As a writer on Batman: The Animated Series I have a vested interest in ole Bats, so I ought to weigh in on the latest outing, B:TDK. (I'm not using the title in my header, nor here, in my ongoing attempt to avoid pumping up my blog visits by using words a lot of folks are apt to be googling.)
It's an E-ticket ride. Right up there in the top five or six comic book movies ever, lot of action, a gag or two I've never seen before -- an eighteen-wheeler doing a half front flip -- and Ledger's final acting performance is a wonderful scenery-chewing nutso role. What sold it for me was a little bit of business, wherein the Joker, who in this incarnation wears makeup and not the residual coloring from his chemical bath, has scars next to his mouth. Now and then, he sticks out his tongue and licks them. Nice touch.
Don't take your pre-teen children, nor your older ones if they are easily spooked into nightmares, and if your spouse breaks down when Bambi's mother dies, leave him/her home, too.
There is a lot of action, and it opens hard and doesn't ease up. A bit long -- don't drink the big Coke or you'll miss some of the show. It's a tad preachy in spots, but a worthy successor to Bale's last outing in BB, and far and away better than any of the live-action Bats that hit the big screen before. (The Mask of the Phantasm, the animated movie? Still as good as any, save maybe this one. Of course, I'm biased, I have a couple uncredited lines in that one ...)
I don't know how they got a PG-13 rating. If ever a movie needed an R for violence, this is one. Some of it is clever. There is a funny, violent, scene involving the Joker making a pencil disappear, and one involving a Batman wanna-be you won't think is funny at all.
A scene involving a child late in the movie that, while we all know the kid isn't going to die, is over the top for any child that age to watch, and a lot of parents with kids in tow will squirm. Unless your darling has grown up on a steady diet of Grand Theft Auto, these sequences will scare them -- and they ought to make you cringe.
No big surprises. I liked the convict-reversal (with Tiny Lister), but it was easy to see coming. Harvey Dent's make-up is great fun to look at it, if totally silly from a medical viewpoint. (Hint: It has to do with massive infection, which would kill ole Harvey dead PDQ, trust me on this.)
If they do another one -- and anybody who thinks they won't doesn't have a clue how The Biz works -- I'm thinking they'll need to use Mark Hamill as the Joker. Watch the animated show and listen to the voice -- that's him, and he'd be perfect ...
Worth seeing, with the warnings.