Blog Entry

Alpha Blog: Can 'Dark Knight' be a great film?

Posted on: July 18, 2008 11:49 am
Edited on: July 18, 2008 4:56 pm

When does a "comic book movie" cease being labeled the best comic book movie and become simply, a great movie?

That's the question I expect to ask myself after I see Dark Knight.

Almost every review I've scanned talks highly of Dark Knight, director Christopher Nolan's "syllabus for a civics class in a dark-matter universe," and second go-at with the Batman franchise. It appears to be a stimulating, enthralling and simply excellent movie-going experience.

But the reviews always circle back to the original idea of this being a tremendous comic book adaptation. Dark Knight

Is The Godfather the greatest film based off a novel?

Is Shawshank Redemption the greatest film based off a novella?

Is Titanic the greatest film based off a sinking oceanliner?

Can't a good film just be a good film?

From what I'm hearing Heath Ledger, in his penultimate role, turns Dark Knight into just that. Here's the Wall Street Journal's Joe Morgenstern's take on Ledger's performance:

"His portrait of the Joker owes nothing to Jack Nicholson, even though that in itself is hard to imagine. This knife-wielding psychopath isn't jaunty, but hunched and frowzy. His mirthless grin isn't fixed, but the lipstick smear of a crazy street lady. He moves with Peter Lorre's furtiveness, speaks in a bright, crisp voice that seems to channel Jack Lemmon, and licks his scarred chops with a frequency that suggests heavy doses of anti-depressives. If the stories he tells about those scars are contradictory, they are never less than creepily entertaining. He's the best-written character in the script, but it's Ledger's eerie fervor that plumbs the depths of the Joker's derangement."

Sounds fascinating. But it will only work if his counter, Bruce Wayne/Batman, is just as complex. It's not like Christian Bale to play a one-dimensional character, so here's hoping the meatiness we were exposed to in Batman Begins isn't trimmed off, what with so much attention being paid to the development of the Joker and Two-Face, played by the capable Aaron Eckhart (Thank you for smoking).

Because what separates this franchise, and in fact, most of our recent superhero/comic book movies, from our parents', is the complexity of the protagonist. Batman isn't fighting just because it's the right thing to do or he now finds himself with some mutated gene that causes gigantism or silk to shoot from his wrists, he's fighting the fight because he has his own deep scars and compulsions that drive him to the fringe of maniacal behavior. However, he harnesses it to do good and help society, while the Scarecrow, Henri Ducard and now the Joker and Two-Face fall into blaming society through violent, disruptive behavior.

So while this is a film based off a DC Comic superhero, will it be able to escape the label of "best comic book movie?"

If the IMDB Top 250 is any indication, yes. It's already No. 4.

The top movies this week will be:

1. Dark Knight, $110 million. Remember all those men dragged to Sex and the City? It's payback time.
2. Mamma Mia!, $21 million. Remember all those men dragged to Sex and the City? The dragging continues.
3. Hellboy II: The Golden Army, $17 million. Remember all those men dragged to Sex and the City? It's payback time, but Dark Knight was sold out.

Here's future-gazer Gregory Hardy's analysis:

1. The Dark Knight. $85 mil.  Was surprised to hear there was a new Batman movie coming out. Who's the villain in this one? I haven't really heard any buzz on this. It's the Joker? Didn't they already do a Joker movie? I just hope it's done campy-funny, not all serious and stuff. I hate serious Batman. Me loves me the whimsy.
2. Mama Mia $26 mil. If I don't get to see this, I can always bust out my VHS copy of  Muriel's Wedding.
3. Journey to the Center of the Earth $18 mil. Logic dictates that Hellboy 2 should win 2nd or 3rd place, but I don't know if three superhero movies (when you count Hancock) can make it in one powerhouse weekend. I'm going to go the counter-programming route for the family crowd.

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Since: May 23, 2008
Posted on: July 24, 2008 7:42 pm

Alpha Blog: Can 'Dark Knight' be a great film?

