To start off with, I have a few admissions to make.
- While I did somewhat enjoy a couple of Batman films in the past, I’ve never been a fan.
- I saw photos of Christian Bale on the Internet and thought he’s a bit too old and not good-looking enough to be a superhero.
- I have never watched a Heath Ledger movie and didn’t quite get the buzz surrounding him and his recent death.
- The character of the Joker has always irritated me because I thought the clown face with the fake smile looks stupid and doesn’t make a very appropriate villain.
That was before I watched The Dark Knight, three nights ago.
Today, I’m a convert many times over.
You either outright believe me (because you’re a fan and you know), or you have to watch it for yourself to believe me.
It was a good thing I was invited to the gala premiere of The Dark Knight at Lido on Wednesday night. Otherwise, I probably would never have watched it, unless my friends forcibly dragged me to.
I was very late because I had to rush down after drumming class.
By the time I got there, guests had already begun to file into the cinemas. It took me about ten minutes to frenziedly sort out the admin, get a drink and get myself admitted.
Because it was free seating and I was really late (although early enough to catch the start), I only managed to get second row seats.
Better than nothing, I guess.
I was a little lost in the first 20 minutes because I didn’t watch Batman Begins (prequel to The Dark Knight) and because, like I mentioned, I wasn’t a big Batman fan. And it took some time getting accustomed to staring up at a giant screen just a few feet away from me.
But that’s all dust under the carpet now. The movie was gripping enough to draw me out of the present and into the dark.
The Dark Knight is quite dark, thanks to Heath Ledger, who stole the show with his Oscar-deserving performance as the Joker. Now I wish the man hadn’t died, because I want to see more of him.
The Joker is a lot more likeable now (I mean in the sense of loving to hate), compared to the Joker of Jack Nicholson. Not meaning to slight Mr Nicholson, who is a great actor, but I just prefer the look of the new Joker.
With the gritty makeup, no mask, and downplaying of colours, the Joker is now more real, which makes it more terrifying. Believable villains are always scarier than campy larger-than-life villains.
Heath Ledger brought to this role a raw vulnerability that is heartbreaking and a quiet madness that is chilling to watch. I couldn’t get enough of him.
And you know how I said Christian Bale doesn’t look superhero enough for me? I take it back. He does in The Dark Knight.
He probably did, too, in Batman Begins, but I can’t know for sure because I didn’t watch that.
Although the actor is not heart-stoppingly good-looking, he isn’t without charisma. Charisma he has, in abundance. And I guess charisma is much more important for a superhero than vanilla good looks.
I love that intense gaze of his, which at the same time sends out vibes of love (for the good guys) and menace (for the bad guys).
The new bat costume I like. Very keeping with the times.
But I don’t know about the new batmobile. It looks like a tank. Not quite right, here. Not quite what I expected.
The Lamborghini that Bruce Wayne drives, though, is something else. I think Batman should drive this instead of Bat Tank up there.
Watching this baby go is worth the price of admission alone.
Well, so is watching Heath Ledger bring the Joker to life.
So is watching Christian Bale sew himself up after getting a cut.
So is watching acting veterans Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman heat up the screen.
(Aaron Eckhart is kinda cute, too, as the people’s hero, Harvey Dent.)
So is watching the nonstop explosive action you would expect in a superhero action movie.
So is watching the Dark Knight’s cape billow in the wind.
I totally fall for that sort of thing.
If you’re going to watch this movie (which I’m sure you will because you don’t want to be a suaku and miss the movie of the year), just take note of a few caveats.
- The movie is really long at 150 minutes. Make sure you go to the bathroom just before and don’t drink too much in the cinema.
- If you’re watching it at Lido, bring a jacket. People around me (and me) were all frozen stiff by the time the movie ended.
- Try and get tickets early so you don’t get front row “privileges” like me. Action movies are really better watched from afar.
You can watch the trailer here. As if you need any more convincing.
And don’t be late for the show. The heart-pumping, adrenaline-inducing action starts from the very first second of the film and you don’t want to miss a single moment.