I am not going to lie and say that this is a perfect movie, as much as the version of myself who first walked out of the theater wanted to say... After a solid half-hour letting myself hero-worship the entire experience i sat myself down on the steps of Union Square and tried to think out what my problems were with the movie.
So here's what I think didn't work:
- I don't know what it was, but the Bat-suit in the beginning of the film looked rediculous, and Bale looked like an idiot every time they zoomed in on the cowl. There was something just off about it.
- Scarecrow should have been cut from the film, as well as probably twenty additional minutes from the beginning of the movie. I was worried at first, because it was taking so long to come into place. They should have introduced Harvey faster, and the Bank Heist (while awesome) could have been a couple minutes shorter. Once the rest of the film got into motion I was completely captured by it, but it just dragged a bit at the beginning.
- I wanted to like Maggie Gyllenhaal much more than I did. In the end I think the flaw was simply Rachel Dawes as a character... In Batman Begins, I had trouble taking the Assistant DA Rachel Dawes seriously because Katie Holmes didn't have the oomph she needed. Maggie pulled that aspect of the role off in spades... but once we got into the sensitive Rachel Dawes, she didn't work so well with me.
Now, I'm not going to say this wasn't excellent. I think aside from the slow beginning (the opposite of Batman Begins' problem, methinks), the movie was paced exceptionally well... Aaron Eckhart, Bale, and Oldman made a brilliant team, and the comparisons between Dent and Wayne were poignant and well-done. The relationships built in this film are great, and Gordon having to turn on Batman at the end was brilliant. Someone had spoiled that Dent would die in the movie, and I thought that would upset me, but it was absolutely necessary, and the perfect end to the film.
And the Joker... What can I say? Heath Ledger is the Joker. Perfect. 100% Perfect. I don't think anyone could possibly top what I think I would now consider a cinematic villain on par with Vader and Hannibal Lector. He was utterly, completely, and seductively terrifying. The fact that he was lucidly explaining his thinking and his reasoning (or lack there-of) was exquisite. Leaving the theater I was ANGRY, because this series needed more Heath as The Joker. They establish him as Batman's opposite, his first truly great nemesis, and his equal in many ways... The Joker even states outright that they will be fighting like this until the end of time. And now he's gone. It's just not fair. Not only should he have been in more Batman movies, this really showed that Heath Ledger would have absolutely become one of the greatest actors of his generation. It's just not fair.
Nolan -has- to do one more... At least. The story he is telling is not over just yet... I just don't know where he should go next... I, however, rescind my previous statement that they should recast the Joker, because Ledger was perfect. Any more with the Joker would diminish the series as a whole... We can all talk over the next year or so about what character to do next, but I have utter faith in Nolan's vision of Gotham.
Based on my new system, I officially give The Dark Knight an 8.5/10. Not quite a truly great film, but damn close.