One Man's Admission: I Didn't Like The Dark Knight

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I know this may be almost as sacrilegious as saying I don't support the troops... but I can't hold it in any longer. Here goes:

I didn't like The Dark Knight.

Perhaps my opinion would be different if reviews for the movie hadn't been so off the charts. But IMDB users have rated The Dark Knight as the best film... of all-time!

I don't even think it's the best film in the Batman franchise, but that's as much as a compliment to Batman Begins as a condemnation of The Dark Knight.

Anyway, here are my reasons for thinking The Dark Knight is more overrated than The MacBook Air...

  • Bruce Wayne/Batman is the least interesting character in the movie.

The Joker - both as a character and as a performance by Heath Ledger - is mesmerizing. Any time he isn't on screen, the movie slows to a halt. Harvey Dent is layered, a seemingly glory-filled attention hog and obstacle in the way of Bruce and Rachel's love... who turns out to truly have a heart of gold, only to see it corrupted by the death of his loved one and a barrel of acid.

The Dark Knight Characters

Jim Gordon is torn apart by his crime-ridden city. You can see the pain on his face in every scene. Heck, even Alfred is interesting. He serves as Batman's moral compass in the movie.

But the Caped Crusader himself is shoved into the background, while these other characters drive the story along. We saw how Bruce became Batman in the prior film, and now it appears as though he's just sitting back, waiting for others to give him a purpose. Which would be okay, except...

  • The premise of the movie is based on Batman's unique brand of heroism.

I loved the ending. I thought Gordon's closing speech and the idea of Batman serving as the hero Gotham deserves - by actually serving as the target of their unified disdain for evil - was exceptional. But the rest of the film didn't do this concept justice.

Again, for a majority of the two and a half hours, Batman wasn't even a secondary character. The people on the ferry were heroes for not blowing each other up; Alfred was the one who had to plead with Bruce to "endure," to "be the outcast... [to] make the choice that no one else will face: the right choice."

How can a super hero movie succeed if the man in the mask scarcely acts heroic until the closing scene? I left the theater thinking that Gotham, and therefore the film, doesn't need Batman. Seems like a problem.
  • There were too many climaxes.

This is good in bed, bad on screen.

First, The Joker was apprehended in a drawn-out chase scene. Then, he escaped and Rachel and Dent were faced with life-threatening situations against a ticking clock.

Then, a hospital blew up. Then, two ferries almost suffered the same fate as Batman and The Joker wrestled for control of the city.

I mean, I'm glad the citizens on the boats didn't kill one another - but I would have understood if they'd have chosen death over yet another supposedly heart-racing scene. Movies are only permitted so many climactic moments without them becoming, well, anti-climactic.

I'm gonna see The Dark Knight again. Heath Ledger's performance alone will inspire at least a second viewing. But I can't shake the feeling that the film could have arrived at its exciting conclusion far sooner, while emphasizing the premise of the natural human condition - good or evil? - in a more clear cut way.

Agree? Disagree? All feedback is welcome!

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The Dark Knight Quotes

I had a vision, of a world without Batman. The mob ground out a little profit and the police tried to shut them down, one block at a time. And it was so... boring. I've had a change of heart. I don't want Mr.Reese spoiling everything, but why should I have all the fun? Let's give someone else a chance. If Coleman Reese isn't dead in sixty minutes then I blow up a hospital.

The Joker

Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now...and so we'll hunt him, because he can take it. Because he's not a hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector...a dark knight.

Lt. James Gordon