This is going to be a long, rambly, possibly not entirely coherent post. It may even get a bit maudlin now and then. I don't even know if you'll want to read it, but I need to get it out of my system, so here goes.
I went to see The Dark Knight yesterday.
I was not sure if I wanted to see this movie. Not sure at all. I figured it would be awesome, but I also feared I would spend the whole 2 1/2 hours in tears. Or at least every moment Heath Ledger was on screen. So I waited for Johnnycake to go see it last weekend and asked him to tell me if he thought I would want to see it on the big screen. He said he thought I ought to, so I figured maybe I would. Maybe. If Dano took a nap at the right time, if I didn't chicken out, if I wasn't busy doing other things like... alphabetizing my spice shelf. Cowboy predicted I would drive to the theater and then circle the parking lot and never make up my mind to actually go inside. Or I'd go in and decide to see something else. Like Space Chimps, cuz that just looks sooooo good.
But Dano took a nap just in time for me to run down to the car and... turn the wrong direction out of my driveway. Apparently, part of me wanted to go see the movie, but the part controlling the steering wheel wanted to go to the mall. I realized my mistake, turned around, and made it to the theater in time to stand in a very slow line for tickets where I had plenty of time to read through the show times for everything else currently running and see if there was anything else that I had any interest in seeing at all starting at about the same time. But nothing else started for at least another half an hour, not even Space Chimps. So I got my ticket for The Dark Knight and found a seat just as the hot dog stopped singing about popcorn.
I did not cry. Not once. I did hug my knees a lot. And chewed on my lower lip quite often. Watched some scenes from beneath lowered eyebrows. And spent quite a few minutes with my hands in a tent around my nose and mouth, because that's what I do when I'm worried/frightened by a movie. But I didn't cry. I did clap once, though. As did everyone in the theater -- I'll say this for Connecticut theatergoers: they are not afraid to clap and cheer.
But I'm glad I saw it. I think I needed to. I came out of it feeling empty, almost cleansed, as if I had rid myself of an oppressive mantle of gloom.
And it was a good movie. It had all sorts of deep themes and complicated emotions and complex characters. Very meaty. Even Maggie Gyllenhaal, who usually strikes me as a sort of off-brand Kirsten Dunst, pulled off her role with style.
Once again, my favorite character ended up being Jim Gordon. I completely dug him in Batman Begins, and he's even more wonderful in this. Of course, he's played by Gary Oldman, so odds of me liking him are pretty high, since I've never seen Oldman turn in a less-than-intriguing performance. Don't highlight and read this next part unless you don't mind spoilage. In fact, the closest I got to tears was when they killed Gordon off -- I would definitely have cried if I hadn't been so outraged. I spent the next section of the movie fuming that they had dared kill off such a morally upright character -- and that they never let him become Commissioner Gordon like he's supposed to! Then, of course, it turned out he wasn't dead after all, and that's when the whole theater clapped. Definitely one of my favorite moments in the movie.
I'd say the one thing I really disliked about this movie was Two-Face. Not that Aaron Eckhart portrayed him badly -- he did a good job, full of conflicted morals and juicy emotions. No, what I disliked was the makeup effects they used. They were so... unbelievable. One of the things I like best about this incarnation of the Batman world is that everything is fairly plausible. The Batmobile, Batman's gadgets and suit, even the bad guys and their weapons all seem like they could exist. The whole world feels very real. Very solid and... crunchy. But Two-Face looked too much like the Mummy, all stringy muscles and popped-out eyeball. I did not buy it at all. IMHO, cheesed-out Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever had more believable Two-Face makeup. I would have liked to have seen them go more Man Without a Face with it, because that would have been so much more believable.
But all in all, it was well done. And like I said, I'm glad I saw it, because I now feel very released.
Heath Ledger is dead. I wish it weren't so, but it is. Nothing will change that. He left behind one last brilliant performance, one worth me spending $8.50 to see it on the big screen. I don't think I will ever watch this movie again, but I'm glad I saw it.
Oh, and it got one Warhead.