Stuff that wasn't as good:
- Gee, movie, thanks for stuffing your main female character in a fridge. It's too bad that you didn't give her a character beyond being 'the love interest' and didn't give her a bigger role to play in the plot beyond 'dying so Harvey can go crazy'. The Bourne movies at least had Pamela Landy an Nikki to balance things out when they pulled a similar stunt.
- I kind of miss the more cartoonish, comic-book-y Gotham of Begins, because I liked its stylized beauty and other-worldliness.
- In a similar vein, it feels strangely disconnected from Begins. Aesthetically, it's very different, possibly because we get more than two scenes that take place during the day. And while we have a couple thematic connections to the first (fear, symbols), it doesn't feel like a continuing exploration as much as scrapping of it and trying again.
- This is probably due to the sidelining of Bruce and his issues, which makes room for other characters, but makes the movie feel much different. We don't even get a flashback to Bruce's parents or Bruce finding the Batcave.
- Also, the timeline between Begins and this one makes my head hurt. A lot.
- It's an unrelentingly grim movie, which works, but at the same time, it can get wearying.
- Harvey's full transformation would have worked better in the next movie, because I have no idea where they could go from here. Arguably, they would have probably reused the Joker, but to be honest, it wouldn't make any sense. This is the movie where the Joker is explored and revealed and has his showdown with Batman. Bringing him back (even if they could) would feel like a rehash. And Dent's story felt a bit rushed, here, because the Joker eats up too much of the movie for him to get the time and effort he deserves.
- I wanted some Montoya and Bullock. There was definitely room for them, what with all the cops running around, and it would have been a nice shoutout. Next movie plz?
Stuff that was excellent:
- GORDON. Every second on screen, Gordon had my soul. He's still that quietly decent good cop who's trying to hold things together as the world crumples around him. He's the heart of Gotham City, more than Batman and Harvey or even the Joker are. Oldman owns the role too, though his accent slips a bit when he's yelling.
- Yes, Heath Ledger's performance is just as good as people are saying.
- I liked the crime drama vibe. It felt like a melding of the two genres, and a good one in the finest tradition of say, Michael Chabon.
- Dent is played the way he needs to be, as a tragic victim of his own goodness. Eckhart really sells it, too.
- Maggie Gyllenhaal, we barely knew ye. You did good in your thankless task, and I wonder what would have happened if you had been cast initially in Begins. It would have been cool. Or even, you know, if they gave you an actual character.
- The little people, the teeming masses, the everyday cops, the people stuck on boats, the population of Gotham itself as a character. This movie feels populated by real people, and I like that.
- Every moment Christian Bale is playing Bruce Wayne, because Batman's interesting and all, but I grin like a maniac whenever Bale says a line with the exact same tone and facial expression as Patrick Bateman. And he does it a few times. His conversation with Gordon after the incident with the van and his car is just priceless. Also, that thing with his yacht. Bale does those scenes with such glee. I love it.
- I loved the funeral/parade for Commissioner Loeb, because it made me feel like I was in a cop film. Yay.
- The subplot with the accountant who figures out Batman's identity. It's sort of extraneous, but it gives us some of the film's best moments.
- Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine are as good as usual. Lucius Fox gets to be extra badass in this one.
- The action was generally stunning, since Nolan's action director skills has improved immensely, though they're not as good as, say, Greengrass' work.
- They movie totally sold me on everything, the Joker's menace, Gordon's fake!death (and I should know better, dammit), the city as it is thrown into chaos. I have to applaud those guys.
- The prisoners' dilemma game was good. They handled it well, though the set up felt convoluted. I thought it did give a bit of hope.
- The ending was fitting, but where the hell do they go from here? I don't see how they could get any darker without making it feel contrived and tedious. And if they go lighter, well, I don't know about that either.
And also some trailers, because these were pretty interesting.
Robert DeNiro-Al Pacino vehicle movie: Looks stupid as all hell, but I would just go for Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro being cursing, world-weary, scenery-chewing cop partners. I'm pretty sure the movie studio is counting on that, too.
Watchmen: Visually stunning, has the right aesthetic, but could go horribly wrong from over-faithfulness or possibly injudicious pruning of the source. The director of 300 is both a blessing and a curse.
Terminator 4: Christian Bale runs around shooting things, w00t! Is he trying to star as a lead in as many genre franchises as possible, y/n?