Andy, Shawn, Chris, and I all went to see the midnight showing of the Dark Knight. I chose Cobblestone Theaters in Urbandale. It's kind of the forgotten theater these days, so I figured we'd easily get seats.
We did get in---barely. The Cobblestone had Batman playing on six theaters at midnight and they were all full! Can you imagine how much money this movie is going to make. It'll easily pass $100 million this weekend alone.
After Chris and I bought a $25 "family combo", because Andy had to have a pint of that orange grease that is somehow called "butter" on his popcorn, and I didn't want any motor oil because I want to live to see 50, we settled in for 25 minutes of commercials and previews. This is the apparent price of buying a$6 ticket, instead of an $8 ticket. (Shawn never took one sip---not one---of the $5 Diet Coke I bought him. It's Coke Zero or bust for that guy.)
Once the midnight movie, which should have been called a 12:26 a.m. movie, started we were spellbound. The Dark Knight is the best superhero movie I've ever seen, and easily the best movie of the year so far, regardless of genre. I really shouldn't even throw the superhero label on it, because there's nothing cartoonish about this Batman. It's dark, disturbing, and plausible. The themes are thought-provoking, relevant topics ripped from today's headlines: terrorism, spying, fear mongering, mob mentality, citizen desperation, one man's power---to name a few.
Christian Bale again proves he's the best Bruce Wayne and Batman ever. Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Aaron Eckhart all offer terrific support, and I thought Maggie Gyllenhaal improved on Katie Holmes as Rachel. Andy thinks Gyllenhaal is nowhere near hot enough to land the affections of Batman. (Yes, guys really talk about stuff like this on the way out of a movie.) I think she's plenty pretty, and think the whole point is Bruce Wayne always surrounds himself with supermodels, but longs for something more substantial.
I'm burying the lead. Heath Ledger is as good as advertised---better even. You can't take your eyes off him, and not because he died at the end of filming. Ledger gives one of the great supporting performances ever. His Joker is so twisted, menacing, and diabolical that you know he's killing for the fun of it. If Ledger doesn't win the Academy Award for supporting actor, I'll devote an entire Murphy's Law column to the career acting accomplishments of Pauly Shore.
The Dark Knight is long---2 1/2 hours---but not too long. It's so good that Andy and Chris kept their inappropriate, loud talking to under 15 seconds for the entire 150 minutes. That's high praise.
Can't wait to see Batman on the Science Center of Iowa's Imax screen. The grade is A.
(Note to parents: This movie is definitely not for small children, and I'd say you should check it our first for yourself before you take any child under 10. As you know, it often depends on the kid's personality; I have one boy who will love Dark Knight, and one who would have nightmares for weeks.)
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