Reviews of The Dark Knight
Displaying all 23 reviews
The Dark Knight is the follow-up to the movie Batman Begins. We are thrown into Gotham’s excitement and darkness from the very beginning of this film. Whereas the prequel to Batman’s story and his beginnings was more about character than action, this sequel is action from the get-go, charting Batman’s stories in a serious and high-octane manner.
Now, The Dark Knight is usually hailed as some kind of modern classic of an action film, perhaps because of its script and because of Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker who is Batman’s primary enemy in this film. Here, we have Scarecrow (Murphy) arrested at the very beginning of the film, and from then onwards we see Batman face off against the Joker and Two-face all in the name of good.
To begin with, Katie Holmes is gone as Rachel. We have a different actress now. That’s never a good thing. But I guess that Katie Holmes was pregnant at the time of filming. Here, we also find that the relationship between Bruce Wayne and Alfred is more warm, friendly and Alfred becomes Batman’s rock and support. This creates a delicate nature to the film that was not there before.
What is most important here is that The Dark Knight has a faster pace, faster editing and more tension. We have to keep our eyes on the screen at all times or risk feeling confused. Attention is needed for this more complex, darker storyline. However, although this story is an improvement upon its predecessor, the movie is still overrated.
Ther problem is that the movie should be more entertaining. We are left wallowing in the darkness of Gotham and there’s never really a release from that. The movie is sexless. The movie is cold. It’s impersonal and remote, distant and bordering on generic. The intrigue is the superhero and the villains fighting against one another. There is a lot of talking in the movie that is of little interest to me. The editing is a little messy. Christian Bale rarely says anything amusing or impresses us as Bruce Wayne.
The issue here is that if one was to watch Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises one after another on some kind of movie day, then you might find that as a whole the series could be trimmed down into a Gone With The Wind type of running length. Now, THIS might be a great movie and I would be fascinated to see the result of that. But watching them independently, it’s almost as though each of them are decent, solid and coherent movies. They ARE good movies, but they aren’t great. There’s never an allowance for greatness. The stories continue with one another and overall there is a greatness to the trilogy, but independently they serve more as parts of a clock. The clock itself is grand and shiny, but the bits in between are all working together decently. These parts aren’t as pretty as the result.
Tim Burton’s Batman movies successfully managed to mix darkness and tongue-in-cheek fun together. Maybe Nolan is afraid to be personal with these films. But in this case, I believe that by creating something that is so serious and dramatically grand, Nolan has forgotten to exercise any of his own style or touch to the movie. It plays out like a thoughtful crime thriller rather than a comic-book movie. Some love that. However, I personally find it a little restricting to what this kind of atmosphere could achieve.
It’s also interesting to note that this film received a low certificate on the board for censorship. I would argue against that. This is NOT a movie for children. The content in itself is not understandable for young audiences, and the violence is too macabre and realistic for children to be entertained by. Nudity and sex is passed off for adults only, yet toddlers in my local cinema can watch a police officer suffer as a man with half his face missing threatens to shoot his children. It’s a little inappropriate.
The Dark Knight is better than its previous movie, but it’s not a masterpiece, and it’s not emotionally involving or as fun as it should be. It holds our attention, but it won’t be remembered for any particular style besides a brooding, moody atmosphere and a Batman with a hypermasculine, lisping voice who sounds like he’s just had root canal treatment.
- Currently 3.0/5 Stars.
The Dark Knight ist wohl der meist erwartete Film des Sommers 2008 gewesen, und auch der erfolgreichste. Über eine Milliarde Dollar brachte der zweite Teil von Christopher Nolans Batman-Trilogie weltweit ein, was ihn nach Marvel’s The Avengers (2012) zur zweiterfolgreichsten Comicverfilmung aller Zeiten macht. Ob der plötzliche Tod Heath Ledgers, der in diesem Teil den Bösewicht mimt, eine entscheidende Rolle bei dem Triumphzug des Filmes gespielt hat, sei dahingestellt. The Dark Knight ist aber nicht nur der grandiose Abgesang eines der talentiertesten Jungschauspieler unserer Zeit, sondern auch mitreißend inszeniertes Actionkino mit Tiefgang.
If Batman Begins was the heroic journey of a man maturing into his adulthood and embracing the mantle of a legendary figure, then The Dark Knight is about the current status of a hero in a society that is rebuilding itself yet still in danger of breaking down. The heroism and triumph of Batman’s destiny in the first film gave an epic arousing start for Christopher Nolan’s dark and gritty take on the ominous vigilante, so it gave this second film a chance to take it to an even bigger level, but in the spirit of epic crime dramas like The Godfather and Heat with its focus on police procedures and Mafia conspiracies. With the presence of the Joker and the psychological story of Harvey Dent, it also bears similarities to psychological thrillers like Se7en and Silence of the Lambs with the Joker continuing the trend of brilliant serial killers who play with the minds of honest men so they can avoid a just punishment for their crimes.
The Joker is all about bringing chaos to the order that Batman helped bring to Gotham in Batman Begins, especially when the city still carries remains of the corruption that ruled it before Batman interfered. The menace of the Joker is definitely what brought this movie a huge appeal, which explains how largely imitated Heath Ledger’s performance has become by fans and the iconic images of his twisted make-up. At the same time, the film doesn’t lose track with the psychological drama that centers on the struggles of Batman, D.A. Harvey Dent, James Gordon, Rachel Dawes, and the remaining honest cops to maintain order and civility in Gotham. Harvey’s story steals much of the film while the Joker is causing panic and chaos because he’s the new face in Gotham who is trying to bring justice and stability with an honest face and a legitimate status as the new District Attorney. Batman’s role in the midst of these changes is to decide how much further he has to go as a vigilante as he knows that Harvey may take his place when the time comes, which makes him more anxious as Bruce Wayne to see if Rachel will still be waiting for him when he loses his mask and suit for a “normal life” or if she will marry Harvey. The struggle of Bruce and his alter ego doesn’t feel as pivotal as it was in Batman Begins, which really fits because he made peace with his parents’ death and embraced his purpose as Batman by the end of the first film, allowing room to explore his role in the costume and his relationship with the law and the criminals.
