I’ve been a giant Batman fan since before I could remember but have been pretty disappointed with the way Hollywood treated him over the years. There was the schlock of the television program, starring Adam West, was as cheesy as they come. You know it, that show with the “Bam!” and “Splat!” shit written all over the place anytime there was a fight.
The late 80s brought Michael Keaton to the plate, to done the cape and cowl of Gotham’s vigilant superhero, with Tim Burton to direct. Danny Elfman provided the score and Jack Nicholson played The Joker. It was a pretty decent movie, considering most of the plot had nothing to do with the original story lines, but hey. Whatever. The best part though? The character of Harvey Dent was played by Billy Dee “Lando Calrissian” Williams, a non-white person. Made complete sense too, because even in the comics it was mildly obvious that Harvey Dent was in fact a non-Caucasian sort. He was a sense of optimism in Gotham’s mostly white populace. How can a city that metropolitan be that white? Two movies later, Williams was replaced by Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever, a giant piece of shit film if there ever was, only topped in awfulness by the next episode, Batman and Robin. Why make Harvey Dent a white guy again? I guess we’ll never know.
Batman was laid to rest for many, many years following. With a fuck-up like Batman and Robin, it would be a major challenge for anyone to bring Batman back to stature. I was kind of glad too – leave the Batman adventures to my mind. He was in a better place there.
Then Chris Nolan (of Memento fame) took on the challenge of directing a new Batman. The beginning of another franchise of Batman. With this news, I became excited. I loved all of his work because of the psychological nature of it all. That is what Batman needed – a psychological episode. I awaited this film rather excitedly… until I actually saw it. Batman Begins was far from being the piece of shit that the others were but it still didn’t get it right. They took one of the best bad guys ever – Scarecrow – and gave him the gloss-over. They tried to shove way too much into the film, ultimately ruining it’s chance for greatness. Instead of the psychological masterpiece I was waiting for my whole life, I instead got an unfocused film with too much of too little.
The things it did get right, however, it did so with great success. Christian Bale was a great Batman, Michael Caine was a fun Alfred, and Gary Oldman stole the show as Lt. Gordon. He is the best character in the film. But one could see where another movie may have ironed the flaws of the first out a little bit. It happened with X-Men. The first film was also an unfocused mess but X2 changed all of that and is no doubt one of the finest comic book movies ever. Then the third one came out and shit all over my dreams, but whatever.
So to say I was excited about The Dark Knight may be saying much. I wasn’t that pumped to see Batman fight The Joker again, even though the guy who is playing him just died. Even the trailer for this movie didn’t do anything for me. I went to watch it with the lowest of hopes.
…and the movie rocked my balls harder than anything in a long time. Sure, Heath Ledger is absolutely fucking amazing (I’d be happy to see him get a Nomination, and I’m not saying that simply because he is no more – this shit deserves it), but this movie is the Batman movie I was waiting for all of my life. It’s fucking angry, pissed off, miserable, emotional, corrupt, and so much more. Everything about it is perfect. And as many know, I usually hate comic movies (especially Spider-Man movies). But this movie is so much more than a comic movie. You owe it to yourself to see it.
Does this city ever turn this light off? (7/2008)