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Movie Reviews: The Dark Knight & The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - moonspinner
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Movie Reviews: The Dark Knight & The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Long holiday weekend always means a trip to the local theatre! Squee!



The Dark Knight: I only watched this because someone else was paying. I didn’t regret either watching it or not paying for it! :P Perhaps this is where pre-knowledge taints the experience because while the movie was dark, I didn’t find it as gratuitously dark as I expected it to be. I do think that Hollywood plays on the current climate of fear in the United States and this is evident in this movie. However, I did not find it as overt as it was in Iron Man. (I actually think the TDK is better than IM in terms of plot and themes.) The Joker was brilliant, genuinely scary without going off the top. His social experiments, his whole character and the fact that he’s supposed to be the avatar of chaos, made me think of Roger in William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies. I wonder how many people will realize that the climax of this movie wasn’t Batman finally taking down the Joker or Harvey dying but the decision by the ferry people to rise above a nightmarish situation and not blow up each other?

Rachel’s character was a Woman in the Refrigerator in every sense of the word and I wish that was the only problem I had with her character. Firstly: the apparent new trend in Hollywood to make female actors interchangeable. (See more about this below). Katie H can’t reprise the role (because apparently, her marrying Tom Cruise affects her marketability more than Russel Crowe physically assaulting someone affected his)? Insert Maggie G. Rachel W has problems with the script of Mummy 3? Find/Replace with Maria Bello! Why couldn’t they have just signed Katie H on for three movies? Or even better, drop Rachel from the story and use another female character (since a love interest for the hero is required *eyeroll*) especially since Rachel is not integral to the comic books in the first place?

Secondly: the love triangle. I am yet to see any form of fiction where this is ever done in a way that does not render members of the parties: selfish, stupid, pigheaded or promiscuous, and sometimes all four. In the end, Rachel chooses Harvey (on her ‘deathbed’) and breaks up with Bruce (by a Dear John letter) and somehow, we’re supposed to sympathize with Harvey when her death causes him to flip over the edge? (I would have ranted a bit more about the unrealistic nature of Harvey’s turn but fialleril already did it better).

Another woman who got the short end of the stick in this movie actually did it by never being there: Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. Batgirl a.k.a. Oracle, a.k.a. the little girl Mrs. Gordon was holding whose face we didn’t see and voice we didn’t hear a.k.a. the kid of Gordon who should have got all those lines/scenes centering on Batman and heroes. Between the way Barbara was so thoroughly Find/Replaced with James; and Rachel’s mis-characterization, I’m left to wonder if Christopher Nolan and the screenwriters don’t have a serious problem with women.

BTW: Geez, those fierce-talking Black mobsters make excellent cannon fodder, don’t they?

Highlights & Questions:

Gordon’s ‘resurrection’ was one of the few things I wasn’t spoiled for in this movie and it made me cheer.

The darkest part of this movie [to me] was the brutal murder of Bat!clone (I didn’t get his name). It was a terrible sacrifice to the theme that Gotham Needs A Hero. Although as far as I’m concerned, to have tried to do what he did, without Bruce Wayne’s superpowers of wealth, influence, physical health and ninja skills and to have died the way he did, still stating what he believed in, even after Heaven knows how many hours of brutal torture in the hands of the Joker, the Bat!clone died a hero.

The sub-plot/arc of the over-zealous tattler/would-be blackmailer’s arc was fun and not in the least gratuitous. If that guy turns up in the next movie, I imagine he’ll be one of Batman’s most loyal allies.

Is Batman’s ‘extradition’ of Lau legal? I mean, of course, it wasn’t legal but couldn’t the Chinese government just accuse the U. S. government of kidnapping and demand their citizen back?

I thought the Scarecrow had gone crazy at the end of “Batman Begins”? I don’t understand how he was apparently on Batman’s side at the beginning of the movie.

This movie would have been a great deal better if Harvey and Rachel had been merged into one character. i.e. if Batman’s childhood friend who worked in the D. A.’s office in the first movie had become the recently appointed D. A. and recently sired White Knight only to fall from grace in the second movie. In order words, this movie would have been awesome with a female Harvey Dent.




The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Why did they make this movie again? Between the joint absence of Stephen S and Rachel W, shouldn't they have realized that they were missing too many constants in the equation? Once again, that trend I was complaining about: Rachel Weiz stepped out of the franchise citing problems with the script (and boy, can I see why!) so they insert M Bello! Because one Hollywood brunette is as good as another, apparently. Although I really doubt that Mummy 3 or the Dark Knight would have been shot without Fraser or Bale willing to take on the leading roles.

I wanted to break this review up into the good, the bad and the ugly but other than special effects that started giving me a headache, I don’t have much good to report. So here are the highlights of the Bad and Ugly.

Language: The prologue is narrated and acted out in Ancient Chinese; and the film goes out of its way to show that Alex O’Connell is fluent in Chinese… then General Yang speaks to his soldiers in English? Sloppy and completely ruined the meager cultural authenticity that existed in the movie.