It’s not like in Spider-Man 2 where it showed Peter Parker regretful of how his role as Spider-Man was hurting his chances with Mary Jane and his friendship with Harry Osborn, making him into this pitiful superhero feeling sorry about his losses. As the second film in Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight takes the role of the hero more seriously with the message Batman has to send to the city through his heroics or his drastic measures, rather than showing Bruce feeling sorry for himself about losing the woman he loves or missing out on the excitement of a normal life. In one of the most pivotal character moments, Alfred advises Bruce on being “the outcast” who can take whatever criticisms the people may have of him and make the “right choice”. This raises the question of how far Bruce can go as Batman and whether he will be making the right choice to defend justice by drastic measures. Harvey also faces this struggle because he is pushed between protecting his reputation as an honest D.A. and letting his personal feelings get the best of him when the Joker starts to break his spirit midway through the film. The division between a hero and a vigilante is personified by Batman and Harvey, providing the movie with a strong emotional arc to follow, in contrast to the terror and maniacal humor that the Joker is trying to poison Gotham’s soul with. Ledger’s performance can easily compete with Jack Nicholson’s Joker in the 1989 version of Batman, as they both have equally brought an iconic and powerful persona to this maniacal killer, but what makes Ledger’s performance fitting for the Joker is that he made him a true menace with no light-hearted lines or softness that the noble heroics of the good-natured characters would have to work harder to fight against. He doesn’t steal the majority of scenes the way Nicholson did in Batman (1989) and leaves enough gaps in between his scenes for the good characters to develop. Harvey’s transformation into Two-Face by the last 45 minutes easily feels like overkill and anti-climatic to bring another popular villain of the DC comics late into the film, yet it was fitting as an emotional conclusion for Harvey’s story in how he was going to lose control of his sanity once the Joker put enough pressure already to make him snap. It doesn’t make him into a cruel villain that steals the limelight of villainy from the Joker, but rather a tragic character who accomplishes what the Joker has been wanting to see in Gotham and what Batman could have been if he’d let his hunger for vengeance get the best of him.
It keeps the flow of The Dark Knight intense and insightful in its action scenes and psychological themes that surpasses all the lighthearted fun and camp that most superhero films have gotten away with for the sake of entertainment. This film is epic and entertaining enough in Christian Bale’s fearsome portrayal of Batman as this rough yet noble crime-fighter as he rides his Batpod with the black cape flowing behind him and fights with intimidating muscle against his enemies that he is truly iconic as a “dark knight” going to battle. His grizzly voice may sound annoying at times that I wish Bale could have lightened it more than sound like he was going to cough at any moment, yet the intensity of it brings out just how weary and rough he is in contrast to the easy-going, cocky persona of Bruce Wayne. Ledger’s wildly insane portrayal of the Joker keeps people on the edge of their seats and unexpected for whatever deadly tricks he’s going to pull that there is a real pay-off to his villainy, as opposed to just another over-confident slick villain who makes a big deal about his accomplishments or defeats. Aaron Eckhart conveys warmth, pride, and anger altogether in a very coherent complex light on Harvey Dent, allowing him to change drastically over the course of the film until we no longer recognize who he used to be. The more intense the struggles of the characters get in the battle for Gotham’s soul, the less it matters whether the philosophical messages are going to wear out the audience with the story they are following.
The only spaces in between that felt unnecessary and meaningless to the film were the scenes revolving around the Chinese accountant Lau and his business with the Mob, which rarely went anywhere or reached a solid conclusion. The whole lengthy sequence in Hong Kong with Batman trying to capture Lau and bring him back to Gotham didn’t have much significance to the story, other than allowing Batman to show more of his acrobatics that we’d only gotten a taste of in Batman Begins. His view of the whole lit-up city at night on top of the building before he leaps down and glides in his cap past the skyscrapers was still dazzling and breathtaking its majestic scope. The only significance to find from the Lau story is how his capture by Batman and squealing of the Mob to the D.A.‘s office motivates the Mob to recruit the Joker in handling with Batman with their full support, giving them the upper hand in infiltrating the whole city to shake up Batman and his allies in the law enforcement and legal departments. What purpose Nolan went for to make a Chinese businessman an illegitimate partner with the Mob is curious as though it’s creating fear of foreign influence in America, something that has been handled before in film and tends to get exhausting, which makes the whole business storyline around Lau slow and overelaborate for a psychological action picture about vigilantism and chaos.
Luckily, since that subplot doesn’t last for more than 10-15 minutes of the film, the film picks up pace with the terror Joker brings to Gotham and the pressure it puts on Batman, Harvey, and Gordon to act with methods that prove to be a big gamble for the sake of Gotham. They could easily give into the Joker’s demands and let Batman unmask himself to stop the maniac from killing more people, yet the Joker is not one to be compromised with as he has no rules or conscience to follow. His methods and purposes are a mystery as the film progresses and makes the fight for security and justice more pain-staking and unpredictable as to what end the film will reach. Since this is the middle film of a trilogy, we can only wait and see how the issues that were not resolved with a very happy resolution in The Dark Knight will take their course in The Dark Knight Rises.
It’s only fitting that this film took a darker and bleaker step than Batman Begins because it couldn’t rehash that rousing tone from the first film as Batman made a huge difference in Gotham for the better; it needed to show how things could get worse before they got better and keep us excited for whatever conclusion Nolan has in store for the final film in his vision of Batman. This film clearly makes the distinction of Batman as the Dark Knight of Gotham who cannot always do what is acceptable with society, but he can still keeps his conscience and think about choices that will either maintain his reputation as a hero or earn scorn as a vigilante. It’s filled with enough contradictions and ironies to talk about and analyze than any recent blockbuster has done before, making The Dark Knight a compromising epic between superhero action for the thrills and psychological evaluation for the discussions.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
Wow. Just wow. And I thought Batman Begins was excellent. This… this piece of art… its PHENOMENAL!! From the scale, to the acting, the atmosphere, the music, the action, it’s all art. I have not experienced this level of greatness in the cinema for a long time. This film is the darkest Batman, as well as one of the darkest, violent and gripping films, ever made.
I’ll start off with the actors. Christian Bale has done a tremendous job as our beloved Caped Crusader, who has a flawed personality that hangs on the balance between righteous and crazy. His perception of justice causes an emotional and personal shift, whether he is a rich guy who fights crime in a suit or just a regular guy who is sick of all the injustice in Gotham City and decides to give the psychopaths a dose of their own medicine. Because of this, and Bale’s tremendous acting, the Bruce Wayne character is justified, and we, the audience, emphasizes with Bale’s flawed hero more than Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George (shudder) Clooney, Kevin Conroy, or God forbid Adam West, ever will. If there was an excellent Batman, this is the real deal. The theme of righteousness and insanity is played well with his character here.
But of course, the real star of the show is the late and great Heath Ledger, who steals almost every scene he’s in as the villainous Joker (Nicholson, step aside). This Joker is not like the other renditions; he is the best. Downright evil, corrupt, insane, psychotic, terrifying. In every sense of those aforementioned words. More scary than funny, he shows audiences the Joker is undoubtedly Batman’s most nefarious foe and his perfect nemesis, challenging him all the way. With a cynical smile, he proclaims in a scene where Batman is a freak to the public, like the Joker himself. This also explains the balance of righteousness that Bruce Wayne is going through. The Joker is downright evil, and Ledger makes this performance legendary. I agree with the critics, sign me up for the petition where he deserves a posthumous Oscar win.
The rest of the cast is excellent and star-studded. Aaron Eckhart does his Harvey Dent/Two-Face character justice, with a strong sense of righteousness/betrayal/twistedness up his sleeve, as well as Bruce Wayne’s rival in love. His acting is strong here. Maggie Gyllenhaal is a great replacement for Katie Holmes as Wayne’s love interest Rachel Dawes, as she shows more sensitive and caring side towards Bruce, other than Holmes’ nearly flat performance. Michael Caine as Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler Alfred delivers, as well as Morgan Freeman as the CEO of Wayne Enterprises. Gary Oldman does an excellent portrayal of Lt. James Gordon, who aids Batman in his quest for justice. And a special mention goes to Eric Roberts as a crime lord, who surprisingly does a great acting job. The rest of the cast can take a bow, they can be proud of their being in this film.
