Tag Archives: Batman

The Set of 400: #6 – My Favorite Magic Trick

Today! Because sometimes you turn to a man you don’t fully understand –

The Dark Knight (2008)

Directed by Christopher Nolan (x4)

Starring Christian Bale (x2), Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman (x5), Michael Caine (x7), Morgan Freeman (x5), Eric Roberts, Melinda McGraw, Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Jai White, Tiny Lister (x3), William Fichter, Cillian Murphy (x3), David Dastmalchian, Ron Dean (x2), Chin Han, Nestor Carbonell (x2), Monique Gabriela Curnen, Keith Kupferer

If you had told me after Batman Begins that the Christopher Nolan films would eclipse the Burton ones in my personal evaluation, I would’ve said you’d gone goofy (because that’s an actual phrase I’m likely to use, rest assured). But this quickly became my prime example of the first movie in a series functioning more as a prequel than an original film. To even classify The Dark Knight as a sequel would mean to ascribe more qualities and value to Begins than it deserves. I know some people love it, and it’s fine, I guess, but only once The Dark Knight burst into existence. Otherwise, it’s just sort of sepia douchebaggery and table setting and Katie Holmes.

Meh

But the stars also aligned just right for Dark Knight in a lot of personal respects, too. As I’ve frequently mentioned, I moved to Chicago in June of 2008, and we’d just begun our first box office pool (I had Iron Man, which opened to kick off May), so movies were very much at the forefront of everything that year. It didn’t hurt that it was an extraordinarily big summer for films – what with Indiana Jones 4, the beginning of the MCU, Wall-E, Tropic Thunder, The Incredible Hulk, and the first Joker feature in nearly thirty years (plus, er, Speed Racer). But above all else – The Dark Knight is the most Chicago of movies, with virtually every outdoor scene filmed here in the big town. While they avoid showing the full skyline, or the Wrigley building, it’s so obviously Chicago as to be impossible to hide. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #18 – My Favorite Dance with the Devil in the Pale Moonlight

Today! Because I’ve got a flying mouse to kill, and I want to clean my claws –

Batman (1989)

Directed by Tim Burton (x6)

Starring Michael Keaton (x9), Jack Nicholson (x7), Kim Basinger (x2), Robert Wuhl (x3), Michael Gough (x3), Pat Hingle (x3), Billy Dee Williams (x3), Lee Wallace, Tracey Walter (x3), Jack Palance, Jerry Hall, William Hootkins (x2), Garrick Hagon (x3)

One of the main reasons I started heavy-duty list making in the first place, Tim Burton’s Batman was everything to me in 1989. Remember, this was the halcyon summer of the third Indiana Jones and the second Ghostbusters and… Honey I Shrunk the Kids, so nine-year-old Joe had plenty to look forward to after the hectic slog of fourth grade. And while I enjoyed all of those (yes, even Ghostbusters II), none had the impact of the Caped Crusader facing off with the Joker on the big screen. I can’t overstate how important this movie was in the entire formation of my interests for years to come.

Seriously, is it possible we all have it wrong on GBII? I haven’t seen it in forever, but it’s not really all that bad, right? I mean, it’s not Caddyshack II, is it?

And I didn’t like this movie in a cool way – I wasn’t some detached fan who viewed it in secret and mentioned it sporadically if it happened to come up. Ten-year-old me was a giant dork about this movie, badgering all my grade school pals with Batman shit and watching it endlessly at the house. Before it was available on VHS, I read the novelization by (I still remember) Craig Shaw Gardner multiple times. I had the Prince soundtrack and the Danny Elfman score on tapes. I had no fewer than three posters from this movie in my bedroom. It was straight up disgusting, how into this movie I was. Oh, is your big takeaway 380+ movies into this list that I wasn’t a cool kid? Huge surprise, I know! I’m not putting up much of an argument for being a cool adult, either! Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #139 – My Favorite Reckoning

Today! Because I was his friend. And it will be a very long time before someone inspires us the way he did. I believed in Harvey Dent –

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Directed by Christopher Nolan (x2)

Starring Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman (x4), Michael Caine (x5), Morgan Freeman (x2), Marion Cotillard, Matthew Modine, Ben Mendelsohn, Aidan Gillen, Liam Neeson (x3), Juno Temple, William Devane (x2), Cillian Murphy, Tom Conti, Alon Aboutboul, Nestor Carbonell, Thomas Lennon (x4), Joey King

I think it’s safe to say that, even with The Avengers that summer, The Dark Knight Rises was the most anticipated movie of 2012. Just go by the sheer numbers – there had never been a sequel to a movie that grossed as much as The Dark Knight at that point, so financially, expectations were all over the place. TDK had more than doubled Batman Begins at the box office, but upon Heath Ledger’s death whatever had been planned for TDKR went out the window. It was like season three of The Sopranos – everyone was excited to see where it would go, even if the original gameplan had to be scrapped on the fly. The first trailers were cool, and like TDK they premiered the opening IMAX sequences months early, before…Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol maybe? Something in the winter of 2011. And it was awesome, with all its “Tell me about Bane! Why does he where the mask?” coming from the man who would be Littlefinger.

Bad judge of the opposition!

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