Batman & the Joker

If any of you see the new Batman movie this weekend, please report. Tell the rest of us if it is worthy of all of the hype. Thank you.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.xanga.com/davedueck Dave Dueck

    It was the most wonderful picture I’ve seen in ages. The hype was no preparation for this movie (in the sense that it has been hyped as a superior summer action movie – it’s so much more). I want to be careful that I don’t come across like a giddy fanboy, but the fact is that the movie was superlative in almost every respect.

    The story was not particularly original (or straightforward, for that matter), but the deep, deep character studies and the surprisingly tragic ending caught me off guard. It’s a very new thing for me to see a super-hero movie that takes the time to be as insightful, noble and provoking as ‘The Dark Knight.’

    My favorite director is Peter Weir, and two of my favorite movies are ‘Master and Commander’ and ‘The Truman Show,’ because they are thoroughly-created, character-driven films with pertinent messages and incredible authenticity. ‘The Dark Knight’ has all of these things as well, in *truckloads*, and it’s a fantastic action/psychological thriller to boot.

    It doesn’t help whatever objectivity I have that I’ve been a Batman fanatic since a very young age. But this is a movie where you could strip away the superhero aspect altogether and still have a moving, enthralling crime drama, and it would still be one of the most wonderful pictures I’ve seen in ages. The fact that it’s a Batman movie is just the thin icing on a very substantial cake.

    But I’ll stop there. Go see it. I recommend it to just about anybody. I’ll need about 3 weeks and at least 2 more viewings before I can absorb everything I just saw this morning. I got home at 4:00 am and still couldn’t sleep.

  • http://www.xanga.com/davedueck Dave Dueck

    It was the most wonderful picture I’ve seen in ages. The hype was no preparation for this movie (in the sense that it has been hyped as a superior summer action movie – it’s so much more). I want to be careful that I don’t come across like a giddy fanboy, but the fact is that the movie was superlative in almost every respect.

    The story was not particularly original (or straightforward, for that matter), but the deep, deep character studies and the surprisingly tragic ending caught me off guard. It’s a very new thing for me to see a super-hero movie that takes the time to be as insightful, noble and provoking as ‘The Dark Knight.’

    My favorite director is Peter Weir, and two of my favorite movies are ‘Master and Commander’ and ‘The Truman Show,’ because they are thoroughly-created, character-driven films with pertinent messages and incredible authenticity. ‘The Dark Knight’ has all of these things as well, in *truckloads*, and it’s a fantastic action/psychological thriller to boot.

    It doesn’t help whatever objectivity I have that I’ve been a Batman fanatic since a very young age. But this is a movie where you could strip away the superhero aspect altogether and still have a moving, enthralling crime drama, and it would still be one of the most wonderful pictures I’ve seen in ages. The fact that it’s a Batman movie is just the thin icing on a very substantial cake.

    But I’ll stop there. Go see it. I recommend it to just about anybody. I’ll need about 3 weeks and at least 2 more viewings before I can absorb everything I just saw this morning. I got home at 4:00 am and still couldn’t sleep.

  • Bruce

    My son and daughter just returned from it, glowing with news. “Truest to the original comics”, said Jeremy. “Shuler blows Nicholson’s Joker out of the water”.

    I go, I go, tomorrow.

  • Bruce

    My son and daughter just returned from it, glowing with news. “Truest to the original comics”, said Jeremy. “Shuler blows Nicholson’s Joker out of the water”.

    I go, I go, tomorrow.

  • Cap Stewart

    I would say the movie is indeed worthy of all the hype. It isn’t perfect (although to try to explain that statement would require giving away too much of the complex plot), but it is a masterful crime drama set in the context of a superhero movie. If you thought Tim Burton’s take on the story was dark, you’re in for a surprise (which, depending on one’s tastes, could be good or bad). The story, script, and performances are all amazing, albeit in a sobering–and even tragic–way. Definitely worth checking out…at least once.

