Daring to hate ‘Dark Knight’

July 19, 2008 | 4:40 p.m.

heath ledger as the joker in the dark knightDavid Edelstein dared to go against the critical mass and now his e-mail inbox is paying the price.

Edelstein writes film reviews for New York magazine and he walked away from “The Dark Knight” with a strong opinion that the film was ponderous and bleak with a disturbing cruel streak. Here’s an excerpt:

“We’re now in a modern, untransformed Manhattan, where the Joker’s opening bank heist unfolds in a tense, realistic style with multiple point-blank shootings. It’s a shock — and very effective — to see a comic-book villain come on like a Quentin Tarantino reservoir dog. But then the novelty wears off and the lack of imagination, visual and otherwise, turns into a drag. The ‘Dark Knight’ is noisy, jumbled, and sadistic. Even its most wondrous vision — Batman’s plunges from skyscrapers, bat-wings snapping open as he glides through the night like a human kite — can’t keep the movie airborne. There’s an anvil attached to that cape.”

Yes, he made a bit of a hometown error there (the Gotham scenes of the movie were made in Chicago, not in his own New York) but it’s his point of view that really sent fans into a rage. The hate mail reached such a avalanche level, he responded with a second essay. Here’s his intriguing explanation:

“Why — apart from narcissistic injury — do I respond to the abuse? Because there has been a lot of chatter in the last few years that criticism is a dying profession, having been supplanted by the democratic voices of the Web. Not to get all Lee Siegel on you, but the Internet has a mob mentality that can overwhelm serious criticism. There is superb film writing in blogs and discussion groups — as good as anything I do. But there are also thousands of semi-literate tirades that actually reinforce the Hollywood status quo, that say: ‘If you do not like The Dark Knight (or The Phantom Menace), you should be fired because you do not speak for the people.'”

Well, the people don’t need to be spoken for. And a critic’s job is not only to steer you to movies you might not have heard of or that died at the box office. It’s also to bring a different, much-needed perspective on blockbusters like The Dark Knight.

Columnist Patrick Goldstein, my distinguished colleague here at The Times, has a take on this too at his must-read Hollywood blog, The Big Picture.

– Geoff Boucher

Update: Some readers inferred from my post that Edelstein left the screening of “The Dark Knight” early. He didn’t (as far as I know) so I have edited the post above to eliminate the imprecise language. The line “walked out of ‘The Dark Knight'” is now “walked away from ‘The Dark Knight.'”

Image from “The Dark Knight” courtesy of Warner Bros.

More in: Uncategorized, Batman, The Dark Knight

Comments


183 Responses to Daring to hate ‘Dark Knight’

  1. Ted Henderson says:

    I agree with Edelstein. I'm 45 years old and I've made a point of attending every Batman movie on opening day since June 1989. I love the character and his various incarnations but the "Dark Knight "went past being what I want out of a comic book movie. Half way through the movie I remember thinking I'd been tricked into going to a slasher film. It doesn't matter that you don't really see the slashing, it's just filmed so realistically that the image of a smile being cut into a face is strong whether you see it or not. I remember thinking that if Batman was not in this film, I would never have come to see it.
    Thank God for "IRON MAN". I look forward to the next installment of that FUN action adventure. As for Batman, I don't think I'll go see another gilm of this grim tone. Hopefully Robin will show up in the next movie and lighten things up.

    • googoogoojoob says:

      Has anyone who watches a Batman movie ever read a Batman comic book? Did you know that the Joker killed one Robin? He maimed the original Batgirl? Batman's back was once broken, Gotham was destroyed in an earthquake. The comic book creators themselves attempt to out do Hollywood and the video game makers at every turn. Even comic book Iron Man is harsher than the glib, self-obsessed version played by RDJ. I watched Iron Man twice in theaters. Rented it on DVD, then decided it was a dumb popcorn movie and never bothered with it again. Similarly, there are comic book conventions and cliches that keep Batman Begins from having the impact of The Dark Knight. The villain's plan is stupid and there are too many dumb one-liners ("Nice coat", "I gotta get me one of those" ka-ching!) Imo, the brillance of The Dark Knight is that Nolan & co obviously decided to make a crime thriller. This was as close to a Martin Scorcese Batman movie as we will ever see. Think about the fact that there is never a drop of blood on screen (a la The Godfather), but the violence and action is enough to knock you for a loop and keep you reeling.

      • johnwaynman says:

        Or the kids shooting at the car and it actually exploding… so glad they didn't repeat that gag in TDK :)

  2. Eli Langer says:

    i agree and support as both an artist and a critic that we need to wake up from the passive stupor of the last decade. a consumer conformist celebration in which our nation went along with the sick two-dimensional sadistic anti-human violence of the entertainment industry.
    the time is now for a review of our cultural dead -end game playing which has led us into an apolitical and cynical surrender akin to clinical depression whose symptoms are treated without addressing the causes.
    the short sighted motives of the entertainment industry mimicking the filthy selfishness of corporate culture and washington has brought our humanity to its knees in submission.
    call it when you see it critics.
    a new day is coming.

    • johnwaynman says:

      I think you may be rambling.
      You realize that TDK is an ice cream pudding compared to countless violent movies from any decade, any country, and any century as far as fiction in general is concerned?

  3. debbie says:

    It was a huge relief to see a review that was more fair than all the biased positive reviews of the movie. Thank you for an honest review….you did not have to justify it at all. After watching this movie I was shocked to find that people loved it. It is at best a fairly okay movie with some decent action scenes. First of all- Maggie Gyllenhall was so wrong, dead and bland for this role, totally taking away the charm of two men fighting over, crying over turning into villians over someone like her….so not believable. Next the dialogues were so inane and juvenile, so many cliches, jaded lines….that it was almost a joke to have to hear them with the contrived intensity of the characters. After watching Iron man with nifty, mature, intellectual dialogues and with a brilliant superhero who makes his own suit, gizmos and kicks bad guys behinds…to hear the silly dumb lines in Batman and his asking for a new suit just seemed a lil silly. Batman Begins was absolutely fantastic and this is such a lame follow up….I hope the Nolan brothers do not get carried away by the false hype and love for this version and sacrifice the screenplay once again after this…Bale is fantastic as Batman and it would be a shame to let that go.

    • johnwaynman says:

      She was much more interesting than Katie Holmes, who played the character in that movie you just praised :)
      (Although it should be noted that she was much more of a proactive character in the first one… now that she's with a like-minded male attorney, she doesn't have to do the job herself? Ah whatever, unfortunate implications.)

      Some people just don't think too much before posting, do they…

  4. M. Y. says:

    Thanks. I don't need to suffer through all the gratuitous gore and stupidity of another "Sin City". I go to the movies for entertainment. For blood and gore, I watch the news on TV.

  5. Ben says:

    I agree 100%.
    I personally lost all faith in movie critics when they raved about Episode 3 and Spiderman 2, two movies which were total rubbish. Hype and cheerleading and big budgets does not a good movie make. Now I just trust my own instinct.

  6. Mark says:

    Saw 'Dark Knight' last night. meh.

  7. Paul Nicholas Boylan says:

    This was a deeply disturbing film, and it is very much worth seeing for that reason alone. Good triumphs in the end, but only in the aggregate and at great cost. Whereas Batman Begins was action/adventure, the Dark Knight is horror, thanks in large measure to Heath Ledger's amazingly subtle and complex Joker.
    I am going to think about this film for a very long time and wonder what I would have done if presented with the difficult choices the Joker crafted to rob his victims of their souls.

  8. tess says:

    Mr. Edelstein does not understand that a, perhaps the, principal function of a critic is to assist people in deciding whether to spend their hard earned cash watching a movie. I'm not familiar with Mr. Edelstein's oevre, but if he generally bashes revenge driven action movies, then he is failing his readers. His biases interfere with his job performance, and Mr. Edelstein should not be allowed to rate such movies.

  9. Tommy C says:

    Everyone has their own opinion,
    I just cant see how someone couldnt like that movie.
    I thought it was the best movie i've ever seen.

  10. Eggbert says:

    What, no one can have their own opinion anymore? Screw all those people that think The Dark Knight is the best movie ever. Personally I get sick of hearing about movies like this when they come out… it's like that's all they talk about… how great it is. And then finally you go see it, and it's just another average movie. Just cause an actor dies while/after making his last movie doesn't automatically mean it's a great movie. The Crow, Almost Heroes, Twilight Zone, Wagons East, Dark Blood, Gladiator. If you like a movie, that's great, not all people are going to like it though so quit getting pissed that they don't. Like Peter Griffin not liking The Godfather… I happen to agree with that.

  11. nojustice says:

    I agree to some extent – the movie moved slowly, was jumbled at times, and was only depressing. I REALLY wnated to like this movie as much as Batman Begins, but I just didn't.
    I also hate to say it, but does Heath Ledger really deserve an Oscar nomination for this performance? Maybe, but I would hate to be an actor who gave a fantastic performance in a different movie and have to go against a dead guy. I'm not saying Mr Ledger did anything other than a fine job, but now perspective will be skewed when Hollywood considers this performance at Oscar time.

  12. avraam jack says:

    .
    They need to get Bruce Timm to write the stories.
    .

  13. Sleepy D says:

    How strange, a movie critic having a critical opinion of a blockbuster movie – you mean he's not being paid by some studio or network to push the film. Imagine, people just going around giving their straight an honest opinion. What's the world coming to. Why can't we water it all down to a nice two thumbs up.

  14. John says:

    I loved the movie. It was a true sequel to Batman Begins, and is a new take on Batman's universe that is probably more closer to truth. It is a shame that we won't see Ledger perform the role again.

  15. Jay says:

    For all those people who flooded his email with hate mail were one of two people….
    A. Those still live at home Batman fans who dont understand a movie critics job and dont know a good movie when they see one……
    or…
    B. The idiots on every site talking about thier love for Batman even if the site has nothing to do with it.
    I totally respect this critic and although i am a batman an i must say its a relief to see someone on the other side of the field…congrats man…keep it up

  16. yodazeke says:

    Have not seen the Dark Knight yet. My comment is more about Edelstein. I really don't get the guy. I see him on Sunday Morning on CBS and just can't wait to hear his negative spin on nearly every movie he critiques. Just another critic who believes it's all about him/her and not about the film they are being critical of. The great part of the blogisphere is you don't have a so-called celebrity face on the review and you can read many reviews to get a real feel of the movie. Mainstream critics typically don't get it. I really miss Gene Siskel. He got it.

  17. Jason says:

    I think people need to start making judgment calls for themselves and by themselves. The Dark Knight was, IMO, a great COMIC BOOK movie. The origins of Batman and the Joker was never cutesy or pretty nor should it have been made that way. This movie was pretty close to how each character is presented in the comics and it also presented psychological themes like 'good vs evil' and morality. If you thought that this movie was too much then you really have little insight to what a comic book hero/villain really is like. Bale is great as Batman and Ledger was "The Joker".
    Like they say, to each his own.

  18. gorus says:

    I think that the Ledger's joker was terrible. It felt like he just walked out of a method acting class. Complex? No, one of the worst performances in a long time. And now, a call for an oscar nomination. Academy voters are idiots anyways.
    Terrible.

  19. 1974 says:

    smug. baby boomer. stupid "professional" movie reviewer. go build some houses or plant some corn. emailing your "opinions" every week must really make for a tough life. the media is religion. this is like armand du plessis saying he doesn't like the gospel of luke. WTF? Why do you care, why am I reading this and, most importantly, how much does david e make as a "professional" writer?

  20. Peter says:

    If you actually walked out of the film, you didn't do your job and review the entire movie (i.e., what you were PAID to do). I haven't seen the new Batman movie, but as a result of your walking out I won't take your opinion into account when I choose whether or not to see this movie (which I probably will, given the opinion of other critics who loved it). How many movies have surprised us (for better or worse) at or near their conclusion? I also will quit reading your reviews because you don't seem to be doing your job … that is, unless you feel your primary job is sell print and actually reviewing movies IN THEIR ENTIRETY is secondary!

  21. Nate says:

    "Columnist Patrick Goldstein, my distinguished colleague here at The Times, has a take on this too at his must-read Hollywood blog, The Big Picture."
    ummmm….and what's your take?

  22. Chris R says:

    In my opinion, it doesn't really matter whether a reviewer ultimately likes the movie or not. Both positive and negative reviews are important to me, in judging whether it's worth my time to go see a movie.
    What's actually important is the rationale behind the evaluation the reviewer gives. Did he/she put any real thought and reflection behind their opinion? Was the review a simple, noncritical gush or a hateful slam, or did the reviewer really put some consideration into it and describe the reasons for his/her reaction?
    If I decide to go see a movie, it will be on the basis (hopefully) of reviews on both sides, perhaps especially those that pan it. If I read too many positive reviews I will start specifically looking for (i.e. mrqe.com) negative reviews to get more information. If the values or principles brought forward by the review and its author are not ones I feel are relevant to me personally, I will still feel more justified in spending the money than if I hadn't read the dissenting opinions at all. Of course, the same is true for movies that are broadly disliked.
    Whether the movie really is good or bad, we all benefit from a variety of perspectives, especially those from reviewers brave enough to go against what happens to be a majority viewpoint.

  23. Jack says:

    I was deeply upset with the movie. I expected so much more.

  24. Noah Jones says:

    I have never really understood the relevance of critics. I can't tell you if this movie is worth while because I haven't seen it yet. The trailers and packaging look good … but so does the packaging on a can of spam.
    I don't see the need for anyone to tell me if a movie, tv show or play is worth watching from someone who as seen far too many movies, tv shows or plays and who has a perspective distinct from my own. Let Mr. Edelstein and any other critic write what they want … it is a valid opinion to themselves alone.
    I also don't see the purpose of award shows. The number one album of the year for me is the one i decide to listen to most often. What critics think, or even what you think for that matter, are irrelevant to me.

  25. Richard says:

    I'm on the fence regarding this article.
    Yes, the Dark Knight did in fact overdo a lot of the explosions, and greatly suffered from less intelligent dialogue than it's predecessor, as well as having some truly bad points that stretched the film an hour too long.
    However, the acting truly carried this film and made it better than it should have been. Never before have I seen such a maniacal and sinister bad guy performed so well. Heath Ledger's joker was truly above this film. Without him, the film would have been terribly average.
    So if Mr. Edelstien walked out of the film, surely some of this was missed. If people are to criticize a movie critic, shouldn't it be due to him doing half of his job? Personally I believe he suffers from trying to overhype his own opinion, just as the critics who have healed praise on this film.

  26. staunton says:

    i haven't seen the movie yet so I can't agree or disagree on his opinion. But the writer is just doing his job, which is being a critic. I frequent the rottentomatoes website and notice that for big blockeblusters like this, any critic that gives the movie a bad rating gets all the comments from the internet users while the critics that give good ratings will see nothing in their inbox.

