First, this movie is a jumbled mess and I don't mean that in a bad way. It reminds me of a gymnast who does a routine that defies gravity and is graceful, but every so often flails their arms and stumbles. think the movie could have used some tightening up. Simply, whereas "Batman Begins" had a clear cut narration (granted it was flashback within flashback when it started) but it was... here is how Bruce Wayne's parents died, here is what it did to him, here is how he got here and here is how he is going to save Gotham.
There were so many little plot lines to the movie I thought could have been taken out, such as the fate Commissioner Jim Gordon's family, the emphasis of the deaths of so many Gotham City heads of state, not to mention Cillian Murphy returning as the Scarecrow in a brief and unimportant role, as well as a plotline where one of the Wayne Enterprise employees learns of Bruce's secret and threatens to expose him in a rather moronic blackmail scheme. Second, this time around it seemed that the theme of the movie was "symbols vs. truth." Such as how do you compare Harvey Dent, a good looking "face" (pun intended) of the justice system vs. the Batman which is the spirit of the justice system. Both are meant to save civilation.+-+
Whereas the Joker is the worst of humanity. Insanity incarnate out for a leisurely stroll and wrecking whatever is in its way. I found that fascinating, but it seemed like it was more randomly drizzled at certain parts of the film in the way Jackson Pollack drizzled paint on a canvas. Also, I thought immediately after Dent morphed into his Two-Face character, they needed more depth to it. As Harvey Dent the District Attorney, Aaron Eckhart did an amazing job. But a man who just lost his loved and lost half of his face and refused pain medication I think he needed more time to sort out life and determine he was going to get even with Gordon and Batman.
Burning/scarring of Dent didn't feel right to me. I don't mind that Nolan is going with an actual burning this time and not a vial of acid... at all... but it just wasn't what I was expecting, and didn't really... I think... have the desired effect. I mean, Batman's already carted Dent out of the building, he's away from all that... and a stray spark just happens to ignite his face that was sitting in the gasoline whatever? This I can really almost swallow on its own, but with Batman literally right next to him... how much could it possibly have burned his face before Batman would've just thrown his cape over his face and killed the flame? And try something. Squirt a little bit of lighter fluid or a bit of rubbing alcohol or what-have-you on your hand. Light it. At first it's really just burning the fluid itself, it's not burning your skin. It just seemed like Batman had ample time to put out the fire to prevent anything other than the most superficial of burns.
I was confused in the early scene where Joker kills the black guy... you know, that first scene where the Joker makes up a story about where he got the cuts. He has his knife in the black guy's mouth, there's a quick cut (of the camera, not the knife), and the black guy falls down dead. I remain confused... what happened there? Did he just cut through the guy's mouth, like his knife was positioned to do so? If so, why did he die? Did he off-camera move his knife down to his throat and slit it? Even if so, he wouldn't just die instantly... so kind of a big "Huh?" on that bit from me. Wasn't entirely sold on the cellphone sonar business... but I do know that Nolan doesn't give Batman any tech in his movies that aren't scientifically possible or "going to be out in the next 5, 10 years." If that's true for the cellphone sonar business, that's kind of scary.
Maggie did a great job as Rachel. She portrayed the character very well. I didn't have a hard time getting past that it was a different actress at all. I still like Katie better, but it was a good choice and she didn't disappoint and Christian Bale did an amazing job as both Bruce Wayne and the Batman, however, I have two complaints in this movie, that I did in the first movie. First, the gravely voiced Dirty Harry tone in his voice was a little grating. Second, say what you will about the 1960s "Batman" show and the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher's "Batman" movies there was at least a clean cut theme.
I still don't think "Batman Begins" or "The Dark Knight" had either of those. I wish it did. We finally got to see a little bit of the detective side of Batman too. I was hoping they would and was very pleased that they did. I mean he's frickin Batman, world's greatest detective. Man was I surprised and a little disappointed in myself for not realizing, that the Bat-pod came out of the Tumbler. That was f**king awesome, so glad I didn't hear about it, it would not have had the same bad ass effect. Now it makes more sense as to why it's called a "pod".
