“Commissioner, I don’t think the bat signal is working. So far we have attracted the attention of blobs, gaseous singularities, and Tori Spelling, who hasn’t missed a spotlight since 1990. But no Batman.”
“Might I suggest, this being the digital age, that we IM him?”
“LOL,” said the Batman, who happened to be in the area because he happens to be in every area and was thinking of changing his moniker to Smudgeman anyway. “I’m your dark knight, not our BFF!”
Times have changed since the last Batman movie. For one thing, Katie Holmes looks a lot like Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Tom Cruise is on record as saying that if he’s going to be married to somebody who looks like Maggie’s brother Jake he might as well hold out for the real thing.
Like all notorious figures, Batman now has copycats – a bunch of guys dressed in Bat-suits – and one Imperial Stormtrooper. “I made a wrong turn at the planet Alderaan,” explained the Stormtrooper, who nevertheless kicked butt with his blaster against conventional fists and pistols.
Look out, Eric Roberts is an Italian badass. And he’s as bad at being an ass as he is at being Italian. Sinatra would roll over in his grave – if it didn’t mean rolling onto Sammy or Dean.
Early in The Dark Knight we learn that Bruce Wayne wants a new batsuit that would allow him to turn his head. Aha, Superman’s flaw is kryptonite and Batman’s is peripheral vision! “Not just my periphery, but my side, too,” said Batman as man-servant Michael Caine rolled his eyes, reflecting on his own dashing days gone by.
“My job is to fetch your slippers and verbalize every theme of this movie just in case the audience can’t read between the lines,” said Caine.
At one point, all of Gotham believes that Aaron Eckhart is Batman. Indie-man, maybe. Or Blonde with Split Chin-man. But I’d sooner believe that Val Kilmer is Batman. And what are the odds of that?
Has Batman had a tracheotomy? There’s enough rasp in his voice to coach Rocky through the final round of the big fight. Said Batman: “There’s nothing worse than being recognized so I have cleverly disguised my voice as Lauren Bacall, thus explaining why some Gotham residents claim to have seen me in To Have and Have Not.”
Bruce Wayne is dating a “Prima Ballerina” from the Moscow Ballet who is instantly recognizable to everyone in this movie, even though the only way most people would recognize a ballerina is if she first pirouetted through the bed of every houseguest on Big Brother.
Anthony Michael Hall plays a TV newsman. Famed for helming the second newscast at 10 but the first at Sixteen Candles, Anthony also headlines the network morning show called, of course, The Breakfast Club.
And then, of course, there’s the great Heath Ledger. With his purple suit, his Hannibal Lechter lilt, his clown-white face, his tendency to drool, and that hair – last shampooed sometime between 10 Things I Hate About You and Monster’s Ball. Heath steals this movie from Christian Bale like candy from a heavily brooding baby.
And because Morgan Freeman can never leave well enough alone, he helps develop a new improved Bat-suit with sonar-vision. Thus, not only is Batman the nemesis of criminals, he’s also the nemesis of every school of tuna!
Heath Ledger is a genuinely scary Batman villain, and The Dark Knight is dark, indeed. Dark and lovely.
Here’s to Ledger, for all the great performances we will miss.
And here’s to Katie Holmes, whom I actually forgot was missing.