O’Connell Family Bonding Adventure: I have never liked this trope but in this particular instance, I just hated it. Apart from the constant double-take I have whenever I see M. Bello as E. O’Connell, the entire Family In Crisis for Lack of Mummy-Inspired Sex and Little Alex Having Father Issues was Contrived with a capital C. Mummy Returns went out of its way to establish the O’Connells as a tight family unit. Why they are suddenly fragmented (or why Alex and Rick are fragmented because Heaven forbid this be a movie with mother/son issues even though it is Evie’s intellectual shoes that Alex should be trying to fill) is never explained. Instead we are just given a half-hearted exposition of how Rick was never emotionally expressive to his son. Which, like I said, I would have bought if I had never watched Mummy Returns. And the resolution is just as contrived as the conflict.

Lin’s Story: She is: 1, a kick-ass ninja whose raison d’etre is to keep the Dragon Emperor from being awakened; 2, the sole possessor of the only weapon that can kill the Dragon Emperor; 3(a), the daughter of Zi Juan, the powerful witch who damned the Emperor in the first place; 3 (b) also the daughter of General the Emperor betrayed; and 4, is immortal. So naturally, she: 1, fails to stop the Dragon Emperor from being awakened because she’s apparently flirting with Alex O’Connell (either that or her ninja powers switch off and on to fit the plot); 2, becomes a damsel in distress (see above for ninja powers switching off and on) and does not fulfill her destiny by killing the Dragon Emperor but lets the O’Connells do that as a father-son bonding exercise; 3, falls in love with Alex O’Connell because he’s apparently the first man whose butt she’s ever kicked (seriously, she says that. I can only infer that she meant to add ‘and lived to tell the tale’); and 4, of course, loses her immortality to spend the rest of her life (I hope) with Alex O’Connell. Actually the last doesn’t bug me because if The Mummy/O’Connell series has a running theme, it’s that immortal love sucks. However… the rest of Lin’s mis-characterization seriously sucks.*

Everything Else:

Like I said, the special effects gave me a headache. This film could have been a lesson to aspiring film-makers that if they ever feel the need to over-compensate on the special effects department, there’s problem something wrong with the script.

Our heroes running wild on Shanghai, blowing up the busy streets on New Year’s was far more dangerous/irresponsible/un-likely-to-make-me-fond-of-our-heroes than the original scene with the London bus in the second movie. I don’t remember any human casualties in the second movie. I do remember a bus load of innocent bystanders blowing up in this one. And even if they all seemed to be OK, it just struck me as a creepy thing for our heroes to do regardless of how much they wanted to stop the Emperor from ‘taking over the world’.

One of the few things I had looked forward to in this movie was the fight scene between Michelle Yeoh and Jet Li and boy was that a disappointment. Two of the greatest martial artists in the entertainment industry but you won’t know from watching them fight – with swords no less.

M Bello’s gun-toting Evie annoyed me even more than Rachel W’s did in Mummy Returns. The original Evie was a librarian, who fought with her brains; who literally sent Imhotep back to Hell with her brains. I accepted her more physical nature in the second Mummy movie because it was supposed to link her up with her previous incarnation as Nefertiti. M Bello, on the other hand, was just a female Rich O’Connell.

Talking about the O’Connells, Alex was supposed to be the intellectual and physical hybrid of his two parents. But suddenly, it’s Rich’s name that is being touted in archaeological circles while Evie has made a name for herself as a romance novel writer? A bored-out-of-her-mind romance novel writer?!!!

All the unanswered questions (other than the already-mentioned contrived family drama): The mystical knife kills the Emperor when pierced through his heart. Why and from whence does this knife cometh??? The Emperor’s Army doesn’t gain full strength until it passes the Great Wall. Why?

BTW, I found scarred!Yin fascinating. Too bad that she was mostly silent and an evil side-kick to boot.

*I just found out from IMDB that the screenwriters for the Mummy 3 movie are Alfred Gough and Miles Millar a.k.a. AlMiles of Smallville. Of course, Lin’s character degenerates during the course of the movie. Only Chloe-type Sues are allowed to shine in their world. *eyeroll*

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Comments
sistermagpie From: sistermagpie Date: August 25th, 2008 02:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
What a good idea in combining Rachel and Harvey! I had a similar problem with his transformation. I'm trying to remember in The Long Halloween...it seems like Harvey had a family maybe? Anyway, that makes more sense to me than focusing on his love interest. Not just because she was kind of blah no matter who was playing her, but it just didn't seem like Harvey was invested enough in his love life for her to be a symbol of the world going wrong. (And yes, she did seem to get stuck just being a symbol stuck in the fridge to mean something to both men, even though both of them were far more invested in other things other than her anyway.)

I think Gordon does have a son in the comics--Barbara is I think eventually said to be his niece that he adopted? And when he gets divorced the wife takes the son? Anyway, it's still true that Barbara is the far more important Gordon child who will model herself on Batman in some ways (but also become a totally independent crime-fighter, of course).