  • Cap Stewart

    I would say the movie is indeed worthy of all the hype. It isn’t perfect (although to try to explain that statement would require giving away too much of the complex plot), but it is a masterful crime drama set in the context of a superhero movie. If you thought Tim Burton’s take on the story was dark, you’re in for a surprise (which, depending on one’s tastes, could be good or bad). The story, script, and performances are all amazing, albeit in a sobering–and even tragic–way. Definitely worth checking out…at least once.

  • The Jones

    A
    Freakin’
    Mazing

    That’s what I thought of it. I never really mourned Heath Ledger’s death, because I really didn’t see all that much connection to him. A tragic incident, but nothing that really hit me in the stomach. After I just watched The Dark Knight, I’m really sad that I’m not going to see him in any sequels. Absolutely stunning. Does not disappoint.

  • The Jones

    A
    Freakin’
    Mazing

    That’s what I thought of it. I never really mourned Heath Ledger’s death, because I really didn’t see all that much connection to him. A tragic incident, but nothing that really hit me in the stomach. After I just watched The Dark Knight, I’m really sad that I’m not going to see him in any sequels. Absolutely stunning. Does not disappoint.

  • Carl Vehse

    The old saw, “Buy the premise; buy the bit” was stretched a little too far in this movie. Things were just too conveniently place or happened. In other places the whiz-bang devices were not used when they could have been and used only when the some plot gap needed filling. Other gaps (or the laws of physics) were simply ignored.

    Everyone expects Batman, like James Bond, to have equipment that is simply not available from Brookstone (at least until next Christmas), but some of the sci-fi technology not even the Romulans have.

    So, if you want your adrenaline rush, fine, the Batman movie will give it to you. But “Batman vs the Joker” not going to be something you want to see your kids playing in the backyard.

    If you want to ponder the dilemmas in a good vs. evil story, Harry Callahan vs the Scorpio is movie to watch.

  • Carl Vehse

    The old saw, “Buy the premise; buy the bit” was stretched a little too far in this movie. Things were just too conveniently place or happened. In other places the whiz-bang devices were not used when they could have been and used only when the some plot gap needed filling. Other gaps (or the laws of physics) were simply ignored.

    Everyone expects Batman, like James Bond, to have equipment that is simply not available from Brookstone (at least until next Christmas), but some of the sci-fi technology not even the Romulans have.

    So, if you want your adrenaline rush, fine, the Batman movie will give it to you. But “Batman vs the Joker” not going to be something you want to see your kids playing in the backyard.

    If you want to ponder the dilemmas in a good vs. evil story, Harry Callahan vs the Scorpio is movie to watch.

  • http://www.lisacronista.blogspot.com Lisa

    I love dark films when they accurately portray evil, and this one does. Heath Ledger’s Joker was more dangerous than most villians because not only did he perpetrate external violence and chaos, he also destroyed peoples’ souls. Isn’t this what the Bible says? “But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. — Luke 12:5″ The story is a reminder that any of us can fall if we respond incorrectly to circumstances, but those who resist the temptation are the greatest heroes.

    The plot was so complex, I’m going to see it again to pick up what I missed. But what I got today blew me away. The Dark Knight is better than the hype.

  • http://www.lisacronista.blogspot.com Lisa

    I love dark films when they accurately portray evil, and this one does. Heath Ledger’s Joker was more dangerous than most villians because not only did he perpetrate external violence and chaos, he also destroyed peoples’ souls. Isn’t this what the Bible says? “But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. — Luke 12:5″ The story is a reminder that any of us can fall if we respond incorrectly to circumstances, but those who resist the temptation are the greatest heroes.

    The plot was so complex, I’m going to see it again to pick up what I missed. But what I got today blew me away. The Dark Knight is better than the hype.

  • CRB

    A really great movie, probably the best super-hero flick I’ve ever seen. And yes, a complex plot, so I will see it again to catch what I missed.
    What can one say about Ledger’s performance except that he’s closed the book on the “Joker” character. I cannot see anyone improving on this portrayal of
    “evil to the max in a clown’s face” I think, if anyone would care to carry it that far, that he has come up with a character that Nietzsche would idenify with. What say you all?