The cinematography is possibly the most sublime scenes ever chosen. Gotham and Hong Kong are wide, and yet, there is this dark aura of crime and corruption all around them. It really blends in well with the film, giving it a distinct and unique look. Quite simply, this is the best Gotham city in any Batman rendition. Wally Pfister has done an excellent job.
To accompany the atmosphere is the tremendous music score by movie music maestros, James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer. With talents like these, the score is unforgettable. It is tension-building at times, and throbbing and glorious yet dark/moody during others. It deserves an Oscar.
The very loyal screenplay is written very, very well by Jonathan Nolan (director’s brother), who has done a masterful job. The characters are (pardon the pun) rich in character and the story has not a flaw in it. For a comic book film adaptation, this film is not at all fantasy-like. It is quite realistic in a way and this is what gives the film more credibility. Also, the fact that the script is realistic is unbelievable, as you expect a superhero film when you walk in the cinema, and walk out realizing you have just seen an epic crime saga. Yes, CRIME SAGA. It deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence with “GoodFellas”, “Heat”, “The Untouchables” and even “The Godfather”. I kid you not, this film has the power. The fact that this is an epic is further proved by the film’s length – 2 hours and 32 minutes. Yes, it’s that long. But it goes by so fast because you end up wishing for more.
But of course, none of this is possible without the genius that is the other Nolan, director Christopher. As per Memento, he knows how to direct a film. The dramatic scenes are engaging and the action sequences are crisp, thrilling, and will blow you out of your seat. Nolan’s direction is tense, whip-smart, kinetic and smart. All of the action sequences are realistic, “boombastic”, and CGI is used only when necessary (Steve Spielberg and George Lucas, take note). The new vehicle and some gadgets look cool and stylish and do not take away the film’s credibility and realism. There are a lot of action sequences to boot, some of them combining themes from above. You will have to see them to believe them. The brothers Nolan have done it again.
In short, it’s a masterpiece. One that will knock you out of your seat. It is the best Batman film ever, the best superhero film ever and the best film of 2008 thus far. If there ever was a possibility of a summer film winning Best Picture at the Oscars (like Titanic and Lord Of The Rings), this will join their ranks. It is rightfully deserved. Do yourselves a favor and see this piece of art. Repeated viewings highly recommended.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
What else is there to say that has not been said about Nolan’s over-the-top cinematic masterpiece The Dark Knight. A fantastic entertainment package. Good storyline, great cast and crisp production. Ill refrain from praising all the elements that make this movie great, it is pretty much beyond any subjectivity of opinion. But I want to pen a few lines regarding the half a star that has been deduced from my almost 5-star rating. First of all, Aaron Eckhart was, in my opinion, miscast, both for this role which he does not fill at all. His character(s) stay lifeless and bland, and he made realize that I was watching a product instead of another world whenever he was on screen. Furthermore, I found that the screenwriters (Nolan & Nolan) tried a wee bit too hard to make the ambiguity of good & evil shine through the film, by introducing so many elements of blurred moralities and questions of right & wrong that I feeled smacked over the head with the message instead of subtly delivered. I know American people are said to be incapable of understanding movies without being spoonfed, and this movie shows how even Nolan thinks of that as being true, but we all know it is not and a bit more delicate and suave handing of the film’s core philosophy would have done the film good.
Heath Ledger is, we all know it, what makes this movie something else, transforms it into something that is relevant instead of just an action movie. I am not one of those buzzbirds claiming that this role killed him, but it certainly did not make him saner than he was before, to put it that way.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
My reactions to The Dark Knight fall in three categories – the good, the bad, and the ugly. First the good: Heath Ledger’s performance was every bit of amazing as has been ubiquitously claimed; his characterization undoubtedly makes the film. As with Memento, director/screenwriter Nolan keeps the audience on its toes and does so with a bang right from the get-go. Many times I couldn’t have predicted the plot twists and even when I thought I could, there was always some aspect that I failed to see coming. I loved the bits of game theory that permeate the film. The acting was pretty solid across the board, and the cinematography was sharp despite the fact that sometimes the lighting was a bit (purposely, I’m sure) too dark. Next the bad: the Bruce Wayne character was insufferable, nor did I like the character Rachel very much. It’s not the acting I abhorred but the actual personalities of these characters. Another complaint for me is that the film felt relentless. After two-and-a-half hours, I felt beaten up. I can’t point to any frivolous scenes that should have been trimmed, but it was too much for me to take in at once. Last the ugly: so Batman has all this high tech gadgetry but the best he can do to disguise his voice is an emphysema whisper? Complaints aside, I can admit The Dark Knight is head and shoulders above others of its genre and this may be the new standard. For sure, some of it is brilliant, but I didn’t always have fun watching it.
- Currently 3.0/5 Stars.
The Dark Knight arrived in 2008, the heyday of the superhero revival film, almost singlehandedly reinvented the possibilities of comic book film, and became the best Batman movie to date. It opens with an ingenuously masterminded bank robbery that expresses the film’s theme of reputations that precede people. None of the crooks know who the Joker is, they’ve only heard rumors about him.
When he does appear, the Joker gets an amazing introduction. Pulling off his mask, he gives a twist on the Nietzschean say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you…stranger.”
Of course, Batman’s career was also built on creating a reputation, to the point that other people in Gotham City try to cash in on it and dress up like Batman. The Batman comics were the best of the DC universe because, like many in the Marvel world, they rely on the moral ambiguity of the characters. They were never intended so much for kids. Their concern with vigilante justice was a cry for society as a whole.
Christopher Nolan, who performed CPR on the poor-faring Batman films with Batman Begins, created his best film with The Dark Knight, his second installment. It’s darker and scarier than anything done in the genre before and we actually care about the characters because, unlike in other superhero movies, people actually do die in mob- controlled Gotham City.
Every actor is perfectly suited to their role. This is true even of the secondary characters like Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent, a strong man who falls apart. Dent is known as Gotham’s “white knight” but, as his fate proves, everyone is a dark knight in the film’s eternal shades of gray. Even outside of the bat costume, Bruce Wayne isn’t perfect and suffers from the stereotypical only child syndrome. He enters his own party in a helicopter. This is kind of an act, but he’s also naturally arrogant.
Dent is a foil to Batman in two ways. He crusades against crime but within the law and is successful at it and even won the hand of Batman’s old flame Rachel Dawes. Then, in the end, he becomes a villain while Batman doesn’t. We do see hints of the upcoming Two-Face when Harvey Dent is flipping a coin to determine whether or not to shoot a criminal who threatened Rachel. This time he’s only bluffing because both sides of the coin are heads, but this test will become deadly serious by the end of the movie.