  27. Ben W says:

    I completely agree that critics need to be out there giving their informed opinions about movies especially when they go against the grain, but I still disagree with David Edelstein's review of the movie. I went to go see it and was blown away by some great performances. For the first time ever I actually felt the dispare that the characters in the movie felt because there wasn't an easy way out through a very predictable resolution. Yes, the movie was dark. It was supposed to be. It's Batman and that's how the comic goes. As far as blood and gore, there wasn't anything excessive. Yes, there was killing, but they weren't showing the blood and guts of it. If you're looking for those cheesy Batmans of old, then yes you will be disappointed. It was just how it should have been.

  28. Peter Catizone says:

    I went expecting to like the movie but it dragged and it did not meet our expectations. The best part of the movie was the begining bank robbery scene and it never picked up steam from there. Oscar winning hardly! Jack Nicholson was better.

  29. Marni Parker says:

    I think there is a misunderstaning about "walked out." I believe that means after the movie was over–not before. I haven't seen the movie yet and probably won't. I go to the movies to be entertained not horrified, disgusted, or terrorized. While this is undoubtedly a well done movie, it isn't my kind of thing.

  30. BBQ Platypus says:

    Geez, reading the comments on this page only reminds me of what the Internet does to people. Even though I loved The Dark Knight, I agree that it is Mr. Edelstein's job to give his honest opinion of the film.
    However, the fact that many of the people seem to think that the only reason people claim to have enjoyed this movie was because they are drooling slaves to Hollywood marketing is equally disrespectful (if not MORE so) than the hate mail Edelstein has received. A lot of people liked the movie and some hated it. Get over yourselves – it's a movie.
    Also, what the hell did he expect? When your work is published where everyone can read it, you can expect for it to be read, judged, and criticized. Getting negative feedback doesn't make ANYBODY a martyr, no matter how insanely over-the-top they went.
    The very fact that this is even news is saddening. People are placing WAY too much value on themselves and their own opinions.

  31. JB says:

    Wow. I must say I too applaud any critic who has the guts to go against the masses these days. Bravo Edelstein. Either you're courageous or mad because your check from the studio is late. Either way, I have no faith in popular movie criticism these days. Can anyone really say this rambling, painfully long, shamble of a movie was good? How about the cliche-ridden dialogue and pointless subplots that never went anywhere? Can Aaron Eckhart please milk the coin toss ONE MORE TIME? Needless to say, a wonderful concept but sad screenwriting and a gigantic misuse of talent with the exception of Heath Ledger's wonderfully creepy performance. Have we slipped this far to think this is quality entertainment? A popcorn movie and nothing more…shame on the masses of critics who are playing into the studios hands like so many sheep!

  32. Drew says:

    Pft. Edelstein is just a troll and he's being disingenuous by blaming the Internet for being pissed at something he brought on himself.

  33. liloleme says:

    I saw the movie last night and I was less then impressed. So I guess that Mr. Edelstein speaks for at least one member of the community. I was so relieved to see the movie was over and then it drug on for another 45 minutes. The flashing, spinning scenes made me dizzy. The dialogue was often hard to understand and the script seemed patched together. I actually talked two other people into going to see it with me. They enjoyed it and I didn't. Go figure.

  34. Robert R says:

    Amen! A critic with the courage to point out that The Dark Knight is this summer's version of The Emperor Who Had No Clothes. Batman Begins was excellent and complex. This is a massively overhyped, very average film. Heath Ledger's performance wasn't outstanding; it wasn't any better than the work he did in A Knight's Tale,that laughably bad picture that brought him to the big screen.
    I sat in the audience thinking, "Am I missing something?". When the final credits rolled and the audience began, literally, booing the movie, I realized that my opinion was shared by quite a few others.

  35. OMG says:

    I saw TDK yesterday afternoon and was pretty disappointed. Like many, I think my initial focus was Heath's Joker which was good for what the character was but everything else about the movie disappointed me. I hear there will be a third one. Batman Begins is still the one to beat.

  36. Frank says:

    I recall several years ago another "critic" that walked out on a film. The now-departed Celestine Sibley (1914-1999), in her review in the Atlanta Journal, scathed the Hollywood machine for its lack of moral fiber and its contribution to the decline of society.
    Celestine recalled those "uplifting" films of her days, when Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland thrilled us with their galavanting antics.
    The film?
    The Shawshank Redemption.
    Perhaps if she had the fortitude to watch through the entire movie she would have experienced one of the most uplifting films ever made.
    Shame on her. Shame on you, Mr. Edelstein. Try to be a professional and do your job – or, perhaps, you are just getting a little long in the tooth.

  37. HipsterDoofus says:

    What made the Godfather an all time classic? Is it that it was just that good or was it more like we were TOLD it was that good and if you didn't believe it you should be burned at the stake. Don't get the wrong impression, I loved the Godfather 1 and 2, but why is it they are considered the greatest movies ever?
    The Dark Knight is a epic movie for what it is just like the Godfather. You cannot compare the Dark Knight to the Godfather 1 or 2 or to any other "classc" movies because they are not the same. You "enlightned" people need to get off its back and appreciate it for what it is, A MOVIE!! By the way, a movie that will make close to $500 million in North America alone, so evidently they are doing something right.

  38. Gregory says:

    >
    Eli Langer above nails it. I could not agree more.

  39. Brad says:

    Tess,
    The purpose of the critic is ABSOLUTELY NOT "to assist people in deciding whether to spend their hard earned cash watching a movie." The job of a critic is to offer honest criticism from their own unique perspective. That's it. Do your own research, watch the trailer. that's your job.

  40. kevgood says:

    "Edelstein writes film reviews for New York magazine and he walked out of "The Dark Knight" with a strong opinion that the film was ponderous and bleak with a disturbing cruel streak. Here's an excerpt:
    "We’re now in a modern, untransformed Manhattan, where the Joker’s opening bank heist unfolds in a tense, realistic style with multiple point-blank shootings."
    It is hilarious to me that a guy who writes film reviews for New York magazine thinks the opening scene of The Dark Knight was filmed in Manhattan. Hello! Ever heard of a place called Chicago, brainiac?

  41. JM says:

    I have no issue with going against the status quo in reviews as long as they have a good argument. After all, critics are just educated opinions based on an a sound education in film history.
    However, in SF Bay, we have Jan Wahl who bashes any film that isn't all happy-happy with no real educated data aside from "depressing and gross" or what she hijacks from our best reviewer Mick LaSalle. The last film she panned a flick as heavily as the "Dark Knight " was "No Country for Old Men".
    Point: the reviewer in this article had some good observations and was able to argue them. Fine, his opinion. If I want nothing great reviews of this film, I'll go to Batman fan site.

  42. Stanislaw says:

    I think move good movie! If you dont aggre with me, than your are a movie bad reviewer! Heth leger amazing! Good great movie!

  43. Sin Amos says:

    Thank God for IRON MAN. Haha. The Dark Knight is Shakespear compared to that FLUFF. Hahha. If you couldn't digest this version, then you have the palette of a preemie. Nolan has done what no other filmmaker has done. He made a real movie; not some caricature/cartoon freak show. HE MADE ART.

  44. Ray says:

    I'm on the fence when it comes to critics. Normally I write them off as complete windbags. Some are ultra-liberal crazies who back any piece of garbage produced by Hollywood. Others are sheltered suburbanite conservative soccer moms (this includes golfer men) who consider any film to be the work of the devil and the reason for civilization's collapse. However, on the flipside, there has been nothing but crap movies that consistently become blockbusters because most people in this country have been reduced to drooling imbeciles as a result of consuming nothing but reality tv and fast food. They spend their days texting their empty heads off and living for Paris Hilton gossip never realizing that they really have no right to life and are merely cannon fodder. I want to see The Dark Knight but when I noticed to quick theatre sellouts and long lines I winced and thought, "Uh oh! Another Spidey or Episode III?" So now I'm reluctant. These days you don't know who to believe, critics, your doped up A.D.D. buddies or the drunk relatives. I say kudos to this guy for not going with the masses bt at the same time, he might be trying to be "different guy" which is equally annoying. Wait for DVD I say.

  45. jordan says:

    The Dark Knight is without any dought the BEST movie of the summer! The only sad thing is that Heath isnt around to see how fans react to his roll as the Joker. This movie was amasing! Honestly if you do not like this movie you have bad taste in movies.

  46. Edom says:

    Deep movies like The Dark Knight are the only reason I'm still willing to attend superhero movies.

  47. TexanTexan says:

    A few things I learned during Dark Knight:
    – George Bush is Batman.
    – Bin Laden is The Joker
    – Homosexuals are evil (The Joker had some rather effeminate mannerisms, didn't he?).
    – Spying is good for us all.
    Did Rupert Murdoch bankroll this atrocity?
    …and finally…
    – Ledger ultimately wasted his life taking so seriously a role with inferior dialog, acting, and plot lines. He did an amazing job, but no one else stepped up (on or off screen).

  48. ben says:

    it seems like Edelstein is just SAYING he didn't like the movie and SAYING he walked out just to be the first guy to give The Dark Knight a bad review. Kind of like that annoying music snob friend we all have who trashes every new band that hits the radio……just so we'll think he seems smart and cool.
    So nobody listen to what he said….he's just playing the game and trying to get his column in lights……which he was very successful in doing. Too bad I would never respect any professional who walks out of a movie he is getting paid to review.
    Idiot

  49. DC says:

    The Dark Knight is dark for a reason. The world isn't campy. The Joker represents the evil in this world, and Two-Face is perfect for the current state of politics.
    But really, the only reviewer I would trust is Stanislaw.

  50. Janet Vandenabeele says:

    Critics have the right to speak their minds, and be right or wrong. Geez people, grow up a little and be tolerant!
    I've gone to see movies simply because of negative reviews, because it was obvious the critic didn't understand the genre and everything she or he didn't like was a tell to me that the movie might not be so bad and be worth my $$.
    My only criticism of critics is when they spin together self-concious prose without telling me anything about the movie and the *why* of their opinion. It's pretty clear from these blurbs that Mr. Edelstein was quite clear and I defend his right to speak out.

  51. ThaReelDeal says:

    Everyone should have their own opinions and should be able to express them freely. Personally, I was sceptical because of all of the hype surrounding the movie, but after seeing it last night, my expectations were exceeded. This movie is not for everyone, but whenever you give an opinion, you shouldn't present it in a "preaching" manner. Regardless of your thoughts based on what you have read or heard, you should definitely see the movie for yourself and make your own decision.

  52. Diasehmai says:

    I haven't seen the movie yet, but the only time during the past 20 years that I've seen a movie that justified the great reviews was "Gladiator." I respect Edelstein's right to his honest opinion, his daring to be different. Apparently I was the only person on the planet who didn't love "Chicago" – I thought it was the most annoying, lame piece of cinematic rubbish I've ever suffered through.

  53. Jeremy says:

    1. I loved the movie.
    2. The critic says he walked out of the movie, which almost everyone seems to have interpreted as leaving in the middle of it. I think it just means that he walked out after the movie with a negative view of the film. Let's not assume that someone who's job is to watch movies would stoop so low as to not watch the film he is reviewing.
    3. You can't please everyone, whether you're the critic, the director, or anyone else connected to the film. It's easy to look at the masses flocking to this movie and dismiss them all as idiot fan boys, but I think that's unfair. I can see why people love the movie, but I can also see why people don't. I don't presume to think of any of them as idiots for having an opinion so long as it's formed honestly.

  54. ck says:

    "Edelstein writes film reviews for New York magazine and he walked out of "The Dark Knight" with a strong opinion "
    I believe this sentence has confused some folks into thinking the reviewer left the film early. Or am I crazy?

  55. meyer.gerhard@gmail. says:

    I think that Hollywood and the indies have a serious mandate to bring back to the screen serious drama. The past few years have been seriously lacking in good storytelling, in any genre. Yes, we are all overwhelmed by the technological progress of Panda, Bee, Transformers et al, but can't we please have more drama again: from Dr Zhivago, Cabaret, Out of Africa, The English Patient, etc.
    Maybe I speak only for my self and myself alone – but I really would like to admire real actors instead of 3D generated ones.
    I need real live people, doing real live things now. Anything: from fist fights, anything like Fight Club (with its heavy assistance to make all scenes look true); I loved Die Hard 1; same with Speed 1.
    But all the movies coming out of Hollywood are nowadays tired. They have to improve on the previous' spectacular innovation – and I feel let down.
    I want more European style movies – Cinema Paradiso, etc. to be taken up in the Hollywood commercial mold. Sorry, retraction: no I don't want that, because then even meaningful social commentary will be turned into rubbish.
    But I sooooo wish for good cinema again.

  56. Arye Michael Bender says:

    The reviewer perfectly described modern day America when he called the film 'ponderous and bleak with a disturbing cruel streak.'
    Judging from 'The Prestige', here is a deep and powerful mind willing to comment on the state of our culture through his film works.
    The review and the filmmaker have kindled in me a desire to see a work I would have otherwise considered trivial.
    Thank you both.

  57. AnonymousEcho says:

    Wow, I'm insanely surprised at the negative feedback this movie is getting. Are you sure you went into the right movie. Last time I checked, a movie is never a carbon copy of a comic. There will always be minute changes in personality or degrees of emotion to verbalize a much more detailed depiction of a character. To all you hater fan boys out there, things change, get over it. The director did an amazing job and frankly, I think it will be almost impossible for any movie to top this. The amount of psychological breakdown in this movie was stunning; simply amazing. The joker, with the sadistic flick of the tongue across his mouth showed the insanity while he spoke in such logical tones. The classic good triumphs over evil scenario was brought into the movie ever so subtly but vibrant at the end. How the director captured the decisions people have to make in high stress situations was perfect. All emotions spread perfectly throughout the movie. Sorry, but those who need there hand held through a movie shouldn't be giving reviews. The world isn't picture perfect and idealistic as you might have thought, big shocker there. "Deeply disturbing," give me a break, sorry, maybe we should have dressed the joker in a Barney suit so he could give hugs to all the characters. If you can't analyze deeper meanings within a movie or read what the director was thinking in a certain scene, then frankly, I'm not sure how you were intelligent enough to post on this blog.

  58. Matt W. says:

    I just think that a movie should be reviewed for what it is, not what the reviewer wanted it to be.

  59. Curt Campbell says:

    This film is a dark, ugly mess. The Joker saves the film and we don't see enough of him…Technically from a special ops standpoint the tactics employed in the film were a failure. The Joker could have been taken out with one surgical shot to the head 15 minutes into the film. The frantic symphonic music did not meld with the film nor did the use of the city of Chicago or it's citizenry. This film is so all over the place that is loses itself completely, mixed messages and subplots…The leading lady was horrible in this film…Not a good film for kids or adults period. The film is that bad and ridiculous beyond words…What is lacking is the real depth that makes a great film…The very soul of the film, which doesn't exist. Someone must have paid the critics a lot of money to give up all of those A's…This film will be well received by gangs, hoods, thieves and the scum of the earth. Don't be a lemming…

  60. Craig Miller says:

    Criticism is not a popularity contest. It is informed observation and description. Because critics most often observe and comment on the arts, there will always be reasoned disagreement. In criticism, discrimination is not a bad word
    If our icons of discriminating taste became influenced by popularity, Julia Child would have made her living telling us how to make a McDonalds hamburger at home.
    Unfortunately, many of today’s blockbusters are the entertainment equivalent of a Mickey D round sandwich.
    I don’t always agree with David Edelstein, but I find him to be an excellent critic. I have not seen the movie in question, however, this is America and I support his curage to speak his mind about a run away blockbuster. You guys want fries with that movie.?

