BATMAN, The DARK KNIGHT
Well I finally saw the Batman movie. Yeah, it was willing to forego all the hoopla and wait until I was sure I might go to the IMAX and have room to spread out and enjoy the potiential of such a movie in private. I was certain it would be near impossible to top BATMAN BEGINS and with modest hope, I was considering the error of my thoughts. Heath Leger...hmmm; so what. He never did much for me; besides Jack Nicholson had already been the Joker. Who could be better than Jack? Slipping into my seat with popcorn and no drink due to the forewarned length of the movie I began fighting to ignore all the tiny lit screens of cellphones and handhelds gleeming in the darkness. That is another reason I dont usually go to movies...lack of consideration. Well enuf of that; on to the Bat. Bale is definitely the best of all the caped crusaders. I say that being completely MARVEL; but fully embracing this tiny jaunt into DC land.
Bale is easily the best Bruce Wayne and the best Batman. His brooding stares wrinkle his soverign temples as the Bat must choose between oposing identities. Bruce Wayne is a complex character, at least as of the last two Batmans. He is a man with all the trappings that should make one happy; but they are also his curse. Trapped among the money, ego and deep sad emptiness from losing his "good" parents he cannot successfully engage in true love. That would become a weakness. The struggle between the man and the bat fight for ownership of reality...which identity is the costume. Of course some of you already know how I feel about masks....
Morgan Freeman...always good. There are some who only get better; especially when they typically have only been "good" characters in the past. Its nice to see these golden geriatrics of Hollywood break their own molds and transform into multidimensional personas; i.e. Denzel Washington.
Michael Caine...again, always good. Yes, he is a butler, but so much more. He is the out-of-body conscienceness of a father long dead and Bruce Wayne prior to corruption or conviction...you chose.
Heath Ledger...the Joker! Let it be decreed once and for at least now, the best of the Joker. Again, I occassionally have a problem siding with the villian but for "good" reasons. I really had little expectations here. Let me say within the first 10 minutes, the movie was already worth full price and IMAX prices at that. Never has the role had such honesty and pathos for reality. It was if Socrates were wearing clown makeup. From the makeup to the gestures to the sadistic humanity of reasonlessness, the Joker scores all aces. While I was occassionally reminded of Prison Break in terms of his planning and foresight, there wasnt once that Leger did not own the screen. He was never visible too long nor insincere in his venir. It is the madness that breeds such genius. I only wish he could have survived long enuf in the darkness to have seen the brilliant light on the other side. The role is legendary. The performance is immortal.
As for the movie, its a "2 thumbs up with a lap of popcorn and chocolate." I dont buy many movies mostly because once I have seen it, I know how it ends. My memory is really good...but this may be one of the very few in the company of Terminator 2, Shawshank Redemption, The Notebook, Transformers, Spiderman, Its A Wonderful Life and Blair Witch. Sometimes the hero has to play the villian to protect humanity from itself. Its a tough call; but BATMAN is willing to make that choice. Everything in this movie comes together like a warm beef stew on a chilly December afternoon by the fire...perfect. As for the Mummy and Jet Li; please recycle the film....Give the promos guy a huge raise.