The Dark Knight is a very good movie
...though I am probably going to regret going on record as saying that, once some genius comes along and points out everything that's wrong with it. My brother, for example, pointed out that Mr. Bale doesn't do a very good Batman voice in Batman Begins, even though he is, undeniably, an excellent Bruce Wayne, and is the first Batman yet who is convincingly muscular in the bat suit. So his Batman voice (notice not his Bruce Wayne voice, in which he delivered about 90% of his lines, but only his Batman voice) ruined the movie for him? I was a little disappointed with how similar his training with Liam Neeson was to Obi-Wan's training with Liam Neeson (right down to the mystical gobbledygook), but I got over it and enjoyed the movie. It was a very good movie. The plot was a good comic book movie plot, the characters were very good, especially Cillian Murphy's the Scarecrow, who was indeed scary. The explanation of how he gets his Bat stuff was relatively believable, and Morgan Freeman's Lucius Fox was magnetic. Gary Oldman's convincingly overwhelmed Lt. Gordon tweaked the tension in the dark atmosphere of chaotic Gotham City. The fight scenes and chase scenes were what comic book movie fight and chase scenes should be: tense, yet cathartically explosive. I could go on and on about why Batman Begins was a very good movie. Yes, perhaps even a great movie, a label that ought not be applied lightly, especially not to a comic book movie. (Though I do like them, I am under no illusion that Iron Man or X-Men 2 is a great movie.)
So why does my brother have to get all bent out of shape about a voice that isn't heard in much of the movie (though, to be fair, it is heard at some pretty critical moments)? He is right. (This particular brother of mine is always right.) But so what? Can't we just enjoy the movie?
I had thought that Mr. Bale might have used this cheesy voice on purpose, a theory that I tried to expound to my brother, but that he did not seem to understand, perhaps because it seemed so farfetched. The theory went that because "Batman" was such a new entity within the context of the of the movie, Mr. Bale was trying to sound amateurish at intimidating/disguising his voice. The Dark Knight, though very good, disproves any such theory.
Okay, so his voice sucks. His Batman voice sucks. He's still the best Batman yet (though my brother nominates Keaton for that honor), and his Bruce Wayne yields nothing to Keaton's, though the playboy is Keaton's strength. Kilmer was the only other Batman who could convincingly dust up, and Bale is better with or without the mask. And I just can't take the Keaton/Clooney "I'm Bruce Wayne and when I put on the suit it magically makes me no longer a wiener." I don't buy it.
So maybe Batman has a funny voice. My brother's love of the 90's-era cartoon (shared to an extent by me) makes his standards too high. In a cartoon, everything is about the voice. They could have gotten two different people to be Bruce Wayne and Batman (though I don't think they did). They could have gotten somebody who looks like Two-Face (who is stunningly ugly in The Dark Knight, by the way). Maybe they had somebody scrawny, old, or just plain stone-faced. The point is, if your standards for somebody's voice are based on a medium where the only thing that an actor had to do was use voice, you're setting yourself up for disappointment.
Meanwhile, The Dark Knight is very good. Perhaps better than Batman Begins. Perhaps even great. And I am a Marvel shareholder, not an owner of anything related to Batman. I really do think it is a very good movie. I'm going to watch it several more times to determine whether it is a great movie. But because of my brother, it bothers me, and will probably bother me more and more, that Mr. Bale's Batman voice just isn't very good. Thanks, bro!
Aside - It was weird and disappointing to see someone else (Maggie Gyllenhaal, if you must know) playing Rachel Dawes, a Katie Holmes role in Batman Begins. I shudder to think of the disappointment when they try to replace Heath Ledger as the Joker. Ledger was the best Joker yet.
Aside # 2 - (You knew I had to work in a reason to buy Marvel stock, didn't you?) DC Comics ripped off Marvel's intro of flashing their canon of characters at you really fast as they plop their logo on the screen. DC's version is more watchable, because it is blessedly short. They have only two characters that people care about anymore, since Wonder Woman, the Flash, etc. have all dropped off the face of the Earth. It doesn't take long to go through Batman and Superman. (I can't actually tell who is being shown on the screen, as it goes by too fast for the human eye; I am assuming it's Batman and Superman, as they are the only DC characters deemed movie-worthy by Warner Bros.) On the other hand, how long does Marvel's intro take? It's like five minutes of characters going by at a rate of about twenty per second. It's nauseatingly bad cinema, but it does go to show that they have a zillion characters, and they're going to make movies about all of them. Even the Ant guy. And some of them surprise you with their cult following. No one thought Iron Man was that big a deal until he crushed his opposition at the box office. Marvel. The wave of the future. I'm telling you.