  61. jordan rubin says:

    i personally think it was a terrific movie and i am going out to see it in theatres again and can say that i have never done that for a movie yes i agree it was dark and at time a little far feched but then again it is a man in a cape but to all the people that scream about the reviews if you know how the moviei and have your own opinion why are you complaining about it everyone is titled to their own opinion even if it doesnt agree with yours if you think it was terrific advertise for via word of mouth or write a blog on it dont get your panties in a wad because someone doesnt agree with you

  62. mike says:

    i appreciate edelstein's original musings, and also his defense of them. i agree with some of his specific conclusions and disagree with others, but his opinions were clear, well reasoned, and came with examples. i don't know what a critic's job is, but what i want from them is honest opinions, specific examples, and clear logic to connect the two, and on that, he delivered.

  63. Chris says:

    Wow… This is guy is like the Uwe Boll of movie critics. Comparing "The Dark Knight" and "The Phantom Menace" is totally unjustified.
    To Mr. Pretentiousstein:
    You're entitled to a divergent opinion — even when your business is to form opinions and write about them. However, if the value of your writing is such that people are basing their decisions on your opinions, once your opinions differ from theirs there will be no need for your validation. I've made the mistake of passing on a film because a critic didn't like it (do I daresay Aeon Flux as example)– however, when I saw the film and enjoyed it, I chose not to listen to that critic as their is an obvious mis-calibration in our views on good or enjoyable cinema.

  64. A Realistic Person says:

    Who ever thought iron man was a good movie should kill themselves….Thats all i have to say.

  65. Darnell says:

    CK,
    Thanks for pointing out exactly what I was thinking:
    "Edelstein writes film reviews for New York magazine and he walked out of "The Dark Knight" with a strong opinion "
    I believe this sentence has confused some folks into thinking the reviewer left the film early. Or am I crazy?
    He didn't walk out before the movie was over which is what many people seem to be thinking – either a poorly constructed sentence or poorly constructed reading!

  66. Marco Gonzalez says:

    Except for the comments made by Anonymous Echo, I have been pretty upset to read any of these comments.
    Without going into why stupid people and their opinions make me mad, the bottom line is this, everyone has their own opinion of movies. Whether the movie is "good" or "entertaining" is COMPLETELY SUBJECTIVE. If you didn't like it, fine. If you loved it, fine.
    Don't try to tell anybody that one person's opinion is better than anyone else's. It doesn't matter. We are not judging this movie. We should not judge anyone's opinions.
    This blog should not exist. No one should be applauding this critic. No one should be sending hate mail. Agree or disagree and keep it to yourself. See the movie if you want and make your own decision, then keep it to yourself unless somebody asks you. Please.

  67. jw says:

    I haven't seen this movie yet, nor have I paid attention to prior reviews from Edelstein. In my opinion, movies allow us to escape from reality. They're "entertainment". The need to think that a deceased actor is better than all others is only PC BS. We feel bad for the loss experienced by his family and close friends. Does that mean he deserves a trophy to sit on someone else's shelf? Did he add some special contribution to the art? Did he perform at his best? That's what his multi-million dollar paycheck was for. Keep the awards for those that truly deserve them.

  68. BTH says:

    I just left the movie. And I really enjoyed it.
    A critic's job is to watch a movie, and to state their honest opinion of it. My job is to judge the critic's opinion. If I find a critic who's opinions match mine, then I know that I can rely upon their reviews to tell me rather or not I would enjoy the show. Edelstein does not like the type of movies I like, so I do not have to read his advice anymore-it does not apply to me. There are some people who will find his insights right on target, and they should continue to read his reviews.
    Heath Ledger was incredible. He brought the Joker, a comic-book character that is sadistically demented and darkly humorous, to life.

  69. Suzy says:

    I saw TDK last night. I can see why there are folks out there who would think this movie is less than great, and they'd be right. I found that the movie could have been a bit more fluid… The second half of the film seemed slow and choppy (editing or story line?), I fell asleep twice. I was disappointed because the beginning of the film was so promising. Also, I am a big Health Ledger fan and saddened by his death just like everyone else… but, I think it is ridiculous that this movie has Oscar Buzz even if it was a great performance. If it weren't for Ledger's death, this movie would never be considered by the Academy.

  70. franklyn bonnes says:

    when we go to the movies, what is it that wee want to see? how about what the previews tell us that the movie will be like, or what were in for. when i saw the advert for DARK KNIGHT i saw A VIOLENT, SADISTIC, GRIM, DARK, BRUTAL, SICK, AND TWISTED JOKER.THE WHOLE FREAKIN POINT OF THE MOVIE…
    if your cushy life doesnt warrent a desire for something shocking, and more for a whiny girl flick…
    GO SEE MAMA MIA D++KHEAD!!!

  71. Dave says:

    I won't be as eloquent as some of the other writers but my simple response is… Dude, what movie did you watch? The Dark Knight was a fun ride with a gritty feel and tragic undertone. Heath Ledger did an amazing job as the joker, introducing a dark side and edge that, in my opinion, redefined the character and somehow blew away the performance of Jack Nicholson in the previous incarnation (which i didn't believe was possible). Was the movie perfect? Of course not but the overall experience was exhilarating and a lot of fun.

  72. John says:

    "I just cant see how someone couldnt like that movie."
    That's the problem with fanboy mentality.

  73. Eggbert says:

    Why does anyone really care what a critic thinks anyway? I have NEVER taken the advice of a critic's review when choosing a movie. It really doesn't make sense for me to do so… why should I be told what is good and what isn't? If there is a movie that I want to see, I'm gonna go see it, or rent it, when it comes out on dvd.
    I know they were saying that this movie broke some record… I believe it was a midnight showing record. What I want to know is: Do they calculate for inflation? Let's face it, nothing ever gets cheaper. Shouldn't they gauge these records by attendance? 50 years from now, movies are going to cost double or triple what they cost today… I don't think it's fair that a movie should be the best grossing movie of all time, when there was more people who saw some other movie decades before when ticket prices were a lot lower.

  74. Scott says:

    I think it's foolish for a "movie critic" to what out of any movie. It's their job to watch and report, not judge right or wrong. I saw the movie and personally felt like it was the best once since the first. Lately sequels have been pure bubble gum – just pandering to people that wished the first movie was longer. The purpose of a movie is to move on to the next chapter of a story. Dark Knight did that. Showing that later in life, yes there is a different way to be a hero. Crimes really are real and dark. Lines are not always black and white. To want more fantasy than it already is would be cartoonish in the extreme.

  75. nick says:

    I understand peoples' negative reaction to the film because it is vastly different and tackles vastly different themes than "Batman Begins". I think what we need to remember is that this film is a sequel and the formula for sequels is showing the repercussions of being a hero. Yes it is dark and yes it is filled with a sense of hopelessness, much like "The Empire Strikes Back". I think that if you watch The Dark Knight immediately before the future third film it will make much better sense.
    Also I wonder how many of you read comic books. These films are primarily written for people who love the Batman Comics. Batman is dark, Batman is full of seedy, sadistic characters. He is not portrayed like the stupid campy Batman of the 60's. He is not Tim Burton's Batman. He is more like Christopher Nolan's Batman. Maybe you should read some of the comics and see how Batman is usually portrayed. Read how the Joker killed the second Robin. It's gruesome and bloodier than "The Dark Knight". So yes, this movie is not for everyone. It is not for people wanting a happy ending. It's for those who understand that life can be dark and full of people doing evil actions. It is a lesson that we should not be discouraged from the violence we see on the news, because there are always good people out there trying to do good, no matter how bad things look out there.

  76. Vina says:

    What would the world be without (informed) dissenting opinions?
    Rock on, Mr. Edelstein. Rock on.

  77. Jaym says:

    There is no more worthless profession in existence than that of a critic. They are no more qualified than anyone else to voice their opinions. They offer no service, because their opinion on any entertainment item is entirely from their own view of the world, combined with their own biases and belief system. Anyone using a critic to determine if they should go to see a movie is a fool- if I write an article about how much I hate any particular Beatles album, are you going to let my own tastes dictate if you take a listen? After all- what I find amazing in life may be things you can't stand- and that can't translate through any writing.
    As to the haters, they are nuts. There was nothing whatsoever in the MOVIE that is troubling in any way, because it is a MOVIE and has NOTHING to do with reality. I emphasize "movie" over and over because people seem to forget that they are stories, and have no impact whatsoever on anyone with an ounce of intelligence in the real world.
    The only negative thing I found concerning the movie was the inclusion of Maggie Gyllenhaal, who is not believable as a love interest due to her lack of beauty.

  78. Beth says:

    I usually do not agree with critics. But I'm making an exception here. The review was well written and insightfull. I had lost all respect for most movie critics. They seem to have become sheep, mouthing the prevalent views. I sincerely appreciate it, when we recieve a critic. I won't be going to the "Dark Knight" simply because the promos look like it's a slasher movie and I don't like slasher flics.

  79. hysonmb says:

    I have to say that I can appreciate the fact that this critic had his say, that's his job. On the other hand, I thought that this was one of the best comic book movies so far! The comic book stories are usually much darker and tons more violent than the watered down movie releases. Has anyone ever read the Eastman and Laird version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? That's an entirely different universe that what became mainstream. The first Batman in the 80s was good, but, this new direction is a true live action comic and that's why I love it. I would like to see the comparison in reviews from those who read the Dark Knight comics vs those who remember Adam West in spandex as Batman…
    I won't say that anyone is wrong in their opinion, it's YOUR opinion to which we are all entitled. The good thing is, he didn't back down when he knew that he was going to get flamed for stating his piece and you have to respect that.
    While I don't agree with the review, good job to the reviewer for doing what you are supposed to do and reviewing it the way that it should be done, unbiased.

  80. Ironman Carmichael says:

    How about daring not to give a Shiite about some silly movie where the Joker is played like a sad little boy who got into Mommy's make-up? Holy puerile, Batman! If that's the big innovation, back to the bat cave.

  81. deanpaul1 says:

    The lasting misconception that darkness and gore, hip cruelty, and excessive machoism, are somehow cooler and more 'artistic' continues…especially amongst filmmakers, young undeveloped artists, and the terminally insecure American male. Artistic visions may vary as well as interpretations of those visions, yet hopefully a voice will soon rise that remind the masses that hope, too, is a great strength. Nihilism is an easy choice, a simple direction repeated incessantly…but like most of Tarantino's work, it's all about the surface not the depth. The new Batman has become a lightening rod…hopefully the ensuing dialogue about the film will inspire and stimulate as well as provoke…

  82. Sophie says:

    David Edelstein summed up the film pretty well. If the fanboys are angry that someone isn't in love with the sadistic violence portrayed by Heath Ledger's Joker, I think they've got a screw loose. It is an extreme, dark, very violent film – not just physically, but in tone. On the aesthetic and technical levels, it is brilliant. Heath Ledger's performance is singular, and amazing to watch. But this doesn't negate anything David Edelstein wrote.

  83. gorus says:

    Dave Edelstein and Hillary Clinton know what's good for you. They are much more wise and intelligent than you are, plus we owe them for the 60's. Why don't you just do what they say?
    Here are some terms that describe both of the above:
    Drama queen
    Post-hippy
    Morally corrupt
    Self-serving
    Smug
    I like hippies. I hate post-hippy hypocrits who want to tell me what to do and how to spend my money.
    Also: "Rock on" is a saying reserved for d-bags.
    Edelstein and his profession are a joke.

  84. Ian says:

    Does anyone else suspect that he has this oppinion about this movie for publicity reasons? and by that i mean, for the editor slamming a movies such as this?

  85. Griffin says:

    I saw the movie yesterday–it wasn't all that good. I wish that I had been able to discern how much of the pre-release hype was actual appreciation for the movie, and how much was "oh, poor Mr. Ledger!" histrionics.
    The film was either too long or not long enough, depending upon what perspective one takes on Batman. And the in-suit voice! If ever I met someone who spoke like that, the first thing I would do is offer a throat lozenge, not tell him to save the city.
    DC just doesn't make good movies out of its comics. Hellboy and Ironman were much better mostly because they weren't "so serious." I'm glad that someone else agrees that Batman wasn't the best thing in theatres.

  86. Rick says:

    The Dark Knight isn't supposed to be all peaches and cream. Please – before you bash the story go read the legendary comic book of the same name by Frank Miller. It's not meant to be the cheerful, fun-loving Batman we've grown used to over the years. It's *supposed* to be dark, and show flaws from multiple angles.
    The movie does what it's supposed to do — it meets the premise of the story. For that you must like it. If you don't agree with or understand the premise, that's fine — it's not your kind of movie. But it doesn't make it bad.

  87. Pblaze says:

    Hi, Bruce Wayne here.
    Can you please keep all the noise down to a minimum? I got one nasty neadache.

  88. Apotheosis says:

    I cant belive what i am reading. It makes me sick. Movies like Dark Knight is what going to the movies makes it all worth it. People who did not like this movie are they type that sit in Starbucks all day trying to think of lame movies which are like watching paint peel off the wall. I got to the movies to be wowed, i want to be shocked, i want to be scared by a morbid bad guy! It whats makes me want to see a movie again. This is Batman, it is the best movie of the year, this is a franchise that will be with us, our children and your childrens children and so on. Face it many more Batmans movie will follow and hopfully they will get better and better. Dont see this movie if your expecting a complicated plot with twists like No Counrty For Old Men, which to me was worse than not taking a shower for two months.
    Watch Dark Knight if you want to eat some popcorn, sit in your seat and want more when its over.
    Irons forever !

  89. RM says:

    I having nothing against standing up to rubbish films even though they are popular, but in this review he's basically saying he wishes it was stupider, or less morally complex. And then he says you’re not smart if you don't agree that the movie wasn't simple enough. It’s just not a very good review.

  90. Tuli says:

    I loved this movie.
    The Joker was sadistic and disturbed, and Batman was justice.
    This was no way a slasher film.
    People like to crawl in bed and feel comfy thinking they live in a safe and happy world.
    This is wrong. If you are capable of watching a mature movie, that has greater depth, I would recommend this movie, if you don't like grim thoughts, or like hiding from the truth of life, try Cartoon Network.

  91. Don of the Dead says:

    Whats wrong with a slasher film? Many of my personal favorite films are "slasher" films (Halloween 78' and The Devils Rejects being my top 2) is it Citizen Kane? No, and thank God for that, I've tried watching CK, and its put me to sleep every time. I"m sure many of you movie snobs will now look down on me for hating a "classic" but I don't care, now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll have a Friday the 13th marathon.
    Oh, and for The Dark Knight? 10/10, fantastic film. If there is any justice in this world Ledger (who, persoanlly I hated most of his other films) will get an Oscar.

