Grumpy Old Critics Review

About The Dark Knight: Let me start by saying I didn’t like it. I realize that this opinion is counter to most opinions about this very popular movie but there you have it. This is not surprising as I don’t like lots of popular films of the day. I didn’t like Chicago either. I didn’t like The Dark Knight for different reasons. For one thing, it was too long. It took about one hour longer than it should have to tell the story of Batman and the Joker. They added one extra villain for good measure and added a tinge of tragedy to the comic book story. The problem I have with all of the latest Batman movies is that they are taking the comic book story and treating it as high art. Yes, the film is good but the story of good vs. evil is basic. And the “dark” element of Batman’s character was hinted at in the first wave of Batman movies with Michael Keaton. I liked the campy elements in that story because they seemed to fit the genre.
In The Dark Knight, the late Heath Ledger is very good. But great villains and great actors are found in many better movies than this. And so it goes that I would say this film is vastly over-rated, in my humble opinion.

It occurs to me that their might be “the Guy Thing” attached to the fascination with the Batman films. The same element of fascination mixed with excessive reverence is felt with “the Guy Thing” and the Godfather.”
For example,in the Godfather I hardly remember the part of the movie where they speak about “going to the mattresses.” Not only is it mentioned in several other movies by males like Tom Hanks and Greg Kinnear, but when the part is mentioned in real-life conversations with men, there is a universal recognition of the significance of the phrase “going to the mattresses.” This, in my opinion, is “a Guy Thing.”
Some films are “chick flicks” and some are “Guy Things.” With martial arts films, and certain “machismo-fantasy” films, there is the element of “Guy Things.” Films like “Sin City” and “300” come to mind in recent years. But there is an irritating quality to some of these movies that dictates that we are supposed to be reverent in our treatment of certain aspects of comic book genre films. There is nothing mysterious about a woman’s affection for a film like “Clueless” and the same goes for “The Dark Knight.” The attraction likes in the polarity of the characters and perhaps in the testosterone level of the viewer.

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