At my advanced age I try to remain young by staying in tune with my grandkids. I read many of the books they read and go to some of their favorite movies. I have read all the Harry Potter books and many more, including “Twilight” which is about a good teenage vampire. This weekend I went to the latest Batman movie with the whole gang. I think I crossed over the line in trying to stay in tune with the young crowd. It is rated PG 13 but deserves an R for ridiculous.
Technically, it is an incredible movie. I have never seen so many special effects. It makes the other Batman movies and Starwars look like elementary school movie projects. It’s hard to believe that special effects could ever become more sophisticated. It makes films that were made only a couple of years ago look like the Keystone Cops. I guess the next advance will be actually putting the audience into the exploding cars.
The acting by the late Heath Ledger is some of the best ever captured on film. Ledger died of a drug overdose and I can understand why. If the character of the Joker infected the personality of Ledger, it is enough to have pushed him over the edge.
The Joker is a victim of child abuse and his distorted, evil and scheming mind is set on creating chaos in Gotham City and bringing down Batman. The plot is very convoluted and somewhat complex and disguised by all the special effects. Even though Ledger does a super acting job the real star of the movie is Explosion. The movie consists of one explosion after another. There are great car chases and even an 18-wheeler turning end over end. Batman swoops down from tall buildings and is retrieved by planes in flight that come by just at the right time. My favorite scene is the blowing up of an entire hospital. That reminded me of what is going to happen with national healthcare. There is a scene about spying on everyone that is a reminder of the Bush Administration. The car chase scene in the tunnels of Gotham City takes us back to Princess Diana’s accident and death.
Batman wants to create a White Knight image in the District Attorney so his services as the Cape Crusader will no longer be needed and he will be able to marry his true love. The Joker’s diabolical scheme turns the District Attorney into a Dark Knight by killing the one he loves and reducing him to a grotesque figure filled with revenge and hatred. Batman turns the tables on the scheming Joker who seems to be in control of everything. Batman’s high tech gear makes James Bond look like Kindergarten stuff. The Joker cares nothing about money: his joy comes from creating chaos and producing a rein of terror in Gotham City. The joker almost succeeds but Batman comes to the rescue; I think. The story leaves a few loose ends about what ultimately happens. The Joker may be waiting for another return. Warner Brothers hopes he returns because this has turned out to be the highest grossing weekend for any movie to date: 155 Million so far. I suspect much of the overwhelming success of the movie can be attributed to a memorial for Heath Ledger.
The Batman of this movie is a far cry from the one I knew when I was a kid. I learned to read from the DC comic characters. Batman and Superman were my heroes along with Captain Marvel of Marvel Comics. These guys were no match for the high tech hero of this movie. I’m just getting too old for the stuff in this violent movie. I will have to be content to read my old DC comics on the porch or see reruns of Adam West as Batman.