“The Dark Knight” backlash fray has reached the New York Times, where A.O. Scott muses “Is it just me, or is the strain starting to show?” For Scott, “Iron Man,” “Hancock” and “The Dark Knight” are about as fine examples of the superhero genre as can be made, but also show its limitations:
Instead the disappointment comes from the way the picture spells out lofty, serious themes and then … spells them out again. What kind of hero do we need? Where is the line between justice and vengeance? How much autonomy should we sacrifice in the name of security? Is the taking of innocent life ever justified? These are all fascinating, even urgent questions, but stating them, as nearly every character in “The Dark Knight” does, sooner of later, is not the same as exploring them.
At Salon, Andrew O’Hehir surveys the serious debates on the film’s merits and the continued fan attacks on critics who haven’t loved it, and tries to turn the conversation to Brad Anderson’s beguilingly mean “Transsiberian,” which had a solid opening in New York this past weekend. To no avail, it seems — “The Dark Knight” remains the hot topic of debate for cinephiles the world over. In its blogs, the Guardian has already compared the film to “Hamlet,” sniffed at its 9/11 parallels, questioned its lofty IMDb ranking, and marveled at the enthusiasm of its fans to feel. And at the LA Times, Patrick Goldstein notes that “The Dark Knight” is even occupying quite a few screens at the otherwise indie Landmark theater, while Ty Burr at the Boston Globe reports that at a memorial service the past weekend, he was assailed with kids asking that he confirm the film as the best movie of all time: “Go ahead and scoff at the analogy, boomers, but one of the kids at the memorial service likened the opening of ‘Dark Knight’ to the JFK assassination and the Challenger disaster as quintessential where-were-you defining moments of his generation.”
Oy. Hopefully something shiny will come out of Comic-Con to distract the diehards — I’m running out of promo stills to use.
[Photo: “The Dark Knight,” Warner Bros, 2008]
+ How Many Superheroes Does It Take to Tire a Genre? (New York Times)
+ The saga of George W. Batman (Salon)
+ The Dark Knight: Batman is a Hamlet for our times (Guardian)
+ You must be joking (Guardian)
+ Is The Dark Knight really the best film ever made? (Guardian)
+ One thing all The Dark Knight’s fanatics have in common is profound enthusiasm. I envy that (Guardian)
+ ‘Dark Knight’: Hollywood’s new art-house hit? (LA Times)
+ The ‘Knight’ that shook the world (Boston Globe)