Why So Serious, Dark Knight Defenders? In Defense of Its Critics

In Jim Emerson’s terrific blog, “Scanners,” he wrote a fantastic piece recently on The Dark Knight, and how those who refuse to choose it for Best Picture are somehow negligent and not fulfilling their role as critical members of society. He is still more positive on the film than I am—having seen it a second time, the flaws are more glaring, the disparity between Ledger’s performance and everyone else is far more noticeable, and the length of the film makes it drag nearly unbearably at times under its own feeling of self-importance as a superhero film that takes itself seriously, dammit! I showed my previous two articles to several friends and to the users of Pass the Popcorn– the message board I frequent– and was told that I was grossly unfair with the first article and not as laudatory as I should have been with the second. In retrospect, my first article was accurate, reflecting the same feelings Jim Emerson feels post-release with the Oscar buzz, and my second article feels weak and glosses over the negative comments the film deserves and should receive.

To those who disliked or criticize The Dark Knight: you’re not simply contrarians. You’re not, for the most part, making unfair statements. If you’re starting to become bold and state your opinions in an outraged manner, it’s totally understandable, because it’s far from popular to call the film what it is—not only far from the Best Picture of the Year, but not even the best picture in its genre this year. Aside from Ledger, and maybe the cinematography and score, this film should receive no acclaim in the awards season, and I can think of worthy candidates to win all of those categories instead.

A user of Pass the Popcorn named “Tiger Woods” summed it up nicely: “If you want a superhero movie that deals with heroes’ efforts being unappreciated, X-Men 2 is better. If you want a superhero movie about a rich billionaire who feels obligated to use his wealth to improve the world, Iron Man is better. If you want a superhero movie about a hero dealing with the conflict of being a city’s guardian while being in love at the same time, Spider-Man 2 is better. And most importantly, if you want just a good fun accessible non-pretentious Batman flick, Batman Begins is significantly better.” With that, please let us end this silly notion that Josh Tyler presents that The Dark Knight belong in some sort of all-time movie list, and resume finding new things to like.

~ by russellhainline on December 22, 2008.

2 Responses to “Why So Serious, Dark Knight Defenders? In Defense of Its Critics”

  1. Thank goodness some bloggers can still write. My thanks for this read…

  2. I dont disagree with this article!

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