Definitely thought the ferry boat incident was the real climax and I appreciated it and thought it was very believable. And I loved the blackmailer guy too.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: August 25th, 2008 02:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not just because she was kind of blah no matter who was playing her, but it just didn't seem like Harvey was invested enough in his love life for her to be a symbol of the world going wrong.

LOL! Thanks. It occured to me as I was thinking about just how to "fix" the Rachel problem. Part of the handicap with Rachel's character in this movie is that Harvey figuratively becomes her from the 1st movie - the smart, up & coming D. A./D.A. assistant who wants to clean the streets the right way. It leaves Rachel with very little to work with other than childhood friend of Bruce Wayne (which is no longer important in a non-origin movie) and potential love interest (and diminishes her role as Harvey's motivator). I could buy Harvey falling to the dark side for the love of his life but Rachel really didn't strike me as that. She didn't seem 100% invested in the relationship and he seemed to have realized that. The Anakin -> Vader for love of Padme works best when the relationship is a mutual, established one and Rachel/Harvey wasn't.

Also, it would add another dimension to Bruce's determination to make Harvey a white Knight almost despite himself.

The little comic information I knew made me think of Barbara as Gordon's daughter. According to Wiki, she's been defined as either: his daughter from a second marriage/extra-marital love affair; or his niece-turned-adopted-daughter.

Anyway, it's still true that Barbara is the far more important Gordon child who will model herself on Batman in some ways (but also become a totally independent crime-fighter, of course).

Also by hyping the James/Batman connection, it seemed like if Nolan and co. were deliberately out of their way to replace Barabara with James. If I didn't have my little comic book knowledge, I'd have said James would become Robin in the next movie.


Definitely thought the ferry boat incident was the real climax and I appreciated it and thought it was very believable.

Hollywood rarely ever takes the moral/emotional climax route in a super-hero movie and I was really impressed with that. The blackmailer guy was awesome. :D
sarah531 From: sarah531 Date: August 25th, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I doubt that Christopher Nolan and his screenwriters have problems with women; it just seems to be the Done Thing in Hollywood that men take center stage and women are love interests/secondary characters. I suppose it's probably one of those things the moviemakers (and indeed probably a lot of the audience) don't question.

They should, though. It tends to blight otherwise very good movies...
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: August 25th, 2008 03:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
The reason it doesn't seem to me that Nolan is just following a trend is because of the issues with Barbara/James. Technically, the attention paid to James's character is superfluous. We don't need to see that the child fanboys Batman or that the child was worried about his father or that Gordon loves his kids. However if James was Barbara, it would make sense as both a shout-out to the comic book fans and foreshadowing. But as it stands, there's no other reason for the lesser character to overshadow (replace?) the more popular one other than Nolan needing to go with, as sistermagpie describes it, "an all-male world with men making ethical decisions".
From: awehla Date: August 25th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Female Harvey Dent, genius.

Lisa
x
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: August 25th, 2008 05:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
*g*
vanimy From: vanimy Date: August 25th, 2008 06:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Re: The Mummy

When I watched the trailer, I was like 'But where is Rachel Weisz?' I loved her in the second movie and I was bummed to see either Maria Bello replacing her or (worse?) them reintroducing a new love interest. Turns out M. Bello is replacing her, after all. Wasn't already that sure to go watch the movie but seeing your review, I don't think I will.

Speaking of actresses replaced by others, while I agree with the Mummy not done without Fraser, they could've done Batman without Bale. (wouldn't have been as good, granted, but it's not the first time they change Batman's character...)

Re: The Dark Knight

I just watched it too. While I loved it, you a) pointed out what my only nitpick about the movie was, ie, Rachel's character and b) made very interesting points I hadn't noticed before.

Katie H can’t reprise the role (because apparently, her marrying Tom Cruise affects her marketability more than Russel Crowe physically assaulting someone affected his)? Insert Maggie G.

I have to admit I had no problem whatsoever with Katie Holmes being replaced because I found her awful in 'Batman Begins.' Unfortunately I found out that she wasn't the only issue I had with the character since Maggie Gyllenhaal couldn't make me care for the character either. But at least I didn't have to suspend my disbelief about her being a DA assistant or being older than 18 everytime I saw her onscreen. And Maggie G annoyed me far less than KH did...

Why couldn’t they have just signed Katie H on for three movies?

For the reasons above, God, no......

Or even better, drop Rachel from the story and use another female character (since a love interest for the hero is required *eyeroll*) especially since Rachel is not integral to the comic books in the first place?

Would've been better, agreed. But I guess they didn't want to build another love story (lack of time...) and wanted to have the love interest know of his true identity (this is about the only thing I like regarding Rachel's character, the fact that they didn't make us go through the usual 'she loves Batman and/or Wayne and has NO idea they're one and the same.....' This aspect of comics books got old ever since Superman...)

Secondly: the love triangle. I am yet to see any form of fiction where this is ever done in a way that does not render members of the parties: selfish, stupid, pigheaded or promiscuous, and sometimes all four.