  • CRB

    A really great movie, probably the best super-hero flick I’ve ever seen. And yes, a complex plot, so I will see it again to catch what I missed.
    What can one say about Ledger’s performance except that he’s closed the book on the “Joker” character. I cannot see anyone improving on this portrayal of
    “evil to the max in a clown’s face” I think, if anyone would care to carry it that far, that he has come up with a character that Nietzsche would idenify with. What say you all?

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    I just got home from seeing the movie with my son and my two oldest nephews while we are all in Brainerd on vacation. It was an amazing movie! A little on the dark side and not for any kids under about 14 or so, but interestingly devoid of any blood or actual death scenes. Lots to ponder and I may have to go see it again before it comes out on DVD. Religious themes abound.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    I just got home from seeing the movie with my son and my two oldest nephews while we are all in Brainerd on vacation. It was an amazing movie! A little on the dark side and not for any kids under about 14 or so, but interestingly devoid of any blood or actual death scenes. Lots to ponder and I may have to go see it again before it comes out on DVD. Religious themes abound.

  • http://puttingoutthefire.blogspot.com Frank Gillespie

    Great movie! I didn’t come away saying this was a better movie than first though, rather the movie felt like a continuation, an Act II, of Batman Begins (which I consider one of the most faithfully adapted movies ever). It was indeed darker in tone even if Gotham was a little brighter as there were a lot of daytime scenes. I did feel that there were one or two miscues when it came to the soundtrack during some of the action scenes, but they were brief.

    Ledger’s performance is almost beyond description it’s so good.

    Did DK live up to the hype then? No, the Dark Knight exceeded this fanboy’s (and my missus’s) expectation in every possible way. I never before have wanted to see a movie twice on the same weekend until Dark Knight.

  • http://puttingoutthefire.blogspot.com Frank Gillespie

    Great movie! I didn’t come away saying this was a better movie than first though, rather the movie felt like a continuation, an Act II, of Batman Begins (which I consider one of the most faithfully adapted movies ever). It was indeed darker in tone even if Gotham was a little brighter as there were a lot of daytime scenes. I did feel that there were one or two miscues when it came to the soundtrack during some of the action scenes, but they were brief.

    Ledger’s performance is almost beyond description it’s so good.

    Did DK live up to the hype then? No, the Dark Knight exceeded this fanboy’s (and my missus’s) expectation in every possible way. I never before have wanted to see a movie twice on the same weekend until Dark Knight.

  • Nemo

    None of the hype or reviews prepared me for that film. I found it very difficult to watch at points, and the last ten minutes or so is still haunting me. Did anyone else see parallels between Christ’s sacrifice and Batman’s (especially when Gordon’s son is trying to figure out why Batman is taking the blame, since he did nothing wrong)?

  • Nemo

    None of the hype or reviews prepared me for that film. I found it very difficult to watch at points, and the last ten minutes or so is still haunting me. Did anyone else see parallels between Christ’s sacrifice and Batman’s (especially when Gordon’s son is trying to figure out why Batman is taking the blame, since he did nothing wrong)?

  • Richpo

    Disclaimer: I’m going to __try__ and comment without giving away any spoilers!

    #1 I adored Batman Begins (BB). This movie totally blew me away and had everything I love in an action/adventure movie with character-development to boot. So, needless to say I went into The Dark Knight (TDK) with high expectations.

    #2 I liked TDK a lot but overall I don’t think it was as good as BB. Heath definitely stole the show (but is that such a good thing in a movie with “Batman” in the title?). I would agree with many reviewers who said he was “mesmerizing.” It’s doubtful they could have picked anyone better for this role.

    But I did find too many things that just didn’t add up. Certainly this movie contains a lot of complex characters and there are many sub-threads running through it all and I’ll need repeated viewings to help me clear everything up.

