OK, so it’s been a week since the Academy Award nominations were released – a week since the wailing, gnashing of teeth and rending of garments began over the supposedly egregious snub of “The Dark Knight” from the major (read: non-technical) awards, with the exception of Heath Ledger’s nomination.
What – no best picture? No best director?
Really? How about most super-duper movie ever in the history of undiscriminating fanboys?
Talk about misplaced outrage. Better that energy went to questioning the way the Oscar snubbed Sally Hawkins, or “Gomorra” as best foreign film.
Perhaps people could apply that effort instead toward a campaign to convince Mickey Rourke to stop even joking about participating in Wrestlemania. (I have four words for Mickey Rourke regarding how to blow his comeback after “The Wrestler”: Burt Reynolds. “Boogie Nights.”)
So let me put this is as simply as possible:
“The Dark Knight” was not a great movie. It was only half a good movie.
It was not as good as “Batman Begins.”
It was not as consistently entertaining as “Iron Man.”
There’s a solid 90-minute movie buried within the 150-minute slog that is “The Dark Knight.” And even that wouldn’t have been worthy of an Oscar nomination.
Personally, I’m still trying to figure out why so many people got so worked up about this bloated, self-important movie. It kind of blew, in the same way that “Spider-man 3” kind of blew.
Sure, it was dark and broody. And then, for a change of pace, it was darker and broodier.
“The Dark Knight” had more prelims than a Don King undercard. You had to sit through Batman slugging it out with what seemed like dozens of faceless, generic henchmen before he actually worked his way to the Joker. It was as if Batman tried to cut in line to buy Springsteen tickets – and then had to take on everyone else in the line – before confronting the Boss himself.
Also: If you want to make a movie about Two-Face, go ahead and make one. But don’t graft it on to the Batman-Joker movie, like some weird Ray Milland/Roosevelt Grier clone. By the time Aaron Eckhart was burned into a special-effects nightmare worthy of early Sam Raimi, you mostly wished he’d just die and shut up. Or spin off to his own movie.
Too much of this over-earnest outing was devoted to convincing people to take it seriously. It practically screamed, “This is literature! This is art, by God!”
Meanwhile, writer-director Christopher Nolan left out a couple of key elements: fun, for one. Excitement, for another.
And by the way: If I wanted to listen to Nolan’s dissertation on the nature of heroism in modern society, I would have gone to grad school with him.
End of sermon.
Now let’s unite behind a cause that is crucial to our survival as a species: stopping Steve Martin from ever making another Inspector Clouseau movie.