Ah, yes, the infamous love triangle. And most of the time the solution to it is always one of the three biting the dust. Ah, wait, they actually did it in 'The Dark Knight'. ;) The other solution is also having the girl realizing one of the guys is actually her brother (;)) OR realizes she always loved him as a brother (*coughs* HP *coughs*).

Yep, you're right. Those love triangles always suck. (Even though I've just found a love triangle that did justice to the characters and is heart-wrenching in a good way : in Doctor Who, that love triangle consists of the two same guys with the girl they both love since they're the same guy so... never mind, I digress. :P)

Again, one of the reasons I didn't continue with 'Down the Pathway.' ;)

vanimy From: vanimy Date: August 25th, 2008 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
In the end, Rachel chooses Harvey (on her ‘deathbed’) and breaks up with Bruce (by a Dear John letter) and somehow, we’re supposed to sympathize with Harvey when her death causes him to flip over the edge? (I would have ranted a bit more about the unrealistic nature of Harvey’s turn but [info]fialleril already did it better).

That bothered me greatly too. In a way it was a good thing she chose in the end rather than her being stuck between the two but I felt that:
1)She only chose Harvey because she was disappointed with Bruce for not saying the truth about him and letting Harvey take the Batman identity. The whole 'oh, but I didn't mean reunited in that way' to Bruce in the letter was stupid.
2)Even if she had chosen before that, it weakens both her relationships to Bruce and Harvey.
It makes Bruce all sad and angsty over a woman who obviously didn't love him as much as he thought she did (well, it also worked if she had chosen him since she obviously only loved one part of him, and that is her childhood friend even when it's really obvious Bruce DID change.)
And it makes Harvey turn to the dark side for someone who didn't love him completely in the first place since she obviously had a thing for Bruce still...

Speaking of Harvey, I had some issues with his character as well. I liked him better as a baddie actually. :P Because all that talk about how perfect he was from everyone, even freakin' Batman, it was quickly tiring for me...

Another woman who got the short end of the stick in this movie actually did it by never being there: Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. Batgirl a.k.a. Oracle, a.k.a. the little girl Mrs. Gordon was holding whose face we didn’t see and voice we didn’t hear a.k.a. the kid of Gordon who should have got all those lines/scenes centering on Batman and heroes.

:o

I'm not very well-versed in the Batman universe obviously since I had no idea Batgirl was related to Gordon. (It hurts to think my only version of Batgirl is Alicia Silverstone in 'Batman and Robin.' Yes, that one... With George Clooney. And Arnold S. And those horrible jokes. *shudders*)

I’m left to wonder if Christopher Nolan and the screenwriters don’t have a serious problem with women.

Sadly enough, not many screenwriters write women well enough......

Gordon’s ‘resurrection’ was one of the few things I wasn’t spoiled for in this movie and it made me cheer.

I was unspoiled, but just knew they couldn't kill him off. I wasn't really surprised but I cheered all the same. ;)

The sub-plot/arc of the over-zealous tattler/would-be blackmailer’s arc was fun and not in the least gratuitous. If that guy turns up in the next movie, I imagine he’ll be one of Batman’s most loyal allies.

Yes, it was really entertaining and not gratuitous since it tied in with the last part of the movie.

Is Batman’s ‘extradition’ of Lau legal? I mean, of course, it wasn’t legal but couldn’t the Chinese government just accuse the U. S. government of kidnapping and demand their citizen back?

Law, what law? That was fun to see Batman take his butt back to the US. I have to admit I didn't really wonder about that, was too busy having fun. ;)

I thought the Scarecrow had gone crazy at the end of “Batman Begins”? I don’t understand how he was apparently on Batman’s side at the beginning of the movie.

I don't know if I got that part right but it looked like he had evaded and all the would-be Batmans were trying to arrest him, hence all of them tied up at the end of the scene.

This movie would have been a great deal better if Harvey and Rachel had been merged into one character. i.e. if Batman’s childhood friend who worked in the D. A.’s office in the first movie had become the recently appointed D. A. and recently sired White Knight only to fall from grace in the second movie. In order words, this movie would have been awesome with a female Harvey Dent.

This is an awesome idea, you know... They could've waited for another movie to introduce 'Two-Face' after all. That would've been even more gut-wrenching for Batman and would've made for an awesome female character.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: August 26th, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOL! I'd say don't go watch the Mummy if you expect a good movie or even an entertaining one. But if you're entertained by pointing and mocking then there are lots to point and mock at in this one! :P

while I agree with the Mummy not done without Fraser, they could've done Batman without Bale. (wouldn't have been as good, granted, but it's not the first time they change Batman's character...)

I actually thought about this -- the fact that the Batman franchise has had a series of actors playing BW --- and I decided against. Nolan really defined Batman Begins with Christian Bale in mind (the two of them have worked on several projects together) and I don't think he'd be as interested in a sequel to Begins without Bale on board. Definitely, another director would have picked up the franchise, but I don't think he'd have made a sequel --- just another chapter in the Batman-verse.