1 word 3 letters.  WOW!!!!  I got home tuesday and saw it wednesday(yesterday) and I was blowed.  That is without a doubt the best movie i've seen so far this year.  I've been waiting to see an IRONMAN movie all my life and it easily topped that by leaps and bounds in my book.  This movie was freakin' electric.  From the disappearing pencil to all the different how i got my scars stories, to the he's gotta run and we're gonna chase him.  This movie had me laughing and on the edge of my shyt the whole time.  I know how they like to choose who's gonna win OSCARS n stuff, but Ledger in my eyes more than made up for the Broke Back movie with an Oscar winning worthy performance.  FUKIN AWESOME!!!!!!

Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: July 21, 2008 2:26 pm

Alpha Blog: Can 'Dark Knight' be a great film?

Agreed...I expounded a bit in my newest blog about the pic if you're interested.

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: July 21, 2008 11:29 am

Alpha Blog: Can 'Dark Knight' be a great film?

Well, considering "The Dark Knight" set the opening-day record ($66 million plus) and the opening weekend record ($155 million-plus), I would say it is has moved past being a great superhero movie.

Friends who aren't comic book aficionados loved it.

And while it is the best superhero movie to date, in my opinion, it is also a great movie. Period.

I rarely see movies in the theatres anymore, and I've never paid to see a movie twice. I've seen "The Dark Knight" twice on opening weekend, and I will probably see it again.

It is simply THAT GOOD.

Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: July 21, 2008 11:12 am

Alpha Blog: Can 'Dark Knight' be a great film?

This movie is simply ... amazing. It's a Batman movie, but it's not. It's a movie about terrorism, a movie about social mores and codes all draped in the Batman mythology.

Heath Ledger's performance is insanity encapsulated -- but it's not. He's aware of his insanity. He's a "dog chasing cars." He doesn't know why he's chasing them or what he'll do when he catches them, but he has to chase them. That's what he does to society throughout the flick. He chases goodness, screws with it. Makes us all wonder if we're inherently good -- or if evil is really our M.O. when push comes to shove.

Aaron Eckhart is more than capable as Two-Face, and his plight is one of the great film tragedies of this decade.

The villains make a superhero movie, it's how they make us act, how they make us think that makes a superhero movie potentially great by exposing human nature. This movie makes you wonder and question, in incredible style. Christopher Nolan is arguably the premier director in the business and Christian Bale the new franchise savior.

Since: May 23, 2008
Posted on: July 20, 2008 12:29 pm

Alpha Blog: Can 'Dark Knight' be a great film?

I've been in Iraq, but will be home in time to see this one.  I missed IRONMAN and i'm still mad about that.  So i'll give my reviews after i catch this new Dark Knight flick.

Since: Oct 11, 2007
Posted on: July 19, 2008 7:31 pm

Alpha Blog: Can 'Dark Knight' be a great film?

just saw it today it was awesome. heath ledger was simiply amazing i don't typically like batman but that movie was very well done.

Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: July 18, 2008 1:16 pm

Alpha Blog: Can 'Dark Knight' be a great film?

Excuse me, the acronym should be BOMPS

Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: July 18, 2008 12:31 pm

Alpha Blog: Can 'Dark Knight' be a great film?

So far the BOOMPS (Box Office Movie Picks Scores):

First: Hardy ($77M, 32 points)
Worst: Kay ($100M,  10 points)

Last week:

My picks | Actual | Difference
1. Meet Dave, $40M | $5 | $35M
2. Hellboy 2, $30M | $35M | $5M
3. Hancock, $21M | $32M | $11M

Total dollar discrepancy: $51M
Order: Zero

Hardy's picks | Actual | Difference
1. Hellboy II: The Golden Army, $42M | $35M | $7M
2. Hancock, $36M | $32M | $4M
3. Meet Dave, $28M | $5M | $23M

Total dollar discrepancy: $34M
Order: 15 points

Week 2:

Week 1:

My picks | Actual | Difference
1. WALL-E, $71M | $63M | $8M
2. Get Smart, $28M | $20M | $8M
3. Wanted, $17M | $50 M | $33M

Total dollar discrepancy: $49M
Order: 10 points

Hardy's picks | Actual | Difference
1. WALL-E $71M | $63M | $8M
2. Wanted $30M | $50M | $20M
3. Get Smart $15M | $20M | $5M

Total dollar discrepancy: $33M
Order: 17 points

10 points for correctly picking the first-place movie
5 points for correctly picking the second-place movie
2 points for correctly picking the third-place movie

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