Please Note: This is NOT a negative review of The Dark Knight. This is a rant about the negative review which was printed by New York Magazine.
The Dark Knight is currently getting 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Everyone I’ve talked to who has seen the film thinks its nothing short of brilliant. I’ve even called the film a masterpiece, my favorite film of the year thus far. But it was bound to happen eventually… the first negative review of The Dark Knight has hit the web.
New York Magazine’s David Edelstein calls The Dark Knight “a morbid affair”, claiming that “It could only be darker if Batman died. (He does die a little, on the inside.)” And he is right, The Dark Knight is not Adam West’s Batman, it’s not Tim Burton’s Batman, it’s not even Frank Miller’s Batman. Edelstein comments that when Burton’s Batman came out critics complained that the film was too violent for kids. “Wait’ll they get a load of this,” he says. And again, he’s right. This is the Empire Strikes Back of comic book movies. Harvey Dent will lose half his face, and it doesn’t look pretty.
The Dark Knight is the grittiest superhero film I’ve ever seen. It’s so wonderfully bleak that you will forget that you are even watching a comic book movie adaptation. And this might scare a few people off, but to me, it is what I’ve always hoped for. I was never one for the flashy comic book-like colors, and unrealistic super villains with ridiculous plots to take over the world. Heck, the world is a huge place. The Dark Knight centers on one madman’s plot to bring one city into chaos, and the vigilante who dresses up like a bat to try to stop him.
I walked out of my Los Angeles junket screening commenting to friends that this might be the first comic book screenplay to be worthy for award consideration, but Edelstein writes “On paper, the morality play is intriguing, but a lot of the dialogue should have stayed on paper”. At the core of the story is the tragic transformation of Harvey Dent, from Gotham hero to Two Face. Edelstein says that it plays “as if they’d been penned by Oxford philosophy majors trying to tone up a piece of American pop”. As if the illogical transformation of Tommy Lee Jones’s Two-Face in Schunacher’s Batman Forever might somehow be more entertaining?
David found Heath Ledger’s performance “painful to watch”, calling it “rave and rage and purge acting”.
“Scarier than what the Joker does to anyone onscreen is what Ledger must have been doing to himself”.
Oh C’mon… Yes, Heath Ledger’s death was tragic, but if you are thinking about his tragic personal life while watching this performance – Trust me, you aren’t watching the movie right.