As if you didn't already know, The much-hyped sequel to the critically acclaimed reboot of the Batman franchise was released in theaters yesterday to record box office numbers (18.5 million in midnight screenings alone). While the film is entertaining and probably a better use of your money than 2 gallons of gasoline, here are 5 things which keep the film from achieving "masterpiece" status. Warning, spoilers ahead.
5. The voice of Batman
OK, its understood Batman is supposed to "elemental" and use fear to get information/intimidate his adversaries. But what heck is that low, forced growl Christian Bale keeps spewing from behind his mask? Every time he opened his mouth to deliver a cringe-inducing one liner sounded like Wolverine on a 5 pack a day nicotine habit. In the previous film the voice was more gritty and fresh, here it sounds overacted and rehearsed.
4. Killing off Two-Face
What the #!@#@$, Chris Nolan. You introduce a main villain from the Batman mythos 3/4ths of the way through your movie, give him 3 or 4 "choices" to make (something tells me he's made up his mind already) then kill him off? Really? He won't even make a bit appearance ala scarecrow in "Batman 3: Who the Hell are Going to be the Villains". Aaron Eckhart did a (surprisingly) amazing job portraying Harvey Dent/Two face and now can't be brought back.
3. Universal Bat "Sonar" gimmick
It was pretty cool when Lucius Fox rigged Batman's cellphone to have sonar so that Batman could "see" like a bat. But then, in some weird twist of the studio exclaiming "We need more CGI!!!! ZMOG!!!!" We are told that Bat sonar is now somehow equipped on every cell phone in the city (is that how it worked?) and Lucius must monitor all of Gotham on a giant green screen...er...monitor board and this is how they find out where the Joker is hiding. This is either a) a giant cop-out b) A way to sell "Real Eye Glow!" Batman figures or c) a cool application to write for the iPhone.
2. The Bat Pod
In yet another shrewd merchandising move we are introduced to the "Batpod" a motorcycle inspired vehicle that transforms as a result of catastrophic damage to the Bat...tank? When it was first introduced in the lead up to Batman Begins the new Bat mobile looked ridiculous enough then turned out to be surprisingly cool in the movie. Here we have an idea clearly inspired by the bottom line of Mattel and Warner Brothers. If "realism" is what Nolan was going for, the idea that a military "Tumbler" would somehow have the need to transform into a motorized bicycle is certainly out of the question.
1. Heath Ledger just wasn't that good.
There. I said it. With all the hype, all the praise, all the Oscar nods, and all the fanboys quoting the trailers for the past 6 months Heath Ledger fails to deliver. Its an OK performance. The audience laughed when it was supposed to laugh, was shocked when it was supposed to be shocked, and maybe might have been rooting for the Joker. But by the end of the film the character just comes off as hollow. It is sad the Ledger will not be able to hone what he has begun to create in the Joker and return for the sequel, but a posthumous Oscar will just be pandering to the tabloid magazines which made him a star.