I went to a screening last night of I Am Legend. That film opens this weekend, and my review should appear at that time. But that's not what we're talking about here.
What we're talking about here is the trailer for The Dark Knight, the second film in Christopher Nolan's re-booted Batman series. Needless to say there was applause at the end. So it seemed to go over well. I'm pleased with that, because honestly, it's been a while since there was a summer blockbuster that the entire public seemed ready to jump on this far out.
While the film is allegedly about Batman's exploits, the trailer is very much about the Joker (a worrying trend in my book - you don't want a series to turn too far into a Love Boat for villains.). Heath Ledger's Joker seems far less self-amused than Jack Nicholson's, as you would expect given the film's darker tone. Through his Joe Picasso makeup job, he comes across more as someone who would find humor in knifing you rather than cracking a joke.
The trailer is more focused on introducing the actors and personal rivalries than discussing plot. There's a scene with the Batmobile in firey action, the Joker walking down the street firing a machine gun, authority figures trying to figure out what exactly they're dealing with with the Joker. Christian Bale shows up occasionally, distressingly little, in my book. But I like the scope of the film.
I should say that I had a strongly negative reaction when I saw Batman Begins. I remember thinking it was the worst film I had seen that year. Poorly shot. Horrendously edited. Fight scenes shot way too close in. Sound mixing problems.I left the theater thinking it was going to bomb. I'll stand by all of that. Yet I softened somewhat afterwards when I thought about the gritty style and the re-imagination of its creative space. Even if I didn't enjoy the film, I felt I needed to respect the way it reeled the Batman movies back in from Tim Burton's imagination.
Still, I'm a little surprised about my own anticipation. I suppose I'm hopeful because I think Nolan is a talented director, because The Prestige worked very well, and because I expect him to improve technically from his first real action film. But time will tell.