Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, July 21, 2008

The Top Ten Things I Learned From The Dark Knight

This was quite the weekend for moviegoers and comic book fans alike as The Dark Knight broke a few box office records,with it's take of $155.34 million and a record setting take for IMAX screenings as well,which were sold out faster than a speeding bullet.

By the time I got to my local IMAX theater,the shows were sold out but was still able to see a regular screening that was about to begin. The fringe benefits of that were getting a viewing of the new Spirit trailer(which looks awesome) and The Watchmen trailer(which looks beyond awesome).

As much as I was thrilled to be seeing The Dark Knight,there were some worries on my mind as to how good the movie was going to be. The glowing way that the film critics wrote and talked about it,I wasn't sure if I should genuflect and make the sign of The Bat before taking a seat in the theater:

Let's start off with the honking big elephant in the room,Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker. Was it as brilliant and potentially Oscar worthy work as everyone says it is? Happy to report that this was truly a groundbreaking performance,one that will both inspire other actors and put any of them off of approaching this role in any future Batman movies.

Ledger's commitment to his art is splendidly showcased here,with the character's make-up and mannerisms acting as a gilt frame to set off the vivid darkness of the Joker's psyche. Don't be mistaken,this was not a hammy,scene stealing romp for Ledger-what he did was raise the bar of excellence for his co-stars and they meet the challenge,again and again. I never thought I would say this but Ledger not only gave Jack Nicholson a run for his money but he outdid him,big time. Granted,the Tim Burton versions of Batman were much more of a stylized Goth outing(which he does so well) but Ledger's work here is the real stuff of legends,the Excalibur of roles.

And oh,yeah,Christian Bale was good,too. You have to pity him a little bit for getting severely overlooked by the hype but hey,a strong villain needs a even stronger hero to face him down and Bale does that in spades.

The morality and the emotional maturity of both Bruce Wayne and Batman are put to the test,not only by the Joker but by Harvey Dent(well played by Aaron Eckhart)and Rachel(Maggie Gyllenhaal,a much better choice for the role than Katie Holmes,who originated the part),who is torn between keeping Bruce's hopes alive and following her heart,which is leading her to be at Harvey's side.

That's not the biggest conflict here,however-the real nitty gritty is in deciding between the need to preserve a sense of order in the world vs. the urge to tell the truth of a situation,despite the heavy price that society and/or your heart would pay for such knowledge. Quite the thought provoking dilemma for a popcorn entertainment,some will say,but as any storyteller worth their salt knows,it is the tale not he tell who tells it that is the most important thing.

So,without further delay,here is my Top 10 of lessons learned from The Dark Knight(a couple of them have clips that are a tiny bit spoilery-you have been warned!):

10) Whatever doesn't kill you only makes you stranger.

9) It's a bad idea to be the Joker's assistant for his disappearing pencil trick:

8)When dressing up as a copycat Batman,hockey pants are definitely a fashion flaw.

7) It's also a bad idea to give the Joker his one phone call.

6)If you think that your billionaire boss is a night time vigilante who beats down bad guys with his bare hands,blackmail may not be a safe option to go with there.

5) Believe in Harvey Dent when he promises you that the dawn is coming:

4) You can either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.

3) There are just some men who want to watch the world burn:

2) Using a two headed coin to make choices is not exactly playing fair and by the rules there.

1) Sometimes,it's better to be the hero the city deserves rather than the one that it needs:

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