Replacing Katie Holmes, Maggie Gyllenhaal brings an earthy sensibility to the movie as Rachel Dawes. Rachel still loves Bruce, but in a platonic sense. Her heart really belongs to Harvey Dent. Harvey is truly a heroic figure. He even turns himself in so that the real Batman can fight the Joker. This is why his downfall is all the more heartbreaking. The Joker is truly evil, but Harvey Dent is a tragic villain of the classical variety, while also touching on the myth of Janus.
Every role is essential in The Dark Knight and Christian Bale, returning as the caped crusader, leads the stellar cast including Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. Eric Roberts also does a good job in the minor role of Sal Maroni, a reigning mobster. But The Dark Knight ultimately belongs to Heath Ledger as the Joker.
It’s telling that Ledger was the first actor to win an Oscar for a role in a superhero film. Every scene featuring the Joker, such as the now classic one when the Joker crashes a party looking for Harvey Dent, is a chilling blend of dark humor and gruesome violence. The ironic thing about the Joker is that as much as he decries planning and structure, he brilliantly plans everything he does down to the very creation of his character and his origins. Who knows which one of the Joker’s childhood stories is true, if any? He purposely keeps an aura of mystery about him.
The extent of the Joker’s evil nature becomes more and more evident as the movie progresses. He organizes the murder of Gotham officials who were fighting crime and sets his next sight on Harvey Dent. His powers for evil seem to transcend the possibilities of a real person at times and he seems more like chaos personified.
But here is the curious thing about the Joker. He always puts people in a situation in which they have to share part of the blame for what he does. This leads to an interesting discussion he had with his archenemy in prison. Taking ideas from Lord of the Flies, the incarcerated Joker draws parallels with his method to the plight of Batman. This confrontation would be repeated in the film’s climactic battle atop a skyscraper. This is one of the best movie revelations of recent times and the Joker is one of the best recent movie villains, a powerful final tribute to Heath Ledger’s legacy.
Despite the darkness of the tale, The Dark Knight is not a nihilistic movie as the sinister social experiment proves. No one on either boat of hostages has the nerve to pull the plug, detonating a bomb on the other boat but sparing their own lives. Ultimately, The Dark Knight shows faith in humans doing the right thing.
It’s hard to make a dark superhero movie. The ones that worked were Batman Begins, the first X-Men, and The Dark Knight. The previous summer’s Spider-Man 3 also attempted to go darker and shares some things in common with The Dark Knight, but came nowhere near matching this film’s depth of feelings. This movie actually feels like an Oscar-worthy drama.
Christopher Nolan has said that his third Batman movie will be his last. Keeping his contribution to the franchise as a trilogy will prevent its punch from running thin. Some have taken Lucius Fox’s (Morgan Freeman) line, “it may work on a cat,” to hint at a possible showdown with Catwoman in the next film. Whatever surprises it holds, he should keep the essence that he created in The Dark Knight. For what he did created here is a great movie supported by great acting and even an homage to Shane in the end. It’s so much more than just a superhero movie. In fact, can anyone in this film really be considered a “hero” at all? It’s an appropriately dark movie but it never quite loses its faith in humanity. And, of course, it features Heath Ledger’s version of the Joker, one of those characters you never forget.
Luego de sortear todos los cines de Caracas en busca de una función que no estuviese ya toda vendida finalmente pude ver The Dark Knight.
La primera sensación que queda después de ver la película es algo a lo que no nos tienen acostumbrados los blockbusters que inundan las carteleras por esta época del año.
Y ese algo es una profunda angustia, si angustia. Christopher Nolan se las ha ingeniado para sacarse de la manga el Batman más opresivo, oscuro, deprimente y desgarrador de todos hasta ahora. En comparación, Batman Begins es un paseo en el parque.
Si la anterior encarnación del encapotado dirigida por Nolan había encaminado al personaje a sus orígenes, The Dark Knight es la contribución final para colocar a Batman de nuevo en el sitial de honor entre los antihéroes.
La película es en todo el estricto sentido de la palabra un film-noir, cine negro del bueno. Una historia donde todo está torcido y aquello que no lo parece termina por estarlo. De allí la amargura y el mal sabor de boca que deja pues todos los personajes de una u otra forma terminan sucumbiendo ante la corrupción que subyace en Ciudad Gótica.
Visualmente la película igualmente está filmada al estilo de cualquier película noir que se precie de serlo. Claro que sin llegar a los excesos estilísticos de las anteriores Batman (exceptuando por supuesto a Batman Begins). Nada de neon o niebla perenne. La oscuridad de ésta Ciudad Gótica está más allá de sus edificaciones y de sus calles. Está en su gente.
El factor Mann
En varias entrevistas Christopher Nolan citó a Heat de Michael Mann como una fuerte influencia para la realización de esta película. Luego de que salió a la luz el prólogo de The Dark Knight pensé que la “influencia” llegaría sólo hasta ahí. No podía estar más equivocado, los elementos que unen a las películas son muchos otros (y de más importancia) por ejemplo la relación de anverso/reverso que existe entre Batman y el Guasón así como existe la misma relación entre Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) y Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro). Dos caras de una misma moneda donde cada uno convive precisamente en función del otro. Ambas fuerzas que existen en consecuencia (y no a pesar de) la otra.
Si bien este es un elemento fácilmente reconocible en la película de Mann no es más que un dispositivo clásico típico de los cómics: el personaje principal y su némesis sujetos similares pero sencillamente colocados en lados opuestos de la línea que los separa (y pensar que esto en apariencia es sólamente una película de verano, si Luis).
Otros elementos que parecieran guardar una relación con la película de Mann (y con gran parte de su obra si a ver vamos) es la descripción y exposición de elementos del crimen organizado. Digo aparente relación porque todos esos elementos que describen a los residuos de la mafia de Ciudad Gótica, estaban todos en el cómic original de Bob Kane, sencillamente casi nunca fue explotado en su justa medida. Ni siquiera por la película de Burton que sólo toca el tema como algo circunstancial.
Pon al Murciélago-Hombre en su lugar
Olvídemos por un momento las anteriores incarnaciones del encapotado, olvidemos a Adam West, olvidemos a Michael Keaton y a Tim Burton, olvidemos a Val Kilmer, George Clooney y a Joel Schumacher porque esta película acaba de pasar una página. The Dark Knight logra muchas metas en cuanto a obra individual, en cuanto a producto, en cuanto a espectáculo. Son logros con creces, pero creo que el gran logro final es cimentar una imagen más cercana a los orígenes del personaje como tal.
Este es un Batman sin compromisos de taquilla, sin compromisos con cadenas de comidas rápidas, un Batman frío y desagradable. Un hombre al borde de la desesperación que debe luchar contra la locura y la malda en estado puro y tratar de mantenerse cuerdo en el intento.
De artesanos y artistas
Si hay algo que no se le podrá negar nunca a las películas dirigidas por Nolan son sus impecables facturas a nivel técnico. Todo elemento que es visto en la pantalla está cuidado hasta el más mínimo detalle. Quizás es un eufemismo decir esto para referirse a la calidad de las películas en general, pero en este caso cabe la atribución: esta es una película de Oscars. NO hay nada, léase bien NADA en esta película que no esté hecho con la marca de la excelencia.