Fox was even better and more brilliant in this movie than the last. Very glad they made him more prominent and involved in this one. Best line of the whole movie: "You want to be able to turn your head?" Okay, while everyone is talking about Ledger's performance, I think Gary Oldman is largely ignored by the reviewers and I for one think that is the shame. And in so many ways James Gordon is the hero of the piece trying to hold a city together was both order and chaos clash overhead. Lt. Jim Gordon is just an idealist in touch with his humanity, his middle class lifestyle and a man who loves his family. While at the same time he is trying to make sense of a world where an undeputized vigilante who dresses like something out of a Leonardo DaVinci drawing does more in one year than any of the men (himself included) who went through years of police and law enforcement training can do.
Instead of being a self centered whiner about it (I know I would be) he uses this as a weapon to his advantage. Gordon does not have the money that Wayne does to put on a costume and fight crime. The only thing Gordon has to fight crime and evil is himself, a gun, a badge and no other choice to work with a corrupted law enforcement. While at the same time he wants to prove that their is still goodness left in Gotham City's corrupted law enforcement. He almost reminds me of Luke Skywalker trying to prove to the universe there is still good left in his father, who just happenes to be the Devil's enforcer throughout a galaxy that is far, far away. Overall this movie was a masterpiece that will be remembered for a long time.
Performances, story, action, everything well rounded and worthy of all the hype and commotion it has brought about. But I do have concerns in another sequel. While I have the utmost faith in Nolan, I fear that they won't be able to top this one at all. Based on a poor example but, the fact that the formula for most superhero movies have had a good first movie followed by an amazing 2nd part only to go downhill with the 3rd and deliver utter crap. I don't think this could happen t these films, but after Heath's performance and the effect that the Joker had within the story of the film and out in the real world, they just won't be able to top it without them.
So where do we go from here then? The supposed plot of having Dent as the 3rd films main villain and the Joker as a Hannibal Lector type character, was promising, but pretty much out the window unless an unlikely and undesireable recast for the Joker. But the idea of Two-Face returning could still work. I don't see how or why he coouldn't have survived. First, we see the Itallian mob guy survive a similar fall earlier on in the film. But Batman took the same fall as Harvey with a Bullet in him as well. Dent could have been revived or recvered and kept in critical condition. To wake later on and be driven even more mad and have a great animosity towards Gordon and Batman.
I hate that Batman is now wanted. It works great for the making Harvey look like a hero and progression of the story, but I just hate it. The only way to fix that would be if Harvey was still alive and revealed to be a villain later on. Re-en stating the publics faith and hope in Batman as their hero and protector. Even if the whole movie they or we weren't aware that Harvey/Two-Face was the villain. They could do a Hush or Phantasm type of thing where he takes on another identity. Just an idea.
But if they don't do any of that and there is a new villain or villains. There are a few that could work and many that could NOT in the Nolan Bat-verse. Let's start with the ones that can't. First; Clayface, I don't need to explain why other than that he's way too unrealistic and they already had Sandman in Spidey 3 and it was LAME. Others would be Mr Freeze, lame and gimmicky. Riddler would be cool, but too close to Joker. Bane, just no for too many reason's (and I have already pointed out alot of good ones) Man-Bat would be the worst idea of all of them.
Onto some that might: Penguin could work, if he was just a deformed midget, but why bother? Ivy could work, if the made her not have powers and just use weaponized pheromones or something. Harley could work (she would be inspired by Joker) But it would be the same thing as this movie, just with a girl clown. Catwoman would be the best possibility, but not a big enough threat and after the disaster of her solo wannabe movie, I don't think they'll use her.
Talia would be my BEST guess, but again, it would be close to what they've already done. All that said I'd really like to see Hush. But I don't know, there wouldn't be much mystery for us, because we know who he is.
All that said I loved TDK and I'm looking forward to the next one, whatever they decide. But I will remain skeptical that it might not be able to achieve what this one has. I hope I'm wrong. Here's to waiting for 3 years until the first trailer!