I rewatched it last night for the first time in a while. And man, the ending sucks. The beginning of the film (up through the Joker’s prison escape and hospital explosion) is amazing. Especially for a comic/action movie, it’s A+ stuff. In fact, the only significant flaw early in the movie is the weird bit where the Joker is left at the rooftop party after Batman and Rachel fall off the building. What happens there? Does the Joker just enjoy some more shrimp and champagne? Who knows, because it just cuts to the next scene.
But the worst part of the movie is basically the DA’s conversion to Two-Face. In order to appreciate and accept what happens, we have to buy into several things:
– Losing Rachel changes Two-Face, and makes him very angry (ok, so far so good)
– However, although he’s super angry, he’s not angry enough to kill the Joker, or Moroni, or the cop who made had him get into the car that abducted him. He instead wants to leave it to chance. Ok I guess, but I can’t really buy that. We have to accept that he is angry enough about losing Rachel to turn crazy, but not angry enough to actually avenge her.
– Two-Face is SUCH a good person that the city cannot POSSIBLY tolerate or withstand learning that he has gone bad. I just don’t see why that would be the case. Does the whole city really know him? Is he really the only good guy in town? We simply haven’t been presented with enough information to accept this premise at face value.
– The most absurd and worst part of the ending is that the cop killings must be pinned on Batman. As opposed to… the Joker? Or the Joker’s henchmen? Or simply make it an unsolved mystery? Nope, the masochistic Bruce Wayne must claim that they were his murders. It just makes no sense.
Does all of this ruin the movie? No, it’s still enjoyable, and every scene with the Joker is one to be savored. But I would argue that the intellectual and moral sloppiness of the ending prevents it from being a great film.