I know this is an extremely unpopular opinion. Many people feel that this is the best comic book movie of all time, but I don’t see it that way. Obviously, Heath Ledger is mesmerizing as the Joker, the cinematography and effects are great, the dialogue is compelling, the pacing is immaculate, etc. This is an “A” film with a brilliant Joker, but as a BATMAN movie, it’s a failure. Batman is my favorite comic book character, and to see him be so misrepresented in this movie is insulting to me, and I don’t understand why other fans don’t see how Christopher Nolan doesn’t understand the Batman character. This is one of the most overrated movies of all time. Here are my four reasons why “The Dark Knight” isn’t a Batman movie:
1. Batman Isn’t Smart Enough: In the comics and in the animated series, Batman has always been one of the smartest characters in the DC Universe. However, in this movie, he relies on Lucius Fox for all of his technology. This makes him look like a freeloader who can’t create his own gadgets. Lucius, although being a character from the comics, contradicts the intelligence of Batman. Without his intelligence, Batman is just another crimefighter, like the Punisher or Daredevil. Batman without intelligence is like Wolverine without claws or Superman without flight. He isn’t Batman.
2. Batman Isn’t A Good Enough Fighter: I don’t see how anyone can defend this movie’s action. Yes, Nolan understands that action should be shot wide and without quick-cuts or shaky cam, but he doesn’t realize that intensity is needed in action scenes, especially with Batman. In “The Dark Knight” Batman just seems to jab people like a rookie middleweight boxer, not the tactical, stealthy ninja he is supposed to be. Sure, he uses some cool technology (made by Lucius) in some scenes, but again, whenever he engages in a fistfight, he looks like he has no clue as to what he is doing. Good examples of Batman’s fighting style are the Batman: Arkham video games and “Batman v Superman.” In those he was stealthy, quick, and brutal. I do think Christopher Nolan has become a better action director overtime, but in this movie, he did a poor job at creating thrilling fight sequences.
3. Gotham Doesn’t Look Like Gotham: In the comics and the animated television shows, Gotham is a grimy, filthy, dark, and polluted city. It is supposed to be a place where the readers or viewers would think to themselves, “This looks extremely dangerous; I would never want to be anywhere near here.” However, in “The Dark Knight,” it looks like Manhattan at its best. In Nolan’s world, it appears to be a clean and civilized city; it looks like somewhere that one would want to live, or at least take a tour through. Nolan’s Gotham doesn’t give the needed sense of danger or tension. A film that nailed the look of Gotham was “Joker”. It was almost everything it should be, and the team behind the film knew the most important thing about Gotham: the city is its own character. Gotham’s appearance should represent the filthiness and corruption of the city and many of its citizens, not a tourist attraction.
4. Batman is Lazy and Doesn’t Like Crime Fighting in this Movie: People don’t realize this. On the surface, Batman’s motivation in the movie is to protect Harvey Dent from the Joker. However, Batman’s intentions are selfish: he does this because he believes that Dent can eliminate the organized crime in Gotham, allowing himself to retire after crime fighting for only two years. First of all, Dent only put away parts of the mafia, not most of the street gangs or many of the criminals. Plus, Batman’s parents were killed by a random, petty thief, not a mafioso. Second of all, Batman should know that he is always needed and there will always be plenty of criminals that only he can fight. In the comics, Gotham is almost hopeless; crime will always be prevalent in the city. Lastly, Batman would never want to retire. In The Dark Knight Returns, which is widely considered to be the best Batman graphic novel of all time, after retiring for about ten years, Batman put on the cowl once again in his fifties. Batman loves being Batman. He would never retire as long as there is crime of any kind. He isn’t just a billionaire who dresses as a bat and fights crime for a few years, hoping to retire as soon as possible. Batman is a flawed hero who wants to save the people of Gotham from the crime and corruption that poisons the city. To do that, he can’t retire so quickly. He wants to make sure that no child has to watch their parents get shot ever again; not just for two years. However, Nolan doesn’t understand that, and this infuriates me as a Batman fan.
If the main character wasn’t called “Batman” I would easily adore this film. If you are a diehard Batman fan like I am, I suggest you pretend this is just a thriller that happens to have the Joker in it as well as a random masked vigilante. “The Dark Knight” still has its flaws as a film, but I recommend it to anyone who wants to see a great thriller.