Like any fan, I absolutely love when superhero films give a shout-out to the comics on which the movie is based.
As alluded to in my review of "The Dark Knight," co-writers Christopher Nolan (also the director) and David Goyer nail the entire ying-and-yang dynamic between Batman and The Joker. The spooky villain, in TDK, says multiple times he can't do without Batman's existence. ("You complete me," he says during their final battle, a lovely wink-wink nudge-nudge moment to "Jerry Maguire.")
Hold onto your Batcowls and watch out for spoilers as I list some random memories of TDK:
• Just like in the great Joker stories, I couldn't wait to see Batman beat the stuffing out Mr. J. The police interrogation room scene is one for the ages, with The Joker pushing Batman's buttons the entire time.
• In a well-done MTV story in which filmmakers, stars and comics writer discuss various TDK characters' origins, Goyer admits, "The central relationship between Joker and Batman in 'The Dark Knight' was definitely inspired by 'The Killing Joke.'" "Especially the part where the Joker says that if he could choose his own origin, he would choose multiple choice. That's something we embellished on in this film," Goyer said.
All that's an intro for me to say it was great when Batman doesn't want to hear how The Joker got his facial scars — and then uses a new gauntlet gadget to add some more with his name on it! I know that's sick, but any fan worth his or weight in Batsymbols can't have the Dark Knight whoop up on The Joker enough.
• How about the subtle references to Batman No. 1 (Mr. J's first appearance if you're keeping track at home), with The Joker using various ways of communication to announce his plans for chaos and murder?! Especially well done, Chris and David! (That's Nolan and Goyer for you AP nerds.)
• Or how about the rooftop meeting of Gotham's most powerful trio, a nice homage to Batman: The Long Halloween? Just to be picky, I wished there would have been a moment where Batman, Dent and Gordon swear an allegiance to working together.
• Not a comic book shout-out at all, but I was stunned by a certain death. I won't give it away, but I guess I should have seen it coming.
As a matter of fact, I somewhat predicted that character might get offed WAY back in my Feb. 8, 2007 "Cary's Comics Craze." Go most of the way down to the part labeled "Cary's perspective."
• You can't say enough about Heath Ledger's Joker. Brrrr. (Nicholson who?). …
• But let's not forget Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. The script and his acting nailed it! If you don't believe in Harvey Dent at some point in TDK, shame on you. As Batman: The Long Halloween writer Jeph Loeb said in the aforementioned MTV story: "To me, the best Two-Face stories are the ones where Batman tries to save him … because Harvey is still in there, and if he could just get him to come out, things might go back to the way they were. Things would be OK."
• Eckhart, thanks for breaking my heart. I mean it. He did exactly what I wanted to see happen with Dent. To paraphrase Batman and Gordon, the TDK Dent is Gotham's noble "White Knight" that The Joker proved could make go bad under the "right" circumstances."
And finally, two memories related to the midnight screening:
• Alex Bird, your dedication as a Batfan is to be commended. What a tremendous outfit; you looked FAN-tastic. (You've got to check her out in the video section of the Reflector home page.) It was great to hear a girl be as excited about following Batman as any of we diehard, card-carrying fanboys.
• Chris Toney, of Norwalk, (sporting a Joker T-shirt) as we were talking had the line of the night: "What kind of world do we live in where a girl dressed up as a bat gets all of my press?"