Tuesday, August 26, 2008

RDJ takes on TDK

Okay, this is NOT going to become a Robert Downey Jr fanblog.


HOWEVER...he recently made some pretty bold statements over at Moviehole about The Dark Knight. I first saw this reported at Yahoo! Here's an excerpt in case the link eventually goes away:

"My whole thing is that that I saw 'The Dark Knight'. I feel like I'm dumb because I feel like I don't get how many things that are so smart. It's like a Ferrari engine of storytelling and script writing and I'm like, 'That's not my idea of what I want to see in a movie.' I loved 'The Prestige' but didn't understand 'The Dark Knight'. Didn't get it, still can't tell you what happened in the movie, what happened to the character and in the end they need him to be a bad guy. I'm like, 'I get it. This is so high brow and so f--king smart, I clearly need a college education to understand this movie.' You know what? F-ck DC comics. That's all I have to say and that's where I'm really coming from."

I can't say that I agree with him about The Dark Knight. I thought it was extremely well-done—specifically the story, the performances and the special effects.

At the same time, I can actually see Downey's point. In being so ambitious, TDK stumbles in several places. The script tries to do too much. The intricate twists and subplots and the fast pace threaten to overwhelm the human significance of the things that happen. Chaos is overcome by human decency, but it leaves such misery in its wake that it still ends up seeming more powerful.

I honestly enjoyed Iron Man more, at least in the conventional sense. Like Batman Begins, it tells a classic origin story, straight out of Joseph Campbell. That story was executed perfectly, and given a heartbreaking (pun intended) contemporary angle. It also had a humor and a warmth that was missing from The Dark Knight.

One could argue that Iron Man was the less pretentious film, but then, I found The Prestige more pretentious than TDK by several miles. If you believe that all stories hav “messages” whether they mean to or not, then both of these movies may have messages that we need right now. In the case of Iron Man, it's “It's never too late to change”. Iron Man 2 is likely to follow the TDK mold in that it will veer into darker territory, but that is more likely to concern Tony Stark's lingering personal demons.

Unfortunately, in making these statements, Downey leaves himself open to charges of sour grapes. He certainly has a vested interest in Marvel Comics at this point. The fact is, though, this summer was going to belong the Jo—I mean to The Dark Knight no matter what. Headlining the second biggest event movie is an accomplishment in itself, as is bookending the main event...and he has accomplished both.

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