Desde la fotografía de Willy Pfister, pasando por el diseño de producción de Nathan Crowley, la música de dos monstruos como Hans Zimmer y James Newton-Howard, la edición de Lee Smith, el guión de Johnathan Nolan y su hermano Christopher quien también dirige con maestría, además de la contribución del siempre correcto e ingenioso David S. Goyer quien ya ha demostrado con creces que sabe lo que hace cuando escribe (que mal que no pase lo mismo cuando dirige). Todo el apartado de efectos visuales y físicos. Es un deleite ver tantos elementos combinados de tal manera que hacen que la experiencia sea toda un fluir de emociones.
Una de payasos
Por supuesto que es imposible hablar de The Dark Knight y no hacerlo de Heath Ledger y de su Guasón. Caer en comparaciones como por ejemplo de si su construcción del personaje es mejor que la de Jack Nicholson es totalmente inútil. Sobre todo si consideramos que Jack Nicholson hizo precisamente el Guasón que necesitaba la película de Burton y que por eso es una de las cosas legendarias de esa película. La comparación sería perder el tiempo.
Lo que si se puede hacer es valorar la actuación de Ledger por lo que es, un “tour de force” como dicen los gringos. ¿es su mejor papel? dificilmente, los matices de todos los personajes que interpretó Ledger en su corta carrera son suficientes para hacer un sólo post, sin embargo es de notar como dije en relación a Nicholson y su Guasón, Ledger contruyó precisamente el personaje que necesitaba esta película, una fuerza indetenible, “un agente del caos” como el mismo se define en un momento decisivo de la misma.
Por allí, ya no recuerdo donde, leí que para que una película de estas características tenga éxito es esencial que el villano resalte. Coño no resaltó, se robó el puto show. Un personaje de estas características que es a la vez tan aterrorizante y atractivo. ¿Cómo evitar quererlo y a la vez temerle?. Sencillamente de antología.
Otra de las cosas que me pareció sumamente interesante fue la referencia a trabajos esenciales de la mitología de Batman (especialmente trabajos más recientes) para la construcción del guasón. Nolan citó el trabajo de Alan Moore (the Killing Joke) y de Frank Miller (The Dark Knight Returns) como fuente para la confección del Guasón del Ledger. Se nota por todas partes la verdad. Especialmente en lo que refiere al enfrentamiento moral, ético y emocional entre los dos (Batman y el Guasón). Es bueno que el trabajo de Moore se esté utilizando correctamente y no como en anteriores oportunidades donde lo que se ha hecho más que todo es modificarlo hasta los niveles de la caricaturización.
Eso por supuesto no quiere decir que los otros no le hayan quedado a la altura, Cristian Bale demuestra que es Batman por una sencilla razón: es el mejor. De resto el casting mantiene un nivel de olimpiada: Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllenhall (quien reemplazó, gracias a Dios, a Katie Holmes), Gary Oldman, hasta los secundarios son de pura calidad.
¿El Caballero Blanco?
Ahora que si hay alguna sorpresa, más allá de las anunciadas durante toda la espera que antecedió a la película ese es Aaron Eckhart/Dos Caras. Y de como es en su personaje, a pesar de todo lo que uno podría anticipar, donde recae la metáfora de toda la película (la historia), por lo menos desde mi perspectiva.
Harvey Dent es del mismo modo el héroe y el monstruo. El espejo de la realidad que se destruye ante la demencia y locura del mundo cruel de Ciudad Gótica, una ciudad gótica que atemoriza porque por momentos parece tan real y tan cercana. El conflicto de Dent/dos Caras es el conflicto del enfrentamiento entre Batman y su similar negativo.
Gracias a Dios que los panas que escribieron el guión no se fueron por el camino fácil y lo convirtieron en el villano de la hipotética tercera parte de esta nueva saga de Batman. Le dieron un papel catalizador de la transformación final de Batman en lo que siempre ha sido en esencia: un antihéroe. Sin desperdicio pues.
La verdad es que no es mucho lo que uno pueda decir de la última incarnación del Hombre Murciélago. La película está ahí y habla por si sola. Una obra maestra de cine, una pieza de arte. ¡Cómo nos engañaron!, nos vendieron un estudio de carácter como si fuese una película cotufera.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
In short, Heath is great. NOT INCREDIBLE. He really stepped out of his personality to find his character. But his acting is as close as anyone in his generation will get to “method acting”. He deserved his Oscar.
I was not impressed by anything else in this film. Batman Begins really raised the bar for Batman films back to Tim Burton’s level. But after the first scene, this film turned into a bore. It was badly written and way too long for its own good. If anything, this film really raised the bar for supervillain performances. The film aimed high which is why fans love it, but if you are a studied film-goer, you will see it mostly failed.
What you get is a mediocre “modern noir” film that wouldn’t have been out of place in the mid 1990s. The acting is wooden and trying too hard to be legit. The action sequences are bland. The script is full of crime film cliches and hokey comic book dialogue.
And as a Batman adaptation, the film is still bad. Batman is no longer an astute and resourceful detective. All of his gadgets are provided by Lucius Fox. All of his spiritual incisiveness comes from Alfred. And he spends the other moments just sulking and barking at criminals. This film’s Joker barely resembles the Joker from the comics. The only thing spooky about him is his makeup. He’s now a burned out young psycho, not a witty gangster/clown. Commissioner Gordon, Alfred and any other characters are just stock characters given the names of their comic book counterpart.
But this film has given the “superhero genre” legitimacy with mainstream audiences and modern film enthusiasts. Its not even CLOSE to being a great movie. Its not even the best Batman film IMO. But its a breath of fresh air in this age of Hollywood trash.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
Everything that made Batman Begins a great movie was only improved and/or kept on par with this. The directing is even better from Christopher Nolan, he understands the necessary way to go about a superhero movie like no one else. You have two major character arcs in this story (Batman’s limits to bring justice and Harvey Dent’s descent to evil) as well as over four major villians and it is still able to be handled with ease. Christian Bale not only plays the Bruce Wayne that Gotham sees him as, but he is also its greatest detective and justice breeder. Then there is also the “real” Bruce Wayne. A man of compassion, even though he is haunted daily by his past daily by the people he goes up against. Even though he wants to kill them, he knows that if he did he would be no better that someone like Ra’s Al Ghul and his league of Assassins. Aaron Eckhart also does a great job of playing multiple roles because he is so believable as the well mannered District Attorney and also as the psychotic killer that is Two-Face. Heath Ledger was a perfect Joker and I feel like it got the praise it warranted, but I feel all three leads deserved just as much recognition. This movie excels in every genre it approaches. As a comic book movie it stays really true to the Long Halloween and Dark Victory storyline. As an action movie it shows more shit blow up than a lot of other action sequences than others and it’s throughout the entire movie, not just the climax. As a drama it shows a number of clear character arcs and sees them through. Batman actually has to make a decision that neither Spider-man or Superman ever end up having to make, a life or an ideal. This builds on everything set up in Batman Begins, making it arguably the greatest sequel of all time.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
The Dark Knight is a definite turning point in the comic book film genre. What truly separates this film from other comic book films is that it harkens back to its darker roots: The overall theme is more than just a dualistic perspective of good versus evil; there is also a struggle within Bruce Wayne regarding his true role; Can the city of Gotham truly appreciate Batman’s contribution to rid every malign criminal from the streets? Will there be a Gotham without Batman? If Bruce Wayne’s anti-criminal crusade is over, will he continue his life of privilege? In this franchise alone, there are so many questions that are yet to be answered after the film was over. Of course this was a clear sign that the franchise has to end at some point, in comparison to the James Bond method that backfired in the previous franchise.
