Christian Bale is back as the Batman, aka the Dark Knight Detective, aka Bruce Wayne, with an updated costume that allows him to turn his head. He also updates his love interest with Maggie Gyllenhaal replacing Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes. Other new kids on the block are Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent, aka two Face, and Heath Ledger who plays the Joker as a cross between Jack Nicholson and Caesar Romero.
The Joker is making a mess of Gotham, Batman is making a mess of his personal and vigilante life, and Dent’s presence is making matters more complicated for both of them and Rachel. In the comics, Batman uses brains and cunning to outwit his enemies. In this film he doesn’t, relying on technology and brute force instead, and that becomes boring very quickly. The end result is a long violent movie with too many people talking in gravely voices. That is not the end of the problems with this film.
Why does the Joker, who claims he doesn’t like plans, have so many of them? Why is Batman’s suit so bulky and restrictive? It makes his fighting slow and cumbersome. He is as mobile as a medieval knight and his fight scenes are almost as bad as Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 2 or Matt Damon in The Bourne Ultimatum. Scriptwriters are becoming way too lazy with logic and character development in their films and are relying on explosions and effects instead.
Batman Animated remains the cleverest and most accurate moving portrayal of the caped crusader.