A couple of sour notes from The New Yorker and New York Magazine today (ChicaGotham envy?), but the raves rolling in still far outnumbering the thumps for The Dark Knight. As with the early reviews last week, it’s not so much the overall favorable reviews, but the elevated tenor of the praise that feels noteworthy:
Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
…in The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan’s ominously labyrinthine and exciting sequel to Batman Begins, good and evil aren’t just separate forces ‚Äî at times, they’re a whisper away from each other ‚Äî and the movie exudes a predatory glamour that makes the comic-book films that have come before it look all the more like kid stuff.
James Berardinelli, Reel Views **** 4 stars [NOTE: worker b’s at the IMDb hive have pointed out that the last movie to receive 4 stars from Berardinelli was The Departed, 2 years ago. This didn’t seem likely until I confirmed it with a ratings search on the reelviews archive.]
2008 may be the year that the superhero movie comes of age. Iron Man represents the best screen adventure of a Marvel hero. Now, D.C. has answered with The Dark Knight, a film so impressive in every significant facet that it makes one wonder why it took so long for the genre to reach this high level. Christopher Nolan has provided movie-goers with the best superhero movie to-date, outclassing previous titles both mediocre and excellent, and giving this franchise its The Empire Strikes Back.
Christy Lemire, Associated Press
Christopher Nolan’s film is indeed an epic that will leave you staggering from the theater, stunned by its scope and complexity. It’s also, thankfully, a vast improvement over his self-serious origin story, 2005’s “Batman Begins.”
Two less giddy reviews after the cut.
David Edelstein, New York Magazine
It‚Äôs a shock‚Äîand very effective‚Äîto see a comic-book villain come on like a Quentin Tarantino reservoir dog. 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.
David Denby, The New Yorker
Yet ‚ÄúThe Dark Knight‚Äù is hardly routine‚Äîit has a kicky sadism in scene after scene, which keeps you on edge and sends you out onto the street with post-movie stress disorder. And it has one startling and artful element: the sinister and frightening performance of the late Heath Ledger as the psychopathic murderer the Joker. That part of the movie is upsetting to watch, and, in retrospect, both painful and stirring to think about.
“…sends you out onto the street with post-movie stress disorder.” You say that like it’s a bad thing.