Monday, August 04, 2008

The DARK KNIGHT

I thought I'd wait until most of you saw it.
Why would anyone live in Gotham City? Jesus! You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting six mob bosses. And then there’s the town’s super psycho villain – they couldn’t find someone a little more aesthetically pleasing? Children watch those televised truck chases too, y’know. And Juneau appears to have more daytime in the winter than Gotham City. Does it get dark everyday at noon?

The skyline is harsh and impersonal. All that’s missing are smokestacks and an American Girl Place Experience.

No wonder a suped-up roadster/tank can get around in relative ease and drive at 100 mph through heavily populated city streets. Until Allstate offers “explosion insurance”, who wants to drive at night there?

Not that I feel sorry for the citizens. They have this superhero who seems to save them from annihilation every few weeks and he’s less popular than Andruw Jones with Dodger fans. What does a bat have to do to get some love in that kooky town?

And how stupid are these criminals? Why not just move their operations to Scottsdale. Let’s see how well Batman and Spiderman fly around when the tallest building is a four story Holiday Inn.

I don’t know what’s a worse job – Police Commissioner of Gotham City or President of their Tourist Bureau. Note to summer sight-seers: stay off the ferries.

Quick aside: Wouldn’t you love to see AMERICAN IDOL open auditions in Gotham City? Paula would be mistaken for the Joker.

I used to think the Joker was a brilliant mastermind until I realized a number of his fiendish plots were a direct lift from SAW.

DARK KNIGHT was a fun ride and Heath Ledger steals the movie (and everything else). But is it just me? I’m reaching the superhero saturation point. I’ve sympathized enough with tortured reluctant caped crusaders. And these movies all seem to turn on the heroes’ inability to kill the mass murderer psychopath villain because of some “code”. That doesn’t seem real. Oh… wait. We’re talking about guys who wear spandex suits and can fly – strike that last objection.

DARK KNIGHT is worth seeing but please Hollywood, no more comic books. The only character left is Bazooka Joe.

35 comments:

Matt Bird said...

Thank you, Ken! I thought I was the only one noticed that the Joker kept forcing people into bogus "moral dilemmas" that were right out of the Saw movies!

I felt like this movie was written by the kid at Scout camp who keeps asking question all night long like “Would you rather cut off your tongue or your arm? I mean, if you absolutely had to do one or the other?” Ugh.

Tallulah Morehead said...

"Why would anyone live in Gotham City?"

Well for one thing, The Theater.

The restaurants are legendary.

The low melanoma rate.

It hasn't gotten all cheap, flashy, and corporate, like Metropolis.

Affordable rents.

Many rodents, but some of them fight crime.

Surrounded by countryside that strongly resembles Sussex.

CATS never played here.

You can still find a reliable butler.

Constant urban renewal.

Citzenry very accepting of alternative lifestyles and modes of dress.

It's so unspoiled.

Come for the museums, stay for the undending nightlife.

Boys in tights befriended.

Because if you move away, the Joker wins.

Not overly crowded.

Nicer than Fresno.

Cheers darlings.

Murph said...

I thought the movie was very well-written, well beyond what a "kid at Scout camp" could write. Then again, maybe I missed the "Superhero Sequel" badge. But, yes, FWIW, I realize it's easier to criticize what we enjoy rather than just enjoy them for what they are. We learn that stuff from our parents, I think.

nocturnation said...

no, sorry ken. huge fun of your site, but there is a real reason why mob bosses don't show up in kenosha, WI. please. bring a more intelligent wash-up. there are reasons why i love this movie and there are reasons why i wish this movie weren't made. don't try and make this all go away thru words.

Hmmm...? said...

Having seen The Dark Knight this past weekend at the ArcLight (where every comic book/graphic novel nerd present--and there were quite a few--gushed their little nerdy heart out over Health Ledger's Joker. And I could think was, geeeez I miss Cesar Romero), all I can say is, "Enough with the gravel voice Christian Bale." And, geeez, would it be too much to ask for a decent story for a change? Not only was the story lacking depth, but it wasted some mighty fine acting talent too.

No doubt the sympathy (which says a lot about what's wrong with the Academy voting) vote will win out and Ledger will get a nomination. But in this case death should go unrewarded.

paperzach said...

