Don’t let me wrong, parts of it were superb. Strong imagery supported powerful themes; the entwinement of Bats and Joker, the order/restriction/heroism interplay with chaos/freedom/passion, twisting thoughout the film – iconised by the (sadly brief) addition of the much under-used Two-Face. A smartly self-referential narrative rather skilfully veered away from several classic genre clichés (the girl died – yay!) and the array of gadgetry was strongly visual, yet wasn’t over-used – and managed to keep its cool.
Sub-plot points for the realisation that the all-powerful Bruce can’t achieve this stuff alone. Any Bat-fan knows the brains belong to Alfred and Fox added a level of technical support worthy of Bond’s Q – extra bonus for the ultimate sonar gadget. Plus the young Commissioner Gordon kicking bad guy butt with a ‘Pow’!’ and a ‘Zap!’ – if this can be echoed by an equally potent whiskey-swilling Chief O’Hara in the follow-up, I may just change my mind about the whole thing.
Faced by the awesome curtain performance of Ledger, flanked by Caine and Freeman, Christian gets bunged in with the lions – and doesn’t stand a chance. Out of armour, he’s outclassed – but add the appalling and predictable ‘gravelly rasp’ and the Joke really is on him. It didn’t quite ruin the film – but it did undermine Bats’ credibility and make me wonder if Brucey hadn’t made his trust fund providing new soundtracks for bad 70s porn.
Which brings me to the point.
There is such a thing as a climax that goes on for too fucking long. Another explosion, another confrontation, another hostage situation, another wave of tension-and-release… that’s enough. Faced with yet one more end-of-level showdown, I’m drained and no longer seeing the funny side.
Two-Face, though iconic – was wasted. The realisation of the character was thrown away, lost in a rising tide of detonation. The smashing of the Bat-symbol was a childhood memory over-turned – and, by that point, long over-due. When something that powerful and reminiscent is lost under a bad case of auditorium-wide fidgets..? Looks like everyone’s about climaxed out.
Why so serious? Because there are some Knights that just never seem to end.