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MONDAY, JULY 04, 2011
As much as I was a fan of Spiderman and Batman I thought I had grown out of comic-book heroes after grade 7. However, the new Batman movie has drawn me in and revived my faith in the movie form of an "epic." And as much as that word is overused today I mean epic in it's true cinematic form: A heroic tale that surpasses the ordinary. Not only do I put this movie in front of all previous Batmans, all three Spidermans, The Matrix Trilogy, Star Wars, but even the classics such as Sparticus. To illustrate how little of a fan I am of heroic tales, I had to watch "The Dark Knight" in between viewing "Ladri di Biciclette:The Bicycle Thief," an artsy movie from the 1950s which has been voted many times by movie critics as the best film ever made. To the horror of some of my "film-studies" friends, I watched the first half of "The Bicycle Thief" at home then went to the theatre to watch "The Dark Knight" and then returned home to finish "The Bicycle Thief." I'm not comparing the two movies because they're in two completely different categories, but I'm just pointing out that "The Dark Knight" held it's own unique reigns in the midst of my viewing one of the greatest films since the 50s.

The themes of the movie went beyond the old theme of evil vs. good contrasts. The choice for Batman to become a superhero went beyond the themes of Spiderman's "with great power comes great responsibility" into questions of moral ethics on what exactly that "responsibility is." It also escalated the dilemmas of a self-righteous vigilante has to face into a realm of political philosophy (i.e illegal wire-tapping and freedom of rights were brought into the equation). The ideological themes don't end with Batman's character as The Joker himself takes on certain notions on anarchy to an extreme and conducts his own "social experiments" throughout the movie.

To avoid any spoilers I'll be brief about what made "The Dark Knight" work so well as a film epic. For one, it had original cinematography. While the dark gothic theme of Batman had been done previously, "The Dark Knight" has taken it one step further by making scenes one darker yet more beautiful. The CGI effects were kept at a minimum. Instead of filling the movie screen's canvas with computer generated graphics, CGI was used more to touch-up scenes that were physically there and already beautiful by themselves. So unlike Spiderman you weren't distracted by too much CGI and could believe that what you were viewing was physically there. That's important. The movie was so scenic that it also contained shots filmed with Imax 65mm film cameras; Viewing it in Imax is strongly recommended.

The second point that made this film become a potential film-epic was the acting was not just good-enough-for-a-blockbuster, it was great acting for any movie. Christian Bale, Michael Cane, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and the late Heath Ledger each played their role convincingly. The all-star cast is too long to mention. As great as Heath Ledger was, I didn't think he was worthy of an Oscar nomination until the very end when I realized he fully encapsulated a psychopath's mannerisms throughout the movie without flinching once.

The third and more important point to the film was the story, plot and ch



Nice.. but you call the movie an epic, then a potential-epic. It's hard to talk about the movie while being careful not to spoil it because I also saw it. But it would have been cool to compare it with the super-old TV show of Batman, remember the one where they cut to a screen that actually says "POW!" and is on the Space Channel during the day, or at least it was last time I checked. It seems almost childishly simplistic compared to the philosophical depths of Dark Knight. Is this a reflection on us as a society where slow motion kicks and brightly colored polyester suits no longer do it for us. You didn't see the Batman of that age probing the depths of his troubled mind to find out why he needs the bat, a psychoanalysis of his own fear and what it means to fear, why he can't / won't kill. These issues were even touched on in the last movie, Batman Begins. I don't know exactly where I'm going with this and I must get back to writing my term paper but I think it would be interesting to take all the different representations of Batman and compare them, even the good cartoons about him that were on in the 90s.

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