Negative Dark Knight Movie Reviews?

77 hours. 77 hours until the lights will fade, the previews will begin, and the theater will roar as The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger and all, rolls onto the screen. Anticipation is high… in fact, amazingly high. In order to subdue my hype, however, I went searching for bad reviews, and, of course, went straight over to RottenTomatoes.

The reviews did not help in crushing my hopes. The movie only has an 88% fresh rating based on 20 reviews, and the snippets from the bad reviews include:

This movie is grim and jammed together. The narrative isn’t shaped coherently to bring out contrasts and build toward a satisfying climax. The Dark Knight is constant climax; it’s always in a frenzy, and it goes on forever. -David Denby, New Yorker

Why do comic-book movies want to be serious literature? That’s the problem with this movie the same way it was with 2006’s “Superman Returns.” Instead of being exciting pop-culture entertainment that forces the viewer to take it seriously, the movie takes itself too seriously – and misses the fun in the process. – Marshall Fine, Star Magazine

But then the novelty wears off and the lack of imagination, visual and otherwise, turns into a drag. The Dark Knight is noisy, jumbled, and sadistic. Even its most wondrous vision—Batman’s plunges from skyscrapers, bat-wings snapping open as he glides through the night like a human kite—can’t keep the movie airborne. There’s an anvil attached to that cape. – David Edelstein, New York Magazine

Actually, those are all of the rotten reviews thus far, and the first two don’t strike much confidence in me. Denby’s review is scathing, to say the least, but he loses me when he bashes Bale, Batman Begins and everything else I know I’ll like. I can’t pre-judge someone else’s movie review until I see The Dark Knight myself, but when someone hates a movie for being “perverse” and sounds like they hated the first one, too, credibility goes right out the window. After all, Batman Begins is the best comic book movie made, and so it’s unlikely I’m going to agree with him here.

Fine, who still gives the movie 2.5 stars, complains that the movie isn’t fun enough, and points out that comic book movies shouldn’t take themselves too seriously. That’s fine, but one gets the sense he doesn’t like realistic comic book movies, and again, we have a severe difference of opinion. I feel most comic book franchises, from Spider-Man to X-Men, would be best served by being grittier and adult-oriented.

The Dark Knight movie review by Edelstein is the most sobering, as he seems the most unbiased by Christopher Nolan’s approach. If I were to end up being disappointed by The Dark Knight, his review is what I’d write. He complains there’s too much dialogue and that the movie is too smart for its own good; could Nolan have gotten too caught up in the drama of it all that he forgot to make an exciting action movie? I doubt it, but we shall see.

More dampening are the fresh movie reviews that fall short of calling the movie a classic; they liked it but didn’t love it. I didn’t go on to read the movie reviews beyond the snippets in RottenTomatoes, but if The Dark Knight isn’t everything I wanted and more, it will probably fall in line with these reviews. After all, if you hype a movie up so much, you’re bound to be disappointed.

Of course, most of the Dark Knight movie reviews rave about the film; some call it a masterpiece; others a classic. At the very least, they say it’s an excellent film. Damn. My hype has not gone away.

By Erik Samdahl
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  • Scorchio

    A review is nothing more than an opinion and most people reviewing films are so up their own arses that they watch the film as a critic not an audience member and from the negative reviews that’s the impression I get, the guy who says it’s not fun probably loved Batman and Robin and some critics can’t get past the fact that it’s a comic book movie, I imagine they had no idea that A History of Violence and Road to Perdition were graphic novels, the only reviews I pay attention to are Empire and Total Film becuase you know that when they sat and watched the film they were there as an audience member completely involved in the film, not as a pretentious critic looking for any excuse to say something bad about a “blockbuster”. Also you can tell they arsey because who gives something 2.5 what the hell is the half for…………I’ll form my own opinion cheers, listening to these critics (usually failed writers/film makers) just sends you there looking for problems, whats the point.

  • Hi,
    Yes, valid points; for me, I find that when critics really like a movie, I tend to agree; when they really hate a movie, I tend to agree, with a couple exceptions. The murky middle is where I find the most disagreement. Sadly, I find myself agreeing with critics more and more, though I can certainly still enjoy the blockbusters more than the lot of them.

    I’m just saddened that FilmJabber is not on your list of reviews you pay attention to. :o(

  • Face it, Dungby and Marshmellow have their heads firmly inserted deep in each other’s rear. Why pay attention to the blathering of assheads?

  • Dirk Jerry

    Went to see it last night, and having enjoyed the first film was really looking forward to it, and although I found the film to be enjoyable in parts I have to say I left the cinema feeling dissapointed.
    For starters, the film was too long, they could have easily cut 30 minutes off it, the plot was really predictable, the story seemed dissjointed, and the ending? What was that all about, why didn’t Batman just blame it on the Joker or the Joker’s men?
    The worst part for me was Heath Ledger, there has been so much hype about the role i was bound to be dissapointed, but although I thought he was good it seemed he was just pretending to be Michael Keaton in Beetlejuice, or Johnny Depp in any number of roles.
    I would recomend anyone to go and see it as it was enjoyable, but a masterpiece? I think not.

  • Hi Dirk. I can understand how a lot of hype and expectations can make a movie come off as not so good, but what comic book movie would you rate as better? I definitely cannot say that 30 minutes could have been cut out – I wanted it to last an additional hours.

    As for Heath Ledger’s performance, this is stretching it a bit, but I’d say it’s 2008’s Daniel Day Lewis performance from a transformation perspective.

  • Dirk Jerry

    Hi Erik. Comic book films I think are/were better? Loved V for Vendetta, loved the original Punisher film, and the first Hellboy, and how could I not include Spawn, just for John Leguizamo’s performance!
    Watched the Tim Burton Batman films again over the weekend, and really loved them, and thought Jack as the Joker was better than Heath. As for him being like Daniel Day Lewis, I can see that, but not sure if he was Oscar standard, not when you think how good Harrison Ford was at not at all looking like a very old man in Indiana Jones and the Weird Alien Skull Thingy!
    But it’s all personal opinion, and I thought the Lord of the Rings were the dullest films ever, and think John Lennon is over-rated, so who am I to judge?

  • Dirk Jerry

    and Sin City!

  • Hey Dirk, well, I agree with you on Hellboy, and I thought most of the Punisher was pretty good, and V for Vendetta was good but a tad overrated. Definitely disagree on Lord of the Rings and Sin City though.

  • JonB

    This film is the most overhyped and overrated movie on the planet.

    Come on, the plot and style is basically a mish mash of ‘Heat’ and… Batman.

  • And that’s a bad thing?