So a few thoughts on The Dark Knight, a good month or so after the fact:
(I've been meaning to write this earlier but the potholes on the road to hell won't fill themselves in. Plus it's given me a bit of time to digest it.)
So, my first gut reaction to the sequel was:
All in all it was a fun way to spend a couple hours, especially when watching it on the Imax screen, but it was not as good as Batman Begins. That's not to say I disliked the film. Heath Ledger put in the performance of his career and left a pair of shoes not likely to be filled when he shed this mortal coil. It's unfortunate he won't be around to collect the Oscar. But after having a chance to think about it for awhile, I still liked the first part better. I think the story of Batman's origin was more compelling than the all-out assault on the senses in The Dark Knight. The chase scenes, while visually stunning, seemed to be just a rehashing of the high speed racing around Gotham that we saw in Batman Begins. I did however think the disappearing pencil trick was oh so cleverly disgusting, and maybe I'm grasping at splinters here (pun intended) but was that a bit of an homage to the eyeball gouge in Fulci's Zombie?
I think the one thing that left a bad taste in my mouth was the pro-Bush undertones. Nolan wasn't very subtle with the T word, or with the issue of cell-phone eavesdropping technology. The underlying message was that your personal freedoms don't matter in a time of crisis. Batman also tells commissioner Gordon at the end that he is doing what he believes is right, no matter what anyone else says about it and if they all want to hate him they can. Sounds suspiciously like Bush's defense of unilateral actions, minus the direct link to the divine.