Rachel's arc in Begins was stronger than in the Dark Knight so I guess I have to say I prefer Katie H's as Rachel. But that's not a very comparison of the two actresses and I know that.

The other solution is also having the girl realizing one of the guys is actually her brother (;)) OR realizes she always loved him as a brother (*coughs* HP *coughs*).

LOL! I have no idea what you're talking about. /snerk.

That Doctor Who love triangle sounds absolutely brilliant! And I feel horrible for thinking that my one original idea is part of the biggest sci-fi franchise in GB. /sad-face.

Thank you for analyzing completely why the Love Triangle of TDK fails on so many levels and ruins both characters, story and sheer credibility of the movie.

It hurts to think my only version of Batgirl is Alicia Silverstone in 'Batman and Robin.' Yes, that one... With George Clooney. And Arnold S. And those horrible jokes. *shudders*

I used to like Alicia Silverstone! lol! But yeah, that movie was terrible. :p

Law, what law? That was fun to see Batman take his butt back to the US. I have to admit I didn't really wonder about that, was too busy having fun. ;)

lol! Well you know me. My husband was cheering along with everyone else and ignoring my pinching him and hissing, "WTH?! He can't do that! Can he do that?"

I don't know if I got that part right but it looked like he had evaded and all the would-be Batmans were trying to arrest him, hence all of them tied up at the end of the scene.

OK, that makes sense. That part was a bit confusing and when he now started telling Batman that he (Batman) needed help, it appeared that the Scarecrow was on his side...

This is an awesome idea, you know... They could've waited for another movie to introduce 'Two-Face' after all. That would've been even more gut-wrenching for Batman and would've made for an awesome female character.

I think movie makers/Tv writers should try this a little bit more. One of the reasons why Avatar (another fandom :P) is so great with female characters is that two of the main characters were originally conceived as male, and then switched to female.

I know exactly what you mean about the movie being intellectually fulfilling. It had a very smart plot, with a lot of things tying together at the end, dealt intelligently with a lot of profound themes, had a moral climax as opposed to a violent, special-effects-ridden one, and left the answers to most of the questions open-ended - the audience has the final say on whether the decision made by Gordon and Batman at the end of the movie really was a right one or even the best one.

But yes, you hit the nail on the head about the lack of emotions. The biggest emotional connection I made was with Bat! Brian and his death but somehow, I don't think that was the movie's intention.

I love your rambling. Please ramble on! :D

Edited at 2008-08-26 08:04 pm (UTC)
lesbiassparrow From: lesbiassparrow Date: August 25th, 2008 10:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am not quite sure why they even bother to have women in the Batman movies because they really can't be bothered to do anything with them. Just have Batman shown sleeping with hookers so people don't think he's gay and then be done with it, because, honestly, it seems that that's the only reason they have women at all in both of the new Batman films.

I so wish Brendan Fraser would be in better films. He seems to have an irresistible attraction to crap.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: August 26th, 2008 12:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just have Batman shown sleeping with hookers so people don't think he's gay and then be done with it, because, honestly, it seems that that's the only reason they have women at all in both of the new Batman films.

LOL! Oh dear, I hope not! Although there is very little evidence to the contrary! Perhaps they could take a leaf from Sirius Black, and put a few Sports Illustrated calendars in the Batcave?
helivoy From: helivoy Date: August 25th, 2008 11:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: August 26th, 2008 12:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have read it via fialleril. It's very enligtening, if a little depressing.
helivoy From: helivoy Date: August 26th, 2008 01:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Most fantasy/sf is still solidly directed to pre-and post-adolescent boys. Ursula le Guin wrote repeatedly about this, most recently in her collection The Wave in the Mind. So did Joanna Russ, in the famous essay How to Suppress Women's Writing (the fact that she was categorized as an angry lesbian does nothing to diminish the power and rightness of her conclusions; given that she wrote it decades ago, it's depressing).

Oddly enough, one film that passes that test is Willow. More here:

http://www.starshipnivan.com/blog/?p=47
fialleril From: fialleril Date: August 26th, 2008 06:25 am (UTC) (Link)
His social experiments, his whole character and the fact that he’s supposed to be the avatar of chaos, made me think of Roger in William Golding’s The Lord of the Rings.

I think you mean Lord of the Flies. ;) If so, I can definitely see the comparison!

I wonder how many people will realize that the climax of this movie wasn’t Batman finally taking down the Joker or Harvey dying but the decision by the ferry people to rise above a nightmarish situation and not blow up each other?

That was...one of the very few things I actually liked about this movie? I also enjoyed the fact that it came down to the decision of the prisoner ship rather than the civilian ship.

Ultimately, though, I felt that the triumph of that moment was kind of ruined by the ending. Because when Batman decided he had to run, had to hide, had to play the villain in a cover-up of Harvey's "death" because people can't handle the truth - in that moment, the Joker won. I felt that the end really undid whatever semblance of meaning/resolution had been found in the movie previously, and it really grated on me.