    I found the ferry scene too unbelievable (in terms of the final choices of those involved). I did not understand what the whole Lau plotline (and therefor Batman’s need to leave the country) acheived? It’s almost like it’s a piece of another story that was woven in later. What about the guy who tried the blackmail? And then later showed up on the Larry King-like TV show? What did that accomplish? I don’t buy the whole Harvey Dent going over to the “dark side” as quickly as he did. I don’t buy Batman’s final decision to take on the burden he did. There could have been other, better explanations to get to where they wanted to go to protect Harvey’s reputation (blame it on the Joker; he’s a homocidial maniac capable of anything – he’s already killed a few thousand people and blown up half of Gotham – and no one’s going to believe a word he says to refute the official story). BB provided the premise of providing Gotham with an incorruptible hero but now after just two movies he’s going to be seen as a bad guy? You’re killin’ me! ;-)

    And how is it that Alfred seemed to nail the situation right off the bat but Bruce totally missed it? Even Gordon knew what was coming as he intimated at the end of BB about the bad guys always one-upping them. Bruce didn’t see this coming nor seemed to have the resolve to see it through as, once again, Alfred said he should. He was just willing to give up Batman and give the Joker what we wanted. And he seems to also miss the fact that it doesn’t matter what you give a terrorist they are always going to want more.

    This movie does work on many levels and I enjoyed much of it but the complex storyline and character motivations (which seemed to change by the minute), uneven pacing, various rabbit trails that seemed to detract from the main storyline, and it’s length do not make, for me, the sequel I was hoping for.

    It’s also very dark, morbid and at times, disturbing so there’s no way I would let anyone under, say, 16 go see this film.

  • Richpo

    Disclaimer: I’m going to __try__ and comment without giving away any spoilers!

    #1 I adored Batman Begins (BB). This movie totally blew me away and had everything I love in an action/adventure movie with character-development to boot. So, needless to say I went into The Dark Knight (TDK) with high expectations.

    #2 I liked TDK a lot but overall I don’t think it was as good as BB. Heath definitely stole the show (but is that such a good thing in a movie with “Batman” in the title?). I would agree with many reviewers who said he was “mesmerizing.” It’s doubtful they could have picked anyone better for this role.

    But I did find too many things that just didn’t add up. Certainly this movie contains a lot of complex characters and there are many sub-threads running through it all and I’ll need repeated viewings to help me clear everything up.

    I found the ferry scene too unbelievable (in terms of the final choices of those involved). I did not understand what the whole Lau plotline (and therefor Batman’s need to leave the country) acheived? It’s almost like it’s a piece of another story that was woven in later. What about the guy who tried the blackmail? And then later showed up on the Larry King-like TV show? What did that accomplish? I don’t buy the whole Harvey Dent going over to the “dark side” as quickly as he did. I don’t buy Batman’s final decision to take on the burden he did. There could have been other, better explanations to get to where they wanted to go to protect Harvey’s reputation (blame it on the Joker; he’s a homocidial maniac capable of anything – he’s already killed a few thousand people and blown up half of Gotham – and no one’s going to believe a word he says to refute the official story). BB provided the premise of providing Gotham with an incorruptible hero but now after just two movies he’s going to be seen as a bad guy? You’re killin’ me! ;-)

    And how is it that Alfred seemed to nail the situation right off the bat but Bruce totally missed it? Even Gordon knew what was coming as he intimated at the end of BB about the bad guys always one-upping them. Bruce didn’t see this coming nor seemed to have the resolve to see it through as, once again, Alfred said he should. He was just willing to give up Batman and give the Joker what we wanted. And he seems to also miss the fact that it doesn’t matter what you give a terrorist they are always going to want more.

    This movie does work on many levels and I enjoyed much of it but the complex storyline and character motivations (which seemed to change by the minute), uneven pacing, various rabbit trails that seemed to detract from the main storyline, and it’s length do not make, for me, the sequel I was hoping for.

    It’s also very dark, morbid and at times, disturbing so there’s no way I would let anyone under, say, 16 go see this film.


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