The hype surrounding this movie is so huge that more than two weeks after its premiere, we still had to wait in line for a 7:30 p.m. showing on a Tuesday night. Bought tickets the day before. If we hadn't arrived 45 minutes early, there would have been slim picking for seats. The movie was showing at staggered intervals in three different mini theaters. By 2:00 p.m., all three were entirely sold out.
Nothing like getting a taste of the true Dark Knight phenomenon.
Generally, I avoid first run theater showings. Don't like crowds, the annoying munching of popcorn, or the guy behind me kicking my seat at odd intervals. Heck, I don't even like comic book super heroes. They're so ... well ... cartoony.
But something about this movie was different. Couldn't wait for the DVD debut. Like a beckoning Svengali, it infiltrated my psyche and wouldn't leave. I was completely enthralled, like putty in its hands. The psychological desire to be part of a mass experience became irresistible. Seeing it at home for the first time wouldn't do.
I hate spoilers more than plopping down eight bucks for a movie, so I'm not going to go into any detail about the plot. Yes, through jam packed action and wowzer special effects, the plot shines like a beloved two headed coin. Anything less would have been a true downer.
Acting and direction also shined, making the movie well worth the price of admission. If Heath Ledger doesn't win a posthumous Oscar, it will only be because a living contender came darn near close to his flawless performance. Ledger, R.I.P., is the embodiment of insanity. At one point in the film, I forgot he was acting. Unpredictable and psychopathic as any evil villain could possibly be, he had me transfixed by his kooky mannerisms, terrified of the next plot twist, honestly not knowing who or what would crumble under the weight of his lunacy.
Believe all the hype, the movie's great.
Two minor criticisms. The film is too long. It could have easily ended about two hours in, saving the remainder for the sequel. The old adage "sell 'em less but give 'em more" sometimes doesn't work when it comes to the movies. This was one time I wanted less, probably because I eventually became uncomfortable. At home I have the luxury of changing positions, stretching out, or hitting the pause button for a trip to the bathroom. Not so when joining the masses.
I also have a pet peeve about manipulative sound effects and background music. The movie went overboard on the former. No, I do not enjoy jumping in my seat due to booming effects. I suppose these have somehow become mandatory date movie material, in which case definitely bring along your hot significant other for gratuitous nooky.
Other than these trifling complaints, I've got nothing bad to say. Sheer entertainment approaching masterpiece. But make sure to buy tickets ahead of time and go early for choice seats.