I am yet to see any form of fiction where this is ever done in a way that does not render members of the parties: selfish, stupid, pigheaded or promiscuous, and sometimes all four.

YES! This is precisely why I hate love triangles.

I’m left to wonder if Christopher Nolan and the screenwriters don’t have a serious problem with women.

Considering that every single woman in Nolan verse is now either dead, sidelined, or proven a traitor (Gordon's right hand woman whose name I can't remember), I'd say it seems likely.

Geez, those fierce-talking Black mobsters make excellent cannon fodder, don’t they?

And there's that too. *rolls eyes*

I've never seen any of the Mummy movies, and I can't say I'm sorry about that. However, if you'd like to see a movie with great father/son conflict and some great mother/son conflict (as well as mother/daughter!) and bonding, I could not possibly recommend The Namesake more highly.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: August 26th, 2008 08:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whatever would I do without you? *rushes back to edit*


Ultimately, though, I felt that the triumph of that moment was kind of ruined by the ending. Because when Batman decided he had to run, had to hide, had to play the villain in a cover-up of Harvey's "death" because people can't handle the truth - in that moment, the Joker won. I felt that the end really undid whatever semblance of meaning/resolution had been found in the movie previously, and it really grated on me.

I don't think it ruins it as much as acts as a foil against it. While Batman & Gordon [& even dead!Harvey in a sense] are saving Gotham by manipulating the truth, thinking about the kind of hero the people "need" and creating one for them, and generally playing God (in fact doing exactly what the Joker accused them of and punished them via Harvey for), the people have already saved themselves. So in the end, it's Batman's tragedy but it's only his own and the real tragedy is that he never had to bear it.

Considering that every single woman in Nolan verse is now either dead, sidelined, or proven a traitor (Gordon's right hand woman whose name I can't remember), I'd say it seems likely.

*sighs*

I've never seen any of the Mummy movies, and I can't say I'm sorry about that.

lol!

*goes off to Wiki The Namesake*
From: bobill Date: August 27th, 2008 02:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Did not see the Mummy, but about TDK:

I agree the Bat!Clone sacrifice was pretty gruesome. I mean the guy wasn't just rooting for Batman, he was actually going out there and fighting crime. Of course Batman replies by beating him up...

Is Batman’s ‘extradition’ of Lau legal?

Definitely not. That bothered me. That, and why is it that the scariest mobster is always Chinese? Though I guess I feel for the Italians and the big black guys who seem to get the same treatment.

A female Dente... that's interesting. Definitely could be pulled off if Batgirl was merged, as you say. (I wonder whatever happened to Robin?)

Nice review!
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: August 27th, 2008 05:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I figured it wasn't but I wasn't sure... It annoyed me that they didn't even bother trying to explain how it was made legal.

That, and why is it that the scariest mobster is always Chinese?

Oh don't make me remember the Chinese captain who was the only pirate to try to rape Elizabeth Swann (and was killed to boot!).


Apparently, Nolan doesn't like Robin either so I have no idea what will happen to the Bat sidekicks. I think a female Dent would have rocked and totally hit this movie out of the ball-park.


Alas...

pyramidhead316 From: pyramidhead316 Date: August 29th, 2008 03:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have a theory on why they allowed the abduction of Lau, but I'll have to post it later on.

Why is he the scariest mobster, though? He's just a financer, and like the Joker said, he's the type to squeal. He's only in this for the money, I bet. Once he sees the first sign of trouble, he rats them out like a true businessman.

If anything, the Russian guys and Maroni are the scariest because they let this madman run loose around the city. The black guys at least have some sense and try to kill this guy before he can do anything serious.

(Not that I approve of killing, mind you. But come on, this guy is f*cking insane. If they'd have succeeded, they would have actually been doing the city a favor. That would never happen in a story, but it's the principal of the thing.)

Unfortunately they didn't count on the Joker himself taking up their bounty offer and fooling them like he did. Expect the unexpected when dealing with a madman. ;)
pyramidhead316 From: pyramidhead316 Date: August 29th, 2008 03:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree the Bat!Clone sacrifice was pretty gruesome. I mean the guy wasn't just rooting for Batman, he was actually going out there and fighting crime. Of course Batman replies by beating him up...

The thing is, they were doing it with guns. Batman doesn't like guns. They were trying to kill these guys, and that's where he disagreed with them.

I think if they'd have just been costumed crimefighters, he would have been more forgiving. But by trying to kill these guys, or arrest them at gunpoint, they crossed the line.

Word to the wise: if you ever become a costumed crimefighter in Gotham City, you can do many things. You can put a costume, strap on some body armor, use sais and bostaffs, but don't you dare take up a gun! Keep away from the firearms, or the resident psychopath will come after you. ;)
pyramidhead316 From: pyramidhead316 Date: August 29th, 2008 02:46 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't know if you'll appreciate me commenting on your journal, after the comments we've exchanged on other topics. But I've been discussing The Dark Knight on various pages for a while now, and I can never resist a chance to comment on it. ;)

This movie would have been a great deal better if Harvey and Rachel had been merged into one character. i.e. if Batman’s childhood friend who worked in the D. A.’s office in the first movie had become the recently appointed D. A. and recently sired White Knight only to fall from grace in the second movie.

