Knee-jerk review: "The Dark Knight"

1. Sometimes too much of a good thing is a bad thing. This movie's about 30 minutes too long. Sorry.
2. Everything you've heard about Heath Ledger's Joker is true. That performance is a force of nature. Funny, feral, unpredictable.
3. Maggie Gyllenhaal is about a 300% upgrade over Katie Holmes, who was so hopelessly in over her heard in Batman Begins playing the same character. Gyllenhaal's a woman, whereas Holmes is a little girl.
4. The raspy voice Christian Bale uses when he's Batman works great when he's saying something bad-ass like "Drop the gun." But when he has to deliver long impassioned speeches that affected voice is just silly.
5. They flipped an 18-wheeler truck end over end. Wow. It's hard these days to see a stunt you haven't seen before.
6. Why would anyone want to work as a Gotham City cop? It looks like you never have a day off.
7. We didn't get the Harvey Two-Face character when Tommy Lee Jones played him in Batman Forever. But with Aaron Eckhart, we get it.
8. The problem with the movie is that there's too much of it. If you're looking at your watch and wondering if the movie will ever end, then someone somewhere has made a miscalculaton. Here, there's at least one action set piece too many and the final climax is so convoluted and over-the-top that it's hard to sometimes follow the action, much less care what happens. Part of the problem is a strange bit where Joker suddenly concocts an elaborate hostage situation (this is a movie full of hostage situations) straight out of a Saw movie.
9. You can only watch (and hear in Dolby Digital) so many explosions before it all starts to lose impact and you get numb.
10. Even so, this is probably the best superhero movie to so explicitly explore the fine line between vigilante and criminal, justice and vengeance, law and lawlessness. Thematically, the film is very sophisticated. How far can you push a just man before he snaps and becomes unjust? How much (or how little) would it take Batman to become the Joker?
11. It's fun to see Gary Oldman playing a bookish, mild-mannered hero.
12. "You complete me."
13. It must be nice to be a billionaire.

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