You know nothing is sacred around here. Well, I saw The Dark Knight last night and … didn’t care for it. It was OK as an action movie, but the story was a mess. The plot wandered all over, and the movie seemed less interested in telling a story well than in throwing up moral ambiguity and ethical dilemmas which, instead of actually pursuing with any depth, it would resolve with a punch from Batman’s fist or an explosion. As a plot mover, the Joker was less an agent of chaos and more like the TA for a freshman philosophy course, leading everyone through twisty little exercises in artificial circumstances that present the poor student with difficult choices. The answers in the movie were about the level of superficiality I’d expect from naive freshmen: he’s not a hero, he’s more than a hero, he’s a guardian, or something. Unbelievably, the dialog actually spelled out such empty nonsense.
Although, it might make such courses much more interesting if, instead of writing papers, the students had to make their arguments in fistfights and pyrotechnics.
On the good side, though, the portrayal of the Joker by Heath Ledger has to be one of the best movie villains ever. That guy was scary — you wouldn’t want to meet him in a dark alley, and Ledger made you believe that you just might find someone like him in a dark alley somewhere. He set the screen on fire, and made the guy in the batman suit recede into irrelevance. If only he’d been given a screenplay that was less stagey pinball machine, and more focused.