from the movie entirely?

I kind of would like to blame Hermione's treatment in HP on Emma Watson getting progressively more annoying to work with :-P I think cutting Harley was okay-- the movie had so much going on that adding another charrie to the mix might have been too much, but on the same note, if you only have one female character, she's gotta be more than just a prop.


I spent most of Two-Face's final scene wondering why the fuck they were all focussing Gordon's son. Barbara was right there! Wouldn't it have made more sense to have her comment on Batman running away?

I've been picking at so many details of that movie that I have to keep reminding myself that I actually did enjoy it, despite it's flaws.

Some of the enjoyment, of course, may have just been amusement at Australian movie release dates. We got 'Dark Knight' two days (three, almost, once you take the time difference into account) before the US, and yet 'Wall-E' isn't coming out here until mid-September? WTF. And forget 'Watchmen' or Potter trailers! We got 'Wanted' and 'Taken'! Then again, Batman's not such a huge deal around here. There were more people lining up to see 'Mamma Mia!' and that'd been out for a week already!

I also kind of felt like, if you're not going to kill off John, why have him at all? Maybe they'll still kill him off, but then it's like, what? How many times can the kid get threatened?

Mamma Mia! came out the same day as Dark Knight here. That's wild.

I enjoyed it. More of my frustration apart from the sexism is really just the fact that I feel like people are calling it a masterpiece when it's really just a good summer blockbuster.

I am kind of wondering if the reason Gordon's daughter is being half hidden is in case they want to bring in Babs as Gordon's niece to let her be a potential batgirl.

Well, she can be Batgirl in both scenarios! I guess that makes sense, though, if they haven't decided which version to go with yet.

We already talked about most of the stuff you listed, but I really wanted to bring up the editing again. The movie was too long. Not in that I have a problem with long movies, but on this one I was anticipating its ending long before it actually did. It just felt too drawn out, too many "false endings", too much introduction of new plot points in what felt like the resolution phase of the story arc. I understand that this was Heath Ledger's last role, and he was fucking brilliant in it, but that doesn't mean you have to keep all of his footage in the final product.

I am with you on the anticipating the ending long before it finally happened thing. It pulled me out of the experience, and I hate that!


I LOVED meeting you yesterday! Thanks so much for your patient comics tutoring. I find the breadth and depth of your knowledge on the subject, and your passion about it, quite sexy. Hopefully you won't think that's a totally creepy thing to say.

The Batman collection I brought home was an instant hit, and we are now all vying for our turn to read it. Fun. I'm looking forward to break time at work tomorrow, as I will begin my on line research on Wonder Woman comics...

Do you suppose it's possible they didn't kill John (OMG PERISH THE THOUGHT!) because of sensitivity to motherly types like myself who would have FLIPPED OUT and not gone to see the thing at all, if they knew that was in it? Cold blooded single focused high intensity child killing, IN FRONT OF THE CHILDS' PARENTS NO LESS, is one thing that will keep me from seeing a movie. And possibly encourage my kids to think very carefully about watching. We all have more than enough nightmares, tyvm.

I think the reason why they didn't kill John was the exact reason why you mentioned. It's one thing if you read it in comics, when you know the comic is particularly dark, it's another to see it visually depicted using a "real kid."

If it had been an off-stage death, and they didn't show the body, it would have been one thing. Killing him right-out would just be out of the question.

Edited at 2008-07-20 04:41 pm (UTC)

Seeing as I never watched Iron Man, I can't agree with you. Friends have told me that The Incredible Hulk was as good, if not better than Iron Man, and I have seen that. It was a relief to know it was pretty kick ass, and not a terrible narcoleptic disaster like the Ang Lee version.

That said, it doesn't hold a candle to the awesome of Christopher Nolan's vision of The Dark Knight. THAT SHIT IS CLASSIC.

I liked the new Hulk, and it was solid and straightforward, but nowhere near as good as Iron Man-- I didn't really think it covered much in the way of new ground and simply met expectations for a decent Hulk movie. I think Dark Knight falls somewhere in the middle of the two.

And honestly, I don't think Dark Knight qualifies as classic at all. Classic to me requires better editing and less blatant sexism.

Edited at 2008-07-20 08:53 pm (UTC)

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