  92. Sean O says:

    While there are not many critics of whom I'd say this, including those that I always read in my hometown newspaper, I have found Edelstein's reviews on NPR to be not just interesting pieces, of themselves, but uniformly dead-on assessments of quality. I guess you could say taste is a personal thing, but that doesn't mean there isn't such a thing as "good" taste. If he walked out, I won't be going.

  93. Matt says:

    First of all, anyone who is a real Batman fan, loved this movie. The Joker was portrayed perfectly by Heath Ledger. And you would know that if you really knew the comic book. The perfect movie.

  94. PaulLev says:

    Eons better than any previous Batman movie … the real heroes were the people of Gotham … http://paullevinson.blogspot.com/2008/07/dark-kni

  95. Dan says:

    It seems that the simple minded people who just wasnt to see explosions and other red neck genres will definately not enjoy this movie for it is emotionally movie and brilliant. It is one of the most groundbreaking comic book film ever. No villan role will ever compare to the genius portrayal of the joker that heath ledger displayed. This movie will go down as possibly one of the best in history.

  96. ed says:

    Martyr complex much? Reading his review, Edelstein simply gets it wrong. Numerous factual errors indicates he didn't understand the movie and it's just a poor constructed and poorly supported review.
    The writer of the blog, and the comments here would make you think that just being contrary or going against the crowd is somehow HEROIC in itself. When you take a stand for something correct and righteous that is heroic. When you wave a flag to be contrary and get attention that is petulant.
    What exactly is the problem here? The guy wrote a review and people gave him feedback. This article paints him heroic because…. his email got blown up? How HEROIC, not only is he among the small percent of dissenting reviewers (dissent = heroic no matter the circumstances). NOW he is HEROIC yet again because he is the only person ever to get critical emails, let's write another article about how terrible it is to suffer a small dose of your own medicine.
    Bottom line is this review rang false with many readers. Of course when an elite East Coast reviewer with an office shoots off a dissenting article, THAT is heroic. It's epic even. Yet when the rabble in middle america shoots off a dissenting email to that dissenting article… it's HARASSMENT? GROUPTHINK? An Internet-driven witch-hunt perhaps? Of course it couldn't actually be Edelstein's WORK could it? It's inconceivable that the ignorant masses out in America actually had a valid criticism of a ELITE EAST COAST/NY writer??? The man has titles! and an office! how dare the rabble inject their opinions!
    And what is the upshot that merited not 1 not 2 but 3 articles about his state of persecution? Is he being fired? Is he being persecuted (aside in his own head)? He wrote a review that huge numbers of people think is ridiculous and a small portion of those people are letting him know about it. That is heroic? Professionalism OF COURSE means dishing out criticism, never being SUBJECT to criticism. Is it ironic that someone who grades others' performances for a living finds it so outrageous to himself be subject to that same criticism?
    Get a clue people. Edelstein may thrive on drama but there's nothing much to see here other than a nasty mix of persecution complex, an unsupported feeling of elitism, and smug outrage at actually being called on crap you spew.

  97. poo-balls says:

    this review made me want to see the movie even more. bleak, disturbing and cruel, and this is a bad review?? it's what i wanted from batman all these years and i finally got it. i tend to hate big hollywood movies, but this was a really good movie, and heath ledger is nothing short of brilliant. the hype about him is all true. this critic seems to be writing about himself. walk out of the dark knight? really? i'm a doubter. i bet he watched it secretly and loved it and just wanted to be the guy who wrote a dissenting review.

  98. RainMan says:

    The arrogance of a movie critic is without compare. They want immunity for their every word and when the community calls them on 'it' … they cry foul. They are consummate cry-babies.

  99. Hal says:

    I've walked out of two films, both because I was nauseated by the excessive gore. I subsequently watched both to completion and discovered that each became unexpectedly more involved and meaningful. In the first case I learned that the scenes to which I objected were imagined (thus the absurdity). In the second case, a friend persuaded me to go back the same night and I saw that almost immediately at the point where I left the film it relaxed and began serious storytelling. What I learned from these experiences is that a partial viewing is just that – its not sufficient to make an informed judgment. David Edelstein hasn't earned the right to have an opinion about this film, let alone publish it.

  100. cassiekins says:

    I saw the Dark Knight and to be honest I absolutely loved it. I'm one of those girls who hates the slasher movies with all the blood and gore, and for those people to say that this movie was another gorey slasher movie like all the critically acclaimed Saw movies, is completely ridiculous. The Dark Knight was intense to say the very least and the Joker was downright terrifying at times. His comments about his actions in the movie would at first cause the audience to chuckle and then suddenly, we would all realize how completely evil and sick we all were for laughing.
    The Batman's of the 90s were alright. They were definitely more sensitive than Christian Bale and the villains were not at all fear envoking. I remember watching the one Batman movie with the Penguin and being completely disgusted by him, not because of his vicious acts but because of how he looked: he reminds me of those 40 year-old men still living at home with their mothers.
    And lets not forget something: Heath Ledger was taking medication for the emotional effects that this role gave him. He couldn't sleep at night because he was playing this sadistic, evil man in a movie. I personally thought that anyone who was to walk into that movie without really knowing who Ledger was, definitely would not recognize him. That takes immense talent, talent that will no longer be seen by this actor due to his unfortunate death. Sadly, this is the main reason why the movie has set so many box-office records. But maybe at the same time it's a good thing, because now everyone will have seen this incredible movie and will know that this comic book hero has been given justice in a movie.
    Oh and one more thing. The fact that the heroes one true love is killed in this movie due to his own choices, is amazing. I can't remember a good superhero movie that has ever killed the girl before. The fact that this was done makes it a great movie all by itself.
    RIP Heath Ledger
    You've done an awesome job

  101. tess says:

    tess: "Mr. Edelstein does not understand that a, perhaps the, principal function of a critic is to assist people in deciding whether to spend their hard earned cash watching a movie. I'm not familiar with Mr. Edelstein's oevre, but if he generally bashes revenge driven action movies, then he is failing his readers. His biases interfere with his job performance, and Mr. Edelstein should not be allowed to rate such movies."
    Brad: "The purpose of the critic is ABSOLUTELY NOT "to assist people in deciding whether to spend their hard earned cash watching a movie." The job of a critic is to offer honest criticism from their own unique perspective. That's it. Do your own research, watch the trailer. that's your job."
    No, there is no effective way to research a film; trailers and other hollywood advertisements are useless. That is why movie reviewers are paid to report objectively about movies, so readers can decide if the movie is worth their time. I grade Edelstein's review as an "F" because he failed in that role. He succeeded in writing cultural commentary, but if Edelstein wanted his peice graded as cultural commentary, he should have written an op ed column.

  102. Curt Campbell says:

    This film is a dark, ugly mess. The Joker saves the film and we don't see enough of him…Technically from a special ops standpoint the tactics employed in the film were a failure. The Joker could have been taken out with one surgical shot to the head 15 minutes into the film. The frantic symphonic music did not meld with the film nor did the use of the city of Chicago or it's citizenry. This film is so all over the place that is loses itself completely, mixed messages and subplots…The leading lady was horrible in this film…Not a good film for kids or adults period. The film is that bad and ridiculous beyond words…What is lacking is the real depth that makes a great film…The very soul of the film, which doesn't exist. Someone must have paid the critics a lot of money to give up all of those A's…This film will be well received by gangs, hoods, thieves and the scum of the earth. Don't be a lemming…

  103. Craig Miller says:

    Criticism is not a popularity contest. It is informed observation and description. Because critics most often observe and comment on the arts, there will always be reasoned disagreement. In criticism, discrimination is not a bad word
    If our icons of discriminating taste became influenced by popularity, Julia Child would have made her living telling us how to make a McDonalds hamburger at home.
    Unfortunately, many of today’s blockbusters are the entertainment equivalent of a Mickey D round sandwich.
    I don’t always agree with David Edelstein, but I find him to be an excellent critic. I have not seen the movie in question, however, this is America and I support his curage to speak his mind about a run away blockbuster. You guys want fries with that movie.?

  104. Dawn says:

    look i don't post comments but i thought this was different. People went to go see this movie for different reasons and thats fine, but there were different reasons people went to see the movie like…
    1 Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and more.
    2 That it was Heath Ledger last movie.
    3 They like batman
    4 or because nothing good was on TV
    i think the movie had it all it was funny,sad, and had you to a fade to go to the bathroom because you didn't want to miss a thing! well that is how the 10 people i went with felt about it, and we could not stop talking about after! so i guess that to the people who are going to cry about how it was not as good as they had hoped all i would like to do is a pencil trick and wonder WHY SO SERIOUS?

  105. Scott says:

    I think it's foolish for a "movie critic" to what out of any movie. It's their job to watch and report, not judge right or wrong. I saw the movie and personally felt like it was the best once since the first. Lately sequels have been pure bubble gum – just pandering to people that wished the first movie was longer. The purpose of a movie is to move on to the next chapter of a story. Dark Knight did that. Showing that later in life, yes there is a different way to be a hero. Crimes really are real and dark. Lines are not always black and white. To want more fantasy than it already is would be cartoonish in the extreme.

  106. Diet&Syl says:

    Just got in after high expectations from 'The Dark Knight'.
    Crap, Crap, Crap. If we hadn't been sitting in the middle of the row, we would have left earlier too! Good for you Mr. Edelstein, you got out in time and didn't have to sit thru the last half our of nausea.
    Hollywood really really went for OVERKILL on this one. But then, that's the 'Crap' they've been feeding us sind 'Kill Bill'. What I can't understand is how they get big name stars suckered into playing in garbage movies like this? Does no one have a conscience out there in L.A.? Money, money, money….guess they just can't get enuf of it and we are so very terribly sorry that they got ours!

  107. gill says:

    i think everyone needs to remember that ultimately, this is still a COMIC BOOK movie. critiquing the violence and the action and the dialogue? are you kidding? you know what comic books are all about right? this movie (and screenplay) had source material coming from the most revered of batman novels and i feel that anyone who has read them and loved them will also love the movie. Nolan does total justice to the noir feel of "the long halloween" and the joker's insanely sadistic demeanor portrayed in "the killing joke". but even if you haven't read these and aren't a comic book nerd, this movie has plenty to offer. sure there are going to be people that don't like it, but odds are they just dont like this type of movie. stick with p.t. anderson if you need impressive screenwriting. as far as COMIC BOOK movies go, this is the genre's "untouchables".

  108. Amy Haffner says:

    Well, I have a ton to say according to many of your comments. First of all, it's a Batman movie. What do you expect but to be entertained by drama and hopefully comic book hope. It seems that this particular movie critic was searching for a cinematic event. For goodnes sakes it was a Batman flick. Now to my surprise it was quite "film-like" and catering to the more distinguished taste of movie-goers. Less comic book like and very "film" like. I can appreciate that fact that the makers of this movie were making an effort to cater to my more advanced tastes and managed to hit the mark with casting Ledger as an excellent Joker.
    Secondly, since when does anyone listen to movie critics. Don't you just view the movies that you'l like to see and spread the word among your own family and friends. I would have missed out on many entertaining movies if I'd listened to movie critics.
    Thirdly, this movie had numerous twists. I loved the fact that there wasn't much "love interest" explored. It was all drama and intrigue. I didn't need another 007 perspective on men and women.
    Please consider viewing the ENTIRE movie within the context of what it is meant for. An introduction to Two-face and and exploration into the mind of the Joker

  109. John says:

    Those who didn't like the movie do not truly get the Batman mythos. I bet they prefer the campy versions of Pow! popping up in frame, with nipples on the batsuit by Joel Schumacher or perhaps the lazy performance of Jack Nicholson playing himself (well he does this in almost all his movies later in his career). This film was about the sacrifice of characters who had to deal with a total anarchic force which you can't control, unless you approach with a willing-to-lose-all mentality.
    The Joker is supposed to be the creepiest and scariest of all villains. He is not supposed to be goofy or light hearted in any way but also supposed to be hilarious. You are supposed to be disturbed and frightened by the Joker. No film adaptation has hit that note until now. If you think this is too dark, it is because you are not used to the mix of horror and hilarity that makes up the character. No, this movie is in no way over "gory-fied" just for the sake of modern trends in torture porn slasher movies.
    Also, the ones who didn't like the movie still label this as a comic book movie. That is your biggest mistake. This is more of a crime drama. Try to use more of an open mind. What did you want instead, a "comic book" movie such as Batman and Robin, which fails to do any justice to the characters from their source material? You can have that campy mess, I'll take the Dark Knight any day.

  110. Stabs says:

    The only reason I can't take a review like this seriously is that the reviewer WALKED OUT on the film. Then he comes out with this lame excuse: "a critic’s job is not only to steer you to movies you might not have heard of or that died at the box office." If that's true then why even waste your time with popular movies? It's appartently not in his job description to review popular or advertised fiilms. He only cares if you don't see a movie he likes, not whether you waste money on a movie he doesn't like. After all, Critic Credibility is built on unpopular opinions, so why not target only the most popular films in order to stand out?
    When your job were to analyze art, you need to look at the big picture, not just focus in on what bothers you. Should I listen to a sports analyst who stopped watching the playoffs when their team lost? Why should I listen to a critic who isn't professional enough to finish watching a movie that he doesn't like?

  111. Stabs says:

    A critics job is to review movies as art, in their entirety, and they should consider varying perspectives and responses when forming his opinions. Above all, a professional critic should Expect others to disagree and anticipate those arguments and construct rebuttals to such common disagreements into his review.
    However, there are no professional reviewers who could accomplish this task having WALKED OUT on the film. Snubbing both duty and responsibility Edelstein lazily proclaims: "a critic’s job is not only to steer you to movies you might not have heard of or that died at the box office." If that's what you truly believe then you should not waste your time reviewing popular movies! If it isn't in the job description of a critic to review popular or advertised fiilms, then don't go, since you certainly don't believe the rest of us should.
    Stiop trying to build intangible credibility from unpopular opinions by targeting popular films.
    When your job were to analyze art, you need to look at the big picture, not just focus in on what bothers you. Should I listen to a sports analyst who stopped watching the playoffs when their team lost? Why should I listen to a critic who isn't professional enough to finish watching a movie that he doesn't like?

  112. kara says:

    I personally had strongly mixed emotions about this film. While it was a little bit too violent for my tastes, it wasnt until a certain scene that made me literally burst into tears. But there is a backstory. My father was trapped in a burning car, and almost died, suffering from severe burns on a large part of his body. SO, when two-face caught on fire, it was too much for me. WAY too graphic and WAY too realistic. They were talking about skin graphs (which my dad had), and he decided against them, leaving him with a burnt face that will for sure haunt me in my dreams.
    At the same time, I truly enjoyed Christian Bale, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger's performances. It was a great movie with great actors.
    I left in tears, and I swear I will never see this film again. I was seriously disturbed by the burning human, and to top it off, I went to see this movie with my father. I will never forget the look on his face, as he winced and had his eyes closed throughout the whole hospital scene.