I was a little put off by the Gotham City banking options, none of them offer any sort of investment accounts, they merely pile all available cash on a bunch of stainless steel tables in the vault. Great for Montgomery Brewster, but I'll take traditional banking any day.

sephim said...

Yeah, that's right... people go to see comic book movies because they are usually so "deep" - Fuck off, hmmm...?

Anyway, I must dash, the latest issue of Marvel's The Cook The Thief His Wife & Her Lover came out today.

Grant said...

A.O. Scott did an opinion piece on the genre getting worn out as well:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/24/movies/24supe.html?8br

Sebastian said...

No Ken, there still ARE books left.

The next one is "Watchmen" and the Trailer makes you go "Huh?!?". I never read it for I was *count* six I think when it came out, but now I started to read it AND there's an animated version of the first book (with more to come) in the iTunes store.

Just search for "Watchmen" in the TV series section and you can subscribe to it. It's awesome.

Oh and TDK is still Number one on IMDb http://german.imdb.com/chart/top?tt0468569 mainly because fanboys started voting 1 for The Godfather II. It's totally comical when you use archive.org to compare earlier vote numbers with what happened once the movie hit the theaters.

Vermonter17032 said...

Ken, thanks for the funny take on Gotham City and Batman. I know it is tongue in cheek.

I just saw the Dark Knight this weekend and enjoyed the wild ride. I agree that there are too many superhero movies, but then again there are too many movies. Period. Most of them bad. I'd say that about half the superhero movies are fun to watch, which is a better percentage than all the other films being made.

Of course, there are a few other issues with The Dark Knight. For instance, how does the Joker keep recruiting new henchmen when he regularly kills them? Is the job market for henchmen that bad? I guess George Bush's economic policies are effecting Gotham City too.

Mary Stella said...

I'm laughing too hard at this post to make an actual comment.

estiv said...

I've heard Michael Bay is in meetings about the Bazooka Joe film.

A. Bat Short said...

Too late. Seth Rogen’s all over the tube this week saying he’s going to emerge as Brit Reid, the Green Hornet. Excellent points Tallulah. Paperzach, and yet those storage vault tables turned out to be a better investment for Brewster than that sub-prime nonsense he was sweet-talked into by that that floozy bimbo Fannie May: “They say the smart safe investment is in gold and silver; I’m putting everything on stainless steel!”

Incidentally, to let you know how far the dollar has dropped, in the original Brewster’s Millions book, the guy had a year to spend only $1-million. Today that’s like a nooner with Heather Mills. Now if you’ll excuse, I have to take the next tangent uptown to Lincoln Center, they’re doing “BATS! Batman the Musical.” Vive Rob Smigel!

rob! said...

why deny the world a Bazooka Joe movie? Shia Labouf + eyepatch + Michael Bay = summer tentpole!

and i don't agree there are getting to be too many superhero movies. its a genre, like those endlessly boring uppacrust english aristocracy movies that run in art houses, and hollywood never seems to run out of those.

rob! said...

crap, estiv beat me to the michael bay joke. *grumble*

David J. Loehr said...

Considering how many of the Chicago signs they didn't bother to cover up in the street shots (Lyric Opera? Sweet Home Chicago? Why is there a place called Sweet Home Chicago in downtown Gotham?), then I know exactly where the American Girl Place is.

And it would be the first place I'd "save," ie blow up as collateral damage, if I were a tortured superhero, code or no code.

Sometime, when you're in the Chicago area, you should see the Neo-Futurists' show, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. It also tours from time to time. Brilliant stuff, and once in a while, they bring back their American Girl Place sketch...

Randall Bobbitt said...

Thank you Ken. I would follow you into battle any day.

Cage Free Brown said...

there will be superhero movies always.

look, every few years we get sniffy about how out of date the old ones are so they make new ones to reflect how "sophisticated" our current tastes are.

lather, rinse, repeat.

kevinbroom said...

Ken: I love your blog, but I hope you're aware that Batman (and the Joker) predates the Saw movies by a few decades.

Ollie said...

My thoughts exactly. In fact, I don't think The Dark Knight was even the best superhero movie of the summer... I explained it better here.

http://seeandsigh.blogspot.com/

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Do you recall Robert Crumb's take on Bazooka Joe? The character named Pud should give you a hint.

Charles Jurries said...