No way. I have to disagree, respectfully, I don't think that would have flown well. But not for the reason you might think. The idea of combining Rachel and Harvey into one character is a unique suggestion for their problems, and one I hadn't seen before. Now, the premise itself could be done and done well (more on that later), but the reaction? That's where the problem would be. Harvey is a man in the comics, obviously, and his character has been very well defined over the years. Now, since this is a superhero film, you're dealing with fans who have been following this material for many, many years. They want everything to go their way and resist any type of change, even ones that are good, unless they absolutely turn out perfect. Imagine what the fanboys would have done if Harvey was turned into Rachel? They would have been pissed off and frantically protested Nolan's involvement in the series, and would have basically bashed him into ground. It would have been a miracle if he had been able to completely salvage the reputation of the film in time for the premiere.

I mean, Bruce training with the League of Shadows was a stretch. Thankfully it worked. But...it might not have. People could have hated Nolan for taking that direction, since Bruce doesn't meet the League of Assassins until years later, and Ra's Al Ghul is immediately a villain. It actually almost takes away from Bruce's journey to develop himself independently as in the comics, were it not for the fact that they give him some awesome training and make him question his philosophy on things. They even took a risk by merging Henri Ducard and Ra's into the same person. The reason it worked in the film is probably because people don't care about Ra's and the League of Assassins that much. ;)

There actually was a female Two-Face in the comics (Duela Dent), so it's not that it can't be done. Villains change sides and genders all the time with so many AUs in the comics. I've lost count of the different versions of characters I've seen and read about over the years. It's just that Nolan's already taking many liberties with the comics in the movies. How long can he continue to get away with it? In that regard, it's almost wise they chose not to tell the Joker's backstory. Let the audience make up their minds as to where he came from and how he formed.

That said, I wonder how the Riddler would work as a woman? ;D

I want to see Catwoman in the next movie, but it's pretty clear Nolan's not going to do it. He has it out for the villains who have appeared in previous films.(with the exception of Two-Face and the Joker, it seems). It seems people like the idea of the Riddler, but not the backstory and the motives. There's a solution. The Riddler is a gimmick that anybody could wrestle away from E. Nygma if they were determined enough, and smart enough (Nygma's psychological issues notwithstanding). A woman can easily fill the role, and she doesn't have to be a love interest. Matter of fact, someone in that position couldn't even be remotely considered for a love interest.

I have more comments on Harvey and the film if you want to hear them. I'll wait for your response before posting them, but as I said, I'm really interested in this topic.
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pyramidhead316 From: pyramidhead316 Date: August 29th, 2008 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Postscript

I was bit put off with the tone with which you ended the discussion on lazypadawan’s journal because it struck me as more defeated than enlightened.

I guess it did sound a bit defeated. But it wasn't particularly what you said. I think even without your comments, I still would have reached that same conclusion. Clone Wars hasn't ever been particularly appealing for me. I wasn't looking forward to seeing it in the first place, but then I grew a little excited about it. But then seeing what everybody thinks of it and how that quickly overshadowed any of its strengths...I don't know, it just seems like a bunch of missed opportunities. At least Dark Knight tried to make the best of its storyline despite its misguided steps by the writers (and one of which is Harvey Dent, I'll admit), and I respect it for it. So did Indiana Jones. But Star Wars...it just seems like they didn't think about anything. They just threw stuff on the screen and expected it to work, with no questions asked by the fans.

I think the first thing about any superhero movie is that the writer is adding his own interpretation to the story and a lot of fans realize that.

True enough. I think Batman has done well to keep up with the times in the comics, but Superman has struggled to stay relevant, and it shows in the films. Bryan Singer did an entire homage to "Superman - The Movie" with Superman Returns, not realizing people wanted to see a sequel to it, not a rehash. The people who read Superman now read a different Superman than the one that film was based on (I don't know if you're familiar with it, but remember DC's "Crisis on Infinite Earths", when everything reset itself?).

Of course, there will always be ‘purists’ who will never be satisfied with anything less than the original. Despite the commercial and critical acclaim of the Lord of the Rings movies, there are Tolkien fans who despise them.

I agree. Some people don't like any kind of change, even when it's for the better. Like I said, it's not that idea that's troublesome, I just wonder what the reaction would have been had the writers announced they decided to go with a woman for Two-Face, and whether Nolan would have been able to fix that on his own. If he had the support of the comics writers, that's one thing, but as a director doing his own writing with a couple of others, he was still proving that he could do Batman right.