For those who are still fans of the 1960s television show are not considered to be true fans of the Batman Mythology. When the 1960s televison show was released, Bob Cane was absolutely furious that his creation was smeared and dumb-down. The TV series relied heavily on comic relief, corny catch phrases from Robin, and preposterous contraptions that were created by the writers of the televison show: The utility belt with an endless supply of gadgets for any situation, the shark repellant, etc. The villains in TV series were only bad versions of Bod Cane’s darker, more anti-heroic characters. Of course the TV series was only a reflection of the psychedelic times.
Looking back at the previously failed incarnations of the Batman franchise, it was obvious that the directors and the writers were only making these film for themselves rather than making these films for the fans. Joel’s idea of Batman was this magical, colorful, fantasy world that perfectly accommodates the heroes and villains. The previous films were only concerned with what is happening around Batman/ Bruce Wayne rather than was going on within him. After the release Batman and Robin, there was a backlash from fandom around the world and Joel’s apology did little to assure the fans of the future of the franchise, and at this point, the franchise is basically on life support. In my mind, after that monstrosity of a film, fandom wanted the films to go back to basics.
To the fans, the mythology of Batman is beyond that feeling of campy happy-comfort food. Fandom wanted the films to be true to the original Bob Cane vision, which is to go darker and more psychological than what the previous films had done. At the time, toning down the franchise presented a great risk to the studios. They thought that sticking to the formula of the sixties televison show would work in this post 9/11 world, which obviously backfired. Although Batman is the only self-made super hero, the franchise should be rooted in reality not immersed in a “fantasy world” that resembled a three-ring circus.
Chris Nolan’s Batman Begins was a breath of fresh air to fandom around the world. This was the Batman that the fans have been waiting for since the original release of the comic books in the 1940s. “Begins” is the prefect prequel to revive the franchise. It provided the fans old and new, the psychological aspects of Bruce Wayne’s drive to avenge his parent’s deaths. But the mob assassinated the killer before Wayne claimed his vengeance. Then Wayne went through a phase where he unsuccessfully attempted to study the criminal underworld. And the only result of that is that he was in a vicious circle of hate. This psychological interpretation on how an individual of privilege, who truly lost everything, transformed into a symbol of hope that is completely incorruptible. This prequel is a masterpiece of thought-provoking imagery.
As aforementioned, The Dark Knight is a definite turning point in the comic book film genre. With a denser plot, darker imagery, and unexpected twists, this film will garner the respect that this genre that has longed-deserved. There are many elements in this film that are entering uncharted territory in terms of a comic book perspective. These elements are ones that would associate with other memorable crime dramas such as Heat and Cop Land. What also separates ths film from other Batman films, is that the world around Bruce Wayne is reality-based. Which means that everything associated in this realm of the mythology is more credible and not campy and corny like its predecessors. What surprised me about this film is Nolan having the audacity to use more practical effects and stunts rather than using artificial computer generated effects. There were a few moments in the screening where the audience broke out in applause, which is truly a sign of appreciation for this film.
Out of every comic film that I’ve seen thus far, this is the most evocative. This film, in my mind, and in the minds of fans, is destined to become the best comic book film ever made. The only performance that stood out from the rest was Heath Ledger’s memorable, but maddening portrayal of The Joker. Regardless of the fact that this was Ledger’s somber swan song, this menacing performance is definitely worthy of a posthumous Oscar nomination. In closing, this film is also worth several Oscar nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Supporting Actor (Heath Ledger and Gary Oldman), Best Director, Best Art Direction, Best Make-Up, Best Sound Editing, and Best Picture. All in all, this is hands down, the best picture of the year.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
It seems everyone totally overlooks some serious issues with Dark Knight – like the fact it was censored and edited to nothing. From what I’ve read, the MPAA cut out all kinds of scenes in order to get this film a PG-13 rating. This film should never have been given an R-rating, and ended up looking really bizarre in the end. Way to violent and dark for 13-year olds…and they wouldn’t get much of the movie anyway.
Doesn’t everyone remember that there were total gaps between parts of the movie? Until they release an unrated version, it’s ridiculous to call this the best movie ever.
- Currently 2.0/5 Stars.
With The Dark Knight, director Christopher Nolan continues his vision of the batman franchise as a dark, psychological noir-tinged thriller, one with a sleek and minimal look reminiscent of Michael Mann’s crime epics. Stylistically, Nolan has gone in the opposite direction to Burton’s Batman films with their gothic flights of fantasy, grounding his vision very much in the reality of a crime epic with gangsters and rogue cops. There is no denying the skill, intelligence and craft with which this film is made, it emanates from every frame. It is that rarest all of things in cinema: a smart, thought-provoking, supremely well made summer blockbuster from by a gifted auteur: the antithesis of Transformers. And yes, in parts it can gets a bit too self consciously serious and dark and Nolan lays on the 9/11 parables a bit too thick in places but this is mainstream filmmaking at its finest.
And Heath Ledger. There isn’t really anything else I can say on his performance that hasn’t already been said a million times, suffice to say his Joker is a masterpiece of method acting: a rigorous journey into the mind of a psychopath. Christian Bale also deserves plaudits for his performance as the caped crusader. There was always the danger of his Batman being overshadowed by Ledger’s Joker (a la Michael Keaton with Nicholson’s Joker) but Bale is a far too gifted and brilliant actor for that to happen, constructing an intelligent and dynamic performance of a character in constant inner turmoil. The score by Hans Zimmer is a low-fi electronic work of genius, stark in its simplicity and the action set pieces are cleverly staged and are original and inspiring. I have to say part of me, amongst the sleek cityscapes and courtroom battles did long for the beautiful gothic whimsy of Burton’s Batman Returns but don’t listen to the naysayers, this is a fine piece of cinema.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
Welcome to a world without rules. So reads the tagline for The Dark Knight, and not since the phrase “This Time It’s War” adorned the poster for Aliens has a film been summarised so effectively. To the uninitiated, this is the sixth film to be made in the Batman franchise, and the second since Brits Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale were given the task of reinventing a series that had fallen away critically and commercially since Tim Burton first brought the Caped Crusader to the screen back in 1989. 2005’s Batman Begins was an impressively moody effort, but one that never really got out of second gear. Fortunately it appears that earlier film was merely a test run for Nolan and his collaborators, as this time they have surpassed it on every conceivable level. The Dark Knight represents a new apex for mass entertainment and for the art form of the film blockbuster in general. Not since James Cameron made Terminator 2: Judgement Day in 1991 has the personal and the public been intertwined to such a powerful degree. Be warned, despite the films 12 certificate, this might not be one for the kids.
