Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Darkest Knight of All

I'm probably done writing about Batman for a while after this, but I've had this particular piece - or versions of it - gestating for a very long time now. Now seemed as good a time as any to write this article, partly because Batman has kind of had a big year at the box office, but more because Batman: The Animated Series celebrated its 20th anniversary on the 5th of last month.

And next year will mark the 20th Anniversary of what may be the Caped Crusader's best film ever.


Honestly, the more I re-watch and re-examine this movie, the more I think it holds up better even than The Dark Knight in a few key areas. The central narrative is far more focused and thematically direct for one, and the pacing is sublime. The amount of material that is packed into this 73 minutes is frankly astounding, considering that it's covering material similar to what Nolan would spend hours or even entire films on. And it still has time for a great original antagonist to throw into the mix.

Also, Mark Hamill as the Joker - I'm not the first to say this, but he's seriously been the gold standard for the character for DECADES. I'll give Ledger the edge for his staggering live-action performance, but going into TDK back in 2008, Hamill was the bar he had to clear as far as I was concerned. You can tell that no matter what heinous acts of violence he's committing, Hamill's Joker is having so much fun.

And due respect to Danny Elfman and the James Newton-Howard/Hans Zimmer team, but Shirley Walker's score is the best music ever to feature in a Batman film.


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