  113. jeremy says:

    While I defend Edelstein's right to have his own opinion I question just how much he, or just about anyone who has commented on here, knows about Batman. Not the movies mind you. The character himself and particularly the Batman that existed in 1939 and the one who has existed since the 1970's.
    Batman is a dark character. He isn't an alien being from another world who has become earth's salvation, he isn't a teenager bitten by a radioactive spider who develops powers and has girl troubles, and he isn't a scientist who turns into a lumbering beast when he gets mad. Batman is a vigilante whose parents were murderd in front of him and it scars him for life.
    If people don't like The Dark Knight based on the movie then that's fine. It's not flawess. It is however, along with Batman Begins, the most true to source live action Batman movie that has ever been made. If you don't like the tone then you probably don't like the character that much. Stick to The Fantastic Four or Iron Man.
    Also, the review IS pretentious and that's really what has probably annoyed people. The fact that he has made such a big deal about it kind of goes to show that as well. Other people have given negative reviews to the film but haven't written pieces "defending" their stance. You're welcome to your own opinion but so is everyone else. You're a critic. It's what you do. You don't need to defend yourself.

  114. Kugelschreiber says:

    Of course he’s allowed to like what he likes, but this movie (and ‘Begins’) was based upon a comic book, and it’s far closer at its heart to the source material than any previous attempt. I’ve noticed that the (very) few negative reviews 1) use the Burton movies and the TV show as their reference point when discussing the Batman 2) strangely accuse ‘The Dark Knight’ of aping ‘No Country For Old Men’ when discussing Harvey Dent’s coin flip.
    I don’t mind being called a ‘fanboy’ (I’m a fan; who cares?) in saying that both criticisms betray a profound ignorance of the modern Batman mythology, especially as Kane portrayed him originally, and also how he’s being portrayed in the comics today. The criticism of Harvey Dent’s coin flip in particular screams ‘misinformed’, as the Harvey Dent/Two-Face character predates both ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘No Country For Old Men’ by some sixty years.
    As for the Burton movies, Nicholson was good, but he really was just playing The Joker as a roly-poly ‘Nicholson-As-The-Joker’. Ledger’s Joker is the first real portrayal of character. Also, in the ‘Dark Knight’, Jim Gordon and Alfred are real, fleshed-out, evolving characters. In the pre-Nolan films, there are ineffectual dithering old men who play almost no role in the storylines. Oh yeah, and there’s this, too: ‘The Dark Knight’ *has* a storyline. Try telling me what the plots were of the Burton/Schumacher films.
    All the negative reviews (as well as some of the commentary here) seem to want to keep comic-based films safely in kiddy-land. They want a return to the day-glo toy commercials that were the Schumacher films or the long meandering set-pieces that were the Burton films. The sixties TV show seems to be held in particular esteem, despite the fact that it was comedy.
    That’s fine. Those versions are rentable. In the mean time, we have a great director , a tight script, and an accomplished cast. And we finally have a proper portrayal of comics’ best known villain by Heath Ledger, in a performance that will be remembered for a long long time. ‘The Dark Knight’ is an excellent film. It’s that rare film that’s getting raves from critics and the movie-going public alike. The few naysayers really don’t know what they are talking about.

  115. tester says:

    Here is the basic problem. His *job* as a critic is to view and review the movie.
    If he walks out, he is acting like an emotional prima donna, he is not doing his job of viewing the movie, and then reviewing it. His review becomes about himself, and how his sensibilities have been offended.
    Furthermore, if the reviewer, who writes for New York Magazine, is so dense as to not be able to recognize the self-same city listed as part of his publication’s name, and is furthermore the most famous and iconic city in the world… and even worse, mistakes another iconic city, Chicago, for Manhattan, I fail to see how accurate and reasonable his review could ever be.
    A food critic, who hates steak, cannot be sent to review a steak restaurant, because he will write, “I hate steak, they served steak, I couldn’t believe it, steak tastes terrible and I walked out.”
    The Joker is a sadistic murderer, that is *who he is*, he is not the cartoon clown of the 1960s camp TV show, and this movie portrays the truest vision of the Joker. If this is not up the reviewer’s alley, if he finds the depiction to be “cruel” then yes, he is accurate, that is what is intended and a sign that the director followed through with the vision. If he bases an opinion on this and comes to a “bad movie” conclusion, then he’s again failing his job as a reviewer. He’s the guy who hates steak being sent to a steak restaurant to make a review.
    Folks who don’t like this thing, who prefer “Batman & Robin” and its cartoon silliness, this is an honest preference and difference in taste.
    However, this reviewer fails in his prime objective which is to view and review the movie. By acting like a spoiled child, he’s fallen victim to the critic’s disease of putting themselves above the film they’re paid to review.
    If he garners 100,000 angry emails, so be it. Let the critic be criticized, he wants to earn his living by slicing other people’s work into shreds, then let his own work be analyzed in the same way. If he can’t take criticism, he has very ironically stumbled into the wrong profession then. Because someone who wants to dish it out, but can’t take it, this we label very early on in life in the schoolyard as a bully.
    I have no sympathy for this stupid man. If he had stayed through the movie and reviewed the whole thing as a film, weighing its pros and cons instead of acting like a child and writing his review about himself, that would be a different story.

  116. Mike M says:

    Critics should be able to say what they want, and if it upsets their readers they they should either stop reading his work or accept it for what it is “opinion” not “Fact” and move on.
    I don’t agree with a lot of comments on movies as, I am a very strong fan of Star Wars and was very disappointed with many elements of the last 3 movies. I was very disappointed with Batman movies before “Begins” it was fresh and striking telling of the Batman story, Bale did a great job with the role. Batman has had two roads in the comics over the years there has been the darker elements “Dark Knight” series and the more popular regular Batman comics. If your not familiar with Dark knight comics that do explore the very deep physiological evils of Batman’s world then this movie will bother you.
    This movie was titled Dark Knight hello title says it all. Even Begins was on the edge of this darkness. Some people didn’t heed the warnings, I bet many critics didn’t even bother to catch the Gotham Knight DVD (to the movies what Animatrix was to Matrix movies a gap filler and also set the mood) so they weren’t prepared for the shock and awe of the movie. I know there are parents taking their kids and regrettably trying to explain this level of violence as well. My point is you walk into the movie uninformed its your fault then if its not what you expected. Remember the Hollywood Machine is going to advertise it in an aspect where it will sell the most tickets they don’t have a moral obligation short of having to put a Rating on the movie PG- 13 means its not for your average movie goer. If the Studios could have gotten away with it they would have gotten it regular PG means more viewers, yet this movie was on the edge of R because of the content.
    My point is critics should report what the movie was about good points and bad points, they should look into the aspects that matter content, acting, effects, etc. Then give their humble opinion about what made it good or bad. Its not outside their rights to even do social commentary on how harsh the subject was.
    Its our job as movie goers to read critics and agree or disagree and decide if we really want to see the movie. I never follow just one critic cause I never fully agree with any of them.
    If you liked the movie great, you didn’t great, but mass attacks on someone for their article is just bad form.

  117. Roger Mihalko says:

    The comments of the critic are two far on the other side of the equation. The hype and fanboy ass kissing is a bit over the top. The heath Ledger hype train almost drains the life from the film, before you get in the door. In the 3 days before the film, I say Christina Bale in 4 different interviews and he was asked over and over about heath ledger, he weathered it humbly and respectfully but I could see the strain in his face.
    I’m not knocking ledger’s performance, it was spot on for the style and the mood of the movie, but not much more. I think people get it wrong, its the Nolan brothers who wrote the script and “directed” the mood and style of the movie.
    The term “critic” leads one to believe the reader gets a “critique” of the movie, not fanboy ass kissers or post movie fence jumpers.
    example of a “critique”:
    “The Dark Knight is a complex film, working the darker side of the human experience. Good tested to limits, Good tested to the point of collapse, evil pushing the limits of itself, evil collapsing on its self. The movie is a worthy successor, with a great cast who put in worthy performance’s as given to them by the director.
    The Nolan brothers wrote a movie that provides both things the fan expects from the continuation of the story with a few caveats that should be pointed out.
    1. the length of the film test’s the content of the film, and the endurance of the viewers.
    2. the action in the movie is over shadowed by the acting.
    3. The things that make the batman character great, seem to have been shaved back a tad.
    4. The development stage of the Batman character is slightly over tasked by the multi-villian scenario.
    These combined make the movie a less than “wow” experience, in the context of the setting the original put us in as viewers. It is fine to stretch the viewers idea of the character and the situation, but it appears the directors took it a shade over the mark.
    The Dark knight is solid movie making and worth the view, but the viewer should not be beguiled by the hype engine, and go in understanding the complex nature of the film, otherwise he/she will come away about three quarters satisfied.”
    Example of fanboy ass kissing, hype machine:
    ” THE DARK KNIGHT IS FAST-PACED ACTION RIDE OF THE SUMMER!!! 4 STARS FROM EVERY CORNER!!!!
    “LEDGERS PERFORMANCE IS MONUMENTAL!!! DEEP AND COMPLEX!! THE BEST JOKER EVER!!!
    “”A MUST SEE SUMMER FILME EVENT!!!”
    The example of post film fence jumpers is the article above:
    ” I walked out half way cause it was too dark… to gory… yadayadayada”
    If he was talking about SAW I could understand, 90 minutes of humans being vivisected isnt horror film making, its organized stupidity. The dark knight, violence, either actual or implied is not beyond any critics ability to handle.
    Tell me you don’t see the difference???
    All I am asking is for solid information on the movie, about script, director, actors, etc. Let me know if these elements come together to make a worthwhile viewing experience.
    Otherwise, why bother.
    Personnally the Dark knight gets 3 out of 4 lasguns, solid, interesting, but a bit long in the tooth. I would have settled with the joker and extended the rest to the third installment.
    Have fun

  118. Ryan says:

    I thought the movie was brilliant and almost too true to its comic book forum, I almost felt as if I was reading the movie. I would say maybe ones opinion of the Joker could be swayed by the death of Heath Ledger IF you could actually see the actor through the amazing performance he gave. The struggle to save Gotham city in any of the movies never felt like such a real endeavor and this gave real depth to the movie. The strikingly horrific violence perpetrated by the Joker gave an actual feeling of the city NEEDING heroes to save them and making the characters struggle that much more entrancing.
    With my opinion stated I can firmly say this movie won't be for everyone, this critic is doing a critics job and IF he told one lie in what he felt about the movie then he shouldn't have a job. Well done to Mr. Edelstein on the review and explanation why you felt the way you did. The only thing I could take issue with is he walked out, but thats between him and his editor I suppose.
    Other then that, if you don't like a critics style or reviews if your "not a fan" of that person, then their opinion shouldn't matter. If every person and critic in the world hated this movie, I would still love it.

  119. Michele says:

    Edelstein is PAID to write movie reviews. What better way to get publicity and sell papers than by crticizing what most others are praising. He knew full well his inbox would be stuffed full of protest emails and he's revelling in it.
    I have seen TDK. First of all, there is no blood. There are moments of harsh violence, but it certainly isn't a slasher movie and comparing it to one is preposterous (it's PG-13). There is no language or sex either. The film is visually stunning – on location instead of set shooting give it a realism Batman Begins did not have. Nolan has an aversion to CGI, thank goodness; stunts are real, impressive and thrilling.
    The film picks up a year after Batman Begins left off; this time there's no brooding back story to explain Bruce Wayne's motivation. It's a thrill ride from start to finish, with Batman paying a hefty sacrifice in an attempt to save the city. He is a tragic character; motivated by love and haunting memories. It is a complex story line worthy of Shakespeare.
    Ledger's Joker is not a silly character parading around in clown makeup and fancy colorful duds. He surpasses Nicholson's by being bent on total destruction, even his own. His line "I'm like a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do if I found one" sums up his psyche. No rhyme, no reason.
    Overall, this incarnation of Batman and his cast of characters is as true to the original comic book hero as I've seen. Edelstein obviously doesn't 'get' it.
    It was no great sacrifice for Edelstein to 'hate' this film; he is not suffering because he wrote such a review. To say he walked out make me laugh. Any critic worth his paycheck would have watched the entire film before even putting pen to paper. What a drama queen.

  120. Michele says:

    Edelstein is PAID to write movie reviews. What better way to get publicity and sell papers than by crticizing what most others are praising. He knew full well his inbox would be stuffed full of protest emails and he's revelling in it.
    I have seen TDK. First of all, there is no blood. There are moments of harsh violence, but it certainly isn't a slasher movie and comparing it to one is preposterous (it's PG-13). There is no language or sex either. The film is visually stunning – on location instead of set shooting give it a realism Batman Begins did not have. Nolan has an aversion to CGI, thank goodness; stunts are real, impressive and thrilling.
    The film picks up a year after Batman Begins left off; this time there's no brooding back story to explain Bruce Wayne's motivation. It's a thrill ride from start to finish, with Batman paying a hefty sacrifice in an attempt to save the city. He is a tragic character; motivated by love and haunting memories. It is a complex story line worthy of Shakespeare.
    Ledger's Joker is not a silly character parading around in clown makeup and fancy colorful duds. He surpasses Nicholson's by being bent on total destruction, even his own. His line "I'm like a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do if I found one" sums up his psyche. No rhyme, no reason.
    Overall, this incarnation of Batman and his cast of characters is as true to the original comic book hero as I've seen. Edelstein obviously doesn't 'get' it.
    It was no great sacrifice for Edelstein to 'hate' this film; he is not suffering because he wrote such a review. To say he walked out make me laugh. Any critic worth his paycheck would have watched the entire film before even putting pen to paper. What a drama queen.

  121. Mike Bass says:

    I liked the film but I have to agree with the critic 100%. The film was bleak (and long). As with most hero flicks, you're waiting for the weight to be lifted and for Batman to kick some ass, but instead people kept dying. This is entertainment. Where there is sadness, there should also be hope.

  122. Ken says:

    I thought while this movie was not as good as Batman Begins, it was a nice, better than most sequels, funny I heard heath ledger say he didn't want to be a copy of jack Nickleson's Joker, yet while heath did a great job, all I could see was jack Nickleson, from the licking of the lips, to the voice, Jack was back… that said it is a shame heath passed away he was a great actor, this movie was really good, my gauge is time, while the movie started at 11:15 and ended at 1:45 it still seemed as if it just started and was over before you knew it… the old saying, "to each his own" comes to mind, I liked spider man 1 hated the sequels, I liked batman 1 with Keaton and Nickleson hated the rest, up until Batman begins… to say this is a great movie, or the movie sucks… you won't know until you see it for yourself… recently there was a movie called something like, "No Country for old men" or something like that it won tons of awards and was touted from east to west… we rented it, RedBOX.. I wasted a dollar that day.. don't go by the reviews… trust your judgment, but know this, using my time gauge, when a long movie lies by, and still I want more… the movie was good… But what do I know, I'm not you… only you know what you like…
    the vanishing pencil was funny to me
    Ken

  123. jim says:

    opinions are pointless and you all are stupid

  124. danny says:

    i didint even read it waz so long

  125. anon says:

    Movie was OK, not all that dissimilar to every other Batman. My favorite version still remains the Adam West ones with the campy graphics.
    Needed a good 45 minute trim in the editing room for sure. No sense of humor whatsoever in it. Too much of the dramatic thespian; far too little entertainment. For Christ's sake, it's a comic book character!
    Overall, a 7…
    I'd rate Jack Nicholson's and Heath Ledger's performances about equal (BTW Jack didn't get an Oscar), albeit significantly different.
    P.S. The theater reamed us pricewise… A family of five with hotdogs, popcorn, and drinks will be $100 plus.

