4 out of 5
Here be spoilers
It starts off with the Joker being introduced like he’s in Reservoir Dogs.
It’s a very slick and violent entrance in a film that is almost devoid of any imagination at all.
Gone is the artfully detailed Gotham, which strangely paralleled Batmans psyche, from the films of Tim Burton and in comes a modern day Manhattan, totally untransformed and equally unremarkable for a story involving the Batman.
It’s all a bit high octane, but it never lets up. There’s set-up after set-up of action that just doesn’t give the viewer time to breath. Some people may like this current trend of cutting fight scenes so fast that you can’t make out how many punches have actually landed and it just ends up looking like two children in a school playground slapping at each other, but I don’t.
There’s parts of the film that make little to no sense at all; Hong Kong, the Scarecrow … it just doesn’t all add up to a coherent film, and at two and-a-half hours long, it could have done with a little trimming too.
Speaking of trimming, I think the editor was having a bad week or something, there are moments in the film where you think it could just be getting to some really meaty character building, and then it suddenly cuts out of it (I’m thinking of the hospital scene between Harvey Dent and The Joker in particular).
There is no satisfying climax to this film, any climax that it was trying to give us is watered down by the numerous fight, chase, kill kill kill scenes that preceded it.
I think I was quite lucky going in to this film as I had very little in the way of any preconceptions of what I was expecting, and because of that I think I enjoyed it for what it was, and that’s merely a collection of disparate fight scenes connected by the thinnest of plots. It’s merely a means of setting up the next film in the series, and that’s a real shame, as this had the promise to be a very good second film after Batman Begins.
Moving on to the main characters of Batman and The Joker, Heath Ledger plays the Joker as an out and out psychopath, not bound by any of the moral codes that Batman abides by he’s able to thrash about and kill as many people – both good and bad – as he damn well likes, and no-one can do anything about it.
The Batman, on the other hand, comes across as being so ludicrously up himself it’s almost unbelievable. Christian Bale just doesn’t cut it for me as Batman at all, and what was with that voice?!? Stick a good actor in a sharp suit and surround him with expensive things and give him all the best lines in that scene and they are always going to cut the mustard, but the Bat-rasp is a step too far. For the first half of the film I couldn’t help laughing every time I heard batman speak in a new scene.
So, all that said, why do I give it 4 out of 5? Well, Like I said, I had no preconceptions of this film. I went in thinking it would just be standard ‘summer blockbuster’ fare, and in that I wasn’t disappointed. The disappointment came afterwards, when I started to piece all the different elements of the film together that I started to be disappointed.
The film moves at such a pace that even for something this long it really doesn’t give the viewer time to take it all in during the screening.
Don’t expect anything and don’t think too much about it and you may also enjoy it for the cinematic fluff that it is too.