I think the fanboys can be picky when it comes to these things, and that can be a good or a bad thing. It can work in your favor, by having them flock to the movie, or it can work against you. People tarnished Daredevil and to be honest, I didn't think it was that bad of a film. I liked it when I saw it in theaters, and when I saw the true version (the director's cut), I was even more impressed. It did exactly what I expected of Daredevil. It set up Daredevil's origins, and threw in some events from the series showing what he goes through. The costumes were missing from Elektra and Bullseye, but it was still a respectable effort. And Elektra wasn't treated as a woman-in-peril. She did a brave thing in going after her father's killer (even if she had the wrong guy), and she fought Bullseye hand to hand. She put up a good fight, and Bullseye beating her was a canon event in the comics. She even beat the hell out of Daredevil before that.

Oddly enough, sometimes they don't complain about what they should (X-Men becoming Wolverine's movie, and it's sequels, Spider-Man not having a sense of humor, Iron Man's convenient plot device with the power source near the end). I'm still in shock over how the Cyclops and Jean Grey relationship was treated in the X-Men films, because it the heart of the Dark Phoenix saga and it was conceivably the only healthy relationship in the Marvel universe.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: August 29th, 2008 12:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know if you'll appreciate me commenting on your journal, after the comments we've exchanged on other topics. But I've been discussing The Dark Knight on various pages for a while now, and I can never resist a chance to comment on it. ;)

Why shouldn’t I? I’m interested in discussing the movie and I will try to be open-minded about your points. I like discussions, exchanging ideas for the sake of enlightenment and not just debating because someone wants to ‘win’. I was bit put off with the tone with which you ended the discussion on lazypadawan’s journal because it struck me as more defeated than enlightened. You raised a lot of good points that I would like to discuss with you one of these days. But most of the points didn’t have anything to do with mine or fialleril’s OP and I did not want to get sidetracked.

Imagine what the fanboys would have done if Harvey was turned into Rachel? They would have been pissed off and frantically protested Nolan's involvement in the series, and would have basically bashed him into ground. It would have been a miracle if he had been able to completely salvage the reputation of the film in time for the premiere.

I think the first thing about any superhero movie is that the writer is adding his own interpretation to the story and a lot of fans realize that. (Remember the first people who fell in love with the original Batman, Superman, comics etc are generations older than the people who’ll watch these movies. Heck, some of them are even dead).

I don’t know a lot about comic book mythology but I do know that there’re constantly re-inventing their heroes, from origin stories to love interests to allies and villains. Superman, for example, has his parents alive and well into his late thirties in one series of interpretations. Then in another, Jonathan Kent dies when he’s in high school. Then in another, both Kents died when he was still very young. Look at the way the Superman movies, Lois and Clark & Smallville all have different takes on his childhood and his romance with Lois Lane but they are all very successful with the fans.

I didn’t know that about the League of Shadows/Assassins. I didn’t think the Begins movie was very well done but that was one part that I liked. Now that I know what it was derived from, I think the interpretation was well done.

The fact that there is a female Harvey Dent/Two Face even makes the story much easier to adapt than if they were just changing the gender of an established character.

I firmly believe that anything can work well in a story as long as it’s written in a realistic way and not tagged on just to move the plot – or worse, as fan service. Of course, there will always be ‘purists’ who will never be satisfied with anything less than the original. Despite the commercial and critical acclaim of the Lord of the Rings movies, there are Tolkien fans who despise them. However, as a general rule, a well-written story – even an adaptation – will do well critically and successfully when it is well-written. It would not appeal to everyone but nothing ever does. So will a female Harvey Dent, done well, be welcomed by all the Batman fans? No. But will a female Harvey Dent, done well, make the movie even more critically and commercially successful than it was? I like to think so.
pyramidhead316 From: pyramidhead316 Date: September 1st, 2008 05:53 am (UTC) (Link)
But discussions like this are still important because maybe, just maybe, someone who reads/listens to them will have a change of heart and one day be in a position to make a difference.

I agree. However, I think I'm still going to stay away from deep Star Wars discussion of this nature for a while. Like I said in one post in my journal, it's starting to affect my appreciation of the movies and I need that to continue writing fanfics. So it's better if I take a break from heavy discussion for a while, and focus on my own fics and possibly lighter topics.

But would that have been possible? She was in the D. A. office not the police force. I thought the position of Commissioner was a police officer’s?

Yeah, but you don't think of it at the time. Or rather, I didn't think of it. All I thought at the time was, "What the hell? They killed Gordon! Are they going to have Rachel take over?" After I thought about it a while, I thought she could definitely end up as Commissioner, to honor Gordon's memory in the next film; somehow I missed the disconnect between the two services. But then Gordon showed up again, so that put an end to that thought.

I guess she could have gone into the police force to combat crime more directly in Gordon's memory, but she wouldn't leave such a valuable office as the D.A.

I think the idea of Gordon’s wife might not have served the purpose of turning Harvey Dent because while it is a tragedy, it’s not the personal tragedy that would have been enough to turn a supposedly good man to the dark side.

I think that's why Harvey really needed the alternate personality angle to work. It's interesting because Aaron Eckhart said he read about personality disorders even before making the movie; apparently he has an interest in it. Why would he read all this stuff and then not put it to use? I'm sure it was Nolan and the writers who decided that, but they missed a great opportunity by not taking advantage of it.
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