Dark Knight Crushes Your Mom

by Paul William Tenny

Batman: The Dark KnightYou know, at this point I feel like everything there was to be said about The Dark Knight has already been said. I haven't seen it, but it's carrying a very high score on metacritic: 82/100. Not exactly the 100/100 that people would lead you to believe, that's still a solid 18% that didn't like the film. Then again it's not reasonable to expect everyone to like it, and many people did not. Salon critic Stephanie Zacharek didn't care for it, serving up 50/100 (two out of four stars or however each person's system works) with this confusing explanation:

Nolan may want us to believe in the darkness that lurks within each of us, but instead of leading us to it visually, he chops it up and sets it out in front of us, a grim, predigested banquet.

I don't even know what that means.

Zacharek gave an equally grim review for Batman Begins, saying the back-to-basics fan favorite "needs much more energy and kinetic flow -- less dolor and more dolomite." So maybe these movies just aren't her cup of tea.

You've undoubtedly heard that Dark Knight broke roughly three trillion records over the weekend, but in case you haven't this post at Deadline Hollywood will serve you well.

About all I can add to this is a little bit of insight, so here are some snippets from metacritic, comparing reviews of Begins to Dark Knight by the same reviewer.


"Ambitious, well made but not exactly rousing." - Batman Begins

"Enthralling...An ambitious, full-bodied crime epic of gratifying scope and moral complexity, this is seriously brainy pop entertainment that satisfies every expectation raised by its hit predecessor and then some." - The Dark Knight

How does a "well made but not exactly rousing" film raise expectations of "seriously brainy pop entertainment"? The magic of revisionist history, apparently.

Christian Science Monitor
"Delivers enough action to please Saturday-night crowds, if not the surreal wit that made the first two "Batman" movies, directed by Tim Burton, so entertaining." - Begins

"This comic-book movie is more disturbing, and has more freakish power, than anything else I've seen all year." - Dark Knight

Chicago Reader
"There are strong turns by Michael Caine as Alfred the butler and Tom Wilkinson as a ruthless crime boss." - Begins

"The moral dilemmas are perfectly fused with the amped-up action and outsize characters, but they're impossible to miss: like all of us, the people of Gotham have to protect themselves from evil without falling prey to it." - Dark Knight

There are a lot of converts from the 40-60 range up to 90-100, including the Chicago Reader. You've got to figure that a lot of these people are simply jumping on the bandwagon. There's no way Dark Knight is twice as good Begins, because Begins was a very good film to begin with which would place Dark Knight so far above all other films that it's record breaking release actually seems a little short in comparison.

I think there's this tendency for the hype to drive reviews, lest the reviewer look like the lone guy our raining on everyone's parade. If everyone else is saying this movie is pure genius, and I don't like it as a critic, does that mean I'm out of touch and need to find another job?

Hrm, I don't know. It's hard to believe that as good as Begins was, that Dark Knight as that much better. I just don't buy it. It's probably better in many respects and maybe playing on the next level up, but can't be so good that a 40 review for the Begins can transform into a 100 for Dark Knight.

That kind of difference is so huge that they couldn't really be the same anymore.

Just my two cents..

Reader Cory Geller wrote in to share a link with us where PETA is apparently unhappy with Batman fighting dogs. I'm not kidding, they are seriously upset that dogs were portrayed as bad guys. You'd think they'd concern themselves with the dogs being treated humanely on the set  (they are) but no, they have to complain about the portrayal of dogs in a fictional movie.

Get a life PETA, geez.
in Film


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Stephanie's review is nonsensical; I'd like to disagree with it, but I'd have to make sense of it first.

Anyhow, you should really see it. Great post title btw.

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