So I finally watched a couple of the new Batman movies. I don't think I've seen any since the first Tim Burton / Michael Keaton affair oh so many years ago. In general, most superhero movies leave me cold. I'm not a comic book fan (there goes my geek cred right out the window) and all the efforts to "ground" the superhero's story in some sort of reality just leave me cold and bored.
But I had been hearing so many good things about The Dark Knight, and I had a "free" coupon (oh, that reminds me - I need to fill that out and get it in the mail!) for a movie so I figured I'd give The Dark Knight a try using OnDemand HD. Big sound, big picture, lots of action, figured it would work well.
And it did. The movie goes on for about 30 minutes too long - 152 minutes of crash/bang action is a little over the top. No, make that a lot over the top. And while the Nolan brothers did a good job of infusing some strains of seriousness into the proceedings, at times it got a little too ponderous for its own good.
But enough niggling, it was still pretty good, for a superhero movie. And the accolades for Heath Ledger's final performance were certainly deserved - he was simply amazing as The Joker, infusing the character with a barely restrained insanity that was mesmerizing to watch. Wow, what an acting job! Christian Bale was solid, or even stolid, as Batman, but Michael Caine is perfect as Alfred.
The picture and sound were pretty amazing. Good thing my home theater is way downstairs, as I'm sure I would have woken up someone otherwise. As it was, the floor was almost certainly shaking upstairs!
So an enjoyable if a bit lengthy evening, with perhaps the highest body count of any movie I have seen recently!
And my first DVD from LendAround was the Blu-ray version of Batman Begins, the movie just before The Dark Knight, also starring Christian Bale as the Batman. This one describes how Batman came to be, from a somewhat spoiled rich boy who was bent on destruction after witnessing the cold blooded murder of his parents, to his brutal training in the Himalayan Mountains at the hand of a mysterious ninja cult leader. He breaks from the cult in an explosive fashion, then tries to defend Gotham City from destruction by the cult.
Much less frenetic movie than The Dark Knight and the better for it. Still a little overlong at 140 minutes. And I'm not convinced the DVD I got was really Blu-ray, as it didn't say it on the DVD anywhere and the normal red/blue/yellow/green buttons on my remote didn't do anything. But picture and sound were solid nonetheless.
In some ways, I enjoyed it more than The Dark Knight. It was more of a movie and less of an event. Liam Neeson, however, is no match for Heath Ledger in the villan department, although he did lend the character a certain debonair charm.
Neither movie has caused me to rethink my natural antipathy towards superhero movies. They are good for a quick (please be shorter next time!) action fix, but nothing really sticks. I don't get that involved, as, in the end, it'll all work out. So a lukewarm thumbs up for both of them, which is actually pretty good coming from me!