I remember when Memento came out and everyone was telling me how amazing a film it was. I was sorely disappointed. I found it trite, and the whole film-in-reverse-chronology gimmick’s novelty wore off quickly.
Then Batman Begins came out. Same deal. Everyone said it was amazing. I thought it was a disgrace to the Batman legacy. The 1989 Batman kicked Begins‘ ass. Begins was just so hokey, in almost a 1960s camp way, except that it took itself too seriously.
The critics didn’t play up The Prestige too much, but it did still get overall positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. I found the film engaging, but the plot was silly.
And that was the problem. I always knew way back from Memento that Christopher Nolan had potential, but he never lived up to the hype. Yes, Memento was a stupid movie, but it was engaging. Same deal with The Prestige. Christopher Nolan knows how to create engaging scenes. He can juggle a lot of cinematic elements without dropping the visual ball. But the stories in his movies have always been weak.
Finally, with The Dark Knight, his writing chops are beginning to match up with his directorial flare. If you, like me, hated Batman Begins and thought it made a joke of Batman, you should give The Dark Knight a go. Yes, some parts of it are still cheesy, but those parts are overshadowed by the intensity of the movie’s suspense and chilling nigh-realism amongst insanity. And Heath Ledger’s joker is the best joker I’ve ever seen. If you, too, were a bit skeptical of this latest venture, based on Nolan’s previous work, you should give the guy just one more chance. I have to say I’m now a convert and am looking forward to the third Batman movie of this series. I’m really hoping they adapt Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, but we may have to wait until Christian Bale’s 60 years old. Maybe by that time he’ll have figured out the raspy voice bit isn’t working.