Ken,
As a writer, what do you think when you see a "throw-away character" featured in a story, like Bruce Wayne's Russian girlfriend who disappeared from the plot entirely after the first hour?

BJ said...

Ken,

No kidding: Michael Eisner bought out the company that owned Bazooka Joe, specifically to make the character into a movie franchise.

He refers to it as "our Mickey Mouse."

Seriously.

Amanda said...

I couldn't agree with you more. About Gotham City or the movie.

I liked Batman, but it felt long and a bit tired. I'm ready for some "good" female superhero movies.

sonderangerbot said...

Funny post this here, Ken, though I think Dark Knight was far better than just "worth seeing". If every summer blockbuster was this enjoyable Michael Bay would be out of business.

Steve Winer said...

Ken,
Believe it or not, in 1989 when Tim Burton's Batman movie opened, I was writing for the Disney Channel "New Mickey Mouse Club". Another writer and I wrote a commercial bit promoting "Bazooka Joe, The Motion Picture". The show had to clear it with the Bazooka folks (I didn't know Eisner bought the company, but this would precede that) and we were told when the Bazooka folks heard the idea, they basically went "Hmmm, we never thought of that...". So it might still happen.

SharoneRosen said...

I thought DARK KNIGHT was a great ride.

And, Ken, everything you said was right on and, in your typical manner, hysterical!

Keep writing 'em like this! Your take on everything keeps me coming back day after day!

nocturnation said...

love your blog ken, but you are dead wrong here.

This is tu quoque claptrap writing. please take the movie on it's own terms and try not to judge it by the shit you have been exposed to before.

i guess there is an argument that we are dealing with the hollywood organism as a whole, but it doesn't take much to excrete the memories of bad form/execution from before and take a new film in on its own terms.

*muah* love your blog,

-s

Jenna said...

Well, I don't think I would want to live there there that is for sure... however I could talk myself into working there as the number of powerful people (sane/insane alike) really seem to like Gotham and it is they, not Gotham, that attract my attention. The Joker has ALWAYS been oddly appealing to me, perhaps it is his no b.s. outlook with twisted sense of humor I enjoy. And like another poster mentioned the theatre didn't seem all that bad, it also seems that the public psych care system is definately something, though not very secure.
I will say that in my opinion, this has been the best Batman flick released and I don't see it ever being beaten. (Hollywood please take note and don't completely distroy a good thing) Ken, you bring up a good point, enough of the superhero flicks already (spoofs included). I have little desire to see a Bazooka Joe flick unless perhaps it is condenced into an episode of Robot Chicken.

bradbrickley said...

Bravo! These comic book movies are out of control! Over a billion this year alone! The guys over at Marvel and DC/Warners must really be besides themselves!
Next on the bulls eye should be those chick flicks. I lucked out with Mama Mia when my wife went with her friend, but I don't know if I'll be able to avoid The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. I say take the fight to chick flicks next!

James Antonas said...

Is it just me or did Heath Ledger's Joker seem an awful lot like Michael Keaton's Beetlejuice? I mean if Beetlejuice existed in the 'reality' which is 'The Dark Knight'...well that's what I thought anyway...

Patti in Scottsdale said...

Hey Ken, we now have 12-story condo towers on the "beautiful" water/canalfront in Scottsdale!

Paul Duca said...

I don't plan to see the film, not simply because I don't go for the genre, but I learned long ago it wasn't necessary to follow the herd...the summer "E.T." came out was the summer before I started college. Although not a particular devotee of sci-fi or Spielberg (although I actually LIKED "1941"), I felt I had to see it as it presumably would be what the campus was abuzz about when I got to school.

The subject never came up.

Writer Dad said...

A) "They would think Paula was the joker." Funniest thing I've read all day.

B) I would pay $50 to see a Bazooka Joe movie. Seventy-five if they could get PTA to direct it.

TCinLA said...

Now that movie studios are minor arms of intergalactic widget-makers, and the widgets make lots of money proving Mencken was not only right about the American people ("nobody ever went broke underestimating theintelligence of the American people") but the entire frickin' planet, expect more.

Just like we have 55 years of rock 'n' roll when it used to be that a musical genre got its ass kicked every 10-12 years - corporate anything hates uncertainty, so who want's "new" when crap so obviously sells?