I recently watched The Dark Knight, and I must say: for all the acclaim it has received, I really found it, well, bad.
The film opens up in what looks like a sound stage in India. The boom is clearly visible in the shot as several large cardboard pages appear with the words “THE DARK NIGHT.” I didn’t make a typo, it actually says “night.” You’d think that a movie this big would get its own name right, no? Well, it continues getting worse from there. For some reason, Christian Bale dons a thick Indian accent for the entire film. Unlike Batman Begins, he also ditches the deep “Batman” voice, instead opting for an incomprehensible slurring of strange sounds whenever he wears the costume.
The movie itself takes place in India, where the evil Jokester (I always thought it was “Joker,” but that might just be me), played by the late Heath Ledger, is plotting to destroy Indian-Gotham city. The city itself looks vastly different than its prequel – no longer is it a sprawling, anarchic metropolis. Instead, it is a dusty, poor village. It is a very strange decision by Christopher Nolan, but—at this point in the film—one still has faith in his abilities.
The special effects take a serious hit in this movie, as opposed to Batman Begins. Instead of the mind blowing visuals of the first, most effects are pulled off via the use of bottle rockets, spools of yarn, and long sticks. The fighting scenes take a similar punch (no pun intended) as they go from exciting and realistic in Begins to two Indian men kicking and punching three feet away from their targets in Rises. This all takes place under the cacophonous guise of the free YouTube background music (Mr. Nolan, it might be time to pay for some big-budget music).
In terms of visual and recording quality, it seems Mr. Nolan—for some reason—also decided to use a more archaic version of film. Rather than the crisp HD and 3D of all other modern films, he uses an iPhone held by what appears to be a man with a serious case of Parkinson’s. I could understand this during the fighting scenes, in order to give a more “realistic” view of how Batman sees the world, but it just feels like a very awkward approach to have the camera shaking, and in such low quality, during a love scene with Rachel and Harvey Dent. In fact, there were even several points in which the camera man simply drops the camera onto the floor, then picks it back up and haphazardly brushes dust off the lens.
Speaking of Harvey Dent, or Two-Face (spoilers), The Dark Knight takes a very creative approach to him. Rather than his injury being half of his face melted off, he simply is a man with what appears to be a thin cloth covering one half of his face. I understand that this film is trying to be a more modern take on the franchise, but such a change feels almost too drastic. It really impedes on the flow of the film, especially when Harvey Dent has his accident. He simply trips over a stick that is on fire, falling face first, and emerges with cloth covering his face. You can even see him place the cloth over his own head. It takes no longer than five seconds for this entire event to take place.
In terms of redeeming qualities, there really isn’t much; I don’t see how this film has been revered by so many. From what I can tell, it seemed more like a low-budget experimental film than a massive blockbuster. That said, there is a copious amount of female nudity in this film – often at times where it simply makes no sense (for example, during the scene in which the Jokester crashes Bruce Wayne’s cabin party [Bruce is a billionaire, yet lives in a cabin? It’s a strange change, Mr. Nolan], all of the guests simply undress and start dancing to a catchy Indian tune while the Jokester is threatening them). This nudity is nothing but a positive, if I must be honest.
All-in-all, I felt this movie under-delivered in several areas—perhaps the film simply goes over my own head in its complexity—yet over-delivered in terms of nudity.
Considering the positives, I give this movie an 8.5 out of 10.