In a summer where Batman’s position as our favourite superhero has been challenged by Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Hancock and Hellboy, it must have been tempting for Nolan to rest on his laurels, but it takes a brave man to turn what in the past has been little more than an excuse to print money into such a dark and intense political allegory. Make no mistake, The Dark Knight is fiercely contemporary, and over the course of two and a half glorious hours it takes in wire-tapping, RICO predicates, terrorism and torture, as Gotham attempts to come to grips with a sadistic terrorist called The Joker (the late Heath Ledger) who appears to be motivated only by a desire for anarchy and chaos. Fighting him in tandem is the uncomfortable triumvirate of Batman, new District Attorney Harvey Dent (a tremendous Aaron Eckhart, who plays his role with the zeal of a Kennedy or even an Obama) and Lieutenant James Gordon (a returning Gary Oldman), whilst Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Maggie Gyllenhall admirably flesh the other roles out. The sheer talent of actors on display is further indication that this is not your typical summer movie fare. The artistry and commitment involved, from Nolan’s effortless control over the proceedings to Ledger’s career-defining serpentine performance, everything about The Dark Knight points to a level of excellence never before seen in a comic-book adaptation. The Dark Knight must be seen to be believed, and the only way to truly see it is at the IMAX. I have never experienced a film before which starts with a sharp collective intake of breath from the audience, nor one where they break into spontaneous applause on three separate occasions. I felt like I’d wondered into Paris in the 1890s to see one of the Lumiere Brothers earliest productions, or I’d stumbled into the premiere of The Birth Of A Nation in New York in 1915. This is a film that will be remembered for redefining what the cinema is capable of. The Dark Knight is like writing history with lightning. It truly soars above the competition.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
Fans, audiences and critics have all been waiting for Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins sequel, many obviously predicting the villain will be the Joker (hint from the ending of the first film). Though they probably didn’t expect anything like this to be put on screen. What we have here is more of a character study of a film than being all action spectacle and having good fun i.e. Iron Man.
Not that it’s exciting, the many action sequences in this film are spectacular (an improvement on Chris Nolan’s part). The most talked about thing about this movie is Heath Ledger’s performance as the Clown Prince of Crime, and having it being his last completed film project before his tragic death in January this year. The hype is not overrated, his performance is both comedically and frighteningly brilliant. He is more interesting than Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Tim Burton’s Batman, pointing out very good points in the film (“you know the thing about chaos, it’s fair”) and the scene between himself and Batman (played with emotional depth from Christian Bale) is just spine-chillingly fantastic. Both characters being complete opposites, making out that the Joker is what Batman could be if he fell to madness;
Batman: “You’re garbage who kills for money.”
Joker: “Don’t talk like one of them- you’re not, even if you’d like to be. To them you’re just a freak, like me. They just need you right now. But when they don’t, they’ll cast you out like a leper.”
Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and even Gary Oldman are fleshed out in this sequel than they were in the first film. Giving themselves more of a back-story and even equal screen time. The new additions being Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent is a huge surprise, feeling so sorry that he’s slightly ignored from everyone thinking this is Heath’s movie. When Harvey Dent turns to Two-Face, it is a somewhat horrifying transformation (both physically and mentally). Maggie Gyllenhaal replaces Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes, better in the acting department but still a one-dimensional character.
The cinematography is like Michael Mann’s Heat (obvious to it’s visual style and influence with the opening heist sequence), and the orchestral score from Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard is both electrifying and exciting. This is a comic book hero film unlike any of the others. It feels like a normal crime/thriller film, but just so happens to have Batman and the Joker.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
A great film, considering it came from the same place as Michael Bay and company. Christoper Nolan did a great job, as usual. And their were less shitty script-writing, it was still their just concealed well. Heath Ledger did a great job and Christian Bale had all his scene’s stolen by Michael Caine. The story is pretty good, but has some obvious defects. Watch it just for Ledger going insane on screen, rest in peace.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
In my opinion, no comic book film has ever come close to achieving what this brilliant film has. The Dark Knight encompasses such a broad spectrum of unique characters that it makes one wonder why no other director has been able to take a comic book hero seriously before now. Spider Man is entertaining for certain, and Superman will always have a special place in my heart (the Christopher Reeve entries), but with TDK it’s clear that Nolan understands Batman as a character, specifically with his relation to the Joker. Coupled with the amazing transformation of Harvey Dent into Two-Face, among dozens of subplots in the lengthy film, you get the finest and most serious Batman film ever created, which also happens to be the most entertaining one ever.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
Believe me when I say this is not to be seen mainly for Heath Ledger’s outstanding performance. Sure, it’s a reason. But his death and performance really overshadowed the film’s pure greatness. What we have here is some of the most complex, multi-layered and philosophically struggling screenwriting ever put in front of a camera. Put on top with excellent, non-conventional direction and cinematography, and all great performances outside of Ledger, and you have a film we’ll be telling our grandchildren about.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
The only saving grace of this movie is Heath Ledger’s (rip) brilliant performance…I really hate all the attention it got, cuz it really wasn’t all that great, except as a vehicle for the Joker…Christian Bale was really wooden as Batman and it seemed like they just tacked on Harvey Dent to pull more audience when he really deserved his own movie…especially cuz his story is a lot more complex than what they turned it into in the Dark Knight…and who the fuck is Rachel Dawes??? I was raised on the animated series, to which (so far) no live-action Batman has even come close to as far as recreating the vibe. They certainly touched something with Batman Begins, but the Dark Knight was just another let-down.
What do you do when your film is hyped up as the best comic book movie of all-time? What about when your star dies of an accidental drug overdose after completion, attributed by some to prescribed depression medication acquired due to the toll his character took on him? Well, you just have to ride the wave and hope it all turns out good. I mean just those two aspects alone were going to drive people to the theatres on Friday night, the real question was would the word-of-mouth keep them coming afterwards? My answer is a resounding yes. Rarely does a film not only live up to the lofty expectations set before it, but almost never does it exceed them. The Dark Knight is not only a great comic adaptation, but also a great movie from any genre. The acting is amazing, the story is intelligent and always keeping you on your toes, and the direction is a step up from the original installment, Batman Begins. I definitely had my reservations with the plethora of new characters and return of so many old ones, but Christopher Nolan handled it all like a champ. Some were so small that they probably weren’t necessary at all—I’m talking to you Scarecrow—but it never suffered from the sequel curse of too much too soon. Having The Joker and Harvey Dent introduced at the same time was natural and necessary because the two are on opposite sides of the legal spectrum, helping give Batman a look at what life could be in Gotham without him, both for the worst and the best.
