The Batman franchise has it’s own Bat Brand, which for some is a creative turn-off. Explosions get bigger, car chases and fight scenes get longer and the sitting time extends beyond two hours. As a kid, I loved the series starring Adam West. As an adult, I’m far from a Batman movie junkie. I don’t remember the early movies beyond knowing that Batman was played by Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney. I liked Batman Begins. It gave the Hollywood Batman a new edge and deeper history.
Gotham has a new hero, Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), a good guy district attorney dubbed The White Knight. He’s kicking ass and taking names with clean hands. He could be the man who helps Bruce Wayne/Batman (Christian Bale) end his days as crime fighter. If that happens, he can enter into a romance with childhood friend Rachel (Maggie Gyllenhaal), but the Joker (an unrecognizable Heath Ledger), a madman with an uncanny psychological sniffer, figures out the caped crusader’s weak spot. The Joker is unrelenting in his manipulative demand that Batman reveal his identity or he the Joker will produce a body count. Can good prevail over evil?
The weak, convoluted plot has the Joker scamming the mob. Soon, he’s got the mob working with him to bring down Batman. A lot happens and the story is bloated. After 150 minutes, your bladder is strained and your derrière is sore. You want those extra minutes to leave you shocked and wanting more, not wondering WHY?
You cannot discuss this movie without mentioning Heath Ledger. His performance was among the last before his death and he’s brilliant! His voice is unrecognizable, his makeup is mental and that compulsive licking is gross. If Hollywood didn’t tell you it was him, you may not have identified Ledger. His scenes vis-à-vis Batman are among the movie’s best. He’s nauseously intoxicating.
Co-writer/Director: Christopher Nolan
Run time: 152 minutes