If a bat could talk …

10Aug08

Well, I have seen The Dark Knight again (on IMAX, whoo!), and like I promised, I have to deliver my verdict now on the issue of Christian Bale’s Batman voice: too much or just right?

(Note on the strip above: Looking at Batman’s anatomy in the last panel … maybe he is sick: his muscle looks like it’s atrophying.)

My answer?

Does it really matter that much? God, people complain about everything. Yeah, Batman’s voice is gruffer this time. But commenter John Bierly made a very good point: he did get thrashed around a lot during the movie, after all—mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. His breaking point was tested by the Joker, he lost someone close to him, and Gotham was robbed of its White Knight. Plus, Batman was stabbed, kicked, beaten, mauled, and almost had his windpipe crushed by a steel beam. He’s worn down, sleep deprived, and freaking out of breath. On top of that, he has to maintain a goddamn fake voice. So he has the right to sound a little hoarse. Cut the poor guy some slack!

His voice needs a vacation now. This wouldn’t be a bad start.

There was inflection in his voice, however. Yes, sometimes he was a little monotonous, but that just goes back to what was just said. Maybe Bale overdid it a little, but who the hell cares? In all honesty, it didn’t bother me. I like Bale’s Batman voice. Yeah, maybe I like his Bat-voice in Begins better—but then again, he had some fantastic dialogue in emotionally heightened and fear-exploiting scenes (a core theme of Batman Begins, which is Batman’s origin story, so it makes sense). (Like the whole “SWEAR TO ME!” thing.) The Dark Knight doesn’t concentrate on accentuating the fear aspect as much, because that’s not as important in this film as it was in the last one. Batman exists now and already has an established and formidable reputation. Criminals already fear him; he doesn’t have to work as hard at it.

Batman still had some great dialogue to deliver in TDK, but hey, it was overshadowed by the Joker’s, which was just unbelievably incredible. Maybe that’s why people are having a problem with Batman’s voice. But like someone once told me: it’s meant to be that way. The Joker is a megalomaniac; he’s meant to steal the show. And Heath Ledger’s Joker does that perfectly. So of course Batman’s voice is going to take second place.

See how Batman’s lying on the pavement unconscious, with the Joker jumping on top of him? That’s how Batman’s voice feels.

All in all, it didn’t make much of a difference to me. Bale does an awesome Bat-voice—in BOTH of Nolan’s movies. Like I said I would, I tried to pay more attention to the details of his voice in The Dark Knight this time around, but honestly, I found it rather hard to. Why? Because it’s just not a big deal, period. I wanted to enjoy the movie, like I did the first time. And it’s hard to try to concentrate with a critical eye on something that really isn’t that important in the long run.

The point is, it didn’t distract me from enjoying the film. Sure, I noticed it a little. But I’m not going to exaggerate and be like, “Oh my god, every time I heard his voice I was just completely disoriented, forgot what was going on in the movie, and consequently was pissed and couldn’t pay attention to or like the rest of the film.” (And the same thing with the Mayor’s pronounced eye liner problem.) That’s just bullshit.

So I’m going to leave it at that. Nitpickers can do whatever they want. 😉

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