  126. Jeff says:

    An interesting take, but from an artistic standpoint, Chris Nolan has delivered a masterpiece for the superhero genre. There is every bit of Batman necessary; the very essence of Joker is capture superbly; the action is many times suprisingly refreshing and entertainingly disturbing; and, finally, the overarching themes of law, morality, and society are played out triumphantly–all as a result of the previous three elements. Virtually every part of the movie feels necessary and relevant, suffering from no flaws in pacing. To miss the point of the film is to miss the sheer beauty of it. This is truly a movie that takes a visceral stab at human nature, and many will shy away from the fingers pointed even at ourselves. Perhaps, therein, lies the true magic of this piece.
    Interestingly, the Internet has produced a mob effect not unlike the unruly citizens of Gotham in the previous Batman, which is quite amusing in its irony.

  127. skylights says:

    I'm pretty sure that Edelstein didn't "walk out" of the film early. "He walked out of "The Dark Knight" with a strong opinion that the film was ponderous and bleak with a disturbing cruel streak."
    I think Boucher just used a bad choice of words here. I think he meant that Edelstein *left the theater* (at the end of the movie) with a strong opinion that the film etc.

  128. john says:

    Maybe it was just me but I kept looking at my watch wanting this movie to end and it went on and on. Ledger's OK as a villain but this Oscar talk is just so much marketing BS. I didn't get it . Maybe I can't relate to some guy running around in a bat costume. Whatever.

  129. Billy Boobin says:

    You guys crying "lighten up!" over the Dark Knight must have loved Batman & Robin, nipple-suited frippery and all. Some of us aren't looking for live-action cartoons, foam rubber costumes, and insultingly obvious CGI. If you want to see that kind of garbage, rent Fantastic Four or the Spiderman franchise. Some of us are looking for art. And while I have my own quibbles with some aspects of Nolan's interpretation (such as the quick-cuts and artless location shooting), I can only say that Ledger delivers a character more than worth the entire movie.

  130. spoonido says:

    The world is already so grim and filled with people who lack empathy for the suffering of others. Could it be that films like this are made for such individuals?

  131. Cam Cameron says:

    Whoever would compare the Godfather with the Dark Knight needs have a team of psychiatrists examine them. The Dark Knight can't really be compared to The Godfather. The Dark Knight hasn't won any Oscars yet and doesn't have the cast that The Godfather did such as Deniro, Pacino and Brando and an oscar winning director in Francis Ford Copola.
    The Dark Knight is too dark and too realistic and is in the same vein of the new Battlestar Galactica which is a reaction to the first Battlestar. In the new Battlestar they tried to do the opposite of everything in the first series. In the instance of Cain they cast her as a woman and did this multiple times including for Starbuck. Battlestar Galactica also went overboard with humanizing the robots and tried to emphasize gritty realism. The Dark Knight is just reactionary filming to the first movies by attempting too much realism and too little fantasy or comic flare and isn't comical it's comical. The Dark Knight doesn't approach the subject with any novelty and doesn't even film the Movie in Gotham instead going to Chicago.
    If Christopher Nolan is such a fan of realism then how is he going to cast Mr. Freeze? I would love to see how they approach some of the more comical elements of Batman. There is a whole list of supervillain characters including Man Bat that aren't plausible in Nolan's euber realistic caricature of Batman. Nolan is forgoing 30 years of comics to brand Batman as a CSI style crime fighter. The comics weren't really designed to be interpreted so realistically.
    The Dark Knight attempts to abandon any comic influences for realism and darkness and fails to create a fresh exhilarating excitement that the older movies had. At least the older Tim Burton style movies were fun and not loathsome. The Dark Knight is just dark. That is really an anachronism to say that the Dark Knight is darker than Tim Burton. Anyone could have acted the Joker in the Dark Knight. It doesn't take any skill to act like a monster. Anthony Hopkins could bring out a much darker and imaginative Joker than Ledger. Jack Nickleson is one of a kind and his performance as the Joker is more imaginative and singular and has flare and he is way better than Ledger's Joker including the scene when he talks to the corpse.
    Two thumbs and both toes down to the Dark Knight.

  132. Mark Chartoff says:

    In a way, film critique is a true literary art form when written by a competant writer/columnist/contributor. Agree, disagree or correct errors in a review, but the reviewer represents his or her own opinion, no matter how elitest the language.
    The bottom line for those of you who would rather just read a studio press kit, or simply make up your minds from the Coming Attractions is: Get Over It. I have no sympathy for your thin-skinned, cry-baby reactions to well written critiques. Maybe your mommy can send a letter to the editor complaining about that mean, ignorant critic!

  133. Ruben says:

    I liked The Dark Knight and do feel that Christopher's Nolan's vision is true to the source material. But I have to question the rabid haters attacking David Edelstein's review. Did anyone here actually read the review? I was ready to side with the mob myself until I read it. It was very fair. He weighed both pros and cons like a reviewer should. I do not agree with him on all points, but it is what it is, a difference of opinion. And opinions are mere beliefs not based on absolute certainty or positive knowledge, but on only what seems true, valid or probable to ones own mind. And Edelstein did not walk out of the movie. That was an error on Geoff Boucher part. Edelstein actually saw the movie and on IMAX no less. And in his rebuttal to his attackers he does refer to the The Dark Knight and Killing Joke graphic novels, which impressed me the most. Even though I can be characterized as a "fan boy," and I did like the movie, I have to defend David Edelstein's review because it was fair and insightful. Which is no less than what we should expect from all our movie critics.

  134. MondoPD says:

    I left “The Dark Knight” Friday evening thinking it was terribly disappointing; a waste of 2 ½ hours. I expected something much better after all the hype. “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk” are superior. Marvel’s strategy of its movies leading to the long anticipated “Avengers” release shows why it not only does comics better, it does movies better, too!

  135. Vintage Crow says:

    I think it is with a touch of sweet irony that a critic has to defend his review. Calling Oldman a pretentious English man on one hand yet admitting you liked his performance is a bit of a personal attack don't you think?
    I have read the negative reviews of the Dark Knight, and they are just a small amount, some were intelligently written and gave basis for their dislike without having to resort to personally attacking the actors. That is the fine art of criticism. To be able to criticise, not demean. It makes you look like you are writing from a personal bias just as much as the fanbois you criticise.
    To me it makes no difference whether you liked the movie or not. It is the venom you spew and then try to hide behind your editor and then play the martyr complex. Geessh. Spare me. It is called Karma. You ought to be used to it now, you are a critic.
    By the way I saw the movie. It does have its flaws, one suffering from overhanded editing which I asume was due to time and violence to get the coveted PG rating. But those flaws melt away, the Dark Knight is a well crafted piece of work that actually pays homage to the Batman Mythos.
    The silly part is that you are trying to make yourself out to be a hero for disagreeing. It doesn't make you a hero, its just a movie and your opinion.
    You think too highly of yourself.

  136. Maxwell Demon says:

    The Internet has taught us that critics don't respond well to criticism.

  137. vintagedrow says:

    In repsonse to Maxwell Demon
    1 Agreed it is silly but sweetly ironic. Especially when the critic acts like a martyr.
    2 Actually yes he does, read The Dark Knight Returns, Batman talks about his "armor" also referenced in other comics. No the Joker doesn't wear makeup, but the Joker never killed Bruce Wayne's parents either. The origin of the Joker and his appearance did not become known until much later. In his first appearance he was an established character, it wasn't an origin story. But you do have a point on this.
    3 Then why are comic book movies making a mint at the box office? Because the comic book culture is wide spread. I think you are off the mark on that one. The highest grossing movies this summer have all been comic book movies.
    4 Sure, WB hacks…right…that is really reaching. A conspiracy.
    5 Actually no he didn't. He wrote an acidic review that was loaded with his own bias. I have read more intelligent written reviews that actually gave solid reasoning why they didn't like the movie. His review was rather snobby.
    6 Ledger was great in the movie. No Anthony Hopkins, well he is dead now, we will never know, but the potential was there. He did surpass Jack as the Joker. That is saying something.
    7 Was used once. You obviously aren't familar with the Batman canon, if it isn't for you, toodles. If you missed the part where Batman will become even a criminal for the sake of Gotham then you did indeed miss the point. It is rather heroic to take the fall so that the masses will have hope and believe that someone like Harvey Dent was a person that gave some "brightness" to Gotham City's future.
    8 There was really no difference in the tone.
    9 Didn't think he did leave early…but I think he made up his mind before he saw it.
    I agree he has a total right to trash any movie he choses…but the martyred act…he needs to get over that. He is a critic…if he is going to criticise, he should be able to be criticised in return.

  138. Nick says:

    Well, based on this critcs review I will not use him as a reference for my future movie going. My experience with the dark knight was profound and moving. It made me ask hard questions of myself. It made very powerful commentary on the human condition and society. It was gritty and real in that it lacked the "funny" one liners during life an death situations that completely turn me off to most action movies. People die. Main characters die. Hard choices are made. Consequence result. The end result is closer to real life. The movie was also not dark with no point (as the critic seems to imply). The choices made by some of the people in the movie were very heroic and profoundly inspiring. I walked away hoping that I would make the same choices that several characters did.
    That said the movie suffered (imo) from what is likely poor editing. Some plot/foreshadowing was poorly resolved and the movie was about 30 mins too long. I think some better editing and a different actress playing Rachel would have been good. Also, Harvey Dents descent in insanity was poorly executed. His motives for freaking out so badly was poorly developed. It made little sense for him to become a child killer just because his fiance died. There need to be more fleshing out of the hidden flaws within the character. (the one scene of him with the prisoner was insufficient.)
    To recap, this movie was not a "fun filled action flick for the whole family". (It should have been rated R.) It is a deeper and darker movie than your average superhero flick, and it requires a lot more thought (Thank God!). It is not a flawless movie, though a directors cut later on might prove to fix SOME of the issues I felt were present.
    (and to comment on the critic, he kind of reminds me of professors that whine about ratemyprof.com)

  139. Zach says:

    I thought the dark knight was a hell of a movie….First off both Batman begins and the Dark Knight are much more realistic than the batmans before..Even the martial arts in the film are faster and well, more like actual martial arts. Batman is much stealthier as well. The villians are not larger than life, silly, and as unrealistic either. Batman begins and the dark knight are more serious films. The special effects were amazing. I think Bale plays a darker and more troubled batman as well. You can feel his pain from the death of his parents and alienation from the world that he hides behind in his mask. Heth really plays a good psychopath. Not just a movie psycho, but the joker was a classic text book psycho having a history of abuse and terrible things happen in his life, this with biological unbalanced psyche made him the joker. His nature and nuture even though the joker was out to prove nature could make any man's devils inside come to life. This movie had a much deeper plot than those before…I am a psych student in college and watching that movie was like getting a psych and soc lesson on crime and psychopathic profle. Some parts of the film are really terrifying. The part were the joker appeard in the hosptial shocked the shit outta me. His face was chilling and one of the most psychotic faces ive ever seen in a movie and for sure the most ive seen in a pg-13 movie. Batmans also not just a guy siting around a cave with a lot of shit that you wonder how did this get there…You actually get to see who helps him and were it all comes from. The other batmans i feel are for kids but the two new batmans with bale are for adults…These are much more grown up and realistic films. Films with deeper meanings and more complex characters and a more complex batman

  140. Todd C says:

    1. Attacking the job of a critic (book, movie, art, music) is silly. If you don't like to read them or listen to them, no one is holding a gun to your head. Attacking critics reveals the waekness of your own position.
    2. Fanboys defend this film because of it's faithfulness to the comics. Did Batman wear an armored suit in the comics? Did Joker wear makeup in the comics? Nolan admits he is not a comic fan, and screenwriter David Goyer admits there are major gaps in the source material that they used their own invention to fill.
    3. This film was not made for the comic book culture. It was made for the mass audience. Judge the film on the basis of its entertainment value, not on its adherence to the source material. The hardcore comic fan base is far too small to support a major film.
    4. This film was declared a masterpiece before it was even released. Oscar buzz for Ledger was swirling before the film's release as well. It seems that Warner Brothers' promotion machine did a good job of pre-release hype. I have no doubt that review sites like "Rotten Tomatoes" are infested with WB hacks. The rabid fans were convinced this was the best movie ever before they even saw it. They had truly drunk the Kool-aide.
    5. Edelstein wrote a good review. As with any review, you might agree with some points and not others. The fact that there is an internet firestorm over it is amazing. It reveals a lot about our internet culture and the mindset (and maturity) of the people who inhabit it.
    6. Sorry, Ledger is no Anthony Hopkins. Wash off his makeup, and his creepy factor disappears. Kudos to Nolan and the artistic director for designing such a great look for him, though. The credit goes to them.
    7. The phrase "The night is darkest before the dawn" was used several times in the film. I kept waiting for the dawn to come. The "dawn" was no brighter. The hope of Gotham is dead, Batman is a criminal whom the police are forced to disassociate with, and the Joker is free to escape again. I missed the brightness in that. If that is true to the "Batman canon" then count me out. I'm depressed enough without paying money for more.
    8. I loved Batman Begins. I would gladly see another film with the same tone. I would not see another film with the tone of The Dark Knight.
    9. Mr. Edelstein did not leave the movie early. Get off it already.

  141. ProfHollywood says:

    I haven't seen "Batman," but I do have a response to this idea — dismissed by Edelstein — that the Web has a democratizing influence on culture.
    He's right — it doesn't.
    The Web is, in many respects, the least democratic domain out there. "Voices," writ large, are not represented on the Web. SOME voices are, and, as Edelstein notes, they are almost always strident voices.
    Reasoned discourse, and reasoned criticism, has little place on the Web because, the Web has become a gargantuan, electronic version of "The McLaughlin Group" or "The O'Reilly Factor," where domination of debate is taken as intellectual superiority, where victory transcends dialog in importance, and where, as Edelstein puts it, a mob mentality rules.
    What gets the most Diggs? The most cross-links? I would submit that, in more often than not, it is the commentary that is the loudest, not that which is the most well-reasoned.

