Friday, September 11, 2009

Upon Further Review: The Dark Knight

Warning: Cheesy comic book references ahead.

Watcher X and I just sat down with the Blu-ray player and had my second viewing of The Dark Knight and, I must say, things have changed. And I mean more than just the fact that I've been living in Chicago for much longer at this point- which makes this movie that much more gratifying. It occurs to me however that most people have no clue what I mean by "changed"- so for those of you who don't know me, I'll catch you up. You see, The Dark Knight hit theaters before the Reel Deal was remade into it's current incarnation. Or, as I like to call it, The Reel Deal: Rebirth.

I had complained about the length of this film when I first saw it. I felt that it ran a little long without justifying it's length for reasons beyond awesomeness, and offered up the Tokyo sequence as a sacrifice to the gods of pacing. At this point, I think I've proven that I'm not afraid to admit when I'm wrong, and on this I was dead wrong.

Not only did the length and pacing feel right on the money the second time around, but - and I'm not really sure how I let this slide the first time- I think the Tokyo sequence is really a pivotal plot point here. The biggest question in the movie is Batman's place in the spectrum of right and wrong, lawful and illegal. We spend two and a half hours pondering this, which of course is all pointing like a neon arrow to the end, which I won't spoil here.

This sequence really hammers home the truth of batman's place in Gotham: He is for the law, but not of the law- which allows him to serve the law (and Gotham) in ways nobody else can. This truth highlights Harvey Dents place in the story, and also serves to further illustrate how Batman and Gordon are completely opposite sides of the same (ahem) coin.

Speaking of which, I'd like to digress for a moment if I can: Watching The Dark Knight, and it's predecessor Batman Begins, I've found myself reminded of Star Wars. I know, I know, touchy subject. But before you start lighting molotovs hear me out. With the Star Wars movies, even though it's always been the Skywalkers who were on display (Anakin early in the series, Luke and Leia later on), I've always found Obi-Wan the more interesting character. It's his part in the series that really draws me in. With these newest Batman movies I find myself having the same reaction to Gordon.

Bruce/Batman is the focal point, but it's Gordon's strands that make the rope so interesting. If the Batman is the skeleton of this series, I would say Gordon is the heart, Fox is the brain, and Alfred is the soul. Those three characters really jump off the screen to me. They elevate an already spectacular series, and allow the viewer new angles from which to observe the story. They also Humanize Bruce/Batman, keeping us connected to him.

Even with the pacing complaint, I was very, VERY, pleased with The Dark Knight the first time I saw it. On that alone I would have justified it's purchase. Now, after the second time through, I am that much more satisfied with my investment.

Upon Further Review

Subject: The Dark Knight

Status: Upgraded. (Beyonce would be proud)

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