A few of years ago, fanboys got in a hullabaloo when Christopher Nolan‘s “The Dark Knight” — the box office smash and critical favorite which wound up on numerous top ten lists of 2008 — missed out on Best Picture and Best Director nominations at the Oscars. Unofficially, the snub is seen as one of the major reasons the Academy expanded the field in the Best Picture category in 2009. But in hindsight, was “The Dark Knight” really one of the great movies of that year? Or just a supremely above average piece of popcorn entertainment? According to Eric Roberts, it’s more than latter.
Talking with the Detroit Free Press, the actor, who played the gangster Maroni in the movie, reflected on what the Batman films are to him. “What do you get out of a Batman movie? You get entertainment, that’s true. But what do you get to take home with you in your heart or your mind? It’s questionable for me. When a movie costs that much, so many movies don’t get made that can educate, enlighten, move, comfort,” he explained. “Batman didn’t do any of those things that I named, for me, anyway, even though I enjoyed watching it.”
Indeed, he has nothing but praise for Nolan saying, “He’s a real winner and he knows what he wants every second of every day.” But Roberts kind of does have a point.
While “The Dark Knight” will go down as one of the best comic movies of all time, and certainly as high a calibre of popcorn entertainment as it gets, this writer would agree that we’d struggle to call the film “moving” or “enlightening” (one could argue “Inception” has a much richer emotional core). Whether a movie needs to “educate” or “comfort” is a different kind of debate that we’ll leave for another time.
But does a movie need to have an emotional center to rank among the greats or can entertainment combined with intelligence and a fresh approach be more than enough? Do you agree with Roberts assessment of Nolan’s Batman movies? Can the final chapter of “The Dark Knight Rises” raise the bar yet again and bring the dramatic elements that have been missing thus far? Weigh in below.