  142. Levant says:

    In comparison to today’s three, four, and even five dollars apiece comic books when I first began reading them they were twelve cents apiece. And yes I’ve read and collected them even until now where I sell comic books retail. So like most viewers’ of “Batman Begins” at the ending when we learn The Joker is likely the upcoming villain I was ecstatic. Yet as time went on and it became clear this Joker was just going to be a man in pancake makeup at first I wasn’t even willing to go see it. For the only time in ‘The Batman’s” history where “The Joker” is coined as a makeup-wearing arch villain, is in days of the ultra “Campy” Batman Television series with Adam West and Burt Ward. (It seems to recollection in his prison cell seated at his “vanity” before an escape the Caesar Romero Joker in full view of the television audience had just finished applying his signature makeup.) Yet aside from that “The Batman’s” arch nemesis “The Joker” isn’t, nor has he ever been a makeup wearing villain, but instead as he himself admits because he likes “multiple choice” through mishap, in origin, is a chemically colored and scarred initiator of violence and crime, while in large part because of it also a monstrously insane one. So later in a publicity still when I saw a close up of Heath Ledger’s Joker and way his face was scarred. As rumor, now confirmed had it, apparently made so by the brutality of his “why so serious?” father. ala, sword kiss, double fishhook tear and other names, a form of punishment I understand to be practiced in India as portrayed in “City of Joy” with Patrick Swayze when criminal “godfather” Ashoka traps the lovely Poomina and uses a razor to cut her cheeks to “accentuate that beautiful smile.” Well I thought I’d give the movie a chance. About fifteen minutes into “Dark Knight” and looking around it felt like I was somewhere in Miami Beach Florida. While as the movie continued with its sunny, crystal clear skies, fresh out of the wrapper, modern day clean-cut, chrome and glass, purely sleek, rectangular skyscrapers and spotless streets that feeling never left me. Where was that brooding, dark and archaic city known as Gotham at? Were we going to see it? Certainly if there was going to be any real atmosphere of ever lurking evil it had to be there someplace. While when Joker made his appearance though I took an immediate liking to his Arkam Asylum worthy insanity, nonetheless I still balked at, yet tried to look around his filthy clothes, smeared red lips, black eyes and pancake makeup, however all to no avail.
    Now this isn’t a reflection on Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker but only what the producers and scriptwriters gave him for origin and appearance. Sorry, but by any stretch of imagination this simply was neither Gotham City nor The Joker of comic book or even prior motion picture fame. While when Batman in his new outfit minus a cape jumped from again a shinny new, ultra modernly sleek glass and chrome steel building and his “wings” through technological magic appeared I’d had enough.
    Batman without his ever-present and ominously expressive cape, no Gotham City, no dark, continually forbidding atmosphere that goes with it. No ‘The Joker” but only “a Joker.” I simply couldn’t take it anymore and left.
    Some of us it seems just aren’t able to set aside comic book history to the point of near eradication and jump on the Heath Ledger bandwagon and let the scriptwriters and producers rewrite everything The Batman narration has been. Then gobble it up and even though finding it to be crap, scream “yummy” and holler for more. Because take my word for it now that they’ve found you’ll eat anything they shovel that’s all your going to get is more crap. Crap likely that will have little if anything to do with the comic books. Me, although I loved “Batman Begins” and believed we’d finally gotten someone, actors, producers, script writers etc. who were going to deliver us the genuine article. Now with ‘’the Dark Knight” betrayal I’ll never again go see another of this franchise’s what for me are waste of time movies. However having immensely enjoyed “Iron Man” and “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” I’m certainly looking forwards to Will Eisner’s the “Spirit.” Then of course Marvel’s forthcoming “Iron Man II,” “Captain America” and “the Avengers” so all certainly isn’t lost. Especially not since Marvel has bought-back all their copyrights they had to sell during the time of their bankruptcy. Where now being sole captains of their ship, no longer at the expense of their fans will they have to turn creative license over to outside forces as they once did. So from now on if I want Batman I’ll stick to the comic books, and if I want superhero movies then “Make mine Marvel” and any but DC.

  143. exstrah says:

    I was really happy to see that people are still going to summer "blockbusters" I think this was the best weekend in history. I was really looking forward to the sequel to Batman begins. I new that is was going to be darketr than the first.
    If it wasn't for Heath ledgers performance I would have said it "sucked". Heath stole the movie. Unfortunately the the story was weak and came un-glued half way through. It ended in a typical advertisement for the next sequel. Usualy sequels 2 and 3 are filmed together to save money. Unfortunately Heath won't be around for #3.

  144. vochoa0371 says:

    Everyone has there opinion. The movie is great. I loved this story line. The only concern was the rating of PG 13. For those who are all into Iron Man and comparing that movie with this movie, please go see an Iron Man comic book. Preferred with the original comic book. Iron man faces a cool bad guy in the comic books when he was introduced (The Mandarin) not his stealing equipment supervisor or whatever role he played. It is funny, people say he fought bad guys. Hehehe. Whoopy doo. He faught against some middle easter folks, dodged some plains, and faught someone whom took his technology. Plus, come on… compare the actors in both movies. Tony Stark was a strong, slim, cool character. Robin Downey Jr., hahaha. Nothing against him, but he is no Tony Stark. Old and wrinkly actor trying to play a super hero. You might as well put me in there. Go Christian Bale, you are a great Batman and the movie rocks. Good that you signed up for the 3rd release. Hope you change your mind and do the third. No Robin is needed, we all saw George Clooney and Val Kilmer standing next to their Robin. Robin was bigger than them. hehehe.

  145. Nikki says:

    IMHO the movie was at best fair and not because it was dark or bleak. Simply because the writting was bad. The movie title is Dark Knight, but it should have been "The Joker". I belive that if Heath had lived this movie would have done less then half of what it made. The movie would have been about 2hours long and a lot of the Joker's would have been deleted because he is the movie….not Batman and that would have been changed in editting. But they knew that Heath's Joker was great and with his death it would amp up the ticket sales. And it did. Look at the reviews…all you read or see or hear is about Heath's Joker, not Christian's Batman or other actor. Don't misunderstand I love what Heath did and I like the adultness of the film but its not a blockbuster.

  146. John Hill says:

    Tess is wrong. The job of a REVIEWER is to assist people in deciding whether to spend their hard earned cash watching a movie. The job of a CRITIC is to critically evaluate. Let's let Edelstein do that. I am grateful for a DIFFERENT take on the movie.

  147. Artful Fiver says:

    Critics have a job: to be critical. I'm not put out that this guy's career is to write stuff I can dismiss and ignore when a great movie makes him pout. I've always liked Batman and I'm proud to have contributed my $15 to have seen this wonderful adaptation of a comic book in glorious imax. This film was not for Mr. Edelstein's demographic, this movie was for ME and all the other 30-something males who like loud music, fast sports, and video games. Spiderman, 300, Beowulf, Bourne, Batman, keep'em coming, we'll go see them.
    P.S. He can just write the review for the third Nolan Batman film right now and save time:
    Blah blah dark and disturbing blah blah puerile obsession with obsolete characters blah blah special effects and big budget stars can't save Batman III from blah blah blah blah pandering to today's sensation-seeking youth whose drone-like devotion lines the pockets of Hollywood studio execs blah blah blah blah why can't there be more crappy indy movies that NOBODY likes so my scintillating prose can dmonstrate how far above the unwashed masses my own eclectic tastes are?

  148. AT says:

    Everything you need to know about Edelstein is right here, from his own, (2nd) essay:
    "There is superb film writing in blogs and discussion groups — as good as anything I do."
    Is he able to get his head thru the door at the magazine? It's all about him apparently.
    Psychological issues you actually have to think abou, in an action film? Maybe it was missing a bunch of bizare sex acts or a plot that the writer couldn't follow or figure out. (See any David Lynch or David Cronenberg movie)
    See the movie. Judge for your self.

  149. alice salazar says:

    Although I loved the first edition of this Batman series, I must agree that the 2nd installment was a bit bleak. I didn't see him a superhero but rather a dim character who had too many personality issues with his utra ego. And the voice…why did he sound like "the exorcist?" Wowsers, bring back my superhero as someone to look up to rather than leave a light on so he won't show up!

  150. Braxton says:

    It seems that most of the people who commented on this are the kind of people who enjoy going against whats popular. Its not about whether it was a good or bad movie to you but the fact that an overwhelming majority of people loved it. Because of this picking it apart is your way of pushing against it. Not that can't say you don't like it but you can't reasonably say it was a bad movie. For instance just because I didn't like Micheal Jordan in his prime doesn't mean I could reasonably say he was bad basketball player.

  151. Bologna…
    The Dark Knight was a great film. I agree that the hype is excessive and that it was NOT definitively the best superhero movie of all time (as many are saying). It's solid at worst.
    Complaints can be made and critiques are fully legit, but it is a good movie.
    The biggest downfall is that the movie tried to be too much. If simplified in a few small places, the movie could have been unstoppable.
    I have other concerns and criticisms, as well. But to say that it's any worse that 7 or 8 out of 10 stars would be lunacy.
    Check my review at http://thepaintedman.brookiellen.com/not-the-best

  152. The White Knight says:

    In response to Max D (and a few others):
    In part, yes this movie carried a different tone than that of Batman Begins, however if you DID know or understand the character of Batman in the original comic book series and the follow up series (aptly named The Dark Knight), you would see that this film didn’t stray from the first, but simply continued along the same inevitable path. Gordon even alluded to this fact in his last conversation with Batman about escalation in Batman Begins. Batman was very rarely, if ever, ‘liked’ or ‘loved’ by the citizens of Gotham or the mass media described in the original series.
    In a way, that was the entire moral focus of the comic books – to show that to truly be a proponent for all that is ‘good’ and ‘righteous’, in the end you had to make Harvey Dent’s statement come true – ‘live to see yourself become the villain’. Because in the end you would be forced to make decisions (such as the one that alienated Batman from Harvey Dent), that would be unpopular on a LARGE scale. So to all who say that this movie was much too ‘dark’ or ‘gory’, you clearly didn’t see how much darker Batman Begins was than any of the other Hollywood takes on Batman, nor do you really understand the story of Batman as it was originally told. Batman IS dark…
    A side point on Heath Ledger – First of all, the character of the Joker never cannibalized his victims as did Hannibal Lecter, nor did he take delight in severing people’s limbs or vital organs as done in so many horror pictures today. So in these senses, Heath Ledger’s Joker by Hollywood standards would never reach the level of creepiness as some others have done, but that was not his purpose.
    The Joker was a sociopath who delighted in the mental torment of his victims. He wanted their moral souls, not their lives. So of course Heath Ledger is no Anthony Hopkins, as has been said had he more time to prove himself, I think he might have been able to live up to that comparison. However, as the Joker of Batman lore, Heath Ledger was IMPECCABLE. He showed just enough eccentricity to be odd, enough rage to be homicidal, and lacked just enough moral values to be a sociopath. Also, if you truly read into the Joker as originally cast in the Batman series, you’d see he is just as Alfred describes in the Dark Knight – someone who just wants to see the world burn – he was often used a symbol of pure anarchy in the comic books, and I believe Heath Ledger embodied that symbol perfectly.
    In conclusion: Yes, this is Hollywood and every screen adaptation (and every director behind that adaptation) will have its own nuances that separate it from the original story, but as a whole, the morality tale that embodied the original comic book series of Batman was displayed beautifully in The Dark Knight.

  153. Ken says:

    I can understand the frustration by the critic. If you take the time to go back and read the ENTIRE article he wrote, it was insightful, witty, and a dead on take of why THIS Batman movie may not be enjoyed by EVERYONE. There are campy moments, the film IS obsessively dark, and jerky, and the action scenes are cut in a Indie way. Also the line about "manhattan" is clearly meant to be visual, the critic does not mean that the film was shot IN manhattan.
    With all that aside. I LOVED THIS FILM, I thought Heath Ledger as the Joker was the best depiction of what that character is, Bale was very good again as Batman, and the other characters did a great job of being additions to the story. It is an excellent psychological thriller, but at the same time, it is not so much fun as it is incredibly tense. I loved the intensity, but it still kinda sits deep in the pit of my stomach. Never have I wanted to hate a film more, but absolutely can't.

  154. I agree. The movie was incredibly disturbing, too long, and very wildly confusing at the end. I couldn't even follow what was going on as Batman was tracking the Joker in that building. What bothered me the most was the Joker. I would hate to see Heath Ledger get an Academy Award for a role that obviously was responsible for his death. It was truly a terrifying descent into evil that he took to play that character. I felt it was not a role – he WAS the Joker. That was too scary for me. Call me a wimp. I want some fun with my super heroes – like Iron Man and Hell Boy.

  155. Braxton says:

    It seems that most of the people who commented on this are the kind of people who enjoy going against whats popular. Its not about whether it was a good or bad movie to you but the fact that an overwhelming majority of people loved it. Because of this picking it apart is your way of pushing against it. Not that can’t say you don’t like it but you can’t reasonably say it was a bad movie. For instance just because I didn’t like Micheal Jordan in his prime doesn’t mean I could reasonably say he was bad basketball player.

  156. Chaotist Razor says:

    Hey guys, let's be totally cool and non-conformist by hating on good movies.

  157. Larry conner says:

    I agree with Debbie about Maggie Gyllenhaal. She was the main cog in this disturbing story machine. She was all wrong for the part. (she could play the part of "The Bride of Leprechan" in a remake). Not only her looks but very bad acting. She really ruined the movie for me.

  158. tophr says:

    ummm…………….. #1 you people are idiots!!! You belong to the same group that wears L.L. Bean, drives an SUV (SUV=SUC), sips your coffee and feels it's going to be a better day, walks into a store 1 minute before closing and expect to get excellent service, says "Bud" or "Dude" , wears Sperry Topsiders or Timberland Boat Shoes with shorts, O, and no socks, shaves their head to cover their "ugly" baldness, looks 50 but is realy 24, LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hey, roll up and die already! You have no clue! The funny thing is, I'm everything you are not. I'm at the same places you go and you have no clue,……. no clue about anything except your circle of " Hum Drum" life. Think about it!!!

  159. William Hart says:

    Well virtually every field that is negatively spoken of in Dark Knight I found to be positive by the same regard. I think like Harvey Dent this movie has two sides – you either like every direction or despise each one, very dualistic. Like people saying it was all negativity, I thought that was kind of the point. The few bright spots in it give enough relief for balance yet it is overall problem after epic problem, pin pointing the statement that "the night is always darkest just before the dawn". This was about how bad it can get. Joker to me looked like a genuine psychopath, he stutters, he misteps sometimes, it's planned imperfection combined with violent demented thought – and how anyone can claim to have been thinking Heath Ledger the whole time I just don't understand, he was practically unrecognizable.
    My only negative point is that I agree with some editing issues, especially at the beginning of the movie. It felt like it started to hop between scenes rather quickly in the early parts after the bank heist, and I was kind of lost during the Scarecrow cameo. It made sense later but at the time I wasn't sure what he was trying to accomplish with men in Batman suits.
    The most underrated part of the whole movie was Harvey Dent. Maggie Gyllenhall seemed good enough to me, not stellar but then again she didn't have much dialogue anyway. At least she had the maturity to fit the role of an Assistant D.A. unlike Katie Holmes. Anyway, Eckhardt's Harvey felt right at home in their world and was easy to identify with prior to his accident. Opposed to the Joker, he was a murderous force with motive and purpose behind him once turning evil. His cold dedication to letting chance rule his actions was strangely creepy. I completely believed he could shoot Gordon's children without hesitation if their "luck" was bad. Which is another matter, Gary Oldman once again did a great job portraying the last good cop beating the streets. In the theater people actually applauded when he removed his mask to reveal he had not died.
    Best moment? The two ships. Very well executed sequence to sum up the movie with.

  160. Janie says:

    Zero Magic… go see Hellboy.
    Janie

  161. Mer says:

    I read online somewhere that someone who saw this movie thought it was, " sadistic, violent, disturbing and also one of the best and biggest movies of the year".
    I only agree with the first part of this statement.
    I can't really comment about the "best" part of the comment because the minute the Joker started to describe how he got he got his own facial scars …. as he put a knife in the other guys mouth … I got up and left.
    I got my money back.
    And I will never see another Batman movie.

  162. quietsound says:

    I hated this movie. How much fossil fuel was burned to make this bigger faster louder meaner movie? I forgot my earplugs, and man did I pay for it. This kind of excess is what could make humans go extinct in the not too distant future. And all for a depressing slasher movie.

  163. Nancy says:

    Quite simply put, all the rave reviews for this movie are the result of deep-pocket marketing, brainwashing by the mainstream media, and sympathy for Heath Ledger. It's a case of the Emperor's New Clothes. No one dares state the obvious for fear of looking stupid. The movie was 45 minutes too long. The plot was cloying and cliche. The special effects were so overdone they were mundane. And, while I agree Heath Ledger's acting was good, his character was so gross it was depressing. I'll choose to remember him in Brokeback Mountain.

  164. NIck says:

    I really did not enjoy this movie much. i thought ledger performance was excellent, bale wasnt bad but i didnt think it was also that great (might of been the voice that killed it for me) Their was just a lot of thinks i did not like. My biggest complaint is that their really was hardly any action whatsoever. i mean for an action movie i kinda expected something. their was like really only a couple of minutes with the motorcycle and that was it. (and also most people would say that how would you know it would be an action film then, and i simply respond as its a superhero movie, if its not labeled as an action film i consider it sorta of a failure as a superhero movie) the overall story i didnt really enjoy. it was just a love triangle on bruce wayne’s end and then joker terroizeing the city for no real puprose on batmans end.
    ****(the next paragraph may include spoilers)****
    i also hated how they put two face in their. I mean i dont mind if he was in their at the end and then make it look like he will be the bad guy in the next movie but they added him in the movie as quickly as he went away. it was almost like it was threw in their.
    also they didnt make a good job at making it look like gotham city. the first one did an awesome job at that but this one, i dont think they made any effort. also to me, it almost seemed like they shot more daytime scenes than night. or at least almost everytime joker did something.
    ***(also may include spoilers)****
    also i hate when some people think its sadiictically sick or gross. the only think i would consider that under is the time when that guy had the cell phone in his belly. but 1 part in 1 scene. the whole cutting of the mouth i just simply thought as so what? im just saying ive seen/imaged worst, and people make it look like its something new.
    also their wasnt really any gadgets. like their was batmans gun thing, he shot sharp(that looked liked plastic) things at jokers face(which didnt even snip him) his usual bat glider and of course the batmobile and cycle(i dont really consider them gadgets though) but like no batarang, bat grapple, or even that cool little bat calling thing he did in the first (although i understand why they wouldnt put that in, cause you put the same stuff it gets old)
    allow him to turn his head? i mean he can make a map of the city by some complex way(i sorta missed the part) but he cant make a suit to turn his head or stop dog bites. i mean the dogs kicked his butt more than the joker.
    now for the good. ledger preformed greatly. best part of the film was just watching him act. that i really enjoyed. like i said before the only real 10 minute action scene i liked. the phone in the belly before. was a neat and cool little thing. but 10 minute action scene, and 1 actors performance on 1 character doesnt make a movie great.
    one thing i failed to see people do that say they like the movie is explain to me how they liked it. i given reasons why i disliked it. but everytime someone says they like it they go on about ledger, and then i say i agree. but just that isnt enough to make a good movie. and then they just not say anything or go on and just keep saying “its cool” and i reply “how?” which they cant answer. so in that case do you really like the movie? or do you just like it because a good actor died after it.
    so i could understand why this guy walked out although i do agree as he was a critic that he shouldnt walk out in the first place.
    im not saying it was a terrible movie, but it just wasnt that great. like a C.

  165. Nick says:

    I really did not enjoy this movie much. i thought ledger performance was excellent, bale wasnt bad but i didnt think it was also that great (might of been the voice that killed it for me) Their was just a lot of thinks i did not like. My biggest complaint is that their really was hardly any action whatsoever. i mean for an action movie i kinda expected something. their was like really only a couple of minutes with the motorcycle and that was it. (and also most people would say that how would you know it would be an action film then, and i simply respond as its a superhero movie, if its not labeled as an action film i consider it sorta of a failure as a superhero movie) the overall story i didnt really enjoy. it was just a love triangle on bruce wayne’s end and then joker terroizeing the city for no real puprose on batmans end.
    ****(the next paragraph may include spoilers)****
    i also hated how they put two face in their. I mean i dont mind if he was in their at the end and then make it look like he will be the bad guy in the next movie but they added him in the movie as quickly as he went away. it was almost like it was threw in their.
    also they didnt make a good job at making it look like gotham city. the first one did an awesome job at that but this one, i dont think they made any effort. also to me, it almost seemed like they shot more daytime scenes than night. or at least almost everytime joker did something.
    ***(also may include spoilers)****
    also i hate when some people think its sadiictically sick or gross. the only think i would consider that under is the time when that guy had the cell phone in his belly. but 1 part in 1 scene. the whole cutting of the mouth i just simply thought as so what? im just saying ive seen/imaged worst, and people make it look like its something new.
    also their wasnt really any gadgets. like their was batmans gun thing, he shot sharp(that looked liked plastic) things at jokers face(which didnt even snip him) his usual bat glider and of course the batmobile and cycle(i dont really consider them gadgets though) but like no batarang, bat grapple, or even that cool little bat calling thing he did in the first (although i understand why they wouldnt put that in, cause you put the same stuff it gets old)
    allow him to turn his head? i mean he can make a map of the city by some complex way(i sorta missed the part) but he cant make a suit to turn his head or stop dog bites. i mean the dogs kicked his butt more than the joker.
    now for the good. i liked the new darker side of things, ledger preformed greatly. best part of the film was just watching him act. that i really enjoyed. like i said before the only real 10 minute action scene i liked. the phone in the belly before. was a neat and cool little thing. but 10 minute action scene, and 1 actors performance on 1 character doesnt make a movie great.
    one thing i failed to see people do that say they like the movie is explain to me how they liked it. i given reasons why i disliked it. but everytime someone says they like it they go on about ledger, and then i say i agree. but just that isnt enough to make a good movie. and then they just not say anything or go on and just keep saying “its cool” and i reply “how?” which they cant answer. so in that case do you really like the movie? or do you just like it because a good actor died after it.
    so i could understand why this guy walked out although i do agree as he was a critic that he shouldnt walk out in the first place.
    im not saying it was a terrible movie, but it just wasnt that great. like a C.
    (i wasnt sure if this message came up for i did not see it)

  166. c says:

    I despised the film for its unredeemed bleakness and cruelty… its callousness. It seems to be very popular – particularly amongst those addicted to the currently hip faux-irony which seems to be the idiom of a whole school of cool which has bypassed me entirely! Dark Knight shows so little refinement of psyche, despite its heavy psychological impact – it is psychic surgery with a sledgehammer. The film brings into being an unrelenting darkness, without performing any of the useful societal functions which certain horrifying films sometimes can (films like Hotel Rawanda). Perhaps the more purposeful films told stoies of cruelty, whereas Dark Knight is a cruel film. There is a distinction between the two. This film is woven from the stuff of despair. Maybe I'm overly sensitive, but I felt psychologically and energetically violated by it. I am also saddened that creative people have used their gifts to bring more darkness, hurt and despair into the world. On a superficial note- the unrelenting pondorous darkness is pretty pretentious.I know comics are supposed to be dark and that every element of the film was skillfully executed but… Blergh! BTW I was also very bored of it after not very long but persisted as I was there with someone else. I actually had my face averted for much of the film. As it turned out, my companion hated the film as much as I did, and we could have left in the first 15mins!

  167. LIGHTNING says:

    We should all respect other views…It's pretty stupid to send hate mail to a guy because he hated a movie that you loved…
    I happen to think this was one of the best films I've ever seen, but why argue about it, or worse, send hate mail?!!
    That being said, all I can say is: The man's right. The people don't need the critic's help. The people can speak for themselves…
    AND THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN.
    :)

  168. Riaaa says:

    I personally loved the Dark Knight. I was on the edge of my seat the whole movie, which signifies a great movie. One that always keep you thinking provides great brain simulation. Now, I'm sorry to say that this movie wasn't wholesome for some of you and the plot was too cliche. But, why would you even go see the Dark Knight if you're looking for a campy film? Did you not see the trailers…honestly it's your fault for wasting your money. And a very really realistic/dark vantage doesn't make a movie bad. That's your issue.
    And the plot is too cliche? Wow, you're basically saying Batman plots are too cliche, seeing as how a lot of this movie is/based on Batman: The Long Halloween. That is hardly true, and really I don't see anything cliche about it? Maybe I haven't seen enough movies, put please provide 5 examples of movies with plots exactly/more than similar to Dark Knight please. I'd love to check those out.
    But, I do agree it was ovehyped to a certain degree and Ledger's death definitely contributed to the ticket sales. But he was a great joker for that type of Batman film. And there was no reason for the Joker to terrorize Gotham..maybe it's because the Joker is a lunatic? You do realize there are people in the world who do things to hurt others just for their entertainment, right?
    I think the issue with people liking or disliking the movie is people who like/love it can handle the realism and dark undertones and like viewing different aspects of the world. People who didn't like it, enjoy wholesome, campy films with bright tones of joy. Please, learn to expand your horizons in movies. Don't take it out on a brilliant film that wanted a new twist on the Batman franchise. Just because it doesn't necessarily fits your taste, doesn't make it a bad movie. Heck, I disliked Juno. But I do realize that it had a good plot/acting.
    And honestly I can't even trust the critic…Chicago is not Manhattan, good job with your geography!

  169. DPRINCE82 says:

    I don't know, to hear people talk about iron man as more intellectual than the dark knight, kind of makes me think the overall intelligence of america has taken a swan dive. People talk about the cliches of dark knight, and the intellectual properties of iron man. And I can't help but think they got the movies confused. Apart from the iron man suit itself, iron man was a very simple movie, with a very simple theme. And the character tony stark couldn't be more cliched. A rich playboy who acts like a rich playboy. I don't see much intellect in that. The plot line was simply, playboy gets kidnapped, playboy builds suit to stop bad guys. If anything, the movie was funny, but not very intellectually stimulating. The dark knight on the other hand put forth a very mind-probing question. Why do some of us struggle to do the right thing, when the world doesn't seem to reward that behavior? The joker makes a joke of our society, and our beliefs. Never more evident than the scene when the civilians are ready to kill all the prisoners, while the prisoners throw the switch away. I think people expected to see a movie like iron man, where they sit and laugh, and don't have to think about anything. Batman has always been a character that probed the darker regions of the human mind. For those who don't think it an intellectual movie, perhaps there intellect isn't as good as they thought.

  170. meh says:

    um… remember what happened last time they went away from 'dark batman'? george clooney – what a mess.
    batman started out dark and grim. if ou want light and happy go for superman or something

  171. Truthman says:

    Well Dark Knight was one of the worst movies ever made but the marketing campaign was probably one of the best ever. Almost creating a mass paranoia into believing the movie was actually good so much so that people were actually afraid to say anything to the contrary fearing that they were in the minority and therefore wrong. The minority in this case is the truth, a horrible film, make no mistake and be not afraid to admit it.

  172. Chris mankey says:

    "Thanks. I don't need to suffer through all the gratuitous gore and stupidity of another "Sin City". I go to the movies for entertainment. For blood and gore, I watch the news on TV."
    Thanks this movie isn't very much like "sin city". So what was your brainless point?

  173. Leo1981 says:

    Early Batman stories showed him using a gun and some times killing the bad guy!!!
    The stories were based on Pulp Books and were dark, as the then called "the Bat-Man" was a dark caracter, unlike the Batman we see in the old series or the comics in tose days. "Comic Book code" anyone?.
    I understand if some people miss the campy old days.
    I grew up watching the series and i do not.
    I like Batman served dark and grim, true to todays comics but not afraid of making changes when necesary.

  174. Andrew says:

    "I have long felt that any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on a full suit of armor and attacked a Hot Fudge Sundae or a Banana Split."
    – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
    I think film could suitably replace novel in this case.

  175. Icarus wings says:

    Really? You wan't robin to come and lighten up the movie. you have to remember, this is the grittier , more rrealistic take of batman. So it's Not "Batman", "Batman Returns" or the horrors of "Batman and Robin", because it's not supposed to be. This is the real deal. The dark knight is a great movie, and probably one of the Best superhero movies. Just think about what you're saying people.

  176. Realist says:

    Yeah, I thought that this was probably the best movie of all time.

  177. gdw says:

    What's with the "slasher film" comparisons and comments of gratuitous gore?
    Outside of Two Face's burns, there actually is little to no real "gore" in the film. In fact, there isn't a single drop of blood.

    If anything, the fact that some did think there was is a testament to fantastic film making. So much said without being at all gratuitous.

  178. NotFeelingIt says:

    I have a few issues with this movie. It was not really what I would call Batman.

    It’s something I find with a lot of comic movies nowadays, the filmmakers are so busy bringing it into the “real” world that they don’t realize these things are not meant to be in the real world.

    This movie didn’t show blood, but that does not take away from the violence. Joker kills someone with a pencil in a very violent way. I don’t mind violent films, but it should have been rated R. PG-13 is a joke for this movie.

    I didn’t like this movie overall. I think it’s lost the fun, and I can’t stand Christian Bale either so that doesn’t help – his Batman voice is awful. It looks like Catwoman is going to be a “99%er” in this next movie, which is just plain lame. Way to go occupy Gotham. Boo to this crap. And stop the stupid “final chapter” “end of a legend” nonsense – there’ll be another movie within 10 years – I’ll put money on it.

  179. googoogoojoob says:

    I just think that people have been conditioned to want films that simply entertain. In my opinion, too many prefer that Hollywood be an escapist fantasy from the dreary,. humdrum life.The Dark Knight is a reflection of it's times. Many films in the post 9/11 era have been short on easy laughs. Even the comedies (Observe and Report, Greenberg) have a dark impulse. Heroes (Bourne, Hanna, James Bond are now moody, gruff and vulnerable, not pumped quip spouters. I laugh at people who criticized the Batman Begins sequel for being too real. I'd hate to think of what they felt upon seeing United 93 or Hotel Rwanda or The Hurt Locker. Nolan created a perfect metaphor for societal fear of terrorism (whether he meant it or not). That is the brilliance of a great film: You can always watch it and see another facet that keeps you interested. It's what differentiates Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List from Hook or the last Indiana Jones film. In a couple of years people will forget about The Avengers, but they'll still be viciously divided over The Dark Knight

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