The Gotham crime syndicates are afraid of the caped crusader to the point where their employees cower in the shadows at the sight of the Bat-signal and the mob bosses hold their meetings during the day. Worried that their finances are about to be seized by Lt. Gordon’s strike force, (Gary Oldman once more showing his greatness in even the straightforward roles he takes when on hiatus from the crazed villains he is used to playing), they pool it all together and hand over control to an Asian corporation, naively thinking it is safe from Gotham and new DA Harvey Dent’s jurisdiction. Only the demented nihilist The Joker understands that Batman has no bounds when it comes to what he is capable of. A vigilante himself, the superhero can go where he pleases and extract Lau from Hong Kong, the man with every penny owned by the city’s underbelly in his seemingly safe hands. This fact isn’t a question of could happen, but instead one of will happen. It is the first step in The Joker’s elaborate plan to take control of the city and prove to all that even the pure of heart can be and will be corruptible. Human nature is flawed and he wants to show the world just how much. Money is inconsequential; all he wants is the power and control.
While first seen as a fly sticking out of a bee swarm, Batman and Gordon don’t take any real heed of The Joker’s threat. It is the mob they are after and, with the help of Dent, are almost to the point where they can take them down for good. But as Harvey says, it is always darker before the dawn and this crazed maniac is blotting out the sun. Devoid of morals and seriously insane—“do you want to know how I got these scars?”—he takes no prisoners and consistently plays with everyone on his trail. A master of the human psyche, he is always two steps ahead of Batman and Gotham’s finest, pulling the strings on who is to live and who is to die. With the finding of his polar opposite in the form of Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego, The Joker is ready to have fun. Knowing how Batman’s one rule is the inability to kill, he pushes his buttons and places the blame of those he kills onto Wayne’s consciousness. Having a man like Dent there to stand for justice, face accessible to the world and not hidden behind a mask, Wayne’s guilt drives him to the edge of finally letting his identity be known. The Joker is a wild card in the poker match of life, orchestrator of anarchy, turning the world on each other and soon doesn’t even need to actually do any of the killings himself. Those he toys with find themselves falling to the darkness of revenge and greed, doing his bidding without even having to be asked.
No one is safe in this pitch-black world of violence and crime, almost completely shrouded in shadow once the small glint of light that seemed about to break through is snuffed out. Nolan throws conventions out the window with his plotting and willingness to take a chance on letting those we may find to be untouchable become expendable. He also has honed his action skills by giving us a bit more of a wide angle view on fights, letting them happen before our eyes and not be constructed later with quick cuts that don’t meld together. And the special effects, all I can say is bravo. From the new gadgets, (sonar systems and a kickass bat-cycle whose introduction is only upstaged by its ability to flip 90 degrees by riding up a building wall), to the make-up work, (The Joker is unsettling to view without Heath Ledger’s superb acting work), to the computer graphics, (not to ruin anything, but Two-Face is a sight to see), The Dark Knight pulls no punches.
With solid acting all around, Christian Bale and company carry over the success from the first film without fail. He himself is more comfortable in the duality of lifestyles, shining as Bruce Wayne the playboy, while also getting a chance to show some heroics before able to get his suit on, showing how it is the man and not the costume that really is super. However, it is the newcomers that bring the standard for comic book performances up to a level that may never be eclipsed. Aaron Eckhart is great as Dent with his pretty boy looks and affable charm. Unable to be bullied or scared, Eckhart embodies the good that Gotham has in its future and the subtle hinting to the darkness always hiding behind the façade of someone that pure of heart. He himself said it best, “you either die the hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” Foreshadowing at its best.
But of course, the true amazement is with Ledger’s Joker. When cast, many had their doubts, yet I remember always standing by the choice, knowing he could hit it out of the park if given the chance. Wow, this is the best villain ever put to screen. His vocal work and laugh are chilling and the facial ticks and licking of the lips just show the detail Ledger put in. The back-and-forths between him and Bale are always intriguing and exciting as the two powerhouses just put on a clinic and how about the introduction to his character at the start robbing the bank, what an entrance. The only part of this film that left me sad was the fact that we won’t be able to see Ledger reprise the role in the next installment. Kudos to Nolan for already saying that they will not recast; it is an honor to the job Heath did and to the audience so as not to pull a switch, ruining the character and movie because no one could ever even attempt to match the craft that went into the role here. A fantastic performance in a fantastic film…whatever you have heard, believe it.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
Long movie, but I think we would have felt cheated if they hadn’t taken it where it needed to go. Comic books are reimagined all the time, but everyone complains about movie remakes and reimaginings not being original. I love the fact that these new Nolan Batmans present fresh births of the hero and villain characters drawn from more recent comic issues. This movie is not trying to repeat or continue the same old stories, and it doesn’t have to, so the actors can create their characters on their own terms. Again there is a realism in this Batman universe. Comic books can deal with serious themes, but are rarely taken seriously. I do wish the Academy had given this a shot at Best Picture, but I understand their tastes and that they are not giving awards based on populism. The movie is rightfully nominated for several technical awards, which is a sign that the Academy does not totally ignore movies that are recognized as great.
In most comic book adaptations, heroes pop back up into the frame after taking deadly beatings as if nothing happened, and villains are charming mischief makers who we still love. Comic book stories deserve to be more than a bunch of caricatures sometimes. Ledger as the Joker embodied that chaotic evil, which is the ultimate challenge for Batman. Never, never, NEVER has an actor embodied such evil (alright maybe that was exaggerating a bit when I first wrote this). This is definitely a movie for multiple viewings. I don’t think I’ve seen a movie that dealt so well with real, complex, moral ambiguity in quite a while and it’s crazy exciting! The world IS NOT so simple as good versus evil, black and white with no gray area in between. Batman is not about a white knight in shining armor, it’s about The Dark Knight.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
The caped crusader is back, darker and even more spectacular than his previous adventure, and thanks to Christopher Nolan’s inventiveness, the most far-fetched elements of the comic and the orgiastic action seem grounded in reality, hence overpowering. It’s not a movie that builds a bridge to a climactic conclusion, but the climax is constant, however, sometimes that could distance oneself from the story rather than excite.
- Currently 3.0/5 Stars.
The major problem I had with ‘The Dark Knight’ is the same problem I had with Christopher Nolan’s ‘Batman Begins’ – it’s a comic book movie that goes for total realism, which results in an awkward crime drama featuring a guy in a rubber suit racing around the streets of Chicago – I never once believed this was Gotham City (the Illinois license plates didn’t help). Everything everyone has already said about Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker is true, and Aaron Eckhart and Gary Oldman are also excellent. I could never take Christian Bale’s out-of-breath Batman seriously, though he is a decent Bruce Wayne. I like Maggie Gyllenhaal, but she was terrible here – as was almost every minor character who had a line or two, it was strange to see so many amateurish performances in such a high-profile film. Cillian Murphy’s brief cameo as the returning Scarecrow was just embarrassing. The cinematography and production design were great, and some of the action scenes were amazing – but the story was just too awkwardly paced (and way too long) with forced psychological insights and tacky political subtext. The conceit of the relationship between Batman, the Joker, and Harvey Dent could have been great, but is never developed to its full potential, and then gets spoon-fed through dialogue towards the end. While I liked Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard’s score, it melodramatically drowned out a few scenes, especially early on. Worst of all, this movie just didn’t feel like Batman.
- Currently 2.0/5 